On This Foundation by Lynn Austin

Nehemiah is devastated when Jerusalem’s walls are destroyed and the city burned. He seeks God’s guidance and is surprised and pleased when he has a leave from his role as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. He leaves for Jerusalem to rebuild the wall but meets danger upon his arrival. The enemies of the Lord will do anything to stop the rebuilding of the wall. But not all evil comes from outside as a drought leaves the Jews in the city in poverty, struggling to survive. Facing trials on every side, Nehemiah and the Jews must rely on God’s power to rebuild their city and their people.

Lynn Austin writes wonderful Biblical fiction that comes alive with the depth of the characters, setting, and dialogue. The broad details are Biblically accurate and the fictional details allow a richer perspective of the impact of this crucial period on individual Jews. The characters have believable imperfections that add to the theme of redemption. The dialogue is interwoven with scripture and gives me a better look at Biblical history. Despite its length, this book kept my attention with its riveting characters and storylines. I appreciate the author’s commitment to Biblical truth and her ability to craft such a wonderful read. Highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

A Reason to Stay by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Faith Martin has worked very hard to become a successful investigative reporter and celebrity TV host. The accomplishment has not come without sacrifices to her personal life, however. Growing distant from her easygoing and family-oriented husband, Faith is willing to sacrifice her marriage in order to succeed at her career. But when tragedy strikes, suddenly Faith is confronted with circumstances that forever change her goals. She is forced to confront deep emotional scars and troubling transformations, causing her to re-examine her life and rely on someone she did not expect to ever need again.

Full of emotion and difficult topics, Kellie Coates Gilbert crafts a story that is rife with realistic toils. Based in part on true struggles of the author, the transparency and authenticity of the plot truly create a remarkable story. I really liked the characters as well as the realism of their struggles and trials. The romance is very well told, the genuine tension and difficulty in their relationship only serving to better create relatable characters. The depth of the story and overall themes of faith and redemption form an extraordinary story that is highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

Nikki Boyd has a special passion for her job on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force because her own sister went missing ten years ago, a mystery that has never been solved. And when a new case bears a remarkable similarity to her sister’s case, Nikki follows the chilling clues with grim determination, desiring to catch the man who is behind the disappearances of many young girls over the past decade. But the more that Nikki discovers about the killer, the more she realizes he knows even more about her, putting her and all she loves in danger.

Full of suspense and intrigue from page one, this novel is bursting with action and chilling mystery. Not all parts are predictable and the characters are all interesting and likable. I do wish there was more than simply Nikki’s perspective to the story, as I think that would have added to the novel. However, the twists and turns as well as the unexpected ending created a book that is exciting. The hint of romance throughout the novel indicates that a relationship may further develop into the second book. Highly recommended to lovers of contemporary suspense!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Murder at the Courthouse by A. H. Gabhart

Michael Keane is ready to return to his sleepy hometown, small Hidden Springs, Kentucky, after years as a police officer in busy and hectic Columbus, Ohio. Only danger and mystery follow him home when a dead body turns up at the courthouse steps. The investigation is not as straightforward as it initially seems, and Michael soon finds himself faced with a multitude of various theories from helpful townspeople. When further details lead only to more mystery, Michael decides life in his sleepy childhood home may not be as peaceful as he remembers.

A.H. Gabhart creates a wonderful setting that makes it easy to picture the backdrop for this mysterious murder. The characters, especially Michael, are easily likable and fun to follow throughout the story. The murderer is relatively easy to predict, but there are other twists that make the ending exciting. Parts of the novel are a little slow paced, and I personally found the very end of the book a bit odd, but overall this book contains enough depth and interest to make it enjoyable and recommended.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Katrina Stoltzfus faces an uncertain future after her boyfriend leaves her life in shambles. She feels lost until her father suggests she live with a widow from their church who is hoping to begin a new business on her farm. But Katrina is annoyed to discover that there is another new hire on the farm, a young farmhand, Andy Miller, who seems to be romantically interested in her. Not wishing for history to repeat itself, Katrina does her best to avoid him, despite the fact that he seems to always be doing what is best for the farm and treats the widow like his own grandmother. Soon, however, unrest in the church creates tension in their small community and Katrina and Andy both find themselves learning something new about trust, forgiveness, and peace.

I am not usually an avid reader of Amish fiction, but this book drew me in with its easily flowing storyline and natural effortlessness at which the words crafted a unique plot. I immediately liked the protagonist Katrina. She faces the consequences of her actions with a solemn acceptance and maturity that is commendable, even as she realistically struggles with bitterness and grief. Although all the characters in the book have similar toils of finding acceptance and peace, I do wish the author had chosen to focus on one particular character rather than craft multiple storylines at the same time. I felt as though I did not fully get to know all the characters to the depth that I would have liked. Overall, however, I did enjoy the novel and look forward to reading more in the series.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.