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. 

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Posted in Book Reviews

Tales of Faith 3 Month Tour by Amanda Tero: Month 3

Banner Three Month Tour

This is it! It’s my final post in the three-month tour, which means it’s almost release day for Protecting the Poor. I want to go on and on about how excited I am for this story, but I don’t want to repeat the review I’ll be posting after the release. But I will say that it’s my favorite of the series. 

PP Blurb.jpg

Keep reading for a sneak peek … 

Dumphey removed the last of the rye bread from his pouch. He had but a few minutes before training would begin at the barracks. He knocked on the door of Widow Anith. As soon as he heard footsteps approaching, he laid the bread in a cloth at the doorstep and hurried away. He watched from the shadows as the door opened and a young lass bent down to examine the bread. ’Twas the same lass who always came to the door, no more than four years of age. And, as always, the lass took the bread then looked around—as if making sure a soldier wouldn’t steal it from her—before rushing back inside and shutting the door.

Another lass would not go hungry tonight. Warmth spread through Dumphey as he set off toward the barracks. Eight paces away, he stopped. Unease prickled the back of his neck. ’Twasn’t the first time he felt like he was being followed this week. He spun around as a sword swiped toward him.

Excerpt from chapter one, “Protecting the Poor”

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ORDER PAPERBACKS

Do you want to get a signed copy of “Protecting the Poor?” Order here!

 

About the Tour

In anticipation of the release of “Protecting the Poor” (book three in the Tales of Faith series), Amanda is guest posting or being featured on over a dozen blogs each month. Each post is unique to the blog—an inspirational post, an article on the writing craft, an excerpt from one of the Tales of Faith books… you’ll just have to visit each blog to see what comes up. 😉 Amanda will link to each blog on With a Joyful Noise, so check in every week and see what blogs have a special Tales of Faith feature!

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
Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com
Website:

Facebook
Instagram 
Pinterest
Blog 
Goodreads
Amazon

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson

410hV02ZerLAnne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging, and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but she runs after a disastrous first meeting.

Carter has been searching for the location of the wreck detailed in the worn pages of an 18th-century diary, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again: trust a man.

Finding a monetary backer and sticking with a search that’s turning up nothing will take all their dedication–and every secret they’ve tried to hide. If they can find the lost ship, they may discover a treasure worth more than all the pirate gold in the world–love.

What I Loved: Liz Johnson is one of those authors who always surprises me when I pick up a new book. I forget how perfectly smooth and comfortable her writing style is. It’s not overdone or underdone, it’s JUST right.
A Glitter of Gold has been a highlight of my reading month. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why that is, and I think it’s because there’s so much working together so flawlessly.
Anne and Carter are delightfully, broken characters. Anne, in particular, is someone who I don’t relate to well, but she still comes across so real and relatable despite our differences. The setting comes across as authentic. I’m not a beach-going gal but it’s been refreshing to visit this coastal setting and to hear about these pirate legends, both real and fictional.
If you follow me for any time at all, you’d know that I’m a historian at heart. The only thing that equals a historical novel in my eyes is a time-slip novel. Although the setting is contemporary, we’re reading a journal written in the 1700s. And both storylines are very well done!
And she brings it all together with a solid message for the soul. I found myself highlighting sections toward the end dealing with grace.

Rating and Recommendation: I gladly give A Glitter of Gold 5 stars and I recommend it to those who enjoy Christian Fiction, coastal settings, pirate legends, and time-slip novels.

~ 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

Tales of Faith 3 Month Tour by Amanda Tero: Month 2

Banner Three Month Tour

It’s month 2 of this 3-month tour! And this month, we’re featuring The Secret Slipper. Cinderella is my personal favorite fairy tale, so I was thrilled to know that my little writing sister was working on a retelling. Although I’m a major romantic at heart, I was intrigued to hear how she would turn this romance into a non-romantic retelling. I was not disappointed! You can read my original review of the novella here
I have a special sneak peek of the novella further down, but you can read the full prologue here

Secret Slipper Blurb

Keep reading for a special sneak peek at the novella … 

“From stables to woods, I see.”

Lia grasped the basket tighter, if possible.

“You cannot just leave like that.”

“Dumphey…” Lia turned and looked up at the older lad. His patience must be wearing thin, even though he wore a grin. “I promise, ‘twasn’t me. I would have told you had I the chance.”

“Will you be back or do Noel and I need to take up for you now?” Dumphey didn’t sound accusing, but Lia stiffened as he pried the basket from her hands.

Lia kept her fingertips on the rim of the basket. “You needn’t do this.” She knew he wouldn’t heed her words, but she felt the need to say them anyway.

Dumphey shrugged. “I’m empty-handed walking back to the village. What has Bioti done with you this time?” His earnest eyes met her gaze.

Lia looked away and focused on walking smoothly while keeping up with Dumphey’s stride, though he had slowed down for her. “I shall return this evening. Leave chores for me. You have my word, I shall do it.” She glanced at Dumphey, long enough to see his mouth turn down in a frown.

“‘Tis too much work for a lass your age.”

“I shall have to make do.” Or do without dinner, which might be the situation anyway if she didn’t hurry.

“Hasn’t Bioti any goodness in her heart for one of your condition?”

Lia stopped and grabbed Dumphey’s arm, turning him to face her as the hateful blush heated her cheeks. “What of my condition? I make well enough most of the time.” Her voice turned hard. “You needn’t feel sorry for me, Dumphey.” She snatched the basket from his hands, sending the cloth flying to the ground. She would run away from him if she could. Instead, she limped as quickly as her feet would let her, keeping herself from crying out in the pain.

“I shall leave the lights for you to polish.” Dumphey’s voice was well behind her. Good. He wasn’t chasing her.

“I shall do it,” Lia called, not bothering to turn back and make sure Dumphey got her message.

Her dark blonde hair was plastered to her forehead by the time she returned to the kitchen, and she panted for breath.

“Be the highwayman after you?” The cook took the basket from Lia and looked inside. “You are almost too late. There are potatoes waiting to be scrubbed and diced. Quickly.”

Lia took the hint and hobbled to the table, where she grabbed a potato and began washing. Her fingers flew over the skins, making up for lost time. She would show Dumphey. She wasn’t a worthless lass. She could do the tasks given her, regardless of what he thought.

SS Sale

About the Tour

In anticipation of the release of “Protecting the Poor” (book three in the Tales of Faith series), Amanda is guest posting or being featured on over a dozen blogs each month. Each post is unique to the blog—an inspirational post, an article on the writing craft, an excerpt from one of the Tales of Faith books… you’ll just have to visit each blog to see what comes up. 😉 Amanda will link to each blog on With a Joyful Noise, so check in every week and see what blogs have a special Tales of Faith feature!

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
Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com
Website:

Facebook
Instagram 
Pinterest
Blog 
Goodreads
Amazon

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Whom Shall I Fear by Anne Clare

Whom shall I fear graphic1943 

All that Sergeant James Milburn wants is to heal. Sent to finish his convalescence in a lonely village in the north of England, the friends he’s lost haunt his dreams. If he can only be declared fit for active service again, perhaps he can rejoin his surviving mates in the fight across Sicily and either protect them or die alongside them. 
All that Evie Worther wants is purpose. War has reduced her family to an elderly matriarch and Charles, her controlling cousin, both determined to keep her safely tucked away in their family home. If she can somehow balance her sense of obligation to family with her desperate need to be of use, perhaps she can discover how she fits into her tumultuous world. 
All that Charles Heatherington wants is his due. Since his brother’s death, he is positioned to be the family’s heir with only one step left to make his future secure. If only he can keep the family matriarch happy, he can finally start living the easy life he is certain he deserves. 
However, when James’s, Evie’s and Charles’s paths collide, a dark secret of the past is forced into the light, and everything that they have hoped and striven for is thrown into doubt. Weaving in historical detail from World War II in Britain, Italy and Egypt, WHOM SHALL I FEAR? follows their individual struggles with guilt and faith, love and family, and forces them to ask if the greatest threat they face is really from the enemy abroad. 

What I Loved: Whom Shall I Fear is a tender romance set in a true-to-history novel. The history is well researched. I loved all the details weaved into the story. Clare shares life on the homefront, as a nurse, and as a soldier. I think the soldier moments were my favorite. She did a marvelous job bringing the reader right to the battlefield without being overwhelming.
The novel is published as clean fiction but I think many Christian fiction readers will feel right at home. The characters lived out their Christian faith in a natural way and even quoted scripture throughout the book.
I have a soft spot for novels that contain letters, so I really enjoyed watching their relationship unfold through the letters they wrote one another.
Anne Clare is a debut author to keep your eyes on in the future!

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving Whom Shall I Fear 4.5 stars and I recommend it to those who enjoy clean/Christian WWII fiction.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

454From Christy Award-winning author Joanne Bischof comes the sequel to her beautiful novel Sons of Blackbird Mountain.
Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon–whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.
Having fled the Norgaard orchard after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade, where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s–which is already imperiled due to a grave illness brought to him at the first prick of warfare.
Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

My Thoughts: Everything that I loved about the first book was present in the second, making for a delightful sequel. Thor is still one of my favorite heroes. I found it interesting to see the way he and his family handles everyday life with his hearing loss. For me, it was the little details, such as one of the brothers stomping on the floor to get his attention through the vibration, that just made it all the more realistic.
Bischof does a wonderful job walking out redemption and grace through the youngest brother. I’m always a sucker for seeing the bad guy redeemed, so that was definitely a highlight of the story for me.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 4 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Historical Christian Fiction, fiction set in the Appalachian mountains, a great redemption story, or those looking for a story with a main character with a disability.

~ I received a copy from the publisher through Net Galley. 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: Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

51JX3uhb9ZL._SY346_Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well. 
     Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

What I Loved: I have adored this entire series and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the final book. Barnett is well acquainted with National Parks and it shows in her writing. Not only was her setting vividly detailed, but she shares such knowledge about Yellowstone along the way. I particularly enjoyed learning about the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was a new note in history for me.
There was a light mystery weaved into the story. I’m happy to say that regardless of what I thought I knew, I was surprised in the end.
Barnett marries a steady message of faith with a cast of lovable characters. Nate Webber was my favorite. But there were so many from the CCC who were colorful and unique.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving Ever Faithful 4.5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy historical Christian fiction or those who like nature settings.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

42075068In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper asking readers to send rocks in honor of loved ones to create something life-giving but the building halts when tragedy strikes. Decades later, Annie returns to the coastal Maine town where stone ruins spark her curiosity and her search for answers faces a battle against time.

My Thoughts: There comes a time when you find a story beautifully written, but somehow it just doesn’t work for you. Sadly, this was one of those moments for me. But what didn’t work for me, may still work for you!
In chapter one, I was pulled into the world and relationship between twin brothers, Robert and Roy. It wasn’t hard to ache with both of them for different reasons.
The story bounces back and forth between the present day to the 1940s. I personally LOVE dual timelines. And this was certainly one that I was eager to dig into. Dykes chose to tell this story in the third person, present tense. Present tense is never a big hit for me, but I was pages into this novel before I even realized it! That’s never happened to me before. She definitely earns an award for getting me to “eat my veggies” without me knowing it. 😉
Ansel-by-the-Sea is a charming town, in both the past present. The casts of both worlds are equally endearing. And Dykes has a very lovely poetic style of writing. However, what makes it beautiful also slows it down. Whose Waves These Are is the sort of story that begs the reader to stop, breathe deeply of the salty air, and enjoy every word written on the page.
Unfortunately for me, I’m in a phase of life where slowing down isn’t the luxury it ought to be, so this one was harder for me to get into.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 4 stars and I recommend it to those who enjoy dual timelines, WWII fiction, and poetic descriptions.

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

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.

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.