The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

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About the Book:

Title: The Hope of Azure Springs

Genre: Historical Fiction

Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd, 2018 by Revell
ISBN
0800734734 (ISBN13: 9780800734732)

MY REVIEW:

Where will Em decide her best future lies, in The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham?

Fordham brings to life the story of a “prince” and “princesses,” beauty and ugliness, and the ugly reality of lonely children who travel the orphan train west to very uncertain futures.

I loved Abigail and Abraham Howell and the generosity and love they show to Em in her hour of need. I also appreciate the fact that one of their children is NOT walking in their ways. How true to life that can really be.

I also loved that the heroine is not beautiful by most people’s description of beautiful. Beauty comes from the inside out. This is one discussion my husband and I have repeatedly with our young, single twenty-somethings. Can Caleb, the sheriff, ever start seeing with eyes of the soul?

Sometimes we think the little things we do for others don’t matter. Not so. Em discovers this when Abigail lends her a clean nightgown. “…it was not just a nightdress, it was kindness.”

A few other quotables:

“Where does a caged animal go when it is freed?”

“How will you ever truly live if you are too afraid to be where you need to be?”

Definitely, a book to read to experience the varied lives of orphan train children. I gratefully received a copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions. I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

About the Author:

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Rachel Fordham

Website

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

 

The Widow’s Plight, #1 The Quilting Circle by Mary Davis

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About the Book:

Paperback, 311 pages
Published July 1st, 2018 by Mountain Brook Ink
Original Title
The Widow’s Plight
ISBN13: 9781943959389
Genre: Historical Fiction

Washington State 1893

When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first, but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother.

Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?

MY REVIEW:

This Christian western takes on an enemy bigger than a gunslinger. Mary Davis, in The Widow’s Plight, shows the reader the tragedy and human ruin caused by domestic abuse. Ms. Davis doesn’t just tackle the most obvious, the physical abuse, but also shows the emotional abuse.

I, personally, had a difficult time reading this as I worked through the ramifications of the two kinds of abuses. Both were perpetrated on children (although the one also involved the heroine), and I wanted to enter the pages of the story to somehow help the victims recover faster.

I loved the characters and their portrayal of loyalty, forgiveness, and support of those who needed their help. I think I really fell in love with the children: Toby, Estella, and Nancy; and their resilience more than even the hero and heroine!

A terrifically sad statement, caused by continual abuse, is made of Lily, after the stampede: “She had succeeded in not feeling what she felt.”

Why is this such a great novel? How does it affect us today? Aunt Henny and Edric never gave up loving Lily and Toby. Those who truly love others CAN bring about healing in broken people, with God’s help, but that love may have to be extended again and again until it is accepted and healing starts.

I gratefully received a copy of this book from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own. I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

About the Author:

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Mary Davis

Born and raised in Washington State, Mary now resides in Colorado with her husband of over twenty-seven years, three twenty-something kids, and four pets. She earned her college degree in elementary education and has taken an advanced course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Mary leads two critique groups, one in the local Colorado area as well as an on-line critique group. She regularly attends the ACFW conference as well as her local writing chapter in the Springs, and she has spearheaded a writing contest for youth for several years. Cascades is her fourteenth book, which contains three previously released novels.

Mary enjoys writing contemporary and historical inspirational romance. She loves reading romance, fiction, mystery, and fantasy books, as well as playing with her cat, Buffy.

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

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About the Book:

Title: A Rumored Fortune

Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 31st,2018 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published July 2018)

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

MY REVIEW:

Powerful!! A Rumored Fortune, only the second book written by Joanna Davidson Politano, is on my list of top ten for 2018. More importantly, though, this novel will be in the running for top honors among book awards. This is my prediction for a novel of such high-caliber.

Tressa Harlowe’s odd vineyard-keeping father has disappeared from their mid-1800’s castle. Sadly, the search begins not so much for him, but for the treasure rumored to have been behind.

I should mention the narrative switches between first person, the rich heiress, Tressa; and third person, Donegan, the vinedresser in a class beneath her. Considering the societal differences so important at that time, this is extremely
clever of Politano.

This book grasped my attention from the start and held on, like the sea and mist that surround the castle and rarely loosen their clutches on it or its land.

Sadly, no matter what time period, people change very little. There are those who hear of someone else’s fortune and justify it should be theirs instead; schemers descend like vultures determined to get their share of the grand meal.

Obviously, Politano is an anglophobe and describes the area, life, and characters with a poetic prose that makes them “a wonder to behold.” She is a romantic in the linguistic sense of the word.

Fortunately, Politano is quite the romantic in the more common sense of the word. We see several possible romances, involving more than just the main characters. Which will thrive, and which will die, because there was no real connection?

Speaking of connections, Tressa has three main interests: her father, (and the vineyard because that was his obsession); relationships, and the fortune. Politano weaves them all together in an unforgettable story of agricultural lessons for life, including the spirit, romance, and intrigue that will leave you amazed at the experience you have just sojourned.

Hard to pick just a few quotes, but here are some faves:
“Strength comes to the branch through connection, and that’s what I’m offering.” How Tressa needs connections in more ways than one!

“It takes a harsh summer to yield abundance in the vineyards…When you feel you’re dying in the summer, all a branch needs to do is hang on.” So timely for anybody going through a rough patch!

“…isn’t the sort of man I would imagine knowing much Scripture.” ‘No, …he simply lives it out.’” We all need to live out our faith like that unnamed character!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. (I also bought my own copy.) This did not affect my opinions in any way, nor was I required to leave a positive review.

About the Author:

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Joanna Davidson Politano

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

Killer Green Tomatoes,#2 Farm-to-Fork Mysteries by Lynn Cahoon

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About the Book:

Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Published July 3rd, 2018 by Lyrical Underground
ASIN
B078LJPT23
  • Killer Green TomatoesKiller Green Tomatoes
    Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Contemporary

The time seems ripe for success as Angie Turner opens her farm-to-table restaurant in her Idaho hometown—until her new tomato supplier is accused of murder and Angie has to pick the real killer . . .

To Angie, nothing tastes more like summer than her Nona’s fried green tomatoes. Eager to add the recipe to the menu at the County Seat, she’s found the perfect produce supplier—her sous chef Estebe’s cousin, Javier. Just one problem: ladies’ man Javier’s current hot tomato Heather has turned up dead, and he’s the prime suspect. Somehow, between managing her restaurant and navigating a romantic triangle between Estebe and Ian, the owner/manager of the farmer’s market, Angie needs to produce evidence to clear Javier—before this green tomato farmer gets fried . . .

MY REVIEW:

In Lynn Cahoon’s second book of the Farm-to-Fork series, titled Killer Green Tomatoes, Angie and Felicia are beginning to hit their groove with the rest of the restaurant staff. The County Seat is a popular place to eat, with reservations needing to be secured well in advance. 

Angie soon finds she has more than she can chew, though, when she has her elderly neighbor for a house guest and Estebe, her sous chef, has family involved in a murder and disappearance.

I really enjoyed the difficulties between Angie and Mrs. Potter. (Sorry, Angie!) They made for very realistic, yet hilarious times.

The portrayal of the Basque people was very tasteful and sensitive to a group very proud of their heritage. 

In this book, we start to see the inner connectivity of people in the town. Several attitudes and actions are based upon someone’s protectiveness or love for another. This is actually true for multiple characters. Small town living, as Angie rediscovers, has both its joys and its jinxes.

Things one may not like: some may figure out the murderer, but there were enough twists that I was ultimately surprised. Sex was mentioned quite a bit. However, true to cozy form, there were no bedroom scenes.

Bottom line, I enjoyed this book, as Angie and Felicia and their crew really start to become their own “work family.” 

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

About the Author:

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Lynn Cahoon
Website
Twitter
Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER, book 1 of the series, won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass market paperback. This year, she’s released WHO MOVED MY GOAT CHEESE in March as part of the new Farm to Fork series. She also writes romance under Lynn Collins. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com

Exposed: A Christian Romantic Suspense Boxed Book Set by Alford, Bonner, McDaniel, Phillips, Strong, Terry, andVaughan.

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About the Book:

by
Lynnette Bonner,
 Mary Alford,
Lesley Ann McDaniel,
Lisa Phillips,
Angela Ruth Strong,
Alana Terry,
Virginia Vaughan
Kindle Edition, 1802 pages
Published August 2nd, 2018 by Serene Lake Publishing
ASIN
B07G5DDQYR

 

 Mary Alford – Hallowed Ground
After a terrorist attack claims the life of her partner, CIA Agent Erin Sandoval would not have survived Blake’s death without the help of fellow agent, Jax Murphy. When Erin’s unit is deployed to Afghanistan to find the elusive terrorist the CIA believes responsible for taking Blake’s life, the mission proves to be a setup, wiping out almost the entire team. As the only survivors of the attack, Erin and Jax must cut through a wealth of lies and misdirections to uncover the killer’s identity. Yet nothing prepares them for the truth, and the biggest threat to their survival might prove to be their growing feelings for each other. When you’re running for your life, the most dangerous place to fall is in love.

Lynnette Bonner – Fire
Years ago, teacher Kyra Radell’s brother died because of drugs, so when students in her school start buying a new street drug called Fire–and dying because of it–she’s determined to help. Even if that means putting her own life in danger.
Case Lexington, an undercover cop, has been sent in to pose as a high school senior. He wants her to stay safe, but she’s not willing to listen to a mere student.
Can he protect her and keep his cover intact? More importantly, will he be able to find the drug dealer before any more students–or teachers–die?

Lesley Ann McDaniel – Jill Came Tumbling After
Jill Martin has finally kicked her alcoholic husband to the curb. Now, with two kids and no money, she has no choice but to take a job at the new factory that’s about to open in Madison Falls. When she begins to suspect that the owner plans to illegally dispose of toxic waste, will she be strong enough to blow the whistle…or will her boss do whatever it takes to keep her quiet?

Lisa Phillips – Deadly Exposure
Navy SEAL Bradley Harris returns home to find his sister, Senator Rachel Harris, has been abducted. The FBI’s prime suspect is Alexis Calvert, Rachel’s best friend and the woman he gave his heart to long ago. Proving she’s innocent is going to be tough. Especially when he realizes the truth behind Alexis’s public shaming. Bradley must get his sister back and protect the woman he loves before the worst happens…and he loses everything.

Angela Ruth Strong –  Dead on Arrival 
The daughter of the Peruvian President, Maritza Rosado, arrives in Washington D.C. only to discover the world thinks both she and her father died on a plane crash in the Amazon. Worse, the man she’d once considered an uncle has taken over her nation and ordered two consulate workers in the U.S. to assassinate her. Desperate and alone in a foreign country, she hides out in a soup kitchen where youth group leader Levi Parker recognizes her from a recent mission to Peru and wants to help.
Can they possibly take down the crime ring together, or will Levi’s involvement do nothing more than put his life–and the life of every teen in his youth group–at risk?

Alana Terry – Termination Dust
After her mother’s death, Kimmie has no reason to stay under her stepfather’s abusive rule.
No reason, that is, except for her innocent half-brother who would bear the brunt of his father’s anger if Kimmie ran away.
After befriending a compassionate Alaska state trooper, Kimmie is emboldened to hope for a better future.

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MY REVIEW: ( I read only DEAD ON ARRIVAL by Angela Ruth Strong, but I can see I will also have to go back and read the others!)

Just finished Dead on Arrival by Angela Ruth Stong. Tremendous faith, great twists, and more suspense than I thought I could handle! Great work!

The action starts in the first sentence of the book, with incredulity at what had or hadn’t happened. From that point on, it is a hot race to keep the President of Peru’s daughter, Maritza, alive while she is on American soil.

In a “God-incident,” Maritza is recognized by a youth leader in DC with his youth group on a mission trip. Both Maritza and Levi will be stretched to their emotional, physical, and spiritual limits as they attempt to thwart determined assassins.

The spiritual thoughts about God occurred very naturally and were well-woven into the extremely action-packed book.
I received a copy of this book from one of the authors. This in no way affected my opinions and I was not required to leave a positive review.

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About the Author: (Angela Ruth Strong)

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Born
in Glendale, The United States
Twitter AngelaRStrong
Tamara Leigh
Tracey Bateman
Rachel Hauck
Deeanne Gist
Angela sold her first story to a national magazine while still in high school and went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon. Her debut novel LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO released in 2010 to a four-star review from Romantic Times. Angela loves connecting with fans and mentoring aspiring authors, which led her to start IDAhope Writers. She currently lives in Boise with her husband and three kids.

 

 

 

 

 

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart

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About the Book:

Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd, 2018 by Revell
Original Title
River to Redemption
ISBN
0800723643 (ISBN13: 9780800723644)

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She’s determined to find a way to buy Louis’s freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she’ll face an uphill battle.

Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart’s latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.

MY REVIEW:*******************************************

Ann Gabhart pens a painful look back at our past when not all were considered equal. To entertain the opposite thought, as a person of color could bring punishment or death; as a white, it could mean ostracization or physical danger as well.

Gabhart’s narrative begins in the summer of 1833 when a cholera epidemic ran rampant around much of the US. Seven-year-old Adria Starr watches as her father, mother, and brother all die from the disease. Louis, a slave whom she has never before seen, rescues her and helps Matilda nurse Adria back to health.

Louis is an amazing character. I love the way he trusts God, cares for others at risk to his own safety and does not seek the best in life for himself.

Matilda longs for freedom but also possesses a very strong faith. Over and over, her response to obstacles is the faith-filled refrain, “The Lord will provide.”

I love the way Adria, Ruth, Will, Carlton, and even Logan all show character development and great wrestling with life decisions. All have to decide what they will do with the question of slavery and how deeply will they get involved. What cost is each willing to pay to address the flowing tide that refuses to be ignored or dammed up? Who will find physical redemption and who will find redemption for his soul?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand some of the soul-searching times leading up to the Civil War. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. No positive review was required. All opinions are strictly my own.

 

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About the Author:

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Ann H. Gabhart

Born: Lawrenceburg, KY, The United States
Website http://www.annhgabhart.com/
Twitter.com/annhgabhart
Genre Historical FictionYoung AdultBiographies & Memoirs
Influences  Mother, Aunt TThe GrandmotherEx Preacher
Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspo…. Giveaways several times a year.