Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

With her Amish parents’ twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller stumbles across a surprise–the old brass tinderbox her clockmaker father keeps in his Lancaster County shop has been left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life.

Sylvia’s bewilderment grows when her father confronts her about snooping in the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order reacts as if he has something to hide.

Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller decides he must reveal the details about his past to his beloved wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, jeopardizing Earnest and Rhoda’s relationship, as well as threatening Sylvia’s recent engagement to the preacher’s grandson.

Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?

MY REVIEW:

“Hard work puts meat on your bones…and builds strong character.” Ack, character: for sure and for certain the centerpiece of yet another Amish tale Beverly Lewis has brought us. A family and couple(s) are in crisis. The Tinderbox out in her father’s clockmaking workshop has tempted Sylvia ever since she was small. Little does Sylvia realize the Pandora’s Box she will be opening as she peeks inside.
While not a fast-moving book, The Tinderbox deals with some of the strongest human emotions possible: intense human love, lust, (very tastefully dealt with), anger, fear, deceit, betrayal, and despair. I have my suspicions about a few others that we may not realize until the sequel, The Timepiece, is out in September of this year.
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.
It has been said that women are emotional creatures. I thought about this a lot as I read The Tinderbox. It was easy to put myself in either Rhoda or Sylvia’s place. I wondered if the stress and emotions would be unbearable. God has said He will not give us more than we can bear. While Rhoda, Sylvia, Hannah, and Earnest all must have questioned this, God provided a special friend for the ladies as well as for Earnest in his time of need. It was fun to visit with the Wise Woman of Hickory Hollow, Ella Mae, yet again. Everyone needs an Ella Mae in his/her life.
Five. That many months until the sequel comes out. I need it now. Lewis neatly sets us up for The Timepiece, and I, for one, don’t want to wait!
Quotable:
“Have you fallen so far that the Lord can’t reach down and pick you up?”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country and both a schoolteacher and an accomplished musician, has been an award-winning author for over a dozen years. Her acclaimed novel, The Preacher’s Daughter, was a 2006 Quill Book Award finalist in the romance category. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. She and her husband, David, live in Colorado.”

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Bethany House, BLOG

A Desperate Hope, #3 An Empire State Novel by Elizabeth Camden

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ABOUT THE BOOK

TITLE: A Desperate Hope, #3 Empire State Novel

AUTHOR: Elizabeth Camden

PUBLISHER: Bethany House

RELEASED: February 2019

GENRE: Christian Historical Romance

Eloise Drake’s prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she’s finally put behind her—or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she’s now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town—but he needs Eloise’s help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he’d lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it’s too late.

 

MY REVIEW:

What would life be like if the government decided our land was worth more to the general public than to the individual? (We actually saw this locally when many disgruntled people sold their homes cheaply to make room for a new highway to pass through.) In Elizabeth Camden’s novel, A Desperate Hope, a whole town is being dismantled so New York City can build a much-needed water reservoir. I had difficulty getting interested in these people’s lives at first until I could realize what was truly at stake for this community.
Ah, a first love that simmers and never quite gets extinguished. Sounds great for Alex Duval, now mayor of Duval Springs, and Eloise Drake, an accountant and numbers whiz, except they are on opposing sides of the town demolition/reservoir issue. Polar business aims and clashing personalities don’t make for a good love match… or do they?
This book has some real surprises and unlikely alliances that made it well worth the read. This is a novel that leaves me ruminating well after the fact, “could this be? Would this work out in real life?!” Discussion questions further stimulate this line of thought.
Great quotes:
“Your accounting ledgers don’t have a column for the size of a human heart.”- Alex

”You can be brave and scared at the same time.”-Alex

”We’ve got the most important element on our side. We’ve got hope, and hope can build bridges and tame storms and fuel our muscles until drag ourselves across the finish line. We aren’t quitters.”

”We don’t have scarlet letters in this town. We have imperfect people who sometimes make mistakes.”

”It is in tackling the new and the scary that we become who we are meant to be.” (Enzo, Italian engineer)

I gratefully received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my responsibility.

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in gilded age America featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her4373995 favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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AUTHOR: Jaime Jo Wright

TITLE: The Curse of Misty Wayfair

GENRE: Christian mystery, suspense

PUBLISHER: Bethany House Publishers

RELEASED: January 2019

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

 

MY REVIEW:

I had looked forward so long to read The Curse of Misty Wayfair. Jaime Jo Wright lived up to all expectations. At first, it was hard to get into this dual-time novel, but before too long something clicked. I was hooked on the apparition that keeps appearing in both generations. Take one insane asylum, a familial curse, a post-mortem photographer, and a modern-day woman who can’t rise above her family’s opinions; you have the recipe for a very gloomy story. (Thankfully, the story doesn’t stay gloomy.) Both Thea and Heidi are absolutely lost, looking for their identity. Their searches are leaving them unfulfilled. “We weren’t created to find our identity in life. We were created to discover our Creator. In doing so, our identity is defined.” Wise words.

The ultimate light of the book is the light of Scripture and finding one’s self in God’s attitude toward you, instead of others.’ However, humor, a look at autism, family secrets, and progress from old-time asylums also help round out the novel to make it fully appealing. (I loved the “creative cussing.”) Being from a rural area, it was hard to imagine someone who would be “suffocating by woods,” but I imagine, if one is used to the big city, it is quite possible.

Wright knows how and when to play the shock card. She does this with great aplomb. While I had some things figured out, other things I wouldn’t have figured out in my wildest dreams. Now I am glad there are other Jaime Jo Wright books out there. Must go find…must go find…must go read…

I was given a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher. I am under no obligation to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my own.

MY RATING:

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Curse of Misty Wayfair

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

13916081Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com!

 

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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AUTHOR: Jocelyn Green

TITLE: Between Two Shores

PUBLISHER, DATE: Bethany House, February 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment, she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

 

MY REVIEW:

I love history. I love bits of French. Combine the two into a most compelling tale of the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War), and I was caught more efficiently than a beaver or fox in a trap. Jocelyn Green unfolds her tale, Between Two Shores in alternating time swatches. Green starts when Catherine, part Mohawk, part Canadian- French, accepted by neither nation, is ten. Then, suddenly like rapids on the rushing river, the novel skips ahead to the “present time” of the narrative, 1759; then, like the river meandering and curling back on itself, retreats back to an earlier essential era, only to repeat this ebb and flow several times throughout the novel. A little truth here, a little more here, too much at one time could perhaps be overwhelming. It seems this could be symbolic of the way Catherine has to slowly piece together her life and how her faith will affect her actions toward her father, Bright Star, Joseph, and eventually two nations.
My heart hurts for Catherine as she searches for a hero and true love. She seems to think love is an equal trade of sorts until finally faced with the question of whether she can love for love’s sake alone.
I did not cry during this novel, but I wanted to. At times, I, too, wanted to wretch, or faint, or plan an escape. NOT for the faint of heart. Bravo to Jocelyn Green for writing a different kind of historical romance, one that surprised me around every bend of the river, and certainly had me talking back to her!

Great Quotes:
“What is courage… but moving forward in the face of fear? If there was nothing to be afraid of, we would have no need to be brave.” ~ Samuel
…”But she was wholly who the Great Good God had made her…”

There are discussion questions at the end. Also included are author’s notes about what events and people included are factual. This book comes highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I was not required to leave a positive review.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

Flights of Fancy, #1 American Heiresses by Jen Turano

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About the Book

 

Title: Flights of Fancy

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age flights-of-fancy-194x300

Release date: January 1, 2019

Publisher: Bethany House

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

 

Click here to order your copy!

MY REVIEW

Just when I think Jen Turano can’t come up with any fresh ideas for her hilarious historic comedies, she proves me wrong again. I loved the spirit of adventure and positivity that Isadora (“Izzie”) possesses. The Duke of Montrose sounded like a “monstrosity” of a man and nuisance. On the other hand, how many readers will find themselves enthralled with Ian and his love for his fellow man (well, his looks COULD play into the picture.) Uncle Amos and Aunt Birdie are pure strokes of literary genius and the four children are beyond lovable. Now I can’t wait for the next books in this series.
Some favorite quotes:
“…God occasionally throws obstacles our way so we’re forced to grow into the people he wants us to be.”
“…what with how often people forget to show kindness to those most vulnerable. I imagine it must pain God no small amount when He witnesses us ignoring those in need.”
During the time I was reading this, I heard, “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin on the radio. Somehow it seemed very apropos to the book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING

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About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred jen-turano-200x300 reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

 

 

 

Guest post from Jen

Q & A With Jen Turano

 

“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series?

The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief.

 

How do you come up with the names of your characters?

I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board.

 

How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies?

Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be.

 

What are some of your favorite resources for historical research?

I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.

 

The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that?

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date.

 

What are you working on now?

I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters.

 

You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?”

Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job!

All the best,

~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 10

Among the Reads, January 10

Through the Fire, January 10

To Everything A Season, January 10

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

Blogging With Carol, January 11

Southern Gal loves to Read, January 11

Back Porch ReadsJanuary 12

KarenSueHadleyJanuary 12

Godly Book Reviews, January 12

Daysong ReflectionsJanuary 12

Livin Lit, January 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 13

The Becca Files, January 13

Texas Book-aholic, January 13

Rebekah’s Quill, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15

Just the Write Escape, January 15

Stories By Gina, January 15

God’s Little Bookworm, January 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 16

Splashes of JoyJanuary 16

Janices book reviews, January 16

Happily Managing A Household of Boys, January 17

Mary Hake, January 17

Maureen’s Musings, January 17

Bibliophile Reviews, January 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 18

Baker Kella, January 18

Simple Harvest ReadsJanuary 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Captive Dreams Window, January 19

Robin is Bookish, January 19

Carpe Diem, January 19

Have A Wonderful DayJanuary 20

Life with the Tribe, January 20

Inklings and NotionsJanuary 20

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 21

Inspiration Clothesline, January 21

amandainpaJanuary 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 22

Pause for Tales, January 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 22

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 23

Live Love Read, January 23

A Rup Life, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!

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/d8d1/flights-of-fancy-celebration-tour-giveaway

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!

 

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Mind Games, #1 Kaely Quinn Profiler by Nancy Mehl

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About the Book

 

Book: Mind Games

Author: Nancy Mehl

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: December 2018

Publisher: Bethany HouseMind-games-194x300

FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn’s methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She’s done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she’s the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, it seems her old life has followed her.

When a body is found that fits the poem’s morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

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MY REVIEW

I have read several of Nancy Mehl’s romantic suspense novels, and I always enjoy them. In Mind Games, Mehl’s latest thriller, a vigilante is out to avenge himself on a serial killer’s daughter, Jessica Oliphant, now Kaely Quinn, a top FBI profiler. Noah Hunter, Kaely’s new partner, needs to get close enough to this strange agent to protect her, without repeating the mistakes of his predecessor.

We often expect FBI agents to be consummate professionals, but Mehl shows hers as human and flawed, thankfully. This is why her books are so enjoyable. I feel like the protagonists are actually within reach of the average person. While some situations in the novel may create extreme worry and tension for the reader, the circumstances seem so very possible. Kudos to Mehl. Also, I absolutely loved Mehl’s ending. I didn’t see it coming and I have been debating in my mind about how plausible it really is. That is one sign of a great book- it makes you think, ruminate, and wonder.

A quote to think about, when we as Christians wonder how others can deal with all the degradation of certain fields:
“Those who know God should be the ones to confront the darkness, to chase the evil. We have the weapons. Those who don’t know Him have only themselves.”

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley and a paperback from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own and no review was required.

About the Author

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Guest Post from Nancy

Writing Mind Games is a dream come true. I’ve been interested in FBI profiling for years. I’ve read about it, studied it, and watched every TV special I could find on the subject. So when the chance finally came to write the book I’ve always wanted to write, I jumped at it. Thankfully, through the help of another writer, I was hooked up with a retired FBI profiler. I was so excited. Until I found out I had almost everything wrong. Yes, I had some understanding about profiling, but I knew nothing about the FBI and how it works.

First of all, the FBI doesn’t call the men and women who profile criminals, profilers. They’re called Behavioral Analysts. The plot for Mind Games had my analyst running around the country solving crimes while she was stationed in St. Louis. Uh, no. Behavioral analysts do travel, but they all work out of Quantico in Virginia. So…I rewrote.

There were ways around my conundrum, but one solution led to more and more problems. We finally worked through them. Then I spent the next few months learning acronyms. CIRG, CJIS, NCAVC, HRT, UNSUB, CNU, THU, ViCap, CODIS, SWAT, ERTU, OPU, THRU, ERT… Well, the list goes on and on. The FBI is made up of many specialized units. And a plethora of acronyms, it seems.

I rewrote Mind Games three times before my source said we were good to go.

If you assume I’m out of the woods now, you’d be wrong. I haven’t had the nerve to open up the manuscript I sent her for book two in my Kaely Quinn Profiler series. I figured I had Fire Storm right but… Well, I can tell from her email comments I’ll be doing more rewriting. Sigh.

So is it worth it? A resounding yes! I love learning, and as long as my analyst friend hangs in with me (she has the patience of Job), I’ll keep at it.

I hope you enjoy Mind Games. It’s edgy but fun. Kaely Quinn is a quirky character. She was thrown out of Quantico because her version of profiling is… Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

 

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 11

The Lit Addict, December 11

amandainpaDecember 11

A Reader’s BrainDecember 12

Daysong ReflectionsDecember 12

Livin’ Lit, December 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 13

By The Book, December 13

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Multifarious, December 14

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 14

Splashes of JoyDecember 14

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

Real World Bible Study, December 15

Robin is Bookish, December 15

Janices book reviews, December 15

C Jane Read, December 16

Ashley’s BookshelfDecember 16

The Becca Files, December 16

Bigreadersite, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, December 17

Godly Book Reviews, December 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18

Just the Write Escape, December 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 19 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, December 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

Remembrancy, December 20

Inklings and notionsDecember 20

Carpe Diem, December 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 21

Locks, Hooks and BooksDecember 21

Pause for Tales, December 21

A Baker’s Perspective, December 21

Have A Wonderful DayDecember 22

Book by Book, December 22

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 23

To Everything a Season, December 23

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 23

Cafinated Reads, December 24

Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Nancy is giving away a grand prize of a copy of Mind Games and the three books in Nancy’s Defenders of Justice series, plus a $20 Starbucks gift card!

Two additional winners will also receive a copy of Mind Games!

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/d73b/mind-games-celebration-tour-giveaway