Thursday, August 27, 2015

Varina Denman's Justified ~ Reviewed

Justified: A Novel (Mended Hearts Series)
by Varina Denman
Series: Mended Hearts Series
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781412161


In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for grace while the local football coach treats her with gentle respect.

Justified perfectly captures the rhythm and romance of life in a small town, telling the unforgettable story of a woman searching for renewal, a man looking beyond what others see, and a community torn between judgment and love. It is the unforgettable story of broken dreams, second chances, and relentless hope.


Varina Denman's Justified is book two in the Mended Heart Series. The storyline picks up a few months after book one ended. Fawn, one of Ruthie's former haters finds herself shunned and alone except for the kindness of Ruthie's family. 

Fawn's father and mother have disowned her, not necessarily for being pregnant out of wedlock, more so for refusing to marry Tyler, the baby's daddy and the son of one of the richest men in the area. 

Fawn discovers much about others, what she has always accepted at face value and the truth about herself during the months where she creates a nest for her little family of two. 

Tyler intensifies the pressure and temptation for a marriage that would meet all of the physical needs and wants that Fawn has grown accustomed to. Her parents encourage her to take that step. But her heart tells her otherwise. 

Denman spins a complex tale full of struggle and growth. Her characters are multidimensional and the topics and challenges they face are ones we see played out in our world and churches. If you are looking for a solid story that makes you hope for the characters give this one a shot. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

An ARC of this book was sent to me for an honest review.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sandra Byrd's Mist of Midnight ~ Reviewed

Mist of Midnight: A Novel
by Sandra Byrd
Series: The Daughters of Hampshire
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (March 10, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476717869


In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her...and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca's name, but her home and incomes. 

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father's investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”? 

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.


Captivating from paragraph one, Mist of Midnight had me seeing a couple midnights I had no intention of staying up for. 

Written in a shrouded gothic tone, Mist of Midnight starts with the return of Rebecca Ravenshaw to her family estate. Now, this is a return that is already fragile as Rebecca is coming home from India where the rest of her family perished. She is a virtual stranger to England. When she arrives at her estate she discovers it occupied and that her arrival is met with suspicion. It seems that Rebecca Ravenshaw had already claimed the property and died a tragic not-to-be-talked about death. As days go on, Rebecca uncovers more puzzles and bizarre behaviors, even from the only one she begins to trust, Luke Whitfield, the man in line to inherit should Rebecca prove to be an imposter or show up dead.

Loved this. So dark and broody and outright creepy in places. My historical itch was fully scratched with the social shunning of Rebecca and the calculating folks who watched and waited for her to fail at her endeavor. The twists and turns in this tale offer up a great story in the process. If you love historicals and tense, rich writing with deep characterization you have to give this one a deeper look.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sarah Sundin's On Distant Shores ~ Reviewed

Sarah Sundin
Series: Waves of Freedom (Book 1)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Revell (August 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800723422


War is coming. Can love carry them through the rough waters that lie ahead?
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Handsome and outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. On shore, Jim encounters Mary Stirling, a childhood friend who is now an astute and beautiful Boston Navy Yard secretary. 

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is discovered, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.


On Distant Shores is about Georgiana Taylor, a young flight nurse in World War II. She left a comfortable home and a loving fiance to serve her country, against the wishes of both her family and her fiance. John Hutchinson is a 2ndgeneration pharmacist who has enlisted to help his country, but finds that he is the low man on the totem pole, and neither him nor his profession receives the respect he feels he deserves. John and Georgiana meet, and while there is an instant chemistry, they both have someone waiting for them back home, and they are determined to be faithful. Throughout the war, they endure some very trying difficulties, not only due to the circumstances of the war, but due to ways in which the lives they left back home in the states are changing.

I really had a hard time putting this book down. It was so interesting to me. I love history, and haven't read a lot of books during this time period, but I thought it was very well done, not only the characters, but the historical aspect of it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Max Davis's Dead Dog Like Me ~ Reviewed

Dead Dog Like Me
by Max Davis
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Worthy Publishing (June 23, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1617955248

Megachurch pastor Nick Gregory's life is falling apart. His wife is filing for divorce. His congregation is questioning his leadership. His faith is nearly nonexistent. It goes down hill from there. When he regains consciousness after a horrific car crash, Nick realizes he is no longer in his hometown or even in the twenty-first century.
Transported back in time to 800 B.C. and into the body of King Saul s grandson Mephibosheth, Nick must quickly adapt to a completely different way of living. Can the experience of living as a another broken man, desperate for God s healing, bring healing to Nick himself if he can ever get back home?
A novel of adventure, redemption, and outrageous grace, Dead Dog Like Me takes you back in time to know more deeply a God who never changes, a God who lavishes you with His love.


dead dog like me is a book I would not have purchased. I'm such a fan of cute little dogs and there is one on the cover, however, I have the secret aversion to the possibility of animal peril and I just won't go there. 

I receive unsolicited books for review and I generally pass them on to local readers who read for Novel Reviews. Every once in awhile I find an unsolicited novel I hang on to. If a book is in a genre I might read I will always crack the cover and read the first paragraph 

I opened dead dog like me and then read the whole thing in two days. I barely did dishes. I didn't sweep up the dog hair that my beagles throw willy nilly throughout my house. I just read this book.

I also have an aversion to books (and songs) that are sentimental and designed to manipulate emotion out of the reader. dead dog like me had me weeping and not because it was designed to. 

That said, this story is touching and feels authentic. A superstar preacher melts down and loses everything but what's left behind is pretty beautiful. 

It might be one the best books you read all year 

Reviewed by:  Kelly Klepfer

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Jodie Bailey's Quilted by Christmas ~ Reviewed

Quilted by Christmas: Quilts of Love Series
by Jodie Bailey
Series: Quilts of Love
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (October 21, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426773617

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Rachel Hauck's Once Upon a Prince ~ Reviewed

Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding Series)
by Rachel Hauck
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (April 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310315476


Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by best-selling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess―just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simons Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.
It’s the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?


This book was sent to me ages ago by the publisher. I had every intention of reading and reviewing it in a timely manner. And I didn't offer to someone else to read, so I was very interested in the storyline. Apologies for the late review. But is a good review ever too late? Maybe the timing is kind of like midnight striking. It is about a prince. Enough of that. Rachel Hauck is a very gifted storyteller. She weaves a tale of international love, kingdoms, princes and throws in almost every little girls' original dream, to become a princess.

Susanna Truitt finds herself at the backside of her dream life when her little little castle of cards comes crashing down around her ears.  Her prince charming has found a future happily ever after, unfortunately, that doesn't include Susanna. Designing beautiful surroundings as a career somehow falls flat, she can barely give away her services. And Susanna sees her likely future as alone and working in the family restaurant. Not that that's a bad thing...but....

In steps Nate, with a burden of his own. And limitations, and sacrifices he must make. Plus one must consider the large pond that separates Nate and Susanna. Is there a happily ever after for either of them?

If you haven't read this book, and you have a hankering to do so, I'm pretty sure you won't be sorry. There's a whole lot of charming in it, prince and otherwise.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer