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Cover Love!

It’s been one of those weeks again, where I just haven’t been reading as much. I’ve decided to take it slow for the rest of the year, but I’m super excited for the new year and the reviews to come (don’t worry, I still have reviews to come in December!) Until then, let’s look at these covers:

Mortified after her semester abroad is cut short, Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, certain she isn’t brave enough for the adventures she’s dreamed of. The last thing she expects is for the man who broke her heart to cross the Atlantic and beg forgiveness.

Heir to a European hotel dynasty, Roark St. John has trekked from one exotic locale to another, haunted by tragedy and the expectations that accompany his last name. Amelia is the first woman to give him a reason to stop running. He’ll do anything for a second chance—even contend with Amelia’s old flame, who is intent on sending Roark packing.

While one surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?

Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole
everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability
as well.

When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles
offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it
may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the
Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed,
may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.

They may require who she is.

Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym
is faced with the chance to change the future.

Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

Next year is gonna be fun!

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Monday Musings….Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for so many things this year, God has been so good. I’ve made a list (I love list!). Here’s my thoughts:

1. I’m thankful to God for giving me the idea to start a blog. I had been so hesitant because I’m not tech savvy (can you tell?), but I do so love books and I’m glad that I have an opportunity to share that with others.

2. I’m thankful this year for blogging friends that I have met like Laura from http://craftybooksheeps.blogspot.com/. If you haven’t checked out her blog, you should, she’s awesome.

3. I’m thankful for all the new authors I’ve come across this year (I’m looking at you Paula Vince http://vincereview.blogspot.com/).

4. I’m thankful for all my old favorite authors who have written some wonderful novels this year (stay tuned for my best of 2014 list).

5. And I’m thankful for all the new indie authors (particularly the christian fantasy, my reading heart has been so happy).

6. I’m thankful to all the amazing authors who have graciously been interviewed and/or allowed me to do giveaways on my blog.

7. I’m just thankful, thankful, thankful and looking forward to next year and how I can make my blog even better!

If you have a blog, or enjoy reading blogs, what things have you made you thankful?

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Roseanna M. White’s A Soft Breath of Wind

About

A gift that has branded her for life

Zipporah is thirteen when the Spirit descends upon her, opening her eyes to a world beyond the physical goings-on of the villa outside Rome she has always called home. Within hours, she learns what serving the Lord can cost. Forever scarred after a vicious attack, she knows her call is to use this discernment to protect the Way. She knows she must serve the rest of her life at Tutelos, where the growing Roman church has congregated. She knows her lot is set.

Yet is it so wrong to wish that her master, the kind and handsome young Benjamin Visibullis, will eventually see her as something more than a sister in Christ?

Samuel Asinius, adoptive son of a wealthy Roman, has always called Benjamin brother. When their travels take them to Jerusalem for Passover, the last thing he expects is to cross paths with the woman who sold him into slavery as a child the mother he long ago purged from his heart. His sister, Dara, quickly catches Benjamin s eye, but Samuel suspects there is something dark at work.

When Dara, a fortune-teller seeking the will of a shadowy master determined to undermine the Way, comes into the path of Zipporah, a whirlwind descends upon them all.

Only the soft wind of the Spirit can heal their scars…with a love neither divination nor discernment could foresee.

Review

Anyone who reads my blog ought to guess that Roseanna M. White is a favorite of mine. I’ve read every book she’s written. When I heard that there was a sequel to A Stray Drop of Blood, I was too excited. Here’s why:

What I liked:

Writing is fabulous. When the book downloaded on my kindle, I decided to read the first chapter even though I was reading something else. I didn’t return to something else. I immediately connected to Zipporah, and she easily became one of my favorite heroines.

Zipporah. She’s a trustworthy heroine in a sea of complicated people. To a certain degree she seems perfect, but her own insecurities and certain people’s perceptions of her keep her from falling into that category. I will be honest, a couple of times she reminded me of Hadassah from A Voice in the Wind, though the stories are different (and A Voice in the Wind is one of my favorite stories ever so it was kind of a given I would love her).

The setting. I love Rome and the early church. There’s always this tension when you consider that so many Christians were persecuted at that time and yet, they had such great faith. It’s portrayed so well here.

The love interest. I rooted for him from page one. My romantic-radar went off as soon as I met him, and I voted for him from the start.

The romance. It was slow, but it was sweet. Zipporah and her guy were friends first who really cared for each other and then one day looked up and fell in love. Loved the pacing here!

The drama. It’s not a Roseanna White novel if it doesn’t have any. And boy is there some drama, but I must say, it’s tied up into spiritual things, so it doesn’t feel like it’s tossed in their just to create a soap opera. And it was handled well.

Spiritually, this book taught me a lot of things, but nothing more important than the power of prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit. As soon as I finished the book I just went to praying because sometimes I don’t give it the respect its due.

What I didn’t like:

It’s not so much what I didn’t like, but it’s Rome. And the early church. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s not a light novel, but totally worth reading.

Romantic Scale: 8.9

Overall, I loved it. It’s even better than the first novel I think, and if she wrote anymore about these people I would purchase every book.

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Jody Hedlund’s Love Unexpected

About

1859
Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she’s left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He’s just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other’s dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife’s death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

Review

I always enjoy a Jody Hedlund historical romance. Here’s why:

What I liked:

The writing is so engaging you will read it quickly. I mean before I looked up I was more than halfway done with the book. It starts off with excitement and then leads into a quick marriage and I just wanted to know what happened next.

Patrick. Jody Hedlund can write some good heroes and I just liked me some of him. Patrick has a past, but he has also done everything he can to become a godly man since then. And one thing that I really liked was that when his past comes to face him, he doesn’t get lost in it, but quickly tries to figure out what God would have him to do.

The romance. I will admit that arranged marriages and hasty marriages are something of a favorite of mine to read. But I am particular about them because they can quickly become cheesy or ridiculous. Ms. Hedlund had written a book with one previously (The Doctor’s Lady) and it was probably my least favorite book that she had written, so I was a bit nervous. But don’t be! I found their marriage to come off with some real authenticity as they slowly acknowledge their attraction to each other and began to get to know each other well. My only concern is I felt like since they were married they could have spent more time together, but it all worked out in the end.

The suspense. There was just enough suspense to keep the novel going without taking over.

Spiritually, Patrick learns what grace really means and looks like while Emma comes to trust God.

What I didn’t like:

There is the trope of miscommunication in this book which to me is always strange, particularly when the hero and heroine live in the same house together, but it could have been worse! And yet, I kind of wish it wasn’t there at all.

Romantic scale: 8

Overall, I really enjoyed this romance. It was a light, quick read without all the angst.

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Books That are Hard to Read

The other day I read a book ( a very good book!) but boy was it hard to read. You see, I’m one of those people who likes Happy Ever After endings and minor problems. Not problems that are overwhelming for my protagonists to get through. When that is not the case, I’m usually faced with a dilemma: skip to the ending to see if I can relax, or muddle through it. I hate muddling through it, but if the ending is terrible I may not finish the book. What’s a girl to do?

What’s even worse, in my opinion, is if the author writes a series. An example of this would be Liz Curtis Higgs Thorn in My Heart Series (a very good read, but you’ll be gnashing your teeth the whole time). With series, you know the issue hasn’t been completely dealt with and in order to find out what happened you have to purchase a whole ‘nother book and go at it again.

I’m a firm believer that books should be relaxing, unless I can count on the author to always make me happy in the end. That’s not saying I want a boring book, for there are many out there. I just don’t like certain types of drama. Personally, familial drama where siblings are usually in love with the same person or had relations with the same person or did anything with the same person are a complete turnoff and/or usually make a novel just too hard to read for me. Maybe because I love books where family members have each others back, even if they don’t always get along.

What about you? Like to live on edge and read heart-palpitating books? Or do you prefer things to be toned down a bit? Is there a certain topic in a book that you would prefer to avoid because it will make you nervous? Thoughts….

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Feature Friday…Elaine L. Schulte

Years ago, (before Amazon was invented), my mom would take me to the Christian book store almost every weekend, and I always had to leave with something. And that is how I stumbled across Elaine L. Schulte and ended up reading just about every book in the California Pioneer Series. Ms. Schulte is a wonderful author who wrote a lot of historical romance novels. The California Pioneer Series encompasses the stories of one family, some as they travel to California, and others as they learn to live there.

This one is probably my favorite. It’s a little bit Christy by Catherine Marshall and a little bit of a mystery as well.

I very much recommend this series if this time period in history interests you. I have reread several of these books many times! I started the series out of order, but if you read these, you might want to start from the beginning!

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Julie Klassen’s The Secret of Pembrooke Park

About 

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances–and her dowry–Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?

Review

I’m always excited to get my hands on a Julie Klassen novel because I know that she knows her time period so well and she write such terrific romances. Well, I wasn’t disappointed with this one! Here’s why:

What I liked:

The eerie gothic feel to this novel. To be considered a gothic (in my book) is to have not only creepy characters and a creepy mystery, but to have a creepy house. Yes to all three. There was someone running around in a cape, villagers who kept secrets, and a house with a story it didn’t want to tell. Loved it!

Abigail. She’s a terrific heroine because she’s smart. She starts off in the book a bit humbled by her circumstances, but it never really keeps her down. She manages to come across as brave instead of stupid and wise instead of frustrating. Abigail has a few insecurities I thought that are almost universal and really made me root for her as a person.

The romance. It was done slowly, but believably for those times, and by the time that Abigail and her guy got together, I had confidence that they were good together, that they loved and respected each other, and that there romance would last.

The secondary characters. They kept me guessing the whole time. Are they lying? Are they telling the truth? Are they who they really say they are?

Spiritually, there’s a beautiful theme of grace and forgiveness and starting over that reverberates throughout the tale.

What I didn’t like:

I enjoyed it all!

Romantic Scale: 8.8

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It had a great heroine, that lovely gothic feel, a swoony romance, and it managed to stay true to its time.

**I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**