Monday, January 23, 2017

The Reluctant Guardian


The Reluctant Guardian
Susanne Dietze
(Love Inspired Historicals)
ISBN: 978-0373425136
February 2017/288 pages/$5.99


Under the Spy's Protection

When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she's rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he'd be.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of almost a dozen 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, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. Learn more at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


MY THOUGHTS

This is the second of Susanne Dietze's novels that I have read and she is quickly becoming a must-read author for me. Set in one of my favorite time periods, The Reluctant Guardian gripped me from the opening pages, and I had to force myself to set it aside when other responsibilities had the audacity to take precedence over reading time! The stringent expectations of societal mores and the excitement of Gemma's debut--albeit belated-- London season combine with the danger and suspense that Tavin desperately tries to keep far from her, making this a heart-pounding read. Dietze brillantly weaves all the elements of this story together, and the ending totally surprised me. Add this book to your February must-read list, and watch for more from this talented author!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book from Susanne Dietze. 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.”



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

At Your Request


At Your Request
An Apart From the Crowd Novella

Jen Turano
(Bethany House)
ASIN: B01HC1252A
January 2017/105 pages/FREE!

After her father lost the family's fortune, Wilhelmina was cast out of the fashionable set and banished to the wallflower section. Taking a position as a social secretary to help support her family, she's mostly come to terms with her new status. But when her old friend Edgar returns to New York society for the first time since she rejected his marriage proposal, she's newly ashamed at how far she's fallen--and how hastily she dismissed him years ago. Her strategy is to avoid a face-to-face encounter at all costs, but he seems to have other plans. Will Edgar take advantage of their now reversed positions and make her regret her refusal, or is there still hope for a friendship between them--or something more?

At Your Request is an e-only novella that gives an exciting introduction to Jen Turano's new Gilded Age historical romance series, Apart From the Crowd! Includes an extended excerpt of the first full-length novel in the series, Behind the Scenes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A USA Today Best-Selling Author, Jen Turano has written the critically acclaimed Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel After a Fashion was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. It is also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her book A Most Peculiar Circumstance was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, released in the spring of 2016, and will be followed by a new four-book series, Apart from the Crowd. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying herself as an empty-nester since her son recently abandoned her for the college life. She can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com.


MY THOUGHTS

I have adored Jen Turano's writing since her first release back in 2012 and she remains firmly on my must-read list. I would have snatched up At Your Request even if it hadn't been a free prequel novella, but what a deal! Turano once again charms with endearing characters whose keen and often witty verbal exchanges made me laugh out loud. New York City's Gilded Age provides the perfect setting for this delightful tale as Wilhelmina and Edgar cross paths once again and Turano introduces other young ladies who have been deemed to be beyond prime marriageable age and are therefore set Apart From the Crowd. I'm already eager for Behind the Scenes, releasing in April, after reading the excerpt provided with this novella. Don't miss this fun story!



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill


The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
Tales from Ivy Hill, Book 1
Julie Klassen
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764218132
December 2016/448 pages/$14.99

Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. . . .

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?


Read an excerpt!


Visit Ivy Hill online and learn more about the characters, see the village map, read previews, and more at www.talesfromivyhill.com!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo Credit:
 © Farrow Media
Julie Klassen 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. For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com.

MY THOUGHTS

An award-winning novelist of stand-alone novels, Julie Klassen turns her many talents to writing her first series, sweeping me away to early-nineteenth century England with this endearing village that made me long to visit! A complex and intriguing cast of characters inhabit Ivy Hill, and I wasn't sure which ones, especially among the men, were trustworthy. Perhaps my favorite character is Thora, whose brusqueness hides a bruised but tender heart. I couldn't put this one down, and I'm already eagerly anticipating the upcoming books in the series. If you enjoy British historic period dramas, you will love The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Grab your copy today!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers and Regina Jennings 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.”


Q&A WITH JULIE KLASSEN


1. This book marks the beginning of your first series. After ten stand-alone novels, why a series?
Two reasons. First, I often receive e-mails from readers asking for sequels, or saying they don’t want a book to end. Sometimes I don’t either! After setting up an entire village and populating it with a cast of characters, it’s hard to say good-bye after one book. I am looking forward to staying in the same village for at least three books, going deeper with the main characters, and bringing more characters to life.

Second, many readers (myself included) love village series set in England whether in books or television. Series like Larkrise to Candleford, Cranford, and Thrush Green draw us in with their close-knit communities filled with endearing characters.

Or maybe it’s just the British accents! Whatever the reason, I hope readers will enjoy my first series as well.

2. What can you tell us about the series, Tales from Ivy Hill?
The series tells the stories of four women facing life-altering challenges with the help of their quirky neighbors and intriguing newcomers. Each novel will have a romance and drama wrap up in a hopefully satisfying way, while the main character’s story spans all three books. The series celebrates the strong bonds of friendship, because in a small village like Ivy Hill, everyone is connected, like leaves on a vine.

3. Book One released in December. Can you briefly describe it?
Sure. In The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, a genteel widow becomes the reluctant landlady of a languishing coaching inn when her husband dies. Jane Bell has no idea how to manage a business. But with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn. As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, Jane restores life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well.

4. Why did you choose to set the book at an inn?
In the early nineteenth century, before the advent of trains, the lifeblood of many small villages were their coaching inns. In this era, stage and mail coaches were the primary means of travel, and they stopped at coaching inns along the way to change horses, let passengers take a meal, or stay the night. Coaching inns were restaurant, hotel, “train” station, travel agency, livery, and repair shop, all rolled into one. I think it’s a wonderful setting for a series, providing a backdrop for a cast of regulars who work at or frequent the inn, as well as for new people who are traveling through.


Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and Julie Klassen for providing this fascinating author chat!



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Thursday, January 5, 2017

For the Record


For the Record
(Ozark Mountain Romance, Book 3)
Regina Jennings
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764211423
December 2016/336 pages/$14.99

Rather Than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle's newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she's ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he's the law in this town--and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies' pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he's definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero--and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.


Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children and can be found online at www.reginajennings.com.


MY THOUGHTS

Regina Jennings once again delights with this historical romance set in the Missouri Ozarks. Gifted at creating characters that leap off the page, Jennings populates Pine Gap with an eclectic array of personalities that keep the pages rippling with action. Between Betsy, the Bald Knobbers, and the various family feuds plaguing the town, poor Deputy Joel can't seem to get a break! Clever banter and lively repartee between Betsy and Joel keeps them dancing on the edge between vexation and admiration. For the Record made me alternately laugh out loud and hold my breath with its perfect blend of humor, danger, and romance. Don't miss this engaging story!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers and Regina Jennings 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.”


OZARK MOUNTAIN ROMANCE SERIES - MY REVIEWS
A Most Inconvenient Marriage
At Love's Bidding



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Q&A with Jocelyn Green on The Mark of the King

Yesterday I reviewed Jocelyn Green's exquisitely penned new release, The Mark of the King. You do not want to miss this beautiful story! Today I am happy to share with you a Q&A with this gifted author where she shares a bit about writing this novel as well as a peek into her writing life.


What drew you to tell the story of The Mark of the King?
First of all, the history was both fascinating and new to me. There are many excellent books set in the British colonies, but the French colony of Louisiana seems to be much lesser known. The years of forced immigration, whereby Paris cleaned out its prisons to populate a floundering wilderness, was just too rife with story potential to ignore. It’s a story of incredible hardship and courage, fear and hope, judgment and redemption. It also offered an opportunity to unlock a slice of American history most of us know little about, which appeals to me a great deal.

What is the “mark of the king”?
The mark of the king, as referenced in the title, has two meanings. The first is very literal. It’s the fleur-de-lys symbol of the French monarchy that was branded on certain criminals during the time the novel takes place, to permanently mark them with judgment. In the novel, this mark plays a big role. But there is a spiritual layer to the phrase, as well. As believers, we serve a higher King than any authority here on earth. Our lives are marked by His grace, no matter how scarred we may have been by judgment from others—whether that judgment was deserved or not. God’s grace covers all of it. Grace covers all of us.

What was your favorite part of the process when it came to writing this novel?
Research breakthroughs literally make me shout for joy. For instance, my French sister-in-law translated a document I found in New Orleans for me, giving me a critical piece of the puzzle. Another challenge I ran into was just understanding the topography of the region. Visiting New Orleans still left me with questions as to what my characters would have encountered, geographically, in the year 1720. When I found an article online that hinted at the information I was looking for, I emailed the author, a professor at Loyola University. I jumped up and down when he wrote me back, with a goldmine of details! We ended up exchanging about six emails, question and answer style. With his help, I finally got a handle on the lay of the land between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain in the 1720s, with all its sand ridges, bayous, swamps, marches, including types of trees and vegetation that grew in each region. Being able to paint the scenes with accurate details is really important to me, so this was definitely a research highlight!

Which character do you most closely identify with in The Mark of the King, and why?
The world Julianne Chevalier inhabits—Paris, then New Orleans in the 1720s—is vastly different from the world I live in. But of all the characters in the novel, I relate to her the most. I share her strong desire to find purpose and use one’s skills and gifts wherever life leads. I also identify with her devotion to her brother and the pain of separation from him, since I greatly missed my own brother when he was a missionary—in France, in fact, where he met his beautiful wife, who grew up outside of Paris! On an even more personal level, my former tendency to withdraw from community when experiencing pain is represented in Julianne’s character, as well. I once learned the hard way that isolation breeds depression. So even though Julianne and I share very few circumstances in common, these deeper parallels are quite timeless.

Why do you write historical fiction?
History still matters today. We can learn so much from the people who lived before us, and how they shaped and were shaped by the events of their generations. Not only can we find inspiration from them, but also a much better perspective as we look at the world today. Unfortunately, so often, history is distilled into a list of dates and names—not interesting at all. The vehicle of historical fiction allows us to explore segments of the past through the lens of the people who lived it. We get to explore the full spectrum of the human condition through the novel.

Personally, I love learning while being entertained with drama, and studies show that when we’re curious about something—such as what will happen to our heroine in the next chapter—we’re far more likely to remember surrounding details, such as the historical context. To me, that’s the icing on the cake. When readers care about characters and learn about history at the same time, I’m thrilled.


Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
I look for ideas everywhere. Books, online articles, Netflix documentaries, roadside markers, historical societies, museums, other people and their vacation photos! The impetus for The Mark of the King was planted when my sister-in-law and brother, who were living in France at the time, told me about the King’s Daughters, a group of girls sent from France to be wives to Canadian fur traders in the 1600s. I was intrigued, and started my own research. One click led to another, and I eventually learned about the French forced to immigrate to Louisiana.

Where do you like to write?
I usually write best in my office, surrounded by my research books, because I'm constantly fact-checking as I write. It's a laborious process. But sometimes if I get stuck, I find a change of scenery to be helpful. A local coffee shop or the university library where my husband works are great places to get the creative juices flowing again

When you fully complete a book and all is done but the printing, is it sad to move on or are you already developing your next story?
It’s bittersweet, for sure. By the time a book is ready to print, I’ve poured heart and soul into creating it. But I’m not really leaving the story behind when I move on, because when readers pick up the book, it comes to life all over again. I get excited about drawing new characters, too.


Thanks for providing this, Jocelyn! Readers, be sure to enter this cool giveaway by clicking on the graphic below.





Photobucket

View blog reactions

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Mark of the King


The Mark of the King
Jocelyn Green
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 9780764219061
January 2017/416 pages/$14.99

Life in This New World Requires More Strength Than She Ever Imagined

After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption. Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects. The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin. When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace--and love--can overcome the stigma of the king's mark upon her shoulder.


Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jocelyn Green is the award-winning author of a dozen books, including fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed books and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she co-authored with best-selling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob, two children, and two cats in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com. Connect with her also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.




MY THOUGHTS

Oh, that I were as gifted a wordsmith as Jocelyn Green, to adequately convey the beauty of this novel. Green's many gifts as an author blend together seamlessly into a compelling story rich with meaning. Impeccably researched, this tale brings to light a little known (to me) aspect of the settlement of New Orleans in the early eighteenth century. Authentic and at times heart-wrenching to read, The Mark of the King sweeps the reader across the centuries into the primitive swamp of Louisiana. The harsh realities that Julianne faced broke my heart. A veritable artist with words, Green brings each of the characters to life, and the pages pulse with emotion. Nuggets of truth tucked into the pages add depth and significance to this amazing story. A great start to your 2017 reading list, The Mark of the King is a must-read!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced digital copy of this book free from Baker/Bethany House Publishers and Jocelyn Green via 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.”










Photobucket

View blog reactions

Monday, January 2, 2017

Never Forget


Never Forget
Beacons of Hope, Book 5
Jody Hedlund
(Northern Lights Press)
ISBN: 978-0692770870
January 2017/12.99 paperback/$4.99 ebook

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island
June 1880


Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Watson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate. Learn more at her website and visit her on Facebook.



MY THOUGHTS

I was thrilled to discover that Jody Hedlund decided to write a fifth book in her incredible Beacons of Hope series. I have loved each of these books, and Never Forget is a wonderful finale. As always, Hedlund creates authentic characters that are easy to like. Her portrayal of Gramps in his dementia and Abbie's love for and commitment to him, as well as Nathaniel's understanding and compassionate interactions, moved me. This is a novel that tugs at the emotions with numerous twists that pulled me in deeper at every turn. Forgiveness, honor, and integrity are just a few of the truths woven into this captivating tale. While easily read as a standalone, those who have read the series will appreciate how Never Forget comes full circle with a thread that connects to the first novel, Love Unexpected. Don't miss this book and this series, and add Jody Hedlund to your list of must-read authors!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Jody Hedlund 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.”



BEACONS OF HOPE - MY REVIEWS

Out of the Storm (FREE prequel novella!)
Love Unexpected plus A Q&A with Jody Hedlund
Hearts Made Whole - and A Q&A with Jody Hedlund
Undaunted Hope (Q&A included with the review)
Forever Safe
Never Forget




Photobucket

View blog reactions

Sunday, January 1, 2017

ACFW New Releases - January 2017

Happy 2017! The new year is off to a great start with some wonderful books releasing this month! Watch for my reviews coming soon for several of these novels, along with others not listed here.

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

Contemporary Romance:

Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley by Valerie Comer, Mary Jane Hathaway, Elizabeth Maddrey, Danica Favorite, Lee Tobin McClain and Annalisa Daughety -- Is love possible for a makeshift mom and a handsome widower? What about a bed and breakfast owner and the farmer next door? A curvy jilted bride and a mysterious, handsome chef? Then there's the real estate consultant and the grandson of her elderly client; a high-powered lawyer and a woman farmer, and a formerly engaged couple. Can love make a difference in their lives? Exploring food, friends, and family in Arcadia Valley, each of these novellas kicks off a three-book series, intertwined with the works of the other authors. This collection is only the beginning of your adventure! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery -- Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. As Mitch struggles to keep his business afloat, and Angela works to correct the mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends discover they have something unexpected in common--a young mom fighting to give her children a better life after her husband's incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back from redemption and true love? (Contemporary Romance from New Hope Publishers)

Historical Mystery:

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering -- Drew and Madeline Farthering visit the Yorkshire moor to catch a killer and solve a mystery that involves an old feud, a new rivalry and a huge, spectral hound that may or may not be a harbinger of death. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Historical Romance:

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander -- A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to get an audition at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But the conductor--determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music--bows to public opinion. Women are "far too fragile and frail" for the rigors of an orchestra, he says, and Rebekah's hopes are swiftly dashed. Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville's new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse--and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head--he must finish composing his symphony before the new opera hall opens. But far more pressing, he must finish it for his dying father, who inspired his love of music. Then Tate's ailment worsens. Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman's trust when you've robbed her of her dream? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The American Heiress Brides Collection by Lisa Carter, Mary Eileen Davis, Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Lisa Karon Richardson, Lynette Sowell and Kimberley Woodhouse -- Meet nine young women in America between 1880 and 1911 who have been blessed by fortunes made in gold, silver, industry, ranching, and banking. But when it comes to love, each woman struggles to find true love within a society where "first comes money, second comes marriage." What kind of man can they trust with their greatest treasure—their hearts? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Two Suitors for Anna by Molly Jebber -- In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for with her beloved Noah Schwartz, and a new, very different future… But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they're married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves. Daniel Bontrager's arrival adds to Anna's confusion. Since taking over his late brother's farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share… (Historical Romance from Kensington)

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas by Erica Vetsch -- Journey to Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle of emotions versus ideals is about to be waged. When a high-steppin' eastern fashion artist, Priscilla Hutchens, swoops down on the fort to gain custody of her twin niece and nephew she is met with resistance by their uncle, post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who thinks he knows what is best for them. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Dead Run by Jodie Bailey -- Kristin James's morning run turns deadly when she's attacked by a stranger who's after something her deceased soldier brother stole overseas. Her neighbor Sergeant First Class Lucas Murphy steps in to help her and won't let her brush the attack under the rug. He'll do everything he can to keep Kristin alive, but he can't tell her that he's under orders to investigate her link to her brother's misdeeds. Kristin has no idea what the bad guy is after and doesn't want to believe that her brother wasn't on the straight and narrow. But as evidence against him piles up, can they catch the criminals without becoming the next casualties? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley -- It's been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister's sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn't actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, the person who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in one week--including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])

Undercover Protector by Elizabeth Goddard -- Undercover at a tiger sanctuary, Special Agent Grayson Wilde is convinced the owner's involved in a wildlife trafficking ring--until someone tries to kill her. Gemma's determined to rebuild the tiger oasis she lost when her family died, but someone wants her out of the way, and she's starting to wonder if her parents' and uncle's deaths were really accidental. Grayson says he'll do anything to protect Gemma, but she can't shake the feeling that her alluring new volunteer might not be all that he seems. With a vicious criminal closing in, though, she has to trust Grayson…because she won't survive without him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Buried Memories by Carol J. Post -- A soldier hero suffering from PTSD and a young woman struggling to overcome a traumatic childhood fight for their lives and find healing together. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Still Life by Dani Pettrey -- Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart. Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Supernatural Thriller:

Fatal Accusation by Rachel Dylan -- Attorney Olivia Murray hopes her life in Windy Ridge will get back to normal after a hard-fought trial. But she soon finds out that the forces of evil have not given up. An embezzling scandal rocks the community church to its core. The New Age groups are ready to declare victory when a high-profile prosecutor files criminal charges against the local pastor. However, Olivia is not willing to give up on the community she's come to love. She takes on the defense pro bono knowing it could destroy her career, but it's a case she is called to defend. The battle will be fierce, but she's not fighting it alone. Her friend and fellow attorney Grant Baxter is by her side. Olivia must use all the tools in her arsenal to combat those who seek to destroy the believers in the community. If Olivia can't prove the pastor's innocence, more than her career is on the line. The entire community of Windy Ridge could fall to the forces of darkness. (Supernatural Thriller, Independently Published)



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Deadly Diseases and a Fun Giveaway!

Ronie Kendig's latest release, Conspiracy of Silence released earlier this month to rave reviews--including mine! The perfect way to use that gift card you received for Christmas, this inTOXicating novel will keep you turning pages late into the night.

Tox and his team race to find a cure for a deadly, centuries-old disease that has been released. As a nurse, I couldn't resist focusing my feature on the subject of bioterrorism. According to the National Institute of Health, a bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs to cause illness or death. These are generally spread through the air, by contamination of water or food, by animals, or by person-to-person contact.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) has an extensive website that provides research, education, scientific publications, and resources regarding biological warfare. I was fascinated by the brief history, which dates as far back as the sixth century BC, when water sources were poisoned with rye ergot by the Assyrians and with the herb hellibore by the Greek general Solon. ("History of Biological Warfare and the Current Threat," USAMRIID's Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbook--8th Edition, September 2014, p. 3)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is another resource. A list of specific Bioterrorism Agents/Diseases is available, as well as General Fact Sheets on Specific Agents:
  • Anthrax
  • Botulism
  • Brucellosis
  • Plague
  • Smallpox
  • Tularemia
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

The CDC's Bioterrorism Readiness Plan: A Template for Healthcare Facilities details steps to be taken in the event of a a suspected bioterrorism event. While many of their guidelines are general and apply to any situation, they also delineate Agent-Specific Recommendations for the following:
  • Anthrax
  • Botulism
  • Plague
  • Smallpox

Biological warfare is a serious subject and one that arises often in the news in today's war-torn world. However, those who place their trust in God and his sovereignty need not fear what man can do on earth.

Don't miss Conspiracy of Silence, and check out this awesome giveaway from Ronie Kendig!



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Baxter Family Christmas


A Baxter Family Christmas
Karen Kingsbury
(Simon & Schuster/Howard Books)
ISBN: 978-1451687569
272 pages/October 2016/$19.99 Hardcover

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes A Baxter Family Christmas, a life-changing story of love and hope featuring the Baxter family.

Whether you’re meeting the Baxter family for the first time, or finding them all over again...A Baxter Family Christmas will leave fingerprints on your heart forever.


Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.

In light of their father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy—the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want.

At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine.

Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find purpose in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes the invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill peace and happiness back into her life.

Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and redemption, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of loss and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Don, and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their actress daughter, Kelsey, lives nearby and is married to Christian recording artist Kyle Kupecky. The couple recently welcomed their first child, Hudson.

MY THOUGHTS

I have only read one of Karen Kingsbury's books in the past but since I love Christmas novellas, I decided to give this one a try when it landed in my mailbox. Kingsbury has written a heart-wrenching tale that will delight fans of her Baxter Family series who eager to catch up with these much-loved characters. The grief that the family has experienced will resonate with many who dread facing the holidays due to an empty chair at the table. This novella is a quick and easy read but personally, I was a bit disappointed as I found parts of it unrealistic and simplistic in regards to grief. Many of her long-time fans rave about it, however, so check it out and decide for yourself!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced digital copy of this book free from Simon and Schuster/Howard Books. 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.”



Photobucketm

View blog reactions