Category Archives: Book Reviews

Storm Front

Storm Front

By Susan May Warren

The Story

Life and love hang in the balance during a deadly summer of storms.

A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community, and among the missing are not only a group of students but also PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved–and lost–walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked–no, ran–from over a year ago. She had her reasons–good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up–not on the missing students or on her.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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At long last! The next installment of the Montana Rescue series. I’ve loved this series so far. It’s full of unforgettable characters, fast-paced-can’t-put-down plots, and romance that strikes just the right balance for me. What I love more than anything about this series is the faith journey Warren takes her characters on. It’s unforgettable, because it’s so similar to what we go through in real life.

I wasn’t sure how this book would be, because up until now, Ty has seemed like a background character. He’s sweet, yeah, and he’s helped Jess and has a tragic story behind why he’s not flying any more, but that was about it. Warren brings him to life in Storm Front.

Ty is sweet, kind, caring, and he never gives up. His goal is to rescue. As the story progresses, Ty must come to the realization that God loves and gives grace, not on the basis of all that we can bring to the table, but just as we are, in our most desperate and unlovely state.

Brette’s struggles are so raw and relatable. The storms she’s suffered makes her believe that only more struggles are on the horizon. Hope is too hard, too vulnerable for her to grab hold of. I loved how Warren worked through this in the story. Not giving easy answers, but really digging in and showing how we can trust God, even at the worst.

I also loved the continuation of Kacey and Ben’s story.

This Montana Rescue series installment is a little different, since it’s set in the Midwest, my stomping grounds. Tornadoes were a part of every summer growing up, so I felt as if I was home.

Storm Front is another don’t-miss from Susan May Warren.

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 publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

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Things I Never Told You

Things I Never Told You

By Beth K. Vogt

The Story

It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, forcing the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. Now a lone twin, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with the announcement of her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside Johanna, her opinionated older sister, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them…until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans for the future.

As old wounds reopen and the family faces the possibility of yet another tragedy, the Thatchers must decided if they will pull together or be driven apart for good.

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I’ve heard so much about Beth Vogt, but have never read any of her books until now. Which is interesting, because I’m generally not a Women’s Fiction reader. I usually tend toward contemporary or historical romance, which is what Beth has written in the past. But something about this story just grabbed me, and I knew I needed to give it a try.

Beth captures so beautifully the aches and pains, joys and triumphs of siblings, and specifically sisters. Things I Never Told You is written from both Payton and Jillian’s perspectives, which I really enjoyed.

I saw myself in each of these sisters, sometimes with a cringe as I realized the rough edges I still have to work on. I rarely ever get close to crying when I read, but I was tearing up with this book. The characters in this story are so compelling, that a plot was hardly needed in my opinion. I just wanted to know what would happen to them, because I saw myself in them.

I know that this book is the first in a series, but I do wish Beth had tied up a few more plot points. Especially the faith element. I would have liked to have seen more of that being resolved, but at the same time, leaving that part hanging may have been a good choice. Life is a process, as is faith, and I believe that Beth saw that as necessary for the character.

This book sucked me in and stayed in my thoughts. It was really my first foray into Women’s Fiction, and I loved it. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next in this series.

About the Author

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A women’s fiction novelist, Beth’s first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.

(Biography from Tyndale Publishers)

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 Captured Bride

The Captured Bride

By Michelle Griep

The Story

A War-Torn Countryside Is No Place for a Lady

Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause. . .to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.  Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he is offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he is the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.   Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep.

(Back cover summary from Barbour)

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I absolutely fell in love with this book! I’ve been a long-time fan of Laura Frantz’s frontier novels, and The Captured Bride had a similar feel.

This novel brings together a unique setting in a commonly known time in history, a sweet romance, and a can’t-put-it-down plot.

The characters in this book are so compelling. Mercy is very independent, and having been raised in two worlds, not a little confused as to where she fits. Her feelings towards her mother also brought this character alive. Elias is a man of mystery, not all is as it seems with him, but he has a faith that carries him through. Both of them are such strong characters, and they complimented each other so well. The story they make up and play out to keep them all safe made for some fun moments! The secondary characters were unforgettable as well.

It’s been a long time since I read a book in one day. But I could not put down The Captured Bride, not until I found out what happened!

If you’ve been following this series, you’re in for a treat with this novel! If you love historical fiction, romance, and sweeping tales similar to what Laura Frantz delivers, then you MUST read The Captured Bride! One of my top 10 reads of 2018 so far!

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit michellegriep.com

(Biography from Barbour)

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 Heart’s Appeal

Cover ArtThe Heart’s Appeal

By Jennifer Delamere

The Story

London, 1881

He Never Expected to See Her Again. Then She Appeared with a Most Unexpected Request. . . .

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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A sweet story that explores an interesting piece of history, The Heart’s Appeal was a good read.

What I most enjoyed about this story was the look into what it would have been like for women trying to become doctors at the time. Jennifer Delamere knows her history, and I felt like I was riding the Underground right along with Julia. I had also never heard of the Contagious Diseases Act. It was interesting to see how these characters and the people who lived during that time might view the law.

The characters were interesting and engaging, and I loved how much of a part Julia’s faith played into her character.

However, I found it difficult at times to get into the story. This author’s writing style didn’t resonate as much with me. That being said, if you enjoy historical novels with strong characters and sweet romance, then you should definitely try The Heart’s Appeal for yourself.

About the Author

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

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 Pirate Bride

The Pirate Bride

By Kathleen Y’Barbo

The Story

Can a former privateer and a determined heiress find lost treasure in 1725?

A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

 

Pasts Collide in New Orleans when a Treasure Goes Missing

The last time New Orleans attorney Jean-Luc Valmont saw Maribel Cordoba, a Spanish nobleman’s daughter, she was an eleven-year-old orphan perched in the riggings of his privateering vessel proving herself as the best lookout on his crew. Until the day his infamy caught up with them all and innocent lives were lost. Unsure why he survived but vowing to make something of the chance he was given, Jean-Luc has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—until a very much alive and very grown up Maribel Cordoba arrives on his doorstep and threatens all he now holds dear.

(Back cover summary from Netgalley)

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Kathleen Y’Barbo has long been recognized as an excellent writer, and that continues to be true as she crafts the latest installment of The Daughters of the Mayflower series, The Pirate Bride.

This story is unique, because a large part of it starts in Maribel’s childhood. Her adventures on the privateer ship were so fun to read about, which tempered the intensity of Jean-Luc’s own troubles.

Fast forward to the future, and you have a young woman who is still not quite proper, but fiery and fun to read about. Jean-Luc is his own fascinating character, with his day-to-day life so different from what he does secretly. There’s an instant connection when Jean-Luc and Maribel come face-to-face again, and I loved watching their relationship deepen beyond the friendship of youth to the love of two adults.

This story is colorful and fun, as it spans the seas, tropical islands, and early New Orleans. It’s flavored with unforgettable characters, and a faith that helps Maribel and Jean-Luc hold on.

I’m getting the feeling that you do not want to miss any of The Daughters of the Mayflower series!

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the 2014 Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen is a paralegal, a proud military wife, and a tenth-generation Texan, who recently moved back to cheer on her beloved Texas Aggies. Connect with her through social media at www.kathleenybarbo.com

(Biography from Barbour)

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.

A Heart’s Revolution

A Heart’s Revolution

By Roseanna M. White

The Story

In 1783 peace has been declared, but war still rages in the heart of Lark Benton.

Never did Lark think she’d want to escape Emerson Fielding, the man she’s loved all her life. But when he betrays her, she flees Williamsburg for Annapolis, taking refuge in the nation’s temporary capital. There Lark throws herself into a new circle of friends who force her to examine all she believes.

Emerson follows, determined to reclaim his betrothed. Surprised when she refuses to return with him, he realizes that in this new nation he has come to call his own, duty is no longer enough. He must learn to open his heart and soul to something greater—before he loses all he should have been fighting to hold.

(Back cover summary from Roseanna’s website)

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Previously published as Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, this story is a sweet journey through a period of history and a place that I was unfamiliar with. I appreciated the look into this part of history, where the founding fathers were fighting for peace, and where all people—patriots or loyalists—desired freedom. I never thought about how difficult it might be for loyalists who had stayed in America, but Roseanna does a good job exploring how this might have played out.

The characters in this book are unforgettable, mainly because of their faults. I say that because they are not perfect people. Even as they grow, they still must wrestle with who they are and the ways they respond to situations. I liked this, because it was real. Who hasn’t thought herself in the right, then found out that her perspective was flawed?

I also appreciated how Emerson and Lark’s relationship played out. Rather than fighting huge obstacles to their relationship, they fight the more subtle, but deep, cracks that can break apart a couple.

In all, I really enjoyed A Heart’s Revolution. It was a unique read that will stick with me.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com .

(Biography from Amazon)

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 Chance at Forever

A Chance at Forever

By Melissa Jagears

The Story

Determined to protect the children of Teaville, Kansas, from the bullying she experienced as a child, Mercy McClain finds fulfillment working at the local orphanage and serving on the school board. When Aaron Firebrook, the worst of her childhood bullies, petitions the board for a teaching position, she’s dead set against his getting the job.

Aaron knows he deserves every bit of Mercy’s mistrust, but he’s returned to his hometown a changed man and is seeking the forgiveness of those he wronged. He doesn’t expect Mercy to like him, but surely he can prove he now has the children’s best interests at heart.

Will resentment and old wounds hold them back, or can Mercy and Aaron overcome the past in time to battle the threats against the future of the town’s orphans?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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A Chance at Forever fits into the Teaville Moral Society series well, but I love how Melissa makes each of her books unique.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the heroine is missing a hand. This factor is what Aaron exploited when he was a young boy, and what other people in her life have used to manipulate her. Mercy is a strong character, and I liked how she stood up for what she believed in, even when it was hard. Her struggles with her family and her place in life were so authentic, I felt as if she had stepped off the page and was sitting beside me.

Aaron is also a unique character. His past is not one that many would like to talk about. I appreciated Melissa’s tact as she revealed his story, but more, I applaud her for breaking the mold and not being afraid of the ugly parts of life.

As these two characters learn to trust God, they are able to wade through life’s many intricacies and problems. If you’ve enjoyed the Teaville Moral Society series so far, you’ll love this latest book. But even if you haven’t been keeping up with the series, you could jump in with A Chance at Forever, and experience a good Christian fiction novel that entertains and isn’t afraid to face up to the evil of this world, and God’s goodness over all.

About the Author

Carol Award-winning author Melissa Jagears is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian historical romance into the wee hours of the night. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides series, the Teaville Moral Society series, and Love by the Letter, a free prequel ebook novella. You can learn more about Melissa, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com .

(Biography from Bethany House)

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.