Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Review ~ A Pursuit of Home (Haven Manor #3) by Kristi Ann Hunter

About the Book

When she learns the family she thought dead might be alive and in danger, Jess Beuchene knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long. Desperation brings her to Derek Thornbury, an expert in history and artifacts, to help her decipher the clues in an old family diary. Will their search to uncover the truth of the past lead to a future together?

Paperback, 376 pages
Publisher: Bethany House, Nov 5, 2019

Purchase:
Amazon
B&N


About Kristi

Award winning author Kristi Ann Hunter had been losing herself in stories since before she could read them herself. Now she has the privilege of transporting readers into the Regency-set world of her own creation. With ten books published since 2015, including the acclaimed Hawthorne House series, Kristi has had a busy few years. When she isn’t writing, she hangs out with her children and husband in Georgia watching Marvel movies, trying to learn how to play Minecraft, and eating what some might consider an excessive amount of dark chocolate.

Links:





My Review
5 STARS!!!

‘Diaries were incredible windows into the past…He wanted that diary. The question was, did he want it badly enough to deal with her?’

Jess has been an enigma since the first book in this incredible series, A Defense of Honor. She’s cantankerous and intensely private. I was intrigued to read her story and taken completely by surprise. Jess has a sharp tongue but she is funny. Oh the dialogue between her and Derek was downright hilarious at times. He’s marvelous, by the way. A man of God who desires to help others makes him the perfect counterpart to Jess’s prickly exterior.

I enjoyed this book and didn’t want it to end. Hunter has once again given Regency fans a series to read over and over again, making it a modern ‘classic’. I can’t wait to see what is next in her repertoire of book ideas.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher. No review was required. No compensation received.



Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Review ~ Misleading Miss Verity (Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley #3) By Carolyn Miller


Published November 26th 2019 by Kregel Publications
Paperback, 352 pages

Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own—but her actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren’t always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he’s finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He’s falling in love with her, but she doesn’t share the faith that’s his foundation—not to mention he’s been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness—and for the tenants of Dungally. 


Purchase:


4 STARS!!!

It’s not often a book sinks as deeply into my subconscious as Misleading Miss Verity. Miller always provides aesthetically pleasing visuals but that’s not what stood out to me this time. Verity is a character that I regret to say I could sadly identify with on many levels. She’s always known she was a disappointment to her parents because she wasn’t a boy, and thus she was always compared to others and treated as less than. I’ll clarify here my own mother never made me feel this way. But Verity’s mom is a real piece of work. I didn’t like her in the first two books and still don’t like her one iota.

Verity’s defining moment comes when she is surrounded in darkness and fear is overtaking her. She calls out to God and it’s a moving moment. But later when she realizes her worth is not in her parent’s expectations, that through Christ she is a new creature, spotless before God, and it is Christ who makes her worthy, it is powerful.

Once again, Miller has proven she has a compelling ability when it comes to storytelling.

I do want to mention I sort of lost respect for Verity’s sisters in this book. They didn’t seem to do anything to encourage her when they were around. And I really liked them in their own stories. Ha! The Chisholm family is great though. I’d like to see James get his own story one day.

I received an early copy from the publisher. My opinion is my own. No compensation has been received.


Monday, December 2, 2019

COMING Jan 2nd!!!

On Wings of Devotion by Roseanna White


About the Book

On Wings of Devotion - FINAL
Against Every Warning, She’s Drawn Ever Closer to the Man Known as “Black Heart”
All of England thinks Major Phillip Camden a monster–a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But he would have preferred to die that day with his men rather than be recruited to the Admiralty’s codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved.
As nurse Arabelle Denler observes the so-dubbed “Black Heart,” she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their families and paths twist together unexpectedly, she realizes she has a role to play in his healing–and some of her own to do as well.
With Camden’s court-martial looming, an old acquaintance shows up, intent on using him in a plot that sends the codebreakers of Room 40 into a frenzy. With their fragile hopes for the future in the cross hairs, Arabelle and Camden must hold on to hope–and to each other–if they want to survive.
Purchase Links: RoseannaWhite.com

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Review ~ Ruby Jane (Montana Marshalls 5) by Susan May Warren



She loved...and lost.

Ruby Jane never thought she'd meet the man of her dreams while running from the police in Russia. That he'd steal her heart on a train to Siberia. But loving a former CIA officer comes with a price...a life of danger. A life of high stakes.

A life where he simply disappears...

He has no memory of the man he was.

Mack Jones has no memory of his past...just the dark sense that he is hiding. And, he wants to stay that way. Mack likes the life he's built in a small tourist town, tucked away beyond the mountains, and has no desire to dig around in the gray areas of his memory.

When his place of business catches fire and Mack rescues the owner, he makes the news, which of course alerts the past he's hoping to outrun.

The only person who can help him is a mysterious woman he doesn't remember.

But a woman he desperately needs.

The surprising, thrilling conclusion to the Montana Marshall series. 

Purchase:





My Review
4.5 STARS!!!

“The fire is supposed to burn away everything but our faith and character.”

Every now and then I read a book that when I close the last page, I just sit there. In silence. Contemplating. Ruby Jane was that kind of book for me. A smashing conclusion to the Montana Marshalls series, Warren brings it on with plenty of action, intrigue, romance, and a theme of regeneration that had me in tears. Her ability to show how a person who is utterly tarnished by their actions, words, and thoughts, and yet through the power of the Holy Spirit can be reconciled to God left me praising Him for his mercy and grace toward me!

“You have to believe that no matter what happens, you’re going to be okay. That God’s grace is enough.”

Without any doubt, SMW is the best builder of a fictional family I have read. Each and every character is pivotal to the storyline and I didn’t want to miss a single moment with any of them. I didn’t connect with Ruby Jane in the way I expected but I think it’s because I was acutely focused on York. He is an amazing character and completely stole my heart.

The Montana Marshalls must be read in order to get the full effect and enjoyment. Literally each book picks up where the other leaves off. It’s an excellent binge read!!

I received an early copy from the author. My opinion is my own. No compensation has been received.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Thanksgiving Thought...



Today is a hard day for many people. 

I'm reminded to pray diligently for those who are suffering loss whether it's through death, distance, severed relationships, or all of the above. 

I pray each one of us feel God's mercy and compassion. That we realize his unfailing love and respond to his gentle persuasion to place our heartache in his hands where comfort resides. 

Grace and peace to you all!

*image:  https://pixabay.com/users/tsukiko-kiyomidzu-1850874/

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Rebecca Reviews ~ The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr

43838077

Paperback384 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers


Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel creates a select group of men who will count down the calendar to the arrival of Israel’s promised king. Centuries later, as the day nears, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are put to death by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Having grabbed only a few possessions, Myrad escapes the city, and searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, he tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is hiding secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable traveler, an epic journey filled with peril, close escapes, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can’t forget and the promise that the world will never be the same.



Rebecca's Review

3.5 stars

"From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens'." Daniel 9:25

Counting the years. Counting the months. Magis meticulously counted the days until the promised Messiah would come, according to the prophet Daniel. When a magnificent star appears in the sky, a young magi acolyte dreams of such a star, with a voice calling out to him saying, "I am". Then tragedy strikes and Myrad is forced to run for his life following the death of his adoptive father; his physical handicap making the journey all the more difficult as he trudges across the Parthian desert. Miraculously, he gains favor with a wealthy merchant, thus launching the beginning of the "end of the magi".

Intriguing barely scratches the suface of this story, for the author's imagination takes over much of what we don't know about the famed biblical visitors, and skillfully weaves in the known; resulting in a tale that is not only believable, but fascinating. Readers well versed in ancient history will find the story much easier to understand, but those who are not will feel sufficiently schooled.

Rising above it all is the reassuring truth that God can even use a "club footed Persian boy"to accomplish His purposes; for "it's almost as if God takes delight in accomplishing His ends in the most unlikely way possible. . . . . . (His) promises are sure, whether they come sooner or later." In spite of this being a more difficult than average book to read, its impact will remain unforgettable.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.



Senior Reviewer, Rebecca Maney

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With over 30 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Review ~ Royally Yours Collection by Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson, Ashley Clark



Royalty Meets Small Town Charm in 4 Heartwarming Christmas Novellas

Tinsel, Vermont is known for its no-paparazzi policy and Christmas decorations that are fit for a queen. This holiday season, join four royals on a stroll through town square as they each find their Christmas wishes for a happily-ever-after...tiaras optional.

Purchase:



My Review
4 STARS!!!

Short yet complete, Royally Yours explores the fact that royals are people too and often struggle with their duties versus what we refer to as reality. Sometimes they need a place to escape to so they can think and regroup. Tinsel, VT is a winter wonderland where no paparazzi are allowed. Enchanting twinkle lights and sparkling snow make the perfect backdrop where wishes are sure to come true for these four royals as they seek to distinguish who they are and what they hope to accomplish in their sovereign rule. Add in sweet romance and you have a treasure trove of delight!

Melissa Tagg and Liz Johnson are familiar to me and I’ve loved any of their books I’ve read. One Royal Christmas and A Royal Wonderland are exceptionally delightful and showcase these two authors’ signature writing punctuated with sigh-worthy moments! Betsy St Amant and Ashley Clark are new-to-me authors whose stories I enjoyed and I look forward to reading more of their works in the future.

I received my e-copy of the book from one of the authors. All opinions in this review are my own.



Friday, November 8, 2019

Review ~ Lessons on Love: 4 Schoolteachers Find More Than They Bargained for in Their Contracts by Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, Carrie Fancett Pagels


Paperback
448 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Barbour Books

Something Old, Something New by Kathleen L. Maher

New York, 1840s
Her father’s sudden death makes Gilda Jacobs the new schoolmaster, but to teach Christian curriculum she partners with fire-and-brimstone revivalist Joshua Blake, who learns a lesson in love.


Love in Any Language by Susanne Dietze

Kansas, 1870
Mary Clarence teaches English to the children of Swedish immigrants, but when her favorite students’ widowed father, Kristofer Nilsson, is accused of robbery, she’s determined to clear his name.


In Desperate Straits by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1894
Desperate for work, Margaret Hadley dresses as a young man to secure a dray driver’s position. When soldiers at the fort threaten her, Mackinac Island’s newest teacher, Jesse Huntington, intervenes.


A Song in the Night by Rita Gerlach

Virginia, 1904
Karin Wiles longs to share the uplifting power of music with children. But when she seeks to improve a poorly run school and include orphans, Nathaniel Archer delivers harsh words of opposition from the school board.




My Review
4 STARS!!!

If you enjoy inspirational historical romance then you’re sure to find a few pleasurable hours spent with these four school teachers while they address and work through challenges faced in and out of the classroom. With four unique writing styles, readers are sure to be entertained and encouraged by one or more of these courageous young teachers. 

I have to mention the gorgeous cover. Between the embossing and the cutout, it’s one of the prettiest covers on my book shelf this year! 

I was gifted a copy of the book. No review was required. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Review ~ Call to Love by Mary A. Felkins


Prism Lux, November 15, 240 pages

Tracy Cassidy, a fiercely independent ED nurse, must choose between her dream job or staying in her hometown to help support her mother’s faltering ministry. Even if it means risking her heart in love with the kind of man she said she’d never marry. Why sign up to be Laurelton’s next cop widow?

Tom DeLaney, a hyper-vigilant cop and new hire from Texas, is wearied by years of failed rescue attempts to save his marriage to his ex. A free man, he moves to the foothills of North Carolina. Thing is, he hadn’t expected to fall for Tracy, his supervisor’s sister. But when his adolescent son is diagnosed with a chronic illness, he faces the risk of loving another woman with keep-out issues.

Fears related to the death of Tracy’s cop father and Tom’s inability to forgive the past threatens to sabotage any chance at love.

To trust again means surrender. Will they risk their hearts and answer the call?

Pre-order:
Amazon (Kindle)

I am in no way affiliated with any vendors. Links are provided as a courtesy only.

🌿🌿

About the Author

Mary A. Felkins is a contributor to writer’s blogs and on-line magazines. She also publishes a weekly story-style devo on her website. Call to Love is her debut inspirational romance. Raised in Houston, Texas – and forever a Lone Star girl - she and her husband Bruce moved to the foothills of North Carolina in 1997. They have four (adolescent to young adult-sized) arrows in her quiver. She can be lured from her writing cave if presented with a large, unopened bag of Peanut M&Ms. A surprise appearance by her teen idol, Donny Osmond, would also do the trick, though she’d likely pass out.


My Review
3 Stars

“Is that how you see me, a repeat offender with no hope of redemption?”

Above all, the message I took away in a Call to Love is redemption. It is available for all who call on Him. Felkins’ characters have some deep-seated issues–fear, anger, bitterness. Only God can deliver Tracy and Tom from these destructive emotions.

I really enjoyed Tracy’s mom. She is a wise woman who gently imparts strength to those around her through perseverance and compassion. Can you picture the following? I can.

With a deep stare, Mom peered over the top of her reading glasses. “When love is real, you’ll answer the call no matter the cost…” She squeezed Tracy on her arm, infusing wisdom into her veins. “If you choose to trust the goodness of God’s heart.”  (Location 984 of 3759)

See what I mean. Wise. Words.

The story is heavy with purple prose but many readers will still enjoy Felkins’ debut contemporary romance. I was provided an electronic copy from the author. No review was required. No compensation received.


Monday, October 28, 2019

Review ~ Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England by Michelle Griep




Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep


Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:

12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?

The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

Purchase:
CBD

I am in no way affiliated with any vendors. Links are provided as a courtesy only.




My Review
4 STARS!!!

"I may be uneducated in the ways of business, but there is one thing I know. Either your faith will move mountains, or your doubt will create them." 
~Bella, The Old Lace Shop

Griep does a good job depicting Victorian era locales; homes, businesses, countryside. I could 'see' the finery and manners, or lack thereof, of each character. Scruffy and dirty and/or neat and tidy, they all came alive in my mind. Each story is full of drama, mystery, romance, and human condition. Grab a copy of this illuminating trio and settle in for a few hours of Dickensian delight!

I received a copy from the publisher and author. No review was required. No compensation received.



Sunday, October 27, 2019

Rebecca Reviews ~ Always Look Twice (Uncommon Justice, #2) by Elizabeth Goddard

Paperback384 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Revell

While photographing the Grand Tetons, Harper Reynolds unwittingly captures a murder on film. But when she loses the camera fleeing the scene, can she and rancher Heath McKade find the camera and solve the murder before the killer makes her his next victim?


Purchase:
Amazon
CBD (best price)

I am in no way affiliated with any vendors. Links are provided as a courtesy only.

Rebecca's Review
3.5 stars


"She had answers to questions she hadn't even asked, and those answers left her gutted. Broken again."

Harper Reynolds has lived her entire life wondering what would have happened if she had forced herself to look into the face of her father's murderer. Regrettably, she'll never know. As an adult, her recompense is peering through the lens of a camera, becoming a crime scene photographer, until the graphic nature of her work prompts her to take a break.

Harper and her sister Emily decide to travel through national parks, giving Harper a golden opportunity to utilize her eye for detail in a different sort of way. . . . until; upon return to the Teton National Forest in Wyoming, the home of her childhood, her camera makes her an eyewitness to a cold-blooded murder and the ensuing investigation leads her back to a cherished childhood friend, Heath McKade.

The pace is frantic, the story line a bit wrinkled in places, the attraction between Harper and Heath struggles to take root, but in the end, fans of romantic suspense will likely concur that "Always Look Twice" is a fascinating read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.



Senior Reviewer, Rebecca Maney

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With over 30 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Review ~ Once Upon a Christmas: Contemporary Retellings of Timeless Tales by Andrea Boyd, Toni Shiloh, Mikal Dawn, Angela Ruth Strong, Jaycee Weaver

Kindle Edition437 pages
Published October 1st 2019


Embrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.
Upon a Dream — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.
Claim My Heart — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.
A Snow White Christmas — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.
Christmas Ella — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.
A Splash of Love — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.

My Review
4 STARS!!!

Once Upon a Christmas is comprised of some of the most imaginative fairy tale re-tellings of Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid I've read. They're all highly creative! Three of the stories I found most enjoyable with engaging characters and plots, and would definitely give five stars. The other two were inventive but didn’t quite hit the five star mark for me, hence my overall four stars.

With themes of love and acceptance woven along with faith in Christ, each re-telling definitely has a refreshing quality. I found a new-to-me author that will be on my future TBR list too. For fans of contemporary fiction, it’s worth buying for a few hours of charming distraction that will bring more than a few smiles and chuckles. Just wait until you meet the Uncles. J

I was provided a copy from the publisher with no obligation to post a review but I also purchased my own Kindle copy.

What Christmas stories are you looking forward to reading?