Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Homefront Heroines: 4 Young Women Dream of Victory and Love During WWII

45180407Patriotic Service Leads to Victories in Romance

Relive life on the American homefront as four women of the WWII era join the workforce and discover romance in surprising ways.

Moonlight Serenade by Rita Gerlach
1941 Washington D.C.
When Lucy St. Claire takes over a sailor’s job at the Naval Yard in Washington, DC, she is thrown into a romance she never expected.

Only Forever by Lauralee Bliss
1942
Marilyn and Arthur learn the hard way that it’s not the outside that matters, but the inward working of the heart that is precious to God and each other.

Blue Moon by Johnnie Alexander
August 1943, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
After humiliating each other, a WOOPs officer and an Army Intelligence agent team up to protect a top-secret atom bomb facility from sabotage.

Dream a Little Dream by Amanda M Barratt
January 1945, Palm Springs, California
When a widowed nurse and a former film star are reunited at a wartime hospital, can they move beyond their past and into a future together?

My Thoughts: The collection as a whole is a historical goldmine. I loved how each story took a drastically different look at life during the war. There are nurses, secret agents, soldiers, gardeners, and factory workers. The concept behind each story was a hit with me, but I thought that the majority of them needed to be fleshed out a bit more in one way or another.

Moonlight Serenade was very well researched. There were several little nuggets weaved into each scene. Sadly I struggled to feel fully connected to the characters.

Only Forever showed one of the ways people were taken advantage of during the war which was an interesting side to the war that I never considered before.

Blue Moon had the strongest start of the entire set, but the mystery would have benefitted from a little more room, so it could truly marinate and deepen.

Dream a Little Dream was my favorite of the set. It took me back to Old Hollywood and gave me a tender romance.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving the set 4 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction.

~ I received a copy from the publisher 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

Review: The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

43887304After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn’t satisfied with Bow Street’s efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect—a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her?

On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee’s murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man’s death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended…this.

When a second person dies, and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn’t know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light and danger comes calling.

What I Loved: What a treat! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a new Klassen novel and I found exactly what I was looking for.
From the moment the story began, I was emersed in the Regency lifestyle and a most intriguing mystery.
The romance was tender and sweet. I enjoy a story where the romantic relationship tenderly unfolds … although I’ll be honest and say that the last couple of chapters were suddenly dragging for my tastes.
The mystery was by far the greatest factor. I was blown away by the many clues and details woven into the story. There was no shortage of solid suspects. It was hard to narrow them down until the end was in sight.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars and recommending to those who enjoy Christian Regency or a historical cozy mystery.

~ I received a copy from the publisher 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: The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings

43887271._SY475_Caroline Adams returns to Indian Territory craving adventure after tiring of society life. When she comes across swaggering outlaw Frisco Smith, his dreams to obtain a piece of property on the Unassigned Lands are very persuasive. When the gun sounds, they find themselves battling over a claim–and both dig in their heels.

What I Loved: Jennings has quickly become a trusted favorite author. I know whether I pick up a novella or a novel, I’m about to be treated to endearing characters, a lively western setting, and a sweet romance. The Major’s Daughter was just one more chance to enjoy the work of Regina Jennings.
I loved stepping back to Fort Reno with these characters. They certainly know how to paint themselves into some messy corners.
The historical angle was a real treat. This land rush was a new topic for me and one that I found rather fascinating.

Rating and Recommendation: I thoroughly enjoyed it and give it 5 stars. I recommend it to those who also enjoy Christian Historical fiction or Christian western.

~ I received a copy from the publisher 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: Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

411z1gBLdYL._SY346_After Aggie Dunkirk’s career is unceremoniously ended by her own mistakes, she finds herself traveling to Wisconsin, where her grandmother, Mumsie, lives alone in her rambling old home. She didn’t plan for how eccentric Mumsie has become, obsessing over an old, unsolved crime scene–even going so far as to re-create it in the dollhouse.

Mystery seems to follow her when she finds work as a secretary helping to restore the flooded historical part of the cemetery. Forced to work with the cemetery’s puzzling, yet attractive archeologist, she exhumes the past’s secrets and unwittingly uncovers a crime that some will go to any length to keep quiet–even if it means silencing Aggie.

In 1946, Imogene Flannigan works in a local factory and has eyes on owning her own beauty salon. But coming home to discover her younger sister’s body in the attic changes everything. Unfamiliar with the newly burgeoning world of criminal forensics and not particularly welcomed as a woman, Imogene is nonetheless determined to stay involved. As her sister’s case grows cold, Imogene vows to find justice . . . even if it costs her everything.

What I Loved: Wow. Just wow. Wright has not disappointed me yet. Echoes Among the Stones was the sort of mystery that left me guessing all the way until the end. The unique mystery kept me coming back to the book while I was reading, and the characters kept me enthralled in it long after I finished.
The treat with dual timelines is that you get two stories for the price of one. And both were highly engaging. I loved the characters and interwoven plots.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about this one. The spiritual message was centered on healing after the death of a loved one. I felt that it was realistically done. It wasn’t cheesy or shallow. I could feel the pain of the character and also the hope they come to find in the end.

Rating and Recommendation: I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it to those who enjoy mysteries with light suspense and dual timeline novels.

~ 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: Wedding Score by Amanda Tero

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About the Release

Are you a single who has been in this singleness journey a little longer than you anticipated? This week is the release of Amanda Tero’s contemporary fiction novella, “Wedding Score.” Main character Stephanie is there with you as she’s suddenly thrown into a season of discontentment and impatience. Told in a whimsical, honest style, “Wedding Score” is a 1-2 hour short read that leaves readers feeling understood and hopeful.

My Thoughts: You’ll have to excuse me for being the gushing big writing sister here, but if I’ve said it once, I’ve said twenty times already: Amanda has not made me prouder than when she wrote this book. I’ve known her for a handful of years now and believe me when I say that her heart and soul was poured out onto these pages.
So many women struggle with being long-term single. And that’s what it is to most of them: A struggle. But Amanda brought a light, fun, yet honest approach to the subject and she laid bare the ups and downs of the life of a single. She also brought the focus back to Christ in a way that I know will touch the hearts of many.

You don’t have to go far to know what I’m talking about. Hear from her own words what her thoughts are on being single: 

 

Wedding Score - front smMost girls dream of their wedding days. Except me. I’m too busy practicing piano and being the live soundtrack for everyone else’s weddings to think about my own. 

I’ve survived most of my twenties with harmonious chords and pleasant days. So why is it that now, at twenty-seven, a discordant feeling presents itself? 

Is there a solid solution to loneliness when there is absolutely no potential husband on the horizon?

A CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN SHORT READ

Goodreads | Amazon | Signed paperback

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About Amanda

Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Connect with Amanda

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Blog | Goodreads | Amazon 

amandaterobooks@gmail.com

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Giveaway AND Freebie

Amanda is giving away paperbacks, yes… 

But she really wants to share this story with as many readers as possible. So, for release week, she’ll be sending eBooks to anyone who wants one! So hop over and submit your email for a free eBook!

Giveaway

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Visit Amanda’s blog for a complete list of bloggers and special tour information.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Each Perfect Gift by Alicia G. Ruggieri

47946917._SY475_What do you do when the sins of your past rise from the dead?

Ben Picoletti’s conversion astounded the little town of Chetham, Rhode Island – and no one more than the pastor’s daughter, whose heart Ben seeks to win… despite his shameful history. After all, the cross of Christ has removed Ben’s sins as far as the east is from the west, hasn’t it?

Yet, as Christmas 1937 draws near, Ben’s past returns to trouble him – and to force Ben to grapple with the practical meaning of forgiveness and grace in his own life… and in the lives of those around him.

A story for anyone who has ever been haunted by the consequences of choices they once made, Each Perfect Gift brings a message of the true redemption that is found in Christ alone.

Each Perfect Gift is the first story in the series A LEGACY OF GRACE, an off-shoot of the original A TIME OF GRACE series, featuring beloved Grace Picoletti and Paulie Giorgi. If you crave emotional, old-fashioned stories with strong spiritual heart, a reaffirmation of God’s continual work in everyday people’s lives and hearts, and memorable characters whose redemption is deep and realistic, you’ve come to the right place!

It is my honor to present this lovely new release to you!
Alicia and I became fast friends very early in my writing career. And if you’ve read any of her books or spoke to her online, you’d know why. She’s so genuine in her faith. Such a sweet spirit and a loving friend. And believe me when I tell you that this comes out in her writing. 

Each Perfect Gift kicks off a new series featuring the Picoletti and Giorgi families. While this can be easily understood and enjoyed as a standalone, I’d recommend reading A Time of Grace first, because I think you’ll better appreciate the new struggle we find Ben in if you knew more about where he came from.
The raw brokenness of Ben Picoletti made him an absolute favorite fictional character, so I was all too pleased to know that we’d see more from him. And I was no disappointed. Ben has been radically changed by the Lord and yet he’s still being changed. All throughout the story we see that in these characters: the change the Lord has already made and the changes He’s still in the process of making. There’s such a realness about how each of these characters feel and respond to their struggles.
One of my favorite things about the story, and really the previous series as well, is how the characters become living examples of God’s grace.
I highly recommend this moving Christmas story.

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You can pick up your copy from Amazon today or
add it to your Goodreads or BookBub page. 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert

Belinda Blake 2Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . .
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.
 
Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.

My Thoughts: I read the first Belinda Blake mystery just last week and was treated to a unique new cozy mystery series. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing picks up in the life of Belinda, so we find out what she’s been up to since the last book and where life is taking her now. If you read the books out of order, you’ll catch a spoiler or two involving Belinda’s personal life but the previous mystery wasn’t ruined.
Gilbert has a solid writing style. It’s engaging. Not overdone, not underdone, but done just right. 😉
The only struggle I had with Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing was that it felt like it took too long to dig into the investigation portion of the story. But once things picked up, and we were focused and collecting clues, I found the mystery to be spot-on. The clues were there but the conclusion wasn’t obvious. It ended on a great note for me!
The characters are as well-developed as the mystery. They came across as genuine people. There was just enough romance in the story to make me eager to see what will happen next.
I typically read and review Christian fiction, so I do want to point out that this fell in the clean fiction category. There was not anything that would be offensive to a Christian reader, however, there was not any spiritual content.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving this one 4.5 stars and recommending it to cozy mystery fans.

~ I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review or required to give a favorable one. 

Posted in About the Book

Librarian of Willow Hollow: Plot Reveal Blog Hop

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Eeek! I’ve been chomping at the bit to tell you more about my novella. We had agreed as a team early on that we would leak information little by little as we drew near publication date. And it’s finally time to share a glimpse of the plot. … BUT we thought we’d have a little fun with it first. We’re all revealing something about our plots today, except that we scrambled them up. So I’ll be revealing Faith Blum’s this morning! 

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All Lillian wants is to share the gospel with people, but she is too shy.
When a storm and her horse causes an elderly man to be critically injured,
she must make a choice between her shyness and sharing the gospel.

Now how perfectly does that fit the title? Isn’t it lovely? I’ve enjoyed watching each of these stories take shape. 
I know you’re eager to hear about my plot, and I can’t wait to share it with you … but you have to find it first. Please visit the other three authors and read about the other books in the series while you hunt for info on Hearts on Lonely Mountain. Have fun!

Faith Blum 
Alicia G. Ruggieri  
 Amanda Tero 

For continual updates, follow each author online: 

Amanda Tero: Facebook and Website
Faith Blum: Facebook and Website
A.M. Heath: Facebook and Website
Alicia G. Ruggieri: Facebook and Website

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

41uDJ6SuLPLGray 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?

What I Loved: Camden never fails to create a realistic world where she becomes the expert in whatever field her character is involved in. I’m always amazed at the amount of effort that goes into each story and The Spice King was no exception. Here, we’re treated to a side of political conflict that I never knew existed as well as the food safety and a whole world of spices.
As for the romance, I adored Annabelle and Gray’s story. From the very start, these two collided in a beautiful way.
The Christian content was centered around forgiveness and was incorporated naturally.
While I never wanted this story to end, I cannot wait until the rest of the series. It looks as though the Delacroix family has a lot of stories left to tell and I confess that I’ve been stalking the book pages, looking for the first glimpse of the next book in the series.

Rating and Recommendation: I happily give The Spice King 5 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

500Raina 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.

What I Loved: Politano has a knack for crafting something original and inspiring. Finding Lady Enderly had a slight gothic feel to it with this overarching mystery and the setting of a crumbling abbey. But things are more than they appear. The novel was entertaining, romantic, and the way she weaved in classic novel quotes was delightful. But better than all of that was the deeper message within about our identity being found in Christ and how the outer will eventually reflect what was always on the inside. If you haven’t read a Politano novel yet, you’re truly missing out.

Rating and Recommendation: I give Finding Lady Enderly 5 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, especially those who enjoy Brittish settings.

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