Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships by Jody Hedlund

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About the Book

Title: The Runaway Bride

Series: #2 The Bride Ships

Author: Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Haunted by mistakes in her past, will she ever again trust her heart to another?

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship, still bearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately attracts suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by making a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy, held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town’s baker who has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella’s affections, but also clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl left behind by her tribe. Intent on helping the child, Arabella leans on Peter’s advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what’s right cost both her and Peter everything?

 

My Review

Jody Hedlund won me over in The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships, with her hero. He
is Pete Kelly, a baker who is well-liked and charismatic. He also has a keen eye out for
injustice done to his fellow-man and is quick to get involved. He is kind, has compassion
even on his enemies, and is really trying to live for God. Which brings up his biggest
question for God: if he’s living according to God’s plan, why is his life so tough? Pete has
to decide if living life God’s way is worthwhile if it doesn’t always result in a life of ease
or happiness.
Runaway Bride #1
Arabella is one very confused lady. She certainly seems to have a severe case of
indecision. She brought to mind that verse in James about a double-minded person that
is “blown and tossed by the wind.” (James‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬) Just when I thought, “Now she’ll come
to her senses and understand which direction to go,” she would falter and backpedal
faster than a carriage whose horses are spooked. Thank goodness for Hedlund’s author’s
notes. Hedlund assures us she’s aware we 21st-century readers might have difficulty
understanding a 19th-century English woman’s hesitation to step outside of societal
norms. By the novel’s end, Arabella develops a very strong spine and I wondered if I
would be that courageous.
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This is a nonlinear story, so we are fed a bit of the present story, then a memory bite of
the past. Eventually, the dichotomous storyline is completed after much danger, soul-
searching, and exciting adventures with a few clean romantic kisses, plus a nice ending
twist.
Perhaps the players I most admired stayed in the background. Mercy taught Arabella so
much by her example. Mrs. Moresby and Hayward were ladies I really wanted to meet
and enjoy knowing.
One other note. Hedlund’s historical research is impeccable and a reader can learn a
great deal about Victoria in the 1860s.
Notable Quotables:

“He’ll give you courage like no other can.”

”I always figured if God thinks the condition of a person’s heart matters more, then I should, too.”

”She’d been satisfied with eating crumbs in her relationships when there were feasts that awaited if she just had enough courage to partake.”

”…when we stand up against injustice, we’ll likely suffer for doing the right thing.”

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

My Rating

5 Stars– Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

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

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

Find Jody at her website, http://jodyhedlund.com/
or on Twitter as JodyHedlund.
Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

Storing Up Trouble, #3 American Heiresses by Jen Turano with Giveaway

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About the Author

Book:  Storing Up Trouble

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 6, 2020

When Beatrix Waterbury’s train is disrupted by a heist, scientist Norman Nesbit comes to Storing-Up-Trouble-194x300her aid. After another encounter, he is swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract—including the attention of the men trying to steal his research—and they’ll soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

My Review

Jen Turano can actually take the most unlikely character and turn him from someone you absolutely loathe into someone you hope wins the girl.
In Storing Up Trouble, #3 American Heiresses, I had little trouble liking outspoken, but sweet and caring socialite Beatrix Waterbury. On her way to stay with her aunt Gladys Huttleston in Chicago, she gets in the middle of a train robbery and is rescued by Norman Nesbit, a noted eccentric scientist who can only see the world through his ingrown eyeballs. If the subject relates to his research, he can pontificate for hours, but he doesn’t know where his sister is currently visiting or anything about his nieces and nephews. Did I mention he is rude, eccentric, and condescending towards women? Truly a jerk in the first degree. Priding himself on logic, he jumps to a lot of wrong conclusions about everyone, but especially Miss Waterbury. I am amazed by his growth, once he decides he wants to pursue Beatrix.

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Which is in and of itself funny. The laughs begin in earnest as this society man who eschews being such, has to learn how to behave in polite company.
But if that wasn’t funny enough, Aunt Gladys and her girls are a total hoot. I was quite worried when they decided to improve Theo.

The most somber part of novel is that where we see Beatrix acting like a common poor person, taking a job at Marshall Fields and Co. When she sees a need or injustice, she can’t keep silent. All this winds up together to a truly unique climax you won’t want to miss.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This is no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

Jen Turano, (www.jenturano.com) a USA Today bestselling author, has written four Turano_Jen1-200x300historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

 

 

 

More from Jen

Thank you so much for visiting me on my Celebrate Lit tour as we celebrate the release of my latest novel, “Storing Up Trouble.” I’m delighted to be here, and I reached out to my street team to help me with the questions you’ll find below. I’m hoping the answers to those questions will allow you to learn just a bit about my new book, as well as allow you to get to know me better. With that said, here we go!

 

Can you tell us a little about “Storing Up Trouble?”

I’d be delighted to tell you about my latest book. “Storing Up Trouble” is the third book in the “American Heiress” series, but you don’t need to read the first two books in that series (“Flights of Fancy” “Diamond in the Rough” to understand what’s going on. I’ve been writing my books more as stand alone stories, and “Storing Up Trouble” is no exception to that. With that said, this book centers around Miss Beatrix Waterbury and Mr. Norman Nesbit. Beatrix, unfortunately, has annoyed her mother to such an extent that she finds herself banished from New York and on her way to Chicago to spend time with her aunt, a lady Beatrix remembers as being a querulous sort. She, being Beatrix, a lady who lands herself in trouble at the most unexpected of times, soon finds herself a victim of a train heist. An unlikely hero in the form of Mr. Norman Nesbit, a gentleman with a brilliant mind but relatively few social graces, comes to her rescue, and from the moment they disembark from the train, they find themselves thrust into one escapade after another.

 

In “Storing Up Trouble,” is there a character you’d like to be friends with in real life, or better yet, a character you’d avoid at all costs?

I actually have an answer to both parts of that question. Miss Theodosia Robinson is a lady I would love to count as a friend because she’s loyal to a fault, and is a friend who’ll be there for you, no matter if you want to delve into an unusual scientific experiment, or take a jaunt to your local department store to do a bit of shopping. As for who I’d avoid at all cost – Mrs. George Blossom, who has a very small part in the story, but she’s a customer at Marshal Fields & Company who embraces an air of superiority over the sales girls, and I’ve never been one to enjoy people like that.

 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

That’s easy. Being Dominic’s mom. He was definitely a handful when he was little, which is why he’s an only child, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow over the years. He recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering, and seeing him land a grown up job and begin to embrace the whole adulting thing makes me prouder than any book I’ve written or other job I’ve held.

 

What was the inspiration behind “Storing Up Trouble?”

There were quite a few things that inspired me to write this book. I’d set another one of my books, “Caught by Surprise” in Chicago, and because of the research I did for that book, research I wasn’t able to fit into that story, I knew I wanted to revisit that city at some point. Beatrix Waterbury gave me the perfect excuse to travel back there. I wanted to take her out of her usual setting of NYC, so off she went to Chicago, on a train ride that definitely turned concerning. I had also picked up a few research books about Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and I’ve been itching to create a character after those brilliant gentlemen. Norman Nesbit turned into that gentleman, although I have to admit that some of the science Nikola and Thomas used was way over my head. My son, the engineer, tried to explain it to me, but I believe at one point I might have been drooling, and not in the good way, but the bored way. That’s when Norman really began to develop because I thought it would be amusing to have a character who was passionate about his field of study, but most of the people he tried to share that passion with had no idea what he was talking about and always got a bit of a dazed expression in their eyes as he waxed on and on about double-electrical currents.

 

What fun facts did you uncover while doing research for “Storing Up Trouble” but weren’t able to fit into the story?

 

There was so much fodder for additional storylines just with the research I did on Marshal Field and his department store. Did you know that the main store in Chicago burned down doing the Great Fire of 1871 and…it burned down several times after that? Who knew? There was also a lot of drama surrounding Marshal and his partner for years, Mr. Levi Zeigler Leiter. They had different ideas about how the store should evolve, which resulted in Marshal forcing Levi to sell his shares of the company to him, at which point the store turned from  Field, Leiter, & Company to Marshal Fields Company. It was also interesting to learn that Mr. Fields was notorious for paying his workers low wages, but those workers accepted those wages because of the prestige that came with working at his store. If you worked at any other store, you were considered common, but to work at Marshal Fields was a feather in your cap, even if you weren’t earning as much as you could have earned at another store.

 

What are quirky little things you keep on your desk?

At the moment, I have one little pig with googly eyes, one cow with googly eyes, and then another small pig that a reader sent me because she really liked Matilda in “A Match of Wits” and thought this little pig she found at a store was exactly what Matilda would look like.

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Oddly enough, no, it never crossed my mind until Dominic was in third grade and we decided to write a book together after finishing this horrible series about this bird. That book was never meant for publication, but it did have me remembering that I had, at one point in time before I became a stay-at-home-mom, enjoyed using my brain. I started experimenting with different genres and learned everything I could about the publishing industry. It took me five years to find an agent, and then she sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House, and I’ve been writing for them ever since.

 

Any words of advice for aspiring writers?

I get this question a lot, and I always answer by saying “Have an honest talk with yourself about what you really want to achieve with your writing.” It’s perfectly fine to want to write because you’re interested in turning it into a career. However, with that said, a writer needs to understand that writing and publishing are two different creatures. Publishing is a daunting business, and it’ll take a lot of perseverance to find success with it. With that said, if you have raw talent and are a story teller at heart, you should write all the time and do whatever you can to learn how to improve your craft.

 

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a new series right now – “The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency.” The first book, “To Steal a Heart” releases in November, 2020. It’s about Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who spent her childhood living on the mean streets in Five Points. She’s currently living in a boarding house on Bleeker Street in New York City, and when a fellow resident gets unjustly accused of theft, Gabriella, along with the other ladies living in the boarding house, take it upon themselves to try and clear her name. That’s the beginning of the Bleeker Street Agency, and hopefully the ladies will enjoy much success as the series continues.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope all of you get an opportunity to read “Storing Up Trouble!”

 

Wishing you all the best,

 

Jen

 

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, May 23

Godly Book Reviews, May 23

Robin’s Nest, May 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 24

Rebecca Tews, May 24

Texas Book-aholic, May 24

Novelscorner, May 24

Among the Reads, May 25

Inklings and notions, May 25

deb’s Book Review, May 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 26

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 27

Losing the Busyness, May 27

For Him and My Family, May 27

Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 28

Inside the Wong Mind, May 28

Mia Reads, May 29

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Betti Mace, May 30

Breny and Books, May 30

Blogging With Carol, May 30

Life of Literature, May 31

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 31

Emily Yager, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

The Collaborative Press, June 1

Stories By Gina, June 1

Hookmeinabook, June 1

Blessed & Bookish, June 2

Older & Smarter?, June 2

The Artist Librarian, June 2

Blossoms and Blessings, June 2

Through the Fire Blogs, June 3

Beauty in the Binding, June 3

Mary Hake, June 3

amandainpa, June 3

Wishful Endings, June 4

EmpowerMoms, June 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 4

Pause for Tales, June 4

KarenSueHadley, June 5

Raining Butterfly Kisses, June 5

With a Joyful Noise, June 5

Hallie Reads, June 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the the grand prize package of all three books in the American Heiresses series and a $25 Barnes & Noble eGift card!!

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/fb8f/storing-up-trouble-celebration-tour-giveaway

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.

 

 

 

Bethany House, Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Like Flames in the Night, #4 Cities of Refuge by Connilyn Cossette

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About the book

Title: Like Flames in the Night

Series: Cities of Refuge, #4

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander’s kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.

Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.

When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam’s thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he’s come to love?

 

My Review

Connilynn Cossette consistently brings us novels of Biblical times that draw the readers in and make us believe that we are part of the ancient world she has flung open like a door. Like Flames in the Night is a tale of the nation of Israel as it is terrorized by the cruel Arameans, with Othniel leading the resistance. More specifically, we meet brave, bold Tirzah, who yearns to do her part to free the Hebrew people. Liyam is a warrior who loses his faith when he loses his dearest possessions. Somehow these two are key players in Israel’s struggle to be free. 

Tirzah is a highly relatable character because she has several brothers and is very comfortable competing against them. Many female readers will either relate to the idea of competing with brothers or just wanting their contributions to be as valued as men’s. Some may say that women leaders were unheard of in Israeli history, but we can easily recall names of heroines such as Miriam, Deborah the judge, or Esther. I love how Tirzah slowly recognizes that Yahweh Himself has spoken through her outspoken personality. God uses us as we are. 

Ah, Liyam. Heartthrob, spy, blood-avenger. He looks so good in his protective role, one might actually think he can let go of his blood-lust. What a tension this creates as Tirzah’s family tells their own history, and multiple friends urge the angry Hebrew to pursue life, not death. But is that even possible for Liyam? 

I almost forgot Odeleya. She will worm her way into your heart and find a permanent spot.  

If you like Biblical fiction, you need to add this last book in Cities of Refuge series to your collection. You could read this book as a stand-alone, but the series is too great. You will want to read all four books in Connilynn Cossette’s series.  

So many “notable quotables.” I will keep them to just a few. 

“Has Yahweh disappeared? Or has the power that split the sea diminished since the Arameans took control? Or have we simply forgotten who we are?” 

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“…where the black shadow of Har Ebal stood, and at its peak, the altar of Yehoshua.  “A fire will burn there again soon. And when it does, be assured that it was your iron strike against our flint hearts that created the first spark.” 

“But it is our duty as men consecrated by Adonai Most High to speak truth. We have hidden too long in our homes, cowering, keeping His Words locked in our hearts instead of on our tongues.” 

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“If the people of Yahweh rise up and remember who they are, nothing will stop our armies from being victorious over the Arameans this time. Nothing.” 

“Who was I to speak to the mind of the Eternal One? Or to turn my face away from the gifts he’d given me?  Perhaps even the trials I had endured were gifts in a way, making me stronger, wiser, more prepared to accomplish his purposes.” 

“Justice without mercy was tyranny, and mercy without justice was lawlessness.” 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and the author. This in no way influenced my opinions, which I am voluntarily leaving. I am solely responsible for these opinions. 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the author

14134437Connilyn Cossette is the Carol Award Winning and ECPA Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. When she’s not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible. She delights in discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

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About the Book

Title: Veiled in Smoke

Series: The Windy City Saga (#1)

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: February 4, 2020 ( I read an ARC.)

Genre: Christian Historical

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum. Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father’s innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

My Review

“It was a lie, Meg had realized years ago, that the end of the war meant the end of suffering.” The Civil War is over, and the boys and men who survived are home. Yet Meg and her sister, Sylvie Townsend, discover that Stephen Townsend’s time in notorious Andersonville has wreaked havoc with his grip on reality. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Pierce of the Chicago Tribune interviews Stephen as a veteran. Life becomes murky when the city catches fire and Stephen’s best friend is murdered, leaving Stephen the cops’ main suspect.

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Jocelyn Green is an expert at creating historically accurate and intriguing backgrounds while painting in-depth portraits of her characters. Both Meg and Sylvie exhibit intense loyalty and love for their parents, as well as a great need for their approval. Unfortunately, their understanding of their parents’ love and care is limited by the blinders they wear.
The young ladies also wear blinders when it comes to the young men in their lives. They cannot truly see the love, honesty, and true character(or lack thereof) of their beaux.
So many ideas and themes are presented. Forgiveness. The idea that it’s ok to be imperfect, and in fact, sometimes imperfect is better. Also, accepting life as it is, imperfect, not expecting it to be rosy or requiring others to be perfectly well or perfectly behaved all the time. (Ouch! Preaching to myself!!) True compassion. Sometimes we can’t achieve this until we’ve walked a mile in somebody else’s shoes, or at least had a bit of hardship in life. Faith, believing God is limitless and truly in control.
Two more thoughts. It was hard to breathe as I traveled with Meg and Sylvie and Nate as they desperately tried to outrun the Great Fire. I could smell the smoke, my lungs felt full to bursting, and my anxiety level was high. And then many somethings began falling from the sky!

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I had never heard of the term, “soldier’s heart.” How fitting. How sad. So many times, we, the civilians for whom those men and now women sacrificed, refuse to understand and accept with open arms our vets who return to us.
As usual, Jocelyn Green will have me thinking for a long time to come about people and their treatment of others.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. No positive response was required. All opinions are my own.
 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot ( and makes me think and think!)

About the Author

2578437Jocelyn 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, 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
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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

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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