Category Archives: Book Reviews

All This Time by Melissa Tagg

All This Time book cover

Bear McKinley sacrificed everything for his family ten years ago before leaving for Brazil to perform noble work. But when he finds himself back home again in Maple Valley, he is once again charged with caring for his family, this time for his missing brother’s children. He reconnects with Raegan, his childhood friend. Raegan had been fine with her part-time jobs and home life until Bear comes back to town and disrupts her life while also instilling her love of art once more. But as Bear finally begins to settle in at Maple Valley, his brother’s mystery begins to cause danger and strife once again. Raegan and Bear must work together to save their family and their town.

I have loved all of Melissa Tagg’s books and especially this series set in Maple Valley. The town has worked its way into my heart and makes me feel as if I can picture its storefronts and its residents with its descriptive scenes. This story has its own unique plot that has realistic, applicable spiritual truths. The author captivates me with memorable characters, full of wit and humor but also broken and in the process of healing, with deep spiritual struggles and growth. I really liked Bear and Raegan individually, but together they are wonderful! These are not merely good books, but remarkable novels that stick with you for some time. I am happy to put this book on the shelf to read over and over again and recommend it highly to all readers!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling

The Promise of Dawn book cover

Rune and Signe Carlson take a leap of faith and move their family across the ocean from Norway to America in hopes of a better life by accepting an offer from Signe’s uncle to work on their farm. Signe is hesitant for the journey and the life of the unknown, but she trusts her husband’s promises of open, free land and better opportunities. However, upon arrival to Minnesota, Signe’s optimistic expectations are dashed when she encounters a sourly aunt and uncle and lots more work than she planned. As her hope of a better life begins to fade, Signe also finds herself struggling with her faith in God. It may take tragedy and strength to draw her back to her dreams and her Savior.

Lauraine Snelling always does a great job of in-depth research of historical facts and lives and this novel is no exception. The descriptive scenes allow me to easily visualize the life the Signe must have endured as a young Norwegian immigrant. Although the list of daily chores and activities at times overshadows the storyline and slows it down, I nonetheless enjoyed reading about their lives and circumstances. The characters face realistic trials that strengthen them and allow me to connect with their growth in faith. I look forward to more stories in the series and recommend this first installment in the new saga!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Return book cover

Betsy Zook feels like her life is coming together—she has a wonderful family, beautiful looks, and the attentions of the handsome and devoted Hans. But her life is suddenly changed forever when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid and removed from all she holds dear. She is stunned to meet a comfort during her captivity, a native who encourages her to seek God despite her circumstances. Tessa Bauer is jealous of Betsy’s perfect life and particularly envious of Hans’ devoted attention. When Betsy is taken captive, she is ashamed but thrilled when Hans turns to her for comfort. She overlooks Hans’ simmering anger as she grows closer to Hans during Betsy’s absence. Inspired by true events, Betsy and Tessa maneuver life in prerevolutionary Pennsylvania among the Amish and the Native Americans, growing and maturing in ways they had never imagined.

I have mentioned before on my blog that I am not a big reader of Amish fiction, but I have immensely enjoyed this series Amish Beginnings by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I particularly liked this third installment and think it is my favorite of the series. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried—often—during this novel. The author does a phenomenal job of crafting deep emotions that encourages the reader to feel the same feelings as the characters. I loved Betsy and admired her strength and ability to overcome her circumstances. Even though Tessa made mistakes and errors, her actions are not unlike shameful sins I too have performed, allowing me to connect with her as well. I also find it fascinating that many of the events in the novel are based on true events, a testament to the author’s ability to perform research of interesting history. Not everything works out perfectly in the end (although the story does have a good conclusion), which I always find to be a more honest and relatable way to write books. It is not necessary to read the first two books to understand this third one, but I do encourage readers to also give those books a try. I truly cannot recommend this novel enough, even for those who do not consider themselves fans of Amish fiction.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews