Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The White City: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes by Grace Hitchcock

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The White City: True Crimes: Historical Stories of American Crime

SERIES: True Crimes

AUTHOR: Grace Hitchcock

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: March 2109

GENRE: Christian Historical Suspense

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

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MY REVIEW:

It seems it is always fun to read about one great event that changed the face of Chicago, the World’s Fair of 1893. The White City by Grace Hitchcock helps to sharpen our modern focus on a time when Chicago had a “mini” city of large white stucco buildings well-lit, even at night, to house the fair. The character HH Holmes was a real criminal, detailed in another non-fiction book. White City also caused me to research how the giant Ferris Wheel looked back then. It was nothing like our modern Ferris Wheels, having glass “rooms” holding up to 60 people each! 
I thought this was the perfect vacation read, with a smattering of history, and romance, and suspense.  
I enjoyed the love triangle and truly wasn’t certain how it would turn out. 
Jude Thorpe is a new detective in Winnifred Wylde’s father’s precinct and is assigned the dubious duty of protecting Winnie from her efforts to prove her crime sightings are more than her imagination. Winnie appears attracted to him, but he has competition.  
Winnie fights off many of her aunt’s hand-picked suitors, but will Percival Covington turn out to be the perfect man? 
For myself, I was glad to see Winnie could be a reader and still be a respectable heroine. Often readers are passed over in real life as those who just don’t want to work, instead of those called to nourish an inner need. 
“He didn’t deserve to have her heart’s sloppy seconds.” Said about one of Winnie’s suitors, it hit me how applicable this is in our relationship to God. 
This was one book I would almost have liked to have seen the author write an alternate ending too. That is if she had made a few character adjustments, of course. It just seemed the book teetered on a precipice and the author had to think for a moment which way she wanted to take the action. I know I seriously considered which way I would have counseled her to take it. Indeed, that really brought me thoroughly into the tale, as if the adventure didn’t already have me there. Good point for a book club discussion. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my own. 

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 16145482

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

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ABOUT THE BOOK: 

TITLE: Ladies of Intrigue (standalone book)

AUTHOR: Michelle Griep

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: February 2019

GENRE: Christian Romantic Suspense

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

MY REVIEW:

4.5 stars- Great, just short of spectacular.

Yay for Michelle Griep for coming up with another new book. However, this one is not quite new, but a collection of three novellas that have appeared in other works. Thankfully, I found these, bundled together, whereas I missed them before.

  1. The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady was the first story and my favorite. Taking place in Cornwall, England, Helen, the young adult daughter of a dying minister is thrown into the path of an unusual smuggler. Can Helen understand the world is more than black and white? Can Isaac give up his “rightful” revenge against Brannigan? Eventually, the truth comes out that God is sufficient. Sometimes I shake my head at what appears to be characters’ convoluted thinking- but then realize we all have our blind spots. I found lots of quotes to like in this part.

“‘You are all I have left.’ ‘No, child, there is always God.’” 

“Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything…” 

“Sometimes what we see… and what is truth are two different things. The world is not as black and white as you seem to believe.” 

“If one cannot trust in God’s provision, then perhaps one has no business professing a faith at all.” 

  1. The Doctor’s Woman – This was my second favorite. Taking place in 1862 Minnesota, Emmy Nelson arrives at Fort Snelling, where she is needed in her deceased father’s place. She ends up helping Dr. James Clark, there because he needs field experience.  As the two get close, will Dr. Clark return east to Harvard? God is indeed watching over this pair, as He watches over all of us, and maps out our futures, too.
  2. A House of Secrets- 1890 St. Paul, MN   Amanda Carston and her attorney fiancé Joseph are at odds about the old Griggs House and its use. Why is Joseph suddenly secretive and refusing to support her very well-intentioned endeavors? While this wasn’t a favorite, the lessons are obvious: honesty, prejudging, considering one’s own motives better than others’, of self, assuming the worst of others. Pretty much the opposite of the love chapter in the Bible.

I received this book as a complimentary copy from the author and/or publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my responsibility.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 2754194

I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Alamo Bride, #7 The Daughters of the Mayflower Series by Kathleen Y’Barbo

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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TITLE: The Alamo Bride, #7 The Daughters of the Mayflower Bride

AUTHOR: Kathleen Y’Barbo

PUBLISHER AND DATE: Barbour, February 2019

GENRE: Christian Historical Romance

A Series for Lovers of History, Adventure, Romance, and Ancestry

Will Ellis Lose All at the Alamo?
Ellis Dumont finds a man in New Orleans Grey unconscious on Dumont property in 1836. As his fevers rage, the man mutters strange things about treasures and war. Either Claiborne Gentry has lost his mind or he’s a spy for the American president—or worse, for the Mexican enemy that threatens their very lives. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide who she can trust. Will she put her selfish wants ahead of the future of the republic or travel with Clay to Mission San Jose to help end the war?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Alamo 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)

 

MY REVIEW:

Ellis Valmont, a headstrong young lady of Spanish and French descent, finds herself nursing a handsome young bilingual soldier back to health. He has been shot before seeing duty in Texas against Santa Ana. As Ellis nurses him, she discovers the soldier may hold very important secrets- but on which side does his loyalty lie?

This novel hit the sweet spot for me with frequent references to Ellis’s great-grandmother, Maribel Cordoba. Maribel’s story was told in The Pirate Bride, a wonderful story, also by Y’Barbo. Every mention of Maribel’s name brought flashbacks of that vicarious adventure and how much I enjoyed it. This, in turn, increased my enjoyment of The Alamo Bride. Still, I think this novel can stand on its own if one hasn’t read Y’Barbo’s previous tome.

I enjoyed seeing the relationship development between Ellis and Clay. Ellis is quite the spitfire (like her great- grandmother, Maribel) when she decides that she wants to do something. We see that same personality trait as Ellis deals with her beloved Grandfather, as well.

I was really impressed with what a frightening time in the Texians’ history this would have been to live. Y’Barbo kept me feeling off-balance right along with her uncertain characters.

Quotes:
“I don’t believe in luck… The Lord takes care of us in His own way. If we manage to have something go our way, we figure it’s because it is His way.”
“In times of war, not all friends were truly friends. And sadly, not all family escaped the title of enemy.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible. I was not required to leave a positive review.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  153441

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.

2018 Top Ten Books, Barbour, Bethany House, Celebrate Lit Tour, Lyrical Underground, NetGalley, Revell

MY 2018 TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Like others whose lists I have already seen, I had difficulty narrowing my list of books I’ve read this year (79) down to the ten most important not to miss. I must include the fact that a particularly good book may be missing just because I didn’t get around to reading it. One book that should probably be on my list, I read last year at this time. With a little creativity to include a few more than 10, here is my list. These are not in order of preference. You can’t ask that from most book lovers. (It can change daily.)

1. A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano. 36394907

This is a rather allegorical novel of a vine keeper who takes over the vineyard of a great vintner. It is the vintner’s daughter who alternately criticizes and pines over the mysterious vine keeper. A romance and allegory so great I knew as I was reading it this would top my list of great books for this year.

 

 

 

2. River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart. 36569429

In pre-Civil War times, a small town rallies around a particularly loving and caring slave, as a Caucasian young lady who owes him her life and much of her mindset, decides whether she will support slavery or freedom for all. Heartwarming, also heartbreaking, this novel makes the reader wonder about their own mettle faced with issues of this magnitude.

 

3. Mind Games by Nancy Mehl.                                38484891

Mehl presents such great romantic suspense, yet I always find her characters so believable. Like yes, this really could happen to the average person (nevermind said average person is an extraordinary FBI profiler). This whole book is terrific, I mean terrifying. Yet the ending blew me away and left me wanting more. You will have to read it to understand. This is not your ordinary cliffhanger.

 

4.  The Cumberland Bride, # 5 Daughters of the 36040943Mayflower Series, by Shannon McNear.

Thrills and chills of a small group traversing the dangerous Cumberland Gap during the turbulent time of Daniel Boone. A young woman of eligible age falls for the group’s half-Indian guide. As romantic as they come!

 

5. Nantucket Legacy Series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This includes (1) Phoebe’s Light; (2) Minding the Light; and (3) The Light of Day.

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Wow! This series about the Quakers of Nantucket Island is a true treasure. Starting with the life of a lady destined to be a leader, “Great Mary,” we find out about her in each book through parts of her diary that are shared. Since each book is a split-time novel, we also learn about another person or person who lived a generation or more later. We see lives of the islanders intertwining, and both evil and good reaching down through later generations, depending upon whether the characters are truly following “the light.” A great historical about the times when whaling was a viable trade.

 

 

6. A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green.

Jocelyn Green does great historical research, yet like Laura Frantz and Michelle Griep, she presents it so well. I had never been in a French class or read a book that looked at Marie Antionette and Louis XVI with anything but disdain and 35069159the attitude “they had it coming.” There’s always another side. imagine my surprise to hear about the Jacobites in America, and the danger they posed to those who appeared loyal to the deposed French crown. I loved this book through and through. French history, Franco-American history, and the Whiskey Rebellion?! Learn on!!

 

7. A Tale of Two Hearts, #2 A Dickens Christmas, by Michelle Griep. 38746239

This is the story of a poor law clerk and an impoverished innkeeper’s daughter who conspire to pretend to be married in order to convince his uncle to leave the uncle’s vast holdings to the law clerk. As I wrote in my review, “Superior story, superior writing, superior read. Period.”

 

8. Catching Christmas, by Terri Blackstock.Catching-Christmas-210x300

I had never known Ms. Blackstock to write anything but Christian romance or romantic suspense. This departure from her usual is a Christmas Hallmark-like tale that has it all. Humor, poignancy, romance, stress, and the message of life’s ultimate meaning.

 

 

9. Shelter of the Most High, # 2 Cities of Refuge by Connilyn Cossette.36436246

Biblical fiction comes to life by a new-to-me author. #2  in The Cities of Refuge series, now I can’t wait to read the other two! A little gritty at first, not for the faint of heart, Cossette
honestly shows what it was like for the non-Jewish people serving other gods. This makes our own God so attractive, both for the protagonist and for the reader. Now I understand all the hype surrounding the name “Connilyn Cossette.”

10. TIE BETWEEN A Caffeine Conundrum by Angela Ruth Strong and The Spice of Life, #1 A Salty Tale by Debbie Viguie.

A) A Caffeine Conundrum-40945129

This is another great Christmas tale but so much more. In typical  Angela Ruth Strong-style, a ton of laughter, a quirky character or two, and some subtle Christian values to hang onto for real life.

 

B) The Spice of Life, #1 A Salty Tale by Debbie Viguie.42597854

The first in a new cozy/romantic suspense/thriller series sure to be even more exciting as it builds book by book. One of the protagonists reminds me strongly of Remington Steele, yay!! If I didn’t already like this one enough, I got to hear parts of it read out loud in person by the author, and parts hilariously acted out singlehandedly by another friend!

 

2018 Runners-Up:

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Thank you for checking out my list! Did you make one? I’d love to compare!

 

Barbour, BLOG

The Liberty Bride, #6 Daughters of the Mayflower Series by MaryLu Tyndall

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The Liberty Bride, #6 Daughters of the Mayflower Series

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: November 15, 2018

GENRE: Historical Fiction

LENGTH: 256 pages

ISBN: 978-1683226178

Lieutenant Owen Masters and Emeline Baratt meet on a British warship as sworn enemies. Where will Emeline place her loyalties when forced to spy against her country?
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

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

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

 

MY REVIEW:

“The Daughters of the Mayflower” series has produced some fantastic novels and some that, while interesting, are less than spectacular. You don’t know what you’re getting until you try each different book, written by different authors about different times of conflict in our country’s history. I have read several of MaryLu Tyndall’s books and really enjoyed the adventure and the Christian message. The Liberty Bride seems to lose some of the adventurous feeling as it gets weighed down by the message Tyndall is trying to impart. The Liberty Bride takes place during the War of 1812. I enjoyed meeting Emeline Barratt, who upon returning from England, finds herself in a position to spy for the Americans. Then there is her counterpart, First Lt. Owen Masters, who both intrigues and annoys her to no end. Emeline doesn’t understand the love of the Heavenly Father but equates God’s love with the punitive love of her own father. She is quite worried that God might be punishing her for any past disobedience. Only doing right will bring God’s approval, she believes. “I’m definitely going to Hell!” So says Emeline about all the deception, lying, and spying she has been doing for the Americans. Emeline’s character is actually very full of mercy and grace, what she needs to learn about God Himself. In short, I loved the action, the themes were good, but the conversation got heavy and preachy. Maybe others will not see it so. I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. I am not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my own.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award finalist and bestselling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people’s eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

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