Book Review: The Sound of Rain, by Sarah Loudin Thomas

What it’s about:

Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother–and nearly his own life–in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company.

Larkin Heyward’s life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more–maybe moving to the hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together.

About the author:

Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, released August 2014. Married with one dog, she now lives in Western North Carolina, which is almost as beautiful as West Virginia.

Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency. You can visit her at http://www.SarahLoudinThomas.com.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. The author is a talented story teller who draws you in with her vivid descriptions. The setting was different than what I’m used to, but I thought it was quite interesting to learn about West Virginia and South Carolina in the 1950’s, especially with the “guest appearance” of hurricane Hazel. 🙂

The characters were maybe not as developed as I would like, but overall it was an enjoyable book.

I would give The Sound of Rain a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

Bethany House Publishers provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Too Far Down, by Mary Connealy

From the Back Cover

With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.

When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?

About the Author

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, The Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at http://www.maryconnealy.com.
My Thoughts
This book was one of the best I have ever read from Mary Connealy. And that is high praise considering I like almost everything she has written! You can’t go wrong with this book.
This is the third book in the series The Cimarron Legacy. It would probably be helpful to read the first two books before this one just to get all the background (plus, they are good books as well and you want the whole story!)
Mary had just the right combination of suspense, humor, and romance to make this an excellent read. One of my favorite quotes from the book: “I will admit that when we’re alone, I have a few notions that’d cause your Uncle Walt to shoot me dead.” “I don’t think Uncle Walt would shoot you dead. He’d probably just wing you.”
I was entertained the whole way thorough, and quite literally did not want to put the book down.
Bethany House Publishers gave me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review: Cherished Mercy, by Tracie Peterson

From the Back Cover

As Oregon Territory teeters on the brink of armed conflict, one woman strives for peace.

Mercy Flanagan survived the Whitman Massacre as a child, and now her heart’s cry is for peace between the native peoples and the white settlers inhabiting Oregon Territory. Unfortunately, most of the settlers want the tribes removed from the land completely, one way or another.

At the request of family friend Eletta Browning, who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, Mercy travels south to the Rogue River Valley to help. At the Browning Mission, she meets Eletta’s brother-in-law, Adam. Despite her attempts to befriend him, Adam seems determined to focus on ministering to the local tribes and keeps her at arm’s length. Why is he so intent on pushing her away?

When tragedy strikes and tensions in the territory reach the combustion point, Mercy is pushed to the limit of her strength. She and Adam will have to rely on their faith in God and on each other in order to make it out alive.

 

Biography

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.
My thoughts:
I realize that book reviews are purely subjective. Honestly telling what you think of a book can depend on a great many things. In my I case I know that my mood can effect how much I like a book or not.
That being said, this was probably the most disappointing Tracie Peterson book I have ever read. Tracie Peterson is by far one of my favorite authors, but this time I just didn’t like the book.
This is the third book is the series “Heart of the Frontier”. I read the second book, but not the first.
I thought this book lacked a depth of story that I usually find in Tracie’s books. This time the characters were shallow and predictable. But what bothered me the most about the book was the political correctness of the “evil white man” and the “innocent” Indians. I’m not going to get into the discussion of that part of our country’s history, but I will say that there was fault on both sides, both sides were “evil” to some degree.
Maybe that element of the story shouldn’t have bothered me so much and I should have just enjoyed the story of Mercy and Adam, but as I said earlier, my thoughts are subjective and I couldn’t find that much that I really enjoyed.
It is difficult to say but I give this book a two out of five stars.
Bethany House provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review: The Two of Us, by Victoria Bylin

From the back cover:

After two broken engagements, Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she’s focusing on God and her goal to join an international aid organization as a nurse practitioner. But when her 18-year-old sister, Lucy, calls with an invitation to her Vegas wedding, it throws a wrench into Mia’s plans.

Jake Tanner has recovered from the injuries he sustained as a police officer–on the outside. Inside, he’s yet to heal from losing his partner in the tragedy, but finds some solace in keeping an eye on her young adult son, Sam, who’s asked him to be best man at his wedding.

Mia expects a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn’t expecting Jake, who views the marriage a little differently. As Jake’s and Mia’s lives slowly become more intertwined, could his courage and her caring heart be enough to bring them a lifetime of healing?

About the Author

Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances acclaimed for their true-to-life characters and stories. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and the Reviewers’ Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. Visit her website at http://www.victoriabylin.com to find out more.
My Thoughts:
I have read and enjoyed other books by Victoria Bylin. This one was good as well.
I was entertained and kept engaged, wanting to see how it all ended.
I really liked the cover, even though I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover.
Things I didn’t care for: There was a lot going on in this book. I think she went a little too deep with too many characters. My preference is for an author to stick to the two main characters for the bulk of the story. I feel it’s less confusing and you can see more depth and get to know those characters well. I was also a little frustrated with the decision making process of the heroine. But these are just personal preferences.
I think this book is definitely worth reading. It is a good contemporary Christian romance.
I would give it a four out of five stars.
Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book for an honest review.
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Book Review: The Return, by Suzanne Woods Fisher

From the Back Cover

In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans–but then she never had to. Not until the night she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she’s developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.

Greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
My Thoughts:
This book was the third in the An Amish Beginning series. It probably would be helpful to read the other two books first. Suzanne Fisher is a fine writer and if you like history books you would probably like this book.
However, this was not a book that I particularly liked. It was quite different than my preference for historical romance. Maybe it isn’t in the category of historical romance, and it really shouldn’t be. I wasn’t sure who the heroine was in this story, and who I thought was the hero…that wasn’t clear either. Maybe if there had been a satisfactory ending that would have become clear, but sadly the ending was…not an ending. Nothing was really concluded, and I didn’t care for that.
I give this book a two out of five stars.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book for my honest review.
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Book Review: Beloved Hope, by Tracie Peterson

From the Back Cover

Shackled by Her Past, One Woman Searches for Healing, Forgiveness, and Love

Hope Flanagan survived the massacre at the Whitman Mission, but at terrible personal cost. Safe now in Oregon City, the gentle rhythm of tending her family’s flock of sheep is slowly healing her mind and soul, but her precarious new peace is shattered when Hope is asked to testify against the Cayuse responsible for the massacre. She’s not sure she can bear to relive the events of those horrific days, but neither can she risk her attackers being released if she doesn’t tell her story.

As Hope struggles to make her choice, an Army lieutenant named Lance Kenner becomes an unexpected ray of light in her life. Perhaps she is still capable of love after all. But will Lance still want her if he learns the whole truth of what happened to her at the mission? Or are the secrets that lie in his own past more troubling?

About the Author

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

My thoughts

Tracie Peterson does it again. This is an excellent book filled with the struggles of two people with difficult pasts. They learn to except the will of God and move on with their lives. And of course we have the satisfyingly sweet romance.

I didn’t read the first book in the series (yet), but I didn’t feel lost. The author fills in the needed background information smoothly, and without a feeling of background overload.

I would give this book a five out of five stars.

Bethany House provided me a copy of this book for an honest review.

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Book Review: High as the Heavens, by Kate Breslin

From the Back Cover

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a café . . . or so it seems. Eve’s most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plane crashes as she’s en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

About the Author

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at http://www.katebreslin.com.
My Thoughts
I thought this book was quite good. It is a historical romance set in the WWI era. The story takes place in Europe. The characters are very intriguing and the story moves at a good pace.
I hadn’t read anything by this author before so I didn’t know what to expect. There was just the right balance of romance, suspense, and historical detail to keep me turning the pages.
The only thing that I didn’t really care for was the jump from present to past and back again several times. I thought it was just a little confusing at times.
I would recommend this book if you enjoy historical romance, particularly if you are interested in WWI.
I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Bethany House Publishers provided me with a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
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