Book Review: When Tides Turn, by Sarah Sundin

From the Back Cover

In a time of war, sometimes battles take place in the heart.

Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy’s newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.
Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.
But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?
About the Author
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm, as well as the Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force. Sarah lives in California. Visit http://www.sarahsundin.com for more information.
My Thoughts
Sarah Sundin is a talented author. I have read a few of her other books and thoroughly enjoyed them. This book, When Tides Turn, is the third book in a series, Waves of Freedom. I have to be honest and say that I have not read the first two books and that may have played a part in how much I enjoyed this particular book.
Things I didn’t like: (Let’s get this short list out of the way first. :)) I didn’t care for all the military references and abbreviations. I’m not from a military family and all the letters like ASWU, TBF, etc., were a little distracting for me. Also, there were a lot of minor characters in the book and that made it a little confusing at time. The “suspense” or “mystery” part of the story seemed a little forced also. I felt that it was kind of added into the story just so the publisher could say it had it.
Things I did like: I liked the story. I liked the historical part being blended into the overall story. I can tell that Sarah did a lot of research and tried to be accurate. The characters were well developed and I could see their growth through the book. The book was well paced and I didn’t feel like it dragged on, but it kept my attention and ended well. In fact I liked it more and more as I read it.
I would give this book a four out of five stars. Revell furnished me with a copy of this book for an honest review.
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Book Review: In the Shadow of Denali, by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

From the Back Cover

Their Future Depends on Unlocking the Secrets the Mountain Holds From the Past

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel near the foot of Mount McKinley–Denali as it’s still called by the natives. John is the wilderness and exploration guide for the wealthy tourists while Cassidy works in the kitchen as Cook’s assistant. The entire staff buzzes with excitement during the busy days preparing for the President’s imminent visit. His historic trip to dedicate the new national park on his way to driving in the golden spike to officially complete the Alaska Railroad will be the beginning of a new era for all of them and place The Curry at the heart of Alaska.

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice to the seasoned Alaska mountain guide, with hopes of discovering the truth about his father’s death on the mountain years earlier. His father’s business partner blames the guide for Henry Brennan’s untimely death, but Allan cannot be at peace until he knows for sure. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

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 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.

This story had all the elements of a truly enjoyable book. It is Christian historical romance at its finest.

If you are at all interested in the history of the great state of Alaska, this book is for you. Not only do Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse give some history of the state of Alaska, but they also wrap it all up in a wonderful fiction package.

This book has adventure, intrigue, romance, and picture-painting description. I highly recommend this book. As you can see, I am very excited to read the next book in the series.

If you can’t tell, I really like this book. Tracie Peterson is one of my favorite authors. I think I am ready for another trip to Alaska!

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. Bethany House gave me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

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Book Review: Fatal Frost, by Nancy Mehl

From the Back Cover

Following in her absentee father’s footsteps in a law enforcement career, U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan has just recovered from being shot in the line of duty. And, unbeknownst to her, her father’s recent reappearance in her life has put her in the sights of St. Louis’s most powerful gang. Her boss assigns Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark St. Laurent–Mercy’s ex-boyfriend–to get her out of town until her safety can be guaranteed.

Unaware of the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark, it isn’t until a freak ice storm strands them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy to put them in great danger. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive–if help is even coming at all?

“An out-of-control roller coaster of a romantic suspense novel! The first book in the Defenders of Justice series has something for every fan of the genre. . . . The characters are smart, cunning and know how to use their wits to get them out of tight situations. The plot is fast paced and is not standard or run of the mill. Nancy Mehl has raised the bar with her new series.”–RT Book Reviews

“Mehl has stepped up her writing skills with characters so believable that readers may find themselves praying for them.”–CBA Christian Market

About the Author

Nancy Mehl is the author of 22 books, including the Road to Kingdom and Finding Sanctuary series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. Visit http://www.nancymehl.com to learn more.

My thoughts:

Let me start by saying that this is not one of my favorite genres. I watch a lot of police drama television shows with my husband, so when I read books that is not my “go to” genre. I prefer romance and historical type stories.

That being said, I do have some things to say about the story. I really thought it was kind of predictable. I didn’t feel like it was very suspenseful. The ending was a bit of a disappointment. The plot was resolved as far as the police drama part, but the relational part between the two main characters was not. That didn’t make for a satisfying conclusion for me. This book is the first in the series, so I guess that is why she ended it the way she did.

The mechanics of the actual writing was good, and if you like this type of story I would say you should read it.

I would give Fatal Frost three out of five stars. Bethany House publishers provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Waves of Mercy, by Lynn Austin

From the Back Cover
Haunted by the Unknowns of Their Pasts, Two Women Search for Answers Along the Shores of Lake Michigan

Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiancé. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.

Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial anniversary of the town’s settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.

Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.

My Thoughts:
This was an intriguing story. It was historical and captivating. It was almost two stories in one and it came to a satisfying conclusion.
This wasn’t an outstanding book but it kept my attention and I enjoyed it for the most part. The one issue I had was only an opinion but I must say that it effected my review. That issue was that I would disagree on the author’s view on the reason for the Civil War.
I would give this book a four out of five stars.
Bethany House provided me a copy of this book for my honest review. This opinion is mine alone.

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Book Review: Where Hope Prevails, by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan

From the Back Cover
She leans forward for her first glimpse of the little mountain town that has captured her heart, but something has changed.

Elizabeth Thatcher’s highly anticipated return to her beloved Coal Valley after a long summer with her family back east is filled with surprises . . . and not all of them good ones, in her estimation. Maybe the worst one of all relates to her treasured students. Can she adapt and learn to cope with this enormous change?

Her Mountie, Jarrick Thornton, hasn’t yet proposed, but she already knows what her answer will be. His duties take him away from the valley much too often, in her view, but the two of them, with patience and understanding–and one significant misunderstanding–are learning to know each other better.

The dark cloud looming on the horizon in Beth’s mind, though, is filled with questions about where their future might take them. As a member of the RCMP, Jarrick is stationed wherever his superiors send him . . . but what about her teaching position in Coal Valley?

Beth attempts to do her best with each obstacle she faces, but does she rightly assess each situation as it surfaces? Good intentions don’t always lead to good results. . . .
About the author
Janette Oke (pronounced ‘oak’) pioneered inspirational fiction and is the leading author in the category today. Love Comes Softly, her first novel, has sold over one million copies. Janette is now the bestselling author of over 70 books, 32 of which have been translated into fourteen languages. Her books have sold over 22 million copies.
Janette receives fan mail from all over the world and answers each letter personally. She received the 1992 President’s Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, the 1999 CBA Life Impact Award and has been awarded the Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, have four grown children and enjoy their many grandchildren. They make their home in Canada.

My thoughts:
What’s not to like about Janette Oke? She was one of the first Christian romance authors that I ever read and I enjoyed all of her books.
Where Hope Prevails didn’t disappoint me at all. I was immediately pulled into the story and I didn’t want to stop reading. The only thing that I could say in the negative was that I wish I had read the first two books in the trilogy first! This is a must read for all Janette Oke fans and fan-wannabes.
Bethany House provided a copy of this book to me for an honest review.

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Book Review: No Way Up, by Mary Connealy

From the Back Cover
The Fight for the Cimarron Ranch Has Just Begun!
When Cimarron Ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, only the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Before leaving by train to receive treatment to save his leg–and possibly his life–Chance demands that Heath read the patriarch’s will and see its conditions enforced immediately. If Chance’s three bickering adult children, Justin, Sadie, and Cole, don’t live and work at the ranch for an entire year, ownership of the ranch will pass to a despised distant relative.
Before long, however, Heath discovers that the avalanche may have been intentionally set–and that more danger lurks ominously. Finding his own future–and a desired future with Sadie–locked up in saving the Cimarron Ranch, Heath and the Boden siblings must work together against outside forces that threaten them all.
“Connealy provides us with another amazing, fast-paced, suspenseful read.”–“RT Book Reviews”
About the Author
Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has over half a million books sold. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, 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:

I am a fan of Mary Connealy and I enjoy her writing style and her humor. Usually. This book was not what I was used to in this author’s writing. The character interaction and struggles between the hero and heroine was just not there. I felt like the main story was on the history of the New Mexico Territory and the intrigue behind the Boden family land. My preference is more romance and personal issues between the main characters, and a definite, satisfying ending, even with a first book in a series. I didn’t feel that I got that with this book. But that is just my preference.
If you are looking for a broader story line, with rich historical details and a bit of suspense, then this would be a good read for you. I would highly recommend other books by Mary as well.
I would give this book a 3.5 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: A Haven on Orchard Lane, by Lawana Blackwell

A haven on orchard lane

From the Back Cover
An urgent escape . . . a wounded heart . . .
Will Charlotte find the solace she longs for at the cottage on Orchard Lane?

Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career–only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte’s estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother’s rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she’s happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it’s time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn’t there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions–ones that jeopardize those they care about most.

Beloved Author Lawana Blackwell Returns With a Charming and Memorable Tale!

“Subtly smart wit and gentle wisdom grace each chapter in this long-anticipated novel from beloved author Blackwell. Under her talented pen, each word richly placed, the Victorian setting flourishes and the characters breathe with vibrant life…Well worth the wait, this story–the characters, the setting, the dialogue–reminds us why Blackwell’s voice was so deservedly missed.”–RT Book Reviews Top Pick

“A beautiful Victorian tale of hope and redemption. Charming, engaging characters and a small-town coziness result in a delightful novel that warms the heart. Fans of Julie Klassen, Jane Austen, and Kate Morton will be enthralled.”–Library Journal starred review

“Set in Victorian England, this novel is one that readers of Jane Austen and Julie Klassen will love. The theme of God’s provision runs throughout this sweet tale of love and forgiveness.”–CBA Retailers+Resources
About the Author
Lawana Blackwell has thirteen published novels to her credit, many of them set in the English countryside of the nineteenth century. She and her husband live in Frisco, Texas.

Historical fiction. One of my favorite genres. I guess I should say, when it is written “right”, meaning the way I like it.
Historical fiction can be written one of three ways. 1. Like a history lesson with a little fiction thrown in. 2. Heavy on the fiction with the only historical part being the setting. 3. A nice balance of history and well-written fiction.
This book is definitely in the third group. Lawana Blackwell brings her characters to life England in the 1880’s. I have read other books by Lawana Blackwell and have enjoyed them all.
I give this book a five out of five stars. If you are ready for an escape from this time and place, read it.
Bethany House Publishers provided this book to me for an honest review.

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