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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Book Review: Her One and Only, by Becky Wade

From the Back Cover
“Filled with genuine emotion and overflowing with positive examples of faith, the story captures the imagination while warming the heart.”–Publishers Weekly starred review of A Love Like Ours

After ten years in the NFL, superstar Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt–none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she’s determined to find Gray’s stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they’ll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives–and their hearts–to one another

“Down-to-earth, in-depth characters give the story an authentic feel. Dru, being the youngest Porter, is headstrong and sympathetic, and when she matches wits with Gray, their connection is as electric as their budding romance is sweet. A delightful read.”–RT Book Reviews

“Inspirational-fiction fans can jump into the Porter world at any point and enjoy Wade’s tales of heart and spirit. This is a must-read for anyone testing the balance between autonomy and faith.”–Booklist

“Romance readers will find this a satisfying conclusion to the Porter Family series.”–Christian Retailers + Resources
About the Author
Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at http://www.beckywade.com.

My thoughts:

I was very excited to see Becky Wade’s book as one of my choices for doing a book review for Bethany House Publishers. Ever since I read “A Love Like Ours”, I became a Becky Wade fan. She has three books about the three Porter brothers, and this is the book about the little sister Dru.
Becky is a good writer and she kept me entertained from cover to cover. This was a suspense and romance combined and I didn’t want it to end.
I liked this line so much I actually stuck a sticky note in that page so I could quote it in my review.
Talking about Dru kissing Gray, “She only knew that it felt like a glorious storm–lightning and soft rain and sweet wind–caught in a bottle.” Wow.
So…go get Becky’s books. All. Of. Them. But especially Her One and Only. I just saw that it is on sale on Amazon. And…go.
I give this book 5 stars. Bethany House Publishers gave me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: The Midwife’s Dilemma, by Delia Parr

the midwifes dilemma

From the Back Cover

Praise for the At Home in Trinity series!

“The talented Parr has captured the realities of life in the early years of the country, writing a beautiful homage to the midwife, one of the unsung heroes in history. Martha’s passion for her calling shines through the pages.”–Booklist starred review of The Midwife’s Choice

“Fans of Jan Karon’s Mitford series should love Parr’s work.”–Philadelphia Inquirer on The Midwife’s Tale

A Season of Change Brings Uncertainty
But Also the Promise of Even Better Things to Come

Midwife Martha Cade has made up her mind. When Mayor Thomas Dillon returns in February, she is finally going to marry him. Unfortunately, that’s the only decision in life in which she feels confident these days. Everything else around her feels like it’s changing too fast–from her daughter’s obvious affection for the town’s young doctor to Martha’s growing realization she’ll soon need to pass on her role as midwife to someone younger. Even her beloved town of Trinity seems to be changing daily.

It is a season that will set the course for the rest of her life. Martha will need every ounce of confidence, courage, and faith she possesses to overcome the obstacles that will no doubt arise to make the changes in her life far more challenging and difficult than she can dare to imagine.

“Parr’s splendidly wrought details of life in the 1830s, as well as her vivid descriptions of the life of a midwife, stir the reader’s imagination and compassion. With this stellar novel, Parr neatly concludes her excellent At Home in Trinity trilogy.”Booklist starred review

“Parr’s splendidly wrought details of life in the 1830s, as well as her vivid descriptions of the life of a midwife, stir the reader’s imagination and compassion. With this stellar novel, Parr neatly concludes her excellent At Home in Trinity trilogy.”–Booklist starred review

About the Author

Delia Parr is the author of seventeen historical and inspirational historical romance novels, including Hearts Awakening, Love’s First Bloom, and Hidden Affections. The mother of three grown children, she was a long-time high school teacher in southern New Jersey before retiring to Florida.
My Thoughts:
Two things I have to confess before I offer my thoughts on this book.
1. This is the third book in the series “At Home in Trinity”, and I have not read the first two.
2. I was a little grumpy when I started reading the book.
Okay, now that I have been honest about how things started out with reading this book for a review, I can write my review. 🙂
I was a little annoyed that there was so much backstory at the beginning. I think it was a little much and my preference would have been for a little less, but if you had not read the first two books, (like me) it was somewhat helpful. But if you had read the first books it might have been a little repetitious and boring.
I was also a little annoyed by the whole “dilemma” that the main character faced. Without giving away the story, it just seemed a little ridiculous to me. She just needed to have some faith in her true love and in God, and all the little details would work out. But please keep in mind my aforementioned grumpiness. 🙂
Over all it was a well-written story and I enjoyed in once I got past the backstory issues. There were elements of the story that I appreciated very much. The author was very descriptive and I enjoyed her style of writing.
I would probably recommend reading the first two books in the series before this one to get the greatest enjoyment.
I would give this book a four out of five stars.
Bethany House Publishers provided me this copy of the book for my honest review.
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Book Review: A Treasure Concealed, by Tracie Peterson

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What it’s about:

Emily Carver wants a home where she can put down roots instead of following her gold-hungry father from one mining camp to another. She also longs for tenderness and love, both of which are missing in her life. Yet when she realizes she’s losing her heart to the intriguing new man in camp, she fiercely fights her feelings, afraid that love will only result in disappointment and heartache.

Caeden Thibault, a young geologist, comes to Montana to catalog minerals indigenous to the state. He’s a serious and guarded young man trying to escape the pain of his past. He has avoided all romantic entanglements, fearing he might become like his abusive father. But something about Emily Carver has caught his attention, something he never expected. . . .

Will these two broken souls allow God to bring healing and hope to their hurting hearts?

About the author:

Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over one hundred novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her best-selling Heirs of Montana and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. Visit her website at http://www.traciepeterson.com

From the Inside Flap

With laundry to wash, Emily dressed only in her clean chemise, hoping to remain as cool as possible for as long as possible. She began scrubbing her things with the strong lye soap. No sweet scent of roses for her clothes, for even while there remained a scent of that precious soap in the water, the lye would soon erase any trace.

“When I have a home of my own, I shall have one of those wringer washing machines,” she announced while doing her best to squeeze the water from her newly washed clothes. She draped the wet things across a small line that her father had secured for her in the corner of the cabin. Given the warm Montana air, she knew they’d be dry in no time at all. Meanwhile she would wear her other skirt and one of Mother’s old blouses. She had just gathered the pieces from her trunk when the cabin door opened without warning.

Clutching the skirt and blouse to her, Emily looked up to meet the gaze of the most beautiful eyes she’d ever seen. The serious but handsome face they belonged to remained fixed on her face. Emily all but forgot what she was doing. She found it impossible to speak. The stranger continued to stare as if transfixed. Who was he? Why had he come?

All at once he turned away. “Excuse me.”

He called over his shoulder. “You must be Emily. Your father told me to just come on in. I’m sorry if I frightened you.”

“I am . . . Emily.” Her voice sounded strange in her ears. “And you are?”

“Caeden Thibault.” –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

My thoughts:
Strike it rich! That’s obviously what Tracie Peterson did when it comes to writing talent. This book is no exception.
A Treasure Concealed is book one in the new series entitled Sapphire Brides.
It is well-written, attention-keeping, and all round enjoyable. I would give it a five out of five stars.
Bethany House Publishers provided me a copy of the book for my honest review.
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