Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain #1) by Joanne Bischof

A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

Synopsis:

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

My Thoughts:

This deeply poignant story is sure to touch your heart. The characters lingered in my thoughts days after I finished reading the story. Every page is filled with emotion and lyrical phrasing that is sure to draw you in and take hold of your imagination and senses.

These characters are intense and multifaceted. They easily found their way into my heart. The story deals with very difficult situations, and addictions. It isn’t always easy to have a front-row seat and to watch characters that you have grown to care about going through difficult times. However, life is just like that. People you care about go through difficult times, and make choices that you may not always agree with. In the end, it is more important that we walk along-side, offer support, and point them to Jesus. He is the only one who can direct their path and give them true peace.

This is a beautiful story of grace, healing, and forgiveness. I wasn’t ready for the end of the story to arrive and I eagerly look forward to the next story in the Blackbird Mountain series.

(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:

About the Author:

Joanne-BischofA Christy and Carol Award-winning author, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. To Get to You, her 2015 release, was the second. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from Romantic Times Book Reviews among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children and is currently working on a new 2-book series for Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian (releasing 2018).

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  Sons of Blackbird Mountain

The Orphan’s Wish (Hagenheim #8) by Melanie Dickerson

Synopsis:

From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

My Thoughts:

The story of Aladdin is given a new spin in this latest fairy tale from Melanie Dickerson. The story begins in the Holy Land when Aladdin is just a small boy and we get to watch him grow up before our eyes. As an orphan, Aladdin feels like he has to work harder and strive to be perfect in order to earn love and affection.

Lady Kirstyn has a tender heart for those less fortunate. She longs to give love and a sense of family to the orphans of her family’s homeland. As the middle child, Kirstyn often feels overlooked and under-appreciated in her large family.

Aladdin & Kirstyn are children when they meet and they quickly become friends, going on adventures, and exploring the woods around Hagenheim. They learn to trust one another and build a special bond of friendship. But no one said growing up is easy.

I enjoyed this face-paced story. This story can easily be read as a stand-alone, however, you are sure to treasure Melanie’s other fairy tale stories! I would have like to have seen a little more character growth and maturity before the last couple of chapters. However, that alone shouldn’t discourage you from reading this fun story! Aladdin & Kirstyn are sure to find their way into your heart and take you along on their incredible journey!

If you, like me enjoy reading the fairy tale stories from Melanie Dickerson, then you won’t want to miss out on this latest addition. I give this story 4 stars and would encourage you to pick up this story to enjoy!

(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:

About the Author:

MelanieDickersonMelanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author whose two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and being with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs near Huntsville, Alabama.

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  The Orphan’s Wish (Hagenheim #8) expected publication: June 26, 2018

Don’t miss out on the other stories:

#1 – The Healer’s Apprentice
#2 – The Merchant’s Daughter
#3 – The Fairest Beauty
#4 – The Captive Maiden
#5 – The Princess Spy
#6 – The Golden Braid
#7 – The Silent Songbird

 

The Lost Castle (The Lost Castle #1) by Kristy Cambron

Launching a brand-new series, Kristy Cambron explores the collision of past and present as she discovers the ruins of a French castle, long lost to history.

Synopsis:

A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France’s picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

As Ellie Carver sits by her grandmother’s bedside, she hears stories of a castle . . . of lost love and a hidden chapel that played host to a secret fight in the World War II French resistance. But her grandmother is quickly slipping into the locked-down world of Alzheimer’s, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty–the castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale–and unearth its secrets before they’re finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods–the French Revolution, World War II, and present day–The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind.

My Thoughts:

The Lost Castle is brimming with emotion. Both intricate and detailed, this story is an adventure that you won’t soon forget! Kristy Cambron expertly weaves together three poignant stories into an elegant masterpiece that will tug at the heartstrings of even the most stoic reader.

Ellison (Ellie) Carver’s parents died when she was 11-years old, and she was raised by her Grandmother Viola. Now her Grandmother is slipping away, slowly losing her memories and Ellie longs to know more about “La Bell au bois dormant – The Sleeping Beauty”, a castle in France that seems to hold secrets her Grandmother can no longer remember. A journal, handwritten in French and a photo from June 5, 1944, are the only clues that Ellie has to go by. She feels compelled to travel to France to uncover the mystery that is locked behind the Alzheimer’s walls in her Grandmothers’ memory. Will she be able to discover the mystery of The Sleeping Beauty castle, or only find more unanswered questions?

I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite time period in the story. Every time the story progressed to another time jump, I would think “Oh, just a few more paragraphs, I’m not ready to move on.” However, within a few words, I was fully engaged and happy to be in that time setting.

If you are on the fence about reading a time-slip story with three different time periods, don’t let it hold you back from reading this amazingly well-written story. Just take a piece of advice and pay close attention to the date at each section, that way you can quickly know where you are in time. I’d also add, that you may wish to set aside time to enjoy this book because once you start, you won’t want to put it down!

With a robust theme of faith and a resilient hope for the future, this story is one that will linger with you long after you read the last words on the page. I give this story 5 stars and encourage you to find a copy of this wonderful book to enjoy for yourself.

(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:

KristyCambron  KRISTY CAMBRON has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists for 2014 & 2015, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. The Lost Castle (HarperCollins, series debut in 2018) is her fifth novel. Her first Bible studies (DVD + study guides), The Verse Mapping series, will release in 2018.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University, and has 15 years experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She lovesstorytelling from the stage and travels to teach about the intersection of story roads, faith-following Jesus, and her affection for Bible Verse-Mapping. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

The last and most important thing? Jesus Christ is everything — let her tell you about Him sometime.

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  The Lost Castle

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