Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

The Sky Above Us book cover

Violet Lindstrom, serving with the American Red Cross, is sent overseas to Britain to help with programs for the local children as well as the men of the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943.  She is hoping that her experience will help her with her future goal of becoming a medical missionary to Africa like her great aunt and great uncle.  She meets Lieutenant Adler Paxton, a pilot with ambitious goals of being an ace.  He struggles to manage the skies over France before the D-day invasion.  As he and Violet work side by side, their past secrets are brought to light and may affect their relationship forever.

I enjoyed the history and storyline of this book.  Sarah Sundin always does such a great job of researching the time period and the specifics of the military to give a detailed backdrop to an interesting plot. The characters are flawed and relatable but through journeys of faith and maturing, they are transformed with God’s grace and forgiveness.  It is not absolutely necessary to read the first book in this series to enjoy this one, but it does give you some background information.  I am looking forward to the next book!

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

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Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard

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Willow Anderson uses her career as a forensic genealogist to pursue answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than two decades ago.  As she comes closer to the truth, someone does not want her discovering all the answers and begins to threaten and endanger her life.  She turns to a previous crush and ex-FBI agent, Austin McKade, who is eager to help her and work closely with her.  Old love and tender emotions flare up as they race against the clock to solve the mystery before it is too late.

This book has nonstop action from the beginning to the end as the story unfolds and twists and turns unexpectedly.  The action slows down briefly at moments to develop the interesting characters and allow their romance to blossom.  There is even room for faith based principles of honesty and forgiveness.  This is my first book by this author and I am eager to read more by her!  She has a gift for story telling and her words grab you and do not let go.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

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

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Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Luke Schrock returns to Stoney Ridge after rehab, determined to apologize for his past behaviors to those in his hometown that he hurt.  He is not well received or trusted, however, causing him to be forced to face further consequences of his past actions.  He meets Izzy Miller, also boarding at Windmill Farm, and hopes to befriend her. But Izzy remains uninterested, despite Luke’s best efforts.  So in a dramatic and grand gesture, he attempts to locate her mother, only to find answers that no one was expecting.

Once again, this author pens a story that draws you into the story with its detailed descriptions and scenes.  This novel has interesting characters that are interesting, some of which (like Uncle Hank), add humor to the story.  There is a mystery that does not make the plot predictable and adds unexpected twists and turns.  It has pieces of redemption and faith intertwined among the storyline.  I am looking forward to the rest of the series and recommend this book to those who enjoy Amish fiction!

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

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A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

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Eloise Drake is a successful account in New York City in 1908, a job for which she has worked hard and is very proud.  She is attracted to stability and numbers and therefore finds herself drawn to her stoic and levelheaded boss.  Recognizing her talents, her boss tasks her with analyzing the value of homes in Duval Springs before the city destroys it to create a reservoir for clean water. But Eloise is dreading this assignment because it means returning to the town that she spent many childhood summers and seeing once again the spontaneous and adventurous Alex, her young crush.  Alex is determined to save his town and will do anything to make it happen, even if it means clashing with the girl he once loved—a girl that he again finds himself falling in love.

What a great ending to a great series!  Elizabeth Camden always does such a wonderful job of crafting characters with complex personalities and great depth, and this novel is no exception.  I liked the interactions between Alex and Eloise and that their friendship and relationship was not entirely predictable.  It was fascinating to read about the building of a reservoir at the turn of the twentieth century and I felt myself drawn into the well-researched history and the emotions of the fictional characters. The storyline flowed well and it was easy to enjoy this fabulous novel!  Although it is not necessary to read this series in order, it is fun to read about previous characters in this book.  I highly recommend this novel!

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

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The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

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In 1908, Thea arrives to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in hopes of uncovering why her mother left her at an orphanage when she was young.  She discovers a secretive asylum tucked into the woods and is able to gain entrance with groundskeeper Simeon and her postmortem photography skills. But as she unearths ghosts and the tale of Misty Wayfair, Thea learns that there may be more than meets the eye. More than a century later, Heidi also travels to Pleasant Valley after she receives a plea from her mother fighting dementia.  Heidi also exposes family secrets of ghosts and soon she finds herself on a journey involving Misty Wayfair and events that cause her to fear her own life.

What an exciting book! The opening line, “melancholy was a condition of the spirit and soul, but also of the mind,” draws you in with its eerie mystery immediately and the grip of the words does not let up until the last page.  This book has ghost like suspense that left me with heart pounding and eyes scanning to find solutions to the supernatural.  I love Jaime Jo Wright’s writing as it is packed with details that allow me to really envision each scene and imagine the thrilling events.  She has such a unique gift!  The characters are rich in depth with imperfections and struggles that are realistic and relatable.  Jaime Jo tackles difficult social topics in this book, including but certainly not limited to, autism and its effects on loved ones, depression and anxiety and its misconceptions, childhood trauma and its psychological aftereffects, and the treatment of the mentally ill in the early 20thcentury. What a phenomenal read!  I could hardly put the book down and stayed up much too late on several evenings to finish it (really, my only complaint here is the lack of sleep I had while reading, ha!).  The central theme of identity is clearly woven so uniquely throughout and ultimately draws on the Christian principle of identity in Christ.  I did not used to like split time novels, but Jaime Jo has a special gift to craft books that weave together a story that comes together into a well-structured and satisfying ending, and has definitely made me a fan of these books.  I truly loved this book and cannot wait to see what she pens next!  Most highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers/Jaime Jo Wright in exchange for an honest review.        5/5

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We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

we hope for better things book cover

Elizabeth Balsam is hesitant when she is asked to deliver a mysterious box of photos to an old relative, but when circumstances at her job give her free time, she decides to take a break from the city and join her great aunt at her rural home outside of Detroit.  While rummaging through Nora’s house, Elizabeth finds connections to the turbulent racial tensions of the 1960s and 70s in Detroit and the 1860s Civil War.  The further Elizabeth digs, the more she discovers secrets from her family’s past that may alter her future.

This book is such a unique time split novel, giving readers detailed glimpses into the racial tensions of three critical social eras—the height of the Civil War, the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, and modern society.  Each timeline is crafted with great research from the time period and allows readers to get a personalized glimpse of the effects of racism in America. There were moments when the attitudes of some of the characters made me uncomfortable and I found myself asking if that was because I too harbored some deep, quiet thoughts that were not God-honoring, giving me insight that passive ignorance is as dangerous as outright racism. It was so interesting to see how attitudes may not have entirely changed despite 150 years of attempted progress. The history was very interesting and well researched.  I love books that make me think and this novel does that with its questions and its conflicts.  I enjoyed the characters and appreciated that their stories felt realistic, not entirely ending with everything tied up in a neat little bow.  I greatly enjoyed this debut book by this author and look forward to many more wonderful reads by her!  I most highly recommend this novel!

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

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The Lieutenant’s Bargain by Regina Jennings

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Lieutenant Jack Hennessey is tasked with approaching the Arapaho tribe to negotiate the safe transfer of Hattie Walker, a childhood friend who is attacked while traveling by stagecoach to Denver.  Hattie is determined to prove to her parents that she is not ready to settle down and marry; instead, she strikes a deal with them to allow her to paint for several months before returning home.  However, her detour with the attack and rescue delays her plans, which are delayed yet again when a communication error with the Arapaho force her to spend more time at Fort Reno with the handsome Lieutenant.

I really enjoyed this book! The story has spunky characters, fun dialogue, real faith, and sprinkles of surprises and danger to make an interesting read.  I enjoyed the history associated with the setting and the interactions with the neighboring Indians.  The plot flowed well and was easy to read.  I liked the conflicts and flaws that made the characters more realistic. You do not have to read the first book to enjoy this one, although I do recommend both of them and I look forward to the next book in the series!

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

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