Reviews

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

41HBHmf78sLA traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback—and learns to trust the One who truly pens her story—in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

 During the Great Depression, city-dweller Addie Cowherd dreams of becoming a novelist and offering readers the escape that books had given her during her tragic childhood. When her father loses his job, she is forced to take the only employment she can find—delivering books on horseback to poor coal-mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

 But turning a new page will be nearly impossible in Boone’s Hollow, where residents are steeped in superstitions and deeply suspicious of outsiders. Even local Emmett Tharp feels the sting of rejection after returning to the tiny mountain hamlet as the first in his family to graduate college. And as the crippled economy leaves many men jobless, he fears his degree won’t be worth much in a place where most men either work the coal mine or run moonshine.

 As Addie also struggles to find her place, she’ll unearth the truth about a decades-old rivalry. But when someone sets out to sabotage the town’s library program, will the culprit chase Addie away or straight into the arms of the only person who can help her put a broken community back together?

I’m going to cut to the chase. Get this book. I read it in two sittings, only because I had to go to work. I was captivated from the first word.

Based on true events, author Kim Vogel Sawyer writes a fascinating story about traveling librarians in the hills of Kentucky, and the WPA program. That alone is interesting enough for those who enjoy history. But she created incredible characters with trials and tribulations, superstitions and celebrations. And does it in such a way that I wanted to pack my backs and head for the hills.

The descriptions in the story are incredible. You’ll learn about the living conditions, the terrain, and so much more. I promise you’ll feel placed right in Boone’s Hollow. To see the grit and fortitude that people had to have to live there will make you thankful for what you have.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction with a light romance then run and get a copy of The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

51bjuTpF6LL._SY346_1928

The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day

The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

Author Jaime Jo Wright just keeps getting better. Her style of writing is simply incredible. And the level of creepiness in her stories will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The characters in this story are very well developed, they have depth. They seem real. The descriptions of places, of scenery, of buildings, is incredibly well done. You feel as if you have been placed right there. I’m sure I could hear the elephants trumpeting!

Since this is split time, remember that 1928 is going to call for different phrasing. Things will be worded differently then they are today. People will be treated differently. That is all historical and necessary to the story be it labels or supposed stereotypes. Wright has done her homework in making this authentic to the time.

Wright always crafts a great mystery with many trails to follow and this one is no different. While the title implies ghosts etc Wright always reveals Biblical truth, so don’t let that possibility stop you from reading any of her books. Faith elements are beautifully woven into the story as we’re reminded that we are special, and we are loved.

If you are looking for something different, with a twist you won’t see coming, then grab a copy and go to the Bonaventure Circus.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Swift by R.J. Anderson

Anderson-Swift-194x300To save her people, a wingless girl must learn to fly.

As a piskey girl born without wings and raised underground, Ivy yearns for flight almost as much as she misses her long-lost mother. But the world outside the Delve is full of danger, and her dreams seem hopeless until she meets a mysterious faery who makes her an enticing offer: If Ivy helps him escape the Delve’s dungeon, he’ll teach her how to fly.

Freeing Richard could cost Ivy her reputation, perhaps even her life. But when her fellow piskeys start to disappear and her beloved little sister goes missing, Ivy has no choice but to take the risk.

Deadly threats and shocking revelations await Ivy as she ventures into a strange new world, uncovers long-buried secrets about her family’s past, and finds that no one—not even herself—is entirely what they seem.

I don’t read a lot of YA or Fantasy, but I have children in my life who do, so I thought I’d give this one a try as the story sounded intriguing. I will say that I know my grandkids will enjoy this one. Author R.J. Anderson has done a good job with the mystery along with the fantasy.

Anderson writes about disabilities and prejudices in such a way that the reader will be challenged. I really appreciated that aspect. There was quite a bit about magic, of course, but also blood based magic that others have compared to the Narnia series. There is also a mention of a teen drinking alcohol. Just be aware of those things when considering purchasing the book.

All in all a clean, no romance, YA book that your teen may enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Hearts on Lonely Mountain by A.M. Heath

51NTMSI8mVL._SY346_Can two lonely people find more than a fleeting friendship or will a prejudiced town keep them apart?

When Ivory Bledsoe left the city to minister to the people of the rural mountain town of Willow Hollow, she never expected to be shunned rather than welcomed. Seeing the town as a lost cause, she’s eager to return home, but when the bridge leading out of town is washed away during a flood, she finds herself stranded in the last place she wants to be.

Ben Thrasher was content with his quiet life until he met the new librarian. He can’t help but be drawn to the friendly and lively Ivory Bledsoe, despite her being at the center of the town’s latest superstition. It’s only a matter of time until she captures his heart, turning his world upside down in the process.

Has Ivory gotten God’s plan for her all wrong or is there still a way she can serve these people? And can Ben ask her to stay in a place where so few are willing to embrace her?

Author A.M. Heath writes a great story about books, horseback librarians, romance, and peril. Something for everyone!

The characters in Hearts on Lonely Mountain are well developed. They fairly leap off the page at you in a way that makes them seem real. The descriptions of the area and events were also realistic, which greatly added to the enjoyment of the story.

Heath is a wonderful storyteller, and if you enjoy historical Christian fiction then you’ll want to read this.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson

51RwFFi-1-LAll Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can’t find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there’s someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade this year.

Tyler Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the houseguests would be so sweet–or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and, to get better acquainted, he poses as the house’s caretaker. But when Emma’s friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things get . . . messy.

Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another delightful Christmas tale to warm your heart on those cold winter evenings.

Author Melody Carlson pens a sweet, quick Christmas read. Perfect for those cold nights to come.

The characters in The Christmas Swap had me smiling, pulling out my hair, and wondering when Gillian would get what she deserved. And I kept reading!

I loved the setting of Colorado because I love lots of snow at Christmas. It was interesting to learn a bit about skiing as well as swapping houses. I don’t think I’d like to try either. But I did enjoy the plot line.

I would classify this as a clean romance, not Christian romance as there is nothing about God in the story. I was a bit confused by a couple of things that were left dangling. At one point West puts a small something in his pocket, but we never learn what that was. And I didn’t like the ending at all. No spoilers, so I won’t go into why. I guess I would have preferred to see details in the book “sharpened” a bit. I felt things moved too fast.

If you want a sweet, romantic Christmas story read The Christmas Swap. It was a cute book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

An Amish Singing by Amy Clipston

51GIlMPCQQL._SY346_Romance is bound strike a chord when the young people of Bird-in-Hand join together to bring their community the gift of song. 

Hymn of Praise

Sharon Lambert and Jay Smoker have been friends for a long time, but lately Jay has seen Sharon in a new light. They begin spending time together, and Sharon invites Jay to her family’s home to serve dinner and sing traditional hymns for their English guests. When Jay decides that this tramples upon his doctrinal beliefs, can these two dear friends compromise and find love? Or will Jay’s strict views keep them apart? 

Amazing Grace

Dave Esh is broken with guilt after a recent tragedy. When Alice Blank, an acquaintance from school and youth group, invites him to join an informal singing group that performs for community members in need, Dave doubts he will enjoy himself—let alone find peace. Will Alice’s friendship help Dave learn how to forgive himself the way God already has? 

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Darlene Bender’s mother has been battling cancer, and Darlene can’t understand why God would allow someone so wonderful to go through such a terrible time. She finds strength in her singing group and friends, and when Andrew Detweiler senses that Darlene needs a confidant, he approaches and befriends her. As love blossoms between them, Darlene might soon realize that God was with her all along. 

O Holy Night

Elaine Lantz and her parents have just moved to town from New Wilmington. After leaving behind some painful events and a group of deceitful friends, Elaine worries she’ll never be able to trust again. But the young people of Bird-in-Hand don’t give up, and Calvin King takes it upon himself to make Elaine feel welcome. Perhaps friendship and love await Elaine in her new hometown. 

“Well-written, well-developed, and beautifully romantic, Amy’s books are at the top of the Amish genre.” —New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray 

  • Sweet, inspirational Amish reads
  • Collection includes four stories (23K words each) that can be read together or as standalones
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

The Amish have a love of music, and author Amy Clipston shows us that in her book, An Amish Singing. All four stories feature a group of young people from Bird-in-Hand, who love to sing for the enjoyment of others. I really liked that all four stories are about the same group of friends, each one focusing on a particular couple. 

Clipston’s characters, and settings, are charming. I found myself fully immersed as I read these stories. Each one has a different set of circumstances that challenges faith, yet each person is drawn to God and how He works in their lives.

It was fun seeing how a couple of the families open their homes to Englishers through serving dinners. I myself have enjoyed such dinners and I encourage you to try it some time.

All in all, a really good book if you enjoy Amish fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Polarized Love by Lisa Renee

51m-VJHgZfL._SY346_Polarized Love begins with a fun, romantic encounter on the shores of Rottnest Island. An American Navy chaplain meets a feisty Australian journalist investigating the Quokka mystery.

Why are the rare marsupials dying on the Island? Will the handsome American, Lachlan Peters, help Bethany Michaels with her cause or distract her from her mission?

Beth has served her family and father’s church faithfully, and now it’s her turn to leave the nest and spread her wings. But does her dad push her into the arms of the right man to launch his daughter into her God-given destiny?

When an American sailor, Nick DeHann, arrives on the shores of the West Coast of Australia, Beth is swept away with the promise of high aspirations. As the rushed relationship unfolds, Beth finds herself torn between following someone else’s dream or settling for the comfort of home and all she’s ever known.

Lachlan Peters returns to San Diego from his time in the Navy and tries to gain his footing in a life that has passed him by. Will Lachlan realize what he’s missing out on before Beth commits to another man?

Chock-full of romantic comedy, fast-paced action, and inspirational romance, Polarized Love offers a life lesson you won’t soon forget.

This contemporary romance started off fast and furious. No lollygagging around for author Lisa Renee.

A clean romance with an interesting story line, author Lisa Renee isn’t afraid to tackle the tough subject of mental illness, and she did it gracefully. Such things can be tough for me to read but this one was well written. Just be aware that it’s in the book, in case it’s a trigger for you.

I loved the mystery aspect, that fact that it starts in a country other than the United States, and the mention of Quokkas. I had never heard of this animal before so I learned some new things while reading. It was a fun adventure to Australia.

A story of faith and trust, we know that life doesn’t always run smoothly and we need to seek God’s will. I appreciate that this isn’t a perfect, fairy tale story but is hopeful and even fun. I recommend it for those who enjoy Christian contemporary fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Last Days Survival Guide by Rick Renner

51mVVKn+PPL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_God Wants You Prepared for These Perilous Times!

The Holy Spirit warned that “perilous times” would come in the very last of the last days. We’re in that time frame right now, and it is imperative that we know how to survive victoriously. Scripture prophecies that spiritual tempests will spread across the world with far-reaching consequences. But we do not have to be a casualty of these storms!

In this eye-opening survival guide, Rick Renner covers prophetic scriptures about the end times and how to prepare for them. He teaches:

  • What the word “perilous” really means and why God is alerting you.
  • What exact characteristics will mark society in the very last days.
  • What actions to take to protect yourself and those you love.
  • Strategies to stop the devil from attacking you and your loved ones.

If you’re concerned about what you are witnessing in society — and even in the Church — the answers you need to maintain your victory are in this book! It’s a survival guide for thriving in these perilous last days.

Author Rick Renner takes us into the perilous times that must come at the end of the last days. Prophesied by the Holy Spirit, there is no way of getting around it. However Renner’s book isn’t full of bad news doom and gloom. He shows us through scripture that we are victorious in Christ. That we have been born in this time on purpose, and that it’s an honor.

This survival guide shows us, as believers, how to navigate the rough waters of this present day. There are practical things such as staying in the Word, attending a good church, and leaning on others so we aren’t alone. Though the times are perilous we can be safe, as can our families, if we follow God’s edicts. I know I will refer to this guide often in the days ahead.

This is a great book for current day believers and I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Courting Calamity – a novella compilation

41slRaYlPDL._SY346_Heroes Needed for Four Damsels in Distress 

Despite determination to be strong and independent, four women of bygone days are in need of a hero.

Lady and the Tramps by Jennifer Uhlarik 

California, 1874

When outlaws steal a deed from Mattie Welling, her dreams for her eight orphan charges from New York City are dashed. Can Wells Fargo detective Jake Hickens be trusted to pick up the pieces?

The Secondhand Bride of Polecat Creek by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Texas, 1890

When Zeke Wyatt returns home to Polecat Creek intent on making good on his promise to marry his childhood sweetheart, he finds she’s run off in his absence, leaving her kid sister to care for her aging parents and the mercantile. Can Zeke finally settle down, or will he leave another sister with a broken heart?

The Bride of Basswood Hill by Gabrielle Meyer

Minnesota, 1900

When wealthy lumber baron, Charles Alexander, unexpectedly finds himself married to an Italian immigrant, Sofia Bellini, he must do all he can to protect her from the society she’s ill-prepared to navigate. But when he falls in love with his pretty bride, he will have to make a difficult choice: will he go through with the annulment they had planned?

Echoes of the Heart by Amanda Barratt 

New York City, 1909

Irish immigrant Aileen O’Connor is willing to work to make a life in America. But even the land of opportunity is paved with hardship, as she discovers firsthand the injustices faced by factory workers. When she meets Lorenzo Favero at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, her heart is stirred by the kindness he shows her. When tragedy engulfs the city, will their newfound love survive the flames?

I’m going to give you one “lump” review because they were all different, yet all wonderfully written. It’s always fun to see the various writing styles of the authors.

These were all clean, historical romance but please don’t take that to mean they are light and fluffy. Each author writes about the struggle of various people or groups of people. The 1800s wasn’t an easy time to live through. It could be rough and heavy with responsibility.

We learn about the social injustices of the early 1900s, when the rich were preferred and often treated others poorly. We see what happens when tragedy strikes due to not caring about the average blue collar workers. And yet through it all God is good and merciful. Each story also gives us hope and joy. And each story left me wanting more, which is the mark of a good novella.

If you enjoy historical fiction I can highly recommend this compilation of novellas.

Almost a Bride by Jody Hedlund

51W6FlcZq4L._SY346_Always close, but never a bride.

Longing to find true love, Kate Millington arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship. With countless men waiting to snag a bride, Kate has no trouble getting engaged. It’s staying engaged that’s the problem. After traveling to the remote mining town of Williamsville to marry her newest fiancé, she finds herself single again.

As the prosperous owner of a gold mine, Zeke Hart has everything he’s ever wanted except for a wife. At Kate’s arrival, he takes it upon himself to protect his childhood friend from the men clamoring to court her. The more he renews her friendship, the more he wants to win her for himself. But as much as Kate admires Zeke, she’s resolved not to marry someone who doesn’t share her faith.

When Zeke begins receiving anonymous threats, he unwittingly puts them both in grave danger. In the midst of peril, the past rises up to haunt them both, and Zeke realizes the fight for Kate’s affection may be his biggest challenge yet.

Book 4 in the Bride Ship series, this could be read as a stand alone, however I recommend reading the first three in order as some of the same characters are threaded throughout.

The characters in this story will draw you in. You’ll feel bad for Kate, who can’t follow through with an engagement. A woman of faith, she won’t settle for less. Zeke is running and I so badly wanted him to face his fears. Will they receive the healing they need?

Set in the Canadian wilderness, it was interesting to see what it took to build a life there. Author Jody Hedlund did a really good job of describing life during that time period, and describing the settings so that the reader feels as if they are right there.

Historical fiction with a mysterious twist, I highly recommend it. My only complaint is that there isn’t a book five. I’d love to see more of Mr. Peabody’s story. Nonetheless, get a copy of this and enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

The Price of Dreams by Toni Shiloh

41yUOUw0TwLBallet has always been my life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything I’ve worked so hard for—especially my title of Octavia Ricci, principal ballerina. I thought for sure my physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain my dream once more, but he wants more than I’m prepared to give.

I’ve seen firsthand the trials of interracial relationships. I’m a product of one myself and promised I’d never put my hopefully-someday kids through that drama. Everyone keeps telling me to let go of other people’s expectations, but I’m just not sure I can. Besides, if my dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love?

The Price of Dreams is the third and final book in the Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune.

Author Toni Shiloh really nailed it with the third book of her Faith & Fortune series. It held my attention from the very beginning and I read it straight through. It could be read as a stand alone but parts will make more sense if you read books 1 and 2.

The characters are so well written that I’m sure I could meet them walking down the streets of New York. I really enjoyed the relationship between the ladies. Tori and Holiday will make you laugh as they push Tavia in the romance area. And the guys in all three books are swoon worthy but true to life. I loved all of them.

Octavia is complex and as we see her hope for what could be with her career and the struggle to achieve that I found myself cheering her on. We also see her struggle with being biracial and attracted to a white man. It breaks my heart that this is even an issue. Shiloh handled it very well, yet was truthful.

At first I wasn’t sure about this series. I have nothing in common with three superstars, or so I thought. But we all want to be loved and accepted, and we all want to grow in our relationship with God. Read this series. You’ll find things that resonate with you!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

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