2019

 

The Hope of Christmas Past by Stephenia McGee

51PyvDp3kRL._SY346_When a mysterious painting offers her a trip to the past, will Isla find new hope for her future?

On the brink of aging out of the foster system, the last thing Isla Laird wants is to spend Christmas in an old-fashioned plantation. What’s the point of bonding with her foster mom when it’s too late to ever be adopted? But when a mysterious painting suddenly thrusts her into the nineteenth century, Isla is forced to face hurts and memories she’s long tried to bury. With time running out and her heart in tatters, can God use an impossible miracle to bring Isla hope for a new future?

Oh my! Author Stephenia McGee certainly knows how to write an intriguing, split time story. She wonderfully ties two time periods together, making her story easy to follow.

This novella reminds us that life isn’t always easy as McGee writes about a young woman who is in the foster care system. She just wants someone to be her forever family, yet feels that will never happen and pushes her foster mother away. But it’s Christmas, the time for miracles and Isla has an adventure ahead!

With a challenging subject handled well, this story of hope will warm your heart. A page turner, I highly recommend it if you enjoy a wonderful Christmas story, split time or historical fiction.

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

 

The Roll of the Drums by Jan Drexler

51KZk68mx8L._SY346_Ruby Weaver’s curly red hair isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from her Amish community in 1863. Twenty-eight and single, Ruby doesn’t believe a woman needs to be married in order to be happy. Her ailing friend Lovinia Fischer, however, has other ideas and wants Ruby to promise to marry her husband after she dies. Never imagining she’d have to fulfill that vow, Ruby agrees. And she’s not the only one. Lovinia has extracted a similar promise from her husband, Gideon.

With both Ruby and Gideon reluctant to keep their promises, a compromise must be reached. Ruby will spend her days with Gideon’s family–helping to raise the children and keep the house–but her nights will be spent at her sister’s neighboring house. But this arrangement raises eyebrows in their conservative Amish community, and it soon becomes clear that Ruby must make a decision–marry Gideon or turn her back on her friend, the children she’s grown to love . . . and their father.

If you enjoy historical fiction then you will enjoy The Roll of the Drums. Author Jan Drexler takes us to an Amish community in 1863, where war, death, and difficult decisions touch the lives of Ruby and Gideon.

With well-developed characters, Drexler shows us how the Amish believe in turning the other cheek and caring for their enemies. But we also see the inner struggle that can happen during conflict of any kind. I really appreciated the spiritual growth of the characters. The Amish lifestyle is not easy but the author shows us how God moves in the lives of His children. 

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

 

A Life to Live by Toni Shiloh

41d9qXTqqJL._SY346_Mia is headed to the famed Nottingham for a month long vacation. She never imagined she’d run into her high-school sweetheart thousands of miles away from her hometown. Why would God throw them back together?

Caleb always regretted the way things ended with his high-school girlfriend, Mia. After a chance encounter in the streets of Nottingham, Caleb feels God is giving him a second chance to right the wrongs he committed. Unbeknownst to him, Mia has secrets that may require his forgiveness. Will her past overshadow his wrongs?

As Mia and Caleb work through old hurts and broken hearts will they let the blessing of forgiveness redeem their relationship?

Author Toni Shiloh writes a story that takes us to England and a surprise meeting amidst heartache.

Mia and Caleb are both characters that the reader can connect with. Warm, human, and carrying devastating secrets, you’ll see them as people you’ve either met or want to meet. And who wouldn’t want to visit England to stay in a lovely bed & breakfast?

Secrets are so damaging, as we see as we read A Life to Live. Causing hurts along the way, both characters have to deal with secrets and pain. But God gives us second chances when we become honest with those we’ve wronged, and Shiloh makes sure we know that.

If you enjoy a contemporary setting and sweet romance, then I recommend this book.

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

 

Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher

unnamedDetachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

 

It was lovely returning to Stoney Ridge, and seeing what everyone was up to. 

The people of Stoney Ridge have good hearts that are human as they work through challenges, just as we all do. Taking on such things as abandonment, alcoholism, and the fostering of troubled teens, life isn’t all peaches and cream. But faith and trust in God make the tough things of life easier to handle, as we learn in this story. Yes, it isn’t all light and fluffy, but it is an enjoyable read. Lovely characters in a beautiful setting made me glad to return.

Full of surprises along with encouragement to read scripture, makes this a great read for lovers of Amish fiction. I highly recommend it!

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

 

A Distance Too Grand by Regina Scott

DistanceMeg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession–starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn’t realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.

Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart, but he refuses to wait even one more day to get started. This survey is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.

As dangers arise from all sides, including within the survey party, Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind.

Book 1 in the American Wonders Collection has left me eagerly awaiting Book 2! Author Regina Scott takes you to the Grand Canyon, teaches you about taking pictures in the 1800s, and introduces you to some very real people. Her research of history is intriguing, as she writes about things that just aren’t commonly written about, and in a very compelling manner.

This story isn’t just historical. There is intrigue and danger that comes from an unexpected source, as well as light romance. This book has something for everyone.  

I thoroughly enjoyed it! Grab a copy if you like Christian historical fiction.

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

 

Imagine; The Miracles of Jesus by Matt Koceich

ImagineThe last thing twelve-year-old John Le remembers (before the world as he knew it disappeared) is flying home through turbulent skies to McCarran International Airport. What happens next can’t be explained as John finds himself in the middle of a wooden boat surrounded by a group of men—in ancient Israel! Imagine. . .The Miracles of Jesus is the fifth release in an exciting epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today’s kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

Don’t miss Book 1 in the Imagine Series–The Great Flood. . .Book 2–The Ten Plagues. . .Book 3–The Fall of Jericho. . .or Book 4–The Giant’s Fall!

Author Matt Koceich has written another great book in his Imagine series. My grandsons are really enjoying these and I highly recommend them. 

I will say that the story can get intense but what child doesn’t wonder about meeting Jesus?! Full of excitement and biblical truth, children who read in the age range of ages 8 – 12 will relish the adventure that John finds himself on.

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

 

Lessons on Love by Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, and Carrie Fancett Pagels

LessonsFour Teachers Find More Than They Bargained for in Their Contracts

 

Something Old, Something New by Kathleen L. Maher

New York, 1840s

Her father’s sudden death makes Gilda Jacobs the new schoolmaster, but to teach Christian curriculum she partners with fire-and-brimstone revivalist Joshua Blake, who learns a lesson in love.

Love in Any Language by Susanne Dietze

Kansas, 1870

Mary Clarence teaches English to the children of Swedish immigrants, but when her favorite students’ widowed father, Kristofer Nilsson, is accused of robbery, she’s determined to clear his name. 

In Desperate Straits by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1894

Desperate for work, Margaret Hadley dresses as a young man to secure a dray driver’s position. When soldiers at the fort threaten her, Mackinac Island’s newest teacher, Jesse Huntington, intervenes. 

A Song in the Night by Rita Gerlach

Virginia, 1904

Karin Wiles longs to share the uplifting power of music with children. But when she seeks to improve a poorly run school and include orphans, Nathaniel Archer delivers harsh words of opposition from the school board.

Such an enjoyable book! I loved the history of the day. Women could only teach if they were single and there wasn’t a man available as a teacher. And of course men made better teachers. Sure glad we know better now!

The characters in this set of novellas are well developed and most of them are people I’d love to know. Times were hard in each story, but strong backbones made for people who didn’t quit. They pushed through hardships to come out the other side with much learned along the way.

With some intrigue and light romance, this is a must read if you enjoy historical fiction as I do.

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

 

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

51d9RzKh2ML._SY346_Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:

12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

 

A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?

The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

Author Michelle Griep is an incredible writer, who takes her reader straight to Old England in this compilation of Christmas stories. With quirky, lovable characters these Christmas stories are wonderful for reading at any time of the year.

I thoroughly enjoyed Griep’s descriptions of places and people Of course these stories show us what England was like in those days, which is fun to learn about. Woven throughout is the love of God and the reminder that He is here to help us.

If you enjoy “Dickensesque” stories with clean romance then this is the book for you!

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

 

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

41EsLchX74L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgGray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it’s too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

Author Elizabeth Camden always weaves an intriguing story. Rich with details and history, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Learning about the spice trade was an incredible bonus.

The plot was interesting, laced with intrigue and suspense and moved at a good pace. A clean romance added to the appeal. Well developed characters and good descriptions made this story a page turner. I recommend it!

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

 

An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, Beth Wiseman

51tO0-3ojDL._SY346_

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four delicious stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the holiday season.

Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston

Alyssa Byler wants to build a sugar cookie nativity scene for her bakery’s Christmas window display—all she needs is the right cookie cutters. She turns to handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa created a striking display that brings more customers than she can handle. She soon realizes she’s been too busy to focus on the true meaning of Christmas—and too distracted to explore her feelings for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush to celebrate the season that brought them together.

Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman

Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery, but she soon finds herself overwhelmed with orders during the holiday season. She is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by using propane ovens. Meanwhile, her childhood friend Henry Hershberger is trying to find the courage to tell Katie that he’s harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. As the demands at the bakery intensify, both Katie and Henry must find the courage to go after what’s important.

Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller

When her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie Shetler eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. She doesn’t know her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion from Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work together, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.

Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin

Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies for community celebrations. To help during the busy Christmas season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days. But the more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery. When both are too timid to make the first move, the town matchmakers step in.

What a wonderful, heart warming set of Christmas stories. I enjoyed them all. Each story takes place in a bakery, giving them a wonderful theme throughout all four books.

The characters are the kind that, as a reader, you fall in love with. Less than perfect but with hearts to follow God, they feel genuine.

Being set in a bakery, this will really get you in the mood for Christmas as each author describes the wonderful fresh products and the smells that draw you in. I’m ready to bake!

Don’t get the idea, however, that each story is the same. From Clipston’s book about taking on too much and losing the meaning of Christmas, Wiseman’s story is the struggle to be more modern, Fuller’s character has the feeling like someone is an enemy, and Irvin’s Ambrose who is different than others, the authors put their unique brand on their story. 

If you enjoy Amish fiction with a Christmas theme then you will love this book.

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

 

Once Upon a Christmas by Toni Shiloh, Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Angela Ruth Strong, & Jaycee Weaver

518bSedL+hL.jpgEmbrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.

Upon a Dream — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.

Claim My Heart — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.

 

A Snow White Christmas — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.

Christmas Ella — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.

A Splash of Love — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.

What fun! The authors took well-known tales and made them modern. You can just imagine meeting these people on the street. Yet we have fairy tales. Heroes. Modern Day Princesses. Seven….Dwarfs? And all at Christmas! It’s magical.

If you’re looking for a new twist on old stories, sweet romances, and Christmas then you’ll want to grab this book full of wonderful characters.

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

 

A Christmas Haven by Cindy & Erin Woodsmall

51agofoFqlL.jpgFor fans of holiday romances and Amish life comes a new Christmas tale of surprising expectations and discovering miracles.

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Another delightful Christmas book by authors Cindy and Erin Woodsmall, I enjoyed every page. Returning to Haven, seeing old friends, and making new friends was wonderful.

I enjoy that the authors can make a book enjoyable while still dealing with some tough subjects. Learning about the Swartzentruber Amish was really interesting, and yet frustrating because they seem to be pretty heartless to those in need. And yet for our Amish friends there is a deep faith in God and trust that He’ll accomplish His will.

Get a copy and read as Ivy, Arlan, and Holly all learn where God wants them. If you love Amish fiction you’ll love this book.

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

 

Jesus in Me; Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion by Anne Graham Lotz

41ZtVusvMeL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_The internationally recognized Bible teacher and daughter of Billy Graham combines unique biblical insights and her own personal stories to show how the Holy Spirit guides us in our decisions, comforts us in pain, and stays by our side at all times, enriching our daily lives.

In Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz draws on her rich biblical knowledge as well as her personal journey—including her recent cancer diagnosis—to help us understand that the Holy Spirit is not a magic genie, a flame of fire, or a vague feeling. He is a Person who prays for us, guides us in our relationships and decisions, comforts us in pain, and stays by our side at all times. In this seminal teaching, she explores seven key aspects of the Holy Spirit that will revolutionize how you understand and relate to this vital third Person in the Trinity.

As Anne writes, “One of my deepest, richest joys has been discovering by experience who the Holy Spirit is in every step of my life’s journey. Each name that He has been given—Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby—reveals another aspect of His beautiful character and has provoked in me a deep love for the One who is my constant Companion . . . Jesus in me.”

Discover how to better love and rely on the person of the Holy Spirit—and embrace how much He loves you through His presence, power, and provision in our daily lives.

In her book, Jesus In Me, author Anne Graham Lotz talks about the person of the Holy Spirit; what His job is and how He helps us. Drawing on her life experiences, Lotz gives examples of how the Holy Spirit has helped her, and how she has learned to tap into this rich resource. Her warm writing style will cause you to feel as if you’re having coffee with a friend who loves to teach about the Holy Spirit.

I liked the way the author broke down each chapter in easy to read topics. And of course the Appendixes should not be optional reading with this book. There is much meat, much instruction on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, how to hear Him, and other subjects. I highly recommend it!

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

 

With You Here by Sarah Monzon

51BlmhcO3lLHoly Roman Empire, 1527

In the wake of Martin Luther’s religious reforms, Princess Christyne von Heidelbraum is compelled by her sense of duty to help ease the burden of her people. When she stumbles upon a dying man in the woods, she vows to aid him—even when she discovers the arrow shot in his leg was put there by a heretic hunter. With both her physical and spiritual well-being in danger, she must choose between conscience or adhering to the laws of the Empire.

Present Day

Doubting her calling to become a hospital chaplain, Amber Carrington takes time off from her theology studies to volunteer with refugees in Germany. Working with children, making a difference, reconnecting with the conviction that once drove her—these were her expectations. An instant attraction to a professional soccer player wasn’t a part of the plan…and she can’t let him distract her from her purpose.

As a new Christian, Seth Marshall is determined to put his popularity as a world-renowned footballer to good use. Unfortunately, old habits and public opinions are hard to overcome. When he falls hard and fast for Amber Carrington, his former life—and her no-dating policy—may block his perfect shot for the woman he loves.

Author Sarah Monzon does a great job with her split time novel. Taking us back to the 1500s she wraps a lot of history into this part of the story. I found it riveting, in fact, to read about her characters in that time frame and how they lived and thought. Then forwarding us to the present day, she does an equally good job, including her speciality of writing about different cultures.

Characters that are strong and well-defined bring this story to life. Very human in their life challenges and weaknesses, belief in God is the common thread, giving this story a wonderful depth. And yet there are moments of lightness that will make you smile. I highly recommend this book!

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

 

Christmas in Winter Hill  by Melody Carlson

51uqAlQQ9yL._SY346_Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget–and never want to leave.

A wonderful, feel good story for the Christmas season, author Melody Carlson doesn’t steer away from a difficult storyline. Some have reviewed this book and said that the challenges Krista faces makes the story “not fun to read”. I have found that challenges make the characters more true to life. After all, who has the perfect life story? I enjoy reading about characters who overcome life challenges. And yet Carlson has kept the warm, Christmas-y feel of the story that we love this time of year.

If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction with a Christmas theme and a light romance, then you’ll enjoy this story.

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

 

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

43838303Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family’s ignominious past. She thought she’d finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels.

When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father’s scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book–a first edition Catcher in the Rye–is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she’s about to be exposed all over again?

With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words–the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write–have more power than we imagine.

If you enjoy a good novel that’s Christian fiction without being preachy then you must read The Words Between Us. Destined to become one of the best of 2019, author Erin Bartels shows us the power of words. Even the power of words we don’t say.

The characters in this book are strong, and it was great to see them mature along the way. Set in Michigan, it even incorporates my home town of Grand Rapids, and our well-known event, Art Prize, so that was fun. And speaking of fun. The cover is incredible both in the way it looks and the way it feels. And the story is set in a bookstore. What could be better?

This is not a typical feel-good story. Difficult things happen to both main characters. But while these difficult things shape who they are, in the end they do not define them. Just don’t think this is an easy to read, feel good story. It’s raw and real and I loved it.

My one complaint was the ending. It just wasn’t neatly wrapped up like most books. I won’t say more. Just get a copy and read it. It’s well worth the investment!

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

 

Mail-Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer

51gDeXcIuDL._SY346_

Book 2 in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection—and prequel for the Front Range Brides series—Mail-Order Misfire exposes the heart of a widowed lawman when he meets the bride his nine-year-old daughter wrote for without telling him.

Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl, Gracie, wants a helper for her preacher/sheriff papa and a mama for herself, so she writes their former pastor in Missouri asking for a mail-order bride.

Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor receives a letter from little Gracie Stidham, he sees a solution for everyone’s problem and encourages Etta to answer Gracie’s request.

Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta Collier risks everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and perhaps find a second chance at love.

Such a good story by author Davalynn Spencer. You will love the characters in this story, especially young Gracie. What a sweet girl who wants to help her Papa and gain a Mama.

It seemed that Etta and Bern just can’t get their feelings and desires communicated. Either things get in the way, or they just clam up. This can be annoying but Spencer does a great job with two people who need a push. This seriously isn’t your typical mail-order bride story. The author puts so much heart and kindness into it with a bit of spice so it’s not syrupy. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

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

 

Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano

514xFu4N2KL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

If you enjoy historical fiction with humor then you must read Diamond in the Rough. I laughed my way through this book, certain that I need Poppy as a best friend. The characters in this story are so well developed and delightful that you will love them and want to go to a ball with them. However the story is not all humor. There is mystery afoot with an unexpected twist, and of course there is light romance. Something for everyone!

With the underlying thread of hope, forgiveness, and restoration, Turano does a great job of weaving faith into her story without preaching. And when the son of and English duke meets the daughter of an American horse farm owner, watch out. Shenanigans ensue!

Note this is the second book in the American Heiresses series but acts as a stand alone. However, after you read this you’ll want to go back and read Flights of Fancy because author Jen Turano just keeps getting better! Grab a copy of Diamond in the Rough. You’ll love it!

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

 

Red, White, and Dead by Heather Marie Reaves

41f5T0b1lwLCharlie Flynn has lived most of her adult life roaming the country in a panel truck towing a vintage camper until her grandmother dies and leaves her a sprawling pink Victorian mansion that is practically falling down around her ears. On the day of her grandmother’s funeral, she finds a stranded, mud-covered little dog on her porch. Something about the pooch makes Charlie want to stay and put down roots in Holiday Cove. She begins renovations on the mansion, planning to use the first floor as a shop for all the vintage clothes and furniture she has bought over the years. But the renovations keep getting delayed and Charlie’s plans to have the store ready by all the Fourth of July festivities are put in jeopardy. Once she finds that there is a saboteur on the construction team, the fireworks really start. 

The saboteur is found dead and Charlie is the main suspect. She tries to keep her past a secret, but will her silence condemn her? Will she find the grace and forgiveness she needs before it’s too late?

In this story, Charlie finds that there is no “too far” for God and that she can finally stop running.

If you enjoy a Christian cozy mystery, you have to read this book. It was so much fun, and so intriguing, that seriously, I couldn’t put it down. 

The characters are well developed and strong. No wimps here! The descriptions of the mansion and the vintage clothes, just to name a couple of things, were incredibly well done. I really appreciated the spiritual journey that Charlie was on. Searching, asking questions, is a good thing because God will answer those questions.

All in all a great read. I have to disclose that I had trouble giving it four stars instead of 3.5. Not because of the story line or the characters. It was a fabulous read with imaginative work put into it. However this book needed some extra proofreading. There were several words missing throughout, and several words with letters missing. A few of the sentences didn’t physically line up, and misplaced commas jumped out at me. But please still read it. I was able to get past these things and enjoy myself!

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

 

Love at Pebble Creek by Lisa Jones Baker

51o30sfEaVL._SY346_.jpgIn Lisa Jones Baker’s heartwarming series, precious hand-carved chests hold treasured dreams—and bring blessings to a new generation …

Anna King has a talent—and a secret. Like the birth mother she never knew, Anna is gifted at sketching and longs to study and teach art one day. Unbeknownst to her beloved adoptive family, she’s even entered a contest to win a full scholarship to art college. Sketching isn’t a desirable vocation in her community, so Anna does her work in a remote spot by Pebble Creek and stores it in her beautiful hope chest. Only her family’s farmhand, Jesse Beiler, knows her plans—and that’s by accident …

The bishop’s son, Jessie is surprised to discover Anna’s contest entry form. He can’t imagine wanting a life beyond having his own farm and raising a family. Still, he admires Anna’s spirit and promises to keep her secret, despite their differences. Yet the better he and Anna get to know each other, the more they find their personalities—and their hearts—complement one another. With Gott’s guidance, can they forge the futures they desire—together?

I’ve been enjoying this series, Hope Chest of Dreams. Love at Pebble Creek is Book 5. You can read it as a standalone but read all of them to find out why the hope chest and Pebble Creek are so important.

This story is slightly different than the rest, and slightly different than the typical Amish story, when Anna discovers she is adopted and must deal with the feelings that stirs up, as well as her dream to go to art college. Definitely not an Amish thing to do. Neither is keeping such a secret the Amish thing to do.

The characters in Baker’s story are realistic and deal with true to life situations and feelings. They must learn to follow their hearts and God’s leading for their lives. A heartwarming story, I recommend it to those who enjoy Amish fiction.

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

 

417MJyfKtSL._SY346_

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

Finding Lady Enderly is a wonderful book, full of mystery and intrigue. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from the Diary of a Substitute Countess, which are totally fitting to this gothic style novel. Nothing is as it seems, and the ending left me shocked.

Politano is well read and has done thorough research, which is obvious by her masterful use of quotes from well loved books by such authors as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. I really enjoyed these “clues” and the author’s creative use of them.

With well developed characters and settings that are easy to picture, Politano has crafted an incredible book. There is a thread throughout of being who you were created to be, not to try to be someone else. And a heart melting, clean romance that will make you sigh. I highly recommend this book.

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

 

Chase the Lion Weekly Planner by Mark Batterson

PlannerThe perfect companion product to New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson’s compelling manifesto, Chase the Lion 

This undated week-at-a-glance 12-month planner features excerpts from Chase the Lion sprinkled throughout to encourage the user to face their fears, defy the odds, and hold tight to God. Each week has space in the margin for trackable items such as the week’s goals, goals met, prayer requests, to-do lists, etc. At the end of each month is a page of self-evaluation questions and space to write a step toward a personal manifesto. Finally, the planner will wrap up with a multi-year calendar for user reference.

I love that this planner is undated so I can begin it when I’m ready. For me it’s the perfect size to take along if I want. And this isn’t just a weekly planner, but it helps to set goals and track progress. With “lions to chase this week”, weekly inspirations, and a place for notes when dreaming with God, I’m excited to see how the next year maps out for me.

As Batterson says, “Quit playing it safe and start running toward the roar!” 

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

 

41NLOBXOtqL._SY346_Seeing Angels  by Joshua Mills

A recent study found that 57 percent of Catholics, 66 percent of Evangelical Protestants, and 10 percent of Jews have reported having a personal experience with a guardian angel. And 20 percent of those who identified themselves as having no religion also claimed having encountered an angel.

Seeing Angels is one of the most in depth examinations of angelic ministry by one of the cutting-edge charismatic leaders in the church today. Joshua Mills goes beyond the usual takes on angels regarding spiritual warfare and explores who they are, how to recognize them, and what they do.

  • Part I, Understanding Your Angels, is all about understanding who angels are, exploring why they are necessary and how different angels minister comfort, healing, love, prosperity. It reveals who they carry out specific geographic assignments for cities and nations, as well as the more unique and extraordinary assignments they receive.
  • Part II, Discerning Your Angels, explains how to become more aware of the unseen heavenly realm, as well as how to recognize divine intervention when it does reveal itself to human sight. Such manifestations include random strangers, visions, or signs and messengers that believers receive. Joshua also explains the way he has interacted with visions of radiant light, swirling colors, and what he describes as atmospheric shifts. All of this is intended to make believers become more aware of both invisible and revealed spiritual realities.
  • Part III, Working with Your Angels, deals specifically with how to minister alongside these heavenly messengers as they stand watch, provide protection, and administer strength and comfort. This includes recognizing their movements and how to effectively pray for angelic encounters to take place.

With a foreword by Patricia King, Seeing Angels is among the most comprehensive teachings on recognizing angelic beings and understanding how to partner with them in ministry.

Sharing many of his own experiences, as well as experiences of others, author Joshua Mills sees angels on a regular basis and believes that we can too. In his book, Seeing Angels, Mills explains what angels are, why God sends them, and how to cooperate with them. I especially respect his constant reminder that angels should always point us to Jesus, not to themselves or to a person.

I appreciate that this book included many scripture references throughout, showing that these things are not just the opinion of the author. I fully believe in angels, yet there is a skeptical side that wants to think some of the things he writes about just couldn’t happen. But then why couldn’t they? We don’t know all there is to know; I learned a lot through this book. 

If you want to learn more about angels then read this book. If you aren’t sure what you believe, read this book with an open mind. Search the Bible and ask God to show you the truth.

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

 

Teaching Art by Jerry Twitchell

Teaching ARtAs Simple as 1-2-3

Everything needed to structure and teach an effective art program for grades one to three is made simple for the home-school parent or teacher.

This step-by-step process for teaching art is perfect for home-school teachers or parents with limited art skills or time to create their own programs. This system of insight, responses to judgments, ideas, and feelings aligns with public school and state visual arts requirements.

Teaching Art in the Primary Grades is designed to foster lifelong interest in the arts, provide a gauge of what can be expected of children at various ages and grade levels, and present a baseline for measuring growth and skill.

Lesson plans with goals, objects, time frames, techniques, steps, illustrated examples, and assessment of growth are included.

Right off the bat, let me say that I am not a teacher, simply a mother and grandmother. However I do understand that encouraging creativity in young children is important.

I like that this book comes with lesson plans and a list of items needed to create each project. I am concerned that these projects are too involved for the 1-3 graders. I would see them as more appropriate for 3-5 graders. I would hate to see the littles and their teachers get frustrated.

The book is broken down into units and grade levels, and it explains why this unit is important. It has a wide variety of fun projects to do so if you teach children, or are involved with young children, give it a try!

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

 

PerfectA Perfect World by Mike North

Overwhelmed by issues at home and pressured to be what he doesn’t want to be, Sam Walker longs to be a character in one of his books. After he falls asleep that night, he finds himself in another world—one of beauty unlike anything he has ever seen and adventures he couldn’t begin to imagine. When he wakes up, he dismisses it as an extremely vivid dream. Much to his surprise, he continues to return to this strange and seemingly perfect world every time he sleeps. Soon, he starts to wonder if he was actually dreaming…or are his experiences reality?

This debut novel by author Mike North is quite thought provoking. I really enjoyed the alternate worlds that Sam found himself in. Full of life, color, and fun, who wouldn’t want to stay there? Sam’s life isn’t easy, and he’s found himself estranged from his mother, which brings about choices to make. Isn’t that so like our life? And when we allow God to move, wonderful things happen.

A good book especially for young adults, I am giving it four stars. I would have given it five but I did find the writing a little formal feeling. Not a bad thing, I just prefer a book to flow more naturally. 

I recommend this book for young adults, fantasy readers, and Christian fiction readers.

 

The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse45022285._SY475_

The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide

Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)

The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)

The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)

The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)

The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)

The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah territory (July 2019)

Book 9 of the Daughters of the Mayflower series, this one is my favorite. (Each book is a stand alone so feel free to jump in!)

Author Kimberley Woodhouse did a fabulous job with this one, and kept my attention all the way through. I enjoyed learning more about the Pony Express, and how it worked. The characters were well developed and the descriptions of the area made the story come to life.

Unexpected twists and turns, intrigue and secrets abound. Who is Jack? What’s her secret? She doesn’t even know! I really enjoyed seeing the characters grow, and learn to trust God with their secrets and with their relationships. With strong references to faith, and a sweet romance, if you enjoy Christian historical fiction then you’ll love The Express Bride.

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

 

Breathe Again; How to Life Well When Life Falls Apart by Niki Hardy

735542No one gets to skip the tough stuff and when life threatens to drown us we’re left gasping for air, merely surviving a life we never ordered. Niki Hardy has been there, screaming, “God, is this it? Where’s the abundant life you promised? Are you even listening?”

Life might not be fair, but through loss, grief, and cancer, Niki discovered life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full. With sensitivity and without Christianese or stock answers she invites women to replace the lies they believe about themselves and God with sound biblical teaching and his unwavering promises. Through 7 practical steps, with hands-on questions, actions, and prayers, she equips readers to grasp the full life Jesus came to give them, right where they are.

No matter how broken a life might seem, the abundant life Jesus promised is available–now and always. Let Niki show you the way.

So life isn’t easy. And sometimes it’s really hard. Author Niki Hardy gets that. Hardy encourages us to look at the lies we are believing and replace them with God’s truth. It’s the only way to get through the hard stuff. I really like that Hardy is open and honest. No Christianese and some tough language (not bad language, but she doesn’t cut us any slack either). Her vulnerability helped me to look at my “junk” and how I was viewing it and myself. And then what to do about it. She didn’t leave me hanging but held out hope

As Hardy says, “Life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full”. In the midst of pain you can not only survive, but you can thrive and live the life God means for you to live. If you’re not in the midst of something painful right now, you will be someday and should be prepared. Grab a copy of Breathe Again. I know I’ll be reading it again.

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

 

The Healing Jar (The Prayer Jars Book 3) by Wanda Brunstetter

JarWhat if you have waited to find love only to be rejected when it finally comes?

 Lenore Lapp is an Amish schoolteacher in her late twenties still living at home with her parents and grandparents. She thought love had passed her by until she meets Jesse Smucker, a widower with a baby daughter. She quickly falls in love with them both and accepts Jesse’s proposal of marriage, but Jesse breaks off their engagement when he realizes he can’t marry only for convenience.

 Resigned to living single, Lenore throws herself into caring for her elders. While working in her grandmother’s garden, she digs up an old jar. Will Lenore find healing for her broken heart and solve long-buried family secrets by reading the note contained inside?

The final book in this series, I think it’s the best one. Author Wanda Brunstetter puts so much heart and emotion into this one that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Book 3, you could read it as a standalone but I would recommend reading the others.

The characters are well developed, and seemed as if they could be living in Lancaster County. I felt really bad for Lenore when her engagement with Jesse is broken, and it was hard to see Jesse struggling with the past. 

I’ve loved the concept of the prayer jars throughout the series. Maybe I’ll start one myself. Regardless of whether I do or not, if you enjoy Amish fiction I highly recommend this series.

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

 

The Brides of the Big Valley by Wanda, Jean, & Richelle Brunstetter

BridesIn an area of Pennsylvania called The Big Valley, a uniquely blended Amish community thrives in which 3 distinct groups of Amish identify themselves by the colors of their buggy’s top—white, black, or yellow. Join New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in experiencing the stories of three young women who search for faith and love within this special place. Deanna is a widow who sees her second chance of love slipping away. Rose Mary is at a point in life where she must choose the path of her faith and the right man to walk with her on it. Leila is burdened with family responsibilities and wonders when she will ever start a family of her own.

Another good book by authors Wanda, Jean, Richelle Brunstetter, it’s especially fun to see the younger Brunstetter coming into her own as an author. I think her story was my favorite in this collection.

Maybe a typical Amish story, I enjoyed learning about the way of identifying different groups according to the color of the buggy tops. We also learned about how strict (or not) a group was based on the buggy top color. I really like it when I learn things while reading a novel. I would have liked a bit more excitement but I know fitting three stories into one book cuts down on the space an author has to expound on things. All in all it’s a clean, relaxing read and I recommend it if you enjoy Amish fiction.

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

 

Escaped (Intrigue Under Western Skies Book 4) by Elaine Manders

EscapedJuliette Kendal has vowed to protect her siblings from their abusive step-father after their mother’s death. When she finds him attacking her younger sister, Annie, she accidentally kills him. With no way to prove her innocence she fears her brothers and sister will be taken to an orphanage if she’s arrested. 

Jake Gresham is known as a fun-loving, careless cowboy, as good at finding trouble as he is roping cattle. So far, he’s managed to avoid God and decent women. But on a scouting trip for his boss, he steps in a bear trap in a South Georgia swamp. Facing certain death changes his outlook, and Juliette, who fights tenaciously to save his life, changes his opinion of women.

When Jake asks Juliette to marry him and take her family with him when he returns to his Nebraska ranch, she sees it as an escape. But she can’t marry Jake without confessing to him and God the secret buried in her backyard.

I’ll start by saying that yes, this is book 4 in the series but can act as a standalone. I haven’t read all of the others and had no trouble following what was happening.

Author Elaine Manders does a really good job of setting a scene, which made me feel as if I were right there with Annie and Jake. She also has good character development; there is a depth that makes reading Escaped very enjoyable, even though it isn’t a light hearted story.

The book has a really good plot that had a very sensitive issue which was handled delicately, yet I knew what had happened. I appreciate that she didn’t go into detail with it. A heart warming story that focuses on love of family, I highly recommend it. 

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

 

Soldier’s Heart by Tamera Kraft

HeartCan they build a life together when his soldier’s heart comes between them?

Noah Andrews, a soldier with the Ohio Seventh Regiment can’t wait to get home now that his three year enlistment is coming to an end. He plans to start a new life with his young wife.

Molly was only sixteen when she married her hero husband. She prayed every day for him to return home safe and take over the burden of running a farm. But they can’t keep the war from following Noah home.

This Inspirational Civil War romance gives the reader a taste of what it was like for the soldiers coming home from the war with PTSD.

Author Tamera Kraft always finds the most interesting historical subjects to write about, and Soldier’s Heart is no different. I didn’t realize that PTSD used to be called Soldier’s Heart but it makes sense.

This novella is a quick read but it has great character development. You will love Noah, and appreciate his heroism, even though he doesn’t see himself that way. I really enjoyed this story and recommend it if you like historical romance.

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

 

On a Summer Tide (Three Sisters Island Book 1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

TideSometimes love hurts–and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving. 

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island–a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals–and one in particular. Seth Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises. 

With On a Summer Tide, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a brand-new contemporary romance series that is sure to delight her fans and draw new ones.

Right away I’m going to say I am so looking forward to book two in this series! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to see what happens next on Three Sisters Island. It can go in so many directions.

Author Suzanne Woods Fisher had great descriptions of the island. So much so that I’d love to visit. Her characters are not only well-developed but down right delightful. I mean, who doesn’t love a scruffy, lumberjack style teacher who understands what a true education is?

This family has some issues but their love for each other is apparent. And they willingly sacrifice much. If you’re looking for a fun, quirky read with serious undertones then I suggest this book. 

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

 

The Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by Liz Tolsma

BonnetWidowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

 How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

 

You know how people often say that they couldn’t put a book down? And you probably think, “yeah, right.” Well I couldn’t put this book down. And knowing it was based on a true story made it even more riveting. Do be aware that this is a difficult subject, so while it was riveting it wasn’t fun, easy reading.

Author Liz Tolsma does a fantastic job of bringing her characters, both good and bad, to life. It’s incredible to think about people doing the awful things that Georgia Tann did. But in reality those things happened and this story brings the horror of 1932 Memphis to light.

I found myself emotionally pulled into this story and I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction based on truth.

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

 

CoreCore 52 By Mark E. Moore

Most of us want to know the Bible better, but few reach our goal, often because we’re too busy or we don’t know where to start. Core 52 removes both barriers, offering a common-sense solution that fits into our busy lives. Respected Bible professor and teaching pastor Mark E. Moore developed this proven process from thirty-five years of helping people grow deeper in God’s Word.

 Each week features a brief essay, memory verse, Bible story, trajectory verses, and practical ways to put what you’ve learned into practice. An optional “Overachiever Challenge” offers the chance to memorize the top 100 Bible verses by year’s end. 

 This simple approach allows you to become familiar with the big ideas of the Bible in less time and with less effort than other reading plans. In one year, you can master the core of the Bible—focusing on topics from God’s will to worry, happiness to holiness, and leadership to love. These fifty-two core passages are lenses through which you can read the rest of the Bible with clarity and confidence.

Author Mark Moore lays this book out in such a way that you read a chapter a week (52). During that time you’ll study a Bible truth, memory verses, etc. It really is a great way to study the Word and makes a good devotional. He also gives resources (books to read) for further study.

I don’t hesitate to recommend this book for someone who wants to grow, spiritually. I didn’t agree with everything, and maybe a few subjects could have gone a little deeper but that’s okay. It really is a great resource.

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

 

The Very Best, Hands-On, Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions by Tim Shoemaker

DevotionsAs parents hoping to raise godly children, we may understand the importance of regular family devotions. However, we may find it difficult to get our kids (or even ourselves) fully engaged. But what if devotions looked less like sitting in the living room listening to someone read and trying to pry answers out of reluctant kids and more like, say, electrocuting a pickle? Or converting a leaf blower into a toilet paper launcher? Or lighting toothpaste on fire?

These hands-on, kinda dangerous, totally unforgettable object lessons (along with nearly fifty others) are not only more fun than other family devotions–they actually deliver the spiritual impact you desire for your kids. They’ll even get dads and any too-cool-for-this-stuff teens jazzed about a weekly family devotional time.

So put away the flannelgraph, get out the safety goggles, and start bringing the truths of Scripture to vivid life in your household. Just remember to change out of your Sunday clothes first.

What a fun devotional for families! Each chapter has an activity to do with your kids. Just know that some are pretty detailed so this is meant to be done together. Add in a teaching lesson and scripture and you have yourself a year of memories. Author Tim Shoemaker also gives some good tips for holding a child’s interest when doing devotions, which is a great addition for parents.

The down side to this book is that several of the activities require a lot of preparation. So while this is great for DIY families others may find it a challenge. But hey, give it a try. You may love it!

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

 

Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

ThomasFor three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn’t expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.

When Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.

I loved returning to Azure Springs in this second book by author Rachel Fordham. I have been anticipating this story and I wasn’t disappointed at all. (If you haven’t read her first book, The Hope of Azure Springs, you really need to.)

Fordham writes in a way that brings her characters to life. I’d love to visit Azure Springs and have coffee with the residents. They are so warm and welcoming I’d have to stay awhile. 

Penny is an upbeat romantic working in an office where she tries to piece together missing information so letters can find their way. It was fun to read about the dead letter office, which I didn’t know about. Trying to deliver letters to Thomas took her on a journey she didn’t expect. Penny was grieving loss, as was Thomas, and I enjoyed the way that Fordham realistically weaves in genuine faith, bringing them through trials and danger to healing and wholeness. 

A beautiful story of second chances, I highly recommend it. 

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

 

A Reluctant Belle by Beth White

BelleImpoverished Southern belle Joelle Daughtry has a secret. By day she has been helping her sisters in their quest to turn the run-down family plantation into a resort hotel after the close of the Civil War. But by night and under a male pseudonym, she has been penning articles for the local paper in support of the construction of a Negro school. With the Mississippi arm of the Ku Klux Klan gaining power and prestige, Joelle knows she is playing a dangerous game.

When childhood enemy and current investor in the Daughtry house renovation Schuyler Beaumont takes over his assassinated father’s candidacy for state office, Joelle finds that in order to protect her family and her home, she and Schuyler will have to put aside their long standing personal conflict and develop a united public front. The trouble is, what do you do when animosity becomes respect–and even love–if you’re already engaged to someone else?

Author Beth White did a fine job of bringing her characters to life. Joelle is not the typical southern belle. I enjoyed her sassiness and willingness to do whatever she needed. And Schuyler was brave and willing to fight for what’s right. The play between these two was quite entertaining at times.

This is a difficult time in history and White seems to have researched it well. She didn’t hide the ugly facts but handled it with grace.

If you enjoy historical fiction with clean romance then you’ll enjoy A Reluctant Belle.

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

 

JournalHow to be A Courageous Girl of God by the Barbour Staff

Encourage the girls in your life to become courageous girls of God!

Featuring brief descriptions of dozens of  Bible women, your girls, ages 8 and up, will be inspired to become courageous, too, as they learn from the examples of strong women of faith–including Abigail, Anna, Deborah, Dorcas, Elizabeth, Mary, and dozens more! Each section prompts girls to read the complete story in their own Bible, draw a related picture, journal their thoughts about courageous women of the Bible, and think about how they, too, can be a courageous girl! This delightful journal makes a great standalone or companion to 100 Extraordinary Stories for Courageous Girls and The Bible for Courageous Girls.

This interactive, spiral bound book is a great way to encourage your girls to begin studying the Word for themselves, as well as learning how to journal. Each section has a scripture to read, a bit about that courageous woman, a picture to draw, and then a question is asked that will get them thinking about what to journal. 

Each woman of the Bible that they study will teach how to be a hero in challenging situations, even when you’re not perfect or don’t feel brave. A great resource for your daughter or granddaughter, I highly recommend it.

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

 

HearingHearing God By Nathan Finochio

Hillsong New York City pastor identifies and deconstructs the most common myths about how God communicates – and then provides clear tools to accurately decipher and follow the voice of God in your life.

So many people wish that God would audibly weigh in on life’s greatest questions of calling, meaning, and purpose. What’s crazy is that God is weighing in on those questions. We just haven’t learned to listen. Nathan Finochio believes that God is constantly communicating with this world he’s created. We simply aren’t following the right advice when it comes to hearing what he has to say. Through biblical teaching and true life stories, Hearing God empowers and enables readers to separate fact from fiction, myth from meaning, and truly understand what God is saying to them about big decisions and daily living. 

Do you struggle to hear God’s voice? Is it even possible? Maybe you’re not “spiritual” enough? 

Written simply, in an easy to understand way, Author Nathan Finochio takes on these questions and helps the reader to understand that we can indeed hear God’s voice. Finochio uses scripture along with life stories to teach us how to do this.

Finochio has a great sense of humor, which we see throughout the book. Life doesn’t always have to be serious, does it? You’ll feel as if you’re chatting with a friend, in fact. Along with the practical tips offered, this is a good read for all believers.

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

 

OceanNo Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans–but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”.

Did you know about British children being sent to Canada? Sometimes without parental permission. Author Carrie Turansky did a good job researching and writing about this sad time in history and I learned many new things.

This book is definitely not “fluff”. Faced with difficult situations, the well developed characters must learn to hang on to God and His promises not to leave them. Life isn’t all lollipops and rainbows, and Turansky shows us this in this story. I appreciate reading books written honestly instead of glossing things over. 

An interesting story with clean romance, I was surprised by some things I didn’t expect to happen. I am looking forward to the next book in this series, since No Ocean Too Wide wasn’t quickly and neatly wrapped up. I need to know what happens next! I recommend this book for those who enjoy Christian historical fiction based on real life.

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

 

CanyonWander Canyon Courtship by Allie Pleiter

They can’t let this wedding happen

But Matrimony Valley has only happy endings

Baker Yvonne Niles has nothing in common with cowboy Chaz Walker—except the upcoming marriage of her aunt to his stepdad. Convinced the two aren’t right for each other, Chaz and Yvonne are determined to halt the wedding. But between the cake and family drama, they’re discovering an undeniable attraction. Can an unlikely match ever become a recipe for happiness?

If you’re looking for a fun read, then grab this book and head to Matrimony Valley, where happy endings are required but in this case may not happen.

Author Allie Pleiter did a good job of writing about family dynamics gone astray. Between two brothers at odds, and a father who doesn’t communicate well, things are really interesting for the ladies caught in the middle.

With well developed characters, great descriptions of the valley and the ranch, and tough real like conversations, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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

 

BrideA Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

Living in London’s poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she’s offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship’s surgeon, he’s in charge of the passengers’ welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love. 

With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?

Book one in the Bride Ships series, I didn’t know that bride ships were a real thing. Author Jody Hedlund did a good job with research and presenting historical facts in an interesting way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

London wasn’t good to the poor during this time in history, and I knew that, but it still wasn’t fun reading about the things they had to deal with. I found myself urging Mercy to take the step of getting on the bride ship. Almost anything had to be better for her. And then there was Joseph and the pain he carried with him. The well developed characters will pull you into the story and take you on the journey to healing. Along with that, the descriptions within the book are very well done. I could have gotten seasick when the ship hit a storm.

So often we assume we know where a book is headed and how storylines will go but don’t do that with this one. Hedlund has a few surprises for her readers. All in all, I found myself emotionally into the story and I really am looking forward to the next book in this series. If you enjoy historical fiction with clean romance, then get a copy of A Reluctant Bride today.

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

 

42183262My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison

Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.

Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.

Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.

With their deep love comes risk–and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.

Based on detailed historical research, this true love story is at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

This book has taken me over two weeks to write a review because I just couldn’t put my thoughts on paper. Based on a true story, author Amanda Barratt has done an incredible job of researching Dietrich and Maria’s lives. So rich with facts intertwined with “what may have happened”, this story must be read if you have an interest in history.

To see how Christians struggled with what to do during Nazi Germany was painful for me, an American Christian who hasn’t faced such things. I knew there were plots against Hitler but hadn’t seen the human interest side of them. “A dictatorship is like a snake. If you step on its tail, it will bite you.” Barratt doesn’t shy away from the heartache of this terrible time. Yet woven throughout is hope and love and the knowledge that come what may, God is always good. 

And knowing what was to come I still had to continue reading. This book wasn’t a quick, easy read for me. I had to periodically put it down so I could reflect on the happenings. Yet for this type of book this isn’t a bad thing but a necessity so the reader can understand the depth of what these very real people lived with.

Written with real letters, devotionals, and sermons included, we get a true picture through a novel. As you can tell, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves history.

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

 

Risking Love by Toni Shiloh

ShilohNikki lives with a perfect trifecta of woes. No guys. No dates. No way. After years of keeping men at bay, Nikki Gordon has it down to a science. No one, not even the sweet, hunky Shorty Smalls can change her mind. Period. So if she’s got it all figured out, why does her heart sink to her toes when she sees Shorty with another woman? Read Risking Love today and see what happens when you risk your heart to the care of a good man.

 

Author Toni Shiloh writes contemporary Christian novels with rich diversity and has become a favorite author of mine. The final book in the Maple Run Series, I’ve been waiting for Nikki and Shorty’s story and Risking Love is not a disappointment.

Shiloh isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects but does it with delicacy and grace. I won’t give any spoilers here but to read about Shorty as he gives Nikki space to heal, while still assuring her of his love, is so heartwarming. Such a wonderful man!

The town of Maple Run has become a favorite book destination and I wish the Maple Pit was a real place. I’m sure I’d meet these wonderful characters there. I highly recommend that you read the entire Maple Run series. I know I’ll be visiting again.

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

 

Beautiful in His Sight by April Gardner

beautifulIt’s 1917, and Halifax is at war. Silas Quinn, street sweeper and army reject, remains on the home front, shunning God and society as religiously as they shun him. But the night he stumbles across a half-frozen prostitute, his eyes blink open, and his greater purpose is born: preserve and protect.

There’d been a day when shop girl Helen Fraser was desperate enough to believe a few nights in a brothel would cure her troubles. By some miracle, Major Jack Gordon deemed her worth saving, but Helen knows her meticulously recreated identity cannot last. What she doesn’t expect is for its destruction to come about, not by a john or one of the madam’s goons, but by a force great enough to flatten a city and bury her alive.

Set against the backdrop of the Halifax Explosion, Beautiful in His Sight is a Christian historical romance that explores unequivocal grace and identity in Christ.

I don’t know how author April Gardner writes as she does so I’ve decided just to go along for the ride. The way she weaves so much history into her stories, giving them substance while still keeping them spell binding, is an art that I appreciate. And this story is no different.

Well developed characters who are so “real” with fears and flaws, yet God in His grace and mercy is there to love people and to change lives. We see forgiveness and redemption beautifully written.

Another great story by Gardner, I highly recommend you read it.  

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

 

The Amish Widow’s Rescue by Rachel Good

51ZllrfqYLL._SY346_Pregnant and recently widowed, Grace Fisher is determined to provide for her family on her own. Thankfully, her jam business is popular in her Amish community. But it’s difficult keeping up with her work, her farm chores, and her two mischievous children. Especially now that they’ve taken to idolizing their neighbor Elijah. While the handsome farmer is kind and generous, he seems intent on holding Grace and her little ones at a distance…

Elijah Beiler has always admired his neighbor Grace. So standing by while she struggles to support her family isn’t an option. Offering to take over her farm duties, Elijah is determined to help while remaining detached. He knows all too well that love only leads to heartbreak. Yet the more time he spends with Grace and her children, the harder he finds it to leave each day. But can Elijah overcome past hurts and open his heart to this ready-made family?

“A beautiful story of forgiveness and second chances.” -Shelley Shepard Gray, New York Timesbestselling author, on The Amish Teacher’s Gift

It’s always a good book when the characters, although well developed and likeable, have flaws and faults that make them human. Such is this book by author Rachel Good. Grace has become very protective of her family and very resistant to a relationship because of past hurts, yet still tries to honor her husband. Elijah protects the widow and orphan, yet stands in judgement because of past hurts. Both allow God to lead and heal in a wonderful way. Grief and forgiveness are tackled in this story in a big way.

This book was a fun read, but don’t mistake that for being light and fluffy. We see a new widow, a man who has been deeply hurt, and a young woman struggling with releasing her child through adoption. All are very emotional topics, and yet Good adds light heartedness to the story so that the reader isn’t bogged down emotionally.

Book three in the Love and Promises series, you can read it as a standalone but I would encourage you to read the series. It’s very well written and I always learn new things about the Amish community from Good’s books. Pick up a copy today!

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

 

When I Pray For You by Matthew Paul Turner

615ElSktCKL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgWith lyricism, whimsy, and heartfelt emotion, Matthew Paul Turner reveals the tender emotions connected with watching a beloved child grow up and experience the world. Paired with Kimberley Barnes’s vivid and playful illustrations, When I Pray for You is a beautifully affirming book, in which children and parents will see their own stories come to life.

When I Pray for You celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings parents pray over their children, and shares with the little ones how much care and concern a loved one feels for them.

This is a book you will read to your child again and again. Perfect for any occasion, as well as for milestones including baby showers, birthdays, and graduations.

Author Matthew Paul Turner is very gifted at writing children’s books. I’ve enjoyed sharing each of them with the children in my life, and this one is no different. Beautifully illustrated, as each of his books are, the pictures are sure to draw the attention of your child, helping to open discussion as you are reading to them.

The words in this book. Oh the words. They will hit the heart of each parent and grandparent for they are indeed the things we pray over our children. Poignant, they warmed my heart and even brought tears. It’s wonderful to let our littles know what we are praying for them, and talking about the things we most want for them.

A wonderful book, I encourage you to pick up a copy of it for a parent you know.

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

 

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

MannerWhen Annie Jacobson’s brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he hands her a piece of paper with the address of their long-estranged father. If anything should happen to him in Vietnam, Mike says, Annie must let their father know.

In Mike’s absence, their father returns to face tragedy at home, adding an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. As they work toward healing and pray fervently for Mike’s safety overseas, letter by letter the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. In the tumult of this time, Annie and her family grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted.

Author Susie Finkbeiner invites you into the Jacobson family’s home and hearts during a time in which the chaos of the outside world touched their small community in ways they never imagined.

Set in the turbulence of the 60s with the war in Vietnam and racial divide at home, author Susie Finkbeiner captured me from page one. Finkbeiner has a unique way of taking a time in history and putting the reader in the middle of it. With the inclusion of letters written between the characters, it was an unusual but enjoyable way of tracing thoughts and feelings. Of having difficult conversations when a distance a part.

Raw and honest, I was literally reading as fast as I could. I didn’t want it to end yet I so badly needed to know the ending. And yes, I sobbed like a baby the last few chapters. And that’s okay because if we don’t emotionally connect with a book like this then we’ve wasted our time. All Manner of Things is an emotional roller coaster with characters who are desperately depending on God but learn that His ways are not always our ways. As Mike reminds us, “Don’t duck and cover.”

If you enjoy historical fiction then you must get a copy of this book.

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

 

The Farmer’s Bride by Kathleen Fuller

BrideFrom bestselling author, Kathleen Fuller, comes another heartwarming romantic comedy set in the beloved Amish community of Birch Creek.

“Once you open the book, you won’t put it down until you’ve reached the end.”—Amy Clipston, bestselling author of A Seat by the Hearth, for The Teacher’s Bride

They promised to keep each other’s secrets . . . not realizing they were about to make some of their own.

Martha Detweiler has a problem many Amish women her age would envy: she’s the only single woman in a community of young men, and they’re all competing for her favor. Overwhelmed by the unwanted attention, Martha finds herself constantly fleeing from her would-be suitors, dismayed at what her life has come to.

Birch Creek’s resident matchmaker, Cevilla Schlabach, suggests a solution: Martha and the bishop’s son, Seth Yoder, should pretend they are dating. What better way to keep the other young men away?

But Seth is the only man around not interested in Martha. He has a secret hobby that keeps him away from social gatherings: woodcarving. Having grown up in poverty, he’s determined to keep his father’s farm successful, even if it means he has no time for dating. Then Delilah Stoll, a new resident of Birch Creek, eyes Seth as the perfect man for her granddaughter. Suddenly Cevilla’s proposition doesn’t seem all that ludicrous. Can Seth and Martha convince their family and friends to leave them alone?

The second book in bestselling author Kathleen Fuller’s Amish Brides of Birch Creek series, The Farmer’s Bride celebrates the unexpected power of love and the joy of discovering God’s calling.

This book by author Kathleen Fuller had me chuckling. Often. The way she developed her characters was incredible. They were so true to life. I loved them!

A heart-warming story with lots of emotion, Martha and Seth both struggled with being single in an Amish community that has an adorable matchmaker who makes it hard to say no. As always in Ms. Fuller’s books, God is working in hearts to do His will.

I found this to be a page turner because I wanted to see what in the world would happen next with Martha and all those single guys. I highly recommend grabbing a copy!

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

 

The Crossing at Cypress Creek by Pam Hillman

CrossingSailing and soldiering around the world has taken Caleb O’Shea far from his native Ireland, so he never imagined that a promise to see a fellow crewman safely home would practically land him on his brother’s doorstep. After spending years away from his family, Caleb isn’t certain what kind of reception he will receive when he steps foot in Natchez, Mississippi. The one thing he knows for sure is that he won’t stay long.

Since her sister was kidnapped by river pirates six months ago, Alanah Adams has taken special care to avoid drawing attention to herself. Those living in the rough-and-tumble settlement of Cypress Creek might even think she’s addled. But when she stumbles into Caleb and his friends in Natchez, she appears to be the picture-perfect lady.

Caleb only catches glimpses of the mysterious and beautiful Alanah before she disappears. But a chance encounter with her at his brother’s logging camp near Cypress Creek leaves him uncomfortable at the thought of the young woman traversing the dangerous area alone. At a crossroads in his life, Caleb must decide whether he wants to give up the worldly adventures he’s been seeking for one closer to home.

Goodness, this has it all! The final book of the Natchez Trace series has mystery, danger, pirates, romance; something for everyone. Author Pam Hillman does a good job of wrapping up her series. You will want to read books 1 and 2 so you understand the nuances in book 3. Believe me, they are well worth the time.

Hillman has obviously researched history when writing this book. I learned a lot about piracy and the danger of the area, as well as a lot about the flora and fauna. I found it extremely interesting and she wove it in so skillfully that it greatly enhanced the story without making it dry.

The characters are well developed and realistic. They have strengths and weaknesses, fears and victories. I love the O’Shea brothers and how they protect those who need it, even when they’re fighting amongst themselves as brothers will. The ladies in the story are strong, as they have to be to survive living in Natchez. And it all comes together so well to make a satisfying ending.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of clean romance then I highly recommend The Crossing at Cypress Creek.

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

 

Cameo Courtships Collection

CameoA Family Heirloom Inspires Romance

In 1851, a special cameo is gifted by Queen Victoria to Letitia Newton, who though considered an old maid, meets the perfect gentleman minutes after donning. Told by the Queen the cameo is to be shared, Letitia gifts the “Victoria Cameo” to a woman in her family, hoping adventure and romance will follow each of its subsequent wearers.

PINNED ABOVE HER HEART by Susanne Dietze

1851 – Pittsburgh, PA

After receiving the Victoria Cameo, aspiring journalist Clara Newton works to expose a smuggler, but reporter Byron Breaux must break the story first or lose his job. Working together is out of the question until they learn secrets that threaten Clara’s father. . .and her heart.

TAMING PETRA by Jennifer Uhlarik

1875 – Colorado Territory

Trouser-wearing frontierswoman Petra Jayne Hollingsworth has no intention of donning the heirloom cameo, but when a crooked brothel owner steals the treasure, securing its return becomes Petra’s highest priority. Assisting her, Reverend Dustin Owens is appalled to learn the price of its ransom is that Petra must work in the brothel. He may save the woman’s virtue, but can he help Petra regain her cameo and rediscover her faith?

MEET ME AT THE FAIR by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Spring 1885 – New Orleans during the 1884 World’s Fair and Cotton Exposition

It takes a Pinkerton to find a Pinkerton, and Ethan Butler has been charged with finding Elizabeth Newton. Just when he locates her, the cameo he is to deliver is stolen. It appears his previous case has discovered his presence in New Orleans, but he can’t return to that case until the cameo is found. With Miss Newton as a reluctant partner in crime fighting, can Ethan Butler locate the cameo and its thieves without losing his heart?

LENDING MY HEART by Debra E. Marvin

1895 – Pittsburgh, PA

The arrival of a handsome Scottish administrator ruins Miss Bertie Hart’s dream to oversee the new Carnegie Library children’s department. Yet bristly Mr. Russell Smart’s working-class determination and his love of books make him the perfect partner to better the lives of Pittsburgh’s poor. As for a partner in life? Not even her Victoria Cameo can narrow the social chasm he and her father keep between them.

A great collection of novellas that will be enjoyable summer reading for lovers of historical fiction. All four authors have done a thorough job of researching their time period, which spans from 1851 – 1895. (I’ve read other books by these authors and have enjoyed their writing.)

The stories center around a family heirloom, mystery, and romance. A fun set, the characters are well developed and realistic. Starting in England and finishing in Pennsylvania, it was enjoyable watching the cameo travel and link people together.

The authors did such a good job of seamlessly tying all these stories together that I can’t choose a favorite of these four stories. If you enjoy historical fiction I recommend you get a copy of this book, settle back and prepare to enjoy yourself.

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

 

The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep

GuardianA Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure

The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy: Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time in coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, it’s finally her time for love. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentlemen in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.

Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.

Abby pleads with him to escort her for the rest of her journey. He refuses—until she offers him something he desperately needs to achieve his goal. . .money. Delivering her safely will give him more than enough to buy property.

So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

Oh my! This book by author Michelle Griep has it all!. Mystery, danger, good guys and bad guys, adventure, and mild romance. An extremely skilled storyteller, Griep has included something for everyone!

The characters are well developed and with all the descriptions you’ll feel as if you’re going along on the journey, too. Seriously, Griep did an incredible job of pulling the reader into the story. Samuel Thatcher is an enigma. Dark and brooding, yet very protective of the people in his life even as he tries to keep everyone at arm’s reach. Abigail Gilbert is determined to keep her word, even when doubt tries to come in. Soft hearted, she wants to be loved. I really enjoyed both of them and their walk with God.

Griep continues to give us great books to read. If you enjoy historical fiction that is sometimes raw and gripping, and sometimes full of tender poignancy, then I suggest you get a copy of this book!

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

 

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner

CaddieAfter four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the “forever” way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It’s a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong?

Bethany Turner is back with more of the heart and humor readers love. Anyone who enjoys a good romance or binges romantic comedies on Netflix will devour this delightful story.

Author Bethany Turner is back with another rom-com that sometimes made me giggle, other times had me frustrated with the characters. But that’s the point; they are living real situations and are less than perfect.

Cadie and Will seemed to have problems communicating, which frustrated me. Which is often real life. At their age shouldn’t they be better at it? But maybe it’s more that they seemed to be trying to protect their hearts? Regardless, their miscommunications will having you chuckling and then shaking your head.

This book is Christian fiction but the characters are not perfect and they….well, I’m not going to spoil it for you. But I’m thankful for a God Who forgives and helps us to move on. Some have called part of the book as inappropriate content. I call it human failing. I don’t want a book where the characters are perfect. I can’t relate to them. As for the complaints about it being “too Christian”, umm…..it’s Christian fiction. I appreciate the fact that God has a huge part in this story.

The story moved at a decent pace and I enjoyed the flash backs. Cadie sometimes irritated me but I really liked Will. He was trying so hard.

If you enjoy a rom-com that has some more serious moments then give this one a try!

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

 

Amish Friends Gatherings Cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter

CookbookNew Compilation of the Recipes that Bring the Amish Together

Brand new, from New York Times bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter, is a collection of over 200 recipes that are great for taking along and sharing where people meet to worship, work, and play. Included are tips for traveling with and serving food as well as personal stories of how gatherings are at the heart of the Amish community. The well-organized book boasts contributions from Amish and Mennonites from across the United States. Categories include Beverages, Snacks, Breads and Rolls, Salads, Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Desserts, and Feeding a Crowd. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, home cooks from all backgrounds will want to add this cookbook to their collection. Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Gatherings Cookbook is sure to become a treasured resource.

A really nice spiral bound book that opens and lays flat, author Wanda Brunstetter’s newest cookbook is a delight. I’m enjoying trying new recipes! The recipes are easy to read and understand, and most of the ingredients you’ll find in your pantry.

The book centers on the Amish community; faith and family, and includes a page with a lovely story or sentiment between each section. The pictures are beautiful and will make you want to get in the kitchen.

I’m always surprised with the Amish use of convenience foods instead of everything being from scratch. However the recipes I’ve tried are great and are easy to modify if your diet requires. I recommend grabbing a copy!

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

 

Holy Noticing by Charles Stone

NoticingDoes your life ever feel like one series of rushed moments after another?

Do you want to feel more present and connected to those you love? Do you want to be able to listen without thinking the whole time of what you’re going to say next? Do you want to feel less distracted, less busy, and more whole? Most of us spend our distracted lives longing to get to the next, better moment and fail to notice the present one. We lack space between one task and the next, one thought and the next, one email and the next. Social media, TV, work deadlines, and family stress steal our enjoyment and engagement in the moment.

Holy Noticing will teach you how to:

 

  • become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and environment
  • recognize Christ’s presence in the moment
  • reduce your stress by developing the ability to focus on God and people rather than tasks

 

Many today think mindfulness is dangerous, unchristian, or associated with Eastern religions—and often it is! But Dr. Charles Stone reveals that the art of holy noticing—purposefully paying attention to God as he works in us, our relationships, and our world—is a spiritual discipline Christians have practiced for millennia. Holy Noticing explores the historically Christian and biblical roots of this lifestyle, as well as Dr. Stone’s BREATHe model, which teaches you to be more engaged with Christ in the everyday moments that too often slip right by us.

Discover the lost spiritual discipline of holy noticing today and learn to engage the world like Christ.

It’s so easy to not notice. To become distracted in our spiritual walk. I found it very interesting that although we talk about how easily distracted we are due to the internet, cell phones, etc, this isn’t a new problem.

Including science and history along with Scripture, Author Charles Stone teaches us how to notice again, using the BREATHe model. I found a lot of good information here and would encourage the reader not to try to implement everything at once or it could become overwhelming.

If you desire a deeper, more intimate walk with Jesus, and need some help slowing down, then I would encourage you to read this book.

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

 

A Faithful Gathering by Leslie Gould

GatheringLeisel Bachmann left her Amish roots and beloved sisters to pursue a career in medicine without a second thought. She has an Englisch boyfriend, Nick Jordan, and dreams of a new life–but those dreams come crashing down when her sister Marie is diagnosed with cancer.

Soon nothing is going as she planned–not her state boards, not her first nursing job, and certainly not her relationship with Nick. As she becomes increasingly discouraged, her aunt shares the story of Leisel’s grandfather during World War II and the struggle he faced between returning to Lancaster or being with the woman he loved.

Peace and a vision for the future are difficult to find, and when Nick leaves Pennsylvania for a completely new life, Leisel is faced with impossible choices. Will she stay in Lancaster, close to her family and the traditions of her past? Or learn from her grandfather’s story and embrace a life of love and service in an uncertain future?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book by author Leslie Gould. Not a typical Amish story it is still a compelling novel that is book three in The sisters of Lancaster County, I read it as a stand alone as I haven’t read the first two books in the series. I had no trouble following what was going on.

The characters were well developed, life wasn’t all peaches and cream, and God was faithful. Even when questioning why things were happening, the main characters had strong faith during struggles while trying to stay true to who God made them to be.

Sweet and clean, I highly recommend it.

 

Powerful Prayers for Your Son by Rob & Joanna Teigen

PrayersParents know that their children need their prayers. But sometimes, they aren’t sure where to start. For moms and dads who long to lift their kids up in prayer, Powerful Prayers for Your Daughter and Powerful Prayers for Your Son offer hope, encouragement, and practical help.

Rob and Joanna Teigen assure parents that just because they don’t always understand their son or daughter, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t. Collecting specific prayers parents can use, along with stories from other parents about how God has answered their prayers, Rob and Joanna give readers a strong foundation to build a lifelong habit of praying for their kids. They also explain what boys and girls need to learn as they grow up, including character, courage, modesty, self-control, forgiveness, and more, so parents can pray for every part of their kids’ lives.

Often we just aren’t sure how to verbalize our concerns for our son(s). This book will help parents intercede for the needs of  our son(s), and express our concerns to God. Written in an easy to read way, each short section of Powerful Prayers includes scripture and prayer for each need. The subjects that are covered include, but are not limited to, salvation, purity, standing up for what’s right, the future, and handling money.Sprinkled throughout are true stories that will help with the application of a specific subject.

This book is a great tool for parents and I highly recommend it.

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

 

Guy’s Guide to Four Battles Every Young Man Must Face by Jonathan McKee

BattlesHonestly. . .     

  “Why wait for something when I can enjoy it now?”

  “The images don’t really affect me. . . do they?”

  “And how could smoking  a little weed really be bad when it’s becoming

    legalized everywhere?”

  “I’d like to tell you I don’t care what others think, but honestly, I want to be liked.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ve had one. . . maybe even a few of these thoughts, and I don’t know how to even begin to deal with them.”

The good news? You’re not alone. And there is a way to fight these battles head-on, overcoming the past, pressing forward, and becoming the person God designed you to be.

So what’s a guy to do? . . .

Join youth culture expert and author of the popular Guy’s Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket, Jonathan McKee, as he gets real about the four common battles every young man will encounter in his life:

 

  • Sexual Temptation
  • Screens
  • Controlled Substances
  • Self-Esteem

 

With humor and honesty, McKee once again offers up practical, spiritual advice filled with real-world application helping you face today’s distractions.

Author Jonathan McKee writes his book in short chapters that are laced with scripture and true stories. What I really liked is that McKee doesn’t fluff or gloss over the subjects. He speaks plainly, using words and phrases some may find offensive but are exactly what is needed. With hard, honest questions at the end of each chapter along with final thoughts by the author, the young man reading it will be forced to be honest with himself.

This book, if read by parents, would be a great way to start conversations for open discussions with their son(s). It would also make a great group study for young men.

I highly recommend getting a copy!

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

 

She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm

518TGqZfUAL._SY346_Say yes to the dreams God has planted in your heart.

Every woman was born to dream—to live a life of beauty, passion, adventure, and purpose. No matter how big or how small they are, our dreams push us to become women of courage, grace, and grit. God in His goodness breathes new dreams within our hearts and revives the dreams that have died, inviting us to trust Him as we dream impossible dreams that only He can bring to pass—because God not only gives dreams; He fulfills them.

In this six-week study we will look at Moses’ journey to live out the God-sized dream given to him, exposing the ancient wisdom and truth God offers for every woman with a dream beating in her heart. With timely truth and encouraging accounts of God’s heart and hand in the life of Moses as well as in the lives of ordinary women, author Tiffany Bluhm will dare you to dream the impossible dreams the Lord is stirring in your heart, reclaim any broken dreams, and trust God for the victory. Throughout the study you will identify:

 

  • The role of prayer as you grow into your dreams.
  • The importance of obedience as you pursue what God has for you.
  • Why your dreams are a blessing not only to you but also to others.
  • How your failures can be a gift that help your dreams become a reality.
  • The life-changing love, power, and wisdom of the Dream Giver.

 

Get ready to discover the role you are designed and destined to play as you partner with God for the impossible!

She Dreams Bible Study Features:

 

  • Encourages readers to discover and follow their God-given dreams.
  • Learn how to live a life of dreams with this study of prayer, obedience, and the wisdom of God.
  • Helps readers discover the role they are destined to play through partnership with God.
  • An encouraging account of Moses’ journey to live out the God-sized dream given to him.
  • Book can be a stand-alone resource, or combined with the Leader Guide and DVD for a six-week study.

 

Other components for the Bible study, available separately, include a Study Guide with Leader Helps, and DVD.

It is so easy to become busy and forget to dream. Society often tells us that it’s a waste of time. But dreaming with God, and discovering His dreams for us, is essential to a fulfilled life.

Author Tiffany Bluhm shows us that it’s good to dream, and how to do that. Using her life experience, along with Moses’ journey, she will encourage you to follow your dreams.

I encourage you to pick up a copy and begin to dream again.

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

 

The Refuge by Ann Gabhart

RefugeWhen Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It’s meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique–and lonely–position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

What an incredible book! Author Ann Gabhart paints a story full of both pain and hope with characters that are incredibly true to life. The plot was very interesting and kept me turning the pages.

Gabhart has researched her subject well and that makes a story I couldn’t put down. I was intrigued with learning about the Shaker lifestyle. There is much to learn from them as they cared so well for people and wanted to please God within a strong community. While they had a slanted view of the Bible, I still found it a very compelling read.

If you enjoy historical fiction, and enjoy learning about groups of people, then you’ll enjoy The Refuge.

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

 

51OCk357dyL._SY346_A Dim Reflection by Aleigha Israel

William Caverly can’t seem to understand the unsettling feeling that has been nagging him for far too long. Memories of a baby sister are forever haunting his waking hours, and as he sleeps at night, he is repeatedly awakened by nightmares, confusing ones that he’d rather forget. He had been told that his baby sister died. He had seen her little body laid to rest beside their mother. But that doesn’t explain the dim remembrance he has of an event that happened not too long after that.

His days are busy as he leads a new life in the quiet town of Chasahburough, trying to forget the horrors of his past. A surprise run in with the former scullery maid, Anna Haddington, reminds him that God works out everything for a greater purpose, and He never makes mistakes.

​Charlotte Porter’s days are full and busy as she diligently teaches her young art students at her mother’s boarding school, and tries to come to terms with her father’s mysterious death. Painting has been her passion and dream ever since she could hold a brush, but lately she has begun to question her mission and calling in life. What is her real purpose? And why does she know so little about her father, who supposedly died before she was born?

William thinks he’s discovered the hidden link that has kept him from his sister for over fifteen years. But then she’s kidnapped, leaving William no choice except to find her and get her back. Once and for all.

Book two in the Light for Christ collection will keep you reading through all the action, twists, and turns. While is does read as a stand alone, I think I would have enjoyed it more had I read the first book, A Higher Ransom. That in no way reflects on this story but on my lack of diligence.

A Dim Reflection definitely is a Christian novel; author Aleigha Israel does not shy from that at all. There is a lot of biblical reference, and the characters are Christians who know their Bible. We are shown how this can apply to our everyday lives.

Well developed characters will keep you curious as to what is going to happen next, and descriptions of where they are will make you want to visit. All in all, I can recommend this book if you enjoy Christian historical fiction.

 

Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations by V. Joy PalmerWeddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations

Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she’ll be fine.

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what’s left of their family’s legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon shes forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother’s renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.

Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl’s insane plan. While Apryl claims they’re archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart.

But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?

Author V. Joy Palmer does a good job of inserting humor into the story. Her characters are well developed and seem so real with their human faults and strengths.

Apryl is like many people I’ve met in life; wounded and using sarcasm to protect herself. You’ll love Chance! What a great guy; so patient. I appreciated that the characters were open to God and the fact that He has a plan for our lives. And I’d love to visit the antique store; it sounded so interesting.

Well written, there were moments I thoroughly enjoyed. I did find the sisters to be slightly over the top and they got annoying but sisters can be like that and the banter was really funny at times. Family loyalty was a strong theme throughout, which I really liked.

If you’re ready for an entertaining rom-com with deeper undertones then give this book a try.

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

 

This Daring Journey by Misty M. Beller

This Daring Journey

As a half-Indian raised among her Peigan tribe, Moriah Clark knows better than to trust white people. The tragedy that resulted in her birth is proof enough. But when her trusted grandfather marries her to a white man, she has no choice to but to obey and hope this new life isn’t her downfall. Her white husband turns out to be a decent sort, but his unexpected death left her to birth a newborn baby among hostile mountain men. She wants nothing more than to retreat to the safe haven of her tribal upbringing. When a mysterious frontiersman arrives on her doorstep seeking her deceased husband, his offer to escort her and the babe to her people seems like the opportunity she’s been praying to find. But can she trust him?

Samuel Grant has been sent to retrieve Henry Clark for his sister’s wedding, but the sight that greets him at the little cabin in the woods is not what he expected. Not only has the man died, but Henry’s wife is fighting off an aggressive gang of men at gunpoint—while trying to conceal a newborn. He can’t leave the pair unattended, so helping her travel into the mountain country to reach her family seems like the only option. If he can win her trust, that is.

Such a grueling journey with a three-week-old baby will be risky, but the challenges that arise test them far more than either expected. When a devastating surprise increases the danger ten-fold, Moriah focuses all her efforts on keeping her newborn daughter alive. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t realize how much of her heart belongs to the mountain man—until it’s too late.

This Daring Journey is full of adventure, peril, and survival. A compelling read, the characters are well developed, with personalities that will draw you into the story. Beller does a great job of describing not only tough situations but the landscape and weather. You may want to have a blanket close by or you’ll get cold!

Both main characters are strong individuals who learn to depend on others. Romance builds but slowly, in a real way, and it’s clean and sweet.

Book six in the Heart of the Mountains series could be read as a stand alone but to really enjoy it and understand all the little nuances I would recommend you read the entire series. It’s well worth your time as each book in the series is very well written.

If you enjoy historical romance then do yourself a favor and read this series.

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

Tomorrow’s First Light by Naomi Rawlings

Marrying a stranger to keep the woman’s siblings out of an orphanage is one thing, but 51MGrYxFKNL._SY346_when more children than expected pour out of the stagecoach, what’s a man to do?

Nervous about meeting her fiancé for the first time, Ellie Spritzer’s lifelong hope of finding love is about to end—or rather, begin. She never imagined her quest for love would take her to the other side of the country with all eight of her siblings in tow, but after her mother dies unexpectedly, what choice does she have? At least the man she’s been writing for the past year is still willing to marry her and take in her siblings… or so she thinks until she arrives in the dusty town of Twin Rivers, Texas.

Growing up an orphan, Sam Owens never had a place to call home or a family to love. So if his wife-to-be needs to bring three of her siblings with her, he has no complaints about having a ready-made family. But his mail-order-bride doesn’t arrive with three. She arrives with eight.

Sam can’t make himself turn away children in need. But as a beginning rancher, he doesn’t have the resources to care for so many people. When sinister forces threaten the things Sam and Ellie both hold dear, can they figure out how to keep their fledgling family together, or will they lose the very things they cherish most?

Tomorrow’s First Light is the first book in the Texas Promise Series by bestselling Christian romance author Naomi Rawlings. If you like tender marriage-of-convenience stories, you’ll love this heartwarming tale filled with hope and new beginnings.

I first read author Naomi Rawlings Eagle Harbor series and fell in love with it. When she announced this new series, which is a western, I was sure it wouldn’t be as good but decided to give it a try. I was wrong, totally wrong. Tomorrow’s First Light kept me enthralled as Sam and Ellie’s story unfolded.

Well developed characters who are so real in their struggles and passions, and rich descriptions of the west bring this story to life. It was so sweet to see Sam lead Ellie to the truth of God’s love, and to love her as a husband should by giving up his life for her. Rawlings shows us a God Who loves us in spite of ourselves and our past, but in no way is it preachy. Simply a part of life.

A warm story with ups, downs, heartache, sinister villains, and sweet romance, I highly recommend you give it a read.

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

 

Imagine The Giants Fall by Matt Koceich

ImagineThe last thing fourth-grader Wren Evans remembers (before the world as she knew it disappeared) is getting off the school bus to discover her house engulfed in flames. What happens next can’t be explained as Wren finds herself in a beautiful valley with a shepherd named David—in ancient Israel! Imagine. . .The Giant’s Fall is the fourth release in an exciting epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today’s kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

Don’t miss Book 1 in the Imagine Series–The Great Flood. . .Book 2–The Ten Plagues. . .or Book 3–The Fall of Jericho!

The next book in this series is, as the others, a stand alone so jump in wherever you want. Extremely well written, it has a lot of action combined with the Bible truth. Your child is sure to love it. My grandson is always waiting for the next book by author Matt Koceich.

Imagine jumping from present day into the middle of a Bible story. It’s a great way to hold a child’s imagination and teach scripture at the same time. With lots of action, children are excited to read it more than once. I highly recommend it for your 8 – 12 year old.

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

 

Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn

UsFive young women, including beloved Gunn characters Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen, gather for a simple Christmas party and soon become unlikely best friends. Told from the viewpoint of Emily, a timid young mom going through a difficult season of life, the regular gatherings provide the much needed community she’s longed for. As the women begin sharing their life stories in Becoming Us they are endeared to each other and find ways to challenge, encourage, and help each other become the nurturing mothers they wished they’d had when they were growing up. They see themselves as Haven Makers and unite to be remembered for what they do and not for what was done to them.

This is the first book I’ve read by author Robin Jones Gunn and it won’t be my last.

An easy read, Becoming Us explores the lives of women and their need for healthy relationships. Five friends become bonded through life experiences, both good and difficult. We also see the need for a family to become just that, a family, without influence from others.

Faith in God and real situations with life like characters drew me in and made reading the book a wonderful experience. I look forward to book two in this series.

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

 

A Welcome At Our Door by Amy Clipston

DoorAfter a devastating loss, Cindy Riehl is still searching for peace. Will she find it in the community she calls home—or will love send her down a new path?

Over the last few years, Cindy Riehl—the youngest of the Riehl children—has watched her siblings find love and happiness in Lancaster County. But as her family has settled down and grown, Cindy has continued to grieve her mother, whose death left an enormous hole in her heart. Since that haunting day, Cindy has struggled to find peace and wonders if the community is the place for her—and if her faith in God will ever feel the same as it once did.

When a handsome and kind Englisher named Drew crosses Cindy’s path one surprising day, the two of them become fast and easy friends. Drew dreams of starting a family after some losses of his own, and before long, he and Cindy discover that their feelings for each other are romantic. As they spend more time together—often in secret—Cindy is drawn further and further away from the Amish community and the family she loves. In time, she is faced with a difficult choice that threatens to upend her world.

Will Cindy find contentment and love, and will she ever find restored comfort in God and her beloved community? In this final installment of the Amish Homestead series, we return to the charming town of Bird-in-Hand for a story of healing, family, and God’s perfect provision.

This is book four, the final book in the Amish Homestead series. You will want to read the other books so you can put the pieces together, but don’t let that stop you. The series is one of author Amy Clipston’s best.

Full of faith, love, and family, this book shows us that God does move on our behalf. A lot of emotional healing happens in this story and I loved how we see that forgiving and moving ahead is possible. The characters are so well developed that they become friends. I’ll be sad to leave them behind.

Clipston’s books are always page turners and I stay up past my bedtime to read them; flashlight and all. This book is no different. Warm yet poignant, I loved it. The ending did surprise me but in the best of ways. I highly recommend A Welcome At Our Door.

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

 

A Love to Behold by Sharlene Maclaren

BeholdTwo years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that’s affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and board at the parsonage.

The Ku Klux men are hell-bent on seeing that the new school fails. Lydia’s life is threatened, and the parsonage, church, and school are vandalized.

But they haven’t contended with a strong, determined woman like Lydia before. It also helps that she has a couple potential suitors on her side.

A Love to Behold is a tale of people who grow strong in the face of adversity and a church that learns love, compassion, and acceptance, even in the face of cruelty and hatred.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Author Sharlene Maclaren does a wonderful job with a difficult subject and puts the reader right on the scene. Her characters are well developed and life like and it was fun getting to know them.

Historical Christian romance, A Love to Behold is well paced and I read as quickly as I could, finding the plot very compelling. With mystery, romance, and even light hearted moments, I highly recommend it!

 

Cards of Kindness for Courageous Girls compiled by Barbour Publishing Staff

512f-63qDeL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_Your heart will delight in spreading kindness and inspiration wherever you go with these shareable Cards of Kindness!

Flip each page to discover a positive life message that will both uplift and inspire your heart—and the hearts of other courageous girls just like you. Once you’ve read through the devotion and pondered the message of loving-kindness, tear out the card and pass it on to another girl . . who will then be encouraged to keep the “Courageous Girls Are Kind” movement going. . .by passing the card along to yet another courageous girl!

Each Card of Kindness will spark positive, faith-building discussions with other like minded girls. You’ll enjoy spreading kindness and God’s love, page by delightful page!

Be blessed, COURAGEOUS GIRL!

I absolutely love this book for girls! Each page is a brief teaching on one side along with a scripture verse. The flip side is a  statement of encouragement; don’t be afraid to dream big dreams, the God of all comfort will soothe your hurts, etc. The pages are perforated so they can be removed and given to someone your girl feels led to give it to. What a great way to encourage someone.

Topics include when you don’t fit in, when you’re worried, when you’re tempted to follow the crowd, and many others that our youth deal with. Brightly colored with attractive graphics, I encourage you to get one for each girl in your life!

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

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

51bMCmO8R+L._SY346_From Christy Awardwinning author Joanne Bischof comes the sequel to her beautiful novel Sons of Blackbird Mountain.

Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the Norgaard orchard after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade, where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s—which is already imperiled due to a grave illness brought to him at the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

Loved, loved, loved it!! This sequel to Sons of Blackbird Mountain met all of my expectations. If you haven’t read Sons of Blackbird Mountain you’ll want to start there so that Daughters of Northern Shores is understandable. I promise, you’ll be glad you did. It’s also a fabulous book.

A captivating read, author Joanne Bischof does a great job of transporting the reader to Blackbird Mountain. You will feel the breeze and smell the apples. The characters are well developed and I enjoyed reading about their personal and spiritual growth during the telling of the story. It was wonderful to revisit!

Daughters of Northern Shores takes us on a difficult journey where you don’t know who will survive and who won’t. Emotions are raw as Haakon is forced into difficult decisions. Forgiveness is a common thread throughout the book and it changes the course of a family.

If you enjoy historical fiction I highly recommend this book.

 

An Amish Reunion by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin

ReunionFrom bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four stories about reuniting with those you love.

Their True Home by Amy Clipston

When Marlene Bawell moved from Bird-in-Hand ten years ago, she was in the deepest of mourning for her mother. Now her family has moved back so her father can seek employment after being laid off. To help save money, Marlene works at the hardware store owned by Rudy Swarey’s father. She knew Rudy growing up and had a secret crush on him, though he never seemed to notice her. But just as a friendship between them begins to blossom, her life is once again turned upside down. Will Marlene ever have a chance to find her own true home?

A Reunion of Hearts by Beth Wiseman

Ruth and Gideon Beiler experienced one of life’s most tragic events. Unable to get past their grief, the couple abandoned their Amish faith and went in different directions, though neither could bear to formally dissolve the marriage. When their loved ones reach out to them to come home for a family reunion, Ruth has reason to believe that Gideon won’t be there. Gideon also thinks that Ruth has declined the invitation. Family and friends are rooting for them to reunite, but will it all be enough for Ruth and Gideon to get past their grief and recapture a time when they were in love and had a bright future ahead of them?

A Chance to Remember by Kathleen Fuller

Cevilla Schlabach, Birch Creek’s resident octogenarian matchmaker, is surprised when Richard, a man from her Englisch past, arrives in Birch Creek for a visit. While he and Cevilla take several walks down memory lane, they wonder what the future holds for them at this stage of life—friendship, or the possibility of something else?

Mended Hearts by Kelly Irvin

At eighteen Hannah Kauffman made a terrible mistake. Her parents and members of her Jamesport Amish community say they’ve forgiven her. But she feels their eyes following her everywhere she goes with eighteen-month-old Evie. Thaddeus, Evie’s father, escaped this fate by running away from Jamesport. Now that Thaddeus is gone, Hannah’s old friend Phillip is stepping up to be by her side. He has waited patiently for Hannah to realize just how much he cares for her. But when Thaddeus returns after two years, Hannah can’t deny the love she feels for him. Does the fact that Phillip has waited patiently for her all this time mean that she owes him something? Can she trust either one of them? Can she trust herself? She has repented and been forgiven by the One who is most important—her heavenly Father. But is she willing to risk making more mistakes by opening herself up to love?

Each time I read novellas by these four authors I’m amazed how they can tell such a complete, compelling story in such a short time frame. And they’ve done it once again.

Instead of leaving a review for each story, let me say that they are all incredible. I love the characters, I love the settings. I love everything about these stories. You’ll see old friends again and meet new friends. Riveting story lines will keep you turning the pages to see what’s next.

As always, it’s refreshing to read about people who take life slower than we do, who understand the importance of God and family, and who are not perfect. The romances are clean and suitable for even the teenage reader. I highly recommend An Amish Reunion!

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

A Perfect Amish Match by Vanetta Chapman

MatchEvery courting disaster has led him to her.

An Indiana Amish Brides story

After three failed relationships, Amish bachelor Noah Graber would rather disappoint his parents than try again. But when matchmaker Olivia Mae Miller agrees to provide courting lessons, Noah’s perfect match becomes clear—it’s Olivia Mae herself! With ailing grandparents at home, she hadn’t planned on love or marriage. Might a future with Noah be everything she’s been missing?

Oh my goodness. What a sweet, fun book. Author Vanetta Chapman gives us a tale of an Amish matchmaker who is single herself. You can imagine where this story is going and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

While this book was fun and a quick read, Chapman does address the topic of Alzheimer’s and failing health in loved ones. Olivia Mae is so kind and caring of her grandparents, even sacrificially so. Along comes poor Noah who doesn’t have a clue about women. I seriously loved these characters.

If you enjoy Amish fiction then grab this one. I highly recommend it!

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

 

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

BayAfter tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room–until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn’t worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.

Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it’s least expected?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites readers back to the charming seaside town of Hope Harbor, where they are sure to find peace, healing, and a second chance at happiness.

This is the first book I’ve read by author Irene Hannon but it won’t be my last. I seriously found myself having trouble putting this one down. The characters are multi-faceted; nothing shallow about them. The scenic descriptions made me feel as if I were in Hope Harbor. The entire story was compelling.

A tale of hope after tragedy, of fear turning to faith, and helping others becoming a way of healing, Driftwood Bay is not “fluffy” yet has it’s light moments as you laugh at a naughty puppy. You will fall in love with the characters, I promise.

If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction with light romance then you’ll enjoy this book.

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

 

Joyful Surrender; 7 Disciplines for the Believer’s Life by Elisabeth Elliott

JoyfulIn our age of instant gratification and if-it-feels-good-do-it attitudes, self-discipline is hardly a popular notion. Yet it may be one of the most important lost virtues of our time. In Joyful Surrender, former missionary and beloved author Elisabeth Elliot offers her understanding of discipline and its value for people of all times. She shows readers how to

– discipline the mind, body, possessions, time, and feelings

– overcome anxiety

– change poor habits and attitudes

– trust God in times of trial and hardship

– let Christ have control in all areas of life

Elliot masterfully and gently takes readers through Scripture, personal stories, and incisive observations of the world around her to help them discover the understanding that our fulfillment as human beings depends on our answer to God’s call to obedience.

Author Elisabeth Elliot writes in such a way that the reader is taken back to a more genteel time. As if you’re having tea together. But that does not mean her book has no depth.

Elliot has been walking with the Lord for a long time, has experienced much, and has much to teach us. She’s not afraid to talk about topics that aren’t popular today. And she always points us back to God and what He says on these subjects.

While this book is really useful for personal growth, I think it would make a marvelous study for a small group or book club. I recommend getting a copy of it.

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

 

A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick Craig

JennaJerusha Springer has spent months making the most beautiful quilt anyone in Apple Creek, Ohio has ever seen, and she knows it is going to take first prize at the Quilt Fair in Dalton. The prize money will be her ticket out of the Amish way of life—away from the memories of Jenna, the daughter she lost a year ago and Reuben, her tormented husband, who has been missing since Jenna’s death.

On the way to the fair, Jerusha gets caught in the Storm of The Century. An accident leaves her trapped in her driver’s car—and trapped by the memories of her marriage to Reuben and the loss of little Jenna. And then another littler girl enters the story and takes Jerusha’s heart captive in a way she hadn’t expected. Can this child also be the one to heal Reuben’s pain as well?

A beautiful story of loss and redemption.

The first book I’ve read by author Patrick Craig, I’m certain it won’t be my last. A fascinating read, Craig takes on tough subjects; the loss of a child, the breakup of a marriage, and the torment of war. Through it all shines hope.

A horrible storm brings about the rescue of a child and starts the healing of hearts. Told so poignantly, I found myself hesitating to put the book down. Flashbacks throughout the story helps the reader to put together the pieces of the story in a way that will draw you in. Craig is a skillful storyteller and I encourage you to read A Quilt for Jenna.

 

The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman

Breeze HillNatchez, MS; 1791

Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.

The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.

Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?

Such a good book! Good guys, bad guys; who’s who? Drama and suspense, along with loyalty to family, The Promise of Breeze Hill kept me turning the pages!

Author Pam Hillman’s characters are strong and well developed. The descriptions of countryside, buildings, as well as historical references are rich. The plot is compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to lovers of historical fiction.

 

The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah Ladd

GovernessLaunching a brand-new series, beloved Regency author Sarah E. Ladd shares the tale of a governess who would risk anything to protect five recently orphaned children—even if it means returning to Cornwall.

Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request for her to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she’s tried desperately to forget.

Jac Twethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced, he battles both grief at his brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

Author Sarah Ladd does a superb job of putting her reader in England during the Regency era. I enjoyed each page of this book. Her characters are well developed and realistic to that era. The descriptions of events and the countryside are enthralling.

With emphasis on family, we also read about secrets, smugglers, and danger. And of course a light romance thrown in for good measure. Overcoming grief and looking to the future added to the realism of this story.

The Governess of Penwythe Hall was a treat to read! I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

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

 

A Road Called Love by Murray Pura

41XNDb2rupL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There was nothing the police could do – the Amish girl was of age, she was leaving the community of her own free will, no laws had been broken. The state troopers could not force her back home even if the boy she was running from Pennsylvania with was a suspected drugs dealer. But there was something the Amish could do – pray, hope, encourage one another with God’s Word – and ask two young people who were still in rumspringa to go after the girl and plead with her to return to them. So a journey begins, a journey of great danger and a journey of great distances but also a journey of great love.

 

Author Murray Pura writes in a style that the reader will find unique and delightful. His Amish books are not the typical stories, and A Road Called Love fits in the “non typical” category. Known for his original plots, Pura’s book will not disappoint.

Written about two sisters in their rumspringa, how many Amish books have you read that involve Harley’s and drug dealers? This story will take you places you’ve never been and never expected to go. I will admit the unique nicknames given to some of the characters threw me off at first but stick with it and you’ll see why they fit.

With well developed characters and adventures galore, jump on your motorcycle and ride along. You’ll be glad you did.

 

A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer

threadFor readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.

 

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and “take care of Mama” by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.

Langdon Rochester’s parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women’s Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life–even with so little to offer?

Author Vogel Sawyer takes on such subjects as racism and classism, and does it well. The history of 1895 is well written and kept my interest. Learning about the Atlanta Cotton Exposition aroused my curiosity and kept me reading, as did learning about silk weaving.

The characters in this story were strongly developed. Some I liked and some I didn’t. Some I couldn’t decide about. All the qualities of a good book.

Very engrossing, romance and mystery were throughout the story as was the theme of depending on God. Vogel Sawyer isn’t shy about Christianity but there is nothing preachy about this story. If you enjoy Christian historical fiction you’ll enjoy this book.

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

 

 

Marvel and Mayhem by Catie Cordero

MarvelHarrisburg, PA, 1926.

New York City flapper, Mattie O’Keefe, lives and breathes for the next rush. City life is all she’s ever known but a tragic disaster forces her to hide somewhere she never dreamed of, a farm. She despises everything about this forsaken place—dirt, animals, an outhouse, and Grant Emery. But if she leaves its concealed security, it will mean her death, and she’s not ready to die.

Grant Emery disagrees with his grandmother’s decision to take Mattie on as a farmhand. He believes the wild redhead will only create more toil upon their already struggling farm. However, when mayhem ensues, he finds that the person he needs to beat the rival is the last one he’d ever choose—Mattie O’Keefe.

Sometimes survival can take a providential twist.

Cordero brings the 1920s flapper era to life in this book. With characters who are the epitome of that time, you’ll feel transported. But transported where? New York City or The Farm? The difference between the two settings and lifestyles is accurately and descriptively portrayed in such a way that I found myself chuckling often.

With well developed characters, I really enjoyed getting to know them. I was cheering for Mattie to make the adjustments and changes necessary to survive. Grant was an absolute gem once he comes to terms with Mattie. And of course the bad guys had me disliking them a lot. Everything a good story should have, along with mystery and romance.

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

 

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

41odzV3VnWL._SY346_Can Olivia survive the crime and Gold Rush fever of 1849…and the countless marriage proposals?

A series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.

Another installment in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, like all of them this is a standalone, although the others are definitely worth reading too.

Author Kimberley Woodhouse gives us a descriptive look at San Francisco during the Gold Rush Era. While I knew about the roughness of the miners during that time frame, I wasn’t aware of the slavery that went on. I found the history of it quite interesting.

Woodhouse’s characters are not only well developed but they are true to life with their ups and downs; life’s challenges. I especially liked seeing Olivia’s spiritual growth as she sought God.

With suspense, light romance, and lots of drama, if you enjoy historical fiction I highly recommend The Golden Bride.

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

 

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge; Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham

Blue RidgeJourney into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

I loved journeying into the Blue Ridge Mountains with Laurel and Jonathan. Author Pepper Basham filled her story with colloquialism that was both colorful and meaningful. I so enjoyed those wonderful phrases!

While this is a sweet, clean romance and clearly Christian fiction, that didn’t stop Basham from tackling some tough issues such as a drunken father, and a father who doesn’t care about his son beyond what he can do for the family. Both situations were heartbreaking but we’re reminded that God understands what we’re dealing with and is there to help us. She also writes about racism and prejudices. It was difficult to understand how people in the mountains could be prejudiced against others when that’s something they deal with themselves.

There were plenty of light moments and humor, so please don’t think it was a heavy read because it wasn’t. The characters were so true to life that I was chuckling one minute and getting aggravated the next. And Basham’s descriptions of the Blue Ridge Mountains made me want to travel there someday. It must be beautiful!

If you enjoy Christian fiction with true to life characters then you must read My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge.

 

Katelyn’s Choice by Susan Mathis

51TLgZTgk+LThe Gilded Age comes to life in this first installment of the Thousand Islands Series!

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

Author Susan Mathis allows us to travel back to 1872 and see the world through the eyes of a young woman in service. I could sympathize with Katelyn and her difficulty keeping her tongue in check. It can be so challenging sometimes. Mathis shows us how to do that by use of prayer and scripture. While not in the least preachy, we see that God wants to walk with us and help us in our times of need. And Katelyn isn’t the only one with some challenges.

Very well-developed characters who grow personally and spiritually make this story come to life. The author’s research of the time frame and area of the country enhanced the story greatly. I enjoyed learning about the Thousand Islands, and imagining what it would have been like to have the president visit for a few days.

If you enjoy clean historical fiction with sweet romance, and a story that has a satisfying ending, then you’ll enjoy Katelyn’s Choice.

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

 

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

FireThe Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

So imagine Daniel. We know about “Daniel and the lions den”. We don’t know a lot more about him. Author Mesu Andrews helps to fill in some gaps with her “what if” novel. What if Daniel was married as a young man? But not to his first love. What if later that first love became his wife? Let me say that Andrews in no way states her book as “the way it was”. It’s clearly a work of fiction that makes you think about possibilities but does not in any way attempt to change the biblical information about Daniel.

We are given a lot of historical information about the temple, the ark of the covenant, what life was like in those days, all wrapped up in a beautiful love story. I found myself on the edge of my seat often. Those were not easy times and no one was exempt from the brutal rulers. But through the entire story we see God caring for His people, no matter the situation they were thrust into. And I found myself searching my heart. Could I stand as strong as they did, in the face of death? Who knows. We may need to answer that some day.

If you enjoy historical or biblical fiction that will cause you to search your heart, that will make you gasp at times or even weep, then you must read Of Fire and Lions.

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

 

The Meek by Amos Wyse and Laura Marshall

MeekFor the English, it was the end of the world as they knew it. For the Amish, it was Tuesday.

Jedediah Wenger lost his family to an Englishe drunk driver. He has yet to put his life back together including the long-forgotten courting of the Bishop’s daughter, Felicity Troyer. When he’s suddenly faced with the task of helping the fading mid-western town of Prosperity survive, he realizes the task is greater than the town or the District can overcome.

Hearing about Prosperity through a ragtag ham radio, the remnants of the Government sends U.S. Cavalry Captain Jimmy Flanagan to protect the town which has evolved into a symbol of hope for all of America. His nagging concerns about his family in Nebraska keep him restless where he would otherwise find contentment.

The first line grabbed me. End of the world? A normal Tuesday? What in the world does that mean?

Authors Wyse and Marshall have written an Amish book like no other. Suspenseful. Life changing as we know it. I won’t tell you what happens; no spoilers here, but I never thought about this happening. And it could. Reading as people came together to survive a catastrophe, I was forced to consider what we would do if something like that happened. Would we come together? I certainly hope so. I also had to consider how dependent we are on certain comforts. Could we survive if our life wildly changed in an instant?

This is not your typical Amish novel. With a sweet romance, the reality of war, and a fight to survive, there was quite an emotional roller coaster to the book. I became attached to the characters and found myself encouraging them. Faith in God, even during hard times, was the constant thread in the story. Such a great reminder to me personally. Seriously, if you’re looking for something with a different flare to it, please do yourself a favor and read The Meek.

 

A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

pro_pbid_4182611Eloise Drake’s prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she’s finally put behind her–or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she’s now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town–but he needs Eloise’s help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he’d lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it’s too late.

Let’s cut to the chase, I loved this book. Author Elizabeth Camden always does a great job with her historical facts and I found this one so interesting. No spoilers here, but the “risky plan” was pretty incredible.

This is book three in a trilogy. It’s not necessary to read the other two as this one stands alone just fine but I encourage you to read them. They’re really good!

Camden’s characters are well developed and very likeable. They have flaws and suffer hardships just as we do. With a great plot twist through which we see perseverance and care for each other, and a romance that didn’t start out good at all, faith is a common thread throughout. Because this is Christian fiction I would have liked to see some repentance in a couple of high level characters, but life isn’t always that neatly wrapped up, is it? In all, this is a great story about overcoming insurmountable odds.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction.

 

How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

41BQIvbv1jL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When Ruth Neufeld’s husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law Mabel to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps.

Ruth and her family are welcomed by Elam, her husband’s cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest. Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she’d lost forever.

But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself. On the precipice of a fresh start and a new marriage, Ruth must make an impossible decision: which path to choose if her husband isn’t dead after all.

One of the most incredible books I’ve read. Twists and turns, emotional, and incredibly spell binding, I couldn’t read it fast enough. Beautifully written as only author Jolina Petersheim can write, add this to your Must Read pile. In fact, just get it and read it right away.

A compelling read that doesn’t shy away from pain, How the Light Gets In shows us how our choices affect those around us, not just ourselves. But through it all there is hope for new beginnings. I seriously thought I had this book figured out until a curve ball was thrown and I was completely shocked by the ending. I’m glad I didn’t peak ahead as I can be prone to do. Don’t you do it, either. Hang on for the roller coaster ride and enjoy the thrill.

Petersheim’s characters are extremely well developed and you will love them. Learning about Old Order Mennonite was very interesting and added richness to the story, as did learning a bit about cranberry bogs.

Honestly, if you enjoy Christian fiction that is not preachy and isn’t afraid to be raw and gritty you must read this book. I know I’ll be rereading it. It touched me deeply.

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

 

When You Are Near by Tracie Peterson

petersonAfter her father’s death, Lizzy Brookstone, a trick rider in the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, wants nothing more than to quit her role as the star of the show and live a quiet life on her family’s ranch. But returning home would bring Wesley DeShazer, the ranch’s foreman and the man who broke her heart, back into her life. In addition, the Brookstones’ new manager fears that Lizzy’s departure could doom the already cash-strapped show.

Hope grows in Lizzy during a stopover at Fleming Farm. Ella Fleming not only has a natural talent for trick riding and could easily replace Lizzy, but she’s eager to join the show to flee a forced betrothal. However, while there, one of the show’s wranglers is killed in a manner Lizzy finds suspicious. And during her escape from the farm, Ella stumbles across a secret that could affect all of their lives, as well as the future of the Brookstone Extravaganza.

Tracie Peterson can take a wild west show and twist your heart around it. Her style of writing holds your attention from beginning to end. Her characters are captivating and her way of describing scenes places the reader right there.

In this new series we meet the Brookstone family and learn about women trick riders in “The Wild West”. Peterson shows us that this wasn’t for the faint of heart in her vivid descriptions and gives us some facts to help us understand what’s happening. Friendships are kindled between three women whom you wouldn’t have guessed would become friends. Mystery. Intrigue. Murder. Arranged Marriages. Guns and horses. This book has it all, including the belief that God is always with us. I’m looking forward to book two.

If you enjoy historical fiction then I recommend When You Are Near.

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

 

Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

mending-fences-194x300Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him. He has been allowed to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, he must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm, and Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend her only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

“A funny, heartwarming story of friendship, love, and the possibility of happily ever after.”—Amy Clipston, bestselling author of Seat by the Hearth

“Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a sweet and poignant story you won’t want put down. Definitely a must read!”—Kathleen Fuller, bestselling author of the Amish of Birch Creek series

Oh my, the places this book went. Can you imagine having to make a list of the wrong things you’ve done to people, then go apologize and ask questions so you understand the damage you did? Yikes! But that’s what Luke had to do and it was as difficult and emotional as you can imagine. However this story wasn’t heavy at all. In fact there were many moments where I was laughing, completely drawn into the story.

Author Suzanne Woods Fisher deals with the subject of alcoholism and rehab, as well as health issues in one of the main characters. She doesn’t shy away from these things, but makes it clear that God is in the middle of our messes and heartache. That there can be forgiveness, redemption, and hope.

I truly enjoyed every page of this book and highly recommend it.  

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

 

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

LadiesOfIntrigue_Cover-195x300

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Each of these stories contains mystery and action, along with sweet romance. With well developed characters, all three stories are enjoyable reads. The stories are set in the 1800s and are true to the time. Author Michelle Griep gives us plenty of descriptions so we understand the “why” of things, along with being able to see the settings.


With faith threaded throughout, the characters learn to lean on God through the storms of life. However I would in no way call these stories preachy. I always enjoy Griep’s books, and this one doesn’t disappoint. I’m already looking forward to her next release. If you enjoy historical fiction then you’re sure to enjoy Ladies of Intrigue.

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

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Brunch-at-Bittersweet-Cafe-cover-200x300Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country—an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

I’m going to warn you, if you’re hungry don’t read this. Eat first because author Carla Laureano does a great job of describing foods. Then prepare to enjoy a good read.

Written realistically, the characters, whom I really liked, dealt with real issues such as physical temptation. Along their faith journey they are dealing with their view of God due to hurts in their lives. Much happens along the way to help them to realize that God loves them and wants what’s best for them.

I was surprised by the many times that drinking wine was brought into the story but there was never any drunkenness or even over drinking. I simply have a different viewpoint than the author but still enjoyed the story.

This is the second book in the Supper Club series. I haven’t read the first one but had no problem with Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe as it really works as a stand alone. If you enjoy contemporary romance then you’ll enjoy this book.

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

Ellie’s Redemption by Molly Jebber

ellies-Redemtion-183x3001912, Charm, Ohio

Ellie Graber is determined to restore her bad reputation in Charm, Ohio. She regrets leaving Amish life and the danger and heartache she caused her family and friends. Ellie loves working with Liza, and her best friend and cousin, Hannah, at Liza’s Amish Charm Bakery, attends church, and obeys Amish law, but the gossip about her past life won’t stop. Joel Wenger’s deep blue eyes tell her he cares for her, but she suspects his parents have warned him to stay away from her. Joel wants to trust Ellie’s changed but his sister, Maryann, who left Amish life broke their hearts. Will Joel ignore his parents and friends, face their anger and ridicule, and give her a chance?

Author Molly Jebber always writes sweet, almost gentle stories that have lessons to learn. This one is no different. Jebber shows us that gossiping and judging people is not a Godly trait and always has ramifications. But we also see that there is forgiveness, both from God and hopefully form the person we wronged. Not at all preachy, I think much can be learned from this story.

The characters in Ellie’s Redemption are relatable. Like us they have strengths and weaknesses. They have opportunities to follow what they know to be right, or to make mistakes. And both happen, giving grace and mercy an opportunity to shine.

My only “complaint”, and it really isn’t a complaint but a preference, is that Jebber’s writing style is a little formal for me. However I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys a charming Amish story.

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

 

On the Rails by Linda Shenton Matchett

On-the-Rails-199x300

Warren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

Author Linda Shenton Matchett gives us a lot of historical information about the Harvey Girl’s throughout this book. I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I find it fun to learn new things while I’m reading a fiction book.

I’ve read many books about the Harvey Houses, but never one that includes people coming to knowledge of Christ. That was awesome! And yet the characters are very real, with very real feelings including anger and jealousy. It’s not “churchy” at all.

I enjoyed this book and encourage you to read it if you enjoy historical fiction.

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

 

The Amish Candy Make by Laura V. Hilton

CandyAgnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area.

Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wild fire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend.

Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?

Author Laura Hilton has developed a sweet story that isn’t syrupy but has characters with spunk, making this a fun read. A non-submissive Amish woman and a man afraid of commitment make for an interesting combination. Because of words spoken over them, both fear they are unlovable. Coming to grips with God’s plan, while learning a new way to see ourselves, isn’t always easy but always worth it.

Amish proverbs such as “Your past doesn’t stay in your past” and scripture verses pertaining to whatever situation the characters were facing, help to tie a good story together with God’s heart.

If you enjoy Amish stories with depth then I highly recommend this book.

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

 

A Meddled Match: Resort to Romance Series by Jill Kemerer

43541903Gavin Sterling wants no part of Matchmaking Week, but his eccentric great aunts insist he fill in for a no-show or he won’t have a chance at inheriting their island resort. Surprisingly, his match intrigues him. Mollie is blunt, sassy, and best of all, has no idea he’s the son of a billionaire.

Mollie Macomb needs a relaxing vacation without the dating drama. A relationship with Gavin would never work in the real world, anyhow. He’s a gorgeous businessman. She’s a quirky failure. But even the unlikeliest couple can find love during Matchmaking Week…

 

Get ready for a cute, quick read. You will fall in love with Gavin’s great aunts. They are so much fun! You can just imagine the quirky things that can happen with matchmaking and they certainly do happen.

Lots of laughter and surprises make this an enjoyable book. If you’re looking for a relaxing read I recommend A Meddled Match.

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

 

The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

418T5CqXhLL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past–and the most fearsome battle of his life.

Author Sarah Sundin does a great job researching the history for this book. Whether you’re a fan or new reader, Sundin will pull you into the history of WW II. With well developed characters who struggle with real life issues and grow, as well as wonderfully described narratives, The Sky Above Us is a great read for lovers of historical fiction. You’ll learn new details in an enjoyable, “non-school” way.

Biblical truth of forgiveness is woven throughout the story in a natural, non-preachy way make this is a book I recommend.

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

 

The Forgiving Jar by Wanda Brunstetter

51K+33wHqdLWhat would happen if you found out someone has been impersonating you?

Sara Murray had never met her mother’s parents and was surprised to learn after her death that they were Amish living in Pennsylvania. When she is finally able to make the trip to meet them, she is shocked to learn someone else has been living with them and pretending to be Sara. Sara can’t understand how quickly her grandparents are willing to forgive the impostor.

Secrets and deceit seem to follow Sara, and she is so tired of it. Though soon she meets Brad Fuller who is visiting her grandparents for during Christmas. She likes him a lot, but even he seems to pull away from her, not being totally honest.

Struggling, Sara finds an old canning jar hidden in the barn that is full of encouraging prayers. Can Sara find a way to forgive the past and move on to building new relationships?

Book Two in the Prayer Jars series, I would suggest reading Book One, The Hope Jar, or you’ll miss out on key parts of Sara and Michelle’s stories. A story of family and faith, the characters definitely have grown since the first book and I really liked them.

Focusing on forgiveness, this book is a great reminder that we all have done things we shouldn’t, and we all need forgiveness, both from God and people. As Sara experienced, when we withhold forgiveness from someone who is truly repentant we are the ones who are miserable.

A really good story of second chances, I enjoyed it and recommend it if you enjoy Amish fiction. As always with a Brunstetter book, there are some yummy recipes at the end.

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

 

Love’s Rescue by Linda Shenton Matchett

51qhinPFFwL._SY346_A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.

Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?

Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?

Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

Author Linda Matchett always writes about historical experiences that few people are aware of. I never knew about the prostitutes that worked for the resistance during WWII. What an interesting story of survival. But even more than history, this novella is a great reminder of God’s love. That no matter how far we stray or how bad we believe our sin to be, He is full of mercy, forgives us, and welcomes us Home.

Because this book is a novella it moved quickly and I read it in one sitting, but I still got to know the characters and their struggles. A retelling of the story of Rahab, I found it to be true to the time frame of its telling and highly recommend it.

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

 

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

ShoresThe daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

Another incredible book by author Jocelyn Green. If you enjoy historical fiction you must read this one. Green puts so much research into her stories that I always learn from them. But that doesn’t mean they are dry, dusty thomes. A compelling story teller, she is able to weave facts into fiction in such a way that you are swept up into that time of history. And honestly, it makes me happy to live in 2019. Life in 1759 was rough.

Written with heart and honesty, the characters have depth. Situations are described that will make your jaw drop. Moving and raw, you won’t always like what you read but life is like that sometimes. And I love that Green’s author notes gives us facts vs fiction as well as the reminder that we are all on a journey and that God loves us as we are. I highly recommend Between Two Shores.

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

 

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection by several authors

LighthouseLighthouses have long been the symbol of salvation, warning sailors away from dangerous rocks and shallow waters.

Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.

Anna’s Tower by Pegg Thomas

1883—Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse

Anna Wilson’s plan to be the next lighthouse keeper is endangered when Maksim Ivanov is shipwrecked on Thunder Bay Island. Handsome and capable, he could steal her dream. Or provide a new one.

Beneath a Michigan Moon by Candice Sue Patterson

1885—New Presque Isle Lighthouse

Ava Ryan’s father has passed, leaving her alone, and ill, to tend the light with nowhere else to go. Logging foreman Benjamin Colfax needs the height of the lighthouse to determine the best cutting route, but he senses something amiss in Ava and her determination to remain reclusive. Can he get her to open up, or will she keep herself locked away?

Safe Haven by Rebecca Jepson

1892—Old Mission Point Lighthouse

Rose Miller was found on the lighthouse doorstep as an infant, and now she must hide her quest to find the child who left her there from Captain Nathan Perry, the man she loves to hate.

Love’s Beacon by Carrie Fancett Pagels

1898—Round Island Lighthouse

Valerie Fillman’s best hope for a future lies on the tiny island that holds her worst memories. Can Paul Sholtus, the new lightkeeper, and his daughter help bring healing? And love?

The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser

1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.

The Disappearing Ship by Lena Nelson Dooley

1902—Whitefish Point Lighthouse

Romance and mystery collide at Whitefish Point Lighthouse when unemployed doctor Norma Kimbell and Drake Logan, owner of a steamship line, search for evidence of a supposed shipwreck.

The Wrong Survivor by Marilyn Turk

1911—Au Sable Lighthouse

Lydia Palmer’s dream for happiness as a lighthouse keeper’s wife shatters when her fiancé Nathan Drake drowned in a shipwreck, but his brother Jesse survived.

My favorite part of this collection is that the stories took place in Michigan, my home state, and I know many of the lighthouses that were written about. That added to my enjoyment of this book.

Each author did a great job of writing about “their” era and lighthouse. I loved all the descriptions. If you are at all familiar with the Great Lakes you could smell the water and hear the surf. The characters in each story were well developed and very true to life. Situations and emotions were imaginable. Each author wrote in her particular style; there will be a something for everyone.

Come visit Michigan through this book. You’ll fall in love with our lighthouses and want to see them for yourself. You’ll find a warm welcome!

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

 

My Heart Belongs in Galveston Texas; Madeline’s Search by Kathleen Y’Barbo

TexasPinkerton agent Jonah Cahill is hired by the mysterious widow to find her lost granddaughter, rumored to be living in Galveston, Texas. Though Jonah prefers to travel alone, Mrs. Smith insists that she and her companion accompany him. Madeline Latour, investigative reporter, has been acting as Mrs. Smith’s assistant for several months, and Madeline will not allow anyone—even a Pinkerton agent—to ruin the story of a lifetime. The pair forges an uneasy truce as the investigation grows dangerous.

Is there a bigger story beyond a missing girl to be revealed?

 

I’ll just get the “negative” out of the way and say that this book started out slow for me. BUT I stuck with it and boy, did it pick up speed! So hang in there, this story is full of twists, turns, and mystery. Shipwrecks and Pinkerton detectives made it really interesting.

A great storyline with interesting historical facts, Madeline’s Search will keep you wondering. I thought I had the end figured out but with a curve ball thrown in I began to doubt myself. I wasn’t at all disappointed in how this story ended. If you enjoy historical fiction you will want to read Madeline’s Search.

 

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear

CumberlandThomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage.

A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Love and Adventure Are Discovered on the Wilderness Road

In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like he did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But naïve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster?

Another well written book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, you’ll be swept up into Kate’s Wilderness Road adventure. Historical facts, well developed characters, and great descriptions of the country make this an enjoyable read. Full of danger, clean romance, and faith I highly recommend it.

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

 

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

mistyLeft at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

Let me preface this by saying I don’t typically read suspense, especially at night.The Curse of Misty Wayfair isn’t so much scary but eerie. Once I got into it I couldn’t put it down so yes, I even read it at night. I have gotten to the place that I look forward to new releases by Author Jaime Jo Wright. Again, a genre I don’t typically read but her books are wonderfully crafted and each one gets better.

The characters in this story are well developed. They have faults and challenges just as we do. Wright’s descriptions of places and events is incredible. For example, post-mortem photography was a new thing to me. While I found it creepy it was also fascinating to learn about. And her description of the asylum was gripping.

Wright isn’t afraid to tackle issues such as mental illness, dementia, and autism. But she does it with love and grace, showing that keeping secrets is hurtful, and that everyone is worthy of love and respect.

I highly recommend you add this to your “Must Read” list.

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

 

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

51UrajvTzzL3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!

Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady

Cornish Coast, 1815

When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)

Dakota Territory, 1862

Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets

St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890

Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Each of these stories contains mystery and action, along with sweet romance. With well developed characters, all three stories are enjoyable reads. The stories are set in the 1800s and are true to the time. Author Michelle Griep gives us plenty of descriptions so we understand the “why” of things, along with being able to see the settings.

With faith threaded throughout, the characters learn to lean on God through the storms of life. However I would in no way call these stories preachy. I always enjoy Griep’s books, and this one doesn’t disappoint. I’m already looking forward to her next release. If you enjoy historical fiction then you’re sure to enjoy Ladies of Intrigue.

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

 

Love Where You Live by Shauna Pilgreen

HomeDespite being part of one of the most mobile societies in history, it’s easy for us to feel stuck where we are. Whether because of a recent move or because we’re still in the exact same place we’ve been for years, many of us just aren’t where we thought we’d be or doing what we thought we’d be doing. Sometimes we may wonder if God knows what he’s doing. How can this be part of his plan?

With enthusiasm and contagious joy, Shauna Pilgreen assures readers that, yes, God does have a plan and a purpose for them–right where they are. In fact, he sent them there. She invites readers to “live sent,” showing them how to see their surroundings with fresh eyes and renewed energy. Weaving her own remarkable story with biblical habits readers can incorporate into their daily routines, Pilgreen equips us to reach out into our communities with God’s love, knowing that our efforts are never in vain.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, having lived in the same area for 40 years. But reading the thoughts and ideas of author Shauna Pilgreen has me looking at home in a different way. Her stories are compelling, and I’m more aware of the people in my community; thinking about how I can reach them with the love of Christ and living what God has called me to.

With scripture at the beginning of each chapter, and “dweller tips” at the end, I was given much to think about. I was encouraged and challenged to step outside of my comfort zone and make a difference, instead of just complaining and doing nothing practical. A great read, I highly recommend it.

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

 

Camp Club Girls: Bailey by Linda Carlblom

BaileyGET A CLUE WITH THE CAMP CLUB GIRLS!

Join Bailey and the Camp Club Girls as they embark on a series of clue-filled adventures and crack the case in this entertaining and action-packed 4-in-1 mystery collection.

What’s the meaning of the mysterious messages beneath shaggy sheep coats at the Curly Q ranch? The Camp Club Girls are determined to uncover the clues as they investigate a strange string of events. Will the girls discover the whereabouts of eccentric millionaire Marshall Gonzalez?

Why are wild elk running amok in Estes Park? During a stay at the historic Stanley Hotel, Bailey and Kate encounter out-of-control stampedes that put the townsfolk and tourists in danger. Will the Camp Club Girls uncover the reason behind the unusual elk behavior before someone gets hurt?

Are the rumors surrounding a valuable turquoise mine true? When Bailey and Elizabeth travel to a Native American village in New Mexico to help out a distant cousin and her children in their pottery shop during the busy tourist season, mysterious rumors begin to stir. The Camp Club Girls have their suspicions about rightful ownership of the mine, but will they be able to prove it?

Who’s responsible for the peril at Mermaid Park? When Bailey and Sydney are invited to spend part of the summer with Bailey’s grandmother in Florida, both girls are fascinated by the local attraction—Mermaid Park. When curious and frightening events begin to take place, will the Camp Club Girls solve the mystery and save the park before time runs out?

This is the second Camp Club Girls book that I’ve read and I can highly recommend them for your pre-teen and teen girls. The girls in the stories are great role models as they are respectful and kind. But the stories aren’t “preachy”. Full of fun and mysteries, each of them will be enjoyable to your reader. I would have loved them at that age.

With each girl having a completely different personality, and coming from all over the United States, the characters are very well developed and engaging. And with the girls in the books being ages 9 – 14, they all look at things differently. There’s a personality that any girl can relate to. Get a copy for the young reader in your life!

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

 

The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog (The Adventures of Wilhelmina Book 1) By Daphne Self

DogBeautiful Majesty has been dognapped!

Majesty, the firehouse dog, is missing.

Willie and Jax are on the case to discover who is the dognapping culprit. Could it be their neighbor, Mr. Applebee? Or maybe it is Ms. Thornton?

Join the Pintail Duo, Wilhelmina van der Coup and Jackson Barnaby, as they follow the clues to rescue Majesty in The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog.

What a fun book for young readers!! Dognapping. Suspicious characters. Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Your child will really enjoy this book. They will laugh at the antics of two budding detectives who discover people aren’t always what you think they are.

And as a parent or grandparent, you’ll be glad they are reading such books. Great morals including honesty and trust are woven throughout. In the back are discussion questions and scripture references, as well as words your child may not know but can look up the definitions of.

I highly recommend this book for the child in your life!

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

 

Who I am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

hatcherJessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination.

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have wronged them, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am With You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

I’m going to admit this was my first time to read a book by author Robin Lee Hatcher. And it won’t be my last. I loved it! The characters are well developed and believable. They have issues and doubts just like we do. Well written, there is a thread of hope and forgiveness all the way through. We see that even though we may turn our backs on the Lord due to hurts in our lives, He always welcomes us back. But the story in no way is preachy. It’s simply a story of faith.

Who I am With You will pull you in as you read about Ridley and Jessica in a modern day setting, and the story of Jessica’s great grandparents woven through out. I really enjoyed the backstory of Jessica’s family and how it helped her to find her way back to God.

If you enjoy a mixture of genres, women’s fiction, historical fiction, clean romance, and Christian fiction, then you’ll enjoy this book. I highly recommend it!

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

 

The Healing Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter

quiltJoin retired Amish newlyweds Emma and Lamar Miller in Florida for the winter as they lead another quilting class with a new group of unlikely students: Jennifer, a pregnant new mom; Mike, a charter boat owner; Erika, a wheelchair bound teen; Kim, a waitress; Noreen, a newly-retired widow, and BJ, an artist facing illness. When old friends visit from Indiana, will romance also become a subject of class discussions?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a relaxing read then grab this one. The characters were not only well developed but enjoyable. With a good mixture of personalities, you’ll get to love them as you jump into their lives. I’d like to visit this area of Florida some time; author Wanda Brunstetter makes it sound so inviting.

Although this is the third book in a series it really does read as a stand alone. Anything you may need to know to understand the story is explained well. Many characters keep the book moving at a good pace so you don’t feel as if the book is dragging. As always, the book is Christ centered. And you won’t be disappointed; there’s a great recipe at the end. I enjoy that about Wanda’s books.

If you enjoy Amish fiction I recommend The Healing Quilt.

 

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

51ukponrx6lThough Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning–together.

Laura Frantz’s prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America.

Danger, peril, and stormy seas abound in this book by author Laura Frantz. Lots of action kept me turning the pages quickly. But the pace of the book but was not frenzied; there were enough slower portions to help make this an enjoyable read.

I loved the descriptions of the Scottish Highlands. Frantz did a really good job of putting the reader in Lark’s little cottage, for example. The wonderful descriptions continued throughout the book.

The characters, especially Lark and Magnus, were strong and well developed. They were strong in their faith, and very human. You’ll love them! The secondary characters filled out the plot nicely with personalities that made you think.

With a Christian thread from beginning to end, this book is a great read for those who enjoy Christian historical fiction. I recommend it!

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

 

Novelly Upon a Time by Sarah Monzon

41li31sm-hlAuthor Harper Jones prides herself on the impeccable research she does for her novels, so when early reviews come pouring in claiming her romance reeks of inauthenticity, her editor suggests pulling her nose out of her books and getting some real-life smooching experience. But her plans to do just that are thwarted by her arch nemesis from high school who has recently returned to town. Now she’s left with an impossible decision—kiss her worst enemy or kiss her three-book contract goodbye.

 

 

This book kept me giggling. The way Harper Jones handled writing and life was quite amusing. It also made me think about some things. Like not being afraid to be adventurous, as Harper and her friend get into one scrape after another.

This book is not all fluff and giggles. Author Sarah Monzon tackles forgiving someone we’ve seen as our enemy, Japanese internment camps, and forgiveness. There is definitely depth under the fun.

A cute rom com, I recommend it if you’re looking for something fun to read.

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

 

pro_pbid_4285251Camp Club Girls: Elizabeth by Renae Brumbaugh Green

What happens when six girls end up in the not only in the same cabin at summer camp, but are quickly embroiled in intrigue?

They form a super sleuth ring and call themselves the Camp Club Girls. Each girl uses her special skills—analyzing, spiritual insight, gadgetry, physical skills, research—to help the whole team stump adversaries and master the mysteries they encounter. Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 4-in-1 story collection.

What’s REALLY going on at Camp Discovery Lake? . . . When Alexis, Bailey, Elizabeth, Sydney, McKenzie, and Kate end up as roommates at summer camp, they soon suspect there’s more going on than crafts and Bible quizzes. Will they put the puzzling pieces together before time runs out?

What’s so important about a missing bag of marbles? Elizabeth and McKenzie are roped into a mystery as big as Texas, when a strange man shows up in town, asking about a special tip left to a waitress thirty years ago. Will their skills be a match for this mixed-up mystery?

Is foul play to blame for the strange string of unfortunate events that threaten the River City Cruise Boat business? While helping out with ministry activities at the Fiesta Noche Del Rio on the Riverwalk, Kate and Elizabeth investigate! Will the girls reveal the source of the trouble before the River City Cruise Boat business goes bust?

Who’s the thief responsible for stealing a valuable Gibson guitar? Elizabeth and Bailey investigate the case in Music City. With only a handful of clues, will the girls be successful in turning up the missing music maker and returning the guitar to its rightful owner?

Join the Camp Club Girls as they find hidden jewels, destroy terrorist plots, uncover intrigue, rescue their friends, and so much more. It’s adventure with a capital A!

This collection of books by author Renae Brumbaugh Green reminds me a lot of the Nancy Drew Mysteries. Several young girls meet at camp, become friends, and mystery ensues! These stories are great for ages 9 and older.

Strong, well developed characters that are good role models make the stories enjoyable to read. The girls are respectful and kind. They also love to have fun and solve mysteries. There is a thread of Christianity throughout as the girls attend church, talk about being a Christian, etc, but it in no way is the author “preachy”. She simply shows hows God is a part of our lives all the time.

I would highly recommend this compilation of books for the girls in your life.

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

 

Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano

51x4i6wwsvl._sy346_Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

Jen’s books are always a great read and this one was no different. Seriously, I laughed through the entire thing. Yes, there were some somber moments but all in all this was a light hearted book.

The characters are very well developed and lovable. Well, except for the “bad guys”. Every good books needs some intrigue and bad guys. With lots of adventure and a bit of romance this book is great for any readers of Christian fiction. Taking place during the gilded era, we read about dukes, gowns, balls, and all manner of upper crust society “needs”. We also read about labor unions, a farm with the funniest cow, and orphans who need help.

Really, Flights of Fancy has something for everyone. I highly recommend it and look forward to the next book in this series.

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

 

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

51a9qcdeqyl._sy346_When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request–that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos–seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time–from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War–to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

I enjoy taking a chance on an author’s debut novel, and Erin Bartels didn’t disappoint me. This book is incredible! Not only well written, it has a timely message for us, but never in a preachy way. Bartels isn’t afraid to write about racism, slavery, judgment, interracial relationships, and so many other difficult topics that are very emotional but she does it with grace.

Written from three different points in time, Civil War, 1960s Detroit, and current time Detroit, I wondered if it would be confusing but I found the way the author tied it each time frame together to be very interesting. The entire book was compelling and caused me to lose sleep because I didn’t want to stop reading. Being from Michigan, and remembering 1960s Detroit as a young child, I found it especially intriguing.

This story is a poignant look at our past and our present day. A reminder to me that if we don’t learn from it, history will repeat itself. I highly recommend We Hope for Better Things.

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

 

Searching for You by Jody Hedlund

SearchingDespite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

Such a good book, I highly recommend you read the entire series. My only regret is that this is the end.

Author Jody Hedlund takes the hard subject of children trying to survive in 1850s New York, living in boxes and surviving off scraps, and then joining the famed orphan train heading west. Desperate to be placed into families, we see that sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t. Full of historical facts, this book is a great read.

You will love or dislike the characters in Searching for You, but you will not read it and remain detached. So well developed, they are very life-like. Through various trials both Sophie and Reinhold grow and mature in very real ways. God is always present and through Him lives are changed.

Searching for You is heartwarming and even emotionally wrenching at times. It does touch on sexual assault and child abuse, but never in an overly graphic way. There is also a passionate marriage scene that is not explicit but implied. I didn’t find it offensive in any way.

If you enjoy reading about the very real Orphan Train era I highly recommend this book.

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

 

Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston

51qc3eGnOoLEnjoy a year of beautiful seasons in this new story collection, as young Amish couples manage a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way.

Spring Is in the Air

As the young people of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, plant a garden in memory of their friend, Katie Ann begins to worry that her older brother, Ephraim, is dating her best friend. What if she somehow loses them both? But Christian, a new boy in the community, also works in the garden—and falling for him may be exactly the distraction, and lesson, that Katie Ann needs.

Home by Summer

Clara Hertzler is surprised when Jerry Petersheim, her old friend, comes to the garden to drop off his younger sister—especially because Jerry has been gone for years, and now seems to be living as an Englisher. As the friends get to know each other again, Clara pushes Jerry to examine why he abandoned his Amish beliefs. Will Clara help Jerry renew his faith in God, and will they find love beneath the summer sun?

The Fruits of Fall

Tena Speicher has come to live in Bird-in-Hand after her fiancé left her for an English woman. When a homeless veteran comes to the fruit stand one day and asks for food, Tena is not sure how to respond—but Wayne intervenes and offers to let him stay in the barn. Afraid to trust Englishers, Tena must learn, with Wayne’s help, that everyone is a child of God and deserving of kindness.

Winter Blessings

Ephraim and Mandy have dated for some time and now have plans to marry. But after a series of unexpected events and misunderstandings, they wonder if they should go their separate ways. What will happen when their friends at the Amish garden conspire to bring them back together?

Author Amy Clipston returns with four novellas that I absolutely loved. It was fun to have them take place in each of the four seasons and to see the thread of familiar names and faces throughout. Each novella is about a specific couple but they really flow together well. (If you read The Christmas Cat you’ll become reacquainted with familiar feline in Seasons of an Amish Garden.)

The characters in this book are so well written that they will feel like old friends. And who doesn’t enjoy a visit to Bird-in-Hand?

These stories have true to life situations and feelings. But always faith is the common bond that holds families together.

If you like Amish fiction then I recommend this heartwarming book.

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

 

Woman of Courage Collector’s Edition by Wanda Brunsetter

51dCS9IXzAL._SY346_A Woman of Courage Makes an Epic Journey

Take a three-thousand mile journey with Amanda Pearson as she leaves the disgrace of a broken engagement and joins the work at a Quaker mission in the western wilds. The trip is fraught with danger, and Amanda is near death before reaching her destination. Among those she meets are an Indian woman who becomes her first convert and a half-Indian trapper who seems to be her biggest critic. But love follows her into the wilderness and will determine the course of her future. You are sure to enjoy this historical romance adventure from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Included is the newly-written sequel, Woman of Hope, with Little Fawn’s story.

Raised as an orphan by a loving white couple, Little Fawn always felt something was missing from her life. She longs to take the news of Jesus to the Nez Perce Indians, but despite being a missionary herself, Little Fawn’s mother forbids it. Will White Wolf, her intended, support Little Fawn’s decision when she abruptly follows the tribe’s migration onto the Plains?

So different from the Amish books that are typical of author Wanda Brunsetter, this book is bursting with adventure and resilient faith as our heroine travels west to minister to the Native Americans. Filled with danger, excitement, and life changes, this story doesn’t lag at all. And of course there’s romance.

With both strongly written personalities and great descriptions of that part of the country, you’ll feel like you traveled along with Amanda and Little Fawn. All the characters come across as very real.

A wonderful historical novel, with Christ and salvation threading though out the book, I highly recommend it.

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

Zoey:  Meet the Misfits & Zoey: Odd Girl Out by Melody Carlson

Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out cover

Zoey’s pretty sure her life is over when her wannaba-rockstar mother uproots her from from their home in Seattle and deposits her in Nowheresville, Oregon to live with her whackadoodle grandparents. Things start to look up, though, when she reconnects with Louisa, the girl from across the street. Maybe, just maybe, Louisa won’t mind that Zoey’s always been a bit of a misfit. Louisa’s ex-BFF, however, doesn’t seem too happy to welcome Zoey to the neighborhood. And when they all end up at church camp together, it’s not just a matter of whether or not Zoey can fit in…it becomes a firsthand lesson in what it really means to “love your enemy.”

When the school year begins, Zoey’s terrified to go without Louisa—who’s out with a nasty flu. The same enemies she made over the summer are there to haunt her, but she and another new girl stick together…and even seem to find a place among the in-crowd. But is this who Zoey wants to be? Are they really her friends? Who’s going to stick beside her when cyber bullying leaves her as the odd girl out?

Both books in the Being Zoey series  are wonderful reads for the preteen girl in your life. Your child will relate to Zoey and all the angst that goes with the age. BFFs, new school in a new town, peer pressure, bullying; these books have it all. Including the plan for salvation as we see someone give their life to Jesus.

With well developed characters, author Melody Carlson does a good job of describing the preteen years in these books. Not only will you remember what it was like to be that age, but these books will help you connect with your child who’s dealing with these issues. I recommend them!

I received a complimentary copy of each of these books but was not required to leave a review.

 

The Faith of Mike Pence by Leslie Montgomery

FaithOfMikePence

Several books have been published about Vice President Mike Pence, but none have touched upon what may be the most fascinating aspect of our nation’s second in command: his deep faith.
The Faith of Mike Pence offers an intimate look at the man who calls himself “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Author Leslie Montgomery details Pence’s spiritual journey and examines how the vice president’s commitment to Christ has been a key component in his life as a husband, father, and public servant. Montgomery examines Pence’s encounters with politicos and evangelistic leaders such as James Dobson and Charles Lake. She shows the role of Pence’s faith in running for various offices, implementing faith-based initiatives, and responding to 9/11, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the infamous Anthrax scare in Congress that directly affected him.
The Faith of Mike Pence is a powerful account of one of the most conservative vice presidents in American history, with exclusive interviews and insightful commentary from friends, family, and colleagues. It is a serious and moving reflection about one of America’s most admired and respected politicians.

After reading this book I have an even higher regard for Mr. Pence. I appreciate his deep faith that goes hand in hand with his love for others. In today’s politics, I’m sure it’s difficult to allow your faith to guide you.

In this book you’ll read about Pence’s journey as a Christian, a husband, and a politician. There are interviews with many people who esteem him highly. Yet I appreciate that Montgomery didn’t write about him as if he’s perfect. We see flaws in a man who deeply wants to follow Christ. And while his political beliefs are touched on, this book his about his spiritual journey as a believer. 

I will say that because of the style of the book, and maybe the author’s writing style, there were times this book was dry, almost as if Ms. Montgomery was just stating facts, and I felt it was very simplistically written. But that is my personal viewpoint. Others may enjoy this style of book. All in all it was interesting and refreshing.

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

Meghan’s Choice by Donna L. H. Smith

Meghan Gallagher complies with her father’s demand that she work on her own for a Meghan's Choice COVER Finalistyear by choosing to tutor eight children in a wild Kansas railroad town. But she had no idea just how wild it was until she was rescued by a local dance hall the day she arrived, and soon after hit by a stray bullet. In short order, she meets a dark, handsome cowboy and a wholesome, attractive doctor who both vie for her heart. As things heat up around town, Meghan’s love life catches fire as well. Is she scandalous to allow both men to court her at the same time? And—how close a relationship with God does Meghan want? Will she draw near?

Meghan’s Choice (pre-published) was named a semi-finalist in the 2014 Operation First Novel by Jerry B. Jenkins and an honorable mention for the Golden leaf Award in 2015. Since publication, Meghan’s Choice was a Selah Award finalist and also in the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

Published in connection with Hartline Literary Agency, serving the Christian book community. Visit us at www.hartlineliterary.com.

Westerns are fun to read. Can’t you just imagine yourself in the Old West? Author Donna Smith does a good job with the setting of her book. Very good descriptions.

I admit I didn’t connect real well with the characters, for some reason. Maybe they were a bit too cliche for me. But it was still worth the read. It’s always enjoyable to see the spoiled young woman grow up and become a woman through a series of happenings when God is allowed to move in a life. And who doesn’t like a handsome cowboy, as well as an attractive doctor?

I do think the book would have been better with some added proofreading and editing. I found several errors and the sentences were short and choppy, which was distracting to me. But all in all a decent first novel.

Give Smith’s debut novel a read if you enjoy a clean western!

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

 

No Greater Love by Gina Holder

No Greater Love

He said he’d never risk leaving a widow.

She said she’d never love a man in uniform.

Paige McDonald collects antique literature and works at the largest bookstore in Portland, Oregon. When her grandfather, a firefighter, was killed, she vowed never to fall in love with a first responder. An old Bible leads to an unexpected discovery and disrupts everything she knows about herself, her family, and God. Her desire to know the truth sends her to the town of Whitman directly into the radar of Patrol Officer Hamilton Bryant.

After the loss of his best friend and fellow officer, Hamilton vowed never to marry. He won’t risk leaving a widow. Instead, he reserves his passion for serving his family and the town he’s sworn to protect. When a series of robberies and threats against the mayor correspond with Paige’s sudden appearance in Whitman, their paths intersect.

The second book by author Gina Holder, I really enjoyed it and now I need to read her first book.

A complex plot with well developed characters, No Greater Love held my interest through out. I did get a little confused by several statements that ended in a question mark but that would have been a proofreader mistake. And in the beginning Paige did a lot of tucking her hair behind her ear but hang in there. It’s an intriguing story and well worth overlooking the couple of minor details.

Of course being a reader I enjoyed the concept of the second hand bookstore. I’d love to visit! I found the characters to be well developed and extremely likeable. Well, some of them were. Every story needs a bad guy and this story has surprising twists in this sense. I really couldn’t figure out “who done it” and that kept me reading. I stayed up late to get to the end.

A good mystery with not only a clean romance but a deep faith in God, I highly recommend this book.

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

 

Andrew by Jennifer Beckstrand

Andrew

Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim’s family business has earned them the nickname The Peanut Butter Brothers. But if their matchmaking younger siblings have their way, all three may soon bear another title: husband . . .

Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .

For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she in turn accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?

Author Jennifer Beckstrand brought her characters to life. Those twins!!! You’ll love them. A fun, matchmaking story, it still contains some heavy subjects that keep it from being “fluff”. I did read through it quickly as I wanted to see how things would turn out. 

With wonderful Christian values, Beckstrand shows us that we all sin yet God loves us and accepts us unconditionally. So should we do this with others. Things are not always what they seem and we don’t know what’s going on in someone’s heart. 

There were plenty of chuckles while reading. With charming characters who don’t fit the norm you’ll enjoy this book if you like Amish fiction. Plus you’ll learn about making peanut butter. Bonus! So make a peanut butter sandwich, grab a copy of Andrew, and enjoy.

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

 

Danger on the Ranch by Dana Mentink

Danger on the Ranch Cover

After putting his serial killer brother in prison, former US marshal Mitch Whitehorse chooses a solitary country life—until his brother escapes. Now Mitch’s former sister-in-law, Jane Reyes, needs protection…for herself and the toddler she’s kept a secret. Mitch still isn’t sure of Jane’s innocence in his brother’s crimes, but to keep his nephew out of a killer’s grasp, trusting her is his only option.

If you enjoy mystery, danger, and intrigue then you’ll want to read this book. Author Dana Mentink takes us on quite a suspenseful ride. Although a quick read, you’ll have a challenge figuring out who did what and who can be trusted.

With well developed characters, you’ll feel drawn into the lives of Mitch and Jane, as well as that of Mitch’s hateful brother. There’s so much to like about this book. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good cowboy story with clean romance? Mentink keeps the reader turning the pages of her book quickly. Grab a copy today!

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

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer
More Than Words Can Say

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples. Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

The second book in the Patchwork Family series, I’m so glad author Karen Witemeyer gave us Zach’s story! Quiet and seemingly grumpy, Zach is a great protector and has a heart of gold. Someone just needs to go mining for it. And Abigail will do what it takes to see her dreams come true while supporting her family. Great characters that you will love!

Through the story we read about hurtful pasts causing challenges in the present, but we are reminded that God has a path for each of us to walk, and that path includes forgiveness and redemption. We also see God putting families together in unique ways, because He is all about family; whatever that looks like to you.

A rough hero, a heroine with a less than perfect body shape, and a wonderful small town full of real people make for a great, unconventional read. I highly recommend this book!

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

 

Summer by The Tides by Denise Hunter

Summer by the Tides

From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom (now a beloved Hallmark Original movie) comes a heartfelt story of family secrets, forgiveness, and unexpected romance.

Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe’s love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram’s maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.

As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven—nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy’s heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they’ve become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

A sweet, clean contemporary romance, author Denise Hunter takes us to Sea Haven, where secrets abound. This book deals with some tough issues; infidelity, marriage problems, law breaking, and trust issues. That’s a lot for one family, but it happens in real life. Life isn’t all rainbows and lollipops so why should Christian novels have to be that way all the time? Hunter deals with things tactfully and honestly.

The characters are well developed and true to life. I appreciated that God is a part of this book, causing things to come to light and then bringing healing. And the fact that we see it’s okay to love “less than perfect” people is a good thing to have in this story.

I felt as if I was at Sea Haven. I could hear the gulls and smell the water. The settings were very descriptive. I think the only thing that kept me from five stars is that it wrapped up really fast. All in all a good book and I recommend it.

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