More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

517nUneccdL._SY346_Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers. 

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

This first book in The Patchwork Family series is a winner! Author Karen Witemeyer kept me turning pages quickly. Good guys and bad guys. Damsels in distress. Twists and turns. Romance. This book has it all!

Witemeyer’s writing is very descriptive, allowing me to see the Texas countryside as I read. Her unique characters are so life-like you’re sure they’re real, and you want to jump into the story to help. She tackles the situation of having two characters with physical challenges, and illustrates to us that everyone wants to be loved and accepted for who they are, not bullied or pitied.

A wonderful book by a gifted writer, I look forward to book 2 in this series. While we wait, make sure you read this book!

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


The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman


Bitter since his eldest brother abandoned their family in Ireland, Quinn O’Shea travels to Natchez, Mississippi, ready to shuck the weight of his duty and set off on an adventure of his own. It’s time Connor, as head of the family, took responsibility for their younger siblings. While aboard ship, a run-in with three Irish sisters lands Quinn in the role of reluctant savior. Though it may delay his plans, he cannot abandon the Young sisters, especially the tenacious yet kind Kiera.

Upon arriving in the colonies, Kiera Young prepares to meet her intended and begin her new life. But she soon discovers the marriage her brother-in-law arranged was never meant to be, and a far more sinister deal was negotiated for her and her sisters.

Quinn offers to escort his charges safely to Breeze Hill Plantation and his brother’s care, fully intending to seek his freedom elsewhere. But the longer he remains, the greater his feelings toward Kiera grow and the more he comes to realize true freedom might be found in sacrifice.

Includes discussion questions.

The second novel in the Natchez Trace series, I had no trouble following along but I do plan on reading book 1, The Promise of Breeze Hill. Why wouldn’t I read it? Book 2 was so good, I’m sure book 1 is equally as good.

Author Pam Hillman did a great job of taking you on this journey from Ireland to the colonies. Her descriptions are such that you surely are there. And her characters are wonderful. You’ll either love them or hate them, but you will not be undecided. Well defined, you will see and hear them as you’re reading the book.

The story clips along at a good pace with danger and intrigue as well as clean romance. But at no time did I feel rushed. I savored every word and hated to see it end.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction, with good guys, bad guys, and romance, you’ll enjoy this book!

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


Her Place in Time by Stephenia McGee


Can love offer a new future…in the past?

A mysterious gown, unexpected courage, and a love that transcends time.

Nursing student Lena Lowery faces a grim diagnosis and a dangerous surgery. On the cusp of the life-changing procedure, Lena stays at the Rosswood Plantation Bed and Breakfast for one last weekend with her mother. There in an antique armoire, Lena discovers a Civil War-era gown that holds an unimaginable cure…a trip back in time to when the house served as a hospital.

Confederate Sergeant Caleb Dockery lost his brother, his eye, and nearly his life. Stuck in a makeshift infirmary, he’s counting the days until he can return to duty…and seek revenge. When a stranger appears, he suspects she’s a spy. If he can’t return to duty and find the revenge he craves for his brother’s death, he can serve his country by stopping this traitor. But her nursing skills are saving lives, and her courage and independence stirs his heart. When Lena’s safety is threatened, Caleb must strain the loyalties that bind him or risk losing her forever.

Caught between a future that holds no promises and a past that could offer new life, Lena must face an extraordinary decision. Should she return to her own time where her days are numbered? Or can she and Caleb find a love that stretches across time?

If you like historical romance with a twist, strong female characters, and heroes that transcend eras, you’ll love this journey through time that tests the limits of love.

*Her Place in Time is set in the house from The Liberator Series, just prior to the start of Leveraging Lincoln. Fans of the series will enjoy seeing Annabelle and Peggy in this new novella, but it is not necessary to have read the series prior to reading the novella.

Author Stephenia McGee writes a book like nothing she has written so far. If I could give this story more than five stars, I would. It held my interest from the very beginning and I was sad to see it end.

A fascinating time slip story, I loved the play between the Civil War and current time. Well researched, I felt as if I were in both time periods. The descriptions McGee gives are incredible. Strong, well developed characters kept me engaged. Throw in suspense and clean romance and this book was incredible. I highly recommend it!

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


The Girls’ Guide to Conquering Life by Jonathan and Erica Catherman  


There’s a lot a girl needs to know as she grows up and makes her way in the world. Having a reference guide of practical how-to life skills and character traits can empower her to become a confident and capable woman. Coauthors Erica and Jonathan Catherman offer this collection of step-by-step instructions on 100 things girls need to succeed, including how to

– introduce yourself
– change a flat tire
– respectfully break up with a guy
– leave a tip
– apply for a job
– ask for a promotion
– behave during a police stop
– create a personal budget
– calculate square footage
– wash your face
– clear a clogged drain
– iron a shirt
– wear a scarf
– shoot a basketball
– sharpen kitchen knives
– and much more

In fact, if it’s in here, it’s an important skill or character trait practiced by capable and confident women. With great illustrations and sidebars of advice from world-class experts, this all-in-one reference tool for young women in the making is the perfect gift for birthdays, graduations, or any occasion.

A very simplistic book, The Girl’s Guide covers a lot of basic things that should be taught at home. Unfortunately they’re not always so it’s good that someone is handling it.

Written in a short, easy to understand way with directions and graphics, this book would be helpful especially to those who find themselves on their own at a young age. The fact that it’s divided into sections makes it easy to find what you are looking for.

While this probably isn’t a book for everyone, it definitely can be useful.

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


Arms of Mercy by Ruth Reid


He lost her once to a rash decision.

He will not lose her again.

On the eve of a new year, Catherine Glick is expecting her bu of five years to propose. Instead, the unexpected arrival of an old boyfriend, Elijah, sends her life spiraling out of control. When a rash decision damages her current relationship, Catherine leaves for Florida to work in her cousin’s bakery—anything to flee the source of her shame.

Elijah Graber knows he hurt Catherine when he left their Amish district six years ago. He’s determined to explain his actions, even if it means following her to Florida. Perhaps their two-day bus trip together will provide enough time for him to make his case and win her back.

Just when Elijah is starting to tear down the walls Catherine has built, their bus skids on an icy road—and amid the mayhem and tragedy that follow, Catherine disappears. Elijah’s friends urge him to prepare for the worst, but Elijah holds on to his hope in God and refuses to give up his search for Catherine. With supernatural nudging from the most unexpected places, Elijah sets out to find the love he once lost—no matter the cost.

If it can go wrong it did in this story. Author Ruth Reid keeps the reader in suspense and even includes… angel? You’ll have to read it to figure that out.

It was interesting to see the courting of this couple after five years. Why in the world isn’t he proposing? And then Catherine reconnects with an old friend who she thought was long gone. Reid leaves us wondering what will happen and with whom.

The characters are believable and the descriptions throughout the story helped me to see what was happening. The trauma from the accident is so realistic you can tell the author did a lot of research.

If you enjoy a sweet romance with suspense written in, then you will enjoy Arms of Mercy.

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


Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston


Ever since her best friend died six months ago, Laura Reihl has vowed to make each day count. And that means she should probably break off her relationship with Rudy. They’ve been together for so many years, and his friendship means the world to her. But she knows friendship doesn’t come close to the fireworks of true love, and she’s not really feeling the fireworks.

So when Savilla’s widower, Allen, asks her to help him take care of the baby Savilla left behind, Laura jumps at the chance. Maybe the change of scenery will help her gain perspective on her relationship with Rudy. And she’d do anything to help Allen out—he’s always been a good friend to her, and he’s Rudy’s best friend as well.

When she arrives at Allen’s house, though, she finds a man she barely recognizes. Allen is distraught over his wife’s death, blaming himself for not taking her to the doctor soon enough.

As Laura helps Allen work through his grief, she remembers just how easy he is to talk to. And she discovers an attraction she’s never felt with Rudy. She can’t be falling for Allen, can she? It would be a betrayal to the two people she’s care most about, Savilla and Rudy. But if she denies her feelings, is she betraying herself?

 Just when I think author Amy Clipston can’t write a better book, here comes Room on the Porch Swing. I read it in two days, only because I had to go to work. Seriously, I couldn’t put this book down.

This heartwarming story deals with some of the heavy stuff of life. Loss of a spouse, grief, insecurity; things that aren’t fun but are real. And through it all is God; forgiveness, compassion, and love. Second chances.

The characters are so well written that they come to life as the story plays out. Written with such depth of emotion you’ll probably shed a few tears, gasp, and laugh. I really would love to go visit these people. I’m sure we’d be friends. I highly recommend reading this book.

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


Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett


Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas–a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

Book Two in the Vintage National Parks Novel is a standalone, so if you haven’t read Book One that’s okay. But believe me, you want to go back and read Book One, The Road to Paradise.

Loaded with history and culture about the park, I was drawn into this book with my love of camping. Pitching a tent in Yosemite would be incredible, especially after reading all the beautiful descriptions of the park that author Karen Barnett has written into this story.

The characters are well written and developed. I loved the transformation some of them made. Others really irritated me, some to the point that I wanted to tell them off, but then the fact that I became so involved made it a great read. Full of “I didn’t see that coming” moments, the book was really hard to put down. I highly recommend it!

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