24 March 2017

Beautifully Satisfying | The Memory of You by Catherine West

ABOUT THE BOOK

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it.


22 March 2017

Sweet & Heartfelt | A Second Chance by Alexis A. Goring

ABOUT THE BOOK
 
Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life.

Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.

​Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

 

21 March 2017

Thirteenth in a Binge-Worthy Historical Mystery Series | In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

ABOUT THE BOOK

"A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander." — Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs' flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the “last war," a new kind of refugee—an evacuee from London—appears in Maisie's life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the “Operation Pied Piper” evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour—and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

Follow the TLC blog tour.

20 March 2017

Victorian Mystery & Romance | A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father.

After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.


18 March 2017

Interesting & Intricate | The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis

ABOUT THE BOOK

A richly textured coming-of-age story about fathers and sons, home and family, recalling classics by Thomas Wolfe and William Styron, by a powerful new voice in fiction.

Just before Henry Aster’s birth, his father—outsized literary ambition and pregnant wife in tow—reluctantly returns to the small Appalachian town in which he was raised and installs his young family in an immense house of iron and glass perched high on the side of a mountain. There, Henry grows up under the writing desk of this fiercely brilliant man. But when tragedy tips his father toward a fearsome unraveling, what was once a young son’s reverence is poisoned and Henry flees, not to return until years later when he, too, must go home again. 

Mythic in its sweep and mesmeric in its prose, The Barrowfields is a breathtaking debut about the darker side of devotion, the limits of forgiveness, and the reparative power of shared pasts.


Drama, Mystery & Sweet Romance | To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden

ABOUT THE BOOK

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.


17 March 2017

Sweet & Transporting | The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson

ABOUT THE BOOK

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear―having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook.com

16 March 2017

Amish Suspense & Romance | Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

ABOUT THE BOOK

A suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she's getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky...if only she wasn't too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyoneeven Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she'll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called "The Recluse" confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he's misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God's gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there's always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.


14 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Books on My Spring TBR

Hosted weekly by The Broke and the Bookish.

Happy Tuesday!

TBRs are always so hard for me. At any given time, I have too many books I want to read, and my lists end up being way more ambitious than realistic. (Please, tell me other people have this problem, too.) So, to keep my goals reasonable, here are a few of the books I'm excited to read and review this spring:

A Heartfelt Wartime Romance | With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall

ABOUT THE BOOK

Everyone knows that war romances never last...

After a whirlwind romance and wedding, Helen Eberhart Daley, an army nurse, and Lieutenant Frank Daley, M.D. are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time.

Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real―and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive?

Based on the incredible true love story, With Love, Wherever You Are is an adult novel from beloved children’s author Dandi Daley Mackall.


13 March 2017

A Heartwarming Series Conclusion | Home at Last by Deborah Raney

ABOUT THE BOOK

Why did their differences matter so much?

Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he's stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters' efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.

All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother's white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn't repeat in politewell, in any company. Her father's family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry's incarceration, life has left Shayla's father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn't people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?

Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl's aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee's On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society's view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?

Follow the Litfuse blog tour.

11 March 2017

Mysterious & Delightful | Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

ABOUT THE BOOK

At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a Brontë hero. There have been several worrisome incidents around those lonesome rolling hills–property desecrated, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered. Worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church, a crime for which Drew can discern no motive at all.

Few in the town of Bunting’s Nest seem like suspects, and Drew can’t keep his suspicions from falling on his friend’s new bride. Do her affections lie more with her husband’s money and estate, while her romantic interests stray to their fiery Welsh gamekeeper? As the danger grows ever closer, it’s up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what’s really going on, and find the killer before it’s too late.


10 March 2017

The Friday 56 | The Women in the Castle

Hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.

Happy Friday!

It's been quite a busy week, and I'm so glad it's the weekend. I had every intention of finishing Jessica Shattuck's The Women in the Castle this week, yet only had time for a couple pages. Such is life sometimes... But I'm excited to eventually finish this historical novel (sooner rather than later, hopefully), so I couldn't help but share a peek into it.

09 March 2017

Disturbing & Dysfunctional Yet Gripping | The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Authentic & Magical | Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey

ABOUT THE BOOK

She whispers, “I’m supposed to take you home.”
“Not yet,” Abel says. “Please, just not yet.”

All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.

When Abel discovers letters to him from the dad he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.

With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely upon his simpleminded friend Willie—a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most—and a beautiful young woman who was already on the train. From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is that the magic that will one day lead him home?

“On one level, this novel continues a long line of appealing road books . . . But Some Small Magic is also a tale of a journey from doubt to faith, and from hardscrabble despair to the highest form of hope. It’s a vivid and compelling read, with characters so alive you expect them to step out of the pages and say hello. The final pages are so beautiful they hurt a little.”—Stephen Kiernan, author of The Curiosity and The Baker’s Secret


08 March 2017

To Kill a Mockingbird-esque | Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

ABOUT THE BOOK

An African-American man accused of rape by a humiliated girl. A vengeful father. A courageous attorney. A worshipful daughter. Think you know this story? Think again. 

Laura Lippman, the “extravagantly gifted” (Chicago Tribune) New York Times bestselling author, delivers “one of her best novels ” (Washington Post)—a modern twist on To Kill a Mockingbird. Scott Turow writes in the New York Times, “Wilde Lake is a real success.”

Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney representing suburban Maryland—including the famous planned community of Columbia, created to be a utopia of racial and economic equality. Prosecuting a controversial case involving a disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death, the fiercely ambitious Lu is determined to avoid the traps that have destroyed other competitive, successful women. She’s going to play it smart to win this case—and win big—cementing her political future.

But her intensive preparation for trial unexpectedly dredges up painful recollections of another crime—the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Justice was done. Or was it? Did the events of 1980 happen as she remembers them? She was only a child then. What details didn’t she know?

As she plunges deeper into the past, Lu is forced to face a troubling reality. The legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. But what happens when she realizes that, for the first time, she doesn’t want to know the whole truth?

Follow the TLC blog tour.

Waiting on Wednesday | The Memory of You & Strange the Dreamer

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

Happy Wednesday!

For the spotlight this week, I've chosen a pair of very different books (contemporary vs. fantasy). I've already enjoyed reading books from these authors, so I'm hopeful for both new releases.

07 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Rereads

Hosted weekly by The Broke and the Bookish.

Happy Tuesday!

I've been seriously craving some rereads lately (most likely due to 1. #bookstagram, which has me pulling out older yet still beloved books, and 2. Goodreads finally adding the reread feature!), so here are a few that I'm (ambitiously) planning to pick up (again) as soon as possible.

04 March 2017

Educational & Thought-Provoking | God Among Sages: Why Jesus Is Not Just Another Religious Leader by Kenneth Richard Samples

ABOUT THE BOOK

Was Jesus just a spiritual leader, like Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, and Muhammad?
Or is he something else entirely?

In God Among Sages, Ken Samples presents a biblical and historical portrait of Jesus, grounded in the claims Jesus makes about himself. Then he compares and contrasts Jesus with Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, and Muhammad and explores the competing philosophies of religious pluralism, inclusivism, and exclusivism. The result is a clear understanding of what sets Jesus apart as not simply a teacher to follow but God himself, worthy of our full allegiance and worship.

Christians who struggle to answer claims that Jesus was just a good teacher, as well as those haven't quite made up their minds about Jesus's claims to divinity, will value this accessible introduction to comparative religions.


03 March 2017

The Friday 56 | Can't Help Falling

Hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.

Happy Friday!

And this week's pick is yet another one of the many books I'm hoping to read soon. I have a bit of a TBR problem... Anyway, enjoy this peek at Kara Isaac's Can't Help Falling!

Historical & Suspenseful | The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

ABOUT THE BOOK

Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them...or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.


02 March 2017

Dark & Thrilling | As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Six of Crows—this international bestseller is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that chills to the bone, and not just because of the icy winter setting.

Lumikki Andersson has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. She knows all too well that trouble comes to those who stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. But Lumikki’s rule is put to the test when she uncovers thousands of washed Euro notes hung to dry in her school’s darkroom and three of her classmates with blood on their hands. Literally. 

A web of lies and deception now has Lumikki on the run from those determined to get the money back—no matter the cost. At the center of the chaos: Polar Bear, the mythical drug lord who has managed to remain anonymous despite his lavish parties and notorious reputation. If Lumikki hopes to make it out alive, she’ll have to uncover the entire operation.

Even the cold Finnish winter can’t hide a culprit determined to stain the streets red.

“Fans of Nesbø and Larsson won’t be disappointed.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred

“This cold, delicate snowflake of a tale sparkles with icy magic.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred


Eighth in a Binge-Worthy Historical Mystery Series | A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the summer of 1932, the career of psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs takes an exciting new turn when she accepts an undercover assignment from the British Secret Service. Sent to pose as a junior lecturer at a private college in Cambridge, she will monitor any activities “not in the interests of His Majesty’s government.”

When the college’s controversial pacifist founder, Greville Liddicote, is murdered, however, Maisie is directed to stand back as her colleagues in Scotland Yard spearhead the investigation. But she soon discovers that the circumstances of Liddicote’s death appear inextricably linked to the suspicious comings and goings of faculty members and students under her surveillance. To unravel this web, the investigator must overcome a reluctant Secret Service, discover shameful hidden truths about Britain’s conduct during the Great War, and face off against the rising power of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei—the Nazi Party—as the storm clouds of World War II gather on the horizon.

Follow the TLC blog tour.

01 March 2017

Waiting on Wednesday | Goodbye Days & A Lady in Disguise

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 happy March, too! (Where did February go?) A lot of exciting books get released this month, and here are two of them. Since I loved the books I already read by these authors, I can't wait to get a chance to check out their new ones, too. (I guess I have a death theme this week...)