Tag Archives: Inspirational Fiction

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey

By Bethany Turner

The Story

After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the “forever” way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It’s a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong?

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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All of those recommendations from well-established authors like Colleen Coble and Carla Laureano—they’re so right. Bethany Turner is an author to watch. I loved The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, and Wooing Cadie McCaffrey may have surpassed that one for me. These characters struggle and sin but grace meets them exactly where they are.

I love the rom-com feel of Bethany’s writing. It’s fun and entertaining. This book made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. Full of pop culture references itself, this book made me think of a 90’s rom-com, just cleaner and with a spiritual lesson. But don’t let the pretty packaging fool you, this story has heart and an important message that touches the soul beneath it all.

The characters in this story don’t have it right. They mess up, sometimes in big ways. Ways that real-life women have and have potentially lived with the guilt ever since that moment. That’s what Bethany Turner tackles in this book. She’s discrete in her writing, but on the nose about the consequences of sin, but even more than that, the grace of God that meets His children wherever they are. I was reminded of that again while reading this book, and it still floors me. He calls us to higher living, higher loving of Him, but He’s gracious when we fail and seek His forgiveness.

Bethany Turner is a fresh voice in Christian fiction, I only wish that I could pause a bit longer to truly enjoy it, as I flew through this novel, just as I did her previous one. She’s quickly topped my go-to list for contemporary romance and has already won over this now long-time fan.

About the Author

Bethany Turner is the author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former bank executive and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she’s chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

(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.

Sweet on You

Sweet on You

By Becky Wade

The Story

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who has spent the past eighteen months traveling the world. He’s achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him–Britt’s heart.

When Zander’s uncle dies under mysterious circumstances, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, but Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle’s tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also finally come to light?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Reading the final book in a series is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. On the one side, I was so excited to FINALLY read Britt and Zander’s story, but the other part of me never wanted to leave Merryweather and the dear people I’ve come to love. Then there are the expectations that come with a final book. Will it live up to the expectation that has grown in my heart? Or will I ultimately be disappointed? Thank goodness that was not the case with Sweet on You!

I loved this book, for so many reasons. Becky Wade writes such real books. Yes, they’re fiction, and yes, unfortunately, there isn’t a chocolate shop in my hometown with the most delicious chocolate on the planet. But the characters that populate them are real and sometimes messy, and so very relatable.

Both Britt and Zander must learn the hard-won lesson of reliance. Both in relation to others and to God. Getting to that point often takes a breaking, and it’s one that’s not easy or simple for either one of them.

I loved that there was some mystery to this story as well. The plot pulled me along just as much as the characters.

The romance, per usual, was spot-on. It was so fun reading about friends falling for each other, which was a step outside the norm for Becky Wade.

With the sweet elements of romance, family, and funny characters combined with a deep-reaching spiritual element, this novel is just what Becky Wade fans have come to love and expect from her. Though this novel closes the page on any more stories from Merryweather and the Bradford family, this series is one that I will certainly return to in the future.

About the Author

Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children. To find out more about Becky and her books, visit www.beckywade.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.

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

By Pepper Basham

The Story

Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins his uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

(Back cover summary from Barbour Books)

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I fell in love with this book! Pepper Basham captures the vista and culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1918 in such a beautiful way. She writes about a culture that is set in its ways, and yet inevitably must change, acknowledging both the dignity found there and the areas of needed growth.

Laurel is such a fun character. She is spirited, caring, and driven. Her love for her family and her ability to forgive shapes her. Her dreams are bigger than even herself, and they push her. Jonathan is a compelling hero, with a past that has pushed him to prove his worth. The longer he stays in Appalachia, the less this plays into his life. It was hilarious at times as he struggled to adjust to the very different culture, terrain, and flora and fauna.

This story had me laughing almost from the very beginning, and it didn’t let my attention go at any point. It kept pulling me forward, towards a surprising conclusion. Jonathan and Laurel both have certain dreams and expectations at the beginning of this book, but as they learn and grow and life changes around them, those dreams begin to change as well.

I had the chance to read this book at the end of 2018, and I couldn’t have asked for a better read to close out the year for me. Pepper Basham has grabbed a place on my go-to author list.

About the Author

As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family. You can learn more about her on her website, http://www.PepperDBasham.com or connect on Facebook or Twitter.

(Biography from Pepper Basham’s Website)

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 Love Letter

The Love Letter

By Rachel Hauck

The Story

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

(Back cover summary from Netgalley)

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The Love Letter is a split-time novel that follows the lives of strong, unique, and flawed characters.

I loved Hamilton and Esther’s story. It was intriguing reading how a young couple might handle the American Revolution and the trials it brought during their time. As they strive to hold onto each other and their love, they learn about themselves and the God who holds it all together. It was intriguing to watch how Rachel Hauck resolved their story.

I enjoyed Chloe and Jesse’s story, but I couldn’t get on board with it as much as the historical one. Chloe seemed rather overdramatic. However, I liked watching these two characters grow more. Their growth was more measured and I felt like I connected with that more than Hamilton and Esther.

I enjoyed this novel, but it didn’t grip me as many have this year.

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club. She is also the recipient of RT’s Career Achievement Award. A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan. Visit her at http://www.rachelhauck.com or www.facebook.com/rachelhauck.

(Biography from Amazon)

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 Refuge Assured

A Refuge Assured

By Jocelyn Green

The Story

Fleeing One Revolution to the Aftermath of Another, She Seeks and Dreams of Peace

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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A Refuge Assured is as intricate as the lace that Vivienne creates. This book truly gives insight into what the French Revolution could have been like for those who lived through it. I never knew that lacemaking was a profession that you could be sent to the guillotine for. Nor did I know that many of those who fled France sought refuge in Philadelphia.

For me, this book had a slow start. It took me a while to become invested in the characters, but when that occurred, I was all in.

Vivienne is a different sort of heroine. She is self-sufficient to the extreme, with a strong sense of duty and love for those around her.

Liam is a man caught in a world opposed. A former soldier, he is confronted with the matter of conscience and duty. I appreciated that this was a struggle for him, as it is a very realistic problem.

As this story unfolds, it took me in directions I didn’t expect. It is rich in history and in detail. A Refuge Assured isn’t rushed, but takes its time exploring each new relationship that comes along.

While it didn’t draw me in quite as much as The Mark of the King, I did enjoy A Refuge Assured, and would recommend it to my fellow reading friends.

About the Author

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King, Wedded to War, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. Jocelyn lives with her husband, Rob, and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.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.

The Mayflower Bride

The Mayflower Bride

By Kimberly Woodhouse

 

The Story

Can a religious separatist and an opportunistic spy make it in the New World?

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

 

Mary Elizabeth Chapman boards the Speedwell in 1620 as a Separatist seeking a better life in the New World. William Lytton embarks on the Mayflower as a carpenter looking for opportunities to succeed—and he may have found one when a man from the Virginia Company offers William a hefty sum to keep a stealth eye on company interests in the new colony. The season is far too late for good sailing and storms rage, but reaching land is no better as food is scarce and the people are weak. Will Mary Elizabeth survive to face the spring planting and unknown natives? Will William be branded a traitor and expelled?

 

(Back cover summary from Barbour Publishers)

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I’m always amazed when I consider the enormous courage of the people that came over on the Mayflower. To leave one’s home, family, friends, and country and to settle in a new place full of dangers, it would require a lot of bravery.

Mary Elizabeth has to learn how to acquire that courage. As she sets out on the voyage, and encounters the many dangers, delays, and troubles, her courage grows, and her character grows as she learns to rely solely on the Lord.

I thought there would be more in the story about William and his spying, but on the other hand, he hardly had time to, what with all the adventures they had on the Mayflower.

This is a sweet book and the writing fits the classic story. I enjoyed it, and am very excited for this new series, The Daughters of the Mayflower. A new book in the series will be released every two months and will continue to progress through history, all connected because of the Mayflower.

 

About the Author

 

Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifteen fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.

You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com

and www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor

 

(Biography from Barbour 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.

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.