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Two Steps Forward, #3 The Deacon’s Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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About the Book

Title: Two Steps Forward

Series: #3 The Deacon’s Family

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell

Released: February 2020

Genre: Amish Romance

Length: 319 pg

Back and broke in Stoney Ridge, Jimmy Fisher has coasted as long as he could through life on charm, good looks, and deep-set dimples. They always worked just fine for him–until they didn’t. His smile has no effect on the violet-eyed beauty he met at the Bent N’ Dent, the one with that stunning horse. She’s offered him a job, but nothing else.

The last thing Sylvie Schrock King needs around Rising Star Farm is a grown boy working for her, especially her neighbor Edith’s son. The woman holds a serious grudge against Sylvie and her son, and hiring Jimmy Fisher will only fan the flames of Edith’s rancor. But Sylvie is desperate for help on the farm, and Jimmy understands horses like no one else.

While Jimmy’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Sylvie’s heart, Edith is working on a way to claim her land. Has Sylvie made another terrible mistake? Or is it too late to outfox the fox? More importantly . . . just who is the fox?

Writing with both wit and warmth, Fisher delivers a supremely satisfying conclusion to the popular Deacon’s Family series.

 

My Review

In this heartwarming, soul-searching tale, Suzanne Woods Fisher invites us back to Stoney Ridge. In Two Steps Forward, we see Luke Schrock maturing as a deacon; Izzy still looking for her missing childhood, and Jimmy Fisher returning from Colorado. Unsure of his plans, Jimmy accepts an unexpected offer from widow Sylvie Schrock King to help with her horse and farm.
Sylvie is a very likable character. She is independent, a hard worker, and she will defend and protect those she loves. For her, the question seems to be, is Jimmy worth loving?
I really couldn’t decide how I felt about Jimmy. Fisher drew him in such a way that I liked him, felt sorry for him, but despised and wanted to be done with him.

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The creek, which divides Sylvie’s property from Edith Fisher Lapp’s, is slowly meandering closer and closer to Edith’s house. Perhaps symbolic of the way Edith’s sphere of influence gets smaller and smaller the more in control of others she tries to be.
Edith is NOT a nice person, but Bishop David Stolzfus gives her lots of room (grace) to be herself. In our time in Stoney Ridge, I have enjoyed watching his people-handling skills, honed by hours of prayer. David is a very patient and wise bishop and is teaching Luke well by example.
While Luke has grown by leaps and bounds, Izzy is still chained to her unfulfilled childhood longings. Will she ever feel that she can move on without the ability to settle her past?

Two Steps Forward 2


Themes include righting wrongs towards others (mending fences); forgiveness (can those already given grace pay it forward)?; protecting those who can’t defend themselves (adoption or fostering). It’s important to take action, realizing by being part of the solution, we can help people, one by one.
Yet, a fourth theme was the importance of a loving father in the home.
I totally enjoyed this story and recommend it. That being said, I wish there had been one less twist at the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and the author through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot and makes me want to stay in Stoney Ridge.

 

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine.

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living.

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found online at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, PB, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Isaiah’s Legacy, #3 A Novel of Prophets and Kings by Mesu Andrews

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About the Book

Title: Isaiah’s Legacy

Series: A Novel of Prophets and Kings

Author: Mesu Andrews

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Released: February 2020

The drama of the Old Testament comes to life as Judah’s most notorious king ascends to the throne in this gripping novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter.

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle’s help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah’s five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she’s eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father’s strict adherence to Yahweh’s Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power.

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh’s chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah’s throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria’s crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle’s long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she’d never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh’s mother: Isaiah’s daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah’s dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord’s promise, “Though we’re helpless now, we’re never hopeless–because we serve El Shaddai.” Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah’s legacy.

 

My Review

“Never begin a sentence with ‘Yahweh can’t.’ Our minds are too small to imagine what He can do.” Indeed, Mesu Andrews has tackled the granddaddy of all difficult stories. All my life, as long as I was old enough to understand there were good and bad kings in Judah, Manasseh has been the penultimate bad guy. Evil beyond any king that came before him, the Bible says. The normal person would have given up on this absolutely atrocious Judahite king, but Yahweh did NOT! 

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And this is where Mesu Andrews gets her story. We start at the beginning of Manasseh’s life (or Nasseh ) as righteous Hezekiah’s life is coming to a close. So, the million-dollar question for me, all these years: how does one go from having such a righteous father as Hezekiah to being the most wicked king so far? Andrews has a plausible answer as she draws in characters like Shulle, a young tutor who understands autism (a modern-day plague Andrews gives Nasseh and one we struggle to understand; Shulle’s power-hungry uncle Shebna; and the Babylonian sorceress Belit, determined to rise within the court. We see ZibahNasseh’s beloved mother and her crusty adopted father, Isaiah. Let the power games begin. 

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While it appears to be a play for power behind the throne of Judah, the Yahwists and the sorcery workers know the truth. It is a battle between Good and Evil, the One True God vs. the many false gods of the surrounding nations. 
Love, fear, betrayal, brutality, power-grasping and a search for respect and belonging are all part of this fantastic, sweeping, Biblical saga. Intense, sweet, horrifying at turns, we eventually are pointed to the mercy of a Father longing for the prodigal to return home. 
Such a tragic story (be sure you have at least one box of Kleenex ready), but Andrews explains so well why she wrote it with an eye to imparting hope. 
Your heart will be full by the time your eyes have traversed all the pages of this amazing novel. It would be helpful to have read the first two novels, but unfortunately, I did not beforehand and still found this to be a beautiful book. Thank you, Ms. Andrews. I realized today there is hope for yet another Prodigal in my life! 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Waterbrook-Multnomah. This is no way influences my opinion, which I have freely given, and for which I am solely responsible. 
 
Notable Quotables: 
“Why questions lead only to doubt. Only Who questions build faith. Who is sovereign over the kings of the universe? Who spoke light into darkness? And Who promised to capture and build Nasseh’s heart?” 
 
“Yahweh did not give me the vision to prevent it but to prepare us for it.” (Isaiah) 
 
“I can do whatever I wish, Ima. I am Judah’s king.” 
 
“A king need never raise his voice. His power is like a trumpet.” 
 
“He’s a child and a king, Shulle. It’s an unwieldy combination.” 
 
“Why questions lead only to doubt. Only Who questions build faith. Who is sovereign over the kings of the universe? Who spoke light into darkness? And Who promised to capture and build Nasseh’s heart?” 
 
“We’re helpless in this moment… but we’re never hopeless. Not as long as we serve El Shaddai, the Almighty One.” 

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot and gives me hope for the Prodigals in my life!

About the Author

Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might 3513697imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell)–the story of Job and the women who loved him–won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba.

The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah but focuses on the woman Hephzibah–a fascinating character in Jewish legends.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Waltz in the Wilderness, #1 Chapparal Hearts by Kathleen Denly with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Waltz in the Wilderness

Series: Chapparal Hearts

Author: Kathleen Denly

Publisher: Wild Heart Books

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance Waltz-in-the-Wilderness-Cover-200x300

Release Date: February 4, 2020

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help.

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancé is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

 

Click here for your copy!

 

My Review

Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly has my feel-good nod of approval. Not only did it satisfy my reading soul, but it gave me real substance to chew on as I contemplated the characters and their response to untenable circumstances. 
I fell in love with strong-headed, one-purpose Eliza Brooks and Daniel Clark, her uncle’s employee who becomes her reluctant escort. 
Other characters I couldn’t stand at all, while I wondered how the people around them could stomach them.
 
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The novel is pretty predictable, though fun until certain secondary characters decide to take over the story as if they don’t like where the author was taking them. One character challenges Eliza to compare her motives in her search for her father with Scripture directives. Then we are allowed to see what Eliza will do about her willfulness that she has until now labeled “responsibility.” I got so deeply into the story that my mind was boggled by the weight these characters bore, who stood up and developed a backbone and changed the course of the story. I really wanted to know more about what life is like for them, and perhaps we’ll find out. I appreciated clear explanations of faith, themes of feeling undeserving of God’s love, and the need to truly trust Him to care for ourselves and others. It obviously affected the players’ daily lives. This story does include to some degree the sad effects slavery and prejudice have on people who are different from their abusers. 

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I loved this book and I highly recommend it. If you like reading Miralee Ferrell or Misty Beller, you will like Kathleen Denly. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This does not influence my opinions, for which I am solely responsible. 
My Rating
5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot
Terrific Historical Debut!

About the Author

 

Kathleen Denly lives in sunny Southern California with her loving husband, four young Kathleen-Denly-Headshot-3-286x300children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

 

More from Kathleen

As Valentine’s Day nears, stories of how couples met seem to be everywhere. Many of those stories share a common element: “The second I saw him/her, I just knew I would marry him/her.”

Every time I read or hear these stories, I chuckle. Not because I don’t believe them but because it reminds me of my own meet-cute.

“Not my type.”

These were the first words to enter my mind when I met the man who would later become my husband. In hindsight, they are hilarious because I know that God worked things out for our good. After more than eighteen years of marriage, I can honestly say that I am more in love with my husband than ever.

However, just a few months prior to meeting my husband, I’d suffered a terrible breakup with another man whom I thought had been considering proposing to me. I had no idea the breakup was coming and that left me devastated and confused. The truths we learn in hindsight don’t help much when we’re in the midst of such circumstances. When we think we know the future before us and something happens to upend those plans it can feel as though our world has turned upside down.

This is what happens to Eliza Brooks in the first chapter of my novel, Waltz in the Wilderness. Though not romantic in nature, a major shift occurs in her world that leaves her feeling betrayed and disoriented. She’s still struggling to right her world when Daniel Clarke enters her life in the worst way possible. Misunderstanding leads to a humiliating confrontation that sets these two at odds with one another before they have a chance to truly get to know each other. Fortunately for Eliza and Daniel, God works their foolishness for good just as He did in my own true love story.

This Valentine’s Day, whatever your romantic relationship status, remember that you are not alone. You are loved. And the God of all the universe loves you and has a plan for you—plans to prosper you and bring you hope.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, February 5

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 5

Pause for Tales, February 5

Texas Book-aholic, February 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 6

Older & Smarter?, February 7

deb’s Book Review, February 7

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 9

Betti Mace, February 10

Through the Fire Blogs, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Robin’s Nest, February 11

Remembrancy, February 12

For Him and My Family, February 12

My Devotional Thoughts, February 12

Maureen’s Musings, February 13

For the Love of Literature, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 15

Blossoms and Blessings, February 15

Bigreadersite, February 15

Emily Yager, February 16

Blogging With Carol, February 16

Mia Reads, February 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impression, February 17

Janicesbookreviews, February 17

SPLASHES of Joy, February 18

Hallie Reads, February 18

Connie’s History Classroom, February 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a NEW Kindle Fire HD8, Proverbs 3:5 Paperback Lined Journal, Romans 8:28 Leather Bookmark, Proverbs 3:5 mug, and an Antique Silverplated Spoon made by 1847 Rogers Bros!!

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/f5b6/waltz-in-the-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

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About the Book

Book:  A Girl’s Guide to the Outback

Author: Jessica Kate

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 28, 2020

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and 44441985romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

 Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile, Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

My Review

“Samuel Payton was an idiot.” What a great opening sentence to A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. Kimberly Foster and Samuel Payton may work together, but they seem destined to be each other’s number one antagonizer.
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Wow, this is the rom-com book to pick up for something light, yet with a message.
I liked and disliked all four main characters by turns, depending on whose point of view examined them. Kimberly, Sam, Jules, and Mick all have lots of personalities but the lies they believe often cause them to act as if there is only one possible trajectory for their lives. When their eyes see their own weaknesses, it tends to be through magnifying glasses that so enlarge their weaknesses and fears they can’t move forward. They have trouble viewing themselves in light of God’s Word, based on their own experiences or others’ perceptions of them.
GGttO2
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in a lighter, clean rom-com with spiritual overtones.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. This is no way affects my opinions for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author 

jessica kateAustralian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant. Visit her online at jessicakatewriting.com; Instagram: jessicakatewriting; Facebook: jessicakatewriting; Twitter: @JessicaKate05.

 

Exclusive Excerpt

Click here to read an exclusive excerpt of the book!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 3

Just the Write Escape, February 3

Through the Fire Blogs, February 3

Robin’s Nest, February 4

Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 4

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 5

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 5

Genesis 5020, February 6

Wishful Endings, February 6

Texas Book-aholic, February 7

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 7

Batya’s Bits, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8

For Him and My Family, February 9

deb’s Book Review, February 9

Inklings and notions, February 10

Inside the Wong Mind, February 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 11

Kat’s Corner Books, February 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 12

Hallie Reads, February 12

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 13

Mary Hake, February 13

Moments, February 14

Stories By Gina, February 14

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 15

Britt Reads Fiction, February 15

Pause for Tales, February 16

With a Joyful Noise, February 16

*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

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?

The Major's Daughter 2
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.

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock

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About the Book

Title: The Gray Chamber

Series: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Publisher: Barbour

Released: January 2020

Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?

On Blackwell Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.

With her late father’s fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. Do any of Edyth’s friends care that she disappeared?

At the asylum, she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?

 

My Review

Grace Hitchcock’s The Gray Chamber would probably win my “Sleeper of the Year” award. (And, yes, I know it’s only January.) I thought this book would be fun and interesting. I did not bargain for a love in danger of being lost nor a trip to Blackwell’s Island, infamous in its time for housing “insane” women. This series of historical American crimes gives a fictional façade to journalist Nellie Bly’s visit to the island. 

Gray Chamber 1


At first, we are immersed in an enjoyable turn-of-the-century account of Edyth and fencing master Raoul Banebridge. Edyth is dying to have her best friend Raoul “Bane” notice her as a woman, but her eccentricities seem to block his view. When finally, he begins to see Edyth for the woman she is, her eccentricities have enabled other shocking developments. 
This book is the stuff my nightmares are made of. It made perfect sense, and I could visualize it all happening. The evil mankind can perpetrate on another, made in the image of the same God!! My only hope as I read with elevated blood pressure and eyes scurrying over the pages was for a happy ending. Certainly, a chiller. However, as I think more about it, I can think of the Great Shepherd going after that one lost sheep, as well. The ultimate love that conquers hate. 

Gray Chamber 2


Having read Hitchcock’s previous novel in this collection, The White City, I was pleased to meet Jude Law again. I always like it when novelists include fun tie-ins like this to their other works. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour 16145482Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.