Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

455Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

My Thoughts: There’s really a lot to love and adore in this book. Unfortunately, it took me a while to find it. I hate even saying that. But Katherine Reay is a solid storyteller, and I was well rewarded in the end. Reay’s gift is in telling stories that feature broken people and broken families. The Printed Letter Bookshop has 3 main characters, each with their own struggle … and with their own style of storytelling.
Madeline shares her story in the first person, past tense. While Claire shares hers in the third person, past tense. And Janet in the first person, present tense. I’ll be honest, this was a gutsy move for Reay and one that took some getting used to. But the creator in me can applaud her for thinking outside of the box.
I think what I enjoyed the most was the relationships. While there was a lot of true to life heartache for each of these characters, there was also true to life friendship and joy. This is definitely one that leaves you feeling warm with a satisfying ending.

Rating and Recommendation: I give it 4 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Contemporary Fiction.

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

Advertisements
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The White City: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes by Grace Hitchcock

452Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

My Thoughts: This was an interesting read. I did a little research on Holmes before reading the novel, and I really appreciated the various facts she was able to weave in. Because Hitchcock is dealing with a real figure in history during a specific time in history, I was curious to see how she’d tell her story while keeping with the historical timeline. And I think she did an excellent job here. I was impressed. The White City is a story that almost could have played out in real life.
Considering the extreme nature of the crimes, Hitchcock did an excellent job of simply nodding toward reality without shocking her audience at all.
But besides crime and mystery, you’ll find a sweet love story — a love triangle, actually! — and an authentic historic setting.

Rating and Recommendation: I give it 4 stars and recommend it to Christian Historical Suspense/Mystery fans.
~ I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Not the Billionaire by Krista Noorman

451Will a case of mistaken identity lead to happily ever after or will a well-intentioned charade keep them apart?

All women ever want from Sebastian Schultz is his family’s money, which is why he’s avoided dating like the plague. Then Genevieve Willis walks into the Schultz building, ranting about her meeting with the cold fish head of the company, unaware that’s exactly who she’s speaking to. Immediately drawn to her beauty and sense of humor, Sebastian can’t resist this opportunity to finally get to know a woman without the stigma of the Schultz name. So he introduces himself as Kurtis from the Public Relations department, then implores his playboy younger brother to act as president in his place.

Genevieve can’t believe her luck landing her dream job, though she’s not looking forward to working with Sebastian, whose reputation as being distant and unapproachable precedes him. But she’s pleasantly surprised by the warm, welcoming man behind the desk. Yet as they develop an easy rapport and he turns on the charm, she can’t stop thinking about Kurtis, the sweet PR guy, who captured her attention just by being himself.

As “Kurtis” and Genevieve begin working together on the biggest charity event of the year, will it become impossible for him to conceal his real identity? And will she forgive him when she learns the truth?

This is a clean, sweet billionaire romance.

What I Loved: I loved the concept of this story and enjoyed waiting for the truth to come out and for the shoe to hit the fan. Noorman is a gifted writer. She has a way of making her characters feel like everyday people. And her families! She always brings out an endearing family, and the Shultz family was one of them. I’m looking forward to more from this series. And then there’s the romance. Sigh. Genevieve and Sebastian is another sweet couple with great chemistry.

Rating and Recommendation: I give it 5 stars and recommend you grab a box of chocolates while you read this one! It’s great for clean or Christian contemporary romance fans.

~I received a copy from the author and even helped to beta read this novel. All thoughts are my own. I wasn’t compensated or required to review this novel. I just wanted to pass along something I thought you’d enjoy. 🙂 

457

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Met Her Match by Susan L. Tuttle

450Get ready for ten weeks of romance in the Bahamas with a new series brought to you by some of the best authors in the inspirational and sweet romance genres…

Ten delightful—and standalone—novellas linked by one matchmaking week. You’ll want to devour each one!

MET HER MATCH:
Two old friends. One unexpected reunion.

Parasailing captain Pemberley Truitt has almost grasped a sense of home after two years in the Bahamas. While she misses her family, she’s never felt like she fits in; especially when it comes to TruLove, their family’s matchmaking business. When her brother calls and begs her help with the now struggling company, she’s happy to oblige and obtain the chance to find her place with them. But then she discovers she’ll have to work with Tobias Bradshaw. The last time she saw him, he broke her heart.

Tobias Bradshaw is ready for his love life to be as successful as his winning record in the courtroom. Which is why he agrees to his friend’s two-fold plea: professionally research Joy Island’s matchmaking service and personally be matched himself. No objections there. Until Pemberley Truitt crosses his path again, and she looks about as happy to see him as someone chosen for jury duty. It’s fine. He’s faced hostile witnesses before. Except he soon realizes he wants more than a temporary working relationship. He’s taken on difficult opposition in court before, but this time he’ll need more than a persuasive argument if he hopes to win Pem’s heart.

What I Loved: Met Her Match is a great vacation read. And it’s even better if you’re stuck indoors during the winter because the setting feels authentic as if you’re there with the characters. I love this sort of second-chance story where the characters don’t exactly get along. I always find the friction to be a load of fun. This one surprised me when the spiritual message really came into focus toward the end. Tuttles wraps up this romantic tale with a solid message on letting go of past hurts and putting God first in your life.

Rating and Recommendation: I give it 5 stars and recommend it to those looking for a clean/Christian romance novella or a fun vacation read.

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

456

There’s a mega giveaway in progress. To learn more about it and enter right here. 

RESORT TO ROMANCE SERIES:

It’s Matchmaking Week at an all-inclusive resort on a private island in the Bahamas. Each guest has been expertly paired and is here to enjoy one full week with their match. While there’s no money-back guarantee on the paid trip, the participants are guaranteed to find love!

BUY ALL TEN BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Available through Amazon or visit the author’s websites!

A Meddled Match by Jill Kemerer
A Messed-Up Match by Jessica R. Patch
Met Her Match by Susan L. Tuttle
Moonlight Match by Kristina Knight
Unexpected Match by Constance Phillips
Match Me If You Can by Krista Phillips
Mismatched Melody by Jodie Bailey
A Match for Mr. Write by Jennifer Shirk
Rematched by Julie Jarnagin
Match You Like Crazy by Johnnie Alexander

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

47The 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?

What I Loved:  Green is one of those historical authors that I always look forward to reading and never regret picking up. Between Two Shores was a stunning novel. Green’s understanding of the history, setting, and the various cultures help the story to leap off the pages. She’s a very gifted historical author and I highly recommend her work if you haven’t picked up one of her novels yet.
I’m gonna be honest, this was not a fluffy story. Far from it, actually. But it’s the sort of story that causes the reader and the character to grow. Now, when I say this wasn’t fluffy, I don’t mean that it was graphic or outside the Christian bounds. I only mean that there was a plot twist that I found as painful as the character did. Readers don’t need to proceed with caution, but they should expect a heavy, yet beautiful, story when they pick this one up.

Rating and Recommendations: I recommend this one to Christian Historical fiction fans, those looking for a deep, challenging story, and for those wanting to delve into the British, Native American, or French conflicts in the 1700s. I’m giving it 5 stars.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Looking for Reviewers!

Looking for Reviewers! Dance With Me is almost ready. It’s time to collect interested bloggers for the blog tour. If you love Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, or a clean story set in 1959, fill out the form to join the tour!

*If you’re not a blogger but are interested in reviewing the novel, please sign up here

 

Dance 2 F
Full Description:
Will a new partnership tear their worlds apart … or will it be the piece they never knew was missing?

In 1959, Arleen Thatcher and Neil Fox are fierce competitors on the dance floor, so they’re the least likely pair to enter a televised competition together. But when rivaling studio owners decide to team up, the two find a partnership they never thought possible.
Arleen’s reputation around town is reason enough for Neil to keep his distance from his new partner. But as Neil gets to know Arleen, he discovers a side of her few others have seen, one of dark family secrets and carefully-constructed facades.
God’s plan for their partnership may involve more than a single dance; it may be the key to the healing Arleen so desperately needs.

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

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

46Brought together by a charming bookstore in England, three women fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives. 

As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature. 

Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance. 

Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch. 

Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.

What I Loved: Harrel has a gift for plucking the reader out of their home and transporting them to a foreign country. She writes as an export. Beyond the fun travel details, there’s a beautiful soul-deep journey for the character and the reader. There’s a dual-timeline here, so the reader is treated to two contemporary storylines and one historical story. The history lover in me rejoices at Harrel’s decision to incorporate pages from a journal.
I will admit that this one took me a few pages longer to get fully wrapped up in, but the dramas of the heart tends to be a slower journey compared to war fiction, which I had been reading a great deal of lately. But I found the characters easy to relate to and the spiritual message comes in clearly near the end and left my heart warm and satisfied.

Rating and Recommendations: I’m giving The Secrets of Paper and Ink 5 stars and highly recommend it to those who enjoy Christian Fiction, dual timelines, women’s fiction, or those wanting to travel in the pages of a novel.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

49Numbed 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.

What I Loved: I’ve been invested in the Paxton family since page one of book one. The Sky Above Us was just as remarkable as The Sea Before Us, and I’m eagerly waiting for book 3 of the series.
The Sky Above Us was everything I’ve come to expect from Sundin: a sound message for the soul, endearing characters, a timeless romance, an accurate WWII setting, and all the historic details your heart can hold.
I always appreciate Sundin’s characters because they’re often humble Christian role models. Violet and Nick were two of those characters. Her heart longed to go out into the missionary field, and yet there was room for sweet Violet to grow. Sundin did an excellent job with this character. There’s something satisfying about rescuing the bad boy, and we get a dose of that here too! Adler was a terrific bad-boy-turned-good and a great lesson in accepting God’s forgiveness.
If you’re familiar with Sundin’s work, then you already know that she brought out all the stops to create a novel that you feel as if you can step into. And if you haven’t picked up one of her novels yet, then you’re really missing out.

Rating and Recommendations: I gladly give it 5 stars and recommend it to WWII fiction fans and Christian Historical Fiction fans.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

21A storied castle. A band of rebels.

A nation chasing a centuries-old dream of freedom.

And three women who rise above it all . . .

When Laine Forrester travels overseas to attend her best friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find the bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks, it seems the storybook lives they’d imagined are suddenly ripping apart.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending, Laine agrees to accompany the newlyweds to the groom’s home in Ireland—never expecting she’d be the one drawn in by its wide-open moors, backroads bordering the Irish Sea, and a mysterious castle that dares to keep its secrets hidden.

From the storied streets of Dublin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Laine is drawn in to the land and its rich history. The castle ruins whisper stories of Issy—a photojournalist battling through the 1916 Easter Rising, and Maeve—the castle’s lady of legend, fighting for survival through the 1798 rebellion that started it all.

Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise unites the legacy of three women who must risk mending the broken places within for life, love, and the belief that even through the depths of our pain, a masterpiece of a story can emerge.

My Thoughts: I’ve been looking forward to the next Lost Castle novel, and I was not disappointed. In fact, I found it a treat to revisit with book one’s couple, Ellie and Quinn, and I loved that the old couple wasn’t the main focus of the new story although we do get to see how their lives are progressing.
The vivid landscape described throughout the novel was certainly a high point. While my personal tastes are to have a little less description, Cambron’s talent here cannot be denied. She really does paint a pretty picture with words.
I only wish the spiritual content was as vivid. For me, that was the one area that I felt was lacking. The contemporary storyline, in particular, felt undone in terms of a spiritutal conclusion. But perhaps we’ll see more growth for Laine in the third book. And I do have to point out the many mentions of pubs and having a pint of Guinness. As a dry Baptist, this was a bit off-putting for me. But I will say that none of the characters were ever seen drunk. But the pub and the pub owners were prominent characters in two of the timelines.
Ahhh and the timelines!! I’m a historian at heart and I adore dual timelines. Cambron lovingly crafted three separate timelines around the same key locations and families. Both of the historical threads featured war or uprisings so they were often action packed. She gained my attention early on and kept it the whole way. Each moment in history felt authentic and rare. I didn’t know much Irish history, so I felt like the chosen eras were lesser known, but they quickly felt like home. For me, it’s the historical aspect that really made the story shine and why I gladly give it 5 stars.

Rating and Recommendation: I recommend it to those looking for Irish Historical novels, dual timelines, lovely castles, or Christian Historical fiction. And I’m giving it 5 stars and eagerly await the conclusion of the series.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Love Most Worthy by Sandy Ardoin

44She didn’t know which was colder, an Arctic winter or her new husband’s heart.
Hallie Russell believes life should be lived to the fullest. For that reason, she sails to the gold rush town of Nome, Alaska to take her cousin’s place as the mail-order bride of a respected shopkeeper. But when her aloof husband’s wedding-night announcement rocks her plans for their marriage, Hallie sees her desire for a family to call her own vanish as quickly as the dreams of hopeful miners.

Tragedy led Rance Preston to regret his rowdy ways and open a general store for the miners in Nome. He’s content in his bachelorhood, but his two orphaned nephews deserve a proper and serious-minded mother. Duped once by a vivacious female, he’s determined to never again let his heart overrule his head…until the high spirits of his new bride threaten his resolve. 

When a misunderstanding comes to light, will they allow the gale force winds of insecurity to destroy what they each need most?

What I Loved: I was immediately pulled in and sympathized with Hallie. She had such a sweet personality, but desperate to know that someone loved her. I was intrigued by the historical detail of panning for gold in Alaska and the life-like setting. Ardoin offers beautiful detail throughout the story, but in a way that doesn’t put the plot on hold. The story itself was entertaining, and the spiritual message was beautifully handled. I appreciated the way Ardoin weaved scripture into the story in a natural way. It never felt heavy or forced, but just the right verse at the right time for the characters.

Rating and Recommendation: I’d recommend this one to those who enjoy Christian Historical novellas and I’m giving it 5 stars.

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