Posted in Personal

Feature Friday….Julie Klassen

How many people out there love regency novels? Me! So, who is one of the best regency Christian novelists? Julie Klassen. Every year she releases a new book and it’s better than the last! So without further ado, here are my favorites:

Here books have that slow romance that builds over time. And soon, this beauty if coming to a store near you:

Does anyone have a favorite Julie Klassen?

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Posted in Historical

Liz Tolsma’s Snow on the Tulips

About

The war is drawing to a close, but the
Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war
widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to
protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their  lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health,
she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within
herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully,
despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the
Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage
imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit
as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her
heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will
end before it even begins.

Review

This novel is gripping right from the start. I can think of very few scarier situations than living in countries occupied by the Nazis in WWII. And this novel manages to convey that feeling of constant urgency and fear right from the first page.

Gerrit is a hero in more than one sense of the word. His willingness to work on behalf of his country in the face of such intense danger made him someone who was easy to love on the pages. There were a few moments when I felt he was a bit too fearless and often demanded too much of that same spirit from others. That said, you can’t help but like Gerrit.

My heart just went out to Cornelia. She’s just trying to survive in a tough time. Watching her grow and develop over the course of the novel really made her feel real. Though Cornelia and Gerrit fell for each other a bit quickly for my taste, I like that the novel did not just end there and you got to see some real development.

Spiritually…where to begin? I loved the way Gerrit memorized scripture and meditated on it in regularly. You would have to, I think, to face such dangers on a regular basis. Piet brings up the complex issues of when to obey your government and when not to. Cornelia has to learn to trust God and lean on him in times of trouble; learning when to act and when not to act. And yet, none of these issues are forced down your throat. It’s all very subtle, but rings so true.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It captured my attention from the first page and had me thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. If you pick this book up, you will enjoy it.

Romantic Scale: 8.5

** I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Happy Veteran’s Day

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to the many men and women who have served our country! I thought I would list some authors who write great military fiction:

Roseanna M. White (Revolutionary War and War of 1812)

Laura Frantz (Revolutionary War)

Margaret Daley (War of 1812-From This Day Forward)

Lynn Austin (Civil War)

Gilbert Morris (Civil War & others)

Maureen Lang (WWI)

Sarah Sundin (WWII)

Bodie & Brock Thoene (WWII)

Lori Wick (WWII, Every Storm)

Cathy West (Vietnam War)

1990s on- 

L.K. Malone

Ronie Kendig

Gayle Roper

Dee Henderson

 

 

If you know of any other fantastic military fiction, please list a few!

 

Posted in Personal

Feature Friday…Dee Henderson

If you read Christian fiction, then you’ve heard of Dee Henderson.  Ms. Henderson is one of THE Christian mystery authors. I was introduced to her novels when I was about 13 (Yikes!) and have read them ever since. I will state, that I personally believe that her mysteries are better than her romance, but I thought I would share with you my favorites of her books, such as:

This is the first novel I ever read by Dee Henderson and she had me by the end of the first chapter. If I had to pick, this is my favorite novel by her.

Love the military men in these books! And Ms. Henderson creates some strong heroines to match!

I put all of these up here because while some are better than others (the first four), you cannot start this series and not read all of them. 

I will admit, that as a 13 year old, the only thing I did not like about these novels were the characters’ ages. They were so old! But now that bothers me less (Ha!). If you haven’t picked up one of these, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Does anyone have a favorite that I didn’t mention?

Posted in Uncategorized

Lynn Austin’s Return to Me

About

After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo’s prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God’s chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain. 

Zechariah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers. 

Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Return to Me tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

Review

In Return to Me, Lynn Austin brings to life the hardships and joys that the Jewish people went through in building the temple after captivity in Babylon. I thought she did a wonderful job capturing what most likely was a way a lot of people felt at the time in regards to building that temple. There is Iddo who wants it more than anything, Dinah who just wants her family together, Zaki who is learning to love God, and Yael who is seduced by the false gods of Babylon. Some many personalities, yet you never get lost in them. 

I found the story to be unique and creative, yet it was fun to see certain scriptures in the Bible come to life and to realize that the names on the pages of my Bible weren’t just characters in a story, but real people who lived through real, often horrendous, events.

The only thing that was a bit jarring about the novel was the timeline. Almost seventy percent of the novel takes place in one year and then the last thirty percent covers almost 20 years. Things speed up fast. Understandable of course, research wise, but as a novel it felt like it jumped a bit. 

For romance lovers, there is a bit of a romance. The foundation is set up from the beginning, and you can see it, but it does suffer a bit from the time gap because it sort of just happens. That said, the romance is not the focus of the novel so it’s not much of a problem. 

Spiritually, this novel is incredibly rich. It deals with obedience to God, forgiveness, getting rid of idols in your life, learning to trust God, and how God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. 

Overall, very well written and intriguing. I read this novel faster than I thought I would and walked away with a wealth of information about God’s people. Recommended, particularly if you love Biblical history.

Romantic Scale: 5

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Covers!

I have shown some of these covers before but without their descriptions. Which one sounds like the one you want to read most? I’m looking forward to Becky Wade’s and Dani Pettrey’s novels (most likely because they are part of a series)!

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–stillirresistible. This time, though, Ty feels exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be anybody’s husband. As a professional bull rider, he lives on the road and can’t bring himself to settle down.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the face of the one woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had. 

How much will Ty sacrifice to make Celia’s dreams come true, to win her trust, and to prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she’s stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he’s only ever focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole’s father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping’s good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father’s work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father’s rivals–the Jenkins brothers–on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary–someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he’s determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won’t distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she’ll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can’t remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn’t fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.

Tina Cahill, newly arrived from the East, is determined to get the saloon in Broken Wheel, Texas, closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention.

Vince Yates earned the nickname “Invincible Vince” because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. Not his tyrant of a father. Nor the injuries he suffered in the Civil War. Nor the fact that he is Broken Wheel’s only attorney and sheriff yet has no law degree.

But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn’t know he had show up in Broken Wheel without warning. His father is still a schemer. His mother is suffering signs of dementia. And his surprise sister immediately falls for one of Vince’s best friends. Vince has a lot of people to take care of, and Tina doesn’t approve of how he’s handling any of them. But with almost all the other men in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with feisty Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he’s got one more surprise coming his way: Tina’s picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.

A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna’s route leads her face to face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something sinister? When the case is handed to the overburdened sheriff, he turns to Jake Westin. With Jake’s past now revealed, he’s ready to use his talent for investigation again–but he could never prepare for where the case will take him.

Kayden and Jake soon realize that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is on to them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.

When asked what he does for a living, Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: “I’m in the navy.”

But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping its crew trained and focused during 90-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and carries it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating in the Pacific Rim, the navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, pretty, and very smart. She’s a civilian, but she understands life in the navy. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. But a breakup she didn’t see coming has her focusing all her attention on what she does best–ocean science research. She’s on the cusp of a breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop’s perspective and help. Because what she’s told the navy she’s figured out is only the beginning. If she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter…

Two years ago, Zayne Beckett’s departure from New York City to meet up with his almost-fiance caused Agatha Watson no small amount of grief. So he is the last person she wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Looking worse for the wear, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and taken back East to his family. Even though she’s over him, Agatha can’t help feeling sorry for him and realizes she’ll have to be the one to get the stubborn man back home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere. Content to sit and mope over his recent bad fortune and the desertion of his not-quite-fiance, he’s prepared to drag his heels all the way back to New York. That is, until he and Agatha find themselves slipping back into the strangely enjoyable bickering and bantering of their old friendship.

It isn’t until they arrive in New York City that Zayne realizes Agatha’s determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies. When his attempts to repay her for helping him go sadly awry, Agatha proves herself just as stubborn as Zayne. Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth–until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

Blake Hunziker has played nomad for five years and landed in his fair share of trouble too. But now he’s finally returning to his hometown–the Lake Michigan tourist town of Whisper Shore. Counting on a not-so-warm welcome, he’s surprised at not only a positive reception but also a job offer. Determined to settle down and prove himself responsible, he agrees to the catch that comes with the job offer–coordinating the annual Christmas festival–even though he has no idea how he’ll pull it off. 

Autumn Kingsley, inn owner and experienced organizer of the Christmas festival, has always dreamed of traveling the world. Now she has a job opportunity in Paris and a surprise potential investor coming to town who just might take on her family’s inn and finally leave her free to go. The only problem is that she has just two weeks to whip the inn into shape.

Their families have a long history of not getting along, but when Blake comes to Autumn for help with the festival, she actually agrees…in exchange for his help with the repairs to her inn. They may have struck a simple deal, but complications are quick to pile on when the guy who’s had enough of running away and the woman who can’t wait to leave join forces.

Posted in Personal

Feature Friday…An Amish Giveaway

Happy November everyone! If you’re anything like me, November symbolizes…Christmas music! Love it (and may have gotten started listening to it a wee bit early this year)! In the spirit of Christmas I decided to host another giveaway, but this time, I will let you pick the book you want. Just leave a comment below with the name of the novel you want plus your email address. I will pick a random winner. The winner must live in the U.S. and respond within 48 hours of being notified of their win. The contest ends Nov. 22nd! Here are your choices:

Amish-raised Ada Rupp knows it’s time to make a commitment to the faith and join the church, especially if she wants a future with the handsome Amish widower Will Gundy.
But when she has the chance to travel to Switzerland as the caregiver of a young child, she leaps at the opportunity.

Anxious to learn more about her forebears, Ada enlists the help of a young Mennonite scholar named Daniel, but even as she develops feelings for him, she cannot get Will from her mind—or her heart. At a crossroads, Ada must decide what she is willing to give up from the past in order to embrace her future.

Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!
Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart.
Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

In Jerry Eicher’s conclusion to his popular Fields of Home trilogy, readers will be delighted to attend the wedding of Teresa, the young Englisha girl who has come home with Susan Hostetler to learn the ways of the Amish—and in fact to become Amish herself.

But Teresa is not the only young woman to find romance in these pages. Susan, long estranged from Thomas Stoll, the young man she had intended to marry from her childhood, reunites with him….just as another man appears on the scene with designs on her heart. Which man is the one Da Hah has chosen for her?

Amidst the happiness, there is also turmoil as Menno Hostetler, Susan’s father, must face church discipline for a past sinful transgression he’s hidden for many years.  At his age, can he endure the humiliation and the path to restitution?

During a rumschpringe visit to Niagara Falls, Phoebe Miller meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her–and everyone else–with his exceptional storytelling ability. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people–writing and illustrating a children’s book.

Eli’s kindness and appeal extend beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe’s heart. But he is an only son with five sisters, and when his father suffers a heart attack, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility on the farm. Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won’t give up his beloved Phoebe.

Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will Phoebe’s deep-seated fear of desertion stand in their way?

If no one wins the novel you want in this round, don’t worry there will be another!