Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Good suspense -- Dark Deception


Dark Deception is a good second installment in Nancy Mehl's Defenders of Justice series.

The book has lots of action and suspense, leaving plenty of room for trying to figure out the "who-dun-it" elements.  Twists and turns keep the interest level high and keep bringing up more and more questions throughout the story, which makes distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys a challenge.

Fans of good suspense should enjoy Dark Deception.

Thanks to Nancy and Bethany House for providing a copy of the book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Kate O'Brien's quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and she's been in witness protection ever since.

When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn't the murderer, she's subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis.

Tony readily takes on the assignment; Kate's beauty and inner strength made more of an impression on him than he expected. But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.

About the Author:

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of twenty-seven books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Simple Amish story -- The Farmers' Market Mishap


The Farmers' Market Mishap is Wanda and Jean Brunstetter's sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake.  Twins Elma and Thelma return in this simple story of life's ups and downs in their small Amish community.

This book is quick to read and pretty predictable in most elements of the story.  Elma's concerns about whether or not she will every find love and how difficult it would be to move away from her sister are somewhat overplayed for my interest, which makes the story rather sluggish at times.  Die-hard fans of Amish fiction, though, should enjoy this sweet story.

Thanks to Wanda and her publisher for providing a copy of the book.  The thoughts provided in this review are my own.

About the Book:

New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter and Daughter-in-Law, Jean, Weave a Lighthearted Romance from Indiana’s Amish Country

Living alone for the first time in her life is lonely for Elma Hochstetler, whose twin sister Thelma recently married. Though they share the running of a general store, more and more of Thelma’s time is taken up by her growing family. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love.

Through a mishap at the farmers’ market, Elma meets Ben Wagler and instantly likes him. But there is a problem. He lives in Grabill—50 miles away! But Elma has tried long-distance dating before, and it won’t work for her.  Besides the store needs her. Her sister needs her. Elma feels love will forever remain beyond her grasp.

Elma has a habit of putting others before her own needs. Can she learn to take a risk at following the desires of her heart?

About the Authors:

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of nearly 70 books with more than 8 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine, USA Today, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, and Country Woman. Wanda’s books have been translated into four foreign languages.  For the writing of The Farmers' Market Mishap, Wanda is joined by her daughter-in-law Jean.

Romance and Intrigue -- Dangerous Illusions

Irene Hannon is off to a great start on another series of romance and intrigue in Dangerous Illusions, book one of her Code of Honor series.

At the beginning, this story seems to move at a a slower pace than some of Irene's books.  The main characters come onto the scene, and the pieces of their stories begin to fit together, carefully drawing the reader in and building a comfortable level of intrigue.  Then, just when you least expect it -- well, no spoilers, but there are startling twists that push the suspense to a greater level.  And the romance is a very enjoyable and important element throughout the story.

I highly recommend Dangerous Illusions to fans of great inspirational fiction.

Thanks to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of the book.  I am pleased to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon will capture your imagination with a mind-bending story that will have you doubling back to retrace your steps--and figure out what you missed!

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Buried Secrets, Thin Ice, and Tangled Webs, as well as the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. In addition to many other honors, she is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Excellent contemporary fiction -- The Gift of Christmas Past

In The Gift of Christmas Past Cindy Woodsmall and her daughter-in-law Erin worked together to coauthor a very well-written story that deals with a variety of themes.

The characters pulled me in to their stories from the beginning and kept me very engaged throughout.  The experiences of Hadley, Monroe, Elliott, little Chloe, and the other characters provided a very pleasing pace and interest level.  The issues of foster care and elements of speech therapy, along with the problems resulting from parental pressure and misunderstandings, all fit together into a very interesting story.  And the romantic element is just right to round things out.

Despite the title of the book, the Christmas element really plays a very small role in the story.  But it does represent an important part of Hadley's life.

I highly recommend The Gift of Christmas Past as a very enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys good contemporary Christian fiction.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of the book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Young love…
Promises made.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

About the Authors:

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She's been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline and the Wall Street Journal. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. She can be found online at cindywoodsmall.com

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.  How could a Southern gal not enjoy research time in Asheville, North Carolina, as part of the job?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Stories about God's promises -- The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible

The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible is not your typical Bible story book for preschoolers.  It contains many of the most familiar Bible stories -- and a few that are not quite so familiar -- but takes the facts of those stories to a higher level.

The main highlight of the 52 stories has to do with God's promises and his work of redemption shown from the very beginning of His Word to the end.  Each story is short but can easily be enriched with discussion and/or reading the Scripture passages given at the beginning of the story.  Colorful illustrations accompany each story, along with a major truth (given in large, colorful print), and a summarizing question to provoke thought and conversation. The gospel plan of salvation is clearly presented multiple times throughout the book.  The target audience is probably about ages 3 to 7 or 8, but the material could pretty easily be adapted a little outside that range.

I look forward to sharing this book with my young grandchildren as they continue to learn about what God's promises mean in their lives.  I am sure they will enjoy the stories and illustrations and will grow in their understanding of the Bible.  And before long, they will likely be reading the stories on their own.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for sharing a copy of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

How do you explain the gospel to toddlers and preschoolers?

Often adults are stumped, but Jared Kennedy’s focus on the promises of God makes the gospel come alive to the littlest hearts. Through fifty-two Old and New Testament stories, The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible highlights God’s perfect promises. Every page pops with bright colors, playful illustrations, fun learning opportunities, and, best of all each story points children to Jesus.

Kids know the value of a promise. Through the gospel, our good and all-powerful God keeps his word and fulfills his promises to us better than we could have ever thought or imagined!

In The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, author Jared Kennedy traces God’s perfect promises through fifty-two Old and New Testament stories, retold in simple and compelling ways with toddlers and preschoolers in mind. Each gospel-centered story highlights God’s tale of redemption through Jesus and the unexpected and surprising ways that God’s grace and mercy are revealed throughout the Bible. Children will hear the good news of God’s love for them clearly expressed in ways that will speak to their young hearts. Brightly colored illustrations highlight the stories and add fun teaching elements of counting, opposites, patterns, and object recognition to keep even the youngest child’s attention. Every story also ends with a question that parents and caregivers can use to further reinforce the message.

Through reading this book one chapter at a time to your children—or letting them read it to you!—even the youngest kids will come to know that God’s promises are especially for them, and that God always keeps his promises.

About the Author:

Jared Kennedy, MDiv, ThM, is the husband to Megan and the father of three girls—Rachael, Lucy, and Elisabeth. He serves as Pastor of Families at Sojourn Community Church—Midtown in Louisville, KY and as children’s ministry strategist for Sojourn Network. He blogs regularly at gospelcenteredfamily.com and is also the coauthor of "Leadership Mosaic" and two VBS programs, "Proof Pirates" and "Clap Your Hands," "Stomp Your Feet."

A fun and lively story -- Out of the Ordinary (with a giveaway)

(Be sure to read to the end of this post for a giveaway!)

From my experience, it seems that a Jen Turano book is guaranteed to be fun and lively, and that is exactly what I found in Out of the Ordinary.

If you have read Behind the Scenes (and I would recommend that one as well), you will immediately recognize Miss Gertrude Cadwalader, her employer Mrs. Davenport, and several other fun characters from that story. If you haven't read the previous story, it won't take you long to learn all you need to know about this adventurous group of folks. Keeping up with all their antics provides for a very entertaining ride!

In the midst of the fun and hilarity, Jen manages to work in some real depth to her story. Her characters learn about forgiveness -- for themselves and others -- and finding the extraordinary lives that God has for them.

I recommend Out of the Ordinary as a great choice when you are looking for a fun read.  Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Author:

Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.








Blog Stops

Vicky sluiter, November 11
Bookworm Mama, November 11
cherylbbookblog, November 11
Book by Book, November 11
Lane Hill House, November 12
C Jane Read, November 12
The Power of Words, November 12
Smiling Book Reviews, November 13
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 13
Faithfully Bookish, November 14
Bigreadersite, November 14
Mommynificent, November 14
All 4 and About Books, November 14
Just the Write Escape, November 15
allofakindmom, November 15
Pause for Tales, November 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 16
Neverending Stories, November 17
Have A Wonderful Day, November 17
Christian Bookaholic, November 17
A Reader’s Brain, November 18
Karen Sue Hadley, November 18
The April Journal, November 18
Cafinated Reads, November 18
Bibliophile Reviews, November 19
Blogging With Carol, November 19
Mary Hake, November 19
Baker Kella, November 20
Rachel’s Back Talk, November 20
Texas Book-aholic, November 20
Joy of Reading, November 21
Remembrancy, November 21
Splashes of Joy, November 22
amandainpa, November 22
A Greater Yes, November 23
Radiant Light, November 24

 Q & A with Jen Turano

Hey Everyone! Thank you so much for stopping by today. Because I’m in the midst of a first draft, and in case you don’t know, I don’t actually care for first drafts – all those pesky blank pages, but…I’m getting off track…where was I? Oh yes, why I brought up first drafts in the first place. You see, I’m a little scattered when I’m doing a draft, and because of that, and because my mind is a scary place to visit while filling up those already-mentioned blank pages, I was having a tough time coming up with a post for Celebrate Lit. That’s why I reached out to my fabulous readers, and…here are some of the questions their inquiring minds wanted to know about me or my books. I hope you enjoy them!

Why write in the Gilded Age?

When I started writing historical romance after experimenting with other genres, I didn’t write Gilded age but Regency pieces. However, when I ran across the book “The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York” by Greg King, I was intrigued, and a little baffled about how it came to be that I was so unfamiliar with that riveting time in history. It’s an era where unprecedented fortunes were made at a remarkable rate, those fortunes responsible for so many scandals that I’ll have enough fodder for stories to last me for years. The antics of the members of high society are vastly intriguing, as are the fashions of the day, which is exactly why I’ve never had second thoughts about choosing to write Gilded Age romances.

How do you come up with such unusual names for your characters?

I get asked this a lot. And, contrary to popular belief, I don’t make up the names of my characters. I search through obituaries from the 1800’s, peruse books on the New York Four-Hundred (those were members of high society – chosen by Mr. Ward McAllister, the social arbiter of the day,) and I also scour old census records. I do occasionally pair a first name with a different surname so that my main characters aren’t real historic figures because that can get tricky. Not long ago, while reading through Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Person and Genealogical, Volume 1, I found a bit on my great-grandfather, which was cool – not that I’ll be using him, but I might have a character modeled after him at some point in time. Another interesting tidbit about choosing names is this – names only work for me if the characters decide they like the names I select for them. If they don’t like the name, they simply stop cooperating. I can’t write their stories until I choose another name. An example – I was recently going to name a heroine Georgianna – but it was like trying to write through mud. As soon as I changed her name to Myrtle, I was back in business.

What is the most ordinary thing you enjoy doing?

I love to shovel snow.

Who is responsible for your book covers? Do you choose the model/setting?

Bethany House’s design team does all of my covers, and occasionally they hire out the job to other design houses. The only input I give is when I send in a character/setting sheet, describing my heroine and listing a few scenes that I feel might be good for the background. In “Out of the Ordinary,” I suggested having Gertrude on or near a boat, and the design team then hired a model who resembled my character sketch and put her on a boat.

Which character has been the most difficult to write?

All of my characters give me trouble at some point in time, but recently, Mrs. Davenport was the character who was being incredibly difficult. For the first three edits of “Out of the Ordinary,” she was too complicated and a bit on the dark side, but after I changed her backstory, and remembered she was supposed to be eccentric, not deranged, she turned into a delightful lady, one I enjoyed writing.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever Googled while doing research for a book?

I don’t know if this is crazy, more on the lines of idiotic, but I once googled Gentleman’s Clubs when I was looking for an all-male club my hero would want to join. That was a definite mistake, especially since I didn’t include a very important word – historic. Well, the next thing you know, all sorts of naughty sites were flashing in front of my eyes, and to this day, I still get advertisements for singles looking for a good time and all sorts of other interesting…offers.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Nope, it never entered my head to pursue a career in writing, nor was I ever a person to even keep a diary or a journal. I’m pretty sure I wanted to be a movie star when I was younger, but when that didn’t pan out, I majored in fashion and spent quite a few years working for department stores. It wasn’t until my son was in third grade and we wrote a book together just for fun that I began entertaining the thought of trying to see my stories in print.

How long did it take you to break into the publishing world, and how many books did you write before that happened?

What everyone needs to understand is that publishing is a cut-throat business. I had no idea when I decided to try and get published what the competition was like, and if I had, well, I might have nipped the whole idea of getting a book into print right in the bud. But, because I knew I only wanted to go the traditional route, it soon became clear, what with all the suggestions I was getting about the work I was sending out to agents, that I needed to up my game…a lot. I experimented with quite a few different genres – middle grade, YA, contemporary women’s fiction, Regency romance, and then Gilded Age, getting really proficient with query letters in the process. It wasn’t until I started writing historical romance, though, that I really began getting requests for full manuscript. After I’d been writing for about three years, I finally signed with an agent. She never sold the book she signed on to represent, but after I wrote “A Change of Fortune,” she sold that within two months. Long story short – it took me about seven years to get published from the time I wrote my first book, and…I have seven manuscripts that will never see the light of day because they’re awful.

Is there a reason you include so many animals in your stories?

I’ve always been an animal lover, and as such, I really enjoy writing different animals into my scenes. Dogs are my favorites, followed by pigs, and most of the characteristics my animals have are traits I’ve seen in real life. Matilda, the pig in “A Match of Wits,” was inspired by a pig I used to see in New York. She was so quirky, as well as intelligent, that I knew I would have to write a pig in at least one of my stories. This current series does not have as many animals because I do want to keep my stories fresh. But, having said that, my next series finds my heroine visiting a farm, and well, I don’t know many farms that don’t have animals, especially adorable cows by the name of Buttercup that may or may not have the odd tendency of moseying into the house to eat pie whenever the urge strikes.

Last question – Have any of the crazy antics in your books been inspired by real-life events???

I seem to be a magnet for weird things happening, so…yes, quite a few of those antics were inspired by real life events. I’ll share just one since I do need to get back to that first draft. I live near Denver, and when my son was little, we used to visit the Denver Zoo. That zoo just happens to have a very large flock of peacocks – peacocks that took one look at me one day – and I must add that I wasn’t doing anything except pulling my son in a wagon, and the next thing I knew, I was being chased through the zoo by what seemed to me to be the entire flock of peacocks – all seemingly intent on trying to murder me. Funny how fast a mom can run while pulling a wagon when in fear for her life. My son thought it was fabulous fun, and bless those members of the staff who came to my rescue. They were almost successful in not laughing, and…I received a free lunch after the dastardly peacocks were chased away. That event is what inspired me to write a mad flock of peacocks in “In Good Company.”

Thank you so much for visiting me today. Hope I answered a few questions you may have about me!

All the best,

~ Jen ~

Giveaway

starbucks
To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away a grand prize of Two Jen Turano Novels and a $20 Starbucks Gift Card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04914/

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Gift -- A taste of Amish suspense


Shelley Shepard Gray's The Gift is another very enjoyable story in her Amish of Hart County series.

There is the expected Amish romance, with an nice dose of conflict, tension, and suspense in the story. There are lots of questions about who might be the "villain," questions that kept me guessing throughout most of the book. The characters were interesting and kept me engaged in the story.

I would recommend The Gift to Amish fiction fans.  The books in this series are not really tied together except by location, so reading them in order is not a necessity. The story is set around Christmas time, making it very appropriate to read at this time of year, or any time at all.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of The Gift.  I was happy to share my own thoughts for this review.

About the Book:

The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous "accidents" that someone wants them gone.

Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it's not the Schwartz family's fault, but he can't help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can't stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.

Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna's father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She's fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt. . . or worse.

About the Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

An awesome story -- Chasing Secrets


Each book in Lynette Eason's Elite Guardian series has been awesome -- and Chasing Secrets is the best of all!

The women -- and man -- of the Elite Guardian agency are great at what they do, even when it is one of their own who needs their help.  The suspense and action move at just the right pace, and there is plenty of time for taking care of other folks . . . and a little romance on the side.

Chasing Secrets would be great as a stand-alone, but why not check out the whole series?  I think you will be glad you did!

About the Book:

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.


When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan's life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

About the Author:

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, Moving Target, and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

 

Finding faith and home -- Home All Along


Beth Wiseman's Home All Along finishes up her Amish Secrets series, stories filled with struggles and joys for a variety of characters -- both Amish and English.

Beth has filled her story with interesting characters, acting and interacting in many complex relationships.  Several events happen that keep the interest level high and the search for the resolution of questions engaging throughout much of the story.  Lessons of trust, love, and forgiveness play out as new issues come up and new characters come on the scene.  Making difficult choices requires evaluating what is important, what faith is all about, and how to find a place that can really be home.
 
Home All Along could probably be enjoyed on its own, but reading the entire series would make the details much more meaningful.  Charlotte's journey from her living a typical English life in Texas to her life in Amish Country is an important thread throughout all three books.  Her connection to her Amish friends, whom she learns to think of as family, is also much better understood after reading the entire series.

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for providing a copy of the book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and she has formed strong and lasting bonds with the people in her new community. She has even fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices.

Daniel loves Charlotte and wants to share his life with her, even it if means leaving the only world he’s ever known. But as he walks alongside of her through her struggles, his own world is turned upside down when a loved one receives a grim medical diagnosis and a prodigal relative returns home. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and the strong community around them allow them to weather the storms of their own lives in order to build a life together?

About the Author:

Beth Wiseman is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Daughters of the Promise, Land of Canaan, and Amish Secrets series.  While she is best known for her Amish novels, Beth has also written contemporary novels including Need You Now, The House that Love Built, and The Promise.

Monday, October 30, 2017

High-intensity suspense -- Blind Spot

High-intensity suspense with just the right amount of romance -- exactly what you would expect in a Dani Pettrey story.  And that is precisely what you will find in Blind Spot, book three of her Chesapeake Valor series.

Danger and suspense come from all directions for Declan, Tanner, and their whole team. As in the earlier books, Dani continues to give us characters who are well-developed and bring their own strengths into the plot as needed in dealing with the issues.

Then there is that special thread that slowly weaves its way through the story.  And the ending!  Well, I certainly don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll just say that it's certainly worth following the story through to the very last paragraph!  And you will definitely be left wanting to get into the next book!

While Blind Spot could be an interesting story on its own, you will likely enjoy it much more if you have read the previous books in the series.  The relationships and development of characters throughout the series add to the intrigue of the story.

Thanks to Dani and her publisher for providing a copy of the book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book: 

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner. 

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives.

About the Author:

Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the brand new romantic suspense Chesapeake Valor series, as well as the well-loved Alaskan Courage series which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super-adorable grandson.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Not so simple story -- A Simple Wish

Don't be fooled by the title of Charlotte Hubbard's latest book -- A Simple Wish. The wish might be simple, but the story is not.

Like her other books set in real and fictional Missouri towns, Charlotte Hubbard has written another story that doesn't quite fit the cookie-cutter style of Amish romance. She has strong females lead out in situations that usually get a little -- or maybe a lot -- complicated and don't always have a resolution that would fit a stereotypical Amish community.

Reading the first book in the series, A Simple Vow, is pretty much a necessity to understand a lot of the story line in this one.  And if you've read Charlotte's Seasons of the Heart series, you will find several "old friends" who carry over into these stories.

Amish fiction fans should enjoy this story and will be left wanting more, as there are several loose ends that will likely be tied up in the next book.

As a word of caution to readers, there are a couple of off-color words used in one conversation in the story -- something a little unexpected in this type of story.

Thanks to Charlotte for providing me with a copy of A Simple Wish. I was glad to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Making rugs for the Simple Gifts store has taught Loretta Riehl that an unassuming pattern can reveal surprising depth. People, too, have a way of defying first impressions. Drew Detweiler came to Willow Ridge under a cloud, but the  handsome craftsman has gained the community's respect for his upholstery skills and commitment to making amends for his mistakes. As her new brother-in-law's twin, he's joining the family for dinners and Sunday visits, and Loretta can't deny enjoying his attentions.

If only  her dat were willing to let a little joy into his life. Cornelius Riehl grows sterner with each day, and Drew suspects there's more to his moods than missing Loretta's late mamm. Hoping to fulfill Loretta's wish to live in a  peaceful, happy home again, Drew sets out to learn the truth. It's a journey that will bring to light painful realities—but also the chance to forge a new, honest, and loving future together... 


Excerpt from the Book: 

When Loretta looked across the road, she noticed that one of the Detweiler brothers was coming out of the stable in an open buggy pulled by a tall black Percheron. Asa and Drew, identical twins, owned matching horses, so it was impossible to tell which one of them was heading down the long lane toward the road.

She held her breath. Was it her imagination, or was the driver of that buggy looking right at her?

“I—I’ve never forgiven myself for turning my back on the love we shared, Loretta,” Will said again. He stopped the swing so suddenly that Loretta’s long, loose strips of rug fabric fluttered to the porch floor. “We both knew we had a love that would see us through a lifetime together. I was so upset about your Dad splitting us up that I didn’t realize Molly was coming on to me too fast, too soon,” he lamented, gazing at her with the soft brown eyes of a begging dog. “I am so sorry, Loretta.”

Loretta was feeling more unsettled by the second, because Will’s soul baring was leading her down a path she no longer wanted to follow. How could she tell him she wasn’t interested in rekindling their relationship? It would break his heart and depress him further while he still mourned the death of his wife and their misguided marriage.

Sighing, she chose her words carefully. “God has a reason for everything He does—every stumbling block He places in our paths—”
         

“But I see the world so clearly now!” Will blurted out. “I’ve prayed over these things night and day since Molly died and left me with her six-month-old twins. And while I never wished such a horrible death from cancer would take her, it gave me hope that you and I could—”

Loretta stood up, dropping her unfinished rug onto the swing between them. As the Detweiler buggy approached the road, coming toward her, she realized that Drew surely must be driving because Asa and Edith were inseparable—they went everywhere together and took the twins with them, in their baskets. Her pulse quickened. Drew was gazing right at her, pulling out of the Detweilers’ lane and stopping the buggy on the roadside in front of her.

“Loretta, I’ve got a gut steady job now, farming for Luke and Ira Hooley,” Will was saying, oblivious to the buggy. “Soon I’ll be planting a vineyard for them—can you imagine that? And I’ll be asking the Brenneman brothers to build us a house—”

“Hey there, Miss Loretta!” Drew called out from the buggy. “I have an errand to run. Want to come along?”

For a moment, Loretta felt lower than a worm, but she couldn’t allow Will to believe he could take up where they’d left off. He hadn’t heard a word she’d said as she’d gently countered his suggestions. Loretta nipped her lip, glancing apologetically at the handsome young man who’d gone through such an ordeal these past several months. Without a word, she hurried down the porch steps and across the front yard toward Drew Detweiler.

About the Author:
Charlotte Hubbard is the acclaimed author of Amish romance and fiction that evokes simpler times and draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi. Faith and family, farming, and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle—and the foundation of all her novels. A deacon, dedicated church musician and choir member, she loves to travel, read, try new recipes, and crochet. A longtime Missourian, Charlotte now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and their border collie, Vera. Please visit Charlotte online at www.CharlotteHubbard.com or on Facebook www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1




Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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