Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser ~ Reviewed

Nora St. Laurent shares her review of: The Long Highway Home 


Back Cover: Sometimes going home means leaving everything you have ever known.
When the doctor pronounces ‘incurable cancer’ and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier.  Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss…

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along The Refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time?  And at what cost?

Filled with action, danger, heartache, and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

Review Highlight: 

This novel is absolutely riveting. It’s a beautiful inspiring story of healing, faith and how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It made me look at the world with fresh eyes as things around us quickly change;...

Click to continue to read the review.  THE LONG HIGHWAY HOME by ELIZABETH MUSSER REVIEWED

Sunday, August 06, 2017

An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter ~ Reviewed


An Uncommon Courtship (Hawthorne House)
by Kristi Ann Hunter
Series: Hawthorne House
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 3, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764218263


Description: 

"Engaging Regency romance to sweep you away."--USA Today Happy Ever After Blog
Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. Even with thepressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He's free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn't know, his dream of a marriage like his parents' seems lost forever. 

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent's relationship survive the pressures of London society?

Review: 

An Uncommon Courtship follows Lord Trent Hawthorne. He is definitely happy not to be the eldest son in the family, as he in no way wants to be a duke, however, he is still having trouble finding out where he fits in society and what he should be doing. When he finds himself forced into a marriage with Lady Adelaide Bell, a woman he hardly knows, he tries to find the positive in the situation, knowing the Lord is in control, yet he can't help wishing the circumstances were different. Adelaide, on the other hand, is caught off guard just as much as him. Being the second daughter, and always overlooked, she has no idea how to be a wife and take care of a home, especially to someone she barely knows.

I love the books in this series, and this one is no exception. I love both Trent and Adelaide's characters. They are forced into a difficult situation, and while they have ups and downs, they are also open to letting the Lord work in their marriage so that, hopefully, love will grow. I highly recommend this book!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy ~ Reviewed

Mary Connealy
  • Series:The Cimarron Legacy Book 2 
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076421182X

Description: 

Connealy Combines Western Action and Charming Historical Romance
The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

Review: 


Y’all are going to enjoy the ride as the entire Boden clan works together to uncover the truth behind the attacks against their family and their ranch… before it’s too late. Full of fun and excitement, this series is a must read!!!
Continue reading the review here.

Review by: Beth Erin 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dawn Ford's Knee High Lies ~ Reviewed

Dawn Ford
ebook: 289 pages
Publisher: Splickety Publishing Group
Language: English
  • ASIN: B072TMXH5X

Back cover text:

What happens when the lies you tell grow so high you can’t see the truth?

To the outside world Avery Denton’s life looks happy, normal even. But it isn’t. Not even close. She believes nothing can make it worse. When her mother skips town with their banker, the small-town gossips focus on her. 

Jaxson Stewart, Avery’s neighbor and friend, has had a crush on her for years. She makes his heart race, which is dangerous for a boy with a heart condition. Unlike their community, he refuses to hold her mother’s actions against her.

Avery’s summer heats up when Jaxson kisses her under a star lit sky. The rest of her life boils over, though, when Avery becomes the target of revenge, her alcoholic father’s anger escalates, and long-hidden family secrets come to light. 

Can Avery find strength in the truth? Or will she continue to struggle through knee-high lies? 

Review:

This book tugged on my heartstrings big-time. Dawn’s dynamic and authentic characters and deep storyline caused me to feel every emotion, sometimes in rapid succession. I laughed, I cried, I got more than a little angry—a few times. Though this novel was written for young adults, the story will draw all readers in. And I believe, in reading about Avery, a teenager living in chaos in a town filled with judgment and, seemingly, perfect families, readers can catch a glimpse into what life may be like for the hurting teens among us.

I loved Avery. I felt for her. She was timid, insecure, and yet incredibly strong. She weathered what would cause many to break. There were times when her situation seemed hopeless, but I loved how Dawn brought it all back around. The ending was perfect, the romance interwoven in the story adorable and sweet, and the message of grace and healing and inner strength came through clear.

In other words, I loved this book and am certain you will to. I can’t wait to read more from this gifted, slightly gritty, utterly authentic writer.   

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Friday, July 07, 2017

Butterflies on Breezes by Valerie Comer ~ Reviewed

by Valerie Comer
  • Series: Urban Farm Fresh Romance
  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: GreenWords Media (September 28, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1988068150

Description: 

From a USA Today bestselling author!
Like a butterfly on a summer breeze, Love rarely lands where it’s expected. Working for her dad’s landscaping business stifles Linnea Ranta. When she’s invited to design and build a community garden with an intriguing master carpenter, she seizes the chance to unfurl her wings, but at what expense to her heart? 
Logan Dermott eases back his flirting when he senses Linnea’s fragility, but she has more backbone than he suspected. As they work together, Logan finds he’s falling for her, but it may be too late to win her love. 
Will Linnea break free of her chrysalis and fly away before Logan realizes what he almost had?

Review: 

I adore this fictional small town community within the big city of Spokane! United by proximity, a new community center, and a cozy-sized church, this neighborhood is graced with the intimate charm of a matchmaking grandma figure and nonstop 3-on-3 basketball. Keep reading Beth Erin's review http://www.faithfullybookish.com/review/butterflies-on-breezes-by-valerie-comer/ 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge ~ Reviewed


By Hillary Manton Lodge
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN#978-1-6042-934-6
315 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away

REVIEW: This author beautifully brings together a heartfelt story of three sisters whose lives are suddenly shattered by an unexpected chain of events. News travels fast of their father’s business scandal and they are forever identified with his disgrace. Their lease is up on their tea salon in San Francisco. They are unable to find an affordable place so they seek a new location and move in Austin, Texas. The girls are looking for a fresh start and to reconnect with family members on their mother’s side.

Continue Reading Nora St Laurent’s Review

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook  Publishers.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham ~ Reviewed

Just the Way You Are
Pepper Basham
Series: A Pleasant Gap Romance
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 153969903X


Description: 

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, takes a vacation from her Blue Ridge Mountain "mom" life to travel to the English countryside in search of answers to an ancestral mystery. Burned by romance, she certainly isn't planning to stumble into her own fairy tale. Leading man and former rogue, Christopher Wesley Harrison is fighting to rebuild a new reputation after a tragedy introduced him to the power of redemption. His self-protective avoidance of romance crumbles at Eisley's two left feet and her authenticity send his heart into unscripted territory. When his past threatens to ruin their second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Review: 

In addition to fun, adorable, and swoony story elements, Pepper Basham has a charming knack for creating families that readers adore. Just the Way You Are is a modern-day romance that has it all, humor, mystery, depth, extended family members, children, and exes, too… the author even incorporates a few scenes at the kitchen sink.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher ~ Reviewed

THE IMPOSTER 
Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • Series: The Bishop's Family (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800723201


Description: 

Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. Those plans started to crumble when her father moved the family to Stoney Ridge, then completely collapsed when John decided to marry someone else. Katrina is devastated. How could she have felt so loved, yet been so deceived?

As she struggles to face a future without him, a widow asks for her help to start a new business and Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose. What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farm hand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing, and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy
for real, or too good to be true? Deceived once before, Katrina is determined to keep her feelings in check. 

When a cascade of events is set in motion by some surprising information, the little Amish church is turned upside down. Soon, everyone has a stake in the outcome, and the community struggles to find the best response to an imposter in their midst. Can they forgive even the most deceitful deeds?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher introduces her loyal fans to a brand-new series set in their favorite town--Stoney Ridge. As always, Fisher delivers endearing characters and plot twists that keep readers turning page after page after page.


Review:
Imposter
 is about a young Amish Woman named Katrina Stolzfus. Her life was going on just as planned, until her mother was killed in a buggy accident, and her boyfriend, John, suddenly broke up with her because he was engaged to someone else. When a local widow trying to start a Moss farm is in need of help, Katrina agrees, thinking it might give her something different to do to get her mind off of all that has happened. In the meantime, her father, a minister in town, is fighting his own battles against other ministers who are taking it into their own hands to make changes that may not be good for the community. Yet when David tries to stand up to them, he is threatened in a subtle way.

I really enjoyed this book. There was one turn of events that took me completely by surprise, and I can' t figure out if it was because I wasn't paying attention or the author did a great job of catching me off guard! Either way, I thought the story was well written. I especially liked David's character. He was always doing his best to trust in the Lord, and to be in the Word, learning more about the Lord. What a great example to his children and the community.


Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Friday, June 02, 2017

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green ~ Reviewed

by Jocelyn Green
  • File Size: 5019 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 3, 2017)
  • Publication Date: January 3, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01M3P77NG


Back Cover: 

Life in This New World Requires More Strength Than She Ever Imagined
After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption. Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict. 

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects. The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin. When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit? 

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace--and love--can overcome the stigma of the king's mark upon her shoulder.

Review: 

Readers, prepare to be completely captivated by this story… WOW!!! The rich cultures and customs from France to the dismal conditions across the sea in Louisiana are fascinating. However, it was the challenging experiences of the characters within this book are what kept me turning page after page long into the night and early morning!

Read the rest of the review (and author Q&A) HERE

Reviewed by: Beth Erin 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Book Lover Alert

Brick and mortar seems to be merging and meshing into something a little more cloud like. As an author for a small publisher I am just fine with Amazon and the other on-line outlets. Honestly, the only book store I know that carries my book is Once Upon a Crime in Minnesota. (I highly recommend you go there for the smells and the squeaks and creaks, the delicious ambiance you can only find in an old building that is full of books! Someone needs to make an air freshener and call it old library!) 

Which brings me to my point. There is just something soul satisfying about an old book store or library. If you feel the same way, keep reading. You could become the new owner of a piece of fabulous history. 

If you are a book lover. Antique, vintage furniture lover. Word nerd.  You are going to want to start clicking.



Do you recognize this book cart? It is an antique book cart from the New York Public Library.  

Out of Print, the literary apparel and lifestyle brand based in New York, had fun refinishing it--cleaning it up without stripping it from its character.  Founders Todd Lawton and Jeff LeBlanc did some research on the cart and contacted the manufacturer--still in business


Out of Print is hosting a giveaway: an antique book cartnine galleys from Penguin Random House and a $100 gift card to shop at www.outofprintclothing.com.

Go here and win a piece of the library for your home! 

https://www.outofprintclothing.com/pages/library-book-truck-giveaway

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Count Me In by Mikal Dawn ~ Reviewed

Mikal Dawn
ebook: 217
Publisher: 121 Publishing House
Language: English
USBN-10: BO713RQHQ7

Description: 

*This is a romantic comedy with a Christian worldview.

Allegra Spencer has been living a careful life. Her safe job as an accountant is bookended by going to church and the gym. Okay, sometimes the gym. Fine. She goes to church. And the coffee shop. She avoids risk at all cost, preferring to stay safe in her cozy condo. Until her accounting firm goes belly up and she's out of a job.

Tyler Hawk had a glorious career as a star NFL tight end. He retired on a high note and now lives a second dream of owning his own business and leading others on extreme outdoor adventures. But he needs help with his books--and his heart. When Allegra takes the job, sparks fly.

It's a case of safety zone versus danger zone, and in their minds, never the two shall meet.



Review:

When I learned this sweet and hilarious story was set in Seattle, I knew I wanted to read it. The theme of a security-loving account with a safety bubble about a mile wide who’s thrown into one adventure of another intrigued me. Interesting enough, I learned of this novel’s upcoming release around the same time my adult daughter chose to go parasailing—and invited me to join her. My response was quick and certain—No! In other words, I could relate to poor Allegra, and I felt her anxiety intensely, as she soared high above the ground. The fact that she was tethered to a sigh-worthy hero, however, made the experience appear at least somewhat enjoyable.

This was a unique, light-hearted read that provided me with numerous chuckles at the end of rather busy and stressful days. I recommend this novel for those looking for a clean, God-honoring romance that celebrates forever love.


Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Matters Most ~ Kellie Coates Gilbert ~ Reviewed



WHAT MATTERS MOST
Kellie Coates Gilbert
Series: Texas Gold Collection
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Revell (July 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800722752

Back Cover

Just when she can't take it anymore, Leta finally catches a break. But when things seem too good to be true, they often are.

Finding her dream job went right out the window when Leta Breckenridge had to quit school to help care for her mother suffering from dementia. When a delinquent account may force her mother into a less desirable facility, Leta is thrilled to land a high-paying job at an Austin public relations firm. But her seemingly ideal job turns into a nightmare when she learns the firm is a front for a political opposition organization--and that the research she's been collecting will be used against Nathan Emerson, the handsome senator she's swiftly falling in love with.

Nathan is a rising political star being pressured to run a bid to unseat the current governor of Texas. He's already in a relationship with a woman much better suited to be a politician's wife, but he's never met anyone like Leta. Could this feisty woman hold the key to his heart--and his future?

With emotional depth and keen insight into what drives us, Kellie Coates Gilbert offers a salient story that calls us to consider what we value most in this life.


Review:

What Matters Most is about a young woman named Leta Breckenridge. She had to quit school to take on several jobs to pay for her mother's care in an assisted living facility, as her mother suffers with dementia. While leaving one of her jobs run night, she literally runs into Nathan Emerson, whom later finds out is a senator who is running for the office of governor. There is an instant attraction between the two, but neither really thinks anything of it. In the meantime, Leta manages to land a dream job with a company doing research, which enables her to keep paying for her mother's care. Little does she realize the companies true motives in research – being paid by politicians to find “dirt” on opponents. Leta doesn't realize this at first, and in the meantime, keeps running into Nathan. As her relationship with Nathan develops, so does the intensity of her job, as she realizes she is being paid six figures a year to try to ruin Nathan's career. Her conscious wins out over the need for money and she quits her job, but she highly underestimates the people she's been working for and the actions that they will take.

I really liked Nathan's character in particular in this book. In this day and age, we are so sick of politics and the fact that we don't feel like we can trust any of them. But Nathan was on the up and up, and is someone I would vote for. His character stayed flawless through the whole story. And I liked that Leta stayed true to what she knew was right instead of getting sucked into a bad job just for the money.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Ben-Hur by Carol Wallace ~ Reviewe

Editor Note: I get so many books, far more than I can read and review, or pass on to others to read and review for me. So every once in awhile, I borrow great reviews on great books. Today Nora St Laurent shares her review link with us. 


Ben Hur by Carol Wallace
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Mti edition (July 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496411064

Book Description: 

As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world―both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew’s great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today’s audience.

Coming to theaters in August 2016 as Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.

Rediscover the intrigue, romance, and tragedy in this thrilling adventure.

Also included: the inspiring story-behind-the-story of Lew Wallace―Indiana lawyer, author, and Civil War general.


Review: 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Out of the Frying Pan by Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer ~ Reviewed

Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer
Paperback: 276
Publisher: Bling!
Language: English
USBN-10: 1938499131

When the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal's?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all...broken hearts--especially when the Hopkins sisters' niece KC arrives on the scene.

Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters uncover a mysterious secret that takes life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.

Review:

For whenever you need a literal laugh-out-loud moment …

Out of the Frying Pan by Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer is a delightful cozy mystery with a bit of a sweet romance. The characters presented, from zany Zula and her roommate, Focused Fern to the handsome cop and niece caught between them, provide a perfect balance of humor and pragmatism, blending for an intriguing plot line that keeps one guessing on numerous levels.

Zula, the dumpster diving, flower saving sister-in-law/aunt is the Lucy Ricardo of the 21st century. Oh, the messes she gets herself in, from sneaking “stolen,” discarded plastic foliage into rusted old cars to stumbling upon a dead body. It’s no wonder her sister-in-law Fern lives in a perpetual state of exasperation. Zula was by far my favorite character, though Fern made her all the more delightful.

This is a fun story that will make you laugh on even your most melancholy of days, and the mystery was so skillfully presented, it will keep even the most skilled sleuths guessing.

Highly recommended.   


Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Bonus Thoughts from Amazon Reviewers:

"A laugh out loud mystery with quirky, lovable characters who find themselves in all sorts of trouble. The storyline is believable and comes with descriptions of mouth-watering food, which makes for a delicious plot! A cohesive and fast-moving novel." 4-Stars! RT Book Reviews

“Out of the Frying Pan is a delicious cozy mystery! I loved the humor, the villain surprised me, and the main characters, Fern and Zula, are so richly drawn, they step off the pages and lead you on a merry chase. Masterfully written, it has all the elements of a great read: romance, murder, a dog, and humor. Did I mention the humor?” Ane Mulligan

“I loved this book. The authors, Michelle and Kelly, each writings from one of the two main character's viewpoint, developed a story line that was laugh out loud funny and entertaining. There are many minor characters, and together with the two main characters, they keep the pace moving quite fast while being believable. Scenes are well thought out and the setting, in a senior citizens neighborhood, gives a lot of twists and turns. There's murder, intrigue, romance, love, family relationships -- all written in a fun style. I can't wait for the next book in this series.” John Vonhof

“Who knew life in a seniors community could be so wild, suspenseful, and hilarious? Sisters-in-law Fern and Zula Hopkins are opposite in every way except age. How they keep from killing one another is a mystery, but that's not the mystery of this book. Their zany antics to solve the murder of the cook keeps detective Jared Flynn on his toes. Cozy mysteries are my favorite, and this one is good, with a twist ending that caught me by surprise (the best kind).”  Debra Butterfield

“Absolutely loved every word of Out of the Frying Pan! Having read other of Michelle Griep's work, I knew I was in store for a great story and Out of the Frying Pan did not disappoint. Quirky characters, high adventure. Can't ask for much more. I highly recommend this cozy little romance with a side of murder!” Deanne Davis