Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Major’s Daughter, #3 Fort Reno Series by Regina Jennings

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About the Book

Title: The Major’s Daughter

Series: Fort Reno Series (#3)

Author: Regina Jennings

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: December 2019

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Caroline Adams returns to Indian Territory craving adventure after tiring of society life. When she comes across swaggering outlaw Frisco Smith, his dreams to obtain a piece of property on the Unassigned Lands are very persuasive. When the gun sounds, they find themselves battling over a claim–and both dig in their heels.

My Review

Regina Jennings tells us the story of the land rush in Oklahoma when the territory was opened to homesteaders. Jennings’s main players in The Major’s Daughter are Caroline, born to privilege and respect; and Frisco Smith, who comes from an orphanage but gains respect through his lobbying for land for the common man.

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I gained respect for so many people as I read this book. For the Indians, who had been driven off their land, and made many false promises. For those men like Frisco, opportunists, yes. Yet, they were the ones who scouted out the new Unclaimed Territories and brought back to civilization the depiction of what life there could be. For those who, like the Major, had the responsibility to oversee the fairness of the land distribution on the day the lands were opened. Oy vey, the headaches! And last, but not least, for the people themselves who bravely attempted to race to claim the land, only to be hoodwinked, or beaten by Sooners, the capricious weather, or circumstances.
I liked the depictions of human nature as they emerge in the brand-new town of Plainwell. Will Caroline and Frisco get what they are really searching for, or will they settle for more than they bargained for?

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For me, a wonderful history/sociology lesson wrapped up in an attractive, delectable story. Thank you, Ms. Jennings.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

132117Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She 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 with her husband and four children.

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

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About the Book

Title: Echoes Among the Stones

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2019

After Aggie Dunkirk’s career is unceremoniously ended by her own mistakes, she finds herself traveling to Wisconsin, where her grandmother, Mumsie, lives alone in her vintage, though very outdated, home. Aggie didn’t plan for how eccentric Mumsie has become, obsessing over an old, unsolved crime scene–even going so far as to re-create it in a dollhouse.

Mystery seems to follow Aggie when she finds work as a secretary helping to restore the flooded historical part of the town’s cemetery. Forced to work with a puzzling yet attractive archaeologist, she exhumes the past’s secrets and unwittingly uncovers a crime that some will go to any length to keep hidden–even if that means silencing Aggie.
In 1946, Imogene Grayson works in a beauty salon but has her sights set on Hollywood. But coming home to discover her younger sister’s body in the attic changes everything. Unfamiliar with the burgeoning world of forensic science and, as a woman, not particularly welcomed into the investigation, Imogene is nonetheless determined to stay involved. As her sister’s case grows cold, Imogene vows to find justice . . . no matter the cost.

My Review

“My mother told me that when the boys came home from the war, people thought the world would go back to the way it was before. But it didn’t. The war lived on in souls for years after, and people were just never really the same again.”
This quote by Jaime Jo Wright in Echoes Among the Stones so aptly captures the mood of Mill Creek, Wisconsin in July of 1946. Wright recreates the ominous heaviness that the war brings to America’s hearts. Some people, like the young men who survive, come home brooding or unable to find their way out of the horror now relegated to memory. Others are affected by the loss of family members or the great personality change in a family member who returns. Still others like Imogene and Hazel are also affected second-hand by the war brought to America.

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Jaime Jo Wright has penned yet another mystery novel with spooky, ominous undertones that beckon the tentative reader in. Echoes Among the Stones is a time-slip novel, marrying two distinctly different and at first seemingly unrelated plots, no pun originally intended. In the present day, Aggie loses her real estate job and returns to her selfish, demanding grandmother’s home, while working a cemetery job. Collin, the archaeologist who works with Aggie, frustrates her, intrigues her, and challenges her by turns.
There was enough eerie mystery, romance, and humor (“You have all the sense of an addlepated muskrat, ”) plus faith scattered throughout the book that this book is a big winner for me. Also, I loved the way the solution took me by surprise. Look for this book among my favorites in 2019.

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Quotes:
“Sometimes…you must step outside of your own strength and realize there’s a greater Strength waiting to hold you.”

“All I can say right now is that we sell God short when we look at the pain. Instead, we should focus on what He’s provided us to help us heal.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot!

About the Author

Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the 13916081hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history’s secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Seconds to Live, #1 Homeland Heroes by Susan Sleeman

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About the Book

Title: Seconds to Live

Series: Homeland Heroes

Author: Susan Sleeman

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2019

When cybercriminals hack into the U.S. Marshal’s Witness Protection database and auction off personal details to the highest bidder, FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. Trouble is, he has to work with U.S. Marshal Taylor Mills, who knows the secrets of his past, and the seconds are ticking down before someone dies.

My Review

As usual, Susan Sleeman draws readers in with the very first sentence. Sleeman’s writing in Seconds to Live, like her other works, is concise, taut, and suspenseful in a beyond-terrifying way. Yet Sleeman uses her remarkable knowledge of the cyber crimes world to craft a novel that is both thoughtful and uplifting. When I finished this book, my thought was, if Taylor and Sean can learn to trust God in their over-the-top FBI dangerous jobs, surely I can trust Him with my own life. Besides, even though both Taylor and Sean have jobs most of us can only imagine, their feelings, actions, and conversations make them very relatable.

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While I didn’t much like Dustee, I almost felt sorry for her. Not many in our techie world today would be able to go long periods without some connection to technology. Yet, Dustee had to stay completely away from the internet. Oy, vey!
All of Sleeman’s characters on the Red Team are introduced with enough character that my reading mind is tantalized with the idea of wanting to know them more.
Quotes:
” ‘And all this pacing and frustration out here in the hall means you’re trusting Him?’ It was just like her to call him on his struggle.”

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“But if Sean had learned anything on the Montgomery Three investigation, he’d learned God was in control. Not him. God. That was true now, too, and was worth remembering.”

“We all live in hiding to some degree…people in hiding want someone to care enough to look for them…”

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Bethany House through Netgalley. I also received a copy direct from the author. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

SUSAN SLEEMAN is the bestselling author of over thirty-five novels with more than one 4053429million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clean with inspiring messages of faith. Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.
In addition to writing, Susan also hosts TheSuspenseZone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
To learn more about Susan’s books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other goodies. http://www.susansleeman.com/susans-ne…

Or stop by any of these locations on the web.
Website – http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanB…
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/susansleeman
Review Site – http://www.TheSuspenseZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller

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About the Book 

Title: A Perfect Silhouette

Author: Judith Miller

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: August 2019

In 1850, Mellicent “Mellie” Blanchard takes a job at a mill in Manchester, New Hampshire, to help support her family. In search of additional earning opportunities, she approaches a daguerreotype shop owner with the proposal that he hire her to make paper cuttings or silhouette portraits for those who can’t afford an expensive daguerreotype.

When a particularly charming customer–whose broad smile and twinkling eyes catch her off guard–asks to escort her home, the seeds of romance begin to blossom. All the pieces of her new life seem to have fallen perfectly into place, but when her new venture brings her an unexpected opportunity, she is confronted with the truth that all is not as it seems. Will Mellie, who is keeping secrets of her own, find happiness in the new life she has carved out for herself in the busy mill town?

Get your copy here.

My Review

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller is the second Christian Historical I’ve read recently involving working in the mills. Set in 1850 New Hampshire, we view the mill town, boarding house, and mill itself through the eyes of one young woman, Mellie Blanchard. We see the deplorable conditions within the mill walls, sweating to near-fainting with Mellie and breathing in stifling lint-laden air. The undeniable monotony of watching the loom shuttles whiz back and forth may have threatened to put me to sleep!

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I thought William Morgan was very brave to take on a role beneath his social class in order to discover more about the true workings of his family’s mills.
There were some details about the looms that were hard for me to follow, or I wanted to leave for business people like Morgan and his father.
Trust and forgiveness are themes that are addressed as are loving one’s enemies, plus standing for one’s convictions.
One part of the story I am still puzzling over- could it really have happened like that? I’m not quite convinced.

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I have enjoyed reading Miller’s books as she has lately taken us through several different professions in America’s history.
Quotes:
« He’d stepped into this new identity thinking he could do good, yet each lie had required another. He was beginning to have trouble sifting the lies from the truth. »
« “Prayer is our best hope—in all circumstances… »
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

4 Stars = Excellent, just short of hitting my reading “sweet spot”

About the Author

Judith is an award-winning and best-selling author of historical fiction for Bethany House Publishers.206097 With a love of history, a dash of romance and a touch of mystery, Judith transports her readers to another time and place. Her passion for history and love of God keep her inspired. Judith and her husband are empty-nesters who live in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Judy blogs with four other historical novelists at http://www.writespassage.blogspot.com

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Fire Storm, Kaely Quinn, Profiler #2, by Nancy Mehl

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ABOUT THE BOOK

TITLE: Fire Storm

SERIES: Kaely Quinn, Profiler, (#2)

AUTHOR: Nancy Mehl

PUBLISHER: Bethany Publishing House

RELEASED: August 2019

FBI Profiler Kaely Quinn visits Nebraska to care for her ailing mother. She can’t help but notice suspicious connections among a series of local fires, so she calls on her partner, Noah Hunter, to help find the arsonist. Together they unwittingly embark on a twisted path to a mad man who is determined his last heinous act will be Kaely’s death.

Get your copy here.

MY REVIEW

Life is cold in this chiller/thriller by Nancy Mehl. Fire Storm, #2 Kaely Quinn Profiler Series, takes place mostly in a town called Darkwater. It is winter, and as cold as winter can get. Relationships are cold, too. Omaha doesn’t want Noah and Kaely’s help.

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Kaely herself is having trouble dealing with the chilly relationships between herself and her brother and her cancer-stricken mother.
Conversely, it’s hot in town. Multiple fires lead Kaely and Noah to believe that arson is the cause of Darkwater’s destruction. Jason gets hot under the collar when Kaely puts her job before her family. Kaely feels the heat as the fires increase without a viable suspect. I raced to read this exciting, terrifying novel as quickly as I could.

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Only the need to function kept me from pulling an all-nighter to discover who really was behind the evil visiting the town. Mehl manages to tie up loose ends realistically and bring things to a satisfying conclusion…until she masterfully inserts a dangling issue that may create a cliffhanger for books to come. Faith, fear, trust, unbelievable tension, and the mind of a madman combine to make this a thriller you won’t want to put down.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

MY RATING

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Mehl 

Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancy’s main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club. You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: www.nancymehl.com

 

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

More Than Words Can Say, #2 A Patchwork Family Novel by Karen Witemeyer

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ABOUT THE BOOK

TITLE: More Than Words Can Say

SERIES: A Patchwork Family Novel (#2)

AUTHOR: Karen Witemeyer

PUBLISHER: Bethany Publishing House

RELEASED: June 2019

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him.

Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants her heart.

MY REVIEW:

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer is a wonderful, zany, historical romance that includes faith at its core. While it is helpful to read the preceding book in the series, it is not required to enjoy More Than Words Can Say.

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Abigail Kemp and Zacharias Hamilton are well-developed, lovable characters that I quickly found myself rooting for. Witemeyer provides likable secondary characters and a villain who, the more I knew, the more I actually hoped for redemption.
It was nice to read about a heroine who was somewhat less than thin. Unfortunately, the picture on the front of the book does not accurately portray the Abby presented inside.
Secrets and shame, guilt from past hold both Abby and Zach back. I feel shades of Les Mis in my mind when Zach cannot release the past, knowing he would repeat the wrong for its benefits. What a conundrum that causes and a stumbling block in his road to total honesty and a relationship with the Father.
Quotables:
“…a wise woman never burned a bridge she might need to cross at a future date.”
”…revenge had a tendency to warp a person’s mind when allowed to fester for a long period of time.”
“These stuffy male councilmen might want to hold her down, but like a well-made bread dough, she planned to rise to the occasion.”
For a fun, faith-filled romance, all well blended, baked, and deliciously served up; I heartily recommend More than Words Can Say. I was gifted a complimentary copy of the book through NetGalley. This in no way influenced my opinions for which I am solely responsible.

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MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website. To learn more about Karen and her books, or to join her subscriber list, please visit www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Sweet on You, #3 Bradford Sisters Romance by Becky Wade

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

AUTHOR: Becky Wade

TITLE: Sweet on You

SERIES: Bradford Sisters Romance

PUBLISHER: Bethany House

RELEASED: April, 2019

Britt and Zander have been best friends since they met thirteen years ago, but unbeknownst to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long. When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Washington to investigate. As they work together to uncover his uncles tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also come to light?

 

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MY REVIEW:

I have not been in a particular hurry to read Becky Wade’s romances, but if they’re all as good as Sweet on You, I have lied to myself. I need to hurry and read the first two in this series, although Sweet on You stands alone well.
Zander Ford has finally made a literary name for himself, only to be called home to deal with lies.
Lies like… he could get over loving Britt Bradford, his best friend… like the uncle who adopted him was everything he claimed to be…life could just go back to normal after his uncle’s funeral.
I loved the fact that this tale was more than just a fluffy romance. There was real substance to the problems that were keeping Zander and Britt apart. Plus, there was a great (for the reader) mystery involving the true identity of Zander’s uncle. Zander turns away from God because God doesn’t answer to Zander’s liking in Zander’s timing. This is so like us humans in general. I was brought up a little short as I wished Britt would stop being so self-sufficient that she held people at arm’s length. I realized I often try to make it on my own, not accepting others’ help. That doesn’t make us look strong, just stubborn. Ouch. But this is the best part of Christian fiction- seeing something of myself in a character that needs to be changed to produce a better person.
I found a few quotes to love.

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“Once, he’d been an orphan convinced he didn’t need saving. But then Carolyn and Frank had proved him wrong when they’d gone ahead and saved him anyway.”
“He reminds me of a Dickens orphan. Tragic and brooding and gorgeous.”
“So many lies. The revealing of them made Zander feel as though the foundation of this house might be torn in half at any second by an earthquake.”
”He was God’s son. A son full of mistakes. But a son, nonetheless.”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

MY RATING:

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in 5298259

Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her three kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn’t be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.