Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Sound of Rain

The Sound of Rain

By Sarah Loudin Thomas

The Story

In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water,

In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through

Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother’s life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward’s life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more–maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd’s and Larkin’s dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together–or maybe, it will take a miracle.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House.)

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This is a sweet story about living your life the way God designed for you, not the way you’ve designed for yourself or others have designed for you. This book traverses the mines of West Virginia, the beaches of South Carolina, and the mountains of Kentucky. It opens with a bang and it kept me turning pages! I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book. I felt as if I was living there as Larkin visited the hospital as a candy striper, then learned how to live in an altogether different culture in Kentucky.

These characters learn and grow and face difficult decisions, just like any of us. Their personal journeys were fraught with difficult choices. The romance was sweet and gradual, and it all worked together so well.

This laid-back story even has a bit of mystery to it, which I enjoyed. Fans of Sarah Loudin Thomas will enjoy this most recent book, The Sound of Rain.

About the Author

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.

(Biography from Bethany House.)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters

By Susan May Warren

The Story

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants–except a happy ending. Or at least that’s what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra’s relationship.

(Back cover summary from Revell.)

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Oooh, I’ve been waiting for Sierra and Ian’s story for so long, and at last, it arrived! Ian and Sierra’s relationship has been—ahem, stormy—for this whole series. A series of roller-coaster-like ups and downs, and I was so ready for everything to be resolved. Susan May Warren doesn’t resolve things easily, though. This story is fraught with danger from the elements and danger in trusting in self to fix problems. The romance was better than even the snippets Susan had given in the previous books. I liked the different survival aspect that was brought in by the ocean, and finally getting some answers about Esme! I always appreciate the spiritual aspect of the books too. Ian is self-reliant, and it takes stripping everything—and I mean everything—away to see his need for God. Sierra’s a fixer and she feels as if she must earn her place in the lives of those around her. Both of these characters felt so real and unique, I frankly didn’t want their story to end—though I did want that happy ending, and boy, it’s a good one!

This story kept me up late. Like, glance-at-the-clock-oooh-that’s-not-going-to-be-good-for-tomorrow late. This book will not disappoint fans of Susie’s novels, and any newcomers will be in for an enjoyable ride.

About the Author

Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies, with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

(Biography from Revell.)

I was provided a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.

Adored Review and Giveaway!

Adored

By Lindsay A. Franklin

The Story

In an ever-changing world, we can be certain of one thing: we are beloved by God.

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women tackles tough topics girls face, from bullying and social media to friendships and dating, all the while showing readers how infinitely precious they are in God’s sight.

Each day features an easy-to-read, relevant devotion paired with a scripture verse and journaling space to help readers reflect on the day’s message. With honest, poignant, and sometimes humorous text, every page will speak to the pressures and changes girls face, giving them real-world applications to find God in their hearts and in their lives. Perfect for everyday use, Adored will resonate with girls searching for truth and guidance. Gift givers will love this highly designed book featuring a beautiful, foiled cover, and two-color interior pages.

(Back cover summary from Zondervan Publishers.)

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Adored is a sweet, simple devotional aimed at young women. It begins with Genesis and ends with Revelation, appropriately. Differing from other devotionals for young women that can often focus on relationships, this devotional hits all aspects of life. It brings out doctrine, making truths from God’s word easily understandable and applicable. I enjoyed reading the verses from the NIV and also the insights that were written underneath. Each devotional is short, only a verse or two, with two or three paragraphs underneath and then several lines below that for journaling. Adored would be a good springboard for further personal study.

With pretty design and overall solid doctrine, this would be a nice Christmas present for a young woman in your life to encourage her in her faith. You also have the opportunity to win this devotional for you or a special young woman in your life! Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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About the Author

Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her husband (master of the dad joke), their awesomely nerdy kids, two thunder pillows (AKA cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following (@therealwombatman). You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn’t hijacked all her accounts. She’s @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and she Facebooks at www.facebook.com/LindsayAFranklin.

(Biography from Lindsay Franklin’s website.)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

A Dangerous Legacy

A Dangerous Legacy

By Elizabeth Camden

The Story

Telegraph operator Lucy Drake is a master of Morse code and has made herself a valuable asset to the Associated Press news agency. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Colin is talented, handsome, insufferably charming–and keeping a secret that jeopardizes his reputation.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy can’t deny that Colin has the connections she needs to give her family an edge in the long legal battle they’ve been waging over their rightful inheritance. But when she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, the web of treachery they dive into proves to be far more dangerous than they ever could have known.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House.)

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A Dangerous Legacy has all of the elements that readers have come to expect from Elizabeth Camden: strong and intelligent heroes and heroines, a compelling and intricate plot, and rich historical detail.

Colin and Lucy are drawn to each other, but their attraction is doomed for failure. Colin needs an heiress’s fortune to repair his ancient family home and Lucy’s pursuit of her family’s 40-year-old lawsuit has kept her from any lasting relationship. This book is full of twists and turns, and its ending was somewhat surprising. It teaches a good lesson on what’s truly important and holding on and letting go.

This book had all the earmarks to be an enthralling read, but I just couldn’t get into it. The ending felt like it dragged out as well. More than anything, I was interested in the history that this book brought in. Other readers I’m sure will love A Dangerous Legacy. However, it just didn’t resonate with me.

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden is the author of ten historical novels and two historical novellas and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. With a master’s in history and a master’s in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at http://www.elizabethcamden.com.

(Biography from Bethany House)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Lady Jayne Disappears

Lady Jayne Disappears

By Joanna Davidson Politano

The Story

Lynhurst Manor is a house built on secrets . . . and the arrival of Aurelie Harcourt might reveal them all.

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies suddenly, he leaves her just two things: his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll, and his wealthy family–who want very little to do with her.

As Aurelie struggles to find a home with her father’s family and learn the rules of society, she relishes in his parting gift–the beginning of his last story. The story she always wanted to hear, about her mother’s mysterious disappearance from the home where she now lives. To complete the novel, she’ll have to extract clues from relatives–and one enigmatic houseguest–who often seem reluctant to give them up.

(Back cover summary from Revell Publisher)

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I am so glad that I got the opportunity to read Lady Jayne Disappears. I’d heard others rave about this book but dismissed it. I shouldn’t have. This book entertained, with sweeping prose reminiscent of Dickens, a romance that gradually blossomed, and a mystery that climaxed in an altogether unexpected way.

What really touched my heart was the many areas where I could identify with Aurelie as a writer. In some ways, we are so alike, as if this were almost my journey. Aurelie is all about belonging. It’s what she craves, what drives her. And that’s something I believe we can all identify with. From those awkward years of Junior High, belonging becomes important, and it can be difficult to find, but what it really is isn’t always what we expect. Aurelie’s faith in this book is authentic and takes center stage often. Joanna writes in such a way that it feels as natural as your next breath, which is how our relationship with Jesus should be.

This book held me captive. I had to find out what happened, not only to Lady Jayne but more importantly to Aurelie. Beyond romance, would she find peace for herself? And she does, in such a satisfying way. Others have listed this book as their favorite of the year so far, and I have to agree. This book has taken up residence on my bookshelf and in my heart—permanently. It doesn’t happen very often that as soon as I finish a book I seriously want to turn back to page one and start all over again, but with Lady Jayne Disappears, that was exactly the case.

About the Author

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

(Biography from Revell Publisher)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Blind Spot

Blind Spot

By Dani Pettrey

The Story

The Wrath is Coming. But They Don’t Know Where–Or When.

“The wrath is coming” were the final words that FBI agent Declan Grey heard the suicide bomber say. Now Declan is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after or when the threat will be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation’s best clue leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw for assistance. She’s sought justice for refugees and the displaced around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. As they work together to uncover the mounting threat, the tension between them also includes a spark she can’t deny–and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything more can develop, they find themselves in a race against time to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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Any-current-crime-thriller-on-TV, you’ve got nothing on the Chesapeake Valor series! I have been closely following Dani Pettrey’s releases for a while now, because they are not something you would want to miss!

Dani combines suspense, espionage, terrorists, and near-death experiences in a way that reminds of the latest crime thriller on T.V., minus the immorality, language, and gore. I love how she keeps me reading, keeps me guessing as she weaves the plot. The side plot that continues throughout the book, bringing in different points of view from previous characters is also a part that I really enjoy. Dani is able to do this without detracting from the main plot.

I also love the romance element. Because this is a series, the groundwork for Declan and Tanner has already been laid, but comes to a head in Blind Spot, and it’s not something you want to miss!

What I admire most, is the outspoken faith element. These characters rely on each other, as friends, but rely on God more. It’s refreshing and energizing when compared to the many crime shows and novels available these days with nothing more to offer than entertainment.

I am eagerly anticipating the next release in this series, and I have a feeling it’s only getting better from here!

About the Author

Dani’s adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA bestseller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Valor series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal called, “a harrowing and thrilling ride.” For more information about her novels, visit danipettrey.com.

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

I was provided a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.

Cherished Mercy

Cherished Mercy

By Tracie Peterson

The Story

As Oregon Territory teeters on the brink of armed conflict, one woman strives for peace.

Mercy Flanagan survived the Whitman Massacre as a child, and now her heart’s cry is for peace between the native peoples and the white settlers inhabiting Oregon Territory. Unfortunately, most of the settlers want the tribes removed from the land completely, one way or another.

At the request of family friend Eletta Browning, who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, Mercy travels south to the Rogue River Valley to help. At the Browning Mission, she meets Eletta’s brother-in-law, Adam. Despite her attempts to befriend him, Adam seems determined to focus on ministering to the local tribes and keeps her at arm’s length. Why is he so intent on pushing her away?

When tragedy strikes and tensions in the territory reach the combustion point, Mercy is pushed to the limit of her strength. She and Adam will have to rely on their faith in God and on each other in order to make it out alive.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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I have always been interested in Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, ever since I first heard their story on my family’s cassette tapes ( 😉 ) that told the tale of their journey west, their mission, and their subsequent sacrifice. However, I came in a little late on the scene for this series. Cherished Mercy is the third book in the Heart of the Frontier series, but I felt that I was able to understand and not get lost, though I’d not read the previous two books.

This is a sweet story that considers forgiveness and God’s plan for our lives. Mercy embarks on a journey that’s neither safe nor secure, yet she puts her trust in what God’s plan is for her and follows His leading. I enjoyed this read as I got some insight into the Indian troubles following the Whitman massacre. The characters were compelling and the plot kept me from putting the book down for long. Fans of Tracie Peterson’s previous books will surely love this one as well.

All considered, Cherished Mercy is a sweet, informative read that I very much enjoyed.

About the Author

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. Learn more at www.traciepeterson.com

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.