Made for the Journey

Made For the Journey

By Elisabeth Elliot

The Story

In this deeply personal account of her first year as a missionary, Elisabeth Elliot shares the challenges she faced as she worked in the jungles of Ecuador to bring the Word of God to a people virtually untouched by the outside world. With fascinating detail, she captures the stark realities of life in the jungle, the difficulties she encountered while developing a written language for the tribe, and her confusion when God didn’t “cooperate” with her efforts to accomplish what she believed was His will.

More than just a memoir, Made for the Journey is a beautifully crafted and deeply personal reflection on the important questions of life and a remarkable testimony to authentic Christian obedience to an unfathomable God.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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It’s not often that I stay up late reading a nonfiction book, but Made for the Journey had me captivated. I couldn’t stop reading until I had learned as Elisabeth learned and reached her conclusion. Somehow, I’ve never read a book by Elisabeth Elliot before, but I officially have a new hero of the faith. This memoir is deeply personal, and Elisabeth is able to share her heart, her struggles, and her failures of both mission and intent, so honestly that it astounded me. Such transparency, even years after the fact, is incredible. And it touched me because I felt she was writing to just where I’m at.

I don’t usually read a book with a pen next to me, but I discerned within the first couple pages that this was a book I would be returning to, and needed to mark what meant so much to me.

What I really loved was her answer, really at the beginning of the book. So many things in life simply don’t make sense. And our Creator, the Lord of the universe, doesn’t always give us answers. This was her response to that:

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.’”

I underlined so many different quotes in this book, that I’m pretty sure it would count as plagiarism to put them all in my review. 😉 This incredible memoir is the most impactful nonfiction book I’ve read this year and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

About the Author

Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) was one of the most perceptive and popular Christian writers of the last century. The author of more than twenty books, including Passion and Purity and The Journals of Jim Elliot, Elliot offered guidance and encouragement to millions of readers worldwide.

(Biography from Revell)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

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Lady of a Thousand Treasures

Lady of a Thousand Treasures

By Sandra Byrd

The Story

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

(Back cover summary from Tyndale House)

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Lady of a Thousand Treasures has a Pride and Prejudice or somewhat-classic feel to it. Sandra doesn’t hurry through the story; instead, savoring the experience on each page.

While I was excited about the whole idea of the story, for me, it just took too long to get there. I felt like the story dragged, making it difficult for me to keep my attention on the book. It just wasn’t my kind of novel.

However, it did have some good mystery in it, and a truly unique occupation that I enjoyed learning about. It’s also written in first person, which is somewhat unusual for this setting and type of novel. So I liked being able to get to know Eleanor better that way. But I did wish some of the story was told from Harry’s point of view. I wish I could have gotten to know his character better.

If you enjoy unhurried stories with rich description, then you may enjoy Lady of a Thousand Treasures. For me, it was just too unhurried.

About the Author

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books.

Sandra’s delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional.

Please visit http://www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more.

(Biography from Tyndale House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Mark of the Raven

Mark of the Raven

By Morgan L. Busse

The Story

Dreamwalker. Nightwatcher. Lady of Ravenwood.

Lady Selene Has Come into Her Family’s Power.

But Has She Inherited a Gift or a Curse?

Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. Soon after the gifting, however, Selene discovers that the Ravenwood women have been secretly using their gift to gather information or to assassinate those responsible for the fall of House Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire hundreds of years ago.

As she becomes more entrenched in Ravenwood’s dark past, Selene longs to find out the true reason behind her family’s gift, believing that its original intent could not have been for such evil purposes, but she is torn about upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people. Selene’s dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations–but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Fantasy is not a genre I’ve read for a while, so I enjoyed this foray back into it with Mark of the Raven.

I was thoroughly immersed in this world from page one. Selene is a divided character. She is not like her mother, as much as she tries to be. But she struggles with where that leaves her. Her gift is unique and it was so interesting to read about her exploring it.

The other characters that populate this book, Lord Maris in particular, are all multi-faceted and interesting. The gifts of the houses and their division reminds me a bit of spiritual gifting, and how it is most effective when all work together.

This was a good story, but it was only the first in The Ravenwood Saga. Again, fantasy isn’t my go-to genre, so it didn’t pull me in as some might. But it did hold my attention, and I’ll be looking for the next book in the series.

About the Author

Morgan L. Busse (www.morganlbusse.com) is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the new steampunk series The Soul Chronicles. Her debut novel, Daughter of Light, was a Christy and Carol Award finalist. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. She and her family live in Bloomington, Illinois.

(Biography from Bethany House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Wait For Me

Wait for Me

By Susan May Warren

The Story

With Jess and Pete, every day is lived at full throttle.

Now if they can only stay alive to enjoy it.

Pete Brooks can’t believe he’s waited an entire year for EMT Jess Tagg to return to Montana, only to have her break his heart. Worse, a series of mistakes on the job has cost lives, and Pete isn’t sure he wants to continue to work in search and rescue. Maybe if he can just get over Jess, he can figure out how to move forward.

When a terrible fight between Jess and Pete sparks an impulsive decision, Jess finds herself crashed on the side of a highway along with two others. Just when Jess thinks things couldn’t get any worse, they are taken captive and dragged into the untamed Montana wilderness–with murderous intent.

Now Pete will have to call on everything he’s learned to find them–and pray that his past mistakes don’t cost him the life of the woman he can’t stop loving.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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Oh man, Wait for Me is a stunning conclusion to an incredible, fast-paced series. I’ve long wanted Pete and Jess to get their stuff together and just finally get together for goodness’ sake—but it’s not as easy as all that. And it isn’t a quick, easy solution they find in this story.

At first, I really wasn’t too happy with either character. Jess keeps making bad choices and putting people in poor positions, because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Pete acts like a jerk, because then at least he’ll deserve the bad things that inevitably come his way.  These two characters come head-to-head with their faults, past and present consequences, and grace of God. And just like the rest of the books in this series, it’s an explosion that sets the heart racing and the pages turning. I always try to savor Susan May Warren’s books, but she’s just too good. I can’t stop to savor, let alone breathe. This story had just enough twists and turns—even causing me to gasp out loud once. The romance is full-throttle like the other stories in this series. But what I love the most is how the characters changed. More than their love for each other, realizing and stepping into God’s love for them changes them. And they go from the mess that we’re all experienced with, to the glow of grace He offers us all.

A fantastic conclusion to a great series, it brought tears to my eyes as I turned to the last page.

About the Author

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, Troubled Waters, and Storm Front. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

(Biography from Revell)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Romancing the Bride

Romancing the Bride

By Melissa Jagears

The Story

Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

(Back cover summary from author website)

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Melissa Jagears has long been a name in historical romance that readers can trust to deliver clean, sweet romance that takes you on a journey. Her latest novel is no different.

While many romance novels follow the falling-in-love stage pre-marriage, Romancing the Bride explores falling in love with your partner after a marriage of convenience.

‘Unfair’ has characterized Annie’s life the last year or so. And though she responds with strength to these dilemmas, bitterness is a difficult companion to rid oneself of. Jacob is such a sweet character. He’s not perfect, and his selfishness gets in the way of things just as much as Annie’s. But as they work together to figure out their future and how to raise two children—one a rebellious teenager—true sacrificial love begins to be displayed.

I enjoyed that we got to explore the point of view of several other characters as well.  Melissa doesn’t shy away from the hard parts of life and the difficulties that these characters face are similar to those common today. Especially at the end, I was breathlessly waiting to see how she would resolve everything.

This is a sweet, romantic read, but with enough unique characters and compelling plotlines that it won’t feel like anything you’ve read before. I highly recommend Romancing the Bride.

About the Author

Award winning author, Melissa Jagears, is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance into the wee hours of the night. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children. Her ebook novella, Love by the Letter, is her ACFW Carol Award winning novella and free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com

(Biography from author website)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

A Sparkle of Silver

A Sparkle of Silver

By Liz Johnson

The Story

Uncovering the past can lead to an unexpected future . . .

Millie Sullivan plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of a palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia, where her great-grandmother was a real guest ninety years ago. When Millie learns of a lost diary that may contain the location of a hidden treasure on the estate and reveal the identity of her great-grandfather, she sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune she desperately needs. But it won’t be easy.

When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. Still, her story seems too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up.

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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I absolutely fell in love with this book. Liz Johnson writes real-to-life characters, who understand what it is to struggle, to be swamped by guilt, and burdened by responsibilities too big for them.

Millie (first of all, great name!) loves romance novels and her forgetful grandma. Ben is sweet and duty-driven to make up for the mistakes of others. These two characters were so much fun to read about, as they followed the clues that led them closer to the rumored treasure, answers about Millie’s past, and each other. They’re delightfully flawed. I really appreciated this, as some characters in books have ‘flaws’ that are hardly human. I felt like I could meet either Millie or Ben while picking up items at the grocery store or any of my other normal activities. They are refreshingly broken and find no easy answers. But the answers we’re led to are worth the struggle.

I liked that through the pages of the diary, we also get to have a glimpse at Ruth and her life.

Towards the end, there were a few things that confused me in the character’s reactions and reasonings. But overall, I really enjoyed this book, and will definitely be reading more from Liz Johnson.

About the Author

Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love’s Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. A marketing manager for a Christian film company, she makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Biography from Revell)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations

The Christmas Heirloom:

Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations

By Krisi Ann Hunter; Karen Witemeyer; Sarah Loudin Thomas; & Becky Wade

The Story

Four Festive and Heartwarming Romance Novellas That Celebrate the Magic of Christmas

Perfect for the Christmas season, four beloved authors bring their bestselling, award-winning talents to a multigenerational collection of romantic holiday novellas. In stories ranging from 1820s Regency England to present-day Washington state, readers will be treated to Christmas tales of an heirloom brooch passed from mother to daughter for almost two hundred years. Will the family legend claiming the brooch brings love to its recipient hold true for these women separated by the years but bonded together by the ties of family?

In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson. While he may be far above her station, she can’t help but notice that his desire to make this Christmas special for his grandmother matches her own.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Fulbright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from a wealthy resort owner. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love as the holidays draw near.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her mother’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance one December.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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I love that these authors got together and created this collection! What a fun idea! I love the idea of a novella collection that spans the centuries, especially from some of my favorite authors!

Legacy of Love was a sweet story, and fun to read as Sarah Gooding began to show more of who she truly was to her employer’s handsome young grandson. She is such a unique, fun character, and I loved watching the two get to know each other better.

Gift of the Heart was an engaging story, set in a fun location. This hero is multi-faceted and not the man that anyone in town thinks he is. Getting to know Ruth brings him out of his self-imposed seclusion, and makes for a humorous, fun story.

A Shot at Love was delightfully different, as Fleeta is not a girly-girl by any stretch of the imagination. She’s strong, opinionated, and definitely does not want to fall in love, not when that love has the capacity to so overwhelm someone, they leave other loves behind. It was so fun watching how her mind changed on this aspect, and she learned there might be a man worth falling for.

I was so very excited for Because of You, as I love anything Becky Wade writes. This sweet story explores what it might be like to love again, and all the confusion that can be caught up in that. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a sweet collection.

About the Author

Kristi Ann Hunter is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fundraiser for a children’s ministry and has written for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times. She is the author of Miracle in a Dry Season, Until the Harvest, and A Tapestry of Secrets. She holds a BA in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. She can be found online at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Christy Award, a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at www.beckywade.com.

(Biography from Bethany House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.