Sunday, July 16, 2017

An Awakened Heart (Orphan Train #0.5) by Jody Hedlund













Title: An Awakened Heart (Orphan Train #0.5)
Author: Jody Hedlund
Pages: 157
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Format: eBook (available for free in Kindle format)

About the book:

     Trying to heal the ache she feels in her empty life, wealthy Christine Pendleton
Trying to heal the ache she feels in her empty life, wealthy Christine Pendleton decides to volunteer at Centre Street Chapel. Ministering to one of the most deprived parts of New York City, the chapel aims at making a difference in the lives of the impoverished immigrants flooding the city. After seeing firsthand the hopelessness of the poor women and orphans, Christine is convinced more can be done to help them.

     Guy Befell has been serving at the chapel and pouring his heart out for the people he’s grown to care about. When Christine begins to challenge his methods and offers a new vision for reaching out to the community, can he trust that perhaps God has bigger plans in store for him—plans that may include this feisty socialite?

My review:

     This is an incredible historical romance!

     The characters are truly three dimensional in this remarkable beginning of a new series. I love it when a new group of books is introduced in a novella such as this. 

     This wonderful story is set in New York City in 1857. I have read books from this period about the wealthy and those in high society. I have seldom found a book that is focused on the plight of the poorest of immigrants. The picture drawn of how they are trapped within their circumstances without any foreseeable way out is very poignant. My heart broke for what Elise and her sisters were facing. 

     At the same time Christine Pendleton and Reverend Guy Bedell were doing what they could to try and help. I was quickly able to empathize with Christine and the heartache she has experienced as well. I was caught up in longing to see her life improve as well.

     I am looking forward to reading this entire series. I have to give this marvelous novella a rating of 5-stars. I am highly recommending it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude's Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels













Title: My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring
Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels
Pages: 256
Release Date: July 1, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Barbour Books
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Moor your heart on Mackinac Island along with resident sweetheart Maude Welling, an heiress trying to prove her worth by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel. Meet Ben Steffans, a journalist posing as a wealthy industrialist who has come to the island to uncover a story about impoverished men pursuing heiresses at the famed hotel. Will a growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed in this Gilded Age romance?

My review:

     This is a delightful historical romance!

     I fell in love with the characters in this book quickly because they are amazingly well developed. There is an incredible variety of personalities which made the whole story come alive. 

     There were a number of people that at times were pretending to people that they weren’t. Some of them were shown for what they really were from the very beginning. Some of them were kept as a mild mystery for much of the book. It was a lot to fun to try and figure who was really who. I was enthralled to see how the relationships between many of the different characters would develop.

     I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful book and am giving it a rating of 5-stars. I highly recommend it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gladden the Heart (Amish Turns of Time #5) by Olivia Newport + A GIVEAWAY


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book title: Gladden the Heart  
Author: Olivia Newport  
Release date: July 1, 2017  
Genre: Historical Amish  

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.” 

 When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience? 

 The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna’s intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism. 

 Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith.. Now they must grapple with whether love is possible…even if they come to different conclusions. 

 When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?

My Review

A fascinating look at an Amish community in 1847!

The Characters in this book are wonderful. They are so well developed and have such a wide variety of personalities that I was able to connect with a number of them. Some of them were just plain annoying, just like people in my own community.

I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that there was a deep question that was being grappled with by most of the characters. The entire community was affected by it. Each person had to sort out their own beliefs and feelings on a personal level as well as wishing the whole group.

I haven't read the earlier books in this series but I will be going back to read each one of them.

I am giving this incredible, thought provoking book a 5 star rating and highly recommending it.

About the Author


Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Her books include the Avenue of Dreams series set in 1890s Chicago; the Valley of Choice series, which intertwines contemporary and historical Amish stories; the historical Amish Turns of Time series; and Hidden Falls, a warm, contemporary, small-town novel.

Guest Post from Olivia Newport

Sleepy Sundays 

 Now don’t laugh, but my guess is that if you looked around your church on any given Sunday morning, you’d see somebody sleeping. It might be an infant or toddler whose nap time collides with the worship time resting in a parent’s arms, or it might be a senior citizen who has perfected the art of dozing in an upright position. 

 What you don’t expect is that the person sleeping will be the preacher. 

 I’ve always been interested in church history. I even read a magazine called Christian History on a regular basis and consider it pleasure reading. In my ambling through church history, I came across a notation about “sleeping preachers” in the nineteenth century in various denominations, including the Amish. The accounts suggested that individuals who were not ministers would fall unconscious, wake up to preach for lengthy periods, sleep again, and have no recollection of their actions. 

 Could this possibly be true? Or a giant hoax? What’s a genuine spiritual experience, and what do we do when don’t agree on how to answer that question? Let’s face it, even now, 150 years later, we still don’t quite know what to do with our varying traditions when we don’t agree on how to answer that question. 

I knew I had the makings of a story. Gladden the Heart travels back to 1847 and wrestles with these questions. When a divided community faces a life-or-death situation, they must respond to a crisis that challenges them to look past their differences. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives? 

Gladden the Heart is the fifth story in Olivia Newport’s Amish Turns of Time series of historical Amish novels. Olivia chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

Blog Stops

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a Grand Prize that consists of: 

All five books in the Amish Turns of Time series 

PLUS 

Bonus: All three books in the Valley of Choice series 

PLUS 

$25 Amazon Gift Card!! 

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bc59

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fatal Cover-Up by Lisa Harris













Title: Fatal Cover-Up
Author: Lisa Harris
Pages: 224
Release Date: July 1, 2017 
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     DEADLY CONSPIRACY

     Talia Morello moved to Rome for a fresh start—but instead finds herself at the center of a deadly art smuggling ring with everything to lose, including her life. Someone’s dead set on retrieving three priceless paintings believed to have been stolen by Talia’s late husband. And when his unsolved murder is linked to the bullet that killed FBI agent Joe Bryant’s brother during a museum heist, Joe is determined to find out all of Talia’s secrets. When she denies any involvement, Joe’s gut and heart tell him to trust her. But with the target on Talia’s back only growing, there may not be time to uncover the whole truth and save the woman he’s falling for…

My review:

     An incredible adrenaline rush romantic suspense novel!

     I was caught up in the lives of both main characters from the moment they were introduced. They both have recent heartaches that helped them to connect on an emotional level from early on. It also made it easy for me to feel empathy for what they are facing.

     Talia and Joe’s first meeting launched the action and we were off and running. The plot line was very well crafted. There were plenty of twists that kept me guessing throughout the story.

     The descriptions of Italy were wonderful. It really helped me to picture a country that I have never even thought about visiting. 

     I absolutely loved this book and am highly recommending it. It gets a 5 star rating from me.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Daughter's Legacy (Cousins of the Dove #3) by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould













Title: My Daughter’s Legacy (Cousins of the Dove #3)
Author: Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
Pages: 400
Release Date: July 1, 2017
Genre: Historical / Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Women of Unfailing Conviction

Virginia, 1864
      Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?

Virginia, present day
     Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.

     From the Christy Award-winning team of Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould comes a thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God’s leading, makes the most of second chances, and find true love at last.

My review:

     An incredible conclusion to a fantastic series!

     This is part of a “true” series. To understand the contemporary story you have to read the series in order.

     This book has dual time periods. Part of the story is set in 1864 Virginia. The other part is contemporary. I really like how the authors weave the stories in such a way that you flow back and forth between them smoothly.

     I absolutely love the characters in this wonderful book! There is an amazing depth to them that really captured my interest. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the progression of life for the contemporary characters. Nicole shows remarkable growth since the last book.

     In the historical story we are shown in great detail what life was like in Richmond, Virginia near the end of the Civil War. The constant struggle to get the food and other supples that were needed comes to life. It amazed me to read about how simple people developed courage and strength to keep on living and doing all that they could to live as they believed God wanted them to.

     It was wonderful to see the four cousins come back together in the contemporary story. They worked together to sort out the details from the traumatic experience that they shared as children. Each one had grown and developed their own talents. All of their strengths had an opportunity to shine as they contributed to the final solution.

     As with each of the previous books in this series I’m giving this amazing book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

     To wrap up this series I want to share some thoughts about the series as a whole. I connected so strongly with all of the Talbot family in each of the three books. The family heritage is so deep and beautifully presented. A part of me wishes that I were a Talbot. I would love to have all of these details about my family’s history available to me.

     I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different avenues of archiving the family story that were employed throughout this series. The fact that the family had a journal from the 1600s, letters from the 1700s and a well versed family historian who knew the stories from the Civil War to share was remarkable. The way that the authors were able to weave the historical storylines in with the contemporary was marvelous. 

     The ongoing mystery that carried over throughout the whole series was incredible. In each book a different present-day cousin was front and center with their personal interests and talents. The fact that each of them was able to move the mystery along and provide clues was great.

     I would suggest that everyone who enjoys a well crafted story read this entire series.

     Here are the links to my reviews for the first two books:

My Brother’s Crown - book one


My Sister’s Prayer - book two



Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Threads of Suspicion (Evie Blackwell Cold Case #2) by Dee Henderson













Title: Threads of Suspicion (Evie Blackwell Cold Case #2)
Author: Dee Henderson
Pages: 432
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Dee Henderson pens another compelling cold case mystery.

     Evie Blackwell’s reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results—and quickly.

     Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn’t be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

     With a deep conviction that “justice for all” truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

My review:

     Two intricately woven mysteries!

     I love the two main characters in this wonderful story. They are so well developed that I felt emotionally connected to them and the issues they were each dealing with in their personal lives. Their camaraderie as they worked their respective cases was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that that they were able to discuss their belief in God and encourage each other in trusting Him.

     The mysteries had me guessing all the way through the book. I was fascinated by all of the detail as to how a cold case would be worked. It was fun to see that both David and Evie had their own way of looking at it and they were both very successful in their chosen careers.

     I have got to give this fantastic book a 5 star rating. I am definitely highly recommending it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, June 5, 2017

Amish Brides, Novella Collection by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, and Amy Lillard + A GIVEAWAY


 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book: Amish Brides  
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard  
Genre: Amish  
Release Date: May 30, 2017  

JOSHUA’S BRIDE
Molly Jebber

Madeline Lehman fears her fiancĂ©’s family will never accept her because of her rebellious sister. She’s postponed her wedding to Joshua Stutzman until they see the truth. But when Maddie adopts her sister’s abandoned baby, can she and Joshua find a way to unite their families through forgiveness as well as love?

My Review

This is a very delightful collection of novellas!

I found one commonality among them. In each story I found someone wallowing in a negative emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how each author handled the need to work through the negativity and move on with life.


The Reluctant Groom
by Jennifer Beckstrand

The characters are incredibly well developed. When you talk about opposites attracting, Suvie Newswenger and Aaron Beachy definitely fit the bill. It was a joy to see what ideas Anna and Felty came up with to help in their matchmaking endeavors this time. I love Felty’s down to earth wisdom and how he lays it out at just the right time. This was a very humorous romance.


Joshua’s Bride
by Molly Jebber

The main characters, Madeline Lehman and Joshua Stutzman, are fantastic. They are both strong believers and steadfast in doing what they believe to be the right thing. They have enormous obstacles thrown in their path. They face them with their faith in God guiding them.


A Summer Wedding in Paradise
by Amy Lillard

Reba Schmucker is definitely an unusual Amish woman. I was caught up in her struggle with trying to figure out how to be more like others when she isn’t. The romance is sweet and helped along by the darling girls who adore their Aunt Reba. The shenanigans that they pulled were my favorite part of this story.

I was thoroughly entertained by all of these wonderful stories. I’m giving this marvelous collection a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

I received a free eBook copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the Author

Molly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.
She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!

Guest Post from Molly Jebber

Do you remember picking out your bride’s dress? The cake? Food? Location? The invitations? Weddings are fun, no matter how simple or extravagant. The marked event fills your heart with joy sharing in the special day with the bride and groom. I remember the day I married Ed, my best friend and soulmate. We planned the details together, and we still talk about what a heartwarming memory it is for us. I’m sure if you and I met for a girl’s chat, we’d enjoy hearing each other’s account of when we exchanged vows with our sweethearts.

Amish brides may not have the flowers, rings, and fancy food and cake, but they have their traditions and share in the excitement like we do. I enjoyed writing “Joshua’s Bride”. I hope you enjoy it to.

Blog Stops

June 1: Quiet Quilter

June 7: A Greater Yes

June 13: Bigreadersite

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3a7 


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*