BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Leaf Me Alone, #3 Relatively Speaking by Julie Cosgrove

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About the Book

Title: Leaf Me Alone

Series: Relatively Speaking, #3

Author: Julie B. Cosgrove

Publisher: Pursued Books, an imprint of White Integrity Press

Released: February 2020

A long lost child . . . and secrets that insist the lost remain lost!

Word spreads through town about the genealogy researches of Shannon, Bailey, and Jessica. So far, it’s been a fun hobby and an eye-opening experience as they helped to solve two murders. But when old Mrs. Perkins, their Bible study leader, wants to hire Shannon and her husband Jayden to find her long-lost nephew, the couple soon learns that moving forward along the Perkins family tree may leave them dangling out on a limb . . .
and someone is holding a saw!

 

My Review

“Who knew finding relatives could be so dangerous?”  Yikes. A dear older friend suddenly confides she has cancer and enters a hospice facility, but the patients at said facility are dying at an alarming rate. In the meantime, several friends risk their lives looking for a missing man.
I would recommend Julie Cosgrove and her Relatively Seeking Mysteries to other readers looking for a good mystery filled with lots of twists and surprises, plus faith and suspense. Leaf Me Alone is the first book I’ve read by Julie Cosgrove, but I am certain it won’t be the last.
I enjoyed the romance included between Shannon Johnson and her
husband, Jayden. So many times married people are not portrayed as still able to romance or appreciate each other.

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I liked the small, close-knit circle of friends Shannon has with her two sleuthing and Bible study pals, Bailey and Jess, with an 82 year-old mentor, Grace Perkins. The ladies enjoy, support and encourage each other. Mrs. Perkins wants Shannon and Jayden, with help from Shannon’s friends, to find her missing, wanted nephew before she dies.
I got a few cases of whiplash as the possible culprit changes many times. I was very disappointed in Bob’s character, whose actions just don’t jive with the rest of his what we see. Is that because we all stumble? Or did it just make for a better story? I felt like he had to be consistent across the board to be effective in his position that affected Manny, the long-lost nephew.
Now for the fun stuff I noticed.
”…her phone barked.” Oh, yes, Shannon runs a pet and plant care business. I loved how God used many coincidences, such as Shannon having to ride the bus to get to Florida, to bring about providential help. Someone has said,  “There are no coincidences. Only God-incidences.”

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And this quote. I love it. (I am forever talking about losing a file in my brain.) ”He pictured a minuscule elf inside her head flipping through files but unable to locate the right one.”
This second quote covers much of the book: ”To tell only half the truth is to give life to a new lie.”
One more quote that I love, because so many times we are praying for uncertain people doing uncertain things. How do we pray?  “Pray for the truth to be revealed and for God to take care of all concerned.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – I Would Happily Recommend This Book

 

About The Author

Freelance writer, award-winning author, and professional speaker, Julie B. Cosgrove leads religious retreats, workshops for churches and writer groups, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for several devotional publications and is on staff with Campus JCosgroveCrusades of Canada’s Power to Change digital ministry as editor and writer for The Life Project. Their websites help to lead thousands of people worldwide to know Christ, one mouse click at a time. Her own blog, Where Did You Find God Today? has readership in 52 countries.

 

Julie has published three Bible studies, a devotional, two inspirational guides, and has fifteen faith-based fiction novels published or contracted, including two cozy mysteries series, The Bunco Biddies Mysteries and the Relatively Seeking Mysteries. All can be viewed on her website: www.juliebcosgrove.com.

 

Awarded one of the 50 Writers You Should Be Reading by the Author’s Show in 2015 and 2016, and Best Religious Fiction 2016, Best Cozy Mystery 2017 by Texas Association of Authors, Julie was also an INSPY semi-finalist and a Grace Awards Finalist in 2016. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and the Christian Authors’ Network. She achieved the highest public speaking level in Toastmasters International, the Advanced Communication Gold, in 2015.

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski with Giveaway

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About the Book

 

Book:  The Socialite

Author: J’nell Ciesielski

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

An author friend recently asked for the most romantic line from a book we’d read recently. I couldn’t think of one. Now that I’ve read J’nell Ciesielski’s The Socialite, I have the answer. “Most women would have crumbled by now, but not you. And as long as I’m next to you, I’ll not let you.” (Swoon!)

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“For good or bad, family has its way of leaving a mark on you no matter how far you roam.” If I could quote only one line that sums up much of the conflict in this novel, this would be it. Kathleen Whitford has traveled to Nazi occupied Paris to bring home her rebellious, wandering sister, Ellie. Unfortunately, Ellie is running from her controlling family into the arms of a German officer. Kat struggles with Ellie’s behavior, but then Kat begins to realize she herself is desperate to escape her family’s expectations of her. Also desperate to escape secrets is Scots barkeep Barrett Anderson, running from a past threatening to arise from a drunken alley to overtake him. Pawns in a game where the loser forfeits life and/or the war itself, all three are in dire need of escaping the Gestapo.
Ciesielski presents the occupied people, the German conquerors, and the those who mingle in between so well. I don’t read much WWII fiction, and now I remember why not. Ciesielski is not overly gruesome, but just the thought of the atrocities that the Jews or Allied sympathizers faced had my heart beating triple time in terror. Amidst all the double-speak and wondering if the trio could stay out of German concentration camps, I had to laugh when one character well-described consorting with the German hierarchy… “we climb up the social ladder of snakes.”

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I loved some history tidbits. Like how rationing caused women to go from silk stockings to cotton stockings to staining their legs with tea. Ugh! Or how the German officers would require only German music be played. So, talented, wily artists would adapt well-known English tunes to mock their captors and cheer their countrymen.
I had to smile, even as I was very anxious whether the three would be found out.
Themes include betrayal, escaping family expectations, and overcoming pride.
One theme, Barrett repeatedly reminds Kat, is that everybody serves an important purpose in the machinery of espionage. No role is more glorious nor less crucial. So reminiscent of the body of Christ, where each has a job, and all are needed, whether they appear so or not.
What I may have wished for: an inclusion of God in the story, and a little less emphasis on lengthy details of kisses. Physical love is indeed powerful, but I like best when it is subtle and hinted at.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars- Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

 

About the Author

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski CiesielskiJ_Headshotweaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

 

More from J’Nell

I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??

Bam. An idea was born.

In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out 😉

 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 22

Emily Yager, May 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22

Back Porch Reads, May 22

Inklings and notions, May 23

Breny and Books, May 23

Stories By Gina , May 23

For Him and My Family, May 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 24

Connect in Fiction, May 24

Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Life, Love, Writing, May 25

Livin’ Lit, May 26

Robin’s Nest, May 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 26

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Betti Mace, May 27

Maureen’s Musings, May 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 28

Book of Ruth Ann, May 28

Remembrancy, May 28

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Quiet Workings, May 29

Mia Reads, May 29

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

deb’s Book Review, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, May 31

Books I’ve Read, May 31

Batya’s Bits, June 1

Blossoms and Blessings, June 1

Splashes of Joy, June 1

Through the Fire Blogs, June 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Moments, June 2

Pause for Tales, June 3

Andrea Carmen, June 3

Just Your Average reviews, June 3

To Everything There Is A Season, June 3

Fiction Aficionado, June 4

Lis Loves Reading, June 4

Hallie Reads, June 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa09/the-socialite-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

On a Coastal Breeze, #2 Three Sisters Island by Suzanne Woods Fisher with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  On A Coastal Breeze

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre:  Amish Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2020

For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on On-A-Coastal-Breeze-194x300the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.

And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her arch-nemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.

Time to panic.

With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Welcome back to Three Sisters Island, where life is slow, electricity is spotty, and there are no secrets.

On a Coastal Breeze 1
Yet, in On a Coastal Breeze, Book Two of Three Sisters Island by Suzanne Woods Fisher, we find that life is messy. Each sister in the Grayson family, plus their father, has a few secret fears. Paul, the father, is having a rough time being administrator of Camp Kicking Moose. Cam, the eldest, is putting off her wedding in favor of island improvement. How long can Seth wait? Cooper needs more attention than Cam is willing to give. Will this family-to-be happen? Maddy is settling into her dream job of counselor-therapist when Ricky O’Shea, the bane of her young existence, drops out of the sky…to become the new pastor. “As a boy, Ricky O’Shea had stolen her heart. As a man, he was back to claim it.” Can Maddy decide whether she hates or loves Rick? Blaine is as unsteady and unable to finish a goal as ever. However, she has a wonderful friendship with Artie Lotosky. They’re so fun, warm, and they totally understand each other. No wonder everyone but Blaine thinks they’d be a good match.

On a Coastal Breeze 2
As always, Fisher has a charming sense of humor, with characters that are warm, real, and flawed. It is easy to identify with them, imagining them as your neighbors or even bits of yourself. Fisher’s voice and easy ebb and flow of words set the tone for an island that you almost want to locate for your next vacation. However, the waiting list for Camp Kicking Moose is a little long.
While I usually groan at lists of characters in the beginning of a book, it was very helpful to ease my transition back to this beautiful fishing island. I believe this book could be read alone, but I strongly recommend reading it as its part of the series.
We are left with enough unfulfilled hopes and unanswered questions at the end of the book to gratefully look forward to book three.

On A Coastal Breeze 3
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. (I also purchased my own copy.) This in no way affects my opinions which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!

 

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty suzanne-woods-fisherbooks, including On a Summer Tide, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

More from Suzanne

Dear Reader,

 

The minute you step off the ferry and onto Three Sister Island, magic begins. Crisp ocean air acts like an elixir. Stress starts to evaporate, like a wisp of steam from a cup of hot tea. Happiness moves in, and you’ll feel more cheerful, more positive about the future.

And then there’s time! Somehow, there seems to be plenty of it.

 

Little things will catch your notice—finding seashells on the beach, watching waves crash against the rocks, gazing at the star-studded night sky.

 

Life just starts to slow down…and you wonder if you really want to ever leave Three Sisters Island.

 

Nor do you have to! That’s the beauty of books—they are the perfect escape. Always available, just waiting to be picked up. Always ready to transport you to a fresh and new state of mind.

 

On a Coastal Breeze is that kind of a read. The Grayson Family saga continues as they move to Three Sisters Island off the coast of Maine for a fresh start. Maddie Grayson takes center stage in this story. Life is finally coming together for Maddie. On the very day she opens her counseling practice, she spots a billowing skydiver. Parachuting in is Ricky O’ Shea—the one person on earth Maddie hoped she’d never see again. But Rick’s the new pastor for the island’s only church and he’s not about to leave. That’s when sparks start to fly.

 

Join me for a getaway by the sea that will leave you in a happy, relaxed, vacation-y state of mind…without leaving your home. Once you board the Never Late Ferry, even in your imagination, the island will take it from there.

 

Warmly, Suzanne

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 18

The Avid Reader, May 18

By The Book, May 18

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 19

Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Betti Mace, May 20

Lighthouse Academy, May 20

The Power of Words, May 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 21

Texas Book-aholic, May 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 21

Wishful Endings, May 22

Inklings and notions, May 22

deb’s Book Review, May 22

Blossoms and Blessings, May 23

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 23

Connect in Fiction, May 23

Remembrancy, May 24

Writing from the Heart Land, May 24

Blogging With Carol, May 24

Blessed & Bookish, May 25

Inspiration Clothesline, May 25

Back Porch Reads, May 25

For Him and My Family, May 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 26

Daysong Reflections, May 26

Spoken from the Heart, May 27

Mary Hake, May 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 27

Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bigreadersite, May 28

Splashes of Joy, May 28

Older & Smarter?, May 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

EmpowerMoms, May 30

Pause for Tales, May 30

Batya’s Bits, May 31

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 31

Hallie Reads, May 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a copy of her book to five winners!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fb52/on-a-coastal-breeze-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner

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About the Book

Title: Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish

Author: Bethany Turner

Publisher: Revell

Released: May 2020

Genre: Romcom

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanaugh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley.

As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along, but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.

Fan-favorite Bethany Turner serves up a heaping helping of humor and romance with this thoroughly modern story centered on cooking, enemies, and second chances.

 

My Review

Looking for some great laughs, a good, clean romance, with tension and twists right up to the end? Look no further. Bethany Turner’s Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish is a great read. Hadley Beckett is a sweet, country, Southern gal who has her own homey-type cooking show. We meet her as she faces off against infamous bad-boy chef Max Cavanaugh in a taped cooking contest.
This novel is both comic relief and one to make you introspective. As the point of view switches between Hadley in first person and Max in third, we get to see both characters struggle against themselves and each other. Can Max the terrible re-invent himself into a lovable, likable person? Can Hadley trust that love doesn’t have to end badly? And, of course, can they prove to their Renowned tv audience that two chefs are not too many for one kitchen?

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish 1
Ms. Turner has penned a book I couldn’t put down, with twists in just the right places. Bethany Turner likes to challenge the reader to think about things differently. This time one of the topics is alcoholism.
Not everyone who crashes and burns due to alcohol is an alcoholic. This is a message that Max strives to give out.
Hadley mentions a few Biblical characters, and Max mentions wanting to find out what causes her to be different. Beyond that, Turner chooses not to elaborate. I was disappointed, as I love to carry away a few spiritual nuggets of wisdom. All in all, a very fun, clean book, just without the raisôn d’être I hoped for.

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish 2
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell through RevellReads via NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah 7214754Hollenbeck and Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former bank executive and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she’s chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight. Learn more at seebethanywrite.com.

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

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About the Book

Title: The Bridge to Belle Island

Author: Julie Klassen

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2019

Genre: Christian Regency Mystery

After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn’t satisfied with Bow Street’s efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect—a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her?

On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee’s murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man’s death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended…this.

When a second person dies, and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn’t know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light, and danger comes calling.

 

My Review

Julie Klassen presents quite the Regency mystery in Bridge to Belle Island, set in 1819. There are so many levels in which one can relate Klassen’s characters. We start with the hero, Benjamin Booker, a young attorney at a prestigious law firm. Booker is young and eager, but failing, afraid, and angry at his demanding father, who chooses to honor Ben’s brother over Ben. Booker has “adopted” his boss and mentor, Mr. Robert Hardy, one of the firm’s founders, as a “surrogate” father figure. Who can’t relate to failure or the fear of failure? How many of us, whether we had good parents or not, could not also point to at least one other adult who made significant contributions to our lives? Ben will need to decide about two loves… that of a certain lady, and whether his father should ever be given a chance to regain his trust and love again.
“There is no ‘WE’
Our other main character is the very capable, middle-aged spinster, Miss Isabelle Wilder. With her trustee dead, can she finally control her own life, as well as that of her niece, whom she helped raise? Will the old family curse visit Isabelle or will fear of it defeat her? With a bevy of possible suitors, who will she choose?
And, of course, the mystery itself. I love it. We start out with the death of Mr. Norris, Isabelle’s and Rose’s trustee, early on. It will take us a journey through the whole book, with many stops and multiple suspects, to finally discover the true mastermind behind Norris’s death. The novel carries a sense of Edgar Allen Poe, the Clue game, and Charles Dickens all rolled into one. What fun, except for a few times when things were so bleak I wanted to cry. About three-fourths the way through, the narrative lagged, but picked up and surged forward again.
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The faith message includes reminders of Philippians 4:6,7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Faith in God, discernment of whom to trust, and forgiveness are themes in this novel full of twists.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley.
This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent- I Would Gladly Recommend It!

About the Author 928415

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 GovernessThe Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.
Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

The Chisholm Trail Bride, #12, The Daughters of the Mayflower by Kathleen Y’Barbo

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About the Book

Title: The Chisholm Trail Bride

Series: #12 The Daughters of the Mayflower

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Publisher: Barbour

Released: March 2020

Stubborn Hearts Clash on a Cattle Drive

Eliza Gentry’s pursuit of marriage to the son of her family’s sworn enemy has cost her greatly. Furious at his daughter’s choices, her father sends her off with the cattle drive heading toward Fort Worth and the Barnhart ranch, but under the watchful eye of Wyatt Creed, a Pinkerton man he has hired to see to her safety. With danger at every turn—not the least of which to his heart—can Wyatt Creed keep his focus with Eliza Gentry around? Is the Chisholm Trail a place for falling in love or a place to die at the hands of cattle thieves?

(Babbling Becky L’s insert here: I don’t know who read the book to prepare this blurb, or if the author had a loose idea of what the storyline would be, but the above is way off. 😦 )

 

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah (July 2019)The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1863 Tennessee (December 2019)
The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze – set 1888 Nebraska

 

My Review

Kathleen Y’Barbo has produced one of the best installments of The Daughters of the Mayflower. I loved almost everything about #12, The Chisholm Trail Bride. We first meet Eliza Gentry on a trail ride with her beloved father, William, and brothers. At fourteen, Eliza should be at finishing school, but she is much more interested in things of the Texas ranch, including the yearly cattle drive. When a trail skirmish ends in disaster, Eliza loses more than she can imagine.
Nine years later, in 1889, Eliza is still bucking her parents’ ideas of what is best for her. Will she marry Ben Barnhart, rich, ambitious, and headed for the presidency? Or will her father’s security guard protect her heart from ruin?

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Any romance reader that has ever laid on the grass at night and located different star constellations or watched meteor showers is sure to enjoy this book. Especially as Y’Barbo’s Eliza is both so strong-headed and yet loves her father so fiercely. I love this quote that explains much of the two main tensions of the book:
‘“Eliza, you are me in female form, and that confounds the daylights out of me…
But there is one thing we do that is sometimes our downfall.” “What is that, Papa?” she asked. “We love too easily and too hard.”

The Chisholm Bride 2
William Gentry seems very unbending at times, yet at others, is wound around his daughter’s little finger. Even when it seems like he has drawn a definite line for her behavior, he makes provision for how he knows his daughter will act.
This, in turn, reminds me of the Heavenly Father. He knows what is best for us but ultimately allows us to make our own choice, just as Gentry does for Eliza. And, the Father also makes a provision for the choices we may make.
Another element of the novel I loved was the ability Y’Barbo has to make me identify with the characters. I felt every emotion Eliza and Wyatt felt, and I sure hated a few characters!
As a reader, I was happy to be engrossed by action that continued until the end of the novel. I liked some of the “little” odd twists that turned out to be important.
Definitely a book I recommend if you like westerns.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

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Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad.

A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine.

To connect with her through social media, check out the links on her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Home on Huckleberry Hill, #9 The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

 

Home on Huckleberry HillAbout the Book

Title: Home on Huckleberry Hill

Series: #9, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill

Author: Jennifer Beckstrand

Publisher: Zebra Press

Released: June 2018

Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s irrepressible eighty-something matchmakers Anna and Felty Helmuth are at it again. And this time they’re willing to rough it to get the job done . . .
 
Mary Anne Neuenschwander knows she should be content with what Gotte has given her. She has a comfortable house, a fruitful farm, and a good, steady husband. But after nearly six years of marriage, she still longs for a baby. Yet her husband, Jethro, seems to care more about fishing than about his wife. Unable to bear Jethro’s indifference, Mary Anne moves into a tent in the woods where he won’t have to be bothered. But when her mammi and dawdi find out what she’s done, they’ll stop at nothing—including a little camping trip of their own—to help save their granddaughter’s marriage . . .

Jethro’s greatest blessing is his beloved wife, Mary Anne. Nothing else in his life has turned out anywhere near the way he expected. Rather than burden Mary Anne with his disappointment, he shields her by spending less and less time at home and more time on the river. But when he finds that she’s moved out, he’s shocked. What will people think? What is Mary Anne thinking? And what clever plans are her grandparents hatching?…

Get your copy here.

 

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My Review

One good Jennifer Beckstrand deserves another. Or 10, as this series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill proves. While Home on Huckleberry Hill is my first Huckleberry Hill book, the book stood alone great. Home on Huckleberry Hill, #9 in the series, is a hilarious look at a serious problem. One that a good Amish couple would never, ever have.
Starting with Mary Anne’s octogenarian grandparents, you will be doubling over in laughter by the first page. Ah, the dirty secrets of the Amish.
Mary Anne certainly has one. After a miscarriage four years ago, she has grown so estranged from her husband, Jethro, that she wants a divorce. But, of course, there is no such thing in the Amish church.
Mary Anne creatively finds a way to escape Jethro’s overbearing ways.
If only she could keep her decision between her and Jethro. No such luck. “Gossip traveled faster than a runaway horse in Amish country, but it seemingly traveled like lightning in an Amish grocery store.”As I read this book, it was easy to reflect on the early years of my marriage, and even selfish moments since. Who gives in? Who declares themselves wrong? Who steps up to the plate and magnanimously, truly, forgives and moves forward?

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I loved Mary Anne’s mammi and dawdi, but after a while, I did want to tell them to stop insulting Jethro by name-calling. I was half-afraid that, though Jethro had indeed ignored his wife, the whole burden of the failed marriage would land solely on him. Ack! Jethro’s family! Especially his mamm and his brother, Willie Jay.
“Willie Jay had no idea how entertaining he was from a distance.” But up close he’s a terror of a sermon. As the bishop put it so well (and I hope we see more of him in the other books), “I can’t make anybody do anything, and I wouldn’t want to. Gotte will force no man to heaven.” But will Jethro use the Scriptures to force Mary Anne back to him? Or will he finally look at himself and say, “Is it I” causing the problems? Will Mary Anne hold out forever or will she tear down some walls and forgive?

Homeon Huckelberry Hill
If you haven’t read Beckstrand before, you’re in for a treat. Her sense of humor is hilarious and inventive. And you will feel like you’ve grown with the characters along the way.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

4 Stars- Excellent

 

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, The Honeybee Sisters series, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer and Home on Huckleberry Hill were both nominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth, the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy, and Alfie and Benji Petersheim. Jennifer has written twenty-two Amish romances, a historical Western, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas. Jennifer is represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency. She and her husband have been married for thirty-five years, and she has six children and eight adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Connect with Jennifer on social media.

Website: http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans

Twitter: @JenniferBeckst1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennifergbeckst/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Beckstrand/e/B0073GHCOG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1488910908&sr=8-2-ent

Instagram: j.beckstrand

Bookbub: @JenniferBeckstrand https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-beckstrand

Jennifer