BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

A Heart’s Forever Home by Lena Nelson Dooley Review and Giveaway

About the Book

A single lawyer whose clients think he needs a wife.

A woman who needs a forever home…or a forever family…or a forever love.

Although Traesa Killdare is a grown woman now, the discovery that her adoption wasn’t finalized sends her reeling. Especially when her beloved grandmother dies and the only siblings she’s ever known exile her from the family property without a penny to her name.

Wilson Pollard works hard for the best interest of his law clients, even those who think a marriage would make him more “suitable” in his career. And when the beloved granddaughter of a recently deceased client comes to him for help, he knows he must do whatever necessary to make her situation better.

As each of their circumstances worsen, a marriage of convenience seems the only answer for both. Traesa can’t help but fall for her new husband—the man who’s given her both his home and his name. But what will it take for Wilson to realize he loves her? Will a not-so-natural disaster open his eyes and heart?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Adoption can be a tricky road for a child to work through. Much baggage can come with the adoptee, especially if she is old enough to remember life before the event. A Heart’s Forever Home, #3 Love’s Road Home, by Lena Nelson Dooley deals with the adoption issues of a young woman. Theresa Hilliard (Traesa Kildare) has traveled to Texas on an orphan train and has been adopted. Traesa is disowned when her beloved Abuela and guardian dies. Frightened, the former rich girl turns to the family’s young lawyer, Wilson Pollard, for help. A marriage of convenience ensues, but will it keep Traesa safe or endanger her heart?

This is a quick read perfect for a cold, rainy day. A Heart’s Forever Home can be read as a stand-alone novel, though part of a series. I enjoyed getting acquainted with Wilson and Traesa. While I found their situations realistic, as well as their responses, I didn’t feel they were totally three-dimensional. I did appreciate that Wilson knew where to turn when the marriage hit obstacles, as this genre requires. I love how teachable both Wilson and Traesa are. Wilson in his character, and Traesa in humility learning jobs that would have formerly been below her. Yet the marriage benefits so much from these malleable spirits!

Family. How important that sense of belonging and love is. Dooley illustrates this well with Traesa’s character.

A large part of the book centers around a particular danger that is only partially cleared up. While real life is messy like that, I wanted the characters to admit that they either accepted an assumption or would always be looking over their shoulders.

Dooley brings to light a controversial idea that the wife needs to obey her husband. While I feel like this is Biblical, not all agree, nor want to adhere to this idea. Dooley does a great job of showing how both husband and wife need to respect the opinions of the other, for the marriage to work.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are mine.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Fun Read for a Rainy Day!

About the Author

Lena Nelson Dooley has been an author for 36 years. Her 51st book released in June 2020. Raised in Arkansas, she married a Texan 56 years ago. They have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for decades. She is an active member of ACFW and one of the founding members the DFW local chapter. She’s often been a speaker for other writers’ groups and conferences, both as a keynote speaker and a workshop teacher. Her fans love reading her books filled with characters who grip your heart.

More from Lena

I’ve been a lover of history for decades. In college and graduate school, all my elective courses were history. Of course, I chose the countries and eras I wanted to learn about. When I began writing novels, my first one was a contemporary story. After that at least 75% or more of my novels have been historical, all the way from 1805 through the early 20th century.

One of the hallmarks of my historical novels is the authenticity I write into the stories. Because of the amount of research I’ve done over the years, I’m kind of an expert in 19th century history. My characters and their stories are completely fictional, but the other things in the book are mostly true. I search until I find what I need to know or until I reach a complete dead end.

The history of the orphan trains has interested me since I first learned about them. One of them ended in Fort Worth where a pastor and his wife helped find the last orphans a home. A few didn’t get a home, so they took them in. In the 20th century that became an orphanage, then a home for unwed mothers.

A Heart’s Forever Home has three settings—Fort Worth, Texas; Waco, Texas; and New York City. It’s a Marriage of Convenience story and much more. This is another type of story I like to read and I like to write. Finding a different reason for the necessity of the marriage is interesting.

I’d found an event that occurred north of Waco in 1896. It was so bizarre I wanted to include it in a book. It was a perfect fit for this story and became an important catalyst in the story.

I’m what’s called in the industry a seat-of-the-pants author, more or less. I do have the complete outline of the story in my head. When I sit down to write, I know where I’m going, but I don’t have every single scene plotted out as some authors do. And I pray… a lot. During the time I’m writing a book, God drops ideas into my thought processes. Not just while I’m writing, but other times, too. That’s the exciting thing about writing. This keeps it fresh for me.

When you’ve finished reading this story, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it. I really like getting reader feedback.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 12

Maureen’s Musings, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

The Book Chic Blog, October 13

Texas Book-aholic, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 14

Bizwings Blog, October 15

Reviewingbooksplusmore, October 15

By the Book, October 16

Kathleen’s Book Review, October 16

lakesidelivingsite, October 17

For Him and My Family, October 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 19

Inklings and notions, October 19

Vicky Sluiter, October 20

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 22

Joanna Bair, October 22

Bigreadersite, October 23

Mary Hake, October 23

Connie’s History Classroom, October 24

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 24

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lena is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11fe3/a-heart-s-forever-home-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

BLOG, Favorite, Revell

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

About the Book

Title: The Edge of Belonging

Author: Amanda Cox

Publisher: Revell

Released: September 2020

Genre: Christian Dual-Time, Contemporary

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go. 

My Impressions

The Edge of Belonging is such a spellbinding, dual-time novel from Amanda Cox. I foresee Edge of Belonging winning an award for debut novels. For myself, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page. Heart-rending themes such as foster homes, homelessness, human trafficking, depression, and PTSD are dealt with from both the sufferer’s and a loving helper’s POV. The raw loneliness hurt, and need that several of the characters experience is portrayed so poignantly. It seems each character in the earlier story (Harvey, Pearl, Thom, and Miriam) feels they are on the edge of belonging to some degree.

In the later story, Ivy is the focal point who feels like she doesn’t quite belong, but her best friend Reese has often struggled with those same sentiments. I was thrilled to see how the book’s title applied to so many. I also loved seeing the hope and mercy that certain characters, especially Pearl and Reese, generously dole out to others. Again, so many of Ms. Cox’s characters show significant growth by the end of the story.
While it is easy to see early on where the stories will connect, there remains the fascination of just how Ms. Cox is going to work it all out.


I usually like to pick a favorite character, but they were all faves. I love Reese for his steadiness and undying care. Harvey, for the way he supersedes his own fears to love another. And Pearl, for her radar to find and genuinely love lost souls.
Get your own copy of this must-read debut!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Revell Reads via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

Connect with Amanda on her website at https://amandacoxwrites.com

or on Twitter @amandacoxwrites