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.

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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.

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Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon

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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.

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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.

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A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

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Lydia Crawford follows her love to Cimarron Creek, Texas, from central New York, but she is not expecting the hostility she discovers towards Northerners in the Deep South. Even more of a shock is when Lydia arrives in Texas, expecting to be excitedly reunited with her fiancé, only to learn that not only has he disappeared, but also he has left a pregnant wife in his wake. Disappointed but uncertain where else to go, Lydia is grateful to befriend the wealthy and enigmatic Aunt Bertha, who takes Lydia under her wing without question and coaxes her to open a candy shop, convinced that fudge and other treats will sweeten the attitude of the townspeople towards Lydia. But when items began disappearing from the town’s shops and secrets abound, Lydia once again faces hostility from her neighbors, who suspect she may be the culprit.

This novel has a mix of romance, mystery, betrayal, suspense, and Biblical themes. I thought that the beginning was a little slow. I also was grateful for the genealogy chart in the front of the book as there were a lot of names introduced in the first few chapters, but once I was able to get into the story a little more, I found it was enjoyable. I liked that not every part was predictable and there was a bit of mystery sprinkled throughout. I thought some of the parts seemed unrealistic and worked out a little too perfectly, and I found it a little difficult to connect with the characters for this reason, but nonetheless the storyline is interesting. I am looking forward to hopefully delving deeper into their lives in books 2 and 3!

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

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A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

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Rebekah Carrington has the talent and class of a master violinist but there is one problem—she is a female in 1871 Nashville, Tennessee, where women are considered far too delicate for the rigors of an orchestra. After a tense situation causes Rebekah to leave home, she attempts to audition for the Nashville Philharmonic to earn money, only to discover that the new conductor, Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb, agrees with the public’s opinion of female musicians. Meanwhile, Tate is focused on completing his symphony before a deadline, attempting to concentrate his attention on music despite his father’s health rapidly declining. He is initially frustrated by Rebekah’s tenacity, but then he finds himself drawn to her quiet strength. As Tate and Rebekah are forced to work together on a project, Tate tries to earn Rebekah’s trust despite her animosity towards his traditional views on orchestra players.

It is easy to fall in love with Tamera Alexander’s stories because she crafts such rich depth to her characters. I absolutely adored Rebekah in this novel. She is tenacious, she is resilient, she is strong, she has gumption—she has a quiet strength that allows her to pick up the pieces of her broken past and forge ahead, throwing her entire being into her passion for music despite society’s limitations. I could feel the emotions of the characters in the pages and almost hear the impact of the music among the storyline. I loved the surprising twists in the novel and the realistic hardships that the characters had to overcome. It is difficult to book the book down, as every part of the plot is engaging and fascinating. It is definitely a must read and I highly recommend it!

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

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Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

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Andi Hollister’s sister was murdered eighteen years ago and the convicted killer’s execution is only days away when a sudden event causes Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit to reopen the case. Andi wants nothing more than to close the door on her sister’s death, but she cannot ignore new evidence that may reveal the wrong individual was condemned. It becomes even more deadly, however, when the investigation begins to connect to other more recent murders and untangle a web of intrigue, danger, and suspense. Andi and Will must race against the clock to find the real murderer before it is too late.

This story has action and suspense from page one and was definitely an exciting read. I enjoyed the plotline and thought the twists and turns were unexpected and complex. I also appreciated how the author incorporated an interesting subplot and perspective on drug addiction. My one critique is that the storyline focused on the action at the expense of character and romantic development. I thought the romance was choppy and I did not get to know the characters as well as I had wanted, especially since there were quite a few introduced at the beginning. Nevertheless, the plot itself is worth reading and will keep you guessing until the very end!

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

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