ARC, Bethany House, Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Between the Wild Branches, #2 The Covenant House, by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book

Title: Between the Wild Branches

Series: #2 The Covenant House

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Releases: July 6, 2021

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Ten years ago Lukio fled Kiryat-Yearim, where he’d been adopted by the Levite family who guarded the Ark of the Covenant. Feeling betrayed by everyone, he returned to his birthplace in Philistia to become a famous fighter. Now the champion of Ashdod, Lukio has achieved every goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. But just as he is set to claim the biggest prize of all, the daughter of the king, his past collides with his present in the form of Shoshana.

After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought to never see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul again. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to find that the brutal fighter known as Demon-Eyes is Lukio himself.

With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them, finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything. 

My Impressions

“I had run away like a spoiled child all the way to Ashdod, wounded by my perceptions…I’d run away instead of standing strong and acting like the man I’d insisted I was back then.”
What an incredible Biblical fiction novel Connilyn Cossette brings to us in Between the Wild Branches, #2, The Covenant House. Lukio, who scorned the love of his adopted Israeli family has returned to his native Philistia . There, he rises to prominence as “Demon-Eyes,” and “The Champion of Ashdod,” a pugilist who is wealthy, popular, and can have any woman he desires.

Unfortunately, he wants the one, Shoshana, he cannot have. Lukio attracts the notice of Ashdod’s power-hungry king, Nicaro. The action ramps up from here and never lets up.
First things first: read book one, To Dwell Among Cedars, before reading Between the Wild Branches. The novel will be enhanced greatly. Just as the covers fit together into one picture, so the novels fit seamlessly together and one is not complete without the other.
Cossette is a fabulous storyteller, researcher, suspense artist, and Biblical scholar. I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I felt like I had opened a treasure chest when I opened this book. So many truth nuggets burst forth.


A clean romance builds as it winds through the tale, achingly beautiful as Cossette feeds us only snippets of the past interwoven sporadically with the present. Biblical times customs and culture of both Israel and Philistia are explored, and the reader’s eyes are opened to what life in those countries was truly like. Strategy, intrigue, and suspense will keep either male or female readers flipping through pages as fast as their fingers and eyes can move. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
My thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book. No positive review was required. All thoughts are my own, voluntarily submitted.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Blown Away!!!

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is 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 to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

Shadows of the White City, #2 The Windy City Saga by Jocelyn Green

About the Book

Title: Shadows of the White City

Series: #2, The Windy City Saga

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House

The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants most is what she feared she was destined never to have–a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears–until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World’s Fair, and Sylvie’s world unravels.

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose’s violin instructor and the concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads.

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, they’re taken on a search that points to Rose’s long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong? 

My Impressions

I’ve never been to a World’s Fair, but after reading Jocelyn Green’s Shadows of the White City, I felt like I had. Ms. Green vividly describes the setting so well. I can almost see the massive buildings, feel the pressing of the huge crowds, hear the violin and orchestra music and smell the food aromas of the many countries represented on the Midway. Green tells us the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the original 1893 World’s Fair buildings, so I can only imagine what the whole fair settlement must have been like, teeming with crowds.
Into this surreal setting Green inserts Sylvie Townsend, single, middle-aged Mimi to 17-year-old Rose. While Rose is longing to spread her wings and is searching for her biological family, Sylvie is holding on to her daughter tightly enough to suffocate her. As Sylvie struggles to sort out her relationship with Rose, she leans heavily on her neighbor, concertmaster Kristof. Kristof, in turn, struggles with his talented but slothful brother. We also see Meg, Sylvie’s sister, who is more prominent in the first book.
Sylvie has a lot of re-evaluating of her life attitudes to do. Will she emerge bitter at God, Jozefa, and Rose, or will she be better? Kristof is a bit of a stuffed shirt, albeit with a tender heart. He makes a journey of self-discovery as he helps Sylvie and tries to deal with Gregor. He is a romantic, fluid character to cheer on he begins to view life through different eyes.


Green’s poetic description of the orchestra music is entrancing. She obviously understands music well. Her research is impeccable, shown in her incredibly detailed descriptions.
Twists are subtle. In several places, I felt like I knew what would happen, but a bit of a change causes the story to flow differently than expected.
This book can stand on its own, but you will get so much more out of it if you read book one first.

Notable Quotables:

“It wasn’t Father’s timepiece I wanted. It was his time.”

“…you can stop striving to earn a place you’ve already been given. You’re already a beloved child of God. You can’t perform your way into or out of His family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. All opinions are my own, unsolicited.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

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.

More from Jocelyn

(Provided courtesy of Jocelyn’s blog and Bethany House)

  1. Shadows of the White City takes place in Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893. What is so special about this setting?
    The World’s Fair itself was spectacular. With my heroine, Sylvie Townsend, acting as a part-time tour guide, readers get an inside look into many aspects of the Fair. Part of what made it such an amazing place was that, in addition to six hundred acres of the world’s most
    impressive accomplishments and inventions, people from all over the world connected in one place. The Midway, especially, played host to cultures from across the globe, opening people’s eyes to other perspectives they’d never considered before. Now add to all of this the
    fact that, outside the dazzling fairgrounds, Chicago and the entire nation were in the midst of a financial depression. The juxtaposition of splendor and hardship is always a poignant one.
    1. What kind of research went into this book?
      So much. There is a ton of information available on the World’s Fair. Aside from reading every book and article that seemed relevant for my story (and then some), I toured Chicago with a guide who designed a tour based specifically on what I wanted to know and see before I started writing the novel. On the same trip, I spent time in the Chicago
      Historical Society’s archives and the Newberry Library, reading primary source material. A second trip to Chicago gave my daughter and me a chance to experience other aspects
      important to the novel, such as a concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a visit to the Art Institute, and a stop at the Palmer House hotel.
  2. In what ways do you relate to the character of Sylvie Townsend?
    Sylvie is a book-loving introvert who doesn’t like crowds but enjoys public speaking when the topic interests her. That’s me, completely. On a deeper level, I understand Sylvie’s tendency to keep a tight rein on her daughter, Rose. As a parent of a teenager, I identify with
    that struggle to find the right balance of letting my daughter make her own decisions and mistakes as part of growing up and wanting to protect her from them. As Sylvie finds out in the novel, that desire to protect can lead to both a grasping for control and the realization of
    how very little we do control. I relate to all of this.
  3. This is your second novel in The Windy City Saga series. We’ve gotten to know sisters Meg and Sylvie pretty well by now. Who will be the focus of the third book?
    Book 3 in the series will pick up with Meg’s adult daughter Olive in 1915, which is when the Eastland Disaster took place in the Chicago River. You’ll meet Olive as a child in Shadows of the White City, and she’ll be twenty-nine when we focus on her story. Each book in this
    series explores a seminal part of Chicago’s history and how the Townsend family overcomes in the face of change and trials.
  4. Are the novels in this series classified as mysteries?
    Readers will discover that these novels have an element of mystery to them, but they remain firmly in the historical fiction genre. The main priority of the story, as ever, is given to the developing characters and the history-in-the-making around them.
Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

A Bride of Convenience, #3 The Bride Ships by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

Title: A Bride of Convenience

Series: #3 The Bride Ships

Author: Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.

Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he’s devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she’s marrying another man.

With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all. 

My Impressions

Reading A Bride of Convenience by Jody Hedlund, I wondered how I waited so long to read this book. Hedlund’s The Bride Ships series’ third book was a real pleasure. I enjoyed the history Hedlund accurately wove into the narrative about Canadian mining towns, English brides, and the smallpox epidemic that the Vancouver native Americans endured in the mid-late 1800s. It was sad to see such a great amount of prejudice and mistreatment against the native Americans.

Zoe is a great heroine, rising from a ”nobody” to somebody who stands tall because of her character. And then there’s loveable, rather hapless Abe, struggling to figure out exactly what direction God wants his life to take. I felt like Abe was torn between what people such as the Bishop told him he should do, and what God was leading him to actually do. Will Abe choose comfort or honor? My favorite secondary character is Mrs. Moresby. What a difference she made in the brides’ lives.

A Bride of Convenience is a delicious serving of English bride ships and Vancouver history with a side of social commentary wrapped up in compelling romantic prose that will keep you eagerly reading from the first page to last. A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author and publisher through NetGalley. I am voluntarily leaving this review. All opinions are my own. 

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is the author of over thirty 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.

ARC, Bethany House, Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Purchase

To Dwell Among Cedars, #1 The Covenant House by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book

Title: To Dwell Among Cedars

Series: #1 The Covenant House

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2020

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Eight years ago, when the Philistines stole and then surrendered the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora left her Philistine homeland to follow the ark to the community of Kiryat Yearim. There, the family she was adopted into has guarded the ark at the top of a mountain in seclusion.

Ronen is a Levite musician determined to secret away the ark to a more fitting resting place, watched over by priests who would restore the Holy of Holies. He never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he’s tasked to deceive.

As Ronen’s attempts to charm Eliora lead them in unexpected directions, betrayal leaves Eliora with strained family ties and Ronen questioning his own loyalties. Ultimately, Eliora and Ronen are caught up in the battle for the soul of Israel and its future under the leadership of Samuel, the last judge before the era of the kings begins. 

My Impressions

My heart is full upon completion of reading Connilyn Cossette’s newest offering, To Dwell Among Cedars, #1 The Covenant House. This Biblical fiction book contains everything I am looking for in its genre. Scriptural accuracy, while approaching an age-old narrative of Israel in Samuel’s time from a unique viewpoint of Philistine Arisa (Eliora). Cossette vividly portrays all the emotions- the terror, the fear, the astonishment, the romance, and the suspense. As the uncertainty of being orphans at the whims and mercy of others is clearly shown, I couldn’t help myself from being drawn into Eliora’s life as she struggles for a sense of belonging and security, and ultimate love. Though she and Lukio(Natan) are adopted by generous and loving priest Elazer and his family, Eliora always feels herself an outcast.
Ronen, a member of an different priestly line than Elazer, first finds Arisa and Lukio(Natan) as they follow the Ark back into Israeli territory after its Philistine capture. An orphan himself, he deals with some of the same insecurities of not belonging as Eliora. These are a driving force in his thoughts and actions. There we have wonderful, multiple storylines going.


I loved Connilyn’s style-immediately warm and enticing you into the narrative, enveloping you into the ancient Biblical events very quickly.
Cossette sets the stage with some unusual premises. Not once did I feel that believability was stretched. One other point that makes me greatly treasure this novel is the many nuggets of truth shared and spoken naturally in uncontrived conversation. Connilyn Cossette is a master in her world of Biblical fiction. I am very sad it will be another year before we can read Natan (Lukio’s) story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, as well as NetGalley. I am voluntarily leaving this review. All thoughts are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“There is no magic in the box itself, Arisa. The power is that of the hand of Yahweh. It is merely a vessel, but one that signifies the sacred covenant between Israel and our God and above which has hovered the very shekinah of the Eternal One.”

”But the Eternal One was not made by man; there is no place you can go that he will not be with you.”

”He is the God Who Sees. There is no place you can go to escape his vigilant watch over you.”

”It is not the Ark you must follow, my precious child. It is the God who made you.”

”…So why do you work so hard for a place at their table when you already have one?”…”you are working so hard to earn something you’ve already been given.”

”Because you are the woman the Creator made you to be, no matter where you come from or what you look like.”

”No matter what decision I made, the cost would be great… the cost of going against the will of the Eternal One was greater by far.”

My Rating

Magnificent!

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is 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 to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com 
ARC, Bethany House, BLOG, Purchase

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book

Title: the Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: September 1, 2020

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend. 

My Impressions

“Life was not unlike the wisp of fog that curled around the base of a grave marker, softly caressing the marble before dissolving into the violet shadows of the night.” And so, Jaime Jo Wright begins spinning her chilling web of mystery, wonderment, and deceit in The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus.
At first, it seems like there might be a lot of unrelated information we are given. Like Alice in Wonderland, we just never know down which rabbit hole Ms. Wright will take us, or what to do with the scenes we see. With a dual timeline story, Wright alternates chapters between past and present. Double the rabbit holes; add a baby elephant, a Sasquatch-like man, a self- proclaimed medium, and a pit-bull, in no particular order.

We see young Pippa Ripley, adopted daughter of the circus owner, who longs to know her people and find value in her life. Before we can discover too much about Pippa, Wright pulls us out of the mire and thrusts us into the quagmire that is Chandler Faulk’s story. As we sort through her present-day needs to survive, excel, and raise a child on her own, we are again uprooted and thrown back into the circus world, or as close as Pippa is allowed to venture. Actually, Wright does a wonderful job of feeding us just enough information about each young lady, both searching for belonging, significance, and love. Then, like a crazy carnival ride, we are tossed back and forth between the two narratives, hanging on for dear life, and trying our best to hang onto our wits as well. When I finished the book, I looked back in astonishment, amazed at the wild ride I’d been on, helpless to change it (I tried, but Pippa wouldn’t listen).


What a slowly-building whirlwind adventure that turned out to be! The book is finished but the repercussions will live on in my mind. Dare to read the book and leave it unfazed.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills 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, Favorite, NetGalley

Piecing It All Together, #1 Plain Patterns, by Leslie Gould

About the Book

Title: Piecing It All Together 52536471

Series: #1 Plain Patterns

Author: Leslie Gould

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: August 2020

Genre: Amish Dual-Timeline

 

When Savannah Mast’s fiance dumps her a week before their wedding, she flees California for the safety of her Amish grandmother’s farm near Nappanee, Indiana. She’s not planning on staying long but becomes unexpectedly entangled in the search for a missing Amish girl. She can’t leave–especially not when her childhood friend Tommy Yoder is implicated as a suspect.

When Savannah accompanies her grandmother to Plain Patterns, a nearby quilt shop, the owner and local historian, Jane Berger, relates a tale about another woman’s disappearance back in the 1800s that has curious echoes to today.

Inspired by the story, Savannah does all she can to find the Amish girl and clear Tommy’s name. But when her former fiance shows up, begging her to return to California and marry him after all, she must choose between accepting the security of what he has to offer or continuing the complicated legacy of her family’s faith.

 

My Review

Piecing It All Together, #1 Plain Patterns, by Leslie Gould, is one novel I want to label purely “Wunderbar.” I was fortunate to catch a sample chapter somewhere on my phone and I was hooked. I immediately requested a copy from NetGalley. I must admit, I was a little uncertain. Some of Gould’s collaborations I have loved, while one particular series was not my style. But I am so glad I didn’t miss this one, and I will be first in line for book two, it is that enticing.

Piecing It All Together 1
Gould’s riveting novel is a dual-timeline, with two young women, either Amish or with
Amish ties, who are desperately seeking their place in life. Gould weaves so much
tension into each story, switching between the two effortlessly. I couldn’t stand to put the
book down and finished it in one day. So many emotions are pulled out of the reader’s
heart, as you journey life with both present-day Savannah and 1842’s Emma and begin to
see the greater picture come together.
So many takeaways for any reader. As we see overt and covert prejudice, we see what
the cost is to fight for true equality. Some people don’t give troublesome teenagers a
chance to grow and mature into upstanding adults. We see characters who, one step at a
time, rise far above anything they’d ever imagined. And we see incredible courage in the
face of insurmountable odds, only to be recognized after the fact. Faith and forgiveness
lived out to the fullest. I can’t rave enough about this book and its unforgettable
characters.

Piecing It All Together 2
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
NetGalley. No positive review was required and the opinions are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

151399Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award-winning author of thirty novels. She received her MFA from Portland State University and teaches writing at Warner Pacific University. Leslie enjoys traveling, hiking, and history. She and her husband, Peter, are the revolving-door parents of four children and two cats. Visit her at http://www.lesliegould.com/.

You can also connect with Leslie on Twitter.

Twitter

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

At Love’s Command, #1 Hanger’s Horsemen by Karen Witemeyer

About the Book

Title: At Love’s Command  53166117._SX318_SY475_

Series: #1 Hanger’s Horsemen

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Western

 

 

 

 

Ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries who defend the innocent, but when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they seek out help from Dr. Josephine Burkett. When Josephine’s brother is abducted and she is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything–even his team–to save her.

 

My Review

Karen Witemeyer can be counted on for several hours of enjoyable historical fiction. At Love’s Command, #1 Hanger’s Horsemen, is no exception. Captain Matthew Hanger and 3 other men are so disillusioned with the atrocities of victory at Wounded Knee (1890) that they leave the military and join to form a vigilante service to solve crimes the local lawmen can’t. But this group, Hanger’s Horsemen, agrees not to use their guns to kill unless absolutely necessary.
This is the story of how Matt Hanger and Josephine Burkett meet. This novel proves that adage, “There’s somebody for everyone.”
Matthew seems so grief and conscience-stricken that he is only able to be a commanding military figure, kind and caring to his comrades, but otherwise without emotions or entanglements. He just isn’t the type to go soft in the head over some female.

At Love's Command 1
It takes someone like Jo who isn’t cowed by his “I’m in-charge” demeanor, but who is also abundantly capable in her field to catch his attention. While I appreciated Matt’s growing admiration for Jo, I felt like her lack of listening to him at times could have been downright dangerous. I wanted her to respect him a little more in his area of expertise. Just my opinion.
I look forward to reading the stories of the other Horsemen, but especially Jonah, who is a man of color. He already promises to be a very unique and interesting person, who might educate a few of us.

At Love's Command 2
Another point of interest in the novel for me is the faith element. It is an integral part, without being drawn-out or preachy. Just shown as the basis for life.
Redemption and growing up are also themes of this book, thank goodness. Our God is a God of second chances, but sometimes it is hard to know if you dare trust a promise-breaker again.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review. These are my own thoughts, voluntarily submitted.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!

 

About the Author

3114906For 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

Dead End, #3 Kaely Quinn Profiler, by Nancy Mehl

About the Book

51044063._SX318_SY475_

Title: Dead End

Series: #3 Kaely Quinn Profiler

Author: Nancy Mehl

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

When a body is discovered in a field in Iowa, the police uncover fourteen additional corpses ranging from 20 years old to recent. The remains point to a serial killer with an MO the authorities have seen before–Ed Oliphant, a man who has been in prison for over 20 years . . . and is Special Agent Kaely Quinn’s father. After several failed interview attempts to discover if Ed has been training someone to be a copycat killer, the police turn to Kaely in St. Louis.

Kaely promised herself she would never step foot in her hometown or set eyes on her father again. She’s always refused to confront her past, but if she wants to prevent any more deaths, she must come face-to-face with the man she’s hated for years.
As more bodies are discovered, Kaely races against time and her own personal turmoil to uncover the killer. Will this most personal case yet cost Kaely her identity and perhaps even her life?

 

My Review

If you like intense romantic suspense, with the emphasis on suspense, this Kaely Quinn,
Profiler series by Nancy Mehl may be the one for you. I just finished the third and final
book, Dead End. Personally, Mehl has taken me to the end of my ability to endure with
her Kaely character. Kaely is very focused on her work and will let nothing get in the
way of her catching the worst criminals. Even if her methods are unorthodox.
Unfortunately, her pride threatens her relationships with God and her special coworker,
Noah.
Dead End NM1
Noah and Kaely travel to Iowa to interview Kaely’s father, an infamous serial killer, in
hopes of stopping a new serial killer. While Kaely may be the only hope to get the
Raggedy Man to talk, will she self-destruct before the mission is accomplished?
Noah grows by leaps and bounds in this novel, but I almost want to tell Noah he’s headed
down a dead-end path.
Never did I see the ending coming.
I appreciated that Mehl shows
equal parts evil and good in this fictional crime-chiller story. Mehl shows that man’s
depravity comes from the pit itself. Only God can combat that kind of horrendous
opposition, and we must be fully equipped. As such, there is a lot of Scripture included in
this book.
Dead End NM2
Who will Kaely rely on- herself, her unusual friend, God, and or Noah?
Noah knows God doesn’t always rescue His people. Grab this book and grab your closest
huggable as you read super-speed to discover whether Kaely can survive.
Samson
(My closest huggable, Samson.)
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
NetGalley, plus I bought a copy. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely
my own.

My Rating

5 Stars-    Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

630286Nancy 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.

Connect with Nancy at via her

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Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

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About the Book

Title: Set the Stars Alight

Author: Amanda Dykes

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian fiction, Timeslip

Lucy Clairmont’s family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she’s discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers–and the healing–they so desperately seek.

 

My Review

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes is a book that I had to get my hands on. I hope you will want to, also. This is a realistic story, yet stirred into it are the timeless allure of magical inklings, coupled with family ties swelling and shrinking. Love slowly takes root and blossoms, yet is carefully guarded until the right time. And the wondrous fact is, that this is actually true of both subplots of this amazing novel, which comprise this split-time tale.
One portion of our adventure concerns Lucy, born to a clockmaker in London in recent times. Lucy’s warm, welcoming family time is built around tales spun by her enigmatic father and amended by her jovial mother. Dash, a young misfit, American boy, is welcomed into their familial atmosphere. Suddenly, life flips and flops, and Lucy finds herself alone and floundering with only her marine interest to keep her afloat.
The second saga is a melodrama about a young son of a military hero in the war against Napoleon. Frederick tries hard to make his father proud, but loyalty and fate interfere.

Set the Stars Alight 1
Split-time stories depend upon the author’s fantastic ability to draw two separate, believable strands, at first totally disparate paths, then cause them to become parallel roads, then bring those parallel roads into an obvious intersection where the highways then become one. I had trouble suspending disbelief at some points. I wanted more communication in others. Some issues dragged on too long between people because of a fear of communication that I didn’t find realistic.
So, I thought this was a great book, but it stopped short of the terrific level of Ms. Dykes’s debut novel. Still a very worthy read. Get ahold of Set the Stars Alight and judge for yourself.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
Notable Quotables:

“When things seem dark…that’s when you fight for the light.”

“The God of the stars . . . He is coming, and coming, and coming after you. Always. The heart of a father who will never forget his daughter.”

“But it started with smaller things, which bigger things built on again and again until the big betrayal no longer felt like a plunge to him. It was a small—almost natural—next step.”

“‘Impossible?’…The word had been gifted to them all their lives as a challenge. A lens to see wonder where others saw walls.”

 

My Rating

4 Stars- Great, Almost Terrific!

 

About the Author

517ufoFnplL._US230_Amanda Dykes is the author of Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.