In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.
Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. Daisies Are Forever released in May 2014. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog at www.liztolsma.blogspot.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog.
My Rating: 4 Stars!
I am really, really enjoying this series. The subject of this one is Belle Gunness, a story which has fascinated me for years. I enjoy suspense and true crime, anyway, but this woman was a monster. Liz Tolsma tells her story well indeed. If you have not read this series yet, I highly recommend it. I received a copy of this book by Barbour Publishing via Net Galley. I was not requited to leave a review and the opinions in this review are expressly my own.
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings epic tale has long captivated readers with its parallels to biblical truth. And now, Walking with Frodo looks at the biblical themes found in the classic Lord of the Rings trilogy. The 18 devotions pair choices and characteristics (deception vs. honesty, light vs. darkness, good vs. evil) displayed by characters in The Lord of the Rings and bring to light what the Bible has to say. A must-have for longtime and new series fans.
Sarah Arthur is a fun-loving speaker and the author of numerous books, including “A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time” (Zondervan/HarperCollins, Aug 2018). Sarah specializes in the intersection of faith and literature, particularly the role of imagination & narrative in spiritual formation. Her first books were the bestselling, award-winning youth devotionals “Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey through The Lord of the Rings” and “Walking with Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure through The Hobbit” (Tyndale), followed by various devotional memoirs (“The One Year Daily Grind,” “Mommy Time”). She also compiled and edited a series of literary guides to prayer with Paraclete Press (“At the Still Point,” “Light Upon Light,” etc.). Middle grade & YA fiction is her love language, so look for her novels in the near future!
J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Christian who truly wove his faith into his books, I believe. I see it all through them and the movies. We see the fight against darkness throughout the books and the light overcoming it. His characterizations are profound and never leave you once you’ve read them. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan and these devotions are incredibly well written. This book will serve a devotion that begs to be read over and over again. This book is geared toward ages 9-12, but is still relevant for adults. Some great lessons here. Highly recommended.
Publisher: Tyndale House Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job. When she’s assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she’s sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri, despite having extended family in the area. Will their meddling expose her mission and keep Lila Seaton from being recovered?
When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children’s home. He’ll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently seems to be putting her in harm’s way.
Calista doesn’t need the handsome pastor interfering with her investigation, and she can’t let her disguise slip. Her job and the life of a young lady depend on keeping Matthew in the dark.
My Rating: 3.5
‘Don’t be afraid to deal with the mess, son. The sweetest moments come from the most offensive fertilizer ‘
Calista York is a budding Pinkerton agent sent to Joplin to find a mob boss’s kidnapped daughter. Joplin is a wild city and she is soon swept up. Trying to find jobs to help her complete her goal, she happens upon Matthew Cook, a man who yearns to be a missionary. Goodness knows, this town needs the Lord’s help! What with miners who can’t feed their families because of drinking, a brothel, a baby raffle, Matthew’s work is cut out for him. Add in a few members of Calista’s odd extended family, this book is a recipe for a good read. Full of wit and good lessons, this will satisfy a reader’s heart.
Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a digital copy of this book via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the opinion in this review is my own.
Lucas Danby has always regretted the decisions that caused his dishonorable discharge from the military—and he’s never stopped trying to redeem his honor. He’s spent the past decade taking on dangerous short-term missions as an elite private soldier—the only part of his life that’s ever gone right. But the high-risk work never cures his shame. Now he’s stuck stateside, mentoring a new recruit. Worse, he’s sick of lying to the people he cares about most—including the woman he’s secretly loved for years.
She can’t escape her house of memories…
Jenessa Belville should be happy. She’s the hometown girl everyone loves, after all. But she’s also the last Belville left—and if she had her way, she’d leave the name and all its painful memories behind. Which is exactly what she hopes to do once she sells Belville Park, the massive estate she inherited from her parents. First, though, she needs to restore the property’s once-glorious gardens. But on the same day she puts up the “For Sale” sign, she discovers three children hiding in the caretaker’s cottage, thrusting her into the unexpected role of temporary guardian.
Fighting for their future means healing from the past…
Struggling to mentor a young man with scars nearly as piercing as his own, Lucas offers to help Jenessa restore the Belville grounds. Though drawn together by a trio of kids who tug on their hearts and the sparks they can’t deny, past secrets and current sorrows threaten to pull them apart. Only the brightest love and hardest sacrifice can turn the house Jenessa never wanted into the home she and Lucas have always longed for.
I always look forward to a book from Melissa Tagg. When I saw this one was coming, I was just so happy. Tagg’s Maple Valley is such a great place–one of those towns where you just would love to visit, except it’s a fictional place and you can’t. Rats!
Lucas Danby has been in love with Jenessa Belville for years, but has never said a word about it to anyone. He’s often away from town doing special private soldier missions after receiving a dishonorable discharge from the military. Lucas doesn’t feel he’s worth very much because of this and is sort of a loner. But when he offers to help Jenessa fix up her family home to sell, then takes on a young man to mentor, and helps her with three kids she found hiding on her property, he just may have to let the woman know his heart.
Tagg has a way with words that just brings the reader down deep into her books. She brings to life her characters and their emotions so incredibly well! And the spiritual theme here is so heart-deep. I loved every minute and finished it in one day! My thanks to the publisher for a preview copy of this book. I received no compensation and the opinion in this review is entirely my own.
Publisher: Larkspur Press Publication Date: November 19, 2020
Inspirational Regency romance with a Christmas twist from three best-selling authors
In Joy to the World, three popular authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas in one book have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness.
“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome their obligations and fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?
“Far as the Curse is Found” by Amanda Barratt One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?
“Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch A Scots portrait painter with a hidden identity finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart.
About Amanda Barratt
ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story–a spin-off of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. She’s the author of over a dozen novels and novellas including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love.
Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.
Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at amandabarratt.net.
Here is a most precious collection of Christmas novellas by some very fine authors. I highly recommend this to read this season because it will totally make your heart smile.
Carolyn Miller gives us ‘Heaven And Nature Sing’ where two young people have allowed circumstances to draw them apart. Will they now realize that God gives second chances? Beautifully written, I read it in one sitting.
Amanda Barratt gives us ‘Far As The Curse Is Found’ and I’ll just be totally honest here. This was one of the best Regencies I’ve ever read. Absolutely exquisite. Barratt shines! The heart of her contribution is deeply felt and most humbly moving. Well done!
Erica Vetsch’s contribution to this collection is indeed precious. She brings us a secondary character from her current series in Cilla Haverly. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing old frinds again. The story is just so wonderful.
This Christmas collection was just about the best I’ve ever read. Each was deeply moving and well done. I was incredibly touched by all. Bravo!
*I received a copy of this book via Kregel Publications. I was not compensated in any form and this review is expressly my own opinion.
Publisher: Kregel Publications Publication Date: October 13, 2020
After a childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. In the middle of breaking into a safe that holds the proof to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella is interrupted by Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.
After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agreed to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.
As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.
I have been a fan of Jen Turano since her very first book and each year eagerly look forward to her new book. She begins a new series with ‘To Steal a Heart’, one that promises to bring her fans a delightful read with each book in said series.
Turano is a master at creating ridiculously funny stories. The conversations between her characters will have you practically rolling the the floor laughing. I always find myself bursting out laughing numerous times during the reading of a Jen Turano book. Seriously, I’ve laughed so hard I’ve scared my little dog and he ran. Her books are just so much FUN to read! The predicaments she gets her characters into are crazy and completely enjoyable to the reader. I am a forever fan! Highly recommended.
*My thanks to the Bethany House Publishers for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I was not compensated in any way and the opinions in this review are entirely my own.
Publisher: Bethany House Publication Date: November 17, 2020 Genre: Historical Fiction
Seth Turnquist never thought his heart would mend after being shattered by his former love, Amelia Christiansen. But three years away from Deep Haven fighting fires as a smokejumper have burned her away, leaving fresh soil for a new love. Still, he’s ready to put Deep Haven in his rearview mirror for good, which means selling the custom log home he built for Amelia and walking away from the family business. But what he doesn’t realize is that the seeds for a second chance have already been planted…
She loved him from the sidelines…
Ree Zimmerman couldn’t let herself love Seth—not when he was her best friend’s boyfriend. And after Amelia broke his heart, there simply wasn’t anything left in him for Ree except friendship. But that never stopped Ree from dreaming of a happily ever after with the lumberjack from Deep Haven. When he returns home for his grandfather’s birthday, she’s not about to let him walk away, again…
Return to Deep Haven in this charming homecoming story about the second chances that await us when we let the past go.
What can I say? The instant I see something new written by Susan May Warren, I absolutely have to read it. She takes her readers back to Deep Haven, the picturesque small town in northern Minnesota this go round as we see Seth Turnquist get his own story after getting his heart broken by Amelia Christiansen years ago. But Ree Zimmmerman has always carried a torch for Seth.
Come along as Warren once again weaves her magic as a super wonderful storyteller. Loved this!
In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .
A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule, and a prince turned into a pauper.
Queen Aurora of Mercia has spent her entire life deep in Inglewood Forest, hiding from Warwick’s Queen Margery, who seeks her demise. As the time draws near for Aurora to take the throne, she happens upon a handsome woodcutter. Although friendship with outsiders is forbidden and dangerous, she cannot stay away from the charming stranger.
Only two months away from completing his royal testing, Prince Kresten of Scania is ready to be finished with the poverty and hardships of being a woodcutter. When he meets a beautiful peasant woman, he doesn’t plan to fall in love, especially when he must soon leave and return to his homeland.
As Queen Margery’s forces close in, Aurora finds herself in mortal danger. Kresten knows a future with Aurora is impossible, but he is desperate to save her and bring an end to the queen’s threat. To do so, he joins the ultimate battle against the evil queen, risking everything, including his chance at true love.
The real Sleeping Beauty story.
The Fairest Maidens Book 1: Beholden Book 2: Beguiled (Oct 2020) Book 3: Besotted (Nov 2020)
This wonderful series is brought to a close with Besotted, the last of the Fairest Maidens. I love this author’s work and her YA medieval stories are just great! Princess Aurora has been kept hidden all her life in the woods but Prince Kresten accidentally stumbles upon her hiding place. Now they must be careful not to let the evil Queen Margery find her, for Aurora is doomed if she does.
Don’t miss this lovely series. I devoured all three books as soon as I got them. I was given a copy by the publisher and received no compensation. The opinion here is my own.
“Tartly elegant. . . . A vigorous, sparkling, and entertaining love story with plenty of Austen-ite wit.” –Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review
“Matthews ups the ante with a wildly suspenseful romance…” –Library Journal, STARRED review
She Couldn’t Forget…
Wealthy squire’s daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it’s bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father’s estate, Nick is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nick escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nick never returns. A decade later, he’s long been presumed dead.
He Wouldn’t Forgive…
After years spent on the continent, John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare has finally come home to England. Tall, blond, and dangerous, he’s on a mission to restore his family’s honor. If he can mete out a bit of revenge along the way, so much the better. But he hasn’t reckoned for Maggie Honeywell. She’s bold and beautiful–and entirely convinced he’s someone else.
As danger closes in, St. Clare is torn between love and vengeance. Will he sacrifice one to gain other? Or, with a little daring, will he find a way to have them both?
My Rating: 5 Stars!
Every time I see Mimi Matthews has a new book coming, I can’t wait to read it! She brings her readers such great stories from her marvelously talented pen. And this one is no exception. It just might be my favorite. But then, I think that with each book she writes. I am just a forever fan.
The opening chapter sells you on the book at once, and then the more you read, the deeper you are drawn into the story. This Regency is so well done and the characters, as usual with Matthews, leap right off the pages. I think I fell in love a little with St. Clare myself! His character was so heroic, chivalrous, courageous, romantic (oh!) that a girl just can’t help from loving him. And Miss Maggie Honeywell did, as a young girl, and as a grown woman. She never stopped loving him. That’s what made their story so precious: they knew from childhood they were meant for each other. I loved every single minute. Totally. I highly recommend this author.
*My thanks to Perfectly Proper Press for an advance copy of this book. The review is expressly my own. I received no compensation
Welcome back to Hope Street Church, where friendships are formed, fresh starts are encouraged, and mysteries are solved . . .
It’s June in Virginia, and the scent of flowers and the sound of wedding bells are in the air, an unwelcome reminder to Cooper Lee of the long-distance relationship she recently ended. When Cooper and her Bible study group are invited to spend a weekend at a newly renovated historic inn, it’s the perfect chance to get away with friends and put her bittersweet memories behind her—until the inn’s pompous co-owner is murdered and one of the suspects is Cooper’s own mother.
Certain that someone on the inn’s staff must have done the cruel deed, the Bible study group begins piecing together the clues, only to learn that everyone there has a motive for murder. When they discover that a valuable painting has also been stolen from the inn, they know they’re up against an especially cunning evildoer. Determined to bring the culprit to justice and save her mother, Cooper and her friends devise a risky scheme to trap the killer, because even the Bible study group must sometimes work in mysterious ways . . .
Includes heavenly recipes from Magnolia Lee’s kitchen!
New York Times bestseller author, Ellery Adams, has written over thirty novels and can’t imagine spending a day away from the keyboard. Ms. Adams, a Native New Yorker, has had a lifelong love affair with stories, food, rescue animals, and large bodies of water. When not working on her next novel, she bakes, gardens, spoils her three cats, and wastes far too much time on Pinterest. She lives with her husband and two children (aka the Trolls) in central North Carolina.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
3.5 stars. Cozy mysteries are such fun and I enjoy them very much. This one is part of a series but totally can be read as a stand alone.
Cooper Lee and her Bible study group are invited to spend the weekend at a newly renovated inn as part of their soft launch. All are so excited to be there. But then there is a murder and the study group turns detective to figure out the culprit.
If you enjoy cozy mysteries, as I do, settle back and see if you are up to playing the part of a detective.
*My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book through Net Galley. The opinion here is my own.