Tag Archives: Joanne Bischof

The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection

Book Review: The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection

Authors: Joanne Bischof, Amanda Dykes, Heather Day Gilbert,

Jocelyn Green, Maureen Lang

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon of The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection:

Join the journey as one word etched in Latin on an ancient bronze bottle travels through the centuries to reach five young women who are struggling to maintain their faith in God and love. An Irish princess, a Scottish story weaver, a Post-Colonial nurse, a cotton mill worker, and a maid who nearly drowned each receive a message from the bottle just when they need their hope restored. But will the bottle also bring them each to a man whose love will endure?

The Distant Tide by Heather Day Gilbert

1170: County Kerry, Ireland

When a Viking bent on revenge mistakenly raids the castle of a bookish Irish princess, will she cast her fears aside to befriend the enemy, finally realizing God’s plan for her life?

A Song in the Night by Amanda Dykes

1717: Scotland and England

When a Scottish story-weaver loses her family in a clan war, she finds herself aided by a handsome, secretive bagpiper in a race against time to reunite with someone she never dared hope she’d see again.

The Forgotten Hope by Maureen Lang

1798: New York

As a champion of the sick, a young New Yorker never doubted her worth until a new doctor arrives to work with her father, one who believes her to be nothing more than a social butterfly. Can she gain his respect—and his love?

A River Between Us by Jocelyn Green

1864: Roswell, Georgia

When a Georgian cotton mill worker is arrested and sent North, the Union officer who tries to protect her is the last person she wants to forgive—and the only man who can bring hope and healing to her heart.

The Swelling Sea by Joanne Bischof

1890: Coronado Island, California

After washing ashore on the California coastline, a young woman’s yearning to discover her past leads her to the courageous oarsman who helps her find the key.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            The Distant Tide: So, I really enjoyed this story. Why? Easy: Viking heroes, courageous princesses, and a missionary heart. I loved the two main characters and their diversity. Heather’s writing style and word choice were also a delight to read. I really appreciated that the two main characters had attraction, but that Britta knew that love was a choice. I felt that was expressed very well.

A Song in the Night: I didn’t want this story to end! I loved the Scottish brogue coming through, with just enough to add color, but not too much to make it impossible to read. They were intriguing, colorful characters. I loved how Dykes wove this story of hope. Duncan’s story was a surprise to me, and it was such a sweet, beautiful ending, with twists and turns to the end.

The Forgotten Hope: I loved how Abigail had to figure out how to maneuver the tensions of societal and familial expectations and what she believed God had created her to do. Reading how she walked that line was sometimes humorous, though it annoyed me how often Cal misunderstood who she was and discounted her for it. A sweet story set in a favorite time-period for me.

A River Between Us: I had already figured out that I love Jocelyn’s books, and this story continued to confirm that for me. The issues and odds that these two characters have to overcome are enormous, but as each experience healing from God, they grow closer together. Both of the characters are tenacious and become more so as they experience true hope.

The Swelling Sea: This story fascinated me, both the premise and the characters, as Rosie is a very unique character with difficult challenges she has to deal with daily. Jonas is so sweet and understanding, and his own determination was inspiring. Their story is sweet and explores a place, a time period, and some personal issues that I had not read before.

About the Authors

Biography from Amazon’s website: A Carol Award and three-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.

Amanda Dykes is the author of Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.

HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather writes Viking historicals and Appalachian mystery/suspense.

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage. Her books have finaled in the Christy Awards and Inspirational Readers Choice Awards, and have won gold from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Maureen Lang has been writing stories since the age of ten, when she figured out a way to write the stories she feels like reading. Since then she’s become the award-winning author of over a dozen published novels. In the last ten years her faith has directed her to write stories that reflect Christian hope and traditional values. She’s also been an active member of the disability community since her oldest son was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic form of mental retardation. Maureen loves going on research trips to get a feel for the settings of her novels, and lives in the Chicago area with her husband, children, and lovable Labrador Retriever.

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

The Lady and the Lionheart

The-Lady-and-the-LionheartBook Review: The Lady and the Lionheart

Author: Joanne Bischof

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon’s website for The Lady and the Lionheart:

Virginia, 1890

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            I am continually impressed by Joanne Bischof’s writing. No matter what genre she writes, she continues to get better and better at her craft. As a fellow writer, she is someone I definitely look up to, and as a reader, someone I will be eagerly awaiting every new release from. The Lady and the Lionheart is poignant, gripping, and sweet. The dark shadows of the circus are explored, and as the secrets that are held close to the hearts of those Ella cares about, I felt for these characters. Joanne is able to write her characters with such authenticity, that I honestly thought about them when I wasn’t reading. I considered their unique struggles, and the story of redemption behind those. I also found myself humming or thinking about the hymn that Charlie loves. She delves into real-life problems in this fictional story in such a raw, real way that it’s impossible to disregard. This book touched my heart, and it’s definitely on my favorites list.

If you’re looking for an intriguing view of what the circus was like in the late 1800s, characters that are nearly breathing, and an honest look at what it means to discover and live out the redemption we have in Jesus, then please take a look at this book. You won’t regret doing so.

About the Author

Biography from Amazon’s website: A Carol Award and three-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. www.joannebischof.com

I was given a review copy of The Lady and the Lionheart from the author. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

To Get To You

To-Get-to-You-a-novel3-654x1024Book Review: To Get To You

Author: Joanne Bischof

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Goodread’s website description of To Get To You:

To get to the girl he loves, Riley Kane must head off on a road trip with the father he never knew. Then pray for a miracle.

Most teens would love to have a pro surfer for a dad. Just not Riley. Abandoned as a kid, he hates the sound of the ocean and the man who gave himself to it.

When the eighteen-year-old learns that his best friend is stranded at a New Mexico hospital as her father fights for his life, Riley hits the highway to head east. But when his Jeep breaks down before he even leaves California, he must rely on the one man he despises to get to the girl who needs him the most. And when it comes to the surfer with the Volkswagen van and dog-eared map, a thousand miles may–or may not–be enough to heal the past.

A story of new beginnings and second chances.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So I have this friend. I’m sure you have one like her, or maybe you are her. 😉 She’s the friend who will tell you about her favorite author and then you, with the best of intentions, assure her you’ll read a book by that author. And then you don’t, because there are so many books and so little time and sometimes we just forget important details like new author names, but I digress (I’ve always wanted to use that word!). My friend knows that I enjoy finding new authors and reviewing books, so she informed me of an opportunity to review a new release by author Joanne Bischof. I’m so glad that I finally got a chance to read a book by Joanne, because oh-my-word, I was blown away.

To Get To You is different than the usual Christian Young Adult book. It’s written from the guy’s point of view. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first, but I ended up loving it. I felt I was really able to get to know Riley.

To Get To You started out with a romantic bent, but this book brought so much more to the table. Riley’s relationship with his dad was so authentic and difficult, that it was nice, in a strange way, to read. Probably because of the honesty there in their interactions and reactions. Riley’s relationship with Becca was so sweet, and I loved every minute of it.

Sometimes a book closes and you’re left thinking, “Well, that was nice.” but you feel like the author didn’t quite nail it. Well, Joanne nailed it. Here’s a quote from near the end of To Get To You that I absolutely loved:

“…there are some things you can’t go back from. You just lay the broken pieces down and then there’s grace and its glue, and in a strange way, you’re more whole than before, because this time…this time it’s not your own doing.”

I cannot recommend this book enough to both young adult readers as well as the older readers who love a good story that touches the heart. Reading To Get To You was a joy, and I hope you take the chance to try it out.

About the Author

Biography from Goodreads: Christy Award-finalist and author of The Cadence of Grace series and This Quiet Sky, Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for heartfelt stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. Find her online at http://www.joannebischof.com/

I was given a review copy of To Get To You from the author in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.