Tag Archives: Series

The Alamo Bride

The Alamo Bride

By Kathleen Y’Barbo

The Story

Will Ellis Lose All at the Alamo?

Ellis Dumont finds a man in New Orleans Grey unconscious on Dumont property in 1836. As his fevers rage, the man mutters strange things about treasures and war. Either Claiborne Gentry has lost his mind or he’s a spy for the American president—or worse, for the Mexican enemy that threatens their very lives. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide who she can trust. Will she put her selfish wants ahead of the future of the republic or travel with Clay to Mission San Jose to help end the war?

(Back cover summary from Barbour Publishing)

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The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with a story (and a cover) that I knew I couldn’t pass up. The Alamo Bride takes place during the war for Texas’s independence. I’ve long been fascinated with the battle of the Alamo, so I was eager to read a book set during this time.

I had the misconception that much of this book would take place at the Alamo. In reality, less then a quarter of the book is set there. Despite that, I did enjoy this novel.

I love that each author in this series writes strong, relatable heroines, and yet they’re all very different. Ellis is headstrong and stubborn, and it’s that tenacity that equips her to pull through many struggles. Clay is an intriguing character with flaws of his own, but it was fun to read how he dealt with his loss of identity.

The Alamo Bride is rich in history, and I learned a lot about the Texans’ struggle for independence. There were times when I felt that the story dragged or lost my interest, but overall I enjoyed The Alamo Bride.

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty titles with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. Her novel Sadie’s Secret was named the Romantic Times Magazine Inspirational Romance Book of the Year.

A certified paralegal and tenth generation Texan, Kathleen has also been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine.

To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

(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.

Searching for You

Searching for You

By Jody Hedlund

The Story

Her Search for a Place to Call Home
Leads Her to the Last Place She Ever Expected

For years, Sophie Neumann has been running from the orphanages of 1850s New York City. Tasked with caring for two younger children, she’s determined not to let them be taken from her, and not to abandon them the same way her older sisters did her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing the state is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. But when the train stops in Illinois, she faces an agonizing decision as the orphans will be placed in new homes. Afraid she’ll lose them forever, she finds help in a familiar face she never expected to see so far from New York.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm in Illinois. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that still haunt him, Reinhold is in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby farm pleading for his help?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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At long last, Reinhold gets his own story! I’ve felt for this poor guy throughout this series. He’s tangled up with the Neumann sisters, but can’t quite find the right place to be.

Both Reinhold and Sophie are driven by fear. For him, it’s fear of becoming the angry, out-of-control man his father was. Her’s is fear of losing her two young charges and in some way, losing her purpose and meaning in life. This fear logically works itself out in some not-so-great choices.

I liked seeing the orphan train from this perspective, as Sophie and the two children are placed out into homes.

It was so fun to see this gripping series come to a close and see these siblings finally find restoration and healing. The romance in this book is—as usual—right on. I think what I most enjoyed in this book were the supporting characters. The Duffs are such a wonderful family, and the various characters that color this book make it that much more fun.

As usual, Jody Hedlund left me wanting more, but also satisfied with this sweet, historical read.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the author of over 20 novels, including Love UnexpectedCaptured by LoveUnending DevotionThe Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.

(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.

Mark of the Raven

Mark of the Raven

By Morgan L. Busse

The Story

Dreamwalker. Nightwatcher. Lady of Ravenwood.

Lady Selene Has Come into Her Family’s Power.

But Has She Inherited a Gift or a Curse?

Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. Soon after the gifting, however, Selene discovers that the Ravenwood women have been secretly using their gift to gather information or to assassinate those responsible for the fall of House Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire hundreds of years ago.

As she becomes more entrenched in Ravenwood’s dark past, Selene longs to find out the true reason behind her family’s gift, believing that its original intent could not have been for such evil purposes, but she is torn about upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people. Selene’s dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations–but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Fantasy is not a genre I’ve read for a while, so I enjoyed this foray back into it with Mark of the Raven.

I was thoroughly immersed in this world from page one. Selene is a divided character. She is not like her mother, as much as she tries to be. But she struggles with where that leaves her. Her gift is unique and it was so interesting to read about her exploring it.

The other characters that populate this book, Lord Maris in particular, are all multi-faceted and interesting. The gifts of the houses and their division reminds me a bit of spiritual gifting, and how it is most effective when all work together.

This was a good story, but it was only the first in The Ravenwood Saga. Again, fantasy isn’t my go-to genre, so it didn’t pull me in as some might. But it did hold my attention, and I’ll be looking for the next book in the series.

About the Author

Morgan L. Busse (www.morganlbusse.com) is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the new steampunk series The Soul Chronicles. Her debut novel, Daughter of Light, was a Christy and Carol Award finalist. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. She and her family live in Bloomington, Illinois.

(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 Cumberland Bride

The Cumberland Bride

By Shannon McNear

The Story

Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage.

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

Love and Adventure Are Discovered on the Wilderness Road

In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like he did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But naïve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster?

(Back cover summary from Amazon)

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Oooh, The Daughters of the Mayflower series just keeps getting better! When I saw that Shannon McNear’s book was going to be set in the Cumberland area, I knew I had to read it. I now live in that uniquely beautiful location, so I was eager to see what this book would consist of.

I loved the back story to this branch of the family. Kate’s father was a Hessian soldier fighting for the British, but his life took an unexpected turn. Kate’s love for other’s stories can—and does—get her in trouble, but it’s that fascination with other’s lives on a relational level that first draws her to Thomas Bledsoe.

Thomas is everything that Kate is not. He’s quiet, toughened by life, and far from God. As these two characters get to know each other, there’s an undeniable chemistry there. But with danger present nearly every step of their journey, it’s perilous to get involved with anyone else.

Shannon McNear is such a great story teller. I couldn’t help but get drawn into the story. Her writing style draws one back into the time period and resurfacing to modern times was no easy thing.

The characters in this story are so compelling, the historical period fascinating, and the romance spot-on. The faith element, as Thomas understands more about God and His ways, as much as man can, and Kate being put to the test to see what her faith is really made of, was so organic, that I felt I was taking that journey myself.

Either as a part of the series or as a stand-alone, The Cumberland Bride is a novel you do not want to miss. I couldn’t put it down and cannot recommend it heartily enough.

About the Author

Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. A Midwestern farm girl who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for more than two decades before being transplanted to North Dakota, she’s a military wife, mother of 8, and a member of ACFW and RWA. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.

(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.

An Hour Unspent

An Hour Unspent

By Roseanna M. White

The Story

With Danger Creeping Ever Closer, Do Their Dreams Still Matter?

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war, including keeping an eye on a talented engineer working as a clockmaker. But not until he rescues the man’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly dreamed and worked for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end their engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clock repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges deeper into war, the race is on for any technological edge, and Evelina’s father’s ideas have captured the attention of many–perhaps too many. As danger seems to encroach from every side, it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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The Shadows Over England series has been so much fun to read, and the conclusion does not disappoint. An Hour Unspent finally gets to Barclay’s story, and I loved getting to know more about this caring man.

Barclay has given up thieving, at least for his own needs. He’s experienced a heart-change, but he struggles to know how he fits into that change. When Jesus saves us and changes our hearts, it’s something that changes everything, and Barclay learns in this story what that means in his life. I loved watching his fledgling faith grow.

I really enjoyed Evelina’s character, as she navigated the times in which she lived. She’s strong in some ways, and vulnerable in others. I liked seeing how she learned, and her viewpoint was changed on various things. The romance between the two characters is strong and sweet.

I like how Roseanna always weaves in various themes into her novels, and this one with clockmaking was an excellent one. It’s prevalent in Evelina’s life as she realizes God isn’t a clockmaker who sits back and watched the world unwind. Instead, He’s intricately and intimately involved in it all.

A page-turning conclusion to the series, An Hour Unspent left me satisfied, but longing for more maybe (hopefully!) someday from this unusual family.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White (www.roseannamwhite.com) 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 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.

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.

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.