Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

20Left 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?

What I Loved: The Curse of Misty Wayfair is quite a blessing for the reader! From the moment I opened the book, I was drawn into Pleasant Valley alongside both heroines. The legendary curse intrigued me as much as the heroines did. And the heroes! Sigh. They were both so real and flawed. The tension between the couples was so thick you could cut it with a knife, and yet the lustful tones were at a minimum. It was a very clean and chaste romance and beautifully written.
I didn’t find Misty Wayfair to be as suspensful as Foster Hill, but that’s not a bad thing! I’m not a big suspense reader so I found it to be the perfect amount. The mystery itself was wonderfully crafted. I felt like I had a good understanding of how it would pan out, but the conclusion was more in-depth than I had expected, so I was very pleased.
The spiritual content was a surprising blessing. The theme centered around being lovingly crafted with a purpose. However, it was the struggle Heidi had with her family that convicted me. Sometimes a parent’s love isn’t understood very well. Being able to experience and sympathize over Heidi’s hardships through her perspective opened my eyes to see that there may be things that I say or attitudes that I carry that isn’t understood well by my teen.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Curse of Misty Wayfair 5 stars and gladly recommend it to those who enjoy Christian mystery/suspense, dual-timeline novels, or just a great novel.

~I received a copy from Bethany House. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a positive one. All thoughts are my own.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

339Though 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.

What I Loved: From the moment I opened the book, I felt as if I had stepped into another world. Frantz has a beautiful gift for using words to create a setting that is equally as lush and vibrant as the real-life areas she portrays. The characters were so endearing and it was easy to sympathize with their plight. The spiritual content was weaved into the story in the most natural and effective way. Both of the main characters had a strong relationship with the Lord. It was refreshing to find that the story revolved around how their trust in Christ was the anchor through the difficult storms in their life. While readers aren’t likely to find themselves in the same set of circumstances, they will be able to relate to the helpless feeling of a life spinning out of control.
A Bound Heart was stunning from start to finish and a great way to start your new year!

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving A Bound Heart 5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction or fiction centered around Scotland, the later 1700s, Colonial America, and slavery.

~ I received a copy from Revell. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one. 

 

Posted in About the Book

Cover Reveal: Art of Love Book 2 by A.M. Heath

Cover Tease Painter AD

Eeek! It’s finally time to share info about my upcoming novel with you. The Art of Love series is something different from me. Each of the novels in this series are 100% stand-alone, which means there will not be any crossover characters. This will allow readers to pick up the books in any order without conflict.
Art of Love is a series based on a similar theme. Each book will feature a different form of art. They have been so much fun to write. And they’ve been a blast to reread too!
The series kicks off with Dance With Me which releases 4/8/19. I’m currently working on revisions for the 2nd book in the series which is projected to release in fall of 2019. So … are you ready to learn more about this one?

Painted PNG

Official Description:

Getting over Grady was the hardest thing Olivia Jernigan ever had to do. Now, three years after his death and on the verge of marrying another, her plans come to a screeching halt when she receives a shocking wedding gift from her great aunt that may change everything—a picture painted by her deceased fiancé. Bent on discovering the truth, Olivia flees home to learn what really happened to the man she thought loved her, a man who was supposed to have died in the Korean War.

Grady Barnes woke up in a hospital room three years ago with no knowledge of his identity. The only memory to resurface was the image of a woman. A woman he can’t stop painting. Will these paintings be the key to helping him find his way home, and how can the woman in the painting affect the direction of his life?

Olivia and Grady have a history, but do they still have a future?
Or is their romance just a painted memory?

The Art of Love is a series compiled of stand-alone novels where the characters tell their own stories and love means so much more than passion.

Painter Banner

I’ll be honest. I don’t know whether to sigh in awe or scream for joy. Lol Olivia and Grady share a beautiful love story like nothing I’ve ever written before. There is something so … pure here. I’ve said that about each of the books in this series. I think that’s one of the things they all have in common. And it’s why I’ve used that phrasing in the description and advertisements for the series: love means so much more than passion. Each of the stories involves a love that is so much deeper than your common whirl-wind romance. It’s deeper than the lustful expression of love that we commonly see today. I find myself standing back with readers on this one, just breathing in a sigh of awe at the devotion these characters show toward one another.
There is a third book planned in the series and it features an actress, but I’m not currently working on it so there will be a long gap before the series is closed. But that’s one of the perks to writing a stand-alone series! 🙂 Here are some more details on the series:

You can mark Dance With Me on Goodreads. Painted Memories is now available on Goodreads as well.
The pre-order links are not available yet, but you can be sure not to miss the release of either novel by signing up for my newsletter. I’ll send you a link directly into your inbox the morning of the release, as well as an early preview of each novel two weeks before they release.

Coming 2019 plus one

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham

36Journey 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?

What I Loved: I’m still new to Pepper’s work, but I’m already a huge fan! I’m not even sure what to say aside from that I loved this one and recommend it to everybody. The setting comes to life as well as the culture of the Appalachian mountains. The characters are well developed. The chemistry between Laurel and Jonathan is the stuff of perfection. Jonathan’s initiation in the mountains had me rolling from the start. There’s a sound message about trusting Christ with the details of your life and the salvation of your loved ones. All in all My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge was a delightful novel from start to finish.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Historical Christian Fiction or fiction set in the Appalachian Mountains.

~ I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen

42Much has happened in idyllic Ivy Hill in recent months, and while several villagers have found new love and purpose, questions remain–and a few dearly held dreams have yet to be fulfilled.

Jane Bell is torn. Gabriel Locke is back and has made his intentions clear. But Jane is reluctant to give up her inn and destine another man to a childless marriage. Then someone she never expected to see again returns to Ivy Hill. . . . 

Mercy Grove has lost her school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires seems out of reach. Should she uproot herself from Ivy Cottage to become a governess for a former pupil? Her decision will change more lives than her own.

A secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, but the ladies soon suspect she isn’t who she claims to be. Will they oust the imposter, or help rescue her from a dangerous predicament?

In the meantime, everyone expects Miss Brockwell to marry a titled gentleman, even though her heart is drawn to another. While the people of Ivy Hill anticipate one wedding, an unexpected bride may surprise them all.

Don’t miss this romantic, stirring conclusion to Tales from Ivy Hill.

My Thoughts: The Bride of Ivy Green is the happy conclusion that fans of the series have been waiting for. We’re back to the cozy Regency setting with the friends that we had made in the previous books. Klassen has several surprises and unexpected turns in store for the readers. The drama unfolds at a steady rate, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was stretched thin compared to my favorite Klassen novels. But I appreciated the solid gospel message weaved into the storyline.
*This series is a continuation and should be read in order.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Bride of Ivy Green 4 stars and recommending it Christian Regency fans.

~ I received a copy from Bethany House through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one. 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

45

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith. 

Jessica 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.

My Thoughts: I was smitten by the concept and the cozy remote setting. There’s a dual-timeline story taking place here so the reader can learn more about her grandfather whose Bible she’s now reading. His portion of the story was my favorite.
While I did feel like the conversations and personalities in the contemporary portion of the story was rather dull, I did highly appreciate Hatcher’s attention to spiritual matters. She used Scripture in a natural way. And her message on ultimate forgiveness in spite of adultery was inspiring and very well done.

Rating and Recommendation: I’d recommend it to Christian fiction fans, especial those who enjoy dual-timeline or contemporary. I’m giving it 3.5 stars.

~ I received a copy from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Posted in Book Reviews

3 in 1 Book Review: Three Titles from KindleUnlimited

If you’re like me, you probably jumped on the opportunity to enjoy Kindle Unlimited for 3 months at the price of 99 cents. And … if you’re like me, you likely started browsing the selection and loading your precious Kindle up with terrific reads. So today, I want to share 3 quickie reviews for 3 novellas that I found and adored on KU.
For those unfamiliar with KU, each of these novellas are for sale in ebook form but also available to read for free to KU subscribers. 

45The last person Calil Deane expects to find trapped in an elevator in Siberia at 2.a.m is Peter Samuelson—the man who broke her heart. Peter Samuelson can’t believe the one woman he can’t forget is the one who rescues him in the backwoods of Russia. But can love be reignited, or will the fears – and mistakes – of the past drive them apart again? And can Calli forgive him and embrace a future she never expected—and isn’t sure she still wants? 

Just how do you measure the love of a man? Calli and Peter are about to find out.

 

Measure of a Man by Susan May Warren:

I adore Warren and this novella is a prime example of why. She has such a natural way of incorporating Christian elements into her novels. This particular novella includes a missionary and the man who left her behind. It’s romantic, edifying, entertaining, and set in a foreign country. What’s not to love?
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.

31

 

He likes streamline. She prefers embellishments. His forte is business. Hers is atmosphere. Will they realize each has what the other needs most to create the perfect romance with a touch of Jane Austen flair?

When a country girl travels to Bath, England to visit Jane Austen country, will a serious businessman ruin her regency-dream?

 

 

Second Impressions by Pepper Basham: 

Love, love, AUSTEN LOVE! I’m new to Basham, but she has a whole collection of stories waiting for me on KU, and I plan to indulge myself with more of her lovely work. For the Austen lover, this is a must-read. For everyone else: you’re gonna adore it too! The chemistry between these two is spot-on. The bulk of the story takes place in England around the Regency convention.
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.

32Christmas is coming to Romance, Oregon…but for Andy McKay, it’s only a reminder of the day the love of his life walked away. Guilted into playing Scrooge as a young man in the town’s production of A Christmas Carol, Andy unexpectedly finds himself acting alongside his girlfriend of romance past.

Cassie Winston has spent the past year traveling, writing, and regretting that she left the man she loved behind her. She’s afraid the old adage about how you can never go home again might be true. It’s hard enough to convince Andy to consider giving them a second chance, and acting with him in Scrooge and Belle’s breakup scene certainly doesn’t help.

As ghosts from the past resurface, can they find a way to create a new future together?

A Christmas Carol in Romance by Franky A. Brown: 

Sigh. This is one is perfect for your Hallmark Christmas movie fan. There isn’t a Christian message in this one, but it is absolutely clean and absolutely adorable. Everything, from the cast to the setting, had the cozy Christmas feel to it. There was Dickens and the Christmas Carol everywhere in this novella, which made me love it even more.
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.

 

I’d love to hear your recommendations for Christian (or clean) reads that are also available in Kindle Unlimited. I highly recommend all 3 of these titles and have given them all 5 stars. 
AND in case you weren’t aware. All of my novels are available in KU. 😉 And I can highly recommend them to you as well. You’ll find my collection on Amazon and Goodreads

 

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lieutenant’s Bargain by Regina Jennings

7Hattie Walker dreams of becoming a painter, while her parents want her to settle down. As a compromise, they give her two months to head to Denver and place her works in an exhibition or give up the dream forever. Her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach, leaving her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho . . . but she’s too terrified to recognize them as friendly.

Confirmed bachelor Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has long worked with the tribe and is tasked with trying to convince them that the mission school at Fort Reno can help their children. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to take her home–and plead his case once more.

He’s stunned to run into Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart–but quickly realizes he has a chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril–and tests Jack’s resolve to remain single.

What I Loved: Well… I devoured this in 24 hours! I absolutely loved it! The story kicks off and doesn’t stop until you hit the last page. It was hilarious, romantic, fast-paced, and even had a lovely Christian Christmas message tucked inside. These two had great chemistry together and they kept the pages moving. The entire cast of personalities came to life. It was also a treat to revisit old friends from previous books. I’m not sure what else you need to hear from me other than a command for you to pick this one up ASAP! I adored it and I think you will too!

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars. I recommend it to those looking for a fun western and to Christian historical/western fans.

~ I received a copy from Bethany House through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: At First Glance by Susan Tuttle

17Estate planner Penny Thornton loves dusting off items others gloss over, especially since she relates to feeling tossed aside for the “bright and shiny.” When her younger sister’s approaching wedding launches Penny back into the throes of her dysfunctional family, she decides to use the festivities to close the gap in their relationships even if it means appeasing them and finally losing the few pounds they’ve hounded her about for years. 

But she doesn’t expect to meet two very different men in the process: East Fisher, the personal trainer who personifies everything she believes she could never attain, and Jonah Black, a man who reminds her so much of herself. Both men are more than they appear at first glance, and each seems interested in her romantically. 

As Penny uncovers their hidden layers, she discovers when it comes to love and matters of the heart, she’s got a lot to learn about estimating value.

What I Loved: Wow-wee! At First Sight will certainly be a highlight of my reading year. The characters were easy to relate to and their chemistry was spot-on. The overall writing style was smooth and enjoyable. I’m under the impression that Tuttle spend years studying the craft and her debut novel shows it.
But for me, the real highlight was the theme of the story and it’s summed up nicely in this quote from the novel: “My potential has nothing to do with my waistline.” Tuttle shows the realistic struggle of trying to fit into society’s, or sometimes our family’s, perfect image. Our worth in Christ and showing love, kindness, and offering forgiveness to others were themes woven in from start to finish.

Rating and Recommendations: I highly recommend At First Glance to Christian Contemporary romance fans or to anyone who has ever focused on their outward appearance. I’m giving it 5 stars.

~ I received a copy from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.