Tuesday, June 13, 2017

With You Always

With You Always
Orphan Train, Book 1
Jody Hedlund
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764218040
June 2017/368 pages/$15.99

Could Following the Opportunity of a Lifetime Cost Them the Love of Their Lives?

One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.

Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother's shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?

Read an excerpt.


Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen 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 at jodyhedlund.com.


It's a happy day when Jody Hedlund releases a new book, especially one that kicks off a great series! With You Always takes the reader on a touching journey to the orphan trains of the nighteenth century and the disparate world of wealth and want. As always, Hedlund's dual gift of historical accuracy and character development make this book impossible to put down. As someone who was not very familiar with the orphan trains, I was simultaneously fascinated and heartbroken at the bleak reality that faced so many of the children and families impacted by the lack of jobs and opportunities. Elise and her family immediately found a place in my heart! Thornton garnered my sympathy as well, as his situation is a reminder that wealth doesn't ensure contentment. Don't miss this endearing story, and be prepared to read it in one sitting, happily ignoring all other responsibilities!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Jody Hedlund and Bethany House for a blog tour. 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.”


1. What’s the inspiration behind your new Orphan Train series?

I have long been fascinated by the era of the orphan trains and the heartrending stories of the helpless young orphans taken from the streets of New York City and other eastern cities and shipped west by the dozens. I was familiar with stories of the scared orphans who were placed out in what was thought to be a more wholesome, healthy environment of the newly settled Midwestern states. Some of the orphans found happy endings and were adopted into loving families, while others experienced abuse and heartache in their new homes.

While stories of the orphans who rode the trains have been told—and rightly so—the stories of the women who were involved in the movement are not as well known. One of the things I particularly like to do when telling my stories is focus on women who have been overlooked by the pages of history. I consider it a great privilege to be able to bring such forgotten women to life for modern-day readers. Throughout this series I’ll be focusing each novel on a different aspect of the Orphan Train Movement, particularly from the perspective of those women who experienced riding the trains in one form or another.

2. An e-novella, An Awakened Heart, kicks off the series. What is the novella about, and is it a must-read in order to understand the series?

An Awakened Heart is not a must-read in order to understand the series. But I do highly recommend reading it. (Plus it’s FREE, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try!) The e-novella introduces a couple, Guy and Christine, who are both passionate about helping the poor immigrants crowded into the overflowing and dirty tenements of New York City. The novella shows their efforts in bringing about change in the city, also bringing them together in a satisfying love story.

The novella also introduces the three orphan sisters who will each become main characters for the three full-length novels in the series. It gives some of the background information on their situation and how they become orphans, which I think readers will find helpful as well as informative.

3. How did you come up with the idea for the first book in the series, With You Always?

For this first book, I decided to center the story around the placing out of women that happened in 1857 as a result of a financial crisis and economic panic in the autumn of that year. Women laborers were already at a disadvantage with poor working conditions and low wages. In September of 1857, estimates of New York unemployment ran as high as forty percent. Female employment was cut by almost half. With prostitution already a main source of income for many women, the recession drove even more to taking desperate measures, and the number of women in prison rose as a result.

To meet the growing crisis, the Children’s Aid Society in New York, along with organizations in other cities that were already sending children out west, decided to set up special placement offices to find jobs for seamstresses and trade girls in the west. The associations only wanted women of “good character” who were required to provide references. If the women met the qualifications, they were sent on trains to towns throughout the Midwest, particularly central Illinois where the demand for cheap labor was prevalent. They were presented to employers as “helpless females left without the means of support.” Placement of these women continued until
the spring of 1858.

My hope for With You Always was to give readers a glimpse into the disadvantage of women during this era by bringing to life the heroine Elise Neumann and her struggle, first in New York City, and later the continued heartache and challenges that arose for her after leaving family behind so that she might start a new life in Illinois, one with greater opportunity.

4. What special research did you do in writing With You Always?

In the beginning phases, I did a great deal of reading about the Orphan Train Movement. I really loved Stephen O’Connor’s book Orphan Trains, because he includes so many personal stories and details about real orphans, which are heartbreaking.

I also read A History of New York City to 1898 by Burrows and Wallace, which gave me insight into the lives of immigrants, especially the women. Masses of foreigners were arriving into New York on a daily basis, and the book gave a detailed account into their pathetic housing situation, the difficult working conditions, as well as gang problems and the city’s underworld.

Finally, another important aspect of the story that required a concentrated amount of research was the development of railroads. The mid-1800s was an incredible period of growth for the railroad industry in the Midwest. The railroads aided the Orphan Train Movement and brought about the settlement of the Midwestern states.

5. Many of your previous stories are set in Michigan. With You Always takes place in both New York City and Illinois. Why did you change settings?

I could have used Michigan as the Midwestern setting for the novel since the first orphan train traveled to Dowagiac, a small town in southwestern Michigan. However, as I studied railroads and town development, I decided the plains of central Illinois would add much to the story, especially because the Illinois Central Railroad was built between 1851 and 1856, the time period of my story.

With this new railroad that ran the length of Illinois from north to south, investors were looking at building towns along the railroad to attract new settlers who would use the railroad. Since my hero, Thornton Quincy, is involved in the development of the railroad, he and his family have an invested interest in seeing the growth of towns along its route. Adding in a competition between Thornton’s twin brother for the development of one such town made the story and setting in Illinois come alive.

I also loved having my heroine, Elise, be able to travel from the crowded dirty streets of New York to the plains of Illinois where she experienced a culture shock. She’s taken from a bustling city life to an isolated farming town that consists of only a few buildings when she arrives.

6. What do you hope readers take away from With You Always?

One of my hopes in telling this story is to leave readers with the reminder that God is walking with us in whatever dark valley we’re going through. Often, like Elise, we tend to pull away from God and let the bitterness of our circumstances drive us into a cave of isolation and self-blame and heartache. But God wants us to realize that even if we pull away from Him, He’s still there walking by our side, waiting for us to reach out our hand and grab ahold of Him. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He’s there waiting.

Many thanks to Jody Hedlund and Bethany House for this fascinating behind-the-scenes look at this novel!


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Monday, May 22, 2017

Trusting Grace

Trusting Grace
Virtues and Vices of the Old West
Maggie Brendan
ISBN: 978-0800722661
May 2017/336 pages/$14.99

With a farm to run, can a widow possibly hope for new love?

All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband's farm until she places an ad for a hired hand.

Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.

Get swept away into Montana's lush Gallatin Valley, nestled among towering mountains and proud pines, in this emotional story.

Read an excerpt.


Maggie Brendan is the CBA bestselling author of the Heart of the West series and The Blue Willow Brides series, as well as The Trouble with Patience and A Sweet Misfortune. Her books have received the Book Buyers Best Award from the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America and the Laurel Wreath Award. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers, and Author's Guild, Maggie lives in Georgia. Learn more at her website.


I have loved each of the books in this series, and Trusting Grace is another delightful read. Maggie Brendan once again creates a winsome heroine who is easy to like and a worthy hero who needs someone to believe in him. And who can resist the three children who are desperately trying to hold their own family together?! Brendan weaves a creative tale that warms the heart, although she tucks in a bit of angst as well, since the series title includes both Virtues and Vices of the Old West! I happily ignored all responsibilities as I traveled back in time and lost myself in this endearing story. Trust me -- Trusting Grace is the perfect addition to your reading list!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Baker/Revell for a blog tour. 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.”

The Trouble with Patience
A Sweet Misfortune
Trusting Grace


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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Too Deep for Words

Too Deep for Words
A Civil War Novel

(Shenandoah Valley Saga, #2)
Andrea Boeshaar
ISBN: 978-0825444197
April 2017/320 pages/$14.99

Carrie Ann Collier has been a newlywed for nineteen blissful days--as blissful as life can be in the midst of war, that is. Soon that war will take a toll she never expected. When her new husband, Peyton, goes missing during battle, she refuses to believe he is dead and must find a way to move forward with everyday life in the face of fear.

As Carrie struggles with how to welcome her estranged sister, Margaret, back into her life, another new arrival appears on her doorstep--her husband's best friend, and rebel officer, Eli. Wounded and bitter, Eli is nonetheless committed to keeping his promise to Peyton: take care of the Collier women, no matter what. But to Carrie, he's a painful reminder of her lost love.

Then unexpected news makes Carrie wonder if miracles do happen. If Carrie infiltrates the enemy once again, she might find out what really happened to the love of her life. Will Eli be able to keep his promise to keep her safe? Can they forgive each other if promises are broken?

As fans of Boeshaar's books have come to expect, Too Deep for Words is a meticulously researched novel. Readers are taken directly into the heart of the realities of the Civil War and reminded how, even in the darkest circumstances, faith in Christ offers hope.


Andrea Boeshaar is the cofounder of American Christian Fiction Writers and runs "The Writer's ER," a coaching service for writers. She is the author of thirty published works, including Threads of Faith, a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. Andrea is also the author of a popular devotional and regularly blogs on a number of sites. Find out more at www.andreaboeshaar.com.


Andrea Boeshaar's first novel in this series, A Thousand Shall Fall, captivated me, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this second book. As before, Boeshaar transported me into the story from the opening paragraphs with an authentic setting, believable characters, and her talent for seamlessly weaving together fact and fiction. Divided loyalties experienced by many who knew and cared for soldiers on both sides of the war lead to ethical dilemmas, and the ever-present and turbulent passions make the pages fairly tremble with the tension. Gripping and impossible to set aside after a mere chapter or two, Two Deep for Words is historical fiction at its best. I'm already looking forward to Book #3!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications for a blog tour. 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.”


A Thousand Shall Fall
Too Deep for Words


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Monday, May 8, 2017

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho:
Rebecca's Plight

Susanne Dietze
(Barbour Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1683220114
May 2017/256 pages/$12.99

Journey now to Ruby City, Idaho of 1866 where...
A Marriage Mishap Creates an Awkward Love Triangle in this Silver Mining Town

Looking forward to a quiet life and a full stomach, mail-order bride Rebecca Rice is pleased to marry her shopkeeper intended, Mr. Fordham, until the justice of the peace calls him Thaddeus, not Theodore—proceeded by the title Deputy.

Is it possible to marry the wrong man?

When the newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names, an annulment seems in order—and fast, since Rebecca’s true intended is impatient to claim her as his own, not to mention Rebecca would never marry a lawman like her father. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca wonders if Tad wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . .


Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her online at www.susannedietze.com.


Susanne Dietze has quickly become a must-read author for me. This novel utterly charmed me. What a fun twist on the mail-order bride scenario! Dietze creates quite a predicament for her characters, and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I alternately cringed and laughed out loud as the story progressed, as Rebecca, Thad, and Theodore attempt to work through the awkwardness of the situation. Danger from a notorious gang of stagecoach robbers adds suspense and even a bit of surprising humor. Don't miss this delightful story!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Barbour Publishing via 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.”


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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ACFW New Releases - May 2017

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

Contemporary Romance:

Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard -- Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring--fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)

Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer -- An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham -- God's love...reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh -- Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell -- Two Spring wedding novellas, "A Proxy Wedding," and "Hope Beyond Savannah." (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)

True to You by Becky Wade -- Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Cozy Mystery:

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman -- A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

General Contemporary:

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal -- The heart wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman -- A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press)


Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby -- What began as a bored man's decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette -- A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
Historical Romance:

The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Penny Zeller -- Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard--even risky--especially when faced with some of life's greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson -- She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca's Plight by Susanne Dietze -- It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they've married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order--and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears -- They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle -- When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena's heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt -- Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman -- Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Memory of You

The Memory of You
Catherine West
(Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718078768
March 2017/320 pages/$15.99

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it.


Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine’s second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY’s and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards. Catherine’s third novel, Bridge of Faith, is available on Amazon.

When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s latest novel, The Things We Knew, released July 2016, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com.


Set aside a good chunk of time when you open this book, for you will be engrossed in the story and won't be able tear yourself away. Catherine West has crafted a poignant story that grabs the heart. Natalie's struggles are authentic and heart-wrenching as she battles nightmares and desperately tries to avoid confronting the heinous memories of the night her thierteen-year-old sister died in a tragic accident. Her desperate attempt for unconditional love and acceptance from her father broke my heart. Tanner is a likable and relatable character as well. I particularly like his devotion to his nephew and niece, although West wisely shows his struggles to balance work and family commitments. Multiple threads and themes interweave in this novel including trauma, forgiveness, parental relationships, faith, and more. And don't forget romance! Don't miss The Memory of You.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson's Fiction Guild. 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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Monday, April 24, 2017

The Illusionist's Apprentice

The Illusionist's Apprentice
Kristy Cambron
(Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718041502
March 2017/368 pages/$15.99

Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.


KRISTY CAMBRON has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists for 2014 & 2015, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. The Illusionist’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel. Her first Bible study (DVD and study guides), The Verse Mapping series, will release in 2018.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University and has 15 years experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She loves storytelling from the stage and travels to speak about her love for Bible Verse-Mapping throughout the year. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

The last and most important thing? Jesus Christ is everything — let her tell you about Him sometime.

Learn more at her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Kristy Cambron writes compelling stories, and The Illusionnist's Apprentice is another spell-binding tale. I was drawn in from the opening pages and mesmerized until the closing scene. I have always been uncomfortable with so-called "magic shows," and was fascinated by and appreciative of the distinction between illusion and magic. Cambron deftly combines history, intrigue, and a hint of romance in this captivating novel, with faith a subtle but sure thread woven into the fabric of the story. Don't miss this gifted author's latest offeringing. Grab your copy of The Illusionist's Apprentice before it vanishes!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson and Fiction Guild. 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.”


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Monday, April 17, 2017

Sandpiper Cove

Sandpiper Cover
A Hope Harbor Novel, #3
Irene Hannon
ISBN: 978-0800727680
April 2017/352 pages/$15.99

Wishing for things that can never be is foolish . . . or is it?

Hope Harbor police chief and single mom Lexie Graham has zero time for extracurricular activities--including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either--but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?

When Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a troubled young man from heading down the wrong path, sparks begin to fly. Could it be that God may have a different--and better--future planned for them than either could imagine?

Lauded by Library Journal as "a master at character development," Irene Hannon welcomes you back to this charming Oregon seaside village.

Come home to Hope Harbor
where hearts heal--and love blooms

Read an excerpt.


Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winningauthor of more than fifty romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame. In addition, she has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.


After thoroughtly enjoying Sea Rose Lane (reviewed here), I loved returning to Hope Harbor with this charming novel! Irene Hannon always crafts such endearing stories with likable characters, and Lexie, Adam, and his reluctant protege immediately grabbed my heart. And what's not to love about Charley and his taco truck? Charley's keen discernment and wisdom makes me wonder if he isn't really an "angel unawares" referred to in the Bible. Hannon expertly weaves together multiple threads into this story, such as regrets, peer pressure, fresh starts, restoration, and a bit of romance. Although I've always been a big city girl, I'd be proud to call Hope Harbor home. Don't miss Sandpiper Cover!.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Baker/Revell 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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Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Titanis: A Quiet Professionals Novella
(The Quiet Professionals, Book 4)
Ronie Kendig
Task Force Press
April 2017/143 pages/$3.99 ebook

Never Again.
A vow written in the blood of the fallen is threatened in Australia’s rugged Top End.

Eamon “Titanis” Straider left the military and civilization behind after betrayal cost the life of a teammate. Living on this super yacht, the ViCross, Eamon reluctantly agrees to host an event for his parents, who are part of the Australian political machine. When an attractive woman arrives with his mother, Eamon is furious—and determined to find out what she is hiding.

Lady Ellis Rostov-Leclair has never felt so threatened as she does by the infamous “Beast of Cape York,” a man notorious for removing people—by force if necessary—from his yacht. His uncanny perception endangers not only her reason for being aboard the ship, but a secret she’s held for twenty years.

When the yacht is seized by a man with one goal: make those responsible for his brother’s death pay—the Beast of Cape York must live up to his name and protect those under his charge, or die trying.


Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She's penned over a dozen novels, including The Quiet Professionals series and the A Breed Apart series. She and her hunky hero hubby have a fun, crazy life with their children and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. Learn more about Ronie at her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Ronie Kendig revisits her Quiet Professionals series with a novella that focuses on another member of that amazing team. I loved that series, so I zipped right over to Amazon and bought this book for my Kindle as soon as I heard it was available! Wow. Although the term novella obviously puts constraints on the length of the story, don't confuse brevity with superficiality. Kendig doesn't waste a word and packs this tale chock-full of all that her fans have come to expect and love in one of her novels--a hunky hero bearing scars from a past betrayal and determined never to trust again, a brilliant woman with secrets whom he doesn't dare accept but can't ignore, and an enemy who is playing for keeps. Brimming with action, suspense, and a somewhat reluctant romance, Titanis ignites the senses as it transports the reader aboard the ViCross yacht. Available as an ebook and coming soon in paperback, Titanis is a must-read!


Raptor 6



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Monday, April 10, 2017

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes
Apart from the Crowd, Book 1
Jen Turano
(Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0764217944
April 2017/352 pages/$15.99

After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, Miss Permilia Griswold has finally figured out a way to pass the time at all the New York high-society events she attends. Under the pseudonym "Miss Quill," she is the author of society gossip columns filled with tidbits only an insider in society--albeit one on the fringes--would know.

When she overhears a threat against Mr. Asher Rutherford, the owner of one of the most up-and-coming department stores in the city, she's determined to warn him. But the irritatingly handsome man doesn't believe her, leaving her no choice but to take matters into her own hands. What she doesn't anticipate is that she'll end up putting herself at risk in the process--or that she and Mr. Rutherford, a man with secrets of his own, just might end up joining forces after all.

Read an excerpt.


Jen Turano, author of eight books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.


Jen Turano writes the best books! Her original, clever plots and fresh, creative articulation make reading a delight. What a fun idea to create a series focusing on the overlooked wallflowers of society. (It fascinates me that these young women were essentially ignored by their peers yet still received invitations to such notable events as the Vanderbilt Ball.) I was transfixed from the opening pages until the final paragraph. Turano manages to inject humor into even the most nerve-wracking moments with her inimitable character depictions that would seem over the top in any other novel but which fit perfectly in this setting. And what's not to love about the excesses of an upper-crust ball in 1883 New York, where the most outlandish costume might entail hats fashioned from taxidermied animals and where dances bear names such as The Go-As-You-Please Quadrille (That dance scene ranks among the best in the entire novel and is worth the purchase price on its own!) Trust me: you do not want to be the one standing Apart from the Crowd when everyone is talking about this book. Grab your copy of Behind the Scenes (as well as the free prequel novella) today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Baker/Bethany House 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.”


At Your Request (free prequel novella!)
Behind the Scenes
Out of the Ordinary - coming in November 2017!


1. Why did you decide to open this story during Alva Vanderbilt’s famed costume ball of 1883?
I’ve been fascinated with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball ever since I stumbled on photographs from that event taken by the famed photographer Jose Maria Mora. Some of those pictures can still be viewed in the digital archives at the Museum of the City of New York, and after I saw a guest wearing a stuffed cat on her head, I knew this was a ball I needed to research. Once I realized the Vanderbilt event was a catalyst in changing New York High Society, since this was when new money began getting a foot in society doors, I decided I needed to include this ball in one of my stories, and Behind the Scenes worked well because I’d planned to set it toward the beginning of 1883.

2. Miss Permilia Griswold has an unusual occupation. How did you come up with that idea?
When I decided to write a series about wallflowers, I wanted to write them, not as victims, but as unseen ladies possessing talents no one seemed to notice. Because wallflowers are known to fade into the walls they languish against, I decided it would be a hoot to have one of my characters offered an opportunity to use her status as a wallflower to gather information for a society column. Then, to add additional mystery to the storyline, I made a list of What Ifs. Halfway down that list, a most intriguing thought sprang to mind: What if an anonymous society columnist was collecting information for her column and overheard a plot surrounding murder?

Well, after that idea, the book just seemed to take on a life of its own, and months later I can present Miss Permilia’s story to the world.

3. Mr. Asher Rutherford owns a department store. Was there a reason you gave him that occupation?
I got my very first job in a department store the day I turned 16. It was at L.S. Good & Company, based in Wheeling, West Virgina, although the store I took a job at was located in the Ohio Valley Mall. From that first day, which was Black Friday in case anyone was wondering, I’ve had a love of department stores, especially those located in the heart of downtowns throughout the eastern states. There’s just something delightful about old-fashioned tea rooms, elevators with grated doors, and gilded mirrors hanging on the walls that makes me sigh in delight. There’s also a scent I’ve only experienced in these old stores, a mix of lemon polish, old wood, and new fabric. Because of the love I have for department stores, I wanted to create a character who opened his own store, adding innovations for the day such as tea rooms and bargain basements. I also have a love of old amusements parks, which means, well, one of those might show up in a book someday.

4. What was the most interesting historical tidbit you uncovered in your research for this book?
The photo album of the actual guests and their costumes was astonishing, but some of those pictures directed me to investigate the quadrille dances that were to be performed during the ball, and that’s when I learned I never understood what the quadrille dances during the Gilded Age entailed. I didn’t know that these dances were danced by only a select few—young ladies and gentlemen who’d been specifically chosen for each dance. They’d then practice at places like Family Circle Dancing Class—founded by Mr. Ward McAllister—or at Allen Dodworth’s Dancing Academy. On the night of the Vanderbilt ball, there were six quadrilles performed: The Hobby Horse
Quadrille, The Mother Goose Quadrille, The Opera Quadrille, The Star Quadrille, The Dresden Quadrille, and then, my favorite, The Go-As-You-Please Quadrille. Now, all the quadrilles except for this last one demanded the
participants dress in specific costumes and perform specific steps, my favorite being the ivory costumes and powdered white wigs the dancers in The Dresden Quadrille wore white, chosen to allow them to resemble pieces of
porcelain. I took the liberty of adding a little drama to The Go-As-You-Please Quadrille, but you’ll have to read the book to see exactly what type of liberty I took.

5. Where did you come up with the unusual names of your characters?
I peruse a lot of old census data, as well as obituaries. I found Permilia in an old obituary, but I got the name Gertrude from a hamster my sister used to have years ago. She was a weird hamster, or maybe she was a guinea pig, but she could escape her cage no matter how well secured she was, and when she was on the loose, she would chew up electrical cords. One can’t help but notice that Miss Gertrude Cadwalader is a little odd, although I did refrain from giving her an unusual habit, such as munching on anything electric. As for Miss Temperance Flowerdew, I got her name from a high school friend of mine who was working on her family tree and uncovered an honest-to-goodness Temperance Flowerdew. As soon as I heard that name, I had to use it, because who wouldn’t want to use a name like Temperance Flowerdew?

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and Jen Turano for providing the fascinating information above!


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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Expedition: Still Life Blog Tour & Giveaway!

UPDATED 5/10/17

Congrats to Laura Waltz! You will be receiving a Lifeway gift card from Dani Pettrey. An email is on its way!

Random Number: 49

Congrats to kim hansen! You will be receiving a Lifeway gift card from Dani Pettrey. Please email me your contact info. Please respond by 11:59 pm CDT Friday, 5/5/17, or another winner will be chosen. Thanks to everyone for entering!

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I am thrilled to welcome author Dani Pettrey to guest blog today and to be part of her Expedition: Still Life blog tour, which began Tuesday! Read about today's special location from Dani's recent release, Still Life, enter the giveaway on this page, and then be sure to click the special link to get your passport stamp. The tour happens each Tuesday and Thursday until May 1, when the winner will be announced via Rafflecopter. And now, grab a cup of your favorite brew and join me in welcoming Dani Pettrey!


Welcome to the Expedition: Still Life blog tour! Today we’re visiting Canton, a charming waterfront neighborhood founded in the late 19th century.

If you aren't familiar with this exciting blog tour, or the fabulous grand prize you can win by taking part in it, please visit Expedition: Still Life's main contest page for all the details.

Parker Mitchell, the crime scene investigation hero from my latest release, Still Life, lives in Canton. This Baltimore neighborhood includes a quaint village square full of restaurants, pubs, and unique gift shops.

Traditional Baltimore brick row homes with classic marble stoops and painted screens line the main thoroughfare of O’Donnell Street, where you’ll often see people running along the waterfront path or walking their dogs in the fresh harbor air. Boats bob in the two main marinas. While researching my book series, my husband and I spent a long weekend on a boat in one of Canton’s marinas.

Traditional Baltimore brick row homes with classic marble stoops and painted screens line the main thoroughfare of O’Donnell Street, where you’ll often see people running along the waterfront path or walking their dogs in the fresh harbor air. Boats bob in the two main marinas. While researching my book series, my husband and I spent a long weekend on a boat in one of Canton’s marinas.

The video below is an interview I filmed during that weekend of research.

Parker Mitchell lives off the beaten path in the heart of Canton’s industrial area in a renovated brick warehouse where his loft apartment resides on the top two floors. He loves listening to the rhythmic sound of a ship’s wake and the crabby scent of the harbor. Growing up less than an hour away in a small harbor front town, Canton is a perfect fit for him.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Parker’s loft here.

I hope you enjoyed your insider’s peek at Parker’s neighborhood. This is the second stop on the Expedition: Still Life Tour. Be sure to collect your passport stamp to be entered to win the Grand Prize here.

The Canton Stamp!

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Thanks so much to Linda for hosting me. To also be entered to win a LifeWay gift card, just answer the question below in the comments by midnight PDT April 30. (The randomly drawn winner will be announced on this post on May 1.) After answering the question, visit http://danipettrey.com/stilllife-contest/ to see all the other stops and giveaways on this tour.

What’s your favorite hometown spot and why?

Praised by New York Times bestselling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a sigh-worthy romance novel. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent” of romance (USA Today).

Dani’s adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA bestseller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Courage series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal called, “a harrowing and thrilling ride.” For more information about her novels, visit www.danipettrey.com.

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Readers, click on the links below for my reviews of Still Life and the first book in Dani's Chesapeake Courage series, Cold Shot!

Still Life
Cold Shot


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