The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Blessing book cover

During the peak of World War II, Amelia meets the love of her life, James, and gets engaged to him quickly, only to lose her new husband to the warm months later. Alone and penniless, Amelia takes her infant son Jimmy to meet his paternal grandparents. Only his grandparents do not know that he exists or that Amelia married their son. And Amelia is surprised to arrive and find that her in-laws are wealthy and privileged. She is suddenly nervous that they will not accept her or her son as she and James never had the chance to marry. Amelia must decide if she can be brave enough to make the journey, if not for herself than for the sake of her son.

Another sweet Christmas book by Melody Carlson! This short story has forgiveness, faith, love, and a dash of Christmas magic. It is a lovely story and a pleasant read. It is only 170 pages, so the characters do not have significant depth and the storyline is rushed due to the nature of its shorter plot, but overall I enjoyed the book. It is an easy read that can be accomplished in an afternoon with some tea and the fireplace nearby. I recommend this book to those who enjoy Christmas stories that leave readers with lovely, warm-hearted endings!

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

The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

The Day the Angels Fell book cover

A terrible summer causes a tragic accident and the death of a loved one. Samuel Chambers sets out on a quest to seek the Tree of Life in order to bring back his mother. He solicites the help of his best friend Abra to join him on the journey, and along the way, he meets carnival fortune-tellers and odd neighbors who introduce him to new ideas. As he ponders the theme of death and the process of dying, he learns new concepts and discovers new answers to lifelong questions.

This story is not something that I would typically pick out to read, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the distinctive storytelling and prose of this new author. His descriptions are interesting and craft a depth to the story that is appreciated and admired. The overarching themes of death and the process of dying are explored in a unique and remarkable way. The plot sweeps the reader away to another time and place.   Because the style is so different, it may take a little extra time to get into the novel, but I encourage readers to continue until the end. I look forward to more from this author.

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

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

An Inconvenient Beauty book cover

The Duke of Riverton, Griffith, is the eldest Hawthorne and uses order, logic, and control in order to succeed in his role as a Duke and in his business dealings. It makes sense to him to apply these same principles to choosing a mate. It should not matter that his choice stirs no romantic feelings whatsoever in himself—only it does matter, because her cousin, the beautiful and elusive Isabella, does stir those romantic feelings. But Isabella is complicated and independent, not at all what Griffith considers a perfect match. Isabella, meanwhile, is caught up in a family scheme, perhaps causing her to have to sacrifice all that she holds dear.

This novel is an enjoyable end to a wonderful series. It was great to finally read about Griffith and get to know his stoic personality a bit more. The characters had good depth and conflict and it was additionally fun to read about previous personalities from the other novels. Faith and love are intertwined with a charming historical setting that makes it easy to picture the scenes, the gowns, and the parties. I thought the book slowed a bit in the middle with repetitive details and the romance did not quite seem to fit like the first three books, but nonetheless I did like the characters, making this a memorable last installment. I recommend this entire series to those who love historical regency romance!

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

Pursued by Lisa Harris

Pursued book cover

Nikki Boyd is returning from vacation and could not be happier to finally be reunited with Tyler, their new relationship on the forefront of her mind. But when her plane crashes while attempting to land in Nashville, a neighboring passenger is suddenly missing and Nikki cannot shake the feeling that the stranger had something to do with the crash, except no one believes that this passenger was actually on the flight. As Nikki gets caught up into a sudden new mystery, murders and missing people abound and Nikki finds herself drawn further from Tyler. Nikki has to race against time to outsmart the rich and powerful while balancing her love life before it is too late.

I have really enjoyed this series, as each book is full of action from the first page to the last page. The villain and mystery are more predictable than the previous two stories, but the plot is still exciting. The trauma is non-stop, which makes me wonder how Nikki can withstand the pressure, but she manages to overcome her obstacles while relying on her faith. The search for Nikki’s sister continues as well in the background of the more urgent missing persons case and ties this into the previous novels, although this book could also be read as a stand-alone novel. I am excited to see how Nikki progresses with her relationship with Tyler and her search for her sister in the next book. I recommend this book and the whole series!

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