Wow! Great finish for a fabulous series!

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Women of Unfailing Conviction

Virginia, 1864

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.

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From the Christy Award-winning team of Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould comes a thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God’s leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last.

 

Wow!  Third book in the cousins of the Dove series and they just keep getting better!  This one stars Nicole in present day Richmond, Virginia (she is the youngest of the 4 Talbot cousins) and Therese Jennings in Civil War Richmond.  I thought it was neat that both young women often were at the same location but over a 100-year difference in time, which not only affected the topography of the location but also their attitudes.  Once again, the authors beautifully weave a story flowing back and forth from the past to the present, often using old photographs to connect them.

I truly love this series and am only bummed knowing that this is the conclusion.  I enjoy learning different aspects of American history but also reading about different contemporary issues – as well as the wonderful romances and mystery!  In this book, the authors bring in some notable Civil War leaders, showing their humanity.  Therese finds that although the rumors were that one highly positioned wife treated people harshly, she hadn’t seen that the night she reflected on.  She reminisced that everyone, herself “included, was capable of doing good or bad.  She’d like to think that it simply came down to one’s choices, but she feared, as with Mother, that perhaps it became more complicated than that as one aged.  She sincerely hoped she’d take the moral high road and she guessed that marrying a man of principle would help her do so.”

Great book, Mindy and Leslie!  I loved it and highly, highly recommend it!  I had my bookclub read the first in the series and now many are looking forward to reading this one!  I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher to help promote it. No review was required but I am freely writing one. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I also want to say I loved the previous 2 books – My Brother’s Crown and My Sister’s Prayer!  But I am highlighting this book because it technically comes out on July 1!

 

The Authors:

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania. www.mindystarnsclark.com

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. http://www.lesliegould.com

A Love So True

A Love So TrueI so enjoyed this novel and I just felt for the heroine – poor spinster Evelyn – she has no husband, she has pox marks on her face, no hope of ever having her very own children and now, she might even be losing her livelihood!  Yes, if her parents retire she would need to leave the orphanage too as a single woman could not possibly run it.  Made me so grateful to not have the some of the same societal rules they had back in the early 1900’s!  I also loved Evelyn’s large heart – she adores kids – both the orphaned ones and the societal outcast ones born to prostitutes.  But not only does she care for the children, she also cares for their mamas – the “soiled doves”, trapped in demeaning, abusive jobs with no hope of ever escaping.  Evelyn brings hope, even as she despairs ever escaping her own past.

“A Love So True” is the second book in the series but completely stands alone.  It’s a bonus to have read the previous Teaville Moral Society novel but not necessary.

I know this is a story about early 20th century Kansas, but the author also made me think about the attitudes I might have towards societal outcasts.  Would I act like some in the book and turn a blind eye or even avoid coming into contact with the outcasts or would I try to help them?  This was a great book to read yet it also made me think.  I highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher to help promote it. No review was required but I am freely writing one. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

For those in the local area, the Burke Community Church Fiction bookclub will be reading one of Melissa’s books for our September meeting and Melissa has graciously agreed to chat with us via Skype for the meeting!

 

The Author:

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Much to her introverted self’s delight, Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and historical romance novelist. She doesn’t have to leave her house to be a housekeeper either, but she’s doubtful she meets the minimum qualifications to claim to be one in her official bio. Her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at http://www.melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

“I stay home with my kids, and though that’s PLENTY enough to do, I decided to add homeschooling and writing novels into my schedule too! I am an English/English as a Second Language teacher by trade and still occasionally convince myself to stuff an English class into my schedule since I LOVE adult second language learners (When students are eager to learn, that’s a teacher’s dream job).

My husband and I have been married since 2001 and have a daughter and two boys. My husband loves blacksmithing, knife smithing, traditional archery, hunting, etc. Generally whatever a mountain man does, he does it or has or wants to attempt it. He comes in handy for research!”
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PS – I love this sepia photo – what a great idea!!!

Bread of Angels

This book isn’t coming out until June but I got the privilege of reading an advanced copy of it and I absolutely loved it!!

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Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances―along with her father’s precious dye―help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert.

Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

I confess – I was predisposed to like this book because I read the previous one – and I was not disappointed! It was phenomenal and I just absolutely loved it! It did cost me a little sleep one night because I just could not put it down!

Lydia is known in the Bible as the dealer of purple cloth who Paul meets in Philippi (Acts 16). This is her story – from her early adolescence in Thyatira to her life in Philippi. The author Tessa Afshar has done her research on Roman life and brings the ancient days to life, giving the reader a rich understanding of Biblical days but in an enjoyable, fascinating novel. She adroitly weaves in Biblical narrative, bringing so much more meaning and understanding to the events in Acts.

Bread of Angels is a sequel to Land of Silence but is a complete separate story – the characters of the previous novel are briefly woven into this story but knowledge of them is not important to the following of the story line.

“I lost everything and found God. But it wasn’t until you (Paul) came into my life and told me the Truth that I found peace.” Early in the novel Lydia faces some extreme tragedies and then finds the God of the Old Testament through a Jewish friend. But it is not until much later that she finds Christ through his messenger Paul.

I wish I could give this book more than 5 starts as it was just so wonderful! I received it from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

I’ve never posted a link to Amazon on my blog before, but the book is on sale right now as a presale on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Bread-Angels-Tessa-Afshar/dp/1496406478/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492033186&sr=8-1&keywords=Bread+of+angels

 

The Author:  Tessa Afshar71ECfis7JBL._UX250_

Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel, Land of Silence, was voted by Library Journal as one of five top Christian Fiction titles of 2016, and nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Inspirational Romance.

Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category.

Her book, Harvest of Rubies, was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category.

Her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, won her “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011.

Tessa was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever.

Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She serves on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from being addicted to chocolate.

Pursued by Lisa Harris

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Wow! The action doesn’t stop from beginning to end – from plane crash in the beginning to the end where Nikki says, “Uneventful. I’d like that.” I loved how real the author made that plane crash though – describing one of the flight attendants after the crash with these words, “Nikki didn’t miss the fear mingled with determination in the young woman’s eyes. She couldn’t be more than twenty-five, trained to be able to open the door of an airplane in her sleep, while hoping to never experience something like this.” But right after the crash Nikki realizes her seat companion has disappeared – even though she made it through the crash. Since there are so many inconsistencies in this disappearance, Nikki, an investigator with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, is drawn into a hush-hush case. Will she be able to figure out where Erika has gone?

Nikki seems to be a magnet for trouble – plane crashes, hostage situations, and more! Every page seems to bring more trouble, not to mention the standing mystery of whatever happened to Nikki’s sister Sarah who disappeared years ago.

I really enjoyed this book although it is not a good one to start reading if you must get a good night’s sleep – I stayed up way too late because I just had to know what would happen next! I loved, too, how Nikki has personal struggles and keeps trying to give them over to God, but is having such a hard time doing it. So, this book has mystery and suspense, romance, and a heroine trying to live fully for God. What a great combination, in my opinion! And speaking of opinion, I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion of it.

 

The Author:  Lisa Harris

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LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 and 2015 from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over twelve years living as missionaries in Africa where she leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com.

 

Still Life

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What a bunch of twists and turns and dead bodies that Dani Pettrey has woven into a riveting suspenseful romance novel! This is the second in the Chesapeake Valor novels – Cold Shot came before it. In Still Life the author highlights the romance/stories of Avery and Parker. Avery is a photographer, who, at the beginning of the book has gone to a gala to celebrate the opening of a photography exhibit as her childhood friend is a model for the photographer. When her friend Skylar doesn’t show and seems to have disappeared, Avery seeks the help of Parker, a crime scene investigator. Parker loves Avery (their romance began in the previous book) but can Avery trust him enough to love her, even with her past? And why did Skylar not show on the night of her big event?

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime-scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime-scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright- and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit for which her friend modeled. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead- and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found, and so Avery immediately calls Parker for help.

As Avery, Parker, and their friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Mystery, romance, murder, abductions, forgiveness – it’s all inside! And I loved the wonderful descriptions of Baltimore and its surrounding areas! I had never heard of Fort Howard, the abandoned military base,  and found it both fascinating and creepy! So I highly recommend this book if you like CSI type books – a real murder mystery that doesn’t shy away from frightening scenes but is clean in the language and sex scenes – and has a sweet romance. On the other hand, if you have a weak stomach like some of my friends, this one is not for you!

 

The Author: Dani Pettrey

Dani-Press-Page-PhotoDani Pettrey is a wife, mom, grandma, and the author of Cold Shot, the first book in the Chesapeake Valor series, and the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others.

She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves—the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and a super adorable grandson.

Never Forget

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What a fabulous book! Oh my goodness my heart wept for poor Abbie! Her parents abandoned her, her beloved grandpa who raised her has dementia, she married a louse of a man who left her and now she is facing the very real possibility of being booted from the only home she has ever known and her source of livelihood. “Abbie laughed again, bitterly. She should have known he wouldn’t stay. No one in her life ever did. Not her father. Most certainly not her mother. Gran had died and left her for heaven. Debbie had gone off and gotten married to Menard. Even Gramps lived forty years in the past as a young lighthouse keeper, leaving her stranded alone in 1880.” What a lot to have dealt with by the age of eighteen!

But then a man washes up on the shore of her lighthouse island – Rose Island – and he has no memory but because of an overheard conversation, thinks he is her missing/dead husband. But will this be a complication or a game changer?

I really loved the unexpected twists and turns the story had – as well as the depictions of the hard lives lighthouse keepers had. This book is based on a real lighthouse – Rose Island lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island – and on real stories of lighthouse keepers and the storms they battled. I also loved how real Abbie seemed – trying so hard to do the right thing, even when it was so hard, and also how she struggles with how to work with her grandpa to keep him from getting agitated.

Although this book is the fifth book in the series, it really is a stand-alone novel with just a few sentences linking it to the previous books (and personally, I think it is my favorite). I received this book from the author in return for my honest opinion.

 

jody-hedlund-headshot-002The Author:  Jody Hedlund

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

And I just found out that Jody loves the TV show Survivor!!

 

The Cautious Maiden

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There is a Rafflecopter giveaway for this book going on right now!  Here’s the link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8040ae3c30/

 

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust; and who to leave behind.

What an adventure! I couldn’t put it down as I kept wondering what would happen next!

This book, I gather, is the 4th book in the series. Unfortunately, I have not read the previous ones but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel – even though some of the references to past events were not familiar to me. Violet and Vance, although semi attracted to each other, are really thrown together by compromising circumstances. But then their love takes blossom – but will it be enough or will other things come between them?

I loved how realistic the conversations between Violet and Vance were as they tried to avoid succumbing to sexual temptation. What a great book to promote purity, even when it’s hard. “He’d (Vance) been so right. Staying pure had nothing to do with good intentions, or knowing what was right. It took so much self-control and accountability and precaution.”

I highly recommend this book. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

The Author:  Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden.

Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.