Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Between Two Shores


Between Two Shores
Jocelyn Green
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764219085
February 2019/416 pages/$14.99

She Has Always Moved between Worlds,
But Now She Must Choose a Side


The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years' War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.


Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King, Wedded to War, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a BA in English, concentration in writing. Jocelyn lives with her husband, Rob, and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.


MY THOUGHTS

Jocelyn Green has penned a sweeping tale set among the Seven Years' War that captivates the mind and stirs the heart. While this is not a quick or mindless read, it is well worth the time investment. Green's mastery of setting and character development shines as she takes the reader deep into the heart of the story. Multidimensional threads, exquisite prose, and meticulous attention to detail add to the appeal of this novel. Strong yet subtle spiritual themes beckon the astute reader to consider the timeless struggles of the human heart. A masterpiece that will surely garner awards, Between Two Shores is a must-read for 2019.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free Bethany House Publishers and Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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.”


Graphic used by permission of Jocelyn Green


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Monday, February 4, 2019

With This Pledge


With This Pledge
The Carnton Series
Tamera Alexander
Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0718081836
January 2019/448 pages/$16.99

What can a woman—a mere governess—do against the scourge of slavery?

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston’s quietly held principles oppose those of the Southern Cause—but when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, the war demands an answer. The Carnton home where she is governess is converted into a Confederate field hospital, and Lizzie is called upon to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death. Faced with the unimaginable, she must summon fortitude, even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancĂ© and lifelong friend.

As a young soldier lies dying in Lizzie’s arms, she vows to relay his final words to his mother, but knows little more than the boy’s first name. That same night, decorated Mississippi sharpshooter Captain Roland Ward Jones extracts a different promise from Lizzie: that she intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate his leg.

Lizzie is nothing if not a woman of her word, earning the soldiers’ respect as she tends to the wounded within Carnton’s walls. None is more admiring than Captain Jones, who doesn’t realize she is pledged to another. But as Lizzie’s heart softens toward the Confederate captain, she discovers that his moral ground is at odds with her own. Now torn between love, principles, and promises made, she struggles to be true to her heart while standing for what she knows is right—no matter the cost.

From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves the real-life love letters between Captain Roland Ward Jones and Miss Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal's top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.


MY THOUGHTS

I should be accustomed to Tamera Alexander's novels touching my heart, but each one seems to exceed her previous release. With This Pledge stands in a class all its own. I will not think of the Civil War without remembering this amazing story. Alexander brings to life the heartbreak of war and the battles waged not only on the front lines but in the hearts and minds of those who experienced this horrific time in our nation's history. The novel is amazing on its own, but the inclusion of actual love letters between the real-life Captain Roland Jones and Miss Elizabeth Clouston as the story unfolds makes it that much more of a gem. Alexander's gift for seamlessly weaving spiritual truths throughout the story reminds the reader of timeless truths that are as relevant today as they were two centuries ago. With This Pledge belongs on your must-read list!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced copy of this book free from Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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.”




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Sunday, December 2, 2018

ACFW New Releases - December 2018

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Amish Romance:

The Amish Sweet Shop by Laura Bradford, Mary Ellis, and Emma Miller -- It's almost Valentine's Day at Beechy's Sweets, where the Amish gifts of love and faith are even sweeter than the home-made candy. In The Sweetest Courtship by Emma Miller, bachelor Jacob Beechy is a master candy maker whose mother longs for grandchildren, so she sets out to find him an assistant confectioner during the Valentine’s holiday—and a wife. In The Sweetest Truth by Laura Bradford, Sadie Fischer can’t see beyond her scars from a barn fire, but there’s a young man who sees only sweetness when he looks at her, and he’s sending her Beechy’s chocolate and mysterious gifts leading up to Valentine’s Day. In Nothing Tastes So Sweet by Mary Ellis, Pregnant widow Hannah wants to buy her English employer’s hardware store, but ends up following a clue from Beechy’s to clear a man’s name—and finds a partnership in work, faith, and love. (Amish Romance from Kensington)


Amish Christmas Memories by Vannetta Chapman -- When a young Amish woman collapses in the snow shortly before Christmas, Caleb Wittmer rushes to her aid. Only, “Rachel” remembers nothing of who she is. Now his family has taken in the pretty stranger, disrupting Caleb’s ordered world. He’s determined to find out where she belongs…even if Rachel’s departure means saying goodbye to his old-fashioned heart forever. (Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


A Quilt for Jenna (Apple Creek Dreams #1) by Patrick E. Craig -- On her way to win a quilting competition—and a ticket out of Amish life, Jerusha finds her God, her missing husband, and a lost little girl in the heart of the Storm of The Century. (Amish Romance from P & J Publishing)


The Road Home (Apple Creek Dreams #2) by Patrick E. Craig -- Adopted into an Amish family as a child, local historian Jenny Springer is looking for the parents she never knew. When Jenny meets Jonathan Hershberger, a drifter from San Francisco who lands in Apple Creek fleeing a drug deal gone wrong, she is intrigued by this Englischer with an Amish name, and offers to help him discover his Amish roots. While Jonathan discovers his need for home, family, and a relationship with God, Jenny finds more than she hoped for—truth and love and the knowledge that you can go home again. (Amish Romance from P & J Publishing)


Jenny’s Choice (Apple Creek Dreams #3) by Patrick E. Craig -- When Jenny’s husband disappears in a terrible boating accident, she returns home to Apple Creek, Ohio and her adoptive parents. Working through her grief, she pursues newfound writing dreams and is presented with a possible romance with a handsome young publisher, until the elders of her church confront her consideration of going outside her faith to pursue her dreams. At the same a faint hope that her husband might someday be found alive holds her heart in the past. (Amish Romance from P & J Publishing)


Minding the Amish Baby by Carrie Lighte -- Amish store clerk Tessa Fisher isn’t ready for marriage or a family—until a baby girl is abandoned on her doorstep. Now Tessa and her gruffly handsome landlord, Turner King, must mind the baby together. And soon Turner and the sweet-cheeked kind are burrowing into Tessa’s heart. But with secrets between them, can the temporary family find a way to stay together forever? (Amish Romance from P & J Publishing)

Contemporary Romance:

Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher -- Jessica was pregnant and facing divorce when her husband and daughter were killed in a car accident. Withdrawing from friends and family, she feels far away from God. Then months later she receives her great-grandfather’s Bible at her grandmother’s funeral. Ridley has suffered his own loss. Bitter over disgrace at his job, an ended career, and subsequent breakup with is girlfriend, he retreats to a vacation property owned by his parents to lick his wounds and hide from the press. Thumbing through the Bible later, Jessica journeys through the aged margin notes, back to faith and wholeness. And the broken roads they have followed bring Jessica and Ridley to each other as well. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Historical:


Three Christmas Novellas by Mary Connealy -- Three Christmas Novellas in one volume: Long Horn Christmas, The Sweetest Gift and The Christmas Candle. (Historical, Independently Published)




The Making of Mrs. Hale by Carolyn Miller -- Can a runaway marriage ever be redeemed? Julia Hale ran off to be married in Gretna Green, following romance instead of common sense. But her tale isn't turning into a happily ever after. Her new husband is gone and she doesn't know where—or if he's ever coming back. Julia has no option but to head home to the family she betrayed by eloping and to hope they'll forgive her.Along the way she will learn how relationship with God can bring restoration and hope, and find the answers she needs both for her husband and her future. (Historical, Kregel Publications) Read my review here!


Child of Light by Annette O’Hare -- While praying for her own Christmas miracle after five years in a childless marriage, Margaret offers aide to a destitute and expectant young woman during the holidays. She is condemned for her decision to help a woman of ill repute and must face the consequences of doing what is right. Will Margaret's prayers for a child of her own be answered this Christmas or does God have something else in store? (Historical from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson -- Inspired by a Gripping True Story from World War II’s Daring Doolittle Raid--Japan, 1948: A prostitute seeks her revenge; a war hero finds his true mission. (Historical from Mountain Brook Ink)


Historical Romance:


The MissAdventure Brides Collection by Mary Davis, Cynthia Hickey, Kathleen E. Kovach, Debby Lee, Donna Schlachter, Marjorie Vawter, and Kimberley Woodhouse -- Seven daring damsels refuse to let the cultural norms of their eras hold them back! Follow along as they trek the wilderness as a fur trapper; teach in the backwoods; campaign for women's rights; breed llamas; drive cross-country; become a hotel tour guide; and pursue art. Will they meet men who admire their bravery and determination? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Kiss Me Once Again by Gail Kittleson -- When Glenora Carson’s first love perishes along with the crew of the U.S.S. Arizona on December 7, 1941, she locks away her heart and her dreams of attending college on scholarship, instead choosing to hold down the home front by helping out the family business – Carson’s Garage. The grease-stained overalls don’t do much to compliment her female figure, but they cover her female heart well enough. That is, until Hank Anderson, a wounded warrior back from battle, walks into the garage and into Glenora’s life. Is an old maid’s future Glenora’s fate, or will Cupid throw a wrench in her plans? (Historical Romance from WordCrafts Press)


Stagecoach to Liberty by Janalyn Voigt -- Can a desperate young woman trust the handsome Irish stranger who wants to free her from her captors? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)



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Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Liberty Bride


The Liberty Bride
Daughters of the Mayflower, Book 6
MaryLu Tyndall
(Barbour Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1683226178
December 2018/256 pages/$12.99

War Forces a Choice Between Love and Country

A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy—until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him and her love for her country.

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A Christy Award finalist and winner of two Inspirational Readers’ Choice awards, MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of tall ships and swashbuckling heroes during her childhood years on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years. Trapped in a land-locked cubicle, she was often seen pounding furiously upon the keyboard during her lunch hour, creating what would become her Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, all the while believing God’s promise to her that. “If you write it, I will get it published”. And He did! Twenty-five books later, her loving husband and six children still haven’t gotten used to her historic costumes and nautical speech. Her books are filled with adventure and romance and themes that are guaranteed to touch your heart! She continues to pen her romantic tales on the California coast while managing a home, husband, little scalawag grandkids, and several stray cats who have decided that her keyboard is the best place to sleep! She believes that without popcorn and chocolate, life would not be worth living, and her sole motivation in life is to bring others. Visit her website to learn more.


MY THOUGHTS

What a great ending to wonderful series! MaryLu Tyndall stands in a class all her own when it comes to adventure on the high seas. Set during the War of 1812, The Liberty Bride fairly pulses with danger, intrigue, and romance, resulting in a multi-faceted, heartpounding tale that is impossible to put down. I can't imagine enduring what Emeline did, much less displaying the fortitude, courage, and bravery that she exhibited. Tyndall incorporates a beautiful thread of faith into the story as Emeline and Owen view God in two different, yet both erroneous, ways. I held my breath as the danger and tension reached its climax, then savored the satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend this book and series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Barbour Publishing. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have 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


THE DAUGHTERS OF THE MAYFLOWER
Click the titles for my reviews


The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)?
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)







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Monday, November 26, 2018

The Bride of Ivy Green


The Bride of Ivy Green
Tales from Ivy Hill
Julie Klassen
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 9780764218170
December 2018/448 pages/$15.99

Come home to Ivy Hill, where friendship endures, romance triumphs, and mysteries are revealed in this eagerly anticipated conclusion. . . .

Spring is in the air . . . and change is too. Mercy Grove has lost her girls' school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires is out of reach. She contemplates leaving Ivy Cottage to become a governess--a decision with consequences she never imagined.

Meanwhile, her friend Jane Bell is facing a difficult decision of her own. Should she accept Gabriel Locke even if it means giving up her inn and destining another man to a childless marriage?

When a secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, Mercy, Jane, and the other ladies of Ivy Hill attempt to befriend her, but they soon suspect she isn't who she claims to be.

Together, the women of Ivy Hill look forward to one wedding, but surprises lie in store and dearly held dreams may yet come true.


Read an excerpt.


Learn more about Ivy Hill
TalesfromIvyHill.com


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Klassen (julieklassen.com) loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


MY THOUGHTS

Julie Klassen brings her Tales from Ivy Hill series to a satisfying close with this endearing tale. The Bride of Ivy Green once again whisked me away to Regency England. I enjoyed reconnecting with characters from the earlier novels as well as meeting new folks in this charming hamlet. Though I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite character, it's impossible not to have a soft spot for Mercy as she bravely forges a new path. Romance, intrigue, and the bonds of friendship intertwine in this multi-faceted story, engendering a multitude of emotions as I read. I was captivated from the opening scene to the sigh-worthy conclusion. Don't miss this delightful novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free Bethany House Publishers and Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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.”


TALES FROM IVY HILL
Click the covers for my reviews






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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Christmas at the Red Door Inn


Christmas at the Red Door Inn:
A Prince Edward Island Dreams Novella

Liz Johnson
Amazon Digital Services
November 2018/234 pages/64 kb/$0.99

One blizzard. Two friends. Three days to fall in love.

Lifelong islander Brooke Kane doesn’t know what to do with her college degree, her dreams, or her future, but she knows better than to venture far from home when there’s a storm brewing. But a promise to check on Rose’s Red Door Inn prompts Brooke to venture out. By the time she arrives at the inn, the snow is knee-deep and visibility almost non-existent. She settles in to spend a few days alone at the inn until a familiar figure appears at the door.

Pastor Chuck O’Flannigan has never felt like a bigger fool. So focused on his recent decision to leave Prince Edward Island, he’s caught unaware by the blizzard while on a walk. He can only see the inn’s red door, a promise of safety. But when he discovers that Brooke—the only woman who could tempt him to stay on the island—is also taking refuge there, he knows he’s in trouble.

With Christmas only three days away, Brooke is determined that they’ll celebrate—even if it’s just the two of them. Happy to play Scrooge to her Tiny Tim, Chuck wiles away his hours dreaming of a return to Ireland—praying that God may have plans for him there. After all, God seems to have forgotten him in North Rustico. But as Brooke brings Christmas to life, her joy makes him wonder if God may not have forgotten him. In fact, God may have big plans for both of them—if they can only survive Christmas at the Red Door Inn.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love's Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more at her website and connect with her on Facebook.


MY THOUGHTS

I loved Liz Johnson's Prince Edward Island Dreams series, so when I heard she had written a Christmas novella for this series, I made a beeline to Amazon to purchase it. What a great read at a great price! This is one to read under a blanket, as the blizzard made this Texas-born girl shiver! However, the gentle heat of the romance between Brooke and Chuck warmed my heart if not my toes! While the ending is a foregone conclusion, Johnson paves the road to happily-ever-after with moments that are at times humorous, as well as tender and believable. Chuck's discouragement reminds the reader that those in full-time Christian ministry can and do experience the same questions as the rest of us. This delightful novella is perfect for a quick read at this busy time of year, and a great reminder to add the rest of this series to your Christmas list.


PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND DREAMS SERIES
Click the covers for my reviews





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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Searching for You


Searching for You
Orphan Train, Book Three
Jody Hedlund
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764218064
December 2018/352 pages/$15.99

Her Search for a Place to Call Home
Leads Her to the Last Place She Ever Expected


For years, Sophie Neumann has been running from the orphanages of 1850s New York City. Tasked with caring for two younger children, she's determined not to let them be taken from her, and not to abandon them the same way her older sisters did her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing the state is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. But when the train stops in Illinois, she faces an agonizing decision as the orphans will be placed in new homes. Afraid she'll lose them forever, she finds help in a familiar face she never expected to see so far from New York.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm in Illinois. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that still haunt him, Reinhold is in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby farm pleading for his help?

"Set in the 1850s and spanning the U.S., this entertaining third installment of the Orphan Train series from Hedlund continues the story of the Neumann sisters. . . . This sweet, faith-filled novel beautifully considers the core of what it means to be a family."--Publishers Weekly


Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the author of over 20 novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher's Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog. Learn more about her at her website, jodyhedlund.com.


MY THOUGHTS

Jody Hedlund is a must-read author for me, and I have loved this series. Searching for You grabbeed my heart from the opening pages. Prior to reading this series, I was not familiar with the orphan trains of the nineteenth century, and my momma-heart hurt to imagine what some of these sweet children endured. While this novel stands alone from its predecessors, reading the first two books provided a deeper reading experience. Endearing characters and a well-researched, authentic setting drew me into this story. Hedlund tucks in nuggets of spiritual truth throughout the story, and these timeless truths encourage and inspire. I especially loved the advice given to Sophie that "Sometimes God allows us to sink down in our own misery until we reach a low place where we're finally ready to look up and reach out to him." Don't miss this heartwarming story and series!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Baker/Bethany House Publishing and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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.”




ORPHAN TRAIN SERIES
Click the covers for my reviews of the first two books in this series







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