Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

Behind the Scenes book cover

Miss Permilia Griswold grew up travelling with her father on his business trips, so when her stepmother wishes her to simply attend balls and snag a worthy suitor, Permilia’s odd upbringing forces hers to be banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom. Nevertheless, Permilia uses her anonymity in society to write gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill,” filled with tidbits she hears from mingling on the fringes of parties. During one of her evenings, Permilia is shocked to hear a threat against none other than the irritatingly handsome Mr. Asher Rutherford. When she attempts to warn Asher, however, he does not believe her, and she must set out to prove her suspicions correct before it is too late.

One of my favorite aspects of Jen Turano’s writing is her ability to craft such hilarious escapades with tenacious, independent, interesting characters, and this novel delivers yet again! I particularly liked Permilia as she is practical and down to earth, content with her wallflower position in society but also determined to make the best of her situation. The witty banter between characters provides the perfect contrast to the bits of mystery and suspense sprinkled in the story. Add humorous romantic tension and more serious spiritual developments and you have another fantastic book by this well-loved author. I highly recommend this novel and cannot wait for book two in the series!

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

When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

When Tides Turn book cover

Quintessa Beaumont decides to help out with the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) to do her part for World War II. As she is working to prove herself, she is forced to work with Dan Avery, who is more concerned with his goal to make admiral than helping her. But when Quintessa discovers a possible spy link in the Navy, she tries to enlist Dan’s help, hoping he can set aside his career advancement to assist her in a dangerous mission.

I have enjoyed the first two novels in this series and was excited to read more about Tess. She is determined to prove she is more than a pretty face and I admired her gumption and tenacity in this book. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and appreciated the depth the author invested into their personalities. The passion of the characters combined with the interesting detailed history makes for a fascinating read. I also liked the suspense and mystery interspersed in the story. Combined with hidden romance and true spiritual struggles, this novel is a great read. Recommended to all lovers of historical fiction!

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

The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

The Illusionist_s Apprentice book cover

Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is eccentric with her preference for gentleman’s dress, her secluded lifestyle in a large mansion, and her popularity as an illusionist, trained by none other than Harry Houdini himself. She prefers to keep to herself, so when FBI agent Elliot Matthews starts to poke around her private life, she becomes quite annoyed. But as strange events began to occur and danger lurks behind the curtain, Wren and Elliot must form an unlikely team to combat the greater enemy.

Secrets and illusions abound in this interesting tale. I found the topic of vaudeville in the Roaring 20’s to be fascinating. I liked Wren instantly and only grew to love her as her secrets from her past were slowly revealed throughout the novel. Elliot too is a dashing hero and his ability to keep up with Wren’s writ is enjoyable. I liked how the author did not give away all the secrets of the characters’ pasts immediately but disclosed snippets as were necessary to the storyline. The book has great suspense and the villain is not readily apparent. Of course, any novel is made even better by such a gorgeous cover. I highly recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon

Sandpiper Cove book cover

Lexie Graham is a single mom with a full time demanding career as police chief, leaving her no time for romance. Adam Stone has a past and it involves the law, so when Lexie catches his eye, he knows it will be a rocky relationship. When Lexie has to enlist Adam’s help to assist a young man, they are forced to spend time together, causing sparks to fly and a different future than either of them anticipated.

I greatly enjoyed the first two installments in this series and was equally delighted by the third novel! I liked the contrasting characters and their interesting, complex pasts that played such a crucial role in their current relationships. The charm of this seaside town does not disappoint and I was pleased to once again read about secondary characters from Hope Harbor. The story unfolds well, a true testament to the author’s skilled writing. Mix together romance and faith, add interesting characters and stories, and you have yet another wonderful Irene Hannon read, recommended to all lovers of contemporary fiction!

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

To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden

To the Farthest Shores book cover

Jenny Bennett thinks Ryan Gallagher is the best thing that’s ever happened to her, until he leaves suddenly and shatters her heart. Six years later, Jenny is stunned to find Ryan once again at the Presidio military base, this time with many secrets and an inability to give Jenny a good explanation for his absence. Jenny is determined not to fall for Ryan’s charms again, but when he asks her for a favor for a friend, she has a hard time saying no. As Jenny and Ryan are forced to endure a project together, they are required to face their pasts and determine if they are able to forgive.

I love Elizabeth Camden’s books because she is not afraid to delve into difficult topics. I greatly appreciate her detail in describing the effects of opium withdrawal and the consequences it has on others. I also really liked how the theme of forgiveness came up time and time again, all from different perspectives – those who can forgive easily, those who struggle to move past bitterness, and those who do not feel worthy to accept it. No matter your walk in life, you will find significant spiritual meaning in this story with which to connect. I also loved the characters in this book and felt drawn to each one in such a unique way. The author crafts such deep personalities among the pages. Not every aspect of the characters’ pasts is etched out in the first pages and I was excited to discover more to each character as the story progressed. Another wonderful aspect of this novel was the detail that the author put into the parts of crafting pearls from clams and the history surrounding this interesting time period. I greatly enjoyed this novel and most highly recommend it to all readers!

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