The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze

Synopsis:

When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be.

My Thoughts:

This delightful story has all the elements that I love! A swoon-worthy hero, a strong capable heroine, tender moments that make you sigh in contentment, a touch of mystery and intrigue, that kept me turning pages, and most of all threads of faith that remind us that forgiveness isn’t something we can earn, it is a gift we need only accept.

These characters are so well written, that I felt like I was in the story with my friends. From early on I found myself invested in their story and swept away with the engaging storyline.  If you haven’t read this book yet, I’d encourage you to find a copy.

Gemma Lyfeld isn’t a shrinking violet. She knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to go after it. While she does have one fear, she faces it with determination. I found myself cheering for her. I appreciated her spunk and her tenacity.

Tavin Knox is a government agent, he isn’t interested in attending parties, rubbing shoulders with the upper crust, and he certainly isn’t interested in dancing or escorting a lovely lady around London. Especially not one who takes chances and distracts him from his job.

Just when you think you have the mystery solved, new facts come to light that will keep you guessing and turning pages. I give this captivating story 5-stars and encourage you to take time to read this story! I’m going to find more stories from Susanne Dietze to share with you.

(I purchased a copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and options I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“Will you dance with me, Gemma?” His voice sounded tremulous. “Again?”
The squeeze of her fingers assured him of her assent.
“Until my slippers are worn through”

About the Author:

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Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the author of several historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her at:

 

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

 

 

   The Reluctant Guardian

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I’d love to hear from you:

What elements do you look for in a story?

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Love Held Captive (A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story) by: Shelley Shepard Gray

After the War Between the States, a Confederate officer longs to heal the heart of a beautiful woman—but first he’ll have to right the wrongs that were done to her.

Synopsis:

Major Ethan Kelly has never been able to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for raiding a woman’s home shortly before he was taken prisoner during the Civil War. He is struggling to get through each day until he once again crosses paths with Lizbeth Barclay—the very woman he is trying to forget.

Life after the war is not much different for former Captain Devin Monroe until he meets Julianne VanFleet. He knows she is the woman he’s been waiting for, but he struggles to come to terms with the sacrifices she made to survive the war.

When Ethan and Devin discover that their former colonel, Adam Bushnell, is responsible for both Lizbeth’s and Julianne’s pain, they call on their former fellow soldiers to hunt him down. As the men band together to earn the trust of the women they love, Lizbeth and Julianne seek the justice they deserve in a country longing to heal.

My Review:

I have read and enjoyed the previous book in this series, “An Uncommon Protector”. While you can read ‘Love Held Captive’ as a stand alone, there are parts that would flow together smoother for you if you had read the previous two books.

‘Love Held Captive’ starts out a little slow, but you are quickly brought up to speed. In this 3rd book, you will find the stories of both Major Ethan Kelly & Captain Devin Monroe. A friendship that began during the civil war and grew stronger as they struggled to survive the POW camp. As the men discover that the women they have fallen for both have a history with their former Colonel, Adam Bushnell they must decide if the feelings they are beginning to have are strong enough to survive the storm that is sure to come.

Both Lizbeth and Julianne have painful histories that they would just as soon forget, and they find they have more in common than they first knew. Can they move past the hurt and regret of the past to find love?

While not a light read in the way of the heavy topics included (horrors of war, rape, & prostitution), you could easily read this book in a day or possibly two.

There are several flashback scenes, where you are taken back to the war or a scene in the POW camp. While some of these helped carry the story, there were a couple that I personally felt could have been left out and I wouldn’t have missed them. For me, they broke up the flow of the story.

The characters are vivid and complex. The setting is realistic, and there is a few twists that will keep you turning pages. Due to the mature content, I wouldn’t recommend this story to those under 16. I give this story 3 and 1/2 stars.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

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About the Author:

ShelleyI grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.

Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.

I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.

Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.

Web page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter //

  Love Held Captive (Lone Star Hero #3)Expected publication: 10/10/17

Other books in this series:

 The Loyal Heart (Lone Star Hero #1)

 An Uncommon Protector (Lone Star Hero #2)

 

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Magnolia Storms by: Janet W. Ferguson

Synopsis:

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

My Review:

I enjoyed the rich threads of faith seamlessly woven throughout this story, and the reminder that even when bad things happen (and they will happen dear ones) that God never leaves us, and He will bring us through the storm.

For Magnolia “Maggie” Marovich, hurricane Katrina was a life-altering event. Like so many who lived through the storm, it changed her life and that of her family. As I was reading the story, I kept wishing that Maggie would have come to the realization that God never left her. She teetered on the edge of that truth for what seemed to me a long time, wrestling with the truth she already knew.

The story was written with such vivid imaginary, that it didn’t take much to imagine myself there in the story with the characters. I enjoyed the tender, heart-warming moments between Josh’s sweet 3-year old son and Maggie, and yes, of course the reawakening of love between Josh & Maggie as well.

This is the first book I’ve read by Janet, and I look forward to reading more. I give this story 4-stars and would happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading honest, heartfelt Christian fiction.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“Sooner or later, you must decide, ‘Though He slay me, still I will trust Him.’ Know that He is with you when you pass through the rough waters of life.”

About the Author:

JanetW.FergusonJanet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon //

 

 

Magnolia Storms (A Coastal Hearts Novel) (release date: 9/15/17)

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An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorn House #4) by: Kristi Ann Hunter

The Hawthorne House Series follows a set of aristocratic siblings led by the Duke of Riverton. Set from 1812 – 1815, these stories show how beautiful life, love, and family can be when you let God be a part of them.

Synopsis:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

My Thoughts:

I haven’t read all the other books in this series…yet! I read the first book, and even though I have the other’s on my kindle, I just haven’t gotten to reading them. There were a few moments in this book, that I had wished I’d read those others first, but it wasn’t enough to make me feel lost in what was happening in this story.

I felt quite engaged in the story, and found myself talking to the characters as if they could hear me (good thing I was at home when I did that!) It did take me a little bit to feel fully engaged, but that may be because I hadn’t read the other books, and didn’t know the lead character coming into the story.

Griffith is the ideal hero. Strong, confident, thoughtful, patient, a true gentleman. From a young age, he had put some incredible pressures on himself to not only take on the leadership role in his family but also in society. Born into a position of leadership, he took on the mantle and wore it well.

In trying to help her family, and doing what she felt needed to be done, Isabella took on a role that she wasn’t comfortable with, and it ends up making her miserable. She has a good heart and wishes to help, she just goes about it the wrong way.

Both Griffith & Isabella have things to learn, both about themselves and each other. Can they put their trust in God and in each other? Or will pride keep them from discovering true happiness?

Travel back to the Regency period, to parties, and ballrooms bursting with color (and people). I enjoyed reading this engaging story from Kristy Ann Hunter and give it 4-stars.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Bonus:

For an excerpt and additional bonus materials, please visit Kristi’s web page (click here)

Favorite Quote:

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About the Author:

KristyAnnHunterKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest //

 

  An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorn House #4)

Hawthorn House Series:

  A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorn House #0.5)

  A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorn House #1)

An Elegant Facade (Hawthorn House #2)

  An Uncommon Courtship (Hawthorn House #3)

 

The Outlaw’s Second Chance by: Angie Dicken

Renegade on the run

Synopsis:

When Cort Stanton and Aubrey Huxley try to claim the same land in the Oklahoma Land Run, Cort offers a deal–one that could help him keep his freedom. After taking the blame for his brother’s crime, Cort needs to lie low, so he gives Aubrey the land for her horse ranch…if she’ll hire him. Now he just has to avoid growing too close to the gorgeous seamstress, who can never know his secret.

Aubrey refuses to depend on any man, even one as handsome and kind as Cort. Yet, as they work together to make her dream a reality, it’s impossible to imagine life on the prairie without him. And though Aubrey knows Cort has secrets that stand between them, she can’t help but wish she could stake a claim on his heart.

My Review:

The Outlaw’s Second Chance is such a great story! With realistic characters, and a fun engaging plot line this story pulled me in and kept me engaged till the very last page.

Aubrey is an independent, determined women. Since the untimely death of her mother, Aubrey decided to go out on her own and make her mother’s dreams of owning a horse ranch come true. But nothing goes according to her plans. First, her horse is stolen, then a handsome cowboy places a flag in the ground before she can and stakes a claim to her One-hundred and sixty acres.

Cort Stanton is not your typical “Outlaw”. He is generous and kind, hardworking and looks out for the well-being of others. The label “Outlaw” may be who he was, but it isn’t who he is. Amid his struggle to prove himself a better man, he has to learn who he is to God. We all have moments when we struggle with past failures and need to be reminded of who we are in God.

Will the past stay buried in the past, or will it catch up to Aubrey & Cort? Come along for a wild west adventure that you won’t soon forget in this fantastic debut from Angie Dicken.

I really enjoyed this touching love story! It had me anxious one moment and smiling with joy the next. You won’t want to miss reading this delightful 5 star book!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own)

Favorite Quote:

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About the Author:

AngieDickenAngie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots. My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth. Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee.

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest //

 The Outlaw’s Second Chance

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12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1) by: Michelle Griep

Synopsis:

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.

 

My Review:

As I opened the pages and began to read I was instantly catapulted to December 24, 1850. It may have been early August in reality, but in my mind’s eye, I was there in the story. I could smell the musty drapes and wood smoke; I could feel the sting of the cold on my fingers and toes. My senses sprang to alertness as I tried to discover who was behind the mysterious transgressions. Would my favorite characters make it to the end of the story?

In just under 200 pages, Michelle Griep has penned a spine-tingling Christmas mystery to rival that of Charles Dickens himself, and I was blissfully along for the ride.  Kept on the edge of my seat with curiosity until the very last chapter when, like a beautiful Amaryllis, all was expertly revealed.

Underlying the twists and turns of this delightful page-turning story, the magnetic characters, and the realistic detailed setting is the gentle reminder of our Savior’s love,  we are all “inherently precious” and “we have all fallen from grace, yet it is grace alone that saves the worst of us.”

Bottom line: I loved this fantastic 5-Star book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

 

Favorite Quote:

“One does not question an opportunity, my dear.One simply mounts it and rides.”
– Aunt Deb

About the Author:

2754194I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

 

 12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon A Dickens Christmas #1)

 

Let’s Connect:

What do you enjoy most about Christmas books?

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Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

A novella to launch a brand new three-book series . . .

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.

My Thoughts:

Bundle up and get ready for a Christmas story you won’t soon forget! With the perfect setting and dynamic, resourceful characters Tamera has set the perfect backdrop for a perfect cozy Christmas story and the introduction to her newest series.

The next book releases in 2018 and I am excited to read more about Carnton Plantation and discover more about the people who called the beautiful plantation home.

Aletta’s husband has died, leaving her and their 6-year-old son, Andrew to survive the civil war on their own. With the mortgage due, groceries to buy, and winter clothes needed for Andrew how will she manage to make it?  With prayer and hard work, will Aletta find employment at Carnton Plantation? Will it be enough to save her home and see her and Andrew through Christmas?

Captain Jake Winston is a well-known and decorated sharpshooter, but an accident causes him to be sent to Carnton Plantation to assist in the Ladies Aid Society. He is less than thrilled about the assignment, but determined to make the best of it and sets out to help with the work at Carnton.

With 256 pages and 23 chapters, Christmas at Carnton is a nice beefy novella. The end wrapped up nicely, while still giving you glimpses of what is to come in the future for Carnton Plantation.

As a special bonus, the end of the book includes favorite holiday recipes to bake and enjoy with family and friends.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

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About the Author:

TameraAlexanderTamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling
novelist and one of today’s most beloved authors of Christian historical romance. Her works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, among them the Christy Award, the RITA Award, the Carol Award, Library Journal’s top honors, and have earned the distinction of Publisher’s Weekly Starred Reviews. Her deeply drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide.
Tamera and her husband reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Nashville’s Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation , the setting of Tamera’s #1 CBA bestselling Southern series. Her upcoming series, the Carnton Novels , launches in fall 2017 with Christmas at Carnton  (October 3, 2017), a Christmas story, which is set at Franklin, Tennessee’s historic Carnton Plantation.

Many Sparrows by: Lori Benton

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

Synopsis:

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 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?

My Review:

Many Sparrows is a powerfully written, deeply emotional story; from heartache to joy, from sorrow to triumph. Lori sweeps her readers away with colorful word pictures and fantastic characters that will linger with you long after the last words on the page have been read.

Clare is a strong and determined heroine. Her path was not an easy one. Her heartache and struggles are often so real I felt like I was right there with her in the story! Her faith and trust in God are tested and she becomes a stronger person and gains a closer relationship with God through her trials.

Jeremiah Ring has a strong faith and a deep well of patience. He carries his own heartache, and yet his past struggles haven’t made him bitter or angry, they only made his faith that much stronger.

Many Sparrows has easily become my favorite book of 2017! I have read all of Lori Benton’s book, and have enjoyed each one. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists and/or authors, including netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“You opened your heart wide for life’s arrows to pierce it, and there were always arrows coming. Yet the heart, willful thing, could still long to bare itself to such attack, to take that terrible risk for the chance of such exquisite reward.”

Bonus:

For a sneak-peak at the first two chapters click here!

About the Author:

LoriBentonLori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.

Burning Sky, Lori’s debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

Web Page // Facebook // Goodreads // Twitter // Amazon // Pinterest

 

   Many Sparrows

Other books by Lori Benton:

 Burning Sky

   The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn 

 The Woods Edge (The Pathfinders #1)

   A Flight of Arrows (The Pathfinders #2)

 

Let’s Connect:

Have you read one of Lori’s books? If so, which is your favorite?

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Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Synopsis:

Take a poignant look into the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future.

Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

My Review:

Embracing Hope surprised me with how much I grew to love the characters! These characters came to life. They stepped off the pages and waltzed right into my heart. I cheered for their successes and felt myself praying with them in their struggles. I didn’t expect to connect with this book, as much as  I did.

I have to be honest, as I picked up this book, I really wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. But before you throw stones, let me tell you why. I love reading, reading is my ticket to travel. I’ve traveled around the world and back in time through the pages of beloved books. I work full-time at a Christian university and I knew that reading this book wouldn’t be much of a trip. However, I can say with all honesty that in reality anytime we view the world through another’s eyes we are essentially taking a journey. I share this with you because if you, are on the fence trying to decide if you should read this book, please take my advise and read this book. I am so very glad that I took a chance and read this delightful book!

Janell has penned a beautiful story. Rich in detail, with realistic, believable characters that linger with you long after closing the pages. The story could have ended several different ways, and not knowing what would happen, kept me turning pages late into the night.

Embracing Hope is a poignant, heartfelt story that you won’t soon forget. I give this stirring, emotional story 5 stars.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

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Bonus:

To read an excerpt of Embracing Hope – click here

About the Author:

Janell Butler Wojtowicz 2Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including journalism, Christian higher education public relations, and local government public information. She is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Janell and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. She has two step-sons and three step-granddaughters.
Janell enjoys connecting with her readers. You can find Janell at the following:

Web Page // FaceBook // Twitter // Goodreads //

  Embracing Hope

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The Last Summer by: Brandy Bruce

Synopsis:

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

My Review:

I picked up ‘The Last Summer’ with memories of my own early 20’s floating thru my memory. Brandy’s writing is so smooth and seamless that I easily inserted myself right into the circle of friends as if they were my own. By chapter 3 I found my heart clenching in heartache and in chapter 4 my poor battered heart was flattened; I paused there to come up for air (okay, so my lunch break was over and I had to go back to work – isn’t that a cruel joke? Bahaha, as if I could focus well at that point). But don’t despair, dear friend, our heroine, Sara will be just fine.

I took two days to read this fabulous story (because work, family, life) and every time I had to put it down it was like coming out of a deep book fog. You know the one, I’m sure you’ve been there yourself.  I was so immersed in the story, It felt like literally climbing out of the pages.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on all the delightful feelings this book evokes, and then there is the handsome pilot, Everett, the old-flame Jason, and we can’t forget the best-friend, Luke. With such handsome, gentleman what’s a girl to do? If you asked Sara, I’d imagine she’d say, “Help my best friend plan a wedding and spend time chatting with the girls.”

I highly recommend this fantastic book. Trust me when I tell you that you won’t be able to put it down. The Last Summer easily earns 5 stars. I couldn’t go to bed without finishing this story, I was in too deep!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“God must ache with love for us. Hurting for us. Wanting us. And sometimes we respond to Him in kind. Other times we reject Him.”

Bonus:

Would you like to read an excerpt? CLICK HERE to drop by my friend, Katie’s blog.

For an wonderful author interview, stop by my friend, Becky’s blog (click here) 

About the Author:

BrandyBruceBrandy Bruce was scribbling stories in spiral notebooks at the age of 12. She finally traded in notebooks for a laptop and now writes romance novels. Having worked as a book editor for a traditional publishing house for more than a decade, Brandy is thrilled to work in an industry she loves. She’s currently a freelance editor, a writer, a wife, a mother to three fabulous children, and she’s someone who really loves dessert. Brandy makes her home in Colorado with her family.

 

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   The Last Summer

 

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