About the author:
Thursday, August 17, 2017
In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.
When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.
High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin is a well crafted historical novel that delves into life during WWI in German occupied Brussels. I thought the storyline was well written and included the perfect amount of suspense, mystery, danger, romance, and tragedy. Kate Breslin did an excellent job researching life during WWI behind enemy lines, and I felt very connected to the story, characters, and setting. The novel also contained well integrated topics, such as forgiveness (of others and oneself) and sacrifice. The main characters, Evelyn and Simon, are realistic and well developed, and I found myself heartbroken for Evelyn as she had to deal with the horrors of war and what she had endured. I loved watching her work through her past and find renewal and hope. Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would definitely recommend this novel and Kate Breslin's other novels to readers who enjoy well written and intriguing historical fiction.
I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
To the Farthest Shores was an intriguing and enjoyable read that explored some heart wrenching consequences of duty, secrets, and dueling commitments. I enjoyed learning more about the pearl trade and industry in the early 1900's, and I loved how pearls both tore Ryan and Jenny apart and forced them to work together again. I could certainly see the depth of research Camden put into her story, and it made the novel very believable. The plot line of this novel was superbly written, and featured suspense, danger, intrigue, and romance in a way that left me glued to the pages. The topics of forgiveness, trust, and honesty were beautifully interwoven throughout the novel in a way that left no doubt of their importance in friendships and deeper relationships. I thought the characters in this novel were well developed, realistic, and easy to relate to. Jenny and Ryan were both complex characters that had much to learn from one another and from God as they sought to move beyond their pasts and to not repeat the same mistakes again. I also appreciated the other minor characters and their role in bringing the main characters together. Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would definitely recommend it and all of Elizabeth Camden's novels to any reader who loves a complex, satisfying historical romance.
I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
In The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking, well-respected and widely read paleo blogger Natalie Perry focuses mostly on main courses for dinner, but there are breakfast, lunch, snack, and sweets/desserts ideas as well. The more than 200 recipes in the book include appetizers and snacks, soups and chilis, poultry, beef, pork and lamb, fish and seafood, vegetable sides, desserts, and pantry basics. The recipes are creative and new incorporating global flavors with roots in Asian, Latin, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Most of these recipes have never before appeared in print.
I thought this cookbook was well written and included a good variety of Paleo recipes. I already follow Natalie Perry's blog, and I was very excited to see this cookbook! I definitely plan on incorporating many of these recipes into my weekly meals, and I think many of these recipes fit my need for meals I can just throw into the Crockpot but that also improve my variety in meals that I can prepare. I thought the organization was also helpful, and I liked the variety of cooking styles available in the book. I definitely plan on buying this cookbook, and I would highly recommend it to fellow Paleo eaters looking to increase their slow cooker recipe collection.
Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.
With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.
Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson is the second novel in her Evie Blackwell Cold Case series, but it can be read as a standalone novel, as far as plot line goes. However, to fully appreciate Evie as a character and to have a better understanding of her development, I would recommend reading Traces of Guilt first. Threads of Suspicion is a well crafted novel that dives into two separate cold cases related to mysterious disappearances...that might not be as separate as they first thought. I enjoyed seeing how Evie and David collaborated with one another, other members of their team, and other agencies to rebuild these cold cases and to begin to track down missing clues. I thought that the storyline flowed well, though there were times when the story dragged some, even if it did match how the characters were feeling about their cold cases. I also appreciated the character development into Evie and David as they learned more about one another and themselves as they were placed under increasing tension and stress related to both their jobs and their personal lives. Overall, I enjoyed the plot and characters of this novel, and I would highly recommend this book (and Dee Henderson's novels in general) to anyone who loves a good suspense/mystery novel that also does not shy away from full character and story development.
I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?
Virginia, present day
Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.
Learn more and purchase a copy.
My Daughter's Legacy is the third novel in the Cousins of Dove trilogy, and it wraps up a truly intriguing mystery that has stretched across the three novels. I picked up this book without realizing it was the last book, but I still heartily enjoyed the mystery and suspense of Nicole's past, along with the other three girls. I thought the authors did an excellent job creating both a good conclusion and an interesting stand alone novel. The novel delves into two women's lives, one in modern day Virginia, and the other in a Civil War torn Richmond.
The modern day story, Nicole's, was told with first person narrative, and I felt very connected to Nicole's thoughts and emotions as she wrestled with her old fears and her new life. Since I did not know the extent of her past from the first two novels, I did not have as much of a comparison of her previous life choices to her current life as a recovering addict, but I could still appreciate her courage and her reliance on both God and other Christian people around her to maintain her changes.
The Civil War story concerns Therese Jennings, one of Nicole's relatives, and it was told with third person narrative, but I still felt connected to Therese's struggles and dreams as she tries to navigate the divide between her family duties and her personal convictions. I enjoyed the suspense I tried to figure out which Talbot man she ended up marrying, and I was satisfied with the result, if not completely sold on the build up to that point.
Overall, I thought the two parallel stories worked well together, and I liked how there were multiple chapters at a time from one woman's perspective so that the parallel stories were not too scattered. I also enjoyed the conclusion of the past tragedy that had haunted Nicole and her cousins, and I was definitely surprised by the results. I look forward to going back and reading the first two novels now.
I received this novel from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.
Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including "Beyond the Blue" and "Garden of Dreams." She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Friday, June 30, 2017
Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known.
Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.
Heart on the Line is the second novel in Karen Witemeyer's Ladies of Harper Station series, and it was just as entertaining and well written as her other novels. This novel was filled with suspense, romance, danger, and unexpected twists and kept me enthralled throughout.While this novel can be read without reading the first novel, it is certainly better if you are already familiar with the ladies of Harper Station from the first novel. I definitely went back and looked at the first book, No Other Will Do, in order to remember a little bit more about each character. I enjoyed learning more about Grace and her past after being introduced to her in the first novel. My perspective of her completely changed while reading this novel and seeing more of her underlying character. I also enjoyed meeting Amos Bledsoe and how he was almost the complete opposite of what Grace was hoping for and of her personality as well. I loved how their relationship began over the telegraph wires and continued to be communicated via Morse code even when they were in the same town. I liked how they brought out the best in one another and how each was forced to step beyond their comfort zone as they grew closer and had to deal with what was going on.
The other characters in this novel were fantastic as well. I enjoyed seeing old faces like the two maidenly aunts, Emma, Victoria, and Helen. It was great to see how both Emma and Malcolm and Victoria and Ben had grown in their relationships since the first novel. I also enjoyed learning more about Helen and see her soften and change as she was forced to see past her distrust of all things male. Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I cannot wait for the next one.
I received this novel from Netgalley and Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.
With You Always is the first novel in Jody Hedlund's new series on the Orphan Train, and it is just as fantastic as her other novels. The storyline was well crafted and kept me glued to the pages. The novel was well paced and contained a perfect mixture of suspense, romance, danger, and betrayal that kept me continually guessing. I enjoyed learning more about the orphan trains, especially those where women signed up to go out West to earn money for their destitute families in the East. I was familiar with where they sent children out West if they were orphans or their families could not afford to care for them, but I did not realize that the women and men would often do the same thing to try to earn a living. I was saddened by the conditions that these people were forced to work in and how they were often never able to free themselves from the 'debt' they had to fulfill for the train ride and housing once they made it out West.
I enjoyed the interactions between Thornton and Elise. Both characters were well developed and engaging, and it was great to see how they challenged one another to look past their stereotypes and pride and then be able to use that to help others. The other more minor characters added greatly to the story, and while some of their situations were left in pieces at the end of this novel, I know that we will see them again in future novels. I cannot wait to see what comes next in this new series!
I received this novel from Netgalley and Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Friday, May 12, 2017
It's spicy, it's fermenty, it's sweet and savory and loaded with umami: Korean cuisine is poised to break out in the U.S., but until now, Korean cookbooks have been focused on taking readers to an idealized Korean fantasyland. Koreatown, though, is all about what's real and happening right here: the foods of Korean American communities all over our country, from L.A. to New York City, from Atlanta to Chicago.
Koreatown is an elegant and well crafted book that includes not only over a 100 recipes but also tells the story of the different people cooking Korean food all across the United States. The pictures that accompany both the stories and the recipes are beautifully taken and really emphasize the nature of each dish and the communities that are serving it. I love all types of food, and I was really intrigued by many of the Korean recipes in this book. I tried a couple so far, and they have been delicious. The cookbook first starts off with the basics ingredients and equipment and then moves into the essentials, such as making Kimchi and Banchan. From there it is divided into rice/dumplings, barbecue, drinks, soups, guest recipes, and desserts. Overall I found this book to be not only a beautiful coffeetable centerpiece, but also a wonderful book to turn to when I want to make something with a little Oriental spice.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
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?
True to You marks the first book in Becky Wade's new series The Bradford Sisters' Romance, and it starts it off with a bang. The storyline is interesting and well written, and I found myself glued to the pages to find out what happens next to Nora. I liked how many of the chapters began or ended with texts, Facebook messages, or emails between different characters, particularly the ones between the Bradford sisters. Many of the messages were amusing, and they gave a little background information to what was occurring behind the scenes and into the feelings of some of the minor characters. The dialogue between the characters was well written and helped me to really identify with their emotions and to understand the relationships between them. I also thought that the characters were realistic and well developed. I loved Nora's quirkiness and her sisters' attempts to 'pruce her up a bit.' I could relate to her bookishness and desire for her own "Mr. Darcy." I liked watching Nora and John grow more as individuals and slowly learn more about each other as they searched for John's mother. I thought their interactions were amusing and also realistic. I enjoyed seeing Nora's interactions with her sisters and her extended family, and I am glad that there will be more books so that I learn more about her other sisters! Overally, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I cannot wait to see what is in store in the following books!
I received this novel from Liftuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
Read more reviews on this book here: http://litfusegroup.com/author/bwade
Read more reviews on this book here: http://litfusegroup.com/author/bwade
Meet 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 www.beckywade.com.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Our culture bombards women with "thinspiration" messages and pressure to "do it all" while wearing the mask of perfection.
Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?
Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives-and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.
Brave is the New Beautiful is a thought provoking read that challenges the beliefs and assumptions that our culture holds and that many of us unconsciously (or consciously) hold onto. Lee Wolfe Blum does an excellent job weaving her own experiences and those of women she has worked with to demonstrate the dangers and hurt caused by holding to these incorrect views of beauty and where we should find our beauty instead. I like how she uses Scripture to back up her points and how she shows the importance of mentorship and getting help instead of trying to figure out things on your own. Each chapter is easy to read and fairly short, with discussion questions/questions for deeper contemplation at the end of each chapter. I found this book to be convicting and thought provoking, and a reminder that even those who serve in women's ministry and help others have to deal with the same feelings of inadequacy and/or 'ugliness' as the rest of us. I would highly recommend this book, especially for a women's book club this summer.
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. See more review at:
Monday, April 3, 2017
About the author:
Monday, February 27, 2017
What happens when persecution hits close to home?
In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister's sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom, the freedom that only comes when you trust God's sovereignty more than man-made security.
Door to Freedom by Jana Kelley is the sequel to Side by Side, and it further delves into the differing lives of the American Christians and the Muslim Sudanese. This book picks up almost two years after the first, and the time the reader experiences more of the persecution of Christians still seen in Muslim countries today. Mia and Michael have both matured as believers and as missionaries, and as the their door of witnessing opportunity continues to be opened, they also experience increased persecution and warnings from Muslims and other Christians alike. I enjoyed seeing how the two had matured and how they continued to trust God and His plan for them even in the midst of threats of tribulation. I loved how Scripture was interspersed throughout and how much Mia and Michael relied on God's Word and prayer. It was a great reminder to me how important staying immersed in the Word and prayer is to both a personal relationship with God and having an effective ministry. Mia also showed the power of God when she was able to forgive a fellow believer who was chastising them for sharing the Gospel so boldly. It was convicting to me to think about how we as believers can unwittingly hinder the spread of the Gospel sometimes when we do not trust and surrender to God.
Another aspect of the storyline is Rania, the younger sister of Halimah (from Side by Side), who finds out for herself who Jesus is and her response. I liked seeing how she learned more about Isa (Jesus) and in turn had to make a difficult decision about what was more important -her family or her new faith. It was interesting to see the role of women in a Sudanese Muslim household and the traditions held by their culture and faith.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. While the writing style and characterization were simplistic and predictable at times, I found the story's cultural background and settings to be eye-opening and the Scriptural references to be convicting. I could tell that these elements were based on real life events from the author's experiences, and it added a layer of reality to the story that made it very compelling. After reading about some of the struggles that many Christians face while living in Muslim countries, especially when they face persecution, I was further convicted to spend time in prayer for those who are undergoing these scenarios now. I received this novel from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.
Author of the captivating novel Side by Side, Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.