Category Archives: Book Reviews

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.

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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.

These Healing Hills

These Healing Hills

By Ann H. Gabhart

The Story

Francine Howard has her life all mapped out–until the man she loves announces his plans to bring home an English bride from war-torn Europe in 1945. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

(Back cover summary from Revell Publishers)

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I’m always looking for new authors to try, as long as the story line sounds interesting. The plot of These Healing Hills sounded interesting, and I’d never read anything by Ann H. Gabhart, so there was that. But when I saw that the setting was an area that I knew, I knew I had to try it out. I’m very glad I did.

These Healing Hills whisks you back to a time that seems both familiar and foreign. The Frontier Nurses were remarkable women, and the nurse-midwife training still goes on today. It was fascinating getting more of a peek of what their lives may have been like day-to-day.

As I read, I could tell that a native Kentuckian had written the book. Flavored with authentic dialogue and colloquialisms, this story was close to my own experiences. As someone who has fallen in love with those same mountains, it was a delight for me to read.

The story line kept me involved too. The push for some sort of connection between Ben and Francine prodded me to read more.

If you’re looking for a sweet, informative, authentic historical read, then I would definitely recommend These Healing Hills. You may even find some direction in your own winding paths between the pages.

About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels–The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted–as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com

(Biography from Revell Publishers)

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

Loving Luther

Loving Luther

By Allison Pittman

The Story

Germany, 1505

In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows—a choice more practical than pious—but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

(Back cover summary from Tyndale Publishers)

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I developed an interest in Katharina von Bora’s life while I was in college. As I casually researched more about her, I realized that I’d stumbled upon a treasure. I even ended up writing a paper on her. So when I saw that a novel was being written about her specifically, I was intrigued. Would it stay somewhat close to the story? What sort of liberties would the author take—and would I agree? After all, it’s a great challenge to take the story of a notable person like this, who really has little information to draw on, and respectfully and as truthfully as possible, tell her story in an interesting way. The saying is true, that behind every great man, is a great woman. And Katharina von Bora was just such a woman.

Allisson Pittman wove her way through what we know of Katharina’s story, adding some here, drawing on imagination there, in a way that read like history, but didn’t feel like a dusty old history tome. Katharina was a remarkable, though flawed, woman, just as her husband, Martin Luther, was. But these two flawed people were instrumental in drawing the Protestant church to where it is today.

With the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation coming up in less than a month, I would recommend Loving Luther for those who wish to know a little more about these movers and shakers in an interesting, somewhat imaginative way.

About the Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com

(Biography from Tyndale Publishers)

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

The Promise of Breeze Hill

The Promise of Breeze Hill

By Pam Hillman

The Story

Natchez, MS; 1791

Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.

The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.

Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?

(Back cover summary from Tyndale Publishers)

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            The Promise of Breeze Hill appealed to me on several levels. The setting, Natchez, MS for one. And Pam Hillman made that setting come alive. From the cloying humidity to the hazardous trace, I felt as if I was walking, living, and breathing in that time period. She wrote beyond history into the personality and feelings of that era.

She also did a great job with the suspense. Though I figured out some of those elements, there were many things that she added that kept me on my toes, which I always appreciate from an author.

The romance, though, is what she excelled at. These two characters are drawn to each other, and I was rooting for them all the way! They had ups and downs, miscommunication and upset. Sounds kinda like real life, doesn’t it? I will definitely be picking up more novels from her if they’re all like this.

This story is as beautiful and enthralling as the book’s cover. I definitely recommend it to fans of historical, romance, or Christian fiction. If you like Jody Hedlund, Christine Johnson, or Melissa Jagears, you will enjoy Pam Hillman’s The Promise of Breeze Hill.

About the Author

Award-winning author Pam Hillman writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. Her debut novel, Stealing Jake, was a finalist in the International Digital Awards and the 2013 EPIC eBook Awards. Claiming Mariah, her second novel, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and family. Visit her website at www.pamhillman.com

(Biography from Tyndale Publishers)

The Two of Us

The Two of Us

By Victoria Bylin

The Story

After two broken engagements, Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she’s focusing on God and her goal to join an international aid organization as a nurse practitioner. But when her 18-year-old sister, Lucy, calls with an invitation to her Vegas wedding, it throws a wrench into Mia’s plans.

Jake Tanner has recovered from the injuries he sustained as a police officer–on the outside. Inside, he’s yet to heal from losing his partner in the tragedy, but finds some solace in keeping an eye on her young adult son, Sam, who’s asked him to be best man at his wedding.

Mia expects a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn’t expecting Jake, who views the marriage a little differently. As Jake’s and Mia’s lives slowly become more intertwined, could his courage and her caring heart be enough to bring them a lifetime of healing?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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Like Ms. Bylin’s other books, The Two of Us is a sweet, satisfying read. Mia is torn between what she believes serving God looks like and what her heart starts to feel. However, as she gets to know Jake and the other people in the community, she begins to learn what trusting God is all about.

That’s really what this whole book is about. It’s written from Mia, Jake, and Lucy’s point of view, and all three of them have to learn in different ways how to trust God above all else. Which is so relatable to everyone, isn’t it? Giving up our control and surrendering to God’s plan, whatever it might be, isn’t easy. But it’s right and He works it out in the end.

This book is so much more than what the back cover might lead you to believe. It takes you on a journey of faith, trust, and changing plans. I could relate on many different levels with Mia as she struggles with her decisions. It’s definitely a contemporary romance, but the faith element is what really drew me in.

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

About the Author

Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances known for their realistic, relatable characters. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. Visit her website at www.victoriabylin.com to find out more.

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

A Name Unknown

A Name Unknown

By Roseanna M. White

The Story

She’s Out to Steal His Name. Will He Steal Her Heart Instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets–instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she’s offered the challenge of a lifetime–determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown–so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth–about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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            This is such a unique book! I absolutely fell in love with the characters, and though I flew through it, I am ready to jump back in and start the journey again.

Rosemary Gresham isn’t your normal romance-novel heroine. She’s sassy and street-smart and a thief. Her motives aren’t for Peter’s good, but as she learns that he doesn’t live up to his stereotype, her heart starts to change. The changes wrought in Rosemary are gradual and realistic, and the struggles she faces as she understands God’s love for her were moving. Going from always being told that she’s trash, to comprehending the great love and value she has in Christ was beautiful to read.

Peter is a hero to look up to. He reaches out to Rosemary, writing to her about faith and Christ and what it means to be a Christian. His limitations, a speech impediment, do hold him back, but he learns to fight past those. He’s not perfect, not by any means, but how he responds to his own failures as well as those of others made him even more endearing.

This story is jam-packed with characters that come alive, their motives unclear, their secrets many. It’s filled with danger, suspense, history, faith, and romance. In fact, I would say that it’s everything I enjoy reading in a book.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of nine novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com .

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

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