Tag Archives: Book Review

The Saturday Night Supper Club

The Saturday Night Supper Club

By Carla Laureano

The Story

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

(Back cover summary from Tyndale)

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I fell in love with this novel! I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this story. It far exceeded any expectations.

Carla Laureano knows her food. Or at least I assume she does. She beautifully described different dishes, the cooking process, and used food and cooking-related words as descriptions. Being only acquainted with the very basics of cooking, I really enjoyed that aspect of this story.

Rachel is a multi-faceted character, and I loved getting to know her slowly throughout the book. As she learns, grows, and achieves her dreams, I was pulling for her 100%. Alex is also an unforgettable character. He’s sweet, funny, intelligent, an all-around great hero. He doesn’t try to rescue Rachel but instead assists her in recovering her dream.

This story is about discovering our true identity and trusting God with our dreams. The premise was fun, the romance was so sweet, and the characters are ones that I must demand an encore from! I’m so excited for the next Supper Club novel, Brunch at Bittersweet Café, with Melody!

Whether you’re a foody or not, this new contemporary romance is one you’ll want to read. It’s unique, fresh, and entertaining.

About the Author

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night. Visit her website at http://www.carlalaureano.com/ .

(Biography from Tyndale)

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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A Song Unheard

A Song Unheard

By Roseanna M. White

The Story

If Betraying Her Heart Means Saving Countless Lives, Will She Find the Courage?

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I–to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House.)

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It is a special thing when you read the final pages of a novel, when you sigh a bit because it’s over, but feel that contentment that it ended—or rather began (for the characters)—just right.

After reading A Name Unknown, the first book in the Shadows Over England series, and meeting Willa, I was so excited for A Song Unheard. I love the musical elements of this book. Every part of this book sings, from the prose to dialogue, suspense to romance.

Willa is different. She’s tough and sharp, but when she picks up a violin, she softens. She’s a multi-faceted character, and Roseanna did a great job spinning her story, highlighting the hurts from the past and healing those.

Lukas was a great hero. Though a lady’s man at the beginning, he starts to change and becomes a truly great character. He’s heroic, loyal, and is duty-driven.

I really liked the alternate viewpoint of a secondary character. Her viewpoint was unique and fascinating. I personally would love to read more about her in the future.

While this book has a great plot that really drives you forward and keeps the pages turning, this is also a read to savor. Another must-read from Roseanna M. White.

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, designing book covers, editing, 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 Bethany House.)

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

The Lacemaker

The Lacemaker

By Laura Frantz

The Story

It is the eve of a new age of freedom in the colonies.

But can a proper English lady dare hope for her own independence?

Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson has nearly everything a lady of her position could want. Daughter of the British lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a darling of fine society in a rugged land, she is anticipating an advantageous marriage. That her betrothed is a rake and love is lacking is of little consequence–or so she tells herself.

Though her own life seems in order, colonial Williamsburg is a powder keg on the verge of exploding, and her fiancé’s cousin Noble Rynallt carries the flame of revolution in his heart. Those with connections to the British nobility are suspected as spies, and Liberty soon finds herself left with a terrible choice. Will she stay true to her English roots? Or side with Noble and the radical revolutionaries?

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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What starts as a sweet stroll through colonial Williamsburg soon picks up speed in Laura Frantz’s latest novel, The Lacemaker.

Whether racing across the Kentucke Territory or waltzing through the ballrooms of Williamsburg, Laura Frantz delivers multi-layered stories packed with romance, rich historical detail, and intricate plots. Frantz has been my go-to author for years now. Her novels are ones that I’ve visited again and again when in need of an all-encompassing read.

The Lacemaker is set to a different speed than her previous novel, A Moonbow Night. It’s more a sweet, moonlit, oft fraught with danger, stroll across Virginia. It’s slow and thoughtful at times, brisk and heart-racing at others. I loved the personal journey that Liberty had to walk, how she grew and learned, was tested and tried. It gave even more depth to this novel.

As usual, the romance between these two main characters was spot-on. As detailed and painstaking as lacemaking, their relationship was unhurried, but beautiful.

The faith elements that Laura Frantz always brings in were also encouraging.

While I can’t deny that I love her Kentucke Territory wilderness novels, I still enjoyed this novel and its unique, just-right pacing.

About the Author

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, and The Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net .

(Biography from Revell)

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

Holding the Fort

Holding the Fort

By Regina Jennings

The Story

With Miss Bell as the Teacher, Everyone’s Bound to Learn an Interesting Lesson

Dance hall singer Louisa Bell has always lived one step from destitution. When she loses her job at the Cat-Eye Saloon, she has nowhere else to go but to her brother, a cavalry soldier stationed in Indian Territory. But he’s run afoul of his commanding officer. Unsure what she can do to help him and desperate for a job, she doesn’t protest when she’s mistaken for a governess at the fort. How hard can teaching really be?

Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno, especially raising two adolescent daughters alone. If this new governess doesn’t work out, his mother-in-law insists she’ll raise the girls herself–far away from the fort. Miss Bell bears little resemblance to Daniel’s notion of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he finds himself turning a blind eye to her unconventional methods. Louisa has never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough to help her brother and to secure the respectable future she’s sought for so long?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House.)

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I’ve always been a big fan of Regina Jennings’ novels. Humor, history, and page-turning romance are her trademarks, and Holding the Fort delivered on those. Holding the Fort was a little different from her previous books in that the humor was a bit more subtle than usual. Some of the ridiculous things characters have done in previous books were toned down, but still hilarious. Owing to Daniel’s reserved, military background, that makes a lot of sense, though he doesn’t keep from falling into mishaps and experiencing crazy things.

This story was so sweet, as Louisa grew and changed and learned of God’s true love for her. The girls were such vibrant characters, the whole fort was, actually! Daniel is an intelligent, compassionate character, though quite frustrating at times.

Holding the Fort takes you on a ride through the Wild West, something fans of Regina Jennings’ previous novels won’t want to miss.

About the Author

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children and can be found online at www.reginajennings.com.

(Biography from Bethany House.)

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

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.

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)

Wings of the Wind

Book Review: Wings of the Wind

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back cover summary from Baker Publishing Group:

Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman’s destiny becomes entangled with the very enemies she sought to destroy?

Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting. When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked to find an unconscious woman among the casualties. Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Hebrew camp, he’s unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion.

In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy. But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?

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            Like her previous books in the Out From Egypt series, Wings of the Wind is an entertaining and gripping novel. Connilyn weaves together just the right words into a tapestry that not only entertains but is a delight to read. Once again, she does a good job of handling the facts from the Bible and also taking artistic license where there is little to no information. She doesn’t hold back when describing the Canaanite way of life, but she does so with tact, even though the picture is still ugly and suited for more mature readers.

I love the romance that she puts into her books, but more than that and the historical picture she paints, I love how she brings new light to areas of God’s Word. Reading a personal—though fictitious—perspective of the events of the Israelites and Yahweh gave me a better understanding of our God and how He works, from Egypt to the present.

That’s the beauty of Christian fiction. It entertains, it can provide new information, it can give knowledge on past events, but ultimately it is designed to bring us closer to Christ, to the One who made us. And when a book succeeds in that goal, it is such a sweet thing.

About the Author

Biography from Baker Publishing Group: When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semifinalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

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