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 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 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
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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Book Review: True to You, by Becky Wade

From the Back Cover

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry.

John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

About the Author

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, took time off to raise her children, then felt God nudging her to pursue contemporary Christian fiction. Becky is the Carol Award-, INSPY Award-, and International Reader’s Choice Award-winning author of the Porter Family Novels. Learn more at
My thoughts:
I liked this book. I’m a Becky Wade fan anyway, so I’m sure that should be taken into consideration when reading my review.
I like Becky’s style of writing. Her characters are rich and life like. The story draws you in and you truly don’t want it too end. There were a few plot twists that I didn’t see coming and that made it even better.
This is the first in the series and I am excited to read the upcoming books.
Okay, I have to say the one negative thing about this book that really bothered me…the cover. Why did they have to cut the top of her head off? Why not cut off her feet instead?
But really…I didn’t judge the book by it’s cover. The book was good.
I would give this a five out of five stars.
Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book for an honest review.
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Book Review: Trusting Grace, by Maggie Brendan

From the Back Cover

With a farm to run, can a widow possibly hope for new love?

All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband’s farm until she places an ad for a hired hand.

Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.

Get swept away into Montana’s lush Gallatin Valley, nestled among towering mountains and proud pines, in this emotional story.

About the Author

Maggie Brendan is the CBA best-selling author of the Heart of the West series and the Blue Willow Brides series, as well as The Trouble with Patience. Her books have received the Book Buyers Best Award from the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America and the Laurel Wreath Award. She lives in Georgia.
My thoughts
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a sweet romance set in the mid-1860s in Montana Territory. I thought the characters were interesting, the story was easy to follow, and it had some intriguing plot points.
I wouldn’t say that this book was gripping, or that I “couldn’t put it down”. I didn’t realize that it was the third book in a series until I was finished reading, so that obviously didn’t effect the story at all the way some books in a series can be hard to follow if you haven’t read the other books.
I would say this was a nice book and I would recommend it to people, but it wasn’t a book that I got excited about. A few times I thought the writing was a little choppy, but it didn’t distract from the overall enjoyment.
I would give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.
I received a copy of the book from Revell in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Review: The Chapel Car Bride, by Judith Miller

From the Back Cover

After a sheltered life in Pittsburgh, Hope Irvine is ready for a new adventure. When her father takes a position as a preacher in a railroad car converted into a traveling church, she’s thrilled at the chance to accompany him. While accommodations in their new chapel car home are tight, Hope couldn’t be happier putting her musical skills to good use and ministering to the people of West Virginia alongside her father. But when their chapel car arrives in Finch, West Virginia, they find a coal mining community that has hit hard times and is suspicious of outsiders.

Luke Hughes works for the coal mine when he can, but the struggling company doesn’t always offer steady work. When Reverend Irvine and Hope arrive in town, Luke is intrigued by what the reverend can teach him–and by the lovely and kind Hope.

When Hope’s desire to bring supplies and Sunday school classes to neighboring counties leads to her traveling with a flirtatious young mine manager, Luke is hard-pressed to suppress his jealousy. But when he begins to suspect the manager’s motives are less than charitable, can he prove it without hurting Hope, or worse, putting her in danger?

About the Author

Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy makes her home in Topeka, Kansas. Learn more at
My Thoughts:
I generally enjoy doing book reviews, I guess because I usually enjoy the books that I get from Bethany House. This time…not so much.  😦
I thought this story by Judith Miller had the potential to be good and quite captivating. The history was intriguing. I had never heard of Chapel Car churches before. I also think  the setting of the story was interesting, the hills of West Virginia in the early 1900s, with coal miners and bootleggers. But the story was a disappointment.
What I typically like about romance stories is the tension or conflicts between the main characters. There is some obstacle that each of them need to overcome, or some issue from the past that they need to deal with before they can truly pursue a relationship with the other person. This story? Nothing. It was kind of flat and one dimensional.
The author didn’t have any issues that the characters needed to overcome until the last few chapters. I almost felt it was an afterthought.
Okay, one last point while I’m complaining…the title of the book. The Chapel Car Bride? That was a bit deceiving since (spoiler alert), they didn’t get married until the last page!
I would give this book 2 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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