Tag Archives: Romance

Hope’s Highest Mountain

Hope’s Highest Mountain

By Misty M. Beller

The Story

When Ingrid Chastain agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory, she never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. Rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, but she’s hesitant to put her trust in this man who seems to have wounds of his own.

After tragedy struck his family, Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor and escaped to the wilds of Montana. But his self-imposed solitude is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he’s forced to call on his doctoring skills once again.

Micah can’t help but admire Ingrid’s tenacity despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on delivering the medicine–with or without his help–he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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After reading such high-praise endorsements from authors like Laura Frantz and Tracie Peterson, I was eager to jump into this story. And really, it did not disappoint.

The story takes off with a high-stakes beginning, and I love how quickly the characters are thrust into making life-changing and life-threatening decisions. As the story progressed, there was never a spot where I felt like the plot lagged or I got bored.

What I really enjoyed was how real and full these characters felt, even though for most of the story, there are only four that appear in the pages. And yet, though we know comparatively little about their lives previous to the start of the story, they feel just as fleshed-out as if we’d found them in their natural settings.

Both Ingrid and Micah find their faith and trust in God challenged throughout this book. I liked how simply, yet realistically, Misty portrayed them taking those steps of trust.

In all, I enjoyed this book. It was the perfect start-to-fall read, though there were times I felt a sympathetic shiver for these travelers.

About the Author

After working for 13 years in the corporate world, Misty M. Beller (mistymbeller.com) is now the author of fourteen independently published Christian historical romance novels. Raised on a farm in South Carolina, she combines her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life by writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. She lives outside Charlotte, North Carolina, is an active member of ACFW, and teaches regularly at conferences and writing groups on effective book marketing.

(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.

Something New

Something New

By Joanne Bischof

The Story

Virginia, 1895

After waiting four years for her best friend to return from sea, Wren Cromwell’s dream of building a life with Tate Kennedy has wilted during his unexpected absence. Then, just as suddenly as he departed the mountain of their childhood, he returns, bringing with him tales of Norway’s icy fjords and his time aboard ship on the North Sea. As spring unfurls around them, so unfolds a new hope in Wren’s heart, and a new chance at love on the horizon. But with Tate’s longing for exciting voyages still alive, will he vanish to the high seas again, or will this land he’s returned to, and Wren’s steadfast love, be enough to nurture his adventurous spirit?

From Christy and Carol Award-winning author, Joanne Bischof, comes a newly repackaged novella once featured in the historical compilation, Heirloom Brides.

(Back cover summary from Joanne’s Website)

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At long last! We get Tate’s story! In Daughters of Northern Shores, the story wasn’t really about Tate, but I longed to see his resolved. Joanne did a good job of that with Something New.

Because of misunderstanding and miscommunication, the relationship of trust that Tate and Wren enjoyed has been largely broken down. I loved how that was reestablished through simple, everyday acts of kindness and love.

Both of these characters were so likable, yet also humanly flawed. I couldn’t help but cheer for them to reach their own happy ending.

If you, like me, have yearned for more from Joanne Bischof in the flavor of the Sons of Blackbird Mountain series, then this novella is what you’ve been waiting for.

About the Author

A Christy and Carol Award-winning author, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. To Get to You, her 2015 release, was the second. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from Romantic Times Book Reviews among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children and is currently working on a new 2-book series for Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian (releasing 2018).

(Biography from Joanne’s Website)

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.

Finding Lady Enderly

Finding Lady Enderly

By Joanna Davidson Politano

The Story

Raina’s dreams are all about to come true.

But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s East End when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley, offering her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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Finding Lady Enderly is yet another engrossing read from Joanna Davidson Politano. I love how each book is so distinct from the others, and yet they all carry the same feel to them.

Raina is such an interesting character and one that I found myself relating to as the book went on, sometimes in surprising ways. The lessons she learns about identity and where that’s rooted are timeless and timely.

I really liked how, at first, the reader is just as in the dark as Raina as to who the villain is exactly. The mystery that shrouds this book is done so well, too. I couldn’t even begin to guess where Lady Enderly was and what tragic thing had happened to her for most of the book.

The other character’s point of view in this book was also well done and one that I really liked.

The romance in this book is very well written and done in such a sweet, and clever way.

In all, I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t easy to unravel the secrets of Lady Enderly, and by the end of the tale, I felt satisfied with the resolution to it all. Another go-to from Joanna Davidson Politano.

About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

(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.

The Spice King

The Spice King

By Elizabeth Camden

The Story

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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The Spice King showcases Elizabeth Camden’s ability to dig up history and bring it to the page, just like in her other novels. It’s always interesting for me to read one of her books, as there is so much history woven throughout.

Unfortunately, I felt bogged down in the details of this book. While I love reading about characters who are smart and excel at their professions—as Camden is known to bring to life so well—in this novel the workings of those professions felt a little dry for me.

I liked the contrast between Annabelle and Gray, and it certainly made for some entertaining conflict. Luke and Caroline are also characters who I think readers will look forward to getting to know better in the future.

Overall, this book just didn’t do it for me. I felt like the main conflict fizzled out too early, and then I didn’t have much incentive to keep reading. This is certainly just my opinion, and I’m sure there are many who will enjoy The Spice King. But for me, it just didn’t hit home.

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden (www.elizabethcamden.com) is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

(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 Dating Charade

The Dating Charade

By Melissa Ferguson

The Story

Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.

Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

(Back cover summary from Thomas Nelson)

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The Dating Charade is such a fun book. It has all the elements of a rom-com, with engaging characters, hilarious circumstances, and enough misunderstandings to keep these characters apart for a good long while.

It was cool that this story was set in Gatlinburg, as that’s a place I’m familiar with. The characters Melissa created in this story were ones that I felt like I’d met out and about before. From the kids to the meddling older ladies, I loved each and every one.

I loved the heart of this story too. While it’s a fun novel, The Dating Charade also tackles the real-life issues of foster care, adoption, and infertility and the trauma that shadows all of those. It really opened my eyes to see just a bit of what each of those issues might feel like or look like.

Cassie and Jett are both hilarious and relatable characters. Their romance is super fun as it plays out, and even with the hiding of the children, there is still an element of realism that keeps the story from seeming too over-the-top.

The only thing I didn’t like as much about this book was there didn’t seem to be any solid faith element in it. The characters attend church, but to me, there was no discernible spiritual arc for them.

If you enjoy novels like Jessica Kate’s Love and Other Mistakes or Bethany Turner’s Wooing Cadie McCaffrey, then I think The Dating Charade will be right up your alley.

About the Author

Melissa Ferguson is an adjunct professor for Bible and religion at King University. She lives in the charming town of Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband, twin toddlers, and baby girl. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now her hobbies include admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” en route to the library.

(Biography from Thomas Nelson)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

You Belong With Me

You Belong With Me

By Tari Faris

The Story

Realtor Hannah Thornton has many talents. Unfortunately, selling houses isn’t one of them.

When a business tycoon determines to raze historic homes in the small town of Heritage, Michigan, and replace them with a strip mall, Hannah resolves to stop him. She sets about helping Heritage win a restoration grant that will put the town back on the map–and hopefully restore her disgraced family name. But she’ll need help to do it.

As a foster kid, Luke Johnson never truly felt he belonged. Now he has a chance to earn his place in his hometown. But he doesn’t anticipate how his relationship with Hannah will set into motion events that reveal the truth about who he is–and who he was.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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I loved this book! Tari Faris is an author to keep an eye out for if you enjoy contemporary romance with a small-town feel. Courtney Walsh, Becky Wade, and Susan May Warren are authors that I have come to really enjoy, and Tari Faris has a similar feel to her writing while creating distinct characters and settings.

I really liked that this book incorporated multiple viewpoints. Not just Hannah and Luke’s, but also Thomas and Janie’s. Each character felt unique and had their own personal, and very real struggles. Tari Faris doesn’t hold back from tackling some of the deep and difficult issues of life, and it was refreshing to read a book that did that.

Of course, the romance in this book is spot-on. Which always makes for a fun read. 🙂

The faith journey of the characters in this book was so very relevant, and there was a lot of wisdom to glean as they worked through their different problems. One of my favorite quotes in the book came from Aunt Lucy.

“You can never really fix something shattered. But you can take the pieces and make something even better. Don’t leave the painful parts of your life in a box on the shelf. Figure out how to make something beautiful of them.”

I think that quote really sums up what each character had to work through individually, and the picture that was painted of how God works in our lives.

Heritage is a town that I know I won’t forget, and I’ll eagerly be looking for the next book in the Restoring Heritage series when it releases.

About the Author

Tari Faris has been writing fiction for more than 10 years. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she works for My Book Therapy, manages learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.

(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.

A Glitter of Gold

A Glitter of Gold

By Liz Johnson

The Story

Discover a treasure worth more than all the pirate gold in the world

Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but things do not go as planned.

Carter is fascinated with the wreck, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again: trust a man.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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This is such a sweet story! Liz Johnson has a flair for writing novels that deal with the pain and trouble of life, and yet lift you above it all.

I loved the historical aspects of this book. After reading about Savannah—both present-day and the city of old—I know I’ll need to plan a trip there. I really enjoyed the excerpts from the journal as well. That story was just as compelling as Carter and Anne’s.

Liz Johnson explores in this book what we do when the past haunts. Either because of family or past bad choices. These characters felt real as they struggled through the shame and regret, and eventually the hope and grace. It reminded me again how God transforms from shame to freedom with His grace.

The search for treasure in this novel is not one that you want to miss. Once again, Liz Johnson brings an engaging novel that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

About the Author

Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, A Glitter of Gold, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love’s Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.

(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.