Saturday, August 15, 2020

LINE BY LINE by Jennifer Delamere, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Set in London in 1880, Jennifer Delamere’s newest book, Line by Line, is a fascinating look at telegraphers and the role they played in the evolution of world-wide communications. I enjoy reading historical fiction, because I learn much while I’m reading an entertaining story. The main characters in this story both had experience in telegraphy, so this played a major part in the tale. Alice McNeil is independent, ambitious, and perfectly content in her spinsterhood and her job as a telegrapher. Douglas Shaw, the junior director of the company, is also ambitious and determined to overcome his childhood poverty and rise in society. The two hit it off, but their different aims in life collide a bit and cause some difficulties for them.
With an intriguing glimpse at this slice of history, a bit of intrigue and suspense, and a big dash of romance, Delamere is off to a great start with this first book in her Love Along the Lines series. There’s even some inspiration and character growth thrown in for good measure. I’m looking forward to the other books in the series.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House and NetGalley. All opinions are my own. I gave it 4 stars. A light faith message.


See Paula's Review
BackCover Blurb:
Alice McNeil resolved at a young age to travel through life unencumbered by love or marriage, free to make her own decisions. A seasoned telegrapher, she's recently acquired a coveted position at an important trading firm, but when the company's ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.

For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He's also determined to marry into high society--a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.

He and Alice form a friendly relationship based on mutual respect, but anything deeper is not in their plans. However, when Alice accidentally raises the ire of a jealous and vindictive coworker who's intent on ruining her life, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to risk finding a better way?


Bethany House Publishing, June 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Line by Line at Amazon
Buy Line by Line at Christianbook.com

Friday, August 14, 2020

MINUTES TO DIE by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Trixi and Paula

TRIXI'S REVIEW:

“Exposed. Kiley felt exposed. Standing there. In the dark. Waiting. Waiting.”

And with that, we're off to another explosive installment to the Homeland Heroes series! Smuggled terrorists, a threat bigger than 9/11, and a race against time is what FBI agent Kiley Dawson and her team face in this fast-paced suspense novel. She also must face ICE agent Evan Bowers, the very man she blamed for the death of her former partner years ago. But when the truth comes out, can she also fight the attraction that's been under the surface? Only time will tell if she can stop both the threat against the country and her heart.

Sleeman has a way with words that makes my heart race when reading her suspense novels. She keeps up the pace with each new development the FBI RED team uncovers, and the list of suspects grows. You never know who's really behind it all until the very end, and even then she still surprised me! That's a good writer to me, one that can keep you guessing throughout the book. I also love the camaraderie between each team member and how they worked well together. It's like they can read each other’s minds and their skills mesh perfectly to get the job done. Kiley made a great leader! I like her ability to stay calm when things got tense and kept a sharp focus in spite of her emotions trying to sway her. It was a struggle for her at times, but that's when the team really came together to help. I also loved the moment she was able to forgive Evan and her misconceptions shattered when the truth about the day her partner was killed came out. It freed her heart to love again, and Evan was SO worth the wait. These two were meant to be, in my mind!

I truly enjoyed “Minutes to Die” ; it's everything I love in a romantic suspense. The pacing was perfect, the romantic angst was balanced with the high octane adrenaline of the suspense, and the conclusion was a surprise to me. It kept me on my toes and reading far into the night. Sleeman is a top suspense writer for me and a highly recommended author for lovers of this genre!
 
*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House through Netgalley and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. * 

PAULA'S REVIEW:
A nail biter from page 1! The Pressure is on.

The covers in this series are striking. The silhouettes are very James Bondish and the title, MINUTES TO DIE conveys the urgency of the story.

FBI agent Kiley Dawson and ICE agent Evan Bowers haven’t seen each other since an operation went bad six years ago. They are thrown together when their present cases converge. Ms. Sleeman does a great job of showing the tension in their reunion and how each of them has grown in their faith in the interim. Not only do they have to overcome old hurts, the current situation ramps up when a threat looms towards the anniversary of 9/11, just days from the start of the book.

“Kiley didn’t know if they could even find the target, but God knew, and Kiley closed her eyes to pray for divine intervention in a situation that seemed impossible.”

The plot of a terrorist threat is not new but Ms. Sleeman brings a fresh slant to it when she gives us a look at how things work on an inter-agency task force. : “Everyone in the room knew the clock was ticking down faster than their answers were appearing, and the pressure was nearly unbearable.”

Don’t miss this book if you want to read authentic, up-to-the-minute suspense about law enforcement agencies with realistic characters. This book is very well researched.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
I give this 5 Stars. It has a clear faith thread but not pushy.

BackCover Blurb:
It's the intel every agent fears--terrorists have been smuggled into the country, intent on unleashing the most deadly attack since 9/11. With the threat imminent, FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are charged with taking down this terrorist cell. The only problem is Kiley blames Evan for the death of her former partner, and she can barely be in a room with him. But with millions of lives on the line, she has no choice.

If it wasn't for a bad call Evan made, Kiley's former partner would still be alive, and Evan has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. When he starts falling for her, the agent's death seems an impossible obstacle--but it's also the last thing he needs to think about. As the terrorist plot targets Kiley's family, the two are pushed to the breaking point in a race to save countless lives.


Bethany House Publishers, August, 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Minutes to Die at Amazon
Buy Minutes to Die at Christianbook.com

 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

THE GENTLEMAN SPY by Erica Vetsch, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise. #GiveawayEndsAug18

Erica Vetsch continues her Serendipity and Secrets series with another wonderful Regency tale. I have read and loved her stories for quite a while but when I read the first in this series, I saw her shine! This second book wows like the first. I read it very quickly. I love this time period and she showcases it vividly. Spies are intriguing and Marcus fits the bill.
Marcus Haverly has become the Duke due to the untimely deaths of his father and brother. His duties as the new Duke could change his role as a loyal agent for the Crown. Marcus tends to put his different responsibilities into boxes to keep them separate. More difficulties come to light when both his overbearing mother and his boss urge him to find a wife.

Charlotte Tiptree is a lady, but one who is well read and not interested in the usual pursuits of fashion and rubbing elbows with the elite of society. Besides, her father keeps a tight rein on her. She has no real friends except her precious books, which she has purchased on the sly. Give me a heroine who loves books and is not afraid to use her brain. Charlotte ponders: “Any husband would be preferable to spinsterhood under her father’s control...As long as her new husband left her alone...And maybe let her buy books.”

While both Marcus and Charlotte are believers, they show their willingness to learn from God and their friends. Dolly, who runs a refuge for women: “God is not in a fluster about my predicament. He has a plan, and He will reveal it to me in His time and not a moment before. If I did not have to believe without seeing, it would not be called faith.”

They both grow in their faith, learn to trust each other and learn to order their priorities, finding that: “Your worth comes from the God who created you and the people who love you.”

There is excitement and evil, rescue and reformation and lessons in love.

Kudos to Ms. Vetsch for a fresh voice in the Regency genre. I cannot wait for book #3: The Indebted Earl
*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Kregel through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

I give this 5 stars and a strong faith thread.
BackCover Blurb:
He only wanted a duchess for a day--but she's determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she's meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life--as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She's determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society--the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she'd remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

 

See Trixi's Review

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy THE GENTLEMAN SPY at Amazon


GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

LOVE AND A LITTLE WHITE LIE by Tammy Gray, reviewed by Kim and Winnie

KIM'S REVIEW:
“Prayer is not about changing your situation, although sometimes God grants those requests. It’s about changing your heart.”

This is my first Tammy Gray novel. I really liked this story and this quote!

Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. The writing style, the wit, the faith thread, and the characters drew me in immediately. I was also interested in several of the side characters’ stories which made this story all the richer.

After a bad breakup, January moves to the town her aunt lives in and finds a temporary job at her aunts church. She has omitted one little thing - that she lacks in faith. At first, I was worried that January would be hard to like, and while I did have my issues with her, since this is written in first person, you really get to know her and feel for her, especially once you find out what she’s been through.
 

My favorite character in this story is...well, I don’t want to spoiler anything, so I’ll just say, it’s the one she ends up with! I really liked his character. He was intuitive, honest, and reliable. I really wanted to be in his head too!

My only issue with this story is that I wanted more page time with the two that ended up together. I loved when they were on the page and how their relationship grew. I just really wanted more of them -this is the reason why love triangle stories are not my favorite. I know that January needed the other relationship to grow, but I would’ve liked less of it and more time with the one she ended up with!

I will definitely be looking up Tammy Gray’s backlist and looking forward to whatever she writes next.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith element is medium.

WINNIE'S REVIEW
When I pick up a book by Tammy L. Gray, I know I’m going to be in for an emotional roller coaster ride, and this one was no exception. I love the way she creates broken, flawed, endearing characters with messy lives and puts them into settings and circumstances where they can grow, heal, and come out the other side as better people. The three main characters, January Sanders, Cameron Lee, and Dillon Kyle each have their own backstory and their own healing and growing to do.

I connected with January from the first and her story just kept getting more and more absorbing as she became immersed in her temporary job at her aunt’s church and met the people of her town. The secondary characters in this story are a vital part of it and added so much charm, humor, and depth.

Gray is a master at weaving inspirational messages organically into her stories. The tender messages of forgiveness, grace, and redemption are uplifting and add depth and dimension to an already absorbing tale. Her powerful writing never fails to amaze me, and her stories never fail to drag me through a gamut of emotions. Enough humor and witty banter is included to give a great change of pace amidst the angsty parts. I’ve read and loved all of her books. This one is definitely bound for my keeper shelf and is one I’m sure I’ll read again.
*I voluntarily reviewed a copy from Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.


BackCover Blurb:
January Sanders grew up believing karma was more reliable than an imaginary higher power, but after suffering her worst heartbreak in 29 years, she's open to just about anything, including taking a temporary position at her aunt's church. Keeping her lack of faith a secret, January is determined to use her photographic memory to help Grace Community's overworked staff, all while scraping herself off rock bottom.

What she doesn't count on is meeting the church's handsome and charming guitarist, who not only is a strong believer, but has also dedicated his life to Christian music. It's a match set for disaster, and yet January has no ability to stay away, even if it means pretending to have faith in a God she doesn't believe in.

Only this time, keeping secrets isn't as easy as she thought it would be. Especially when she's constantly running into her aunt's landscape architect, who seems to know everything about her past and present sins and makes no apologies about pushing her to deal with feelings she'd rather keep buried.

Torn between two worlds incapable of coexisting, can January find the healing that's eluded her or will her resistance to the truth ruin any chance of happiness?


Bethany House, August 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Love and a Little White Lie at Amazon
Buy Love and a Little White Lie at Christianbook.com

 


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

ICED OVER by Heather Day Gilbert, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Let's just say that we lucked out when we hired a sweetie like her."

The Barks and Beans Cafe's new hire, Bristol Goddard, is a perfect fit for the cafe's combination of "cups and canines". She's a hard worker, obviously loves dogs and gets along well with the establishment's owners and fellow employees. Unfortunately, Bristol's struggling family life takes a turn for the worse, when her uncle is seriously injured in a suspicious armored security truck accident- turned- heist, pulling kindhearted cafe co-owner Macy Hatfield into the fray.
Macy's nose for investigative work takes her down one disappointing path after another. She's anxious to help the Goddards, but exactly how much do they already know? She's on a very slippery slope, especially when it appears that outside forces are working overtime to thwart her efforts.

What a fun continuation of a very creative series of cozy mysteries!
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
BOOK TWO in the ALL-NEW BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Black Friday turns fatal when an armored security truck hits an icy patch and runs over an embankment near the cafe. With one driver dead and the other in a coma, police are baffled by the discovery that $500,000 is missing from the truck's cache.

When strangers show up at Barks & Beans asking nosy questions about a young cafe employee, Macy's mama bear instincts kick in. She can't ignore what her gut is telling her—that things aren't all they seem on the surface—and with a little help from her brother, Bo, and her Great Dane, Coal, Macy follows up on a few leads of her own. But if the ruthless thief beats her to the stash, the thin ice she's been skating on might just crack.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade


Woodhaven Press, July 2020
Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Iced Over at Amazon

Monday, August 10, 2020

A LIFE ONCE DREAMED by Rachel Fordham, Reviewed by Paula and Trixi

PAULA'S REVIEW:
Agnes Pratt and James Harris were childhood friends and had marvelous dreams together. But Aggie threw them all away and fled from Boston for Penance, Dakota Territory.

Aggie has become a teacher in a one room schoolhouse. All her anxiety returns when James comes into town as the new doctor. Neither has forgotten the other. James is a patient, steadfast man and would like nothing more than to make old dreams a reality. But dreams never stay the same.

Ms. Fordham has crafted a cozy town in Penance with likable townspeople. They run the gamut from nosey matchmaking friends to a loyal Mayor to Old McHenry who was the closest thing the town had to a doctor. The children at the school are endearing, even Tommy who asks outrageous questions.

You can feel the uneasiness and worry Aggie has when she does not want to reveal why she left Boston. Likewise, you can feel the profound love Aggie has for an orphan child. It is good to remember that: “Where you come from matters far less than where you are going.”

There are lessons to be learned from Aggie and James and their struggles:

Sometimes God has a better plan.

You should not judge a person by their background.

God can give a mother’s love when a child is in need.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Revell Reads Blogger Program. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* I give this 4 stars. Solid but not blatant faith thread.


TRIXI'S REVIEW:
“This was her life. Colorful and simple. Comfortable and predictable. She'd woven herself into the fabric of the town, serving and loving the townsfolk and making a life for herself in Penance.”

I really admired Aggie's determination to make a new life for herself far away from her parents and all she ever knew in Boston to become a school teacher in the Dakota Territory. Her strength of character is what makes her the woman she is. Deeply investing in her students and the townspeople in whatever way she can, she finds contentment. That is until James Harris—her long ago fiancĂ© and the only man she ever loved, shows up to answer the newspaper ad for a town doctor. Could the life she once dreamed become reality, or will the past hurts and secrets keep her heart locked up forever? As for James, he hasn't lost the love he once had for Aggie—if anything—it has grown over the years. And he's determined to find the answers as to why she left him six years ago, in hopes of convincing her to start over again. He's an ever-patient gentleman, a compassionate doctor and a loyal friend.

Both James and Aggie had a lot of growing up to do in this story. I really like how the author stretched them in ways that molded the kind of people they eventually became. Watching them overcome their past to forge a new future was one I enjoyed. Second-chance love or reunion love is one of my favorite tropes in a book, so I was especially fond of this story. In my opinion, seeing characters work through what tore them apart only makes for a stronger relationship in the end. I also loved the townspeople, there were many who contributed their own personality to the mix and helped impact both James and Aggie. A well-rounded cast of characters is what makes a good story in my book!

Lastly, the spiritual nuggets throughout were fun to find and great reminders to myself as a Christian. Even if our long-ago dreams don’t ever become reality, God can still make beauty out of the ashes of the past. I really love the new life He forged for Aggie and James! When an author has a good faith thread in a story and it reflects in the characters, that’s my most favorite part. Not only am I reading for entertainment, but also to feed my soul! I recommend this to inspirational historical fiction lovers and those who enjoy second-chance love stories.
*I received a complimentary copy from Revell publishing and wasn't obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

 
Back Cover Blurb:
Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people.

When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie's pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves--but he is the one person who can never know.

In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can't seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?


Fan-favorite Rachel Fordham brings to life the dusty streets of an 1880s frontier town in this story that affirms where you come from matters far less than where you're going.


Revell Publishing, August 2020

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy A Life Once Dreamed at Amazon
Buy A Life Once Dreamed at Christianbook.com

Sunday, August 9, 2020

THE GENTLEMAN SPY By Erica Vetsch, Blog tour and review hosted by Trixi Oberembt AND A #GIVEAWAY!

The second book in the Serendipity and Secrets series and Vetsch's second Regency fiction is definitely one not to be missed! This will satisfy the heart of any historical time period lover, whether you're new to the genre or an old hat like me.
I first met Marcus Haverly in “The Lost Lieutenant” and was fascinated from the start. He's both a gentleman and a spy for the Crown. Keeping his two lives separate has always been easy, that is until he marries for propriety's sake. After all, he's the newly appointed Duke after the deaths of both his father and brother and must meet certain social obligations that come with the position.

Charlotte Tiptree has always been outspoken, opinionated, and much happier spending time in her books than among society. As with Marcus, certain obligations must be met as the daughter of a Duke, one being she must wed. However, few men will consider her marriage material due to her unconventional nature. When Marcus announces their sudden engagement, it seems both of their problems are solved. That's when the fun really begins!

“As if I needed a bride at this juncture. I want to be left alone to do my work, and if the title is a complication I cannot avoid, a wife is one that I can.”~ Marcus (pg 38)

“Any husband would be preferable to spinsterhood under her father's control.

As long as her new husband left her alone.

And maybe let her buy books.”
~Charlotte (pg. 55)

This is much more than just a marriage-of-convenience story; it's also fraught with danger, secrets, and the seedier side of society. It has an element of mystery that lovers of this genre will eat up. Vetsch brought both Marcus and Charlotte to life for me....though I have to say that Charlotte's deep love for the written word endured me to her right away. She's a book-lover after my own heart! I'll simply say, I enjoyed every element to this story. Vetsch has a way to bring whatever book she writes to life for me and keeps me coming back for more!
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and wasn't obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions stated here are mine. *

 About the book:
He only wanted a duchess for a day--but she's determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she's meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life--as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She's determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society--the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she'd remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?




Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy THE GENTLEMAN SPY at Amazon
About the author:
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.

A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England. 




Two Interview Questions:
Q: It can be risky for an author to move into a new genre like you did when starting this series. What has the feedback been from your readers?

Erica: I’ve been so pleased with the responses to my entry into the Regency world. Both authors and readers have been very gracious. Many of those who read my previous works set in the American West have been happy to follow me to England, and I’ve gained new readers who are faithful to the Regency genre who have been willing to take a chance on a new-to-them author.
The Regency era can be tricky to write, because the readers are so knowledgeable and well versed in the history and social mores of the times. But they are also some of the most loyal readers with insatiable appetites for Regency fiction. I’ve found it quite a nice group to be among, and they’ve been most welcoming.


Q: What can readers look forward to in the last installment of the series, The Indebted Earl?

Erica: Between the release of The Gentleman Spy and The Indebted Earl, there will be a bonus novella! Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection releases in October of this year, and my novella, “Wonders of His Love,” is included. This novella takes us to Haverly Manor, the home of Marcus and Charlotte, for the Christmas season. Cilla Haverly, widow of the former heir, is wondering what her next step in life should be. Is she doomed to be the dowager’s companion forever, with no real place in society any longer? When an intriguing Scottish painter arrives to paint the portraits of the new Duke and Duchess of Haverly, he ignites in Cilla a spark of independence that has the dowager’s feathers ruffled and Cilla thinking thoughts of revolt . . . and love.

And finally, in March of 2021, the last installment of The Serendipity and Secrets series, The Indebted Earl, arrives. The story of Sophie Haverly, younger sister of the duke, The Indebted Earl takes the reader to the Devon coast as Sophie and Captain Charles Wyvern navigate grief, survivor’s guilt, rambunctious orphans, a dear woman suffering early dementia, smugglers, and a growing love that neither is sure is proper.


Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Twitter (@EricaVetsch), Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).


GIVEAWAY!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER by Ann H. Gabhart, reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Marry if you must, but only do so for love."

Piper Danson is watching her future disintegrate into a business contract before her very eyes; her father choosing a young man with the means to give her everything a woman could desire, minus any certainty of love. Sure, an arrangement with the highly desirable son of a railroad magnate might grow into deep affection over time, but Piper can't help but think that her heart still belongs to another.

"You have the rest of your life to wear fine clothes and gossip with your friends. But first, do something."

When given an opportunity to leave all talk of marriage behind in the city, Piper takes off for the mountains to joins a noble cause for the summer; volunteering for a horseback Frontier Nursing Service. Who would have thought that cleaning out stables, delivering medicines, assisting mid-wives, painting porches, and even skinning chickens could be so rewarding. And it is, until double trouble finds its way up into the mountains.

"How can you know . . . where He wants you to go . . . . what He wants you to do . . . But you can figure it out if you listen and watch. The mountains are a good place for doing that. You get up high in those hills and the Lord just seems nearer."

What a pure delight to read! . . . . full of characters with enormous doses of pluck, and a romance that finds itself again over a swinging bridge! 3.5 stars
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 


BackCover Blurb:
In 1933 Louisville, Kentucky, even the ongoing economic depression cannot keep Piper Danson's parents from insisting on a debut party. After all, their fortune came through the market crash intact, and they've picked out the perfect suitor for their daughter. Braxton Crandall can give her the kind of life she's used to. The only problem? This is not the man--or the life--she really wants.

When Piper gets the opportunity to volunteer as a horseback Frontier Nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains for the summer, she jumps at the chance to be something other than a dutiful daughter or a kept wife in a loveless marriage. The work is taxing, the scenery jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the people she meets along the way open up a whole new world to her. The longer she stays, the more an advantageous marriage slips from her grasp. But something much more precious--true love--is drawing ever closer.

Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart invites you into the storied hills of Eastern Kentucky to discover what happens when one intrepid young woman steps away from the restrictive past into a beautiful, wide-open future.


Revell Publishing June 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy An Appalachian Summer at Amazon
Buy An Appalachian Summer at Christianbook.com

Friday, August 7, 2020

READY TO TRUST by Tina Radcliffe, Reviewed by Winnie and Kim


WINNIE'S REVIEW:
Some of the reasons you should read Radcliffe’s newest book:

The first and most obvious reason is the cover of Ready to Trust. The swoony picture of Reece Rainbolt is featured for you to refer back to as often as you’d like. In case you don’t notice--be sure to make note of the peaches in the background at some time, as they are part of the story.

Endearing, realistically-flawed characters that show growth and change. Reece Rainbolt and Claire Ballard are so interesting to get to know. I loved seeing their relationship progress.

The awesome cast of secondary characters, such as Willard, one of Reece’s ranch hands. Willard to Reece, “Sweet-talking an old cow. My job description just hit an all-time low.”

The witty, fun dialogue—see the above quote for an example. Reading a book by this author is always a treat because of her ability to write an absorbing story using her great sense of humor and fun.

Radcliffe’s descriptions are wonderful. “After her visit to his home last night and seeing him with Zoe, she realized that she was only just beginning to peel the onion on this new Reece Rainbolt.”

Last, but not least, is an uplifting message of forgiveness, redemption, healing, and hope that will leave you feeling inspired and lifted with feeling preachy. Radcliffe is a master at weaving an organic inspirational message into her stories.

This is the second book in a series by this author, but it can be read as a stand alone story. 4.5 stars
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.


KIM'S REVIEW:
Tina Radcliffe writes the best cowboy romances! I love the families she creates and I always want to move to her fictional towns. She also writes the best secondary characters. I loved Willard in this story! This is the second book in her Hearts of Oklahoma series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but book 1, Finding the Road Home, is also excellent and really should be read too!

Storylines where the heroine keeps such a huge secret from the hero always worry me because I’m afraid it will make me dislike the heroine. Thankfully I ended up really liking Claire. Her growth throughout the story was perfectly done and while I have to admit that she slightly irritated me a time or two, it all worked out because of what I thought were Reece’s perfect verbal responses and reactions. He was sweetly understanding, but he was not a pushover either. In fact, I loved Reece from the second he appeared on the page. I loved how he treated Claire and his relationship with Zoe was heart melting! Reece and Claire’s relationship worked because they each lowered their pride and were willing to admit the wrongs they had done to each other.

This is another wonderful read from Tina Radcliffe. I am really looking forward to the next story in this series which is about Tucker who is a widower and has the sweetest twin daughters and it’s a Christmas story!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. The faith element is light.

MORE REVIEWS! SEE NICOLE'S AND TRIXI'S

BackCover Blurb:
Proving he’s a changed man could be his biggest challenge yet.

Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest…and let him get to know his little girl.


Harlequin Publishing July 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, mass-market paperback:
Buy Ready to Trust at Amazon
Buy Ready to Trust at Christianbook.com



Thursday, August 6, 2020

A BRIDE OF CONVENIENCE by Jody Hedlund, Reviewed by Rebecca and Winnie

REBECCA'S REVIEW:
"Are you marrying me?"

And thus began a tale of two hearts, who might have been joined under the most unusual of circumstances, but joined they were and joined they were going to stay. Possibly. Maybe. Hopefully.

When bride-ship bride Zoe Hart accepted responsibility for a wee babe, she never imagined that becoming the wife of the local pastor Abe Merivale would be necessary, much less reality; Zoe had thought to take her chances on someone else. The "someone else" didn't take kindly to having his almost wife snatched away from him, and so following their hasty nuptials, Zoe and Abe quickly retreat farther up into the mountain mining communities of British Columbia. . . . . and begin their polite, platonic life.

Determined to follow the traditions of the Anglican Church, Abe knew he was jeopardizing his chances of career advancement by joining his life with a former cotton mill worker and a mixed race infant. What had he been thinking? Actually, under the circumstances Abe hadn't been thinking clearly at all. But he had taken his vows before God and was determined to become a good husband; to the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and who was quickly becoming the most precious.

Seemingly, Zoe and Abe have a lot to learn about discerning God's will for their lives, for "Beautiful things usually coexisted with pain and danger. The two walked hand in hand on the same path, and the contrast only made the beauty and joy all the greater."

It's been a long time since I have enjoyed a marriage of convenience story this much.

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

WINNIE'S REVIEW:

Set in British Columbia in 1863, A Bride of Convenience is an imaginative and colorful peek into a fascinating slice of history. Jody Hedlund is a master at creating vibrant, multi-layered, and realistic characters and placing them in compelling and intriguing situations. Zoe Hart is courageous and compassionate and is a perfect match for the kind and caring Pastor Abe Merivale. I loved their almost instant connection and enjoyed watching their attraction and relationship grow through their trials. With a captivating cast of characters and a gripping plot, this story kept me enthralled and turning the pages. Hedlund’s descriptions were so vivid that the story came alive, and I could easily picture the action in my mind.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, danger, suspense, and a dash of romance, this tale has a little bit of everything. Woven throughout are threads of faith, hope, trust in God, and the courage to stand for right. This is the third in The Bride Ships series featuring ladies who journeyed from England to British Columbia to hopefully find husbands and a new life. It can be read as a standalone book, but it was enjoyable to catch up with some of the characters in the previous books. 4.5 stars
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.


SEE PAULA AND KIM'S REVIEWS

BackCover Blurb:
Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.

Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he's devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she's marrying another man.

With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Bride of Convenience at Amazon
Buy Bride of Convenience at Christianbook.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

UNVEILING THE PAST by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"How do you know when God's telling you to do something? I mean, in the Bible it was so obvious. A burning bush, a talking donkey, angels who showed up and delivered messages. God doesn't do those kinds of things anymore."

Cold case detective Meghan DeFord-Eagle has so many questions circling through her head; does she dare contact her absentee father, should she and Sean start a family, could they open up a private investigative agency . . . . . could, should, would, maybe, might . . . . or not. It's a heavy burden for one half of a new marriage to bear.

As if these decisions were not enough, Meghan and Sean's supervising officer asks them to temporarily split their partnership, so that each of them can work with another detective, (up until now, they have worked as a team) to solve a case that exhibits distinctive connections. In spite of the fact that neither is particularly keen on the idea, the department is handling two scenarios that demand the Eagle's expertise. As it turns out, it was the best decision they could have made.

Meanwhile, Meghan's mother and grandmother are becoming involved in a situation as unique as any cold case that Meghan and Sean could be assigned, and just as personal.

This novel has a rather complicated mixture of plot lines, so much so that the reader may feel a little left out of the details from time to time; none of the story threads reign supreme, but they do weave themselves together rather nicely in the end. It's the wonderful spiritual depth that marks "Unveiling the Past" as a decidedly inspirational read.

"Our structures, our lives are doomed to collapse unless we build on the cornerstone, Jesus Christ."
* 3.5 stars. I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.


BackCover Blurb:
Mysteries, family secrets, and the love of a true Father are found at the heart of this gripping novel from the bestselling author of Bringing Maggie Home

Newlyweds Sean Eagle and Meghan DeFord are no strangers to pain and loss. As cold-case detectives, they know intimately the anguish family members endure after the murder or disappearance of a loved one. But when a new case hits too close to home, it threatens to pull loose the fragile cords of their young marriage.
 
Sheila Menke was just a girl when her father left for work and never returned. An investigation revealed he had embezzled enough to start a new life elsewhere, but Sheila could never accept the court’s criminalization of her father. Meghan reluctantly takes the case, secretly fearing it will stir up buried feelings about her own biological father. And while Sean investigates the mysterious death of two young brothers, he longs to start a family. But Meghan worries that with a negligent mother and an absentee father as her parenting examples, she might never be fit for motherhood.
 
As they delve deeper into the past, both Meghan and Sheila must choose to either stumble along the road of bitterness and resentment or walk the difficult path toward forgiveness and healing. When the cases begin to break wide open, these young women are poised to discover that while earthly fathers may fail, there is one in heaven who is a father to the fatherless.


Waterbrook Publishing, May 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding and audiobook:
Buy Unveiling the Past at Amazon
Buy Unveiling the Past at Christianbook.com
 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

ACCEPTABLE RISK by Lynette Eason, Reviewed by Nicole Cook and Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay


NICOLE'S REVIEW:
Acceptable Risk, the second installment in award winning author Lynette Eason’s Danger Never Sleeps series, is an action-packed romantic suspense novel that will keep readers highly invested in the storyline until the very end. Acceptable Risk can be easily read and enjoyed as a standalone novel.

After military journalist Sarah Denning is successfully rescued from a hostage situation in Afghanistan by former Army Ranger Gavin Black and his team, danger continues to follow them home to the States. When looking into her brother’s shocking suicide, things aren’t as they seem, and Sarah and Gavin’s lives are once again in extreme danger.

Lynette Eason has been a longtime favorite romantic suspense author of mine. Readers who enjoy a lot of fast paced action will love this novel, along with the light romantic thread included in the storyline. Romantic suspense is my favorite genre to read and my most-read genre, so I have been looking forward to this book for awhile. Even though I was able to figure out the perpetrator early on in the book, that did not take away my enjoyment of the novel. Now I can’t wait for Active Defense (book 3 in the Danger Never Sleeps series) to release in January 2021.

Acceptable Risk is highly recommended for readers of romantic suspense, especially those who enjoy books by authors such as Dani Pettrey, Lynn H. Blackburn, Rachel Dylan, and Irene Hannon.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Using the Inkwell faith ranking system, I categorize Acceptable Risk as a 2 (having a light faith message), which is perfect for readers who enjoy romantic suspense with light spiritual content integrated into the storyline.

PAULA'S REVIEW:
Acceptable Risk is the second book in the Danger Never Sleeps series. These are gritty stories that deal with hard but realistic issues. Be warned : PTSD, hostage situations and suicide are not easy to read about. The action seemed a mile-a-minute but it also seemed true to life.

Gavin Black and Sarah Denning met in the Army in Afghanistan and dated a few times but things changed. They are reunited when Gavin rescues Sarah from a prison cell at the behest of her father, the General. They are soon caught up in a disturbing plot when they return to the States and spend time in a VA hospital. Can they uncover the criminal deeds before any more veterans suffer?

Theirs is a journey to rely on God to help them get to the bottom of the nefarious events. It is also a journey of forgiveness for Sarah and her father.

This story may be a bit raw but it moved at a fast pace and kept my attention. The heroine is strong, if opinionated and the hero is stalwart, sincere and patient while being a competent bodyguard.

This can be read as a stand alone, although we meet a few characters from book one. I am really looking forward to reading the third book in the series. Lynette Eason is a favorite author. I always say I will read anything she writes.

*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

I rate this 5 stars with a light but solid faith thread. 


BackCover Blurb:
For one journalist, the story of a lifetime is hitting too close to home

Sarah Denning is a military journalist with the Army in the Middle East when her convoy is attacked and she's taken hostage. When former Army Ranger Gavin Black is asked by his old unit commander--Sarah's imposing father--to plan an extremely risky rescue, he reluctantly agrees and successfully executes it.

Back in the US, Sarah is livid when she's discharged on a false psychiatric evaluation and vows to return to the Army. Until she learns of her brother's suicide. Unable to believe her brother would do such a thing, she puts her plans on hold and enlists Gavin to help her discover the truth. What they uncover may be the biggest story of Sarah's career--if she can survive long enough to write it.

Strap in for another breakneck nail-biter from bestselling romantic suspense author Lynette Eason that will have you up turning pages long into the night.



Revell Publishing
Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:
Buy Acceptable Risk at Amazon
Buy Acceptable Risk at Christianbook.com

About the Author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Collateral Damage and Acceptable Risk, as well as Protecting Tanner Hollow and the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.


Monday, August 3, 2020

AFRAID OF THE LIGHT by Cynthia Ruchti, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"The emotional darkness that enshrouds a person with a compulsive hoarding disorder keeps them from seeing. Normal to them is darkness. . . . . Your loved one isn't resisting the light. He or she may be afraid of it."

"She wasn't their saving grace. But if she could point them--Point them to it. Pull back the curtain and let in the light."

So many of Dr. Camille Brooks' clients live their lives shrouded in darkness . . . dark rooms, dark houses, dark lives. More often than not, in order to gain entrance into their shadowy domain, Camille is literally required to squeeze through impossibly small cracks in front doors. Determined to ease the pain of hoarders and their families, (which she knows from personal experience is debilitating) Camille is hopeful that her podcast will introduce her to potential clients in such a way, that she becomes trustworthy and approachable, before a face to face encounter ever takes place. And it seems to be working, albeit slowly.

When one of her clients seems to make a quicker than expected breakthrough, Camille gains an unexpected ally when she hires a new garbage retrieval service and meets a man whose impenetrable cheery attitude sets off all sorts of alarms that Camille can't seem to turn off, until she isn't sure that she even wants to. Eli Rand is as enigmatic as his cranberry jumpsuit.
 

This book is a bit like quicksand in the sense that before you realize what is happening, you're sinking deep into issues from which few ever recover. There are certainly no easy answers, and the author understands that true healing from this, or any other addiction, takes an enormous amount of work combined with a willingness to invest in quality counsel; but the missing ingredient is often pulling back the curtains . . . . and letting in the Light.

"Light had a way of piercing all kinds of darkness."

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 


Back Cover Blurb:
She helps others manage their desperate lives--but who will help her?

Clinical psychologist Camille Brooks isn't put off by the lifestyle of her hoarding clients. After all, she lost her mother to the crippling anxiety disorder. She'll go a long way to help others avoid the same pain and loss.Despite Camille's expertise, her growing audience for her Let in the Light podcast, and the national recognition she's gaining for her creative coaching methods, there are some things she isn't prepared for. A client who looks far too much like her mom catches her off guard. And the revelation that she's also hoarding something sends her spinning.

Can she stand to let the light into her own life with the help of a friend who wants to stand by her for life and the God who created and loves her? Or will she find that defeating her demons proves too much to bear?


Kregel Publishing
Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Afraid of the Light at Amazon
Buy Afraid of the Light at Christianbook.com

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