11 November 2017

Laugh-Out-Loud Historical Romance | Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

ABOUT THE BOOK

“With all the charm of a Regency romance, the humor of a drawing room farce, and the swoonworthy delight of a fairy tale, Turano’s first Apart from the Crowd historical absolutely sparkles.”–Publishers Weekly on Behind the Scenes

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.

“The second installment of Turano’s Apart from the Crowd series is laugh-out-loud enjoyable. The foibles of the characters, balanced out with a light-hearted yet meaningful love story, is a true treat... All of the threads are tied together in the end, even the small mysteries and side stories. It makes for a very satisfying read when the last page is turned.”–RT Book Reviews


10 November 2017

The Friday 56 & First Line Friday | Bespoke

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.

Happy Friday!

I started craving Christmas books this week. I'm usually a wait-until-after-Thanksgiving-for-all-things-Christmas person, but not this year. So, I started with Bespoke by Amanda Dykes, a charming historical holiday novella. I hope you enjoy the lines, like I did.

(Also, if you have any recommendations for Christmas books, I'd love to hear them!)

09 November 2017

The Gamut of Emotions | A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

ABOUT THE BOOK

Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this unrequited love story will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews.

"Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it’s different? You see that goofy grin a thousand times and just laugh. But goofy grin #1,001 nearly stops your heart? 

Right. That sounds like a bad movie already."

Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her, he implodes on the JV basketball team, and the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about pissed-off candy-cane lumberjacks.

If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and would fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain.

But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse. 

After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, on the verge of spiraling out of control and losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.

“This story broke my heart and made me laugh and gave me hope—and really, what more can you ask of a book than that? I loved it, and I have a feeling you will too.” —Jennifer E. Smith, author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

“In the blink of an eye, A Short History of the Girl Next Door goes from hilarious to haunting to harrowing to heartbreaking to hopeful and back. You’ll never be sure exactly what kind of tears you’re crying. The riotously funny and achingly authentic voice of this gorgeous coming-of-age story will break your heart, but have no fear: it will piece it back together with the glue of love, hope, and humor, and it will be stronger than before.” —Jeff Zentner, award-winning author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days

A Short History of the Girl Next Door is a study in paradoxes. It’s laced with both sarcasm and yearning; it’s spit-out-your-drink funny and empty-the-tissue-box sad. Sharp, smart, and unforgettable, this book will make you want to drive down the court, basketball thudding from your hand, both glad and heartbroken to be alive.” —Kate Hattemer, critically acclaimed author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy and The Land of 10,000 Madonnas

"A powerful novel about first love, the intimacy of childhood friendships, and moving forward from loss, after unexpected tragedy strikes. Reck’s novel is sure to provoke reflection about finding meaning amid life’s unforeseeable tragedies."—Publishers Weekly

"Pair this with other novels that explore loss from a male perspective, such as Jeff Zetner’s Goodbye Days or Adam Silvera’s History is All You Left Me."—Booklist

"Reck gives subtlety and depth to Matt, so he’s believable as a flawed guy negotiating his way through his feelings for Tabby as well as his social status in school, his ideas of masculinity, and his insecurities."The Bulletin

"Recommend this to readers who enjoyed Steven Levenson’s Dear Evan Hansen."VOYA


08 November 2017

Waiting on Wednesday | The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.
(Similarly, Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.)

Happy Wednesday!

I'm a big fan of Julie Klassen's books. I've loved every one I've read, so I'm really excited to read this second book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series. 

03 November 2017

The Friday 56 & First Line Friday | Dangerous Illusions

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.

Happy Friday!

This week, I received Irene Hannon's Dangerous Illusions, and I couldn't wait to start reading it. I'm only a few chapters in right now, but I'm intrigued so far. Maybe these lines will catch your interest, tooenjoy!

01 November 2017

Waiting on Wednesday | One Enchanted Noël

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.
(Similarly, Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.)

Happy Wednesday (and November)!

The holiday season is nearly upon us, and I'm so excited for another one of Melissa Tagg's delightful Christmas novellas. This one, I'm sure, is a gem and full of great holiday spirit. I can't wait!

27 October 2017

The Friday 56 & First Line Friday | My Hope Next Door

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.

Happy Friday!

Today, I'm reading Tammy L. Gray's My Hope Next Door and I'm liking this small-town drama so far. Enjoy the peek into its pages!

26 October 2017

A Delightful Read With an African Setting | A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star by J.A. Myhre

ABOUT THE BOOK

Follow along with thirteen-year-old Kusiima in the third book of J.A. Myhre's The Rwendigo Tales.

Just thirteen years old, Kusiima has no time for school, sports, or hanging out with the other boys in his African village. With no father or mother to take care of him, he works long hours to support his grandmother and sickly baby sister. Then one day, Kusiima's life suddenly changes when he travels into a nearby protected forest. In the forest, Kusiima is presented with many choices, all with uncertain outcomes. Should he go along with illegal logging? Help to save an endangered baby gorilla? Follow a donkey to who knows where?

With each choice, Kusiima has to make yet another decision about what is right in front of him. As he does, he meets a mysterious doctor who holds the key to his past and his future. In the end, Kusiima is faced with the hardest choice of all. Can he forgive a great wrong and heal a broken relationship?

Readers of all ages won't want to put down this exciting book that addresses current realities, like AIDS, malnutrition, and environmental destruction, all set in a richly detailed African adventure story. Following along as Kusiima makes his decisions, readers will find themselves considering their own choices and growing in empathy for others. This action-packed tale of a boy, his sister, and an orphaned gorilla is also a clear call to give up bitterness and forgive deep hurts, restoring broken lives and relationships.

Follow the Litfuse blog tour.

25 October 2017

Waiting on Wednesday | The Sound of Rain

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.
(Similarly, Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.)

Happy Wednesday!

Each one of Sarah Loudin Thomas's Appalachian novels is a pleasure to read, so of course, I'm excited for her newest one, The Sound of Rain.

23 October 2017

Holiday-Themed Cozy Mystery | 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they've been striving for isn't what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.


20 October 2017

The Friday 56 & First Line Friday | The Evaporation of Sofi Snow

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.

Happy Friday!

I'm at home today (after experiencing the joy of wisdom teeth extraction), so instead of sharing a peek at my current read, I'm choosing to use one of the books that is currently closest to me: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. Enjoy!

19 October 2017

Entertaining & Delightful | A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lucy Drake's mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin's connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they're wading into will take them.


18 October 2017

Waiting on Wednesday | Blue Ridge Sunrise

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.
(Similarly, Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.)

Happy Wednesday!

So far, I haven't picked up a Denise Hunter romance that I haven't loved, and I always look forward to reading her newest release. Only a few weeks until Blue Ridge Sunrise (starting a new series!) releases, and I'm so excited.

16 October 2017

A Great Resource for Studying the Bible | KJV Know the Word Study Bible

ABOUT THE BOOK

Gain a greater understanding of the Bible book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic.

The study of God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break down the Bible into easy-to-understand segments. The KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Bible. You can choose to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic; each path offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study.

The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

Features Include:
-King James Version Bible text
-Three easy approaches to study the Bible: 1. Book by Book; 2. Verse by Verse; 3. Topic by Topic
-Insightful introductions for each book of Scripture
-Words of Jesus in red
-Beautiful two-color interior page design
-Comprehensive list of theological notes
-Concordance
-Full-color maps
-8-point type size

Follow the Litfuse blog tour.

13 October 2017

The Friday 56 & First Line Friday | The Austen Escape

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.

Happy Friday!

I had hoped to be reading Katherine Reay's The Austen Escape today, but my current read is taking a little longer than expected to finish. Still, I'm so excited for this book that I can't resist sharing.

12 October 2017

Engaging Biblical Fiction | Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this epic Biblical narrative, ideal for fans of The Bible miniseries, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah's household rises to capture the heart of the future king. 

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name—Zibah, delight of the Lord—thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet's home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah's lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah's favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation. 

"Andrews (The Pharaoh’s Daughter) offers her unique brand of in-depth Bible knowledge and storytelling flair ... [she] is gifted at bringing the past to life..." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


11 October 2017

Waiting on Wednesday | Batman: Nightwalker

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.
(Similarly, Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.)

Happy Wednesday!

Last week, I read and loved Leigh Bardugo's Wonder Woman: Warbringer. Now, naturally, I'm eager to get my hands on this next book in the DC Icons series (especially because Batman is my favorite). January feels so far away...

06 October 2017

The Friday 56 & First Line Friday | Gone With the Wind

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.


Happy Friday!

I'm spending the day with the spirited Scarlett O'Hara, so here are a couple lines from Margaret Mitchell's classic novel Gone With the Wind.

04 October 2017

Captivating, Intriguing & Excellent | Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

ABOUT THE BOOK

Decades of loss, an unsolved mystery, and a rift spanning three generations.

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?


28 September 2017

A Start to a New Series & the Holiday Season | Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. About to be evicted, she sees an advertisement for the Ladies Aid Society Auction and applies for a position—only to discover it's been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity. And friendship. But can she trust him? Is Jake Winston the man he appears to be? Having lost everything once, Aletta is determined to guard not only her own heart, but also her son's.

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffers a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Ladies Aid Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of "crinolines" isn't his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop of the real history of Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored . . . at Christmas.


25 September 2017

A Family Series Full of Drama & Secrets | The Pretender by Ta'Mara Hanscom

ABOUT THE BOOK

Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.

Frankie Valli sang "My Eyes Adored You," and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.

It's within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwinedand had been for many yearsyet they had no idea. 

From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apartand that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer and a bride's deception.


23 September 2017

Highly, Highly Recommended | Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

ABOUT THE BOOK

Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would…

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son...especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?


22 September 2017

Page-Turning & Action-Packed | Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig


ABOUT THE BOOK

"Kendig has out done herself."—RT Book Reviews on Conspiracy of Silence

Six months after stopping a deadly plague, Cole "Tox" Russell and his team are enjoying a little rest. That peace is short-lived when a sniper shot hits Tox. The enemy is discovered to be one of their own, a rogue Special Forces team operator.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend is right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team engage in another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is cheating
he's using a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.


14 September 2017

Gripping & Engaging | Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

ABOUT THE BOOK

Riveting new series offers legal suspense with a romantic twist.

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he's intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everythingeven murderto keep the case from going to trial.


11 September 2017

A Well-Plotted & Unpredictable Legal Thriller | Rule of Law by Randy Singer

ABOUT THE BOOK

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?


24 August 2017

A Historical Trip to a National Park | The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

ABOUT THE BOOK

An ideal sanctuary and a dream come truethat’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainier National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow. 

But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.


17 August 2017

Excellent Contemporary Romance | The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

ABOUT THE BOOK

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.

Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.

Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love...


03 August 2017

Historical Amish Experience | The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

ABOUT THE BOOK

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.