Category Archives: Book Reviews

Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

Yours Truly, Thomas book cover

Penny Ercanbeck likes her job as a clerk in the dead letter office because sometimes she comes across interesting life stories or love letters that are lost.  When a letter from man to a woman falls into her lap, she realizes that this is not an ordinary letter.  The man’s desperation and hopelessness pulls at her heartstrings and causes her to set off on an adventure to identify the missing woman and provide comfort for the man.  Her travels take her to Azure Springs, Iowa, where she meets the letter-writer and finds herself falling for him.  As secrets emerge and danger lurks, Penny must search her heart for what God is planning for her own life.

The premise of the story easily intrigued me as it was original and not like something I had read before.  Combined with the talent this author demonstrated in her debut novel last year, I was eagerly anticipating this book!  Once again, Rachel Fordham writes sweet, faith-filled romance.  I thought the story moved a little slowly and I did not feel the spark between Thomas and Penny.  The ending also wrapped up just a little too conveniently for it to be believable as well.  Nonetheless, I did enjoy the book and liked reading about the history of the dead letter office.  I liked how the story was broken up with intermittent letters, which was creative. I am definitely a fan of this author and cannot wait to see what she writes next!  I recommend this book to those who like historical romance.

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

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Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

Light from Distant Stars book cover

Cohen Marah experiences his childhood reimagined.  All the pain he saw in his past—his parents’ separation and the accident he witnessed. He befriends two children in the forest who take him on a dark adventure.  But soon Cohen’s past and present collide and he cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy.  And through it all he begins to wonder if he was in fact the man who was responsible for his father’s death.

This author writes great suspenseful fiction!  His words seem to jump off the page with their vivid descriptions.  The plot is interesting and complex, making you as the reader begin to wonder with the protagonist what is real and what is not real.  This is not my typical genre, which I would classify as science fiction, but the book pulled me in and drew me along on its journey with ease.  The Christian principles are not as obvious as other Christian fiction, but there is evidence of a Greater Being throughout the story.  There are enough gritty topics to create depth to the story as well, which also means this is probably best suited for adult audiences.  I recommend this book to those who like science fiction and are looking for a great read in that category!

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

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Celebrate Lit – More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

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About the Book

Book: More Than Words Can Say

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: May 7, 2019 More Than Words Can Say

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples. Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Witemeyer_Karen1Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

More from Karen

Settings – Real or Imagined?

One of the key decisions an author has to make before she begins to write is selecting the setting for her story. And the first choice she faces is the question of whether to use a real or imagined location. Roughly half the stories I have written are set in fictional towns. The use of a fictional setting allows an author greater freedom to manipulate the environment of her characters to fit her plot. This provides a great deal of flexibility. However, there is something special about setting a story in a real place. First, readers who are familiar with that place never fail to get excited about seeing a town they recognize in print. Second, if an author can find historical photos and documents, she can add a wonderful layer of authenticity to her setting that might otherwise be missing. Third, an author may turn up fascinating tidbits when studying the history of her setting that find their way into the story and bring a flavor the author never could have supplied on her own. This was the case as I wrote More Than Words Can Say. All of the stories in my Patchwork Family series have been set in real places. Pecan Gap, Texas for More Than Meets the Eye, Honey Grove, Texas for More Than Words Can Say, and coming this fall we’ll travel to Gainesville, Texas for the concluding novella, More Than a Pretty Face. Researching each location brought its own unique discoveries, but I have to admit that researching the small town of Honey Grove brought this history-loving girl a special level of joy. For example, there is a legend about how the town got its name that I knew needed to be incorporated into my story. Legend has it that when Davy Crockett was on his way to join the fight at the Alamo, he stopped in a grove of trees and set up camp. There were so many bees in that in letters to family and friends, he called the place a “Honey Grove.” He carved his initials into one of the trees and intended to return and settle there after the war. Unfortunately, as we know, Crockett did not survive the Alamo and therefore did not return. One of his friends, Samuel A. Erwin, later found the grove and became the first settler in 1839. Many people recall seeing the initials carved into Crockett’s bee tree even into the early 1900s, which led me to believe that this legend was based in truth. It doesn’t play a pivotal role in my story, but if you watch for it, you’ll find it mentioned. Discovering the Honey Grove Preservation League’s website proved a tremendous boon. Their online historical resources are some of the best I have ever come across. Historical photos, newspaper articles, government records—it was like stepping through a time portal every time I visited. And I visited often. Thanks to the Preservation League, I was able to mention real people and places in my novel. Places like the Commercial Hotel, the home of James Gilmer that was built during my time period, Wilkins, Wood & Patteson Dry Goods, and Dora Galbraith Patteson’s millinery shop on the east side of the town square. While Zacharias Hamilton and Reuben Sinclair are completely fictitious characters, there really was a lumberyard located on the corner of Sixth Street and Rail Road. As fiction authors are wont to do, I did take a few liberties with Honey Grove’s history. To my knowledge, there was never any city ordinance banning women from owning businesses in town, which was a key plot point in More Than Words Can Say. In addition, Mayor Chester Longfellow was a complete invention of my imagination. The true mayor of Honey Grove during this time period was J.H. Smith, a man who served in that capacity from 1888-1897. He must have been a well-loved city official to hold office for nearly a decade. I paid brief homage to him by having him step back into office when my fictitious mayor resigned. I hope you enjoy stepping back in time with me into historic Honey Grove, Texas. Zach and Abigail might not have lived there in truth, but I like to believe their tale is a representation of the many amazing love stories have taken place in that sweet little town through the years.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 15

She Lives to Read, June 15

Real World Bible Study, June 15

Carla Loves to Read, June 15

Baker kella, June 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 16

EmpowerMoms, June 16

Daysong Reflections, June 16

Through the Fire Blogs, June 17

Genesis 5020, June 17

Lighthouse Academy, June 17

Bigreadersite , June 17

Among the Reads, June 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 18

For The Love of Books, June 18

C Jane Read, June 19

Inspired By Fiction, June 19

Mary Hake, June 19

Hallie Reads, June 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20

Living Life Free in Christ, June 20

Connect in Fiction, June 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 21

Splashes of Joy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 21

Stories By Gina , June 22

Worthy2Read, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 22

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 22

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom , June 23

Vicky Sluiter, June 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 23

Wishful Endings, June 24

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Texas Book-aholic, June 24

A Baker’s Perspective, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

amandainpa , June 25

janicesbookreviews, June 25

Britt Reads Fiction, June 26

Quiet Quilter, June 26

Older & Smarter?, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 26

LifeofLiterature, June 27

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , June 27

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 27

Emily Yager, June 28

Lukewarm Tea, June 28

By The Book, June 28

The Becca Files, June 28

My Thoughts

Zacharias Hamilton might be the single most impressively kind, gruff, generous, selfless, handsome teddy bear and hero in Christian fiction!  I absolutely loved his character.  His past is flawed, sure, with previous choices outside of God’s plan, but with the help of the spunky and wonderful Abigail, he comes to realize that God’s way is truly the best way.  I enjoyed relating to the characters, which was easy to do in this story. The baking puns, quirky characters, and seamless writing style make the book well rounded and complete.  I did not want to put the book down!  And the romance was sweet and spicy, with a realistic progression of their feelings.  I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read more by this author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  The opinions of the review are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

And now… the part you’ve been waiting for… Giveaway!!

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes More Than Words Can Say, More Than Meets the Eye, and a $20 Panera Bread gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e4f4/more-than-words-can-say-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Celebrate Lit–The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

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About the Book

The Number of LoveThe Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve

Might be the Wishes of Her Own Heart

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

About the Author

Roseanna 2018Roseanna M. White 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, editing, designing book covers, 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.

 

More from Roseanna

When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”

I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant. Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.

I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way. And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.

The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers. Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman. This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.

I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?

 

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 17

Moments, June 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17

Girls Living For God’s Glory, June 17

Back Porch Reads, June 18

The Avid Reader, June 18

Stories By Gina, June 18

janicesbookreviews, June 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 19

Inspired by Fiction, June 19

Worthy2Read, June 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 19

As He Leads is Joy, June 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 20

Blossoms and Blessings, June 20

Real World Bible Study, June 21

Multifarious, June 21

Emily Yager, June 21

A Reader’s Brain, June 21

Bigreadersite, June 22

For the Love of Literature, June 22

Simple Harvest Reads, June 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

She Lives to Read, June 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 23

Just the Write Escape, June 23

Genesis 5020, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

Life of Literature, June 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 25

Just Your Average reviews, June 26

Blogging With Carol, June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Splashes of Joy, June 26

My Review

Great history, descriptive scenes, complex romance, and realistic tragedies all come together in perfect order to craft a truly delightful novel!  This book is the start of a new and exciting series by Roseanna M. White, but readers will be thrilled to find characters from her previous books intermixed among the new ones.  I like that she includes short snippets of the mindset of the villain, as I think it adds to the suspense and mystery.  Margot is the perfect strong female lead with intelligence and wit combined with her adorably oblivious attention to her own good looks.  I also really liked her friend Dot, who struggles with agoraphobia.  The romance was realistic in its timetable and its outcome.  I learned much about World War I too, and it is obvious that the author did her research.  I really loved this book and cannot wait for book two!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  The opinions of the review are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of winner’s choice of TWO signed books, Fruit and Floral Flavors Sugar Shapes, and some Roseanna M. White swag!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de86/the-number-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

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All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

All Manner of Things book cover

Annie Jacobson’s brother leaves her with a task as he departs for war in 1967—to contact their estranged father if he should not make it back.  But then Annie’s father returns home while her brother is overseas, forcing her to deal with past hurts and awkward futures.  Despite the past, however, Annie has to pull together with her father and family as they face difficult times in the midst of war.

This story is an emotional rollercoaster, taking you on a ride with tears and heartbreak.  The author does a great job creating relatable characters and I felt myself connecting with them and their feelings easily throughout the book.  The characters are not perfect, but learn and grow well throughout the book.  The topics that the author tackles are not light by any means—PTSD, grief, war, racism, and faith—but she does so with tact and respect.  I really did enjoy the novel despite the heavier topics and found myself reflecting on the story after I finished the book.  The history was also an interesting time period and the details were fascinating.  I recommend this book to those who like historical fiction.

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

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Living Lies by Natalie Walters

Living Lies book cover

Lane Kent returns to her hometown looking for hope after the death of her husband.  However, instead of hope and a fresh start, Lane finds a dead body.  She then must work with the town’s new deputy, Charlie Lynch, to discover the truth behind the murder.  As she and Charlie work to uncover secrets, Lane realizes that their digging may uncover one of her darkest secrets from her own past.

This debut book has received a lot of buzz so I was excited to read it, and it was definitely worth it! Nail-biting suspense, non-stop action, and a fast-paced plot follow two wonderfully rich and complex characters as they desperately try to find truth before it is too late.  There are spiritual messages woven among the pages that are not “preachy” in nature.  It is hard to specifically say what I loved so much about this book without giving away the best parts, but suffice it to say that this book is a must-read!  I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it! I definitely will be reading more by this author!

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

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Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey book cover

Cadie has given her boyfriend Will multiple chances to prove that he loves her as much as she loves him.  But when he fails—again—to give her the big gesture she’s looking for, she decides to dump him.  Focused on his career and making his future stable enough for marriage, Will misses the clues Cadie keeps dropping and is stunned when she decides to call it quits.  However, he is determined to win her back, convinced that Cadie is the love of his life, even if she does not realize it yet.

This is my first read by this author and it most certainly will not be my last!  Her writing style is seamless and easy to read.  I enjoyed the romance in this novel—it reminded me of a wonderful 1990s romantic comedy movie!  The characters have flaws and make a rather big mistake in the middle of the book that adds dimension and depth to their personalities and allows the plot to have some complexity.  I would not recommend this book for younger readers due to the sensitive nature of some of the romance, but I think it is perfect for adult readers!  I really liked this book and recommend it to those who love contemporary romance!

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

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