Book Review: Out of the Ashes, by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

From the Back Cover

Can the Majesty of Alaska Foster Hope and Healing for Those Who Need it Most?

After the death of their father, Collette and Jean-Michel Langelier are no longer tied to post-war France. While his sister dreams of adventure, Jean-Michel is hoping to finally escape reminders of the horrors he faced in the Great Syrian Revolt of 1925. When an unexpected invitation for them to visit Alaska and the Curry Hotel arrives, it seems the perfect opportunity.

Young widow Katherine Demarchis is also traveling to the foot of Mt. Denali with her grandmother–a last trip before she retreats into a quiet and solitary life, finally free of the dangerous husband she was forced to marry. Yet when she encounters there a Frenchman from her past, her plans for the future are thrown into question.

Both haunted by the violence of their pasts, can Katherine and Jean-Michel rediscover the bond they once had? Or, when Jean-Michel’s nightmares return with terrifying consequences, will it be impossible to heal what’s been broken for so long?

About the Authors:

Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than a dozen books. She is a wife, mother, author, and musician with a quick wit and positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. A popular speaker, she’s shared at more than 2,000 venues across the country. Kimberley and her family’s story have garnered national media attention for many years including ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, Discovery Health channel’s Mystery ER, The Hour of Power, The Harvest Show, and over 1,000 other TV appearances and radio interviews. She lives and writes in Colorado with her husband of twenty-five years and their two amazing kids.
Tracie Peterson’s love for history and research fuels the bestselling stories she writes. She is the author of more than one hundred novels and the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award. Tracie and her family live in Montana.
My Thoughts:
This was a nice second story in the The Heart of Alaska series. I enjoy Tracie and Kim’s writing. I did read (and review) the first book, and it was enjoyable to read more of the stories of the characters from the first book as well as meet new characters.
The authors paint a lovely picture with words, and one can almost see the wonderful scenery of Alaska.
The only things that I didn’t care for in the story were the struggles that the main characters had. Without giving a spoiler, they just seemed a little too much and drawn out a bit. Also there was a tiny hint of a mystery that in the end seemed to fall flat. But other than those two small issues, I liked the book.
I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
Bethany House provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review: The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, by Julie Klassen

From the Back Cover

Return to Ivy Hill as friendships deepen,romances blossom, and mysteries unfold . . .

A gentlewoman in reduced circumstances, Miss Rachel Ashford lives as a guest in Ivy Cottage. With her meager funds rapidly depleting, she is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. Her friend Jane Bell and the other village women encourage her to open a circulating library with the many books she’s inherited from her father. As villagers donate additional books and Rachel begins sorting through the volumes, she discovers mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but both find more than they bargained for.

Rachel’s hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and finds fulfillment in managing her girls school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or whom–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.

About the author:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her book, The Silent Governess, was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.
My thoughts:
Overall, I enjoyed the book. The writing was good and the story mostly engaging. I enjoy a book that shows you what life was like in another time without dragging you down with all the details.
There are a few things about the book that one might consider before reading it. First, it is the second book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series. While it could be read and enjoyed as a stand alone, I think that it would be better enjoyed read after reading the first book, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Most definitely you wouldn’t want to read the first book after the second as it is a continuation of the first.
The book also has a little bit of a slow beginning, and I was left wondering for a while what exactly, and who exactly, this book was about. There was some resolution to some of the threads at the end, but not the strong ending that I prefer, but obviously she needed to leave some things unended so that readers would want to buy the third book in the series.
I would give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.
Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review: Troubled Waters, by Susan May Warren

Troubled Waters (Montana Rescue Book #4) by [Warren, Susan May]

From the back cover:

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants–except a happy ending. Or at least that’s what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra’s relationship.

About the Author

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, and A Matter of Trust. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas.
My thoughts:
This book is quite interesting. Susan May Warren is a talented author. The story certainly was gripping and I really didn’t want to put the book down.
There were quite a few things I didn’t care for.
1. There was too much backstory. I felt that too much had happened to the characters in previous books, and not having read them, I was a little lost.
2. Too many characters. I thought the book was supposed to be about Ian and Sierra, but there were numerous other characters with very deep problems and situations that were resolved, or not…
3. This story was so unrealistic. Okay, it is fiction and it doesn’t necessarily have to be realistic, but really? Almost drowning, being stranded on a deserted island (twice), surviving a hurricane…sorry if this is a bit of a spoiler.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad book. I think it deserves 3 stars out of 5.
Revell provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review: The Lacemaker, by Laura Frantz

From the Back Cover

It is the eve of a new age of freedom in the colonies.
But can a proper English lady dare hope for her own independence?

Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson has nearly everything a lady of her position could want. Daughter of the British lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a darling of fine society in a rugged land, she is anticipating an advantageous marriage. That her betrothed is a rake and love is lacking is of little consequence–or so she tells herself.

Though her own life seems in order, colonial Williamsburg is a powder keg on the verge of exploding, and her fiancé’s cousin Noble Rynallt carries the flame of revolution in his heart. Those with connections to the British nobility are suspected as spies, and Liberty soon finds herself left with a terrible choice. Will she stay true to her English roots? Or side with Noble and the radical revolutionaries?

About the author
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, and the Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.
My thoughts:
The Lacemaker sounded like an intriguing story and I was eager to read it. I was especially excited since I live in Virginia and had been to Colonial Williamsburg many times.
Honestly, when I first started reading the story my thoughts were along the lines of “Oh no, I’ve gotten a book that I’m going to have to force myself to read”, and “This feels more like homework than pleasure reading”. The author’s flowery descriptions, and use of colonial language and expressions was almost too much for me, as was her use of words that I had never heard of, and with no explanation in the context. Here is a small example from early in the book: “Restive, they began to move away just as she sensed Mamie’s resolve crumble. In the moments the rabble had returned to the garden. Elizabeth could hear the peacocks protesting as she stepped to the back door left ajar by the mob’s exit. Many of the men who were making merry at their expense were in their cups. She’d seen gentlemen intoxicated in a slurringly genteel sort of way, but never the outright debauchery of this horde. She felt besmirched by their very presence. Not once had Papa permitted such a one over his threshold. To think these were among those promoting the cause for liberty made her shudder.”
That being said, after the first half of the book, either I got used to her style of writing or she had toned down the floweriness, but the writing seemed better. The story was actually quite good and I no longer felt it was a chore to read. In fact, I was eager to find out how the story ended.
I would give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.
Revell Books provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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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

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
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.



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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