Monday, May 14, 2018

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette #REVIEWED





From the back cover:
Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.
Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies--and unexpected allies--she will encounter on her way.


My Favorite Lines:

"Would it be all right if I called you 'Ima'?"

"I would listen every day, every moment, expectant for the Voice."

"Perhaps he (God) has a unique purpose for you, in spite of what you endured. Or perhaps because of it."
The Why:
After having enjoyed Conni's first trilogy so much, I was thrilled to read this book. She brings to light familiar and not-so-familiar Biblical passages with characters you can't help but cheer for.


The Characters:
Both main and secondary characters are strikingly vivid in this book. I remember their feature scenes and personality like I had watched them in a theater. (Hellooo, filmmakers in Hollywood, get with the program and make us movies of these books! Ahem.) I've tried to pick a favorite secondary character, but they're all so masterfully created, I couldn't choose. Even the wicked king of Megiddo was breathtaking to "see" in motion as I read his pages.


The Romance:
I'll be honest, I couldn't see a satisfactory ending coming for these star-crossed romantic leads. So much stood in their way, not to mention the small matter of their lives being in danger at almost every moment! But the author pulled it all together in a beautiful conclusion that has me wanting to read the book all over again.


The Pace:
With multiple lives at stake, this one's a page turner!


The Faith Element:
As with every Connilyn Cossette book I've read, this title did not fail to bring me to the throne room in worship of our great and amazing God. To see His faithfulness and guidance woven through the fabric of history, even when man is so faithless, brings me to tears and makes me want to serve Him better.

The Author's Trademarks:
Vivid imagery, research of ancient history, impossible odds and strong attraction between romantic leads, life-threatening stakes, worshipful portrayal of God as omnipotent and yet loving.


The Overall Impression:
I'm always awed by Conni's books. They not only send me on a thrilling, taste-and-see journey with characters I love, the lessons they portray drive me to my knees with longing to become closer to the One who made change and repentance possible.


The More Factor:
More! Yes, please, lots more!

Check out the book's Pinterest board, then come back here and chat about the book! :)







Comment Fodder:
If you've read any of Conni's books, which are your favorite characters?
What is your favorite Bible story?
Of the ancient times, which eras/world kingdoms are your favorite to read about?



*I received a copy of this book from the publisher free of charge. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Hearts Entwined by Karen Witemeyer, Melissa Jagears, Mary Connealy, and Regina Jennings #Reviewed


From the back cover:
Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Love Knot," Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister's arrival by train. Mary Connealy's "The Tangled Ties That Bind" offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers "Bound and Determined," where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears' "Tied and True" entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory.
Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

My favorite moments & lines:

The Love Knot
"You ARE my future, Claire. Nothing is more important to me than you."
Ah! That line! And another moment that stole my heart is later in the book when Peter's sings a low lullaby to a baby. I loved learning about Peter and Claire's history together and where they hailed from.

The Tangled Ties that Bind
Starting the story with the characters up a tree--literally! Mary Connealy is a comedy genius. There's nothing like getting reacquainted with an old crush hovering over the deadly horns of a mama buffalo. This scene came to life for me, calling up memories of a trip I took to Wyoming where I saw a buffalo napping beside a picnic table. The giant beast made the table look like doll house furniture.

Bound and Determined
If you've seen the movie HAWMPS! you will love this gem. Laughed myself to tears in the third chapter.  I thought, "Oh no she didn't just go there,” but yes, indeed, she did.

Tied and True
“Don’t shove away a lifetime of blessing because you fear trials. You’ll have them no matter what you do.” This story began with some beautiful, poignant moments and had me glued all the way through the ending.


My Overall Impression:
Loved this collection and would recommend to anyone who loves clean historical romance with a side of laughter. I sighed at the many sweet scenes interwoven with comedy and heart-tugging moments. Can't wait to read more from all these authors!


Comment Fodder:
Are any of these authors new to you?
Have you had any experience with camels or buffalo or other wild critters?
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher free of charge. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May 2018 Fiction Releases #ACFW

May 2018 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.



Children’s:
 


Feebs to the Rescue by Kathy J. Perry -- Feebs the kitten is new to the farm. She’s a long way from the farmhouse and doesn’t know her way home in the dark. Her new friend, Ollie the dog, needs help. Can she find the courage to lead a night rescue? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)



Nibbler and Captain Make Peace by Kathy J. Perry -- Nibbler the beaver works hard to keep his lodge and dam perfectly patched. A river otter knocks a hole in his great work. Now he’s so angry, he could almost spit nails. Can he learn how to handle his anger? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)



Rascal’s Trip by Kathy J. Perry -- Rascal the raccoon is sorry he ignored the warning signs He’s surprised by a whirlwind and he’s taken for the ride of his life. Now it’s up to the Bandana Buddies to help him learn the importance of thinking ahead. Can he stay out of trouble long enough to get back home? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)


Contemporary Romance:
 


Solo Tu: Only You by Narelle Atkins -- Can two high-school teachers, a girl from Tuscany and a boy from Australia, risk everything for love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck -- According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious--serious science, that is. But science can't always account for life's anomalies, like why her fiancĂ© dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge. Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie's friends book her as a speaker on a "New Year, New You" cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she's qualified to teach others about happiness when she can't muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can't ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)




Hometown Reunion by Lisa Carter -- Widowed former Green Beret Jaxon Pruitt comes home to face his toughest battle: reconnecting with his toddler son. He also makes an unwitting enemy of childhood friend Darcy Parks when he takes over the kayak shop Darcy hoped to buy! For little Brody’s sake, she’ll stay until summer’s end. But could a growing connection turn their temporary truce into an unexpected forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston -- When her best friend Savilla dies, Laura steps in to help Allen raise his infant daughter. She soon finds herself coping with the jealousy of her boyfriend Rudy, and her own growing attraction to Allen. Have Laura and Allen been brought together to console and support one another…or is there an even deeper purpose they must fulfill? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)



Cowboys of Summer by Mary Connealy, Tina Radcliffe, Lorna Seilstad, Sherri Shackelford, Cheryl St. John, and Missy Tippens -- Six of Christian fiction's most beloved authors join forces to bring you a collection of humorous, romantic and heartfelt novellas set against the sultry heat of summer. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



Bella Notte by Heather Gray -- As a photographer who works primarily with fashion, Piero Carter is used to having his pick of beautiful women who want to be seen by his side. Felicity von Wolff is a makeup artist whose job takes her around the world. That's all the adventure she craves. She has little use for Piero the Playboy. But when Felicity peeks over the wall she's built to protect herself, she discovers there's more to the people around her than she ever realized. What will it take for Piero and Felicity to stop hiding from life and open their eyes to the rich beauty God has in store for them? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter -- Regardless of what any blood test says, Brady Collins will go to any lengths to keep his son. Even pretend his friend Hope is his fiancĂ©e. Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has finally been offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams. As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)



Finding Love on Bainbridge Island Washington by Annette M. Irby -- A “broken” therapist with PTSD finds a fresh start at her family’s beach cabin, but when her parents hire her ex-boyfriend to finalize repairs on the place, they’re forced back into close proximity. He’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)



And Cowboy Makes Three by Deb Kastner -- Coming home with a baby and no wedding ring was just what everyone in Cowboy Country expected from bad girl Angelica Carmichael. But she’ll brave their scorn to fulfill Granny Frances’s dying wishes, even if it means ranching with Rowdy Masterson...her jilted ex-groom. Rowdy’s still bitter but this new, softer Angelica—paired with a precious baby—might be too lovable to resist! (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Falling for You by Becky Wade -- A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin — then suffered the consequences when their relationship fell apart. Now that a decades-old mystery has brought them together again, they'll have to confront their past and the feelings they still harbor for one another. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:
 
 


Long Way Home by Brenda S. Anderson -- Stuck on a six-day road trip with the man who once bullied her, can Lauren Bauman learn that love keeps no record of wrongs? (General Contemporary, Independently Published {ACFW QIP Author})



The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli -- The Hidden Side is about a family that is torn apart by the unspeakable actions of one of its members and how a woman from the past helps them to heal. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)




Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt -- It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—until her middle sister Jillian’s engagement pulls the family back together to plan the festivities. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Tyndale House)




Where Hope Begins by Catherine West -- Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.
But soon, Savannah is given a challenge that she can’t run away from. Forgiving the unforgiveable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all. (General Contemporary from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
 
 
General Historical:
 

Faithful by Carol Ashby -- When a foolish choice lands one man in a fight for his life, unlikely friendships are born, love blossoms, and broken relationships are restored as his best friend’s faith and courage guide the quest to rescue him. (General Historical from Cerrillo Press)


Historical Romance:
 


All for Love by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano -- Three of Christian historical fiction's beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. Mary Connealy's "The Boden Birthright" journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden's determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer's pretty daughter. Kristi Ann Hunter's "A Lady of Esteem" follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Jen Turano's "At Your Request" tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])



The Perfect Bride by Debbie Lynne Costello -- Avice Touchet has always dreamed of marrying for love and that love would be her best friend, Philip Greslet. She’s waited five years for him to see her as the woman she’s become but when a visiting lord arrives with secrets that could put her father in prison, Avice must consider a sacrificial marriage. Philip Greslet has worked his whole life for one thing—to be a castellan—and now it is finally in his grasp. But when Avice rebuffs his new lord’s attentions, Philip must convince his best friend to marry the lord against his heart’s inclination to have her as his own. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)



Backcountry Brides Collection by Angela Couch, Debra E. Marvin, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, and Pegg Thomas -- Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry. Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)



Rebecca’s Song by Dawn Kinzer -- A small-town teacher who lost hope of having her own family, and a big-city railroad detective driven to capture his sister's killer, must do what's best for three young orphans who need them both. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)



Love’s Silver Lining by Julie Lessman -- A soft-hearted suffragist incurs the wrath of a bull-headed bachelor when she reforms his favorite girl at the Ponderosa Saloon. (Historical Romance (Western), Independently Published)



Redeeming Light by Annette O'Hare -- While Sarah weathers the deadly storm inside the lighthouse, her prayers are for Frederick, caught in the midst of the tempest. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])



To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe -- Elmer Smith didn't need a man when she competed in the Cherokee Strip Land Run and she sure as shootin' doesn’t need one to keep her land either. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


Romantic Suspense:
 


No Safe Place by H. L. Wegley -- A young man returning from the far country trying to regain his honor, and a young woman with a heart broken by her parents' rejection because of her newfound faith, each have what the other needs, but will the assassin who put them on his hit list allow them enough time to discover what they have in each other? (Romantic Suspense from Trinity Press International)


Speculative:
 


No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens -- As far as David Galloway knows, he can’t die. He wonders where he fits in the world, in God’s plan for the past and the future. He believes himself to be the only person on earth who hasn’t aged in over a century. He’s wrong about that. (Speculative from Barbour Publishing)


Young Adult:
 


Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett -- Left at her grandma's house in Hawaii after a family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to fly home to Boston and stop her father before he does anything drastic. (Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)


*All authors whose books are included on the ACFW New Releases list attest that their book meets CBA standards for clean, Christian content. The posting of this list on the Sweet South Blog is not a review or an endorsement of any book on the list.