31 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recently Added to My TBR List

Hosted weekly by The Broke and the Bookish.

A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker
The Forever Man by Eoin Colfer
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

A Stranger's Secret by Laurie Alice Eakes

As a grieving widow, Morwenna only wants to make a life for herself and her young son at her murdered husband’s estate. Until an unconscious man washes up on her shore, entangling her in a web of mysteries that threatens everything she holds dear.

Still grieving the loss of her husband, Morwenna Penvenan fills her days preserving her son’s heritage: the dilapidated estate his father left them. But all attempts at restoration are thwarted when she is accused of deliberately causing ships to crash on her shore in order to steal their cargo. While seeking clues to the true culprits, she finds an unconscious man wearing a medallion with the Penvenan crest enameled upon it.

Upon learning of his father’s death, David pursues answers to the many questions left in his father’s wake: Why was his father in Cornwall when he said he would be in Scotland? Why did he die in possession of a medallion belonging to a prominent Cornwall family? Why did his father take money from the family’s ship-building business? And why did someone kill him? Only after waking up at the Penvenan estate under Morwenna’s care do the pieces start falling together.

As David recovers in Morwenna’s house, they grow to care about one another, while knowing each have reasons to distrust the other. The closer they work together, the more they learn how their lives – and mysteries – are entwined. As the past continues to intrude on their lives, they must learn to ask the Lord and others for help or risk losing each other and maybe even losing their lives.

Morwenna Penvenan, a character previously introduced in A Lady’s Honor, becomes the dynamic center of attention in Laurie Alice Eakes’ second Cliffs of Cornwall novel, A Stranger’s Secret. Her story fascinated and captivated me, and I loved it, just as much as I remember enjoying A Lady’s Honor. With the similar secret-laden suspense, between-the-classes romance and introspective character reflection and growth, A Stranger’s Secret provides a great follow-up story and is an entirely addictive and intriguing historical read. Fans of the genre cannot go wrong in picking up this novel - I recommend it and cannot wait to read more from Laurie Alice Eakes in the future.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of A Stranger’s Secret and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

About the Author
Recipient of the National Readers Choice Award, Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of nine books and a novella, with four more books and two novellas scheduled for release. She is a writing teacher and speaker and has her master’s degree in creative writing. She also writes articles on writing, including “Writing from the Heart While Writing for the Market” for the ACFW Journal.

Visit her at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

30 March 2015

Facing the Blitz: Three Strategies for Turning Trials into Triumphs by Jeff Kemp

In football, a blitz is an all-out attack, aiming to force the quarterback into a mistake and create mayhem and destruction. But by its nature, the blitz also creates an opportunity for the quarterback, as it leaves holes in the defense. What looks like the worst play can become the best play. 

During a life "blitz," when everything seems like it's collapsing – financially, relationally, spiritually, or physically – if you take initiative you can do more than just survive. You can grow, succeed, and advance. In Facing the Blitz, Jeff shares lessons he's learned through all kinds of life blitzes, both personal and professional. He teaches how life is about transformation and being others-oriented, and how having the right mindset can turn unnecessary fear and misery into courage, growth, and joy.

Jeff Kemp’s Facing the Blitz: Three Strategies for Turning Trials into Triumphs provides accessible and relevant methods of dealing with the unexpected challenges, problems and difficulties life never fails to provide. This inspirational book is definitely another one that overuses one of its title words (“blitz”), but looking past that, the material it offers is beneficial and useful to readers at any stage of life (even those who do not like football). Kemp uses examples from his life, on and off the football field, as well as those of his friends and family, and I greatly appreciated his perspective. Overall, Facing the Blitz is encouraging and uplifting, a great reminder of how to traverse life’s challenges, taking the bad with the good.

Thanks to Bethany House, I received a copy of Facing the Blitz and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

28 March 2015

Better All the Time by Carre Armstrong Gardner

Seraphina Darling has always struggled to stand out. With her weight issues at the forefront of her mind, Sephy prefers to place herself comfortably in the background. But when Sephy's best friend and older brother announce their engagement, she vows to make a permanent change in her appearance and her life.

Meanwhile her younger sister, Amy, lands her dream job: coordinating the restoration of the community theater's arts programs. As the deadline for the project's completion approaches, Amy continues to run herself ragged, struggling to delegate and trust anyone but herself.

As the Darling sisters move through tragedy and triumph, between shadows and the limelight, each must find a path into the freedom of who God intended her to be.

As a definite fan of family sagas, I could not be happier with Better All the Time, which follows All Right Here in Carre Armstrong Gardner’s Darling Family series. After getting to know and love the Darling family in the first novel, I really enjoyed getting to catch up with them in this second novel. With new situations, new emotions, focusing more on Seraphina and Amy this time, Gardner provides another excellently well-written and realistic story of God and family. I simply could not put it down, eagerly turning pages to see how everything would play out for the Darling family. Overall, Better All the Time is an inspiring and entertaining read, and I would recommend it to readers of contemporary fiction, especially those who enjoyed All Right Here.

Thanks to Tyndale BlogNetwork, I received a copy of Better All the Time and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

26 March 2015

A Heart's Disguise by Colleen Coble

In the midst of end-of-war celebrations, Sarah discovers her betrothed was keeping a devastating secret in Colleen Coble's A Heart's Disguise. Will Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the only man she’s ever loved? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

Celebrate book one in Colleen's A Journey of the Heart series by entering to win a Kindle Fire and RSVPing to her May 5th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of A Heart's Disguise
  • A copy of A Heart's Obsession (blog tour coming in April)
  • A copy of The Inn at Ocean's Edge (blog tour coming in April)
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 7th. Winner will be announced May 8th on Colleen's website. Plus be sure to clear your calendar on the evening of May 5th because Colleen is hosting an author chat party on Facebook to celebrate her A Journey of the Heart series and the release of The Inn at Ocean's Edge! RSVP here!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on May 5th!

About the Book
In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young woman searches for her lost love at the edge of the West.

The Civil War has destroyed Sarah Montgomery’s marriage before it’s even begun.

After Sarah receives word that her fiancé, Rand Campbell, has been killed fighting for the Union, her brothers and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to Ben Croftner – despite her strong misgivings. But when Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive – and that Ben Croftner knew it – she indignantly breaks off the engagement and goes in search of Rand.
But Ben Croftner does not take rejection lightly – and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. When Sarah is abducted by her treacherous fiancé, Rand finally comes to her aid… only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and intends to take her there as his wife.

But could Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the love of her life? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

A Heart’s Disguise by Colleen Coble begins an intriguing and historical six-part serial (A Journey of the Heart) with a post-Civil War setting and uncertain romance. Though nothing outside of the back-of-the-book summary actually occurs within the novella’s few pages, the story managed to quickly draw me in, keep me on edge and eagerly waiting to see how the events would play out for the characters. And the cliff-hanger ending naturally has me excited to see what the next installment has in store. An overall quick and enjoyable afternoon read (easily read in one sitting), A Heart’s Disguise is one I would recommend to fans of novellas and historical romance. 

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of A Heart’s Disguise and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. To read other opinions, be sure to check out what otherreviewers think here.

Purchase a copy of A Heart's Disguise here.

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Her romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen at her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

25 March 2015

Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I'm Learning to Love by Sarah Parshall Perry

About the Book
You know that thing when you're in Walmart at noon before you discover you haven't brushed your teeth? Sarah Parshall Perry gets that. She also gets weird things showing up in her bed, her daughter asking for war paint, and her son crawling into a giant blue sock on Christmas morning. Mainly, she gets that conflicted feeling of finding her kids hanging out in the dogs' cages and happily realizing they have stopped getting into trouble for a minute.

According to Perry, "The hardest stuff is the quickest way to God," and readers get to watch the systematic destruction of her carefully planned life, laughing at her missteps, aching at her tragedies, and recognizing themselves along the way. A mother of three children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum, she has experienced plenty of ups and downs, but from the chaos of her "ordinary" life she pulls the universal truths of motherhood, addressing them with humor, poignancy, and a naked honesty that will make the reader think, That sounds a lot like my crazy life. Perry helps mothers realize they aren't alone, even if they've fallen off the straight and narrow of their intended path and are instead lying in the ditch next to it. Life's a mess. But as Perry reminds us, it's all for a purpose.

Perfect for mothers, this book will encourage, inspire, and enlighten.

Sarah Parshall Perry’s memoir, Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I’m Learning to Love, is equally humorous, heartfelt and honest, and I thoroughly enjoyed this peek she offers into her messy life, even though I am not currently a mother. As Perry details various experiences she has had through different stages of her life, she beautifully captures the way God reaches out and uses, teaches and shapes with the out-of-control messiness of life. I would definitely recommend Sand in My Sandwich to readers, especially mothers, who like memoirs. It’s an entertaining, engaging read.

Thanks to Revell Reads, I received a copy of Sand in My Sandwich and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Author
Sarah Parshall Perry (JD, University of Virginia School of Law) is a wife and mother of three young children. She is the coauthor of When the Fairy Dust Settles (with her mother, Janet Parshall) and the author of numerous magazine articles, award-winning short stories, and poetry. Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years and is currently writing for www.ChosenFamilies.org where she encourages other families living with disabilities. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she spends most of her days fighting for time in front of the computer. Learn more at her website.

Waiting on Wednesday: Tiffany Girls

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: Tiffany Girls
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Howard Books
Expected Publication Date: 5 May 2015

From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman” – the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel – and the love that threatens it all.

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany – heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire – seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the New York Art Institute. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girls is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Why I'm Waiting: Since I've read and loved every other book by Deeanne Gist, it would be impossible for me not to be excited about this one, too.

23 March 2015

Wilderness Rising by A.L. Shields

From A. L. Shields – pseudonym for New York Times best-selling author Stephen L. Carter – comes the thrilling sequel to The Church Builder.

An age-old struggle between the enemies of God and the champions of faith.
A rumored relic that could prove Christ performed miracles – or declare him a fraud.
A woman on the run from international authorities.

Bethany Barclay is fighting to outwit the Wilderness, an ancient and powerful cabal bent on destroying Christianity. Its members murdered her best friend, framed her for acts of terrorism, and captured the brilliant teen hacker she vowed to protect. To ransom the girl, Bethany must find the Pilate Stone – a mysterious first-century artifact that might not even exist.

But she's not the only one looking for the stone. In an international landscape of double agents, Bethany finds it impossible to tell friend from foe. The Garden, a secret group of powerful intellectuals sworn to save the Church and help Bethany, is collapsing under the rising power of the Wilderness. And an ocean separates her from her only proven ally – the lone wolf Ray Fuentes, who has battles of his own to fight.

A sparse trail of breadcrumbs takes Bethany across Europe into a labyrinth of academics, art historians, and followers of a reclusive monastic order. As her quest transforms into an ever more complex and dangerous game, unlikely actors in the drama emerge. Some are ruthlessly devoted to preserving a world where faith is possible. Others aim to brutally, and finally, undermine belief.

Including her own.

Though I haven’t yet read the first Church Builder novel, the second one, Wilderness Rising, by A.L. Shields still proved to be a gripping and engaging read, keeping my attention from start to finish. I assume the plot picks up soon after the end of the previous novel, with Bethany Barclay on the run, and as she follows the clues left by her friend across international borders, the plot quickly fills with suspense and danger at every turn. As I read, I wondered and questioned, right along with Bethany, who of the many characters could actually be trusted, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the fast-paced twists and turns involved. Fans of suspense and thrillers, especially those who enjoyed The Church Builder, will not want to miss Wilderness Rising - however, I do highly recommend reading The Church Builder first. Though I managed to read and enjoy Wilderness Rising, I know my experience would have been enhanced with an understanding of the previous novel.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of Wilderness Rising and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

About the Author
A. L. Shields is a pseudonym for Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, where he has taught for thirty years. He is also the author of seven acclaimed works of nonfiction and five best-selling novels. His first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), spent eleven weeks on the New York Times best seller list.

21 March 2015

On Shifting Sand by Allison Pittman

Long before anyone would christen it "The Dust Bowl," Nola Merrill senses the destruction. She's been drying up bit by bit since the day her mother died, leaving her to be raised by a father who withholds his affection the way God keeps a grip on the Oklahoma rain. A hasty marriage to Russ, a young preacher, didn't bring the escape she desired. Now, twelve years later with two children to raise, new seeds of dissatisfaction take root.

When Jim, a mysterious drifter and long-lost friend from her husband's past, takes refuge in their home, Nola slowly springs to life under his attentions until a single, reckless encounter brings her to commit the ultimate betrayal of her marriage. For months Nola withers in the wake of the sin she so desperately tries to bury. Guilt and shame consume her physically and spiritually, until an opportunity arises that will bring the family far from the drought and dust of Oklahoma. Or so she thinks. As the storms follow, she is consumed with the burden of her sin and confesses all, hoping to find Russ's love strong enough to stand the test.

Before picking up On Shifting Sand, I hadn’t read anything from Allison Pittman, and I have to say, this novel definitely surprised me. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, so the Dust-Bowl setting uniquely captured my imagination and fascinated me. Then, within this harsh and desolate environment, Nola narrates her story as a clearly flawed and easily unlikable character. Given this narrator, her first-person narration and the general content, On Shifting Sand was at times a bit of a challenge to keep reading - but still, as a story of sin, guilt, forgiveness and love, it ended as an interesting read for me and I am glad to have read it. I look forward to reading more from Allison Pittman in the future.

Thanks to Tyndale BlogNetwork, I received a copy of On Shifting Sand and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Q&A with the Author
Award-winning author Allison Pittman has penned more than twelve novels, including her series set in the Roaring Twenties – All for a Song, All for a Story and All for a Sister. Allison resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family – Stella. Visit her at her website.

1. What inspired you to write On Shifting Sand?
This is always the hardest question to answer. I loved writing about the dynamics of marriage with my Sister Wife series. But then, a story of a marriage needs conflict, and I’ve yet to see a CBA novel really tackle the idea of adultery in a way that showed it to be a conscientious, willful sin, disassociated from the circumstances of the marriage, or the relationship between the husband and wife. Too often, it was a backstory to justify a divorced character. Or it was a series of close calls, but never fully realized. I wanted to portray it as sin. Pure and simple, but unique in the fact that it reaches beyond the sinner, and carries with it a risk in confession. And then, I wanted to write a story that follows through a journey of restoration – not simply coming back to Christ, but coming back to life. It took a bit for all the pieces to come together, and so many of them weren’t discovered until I was buried in the story. More than any of my books, inspiration for this story came bit by bit.

2. The story is written from the perspective of Nola Merrill, who finds herself in an adulterous relationship. Why did you decide to write the story from the perspective of an unreliable narrator?
I think we are all unreliable narrators in our own lives, especially when it comes to facing our sin. We justify our sin, proclaim ourselves victims, assign blame and downplay responsibility. We can bury ourselves so deeply in guilt, we’re blind to the idea of redemption, so we ignore what God tells us about confession and grace and mercy. We lie to ourselves the same way Nola lies to herself – and, thereby, to the readers. I have no doubt this character will make readers uncomfortable. She made me uncomfortable. They are going to be frustrated with her choices, disappointed by her actions, but I’m OK with that. I think Nola is the realest character I’ve ever created.

3. Why did you decide to set the story during The Dust Bowl?
When I knew I was going to write a story about adultery, I was determined not to have the adultery resulting from any shortfalls in the characters’ marriage. No neglect, no alienated affection – none of the usual internal problems that might lead a wife to make the choices Nola makes. I needed an external enemy. The Dust Bowl gave me that. The circumstances made it impossible for a woman to fulfill her traditional role of keeping a clean home. The poverty of the Depression made it difficult for her to feed and care for her family. All of that chips away at Nola’s sense of self-worth, and makes her vulnerable to anything – or anyone – for validation.

However, it wasn’t until I was in the middle of writing the story that I realized the real power of these storms. The dust and the wind becomes the voice of Nola’s unconfessed sin. It tortures her and follows her. The more photographs and film footage I saw, the more desolation and hopelessness I saw. It was a time and place in desperate need of rain, just as any sinner is in desperate need of Jesus Christ, the Living Water. The setting of the Dust Bowl took on a dimension greater than I imagined at the outset, and grows over the course of the story – just as the storms themselves did.

19 March 2015

The Promise of Palm Grove by Shelley Shepard Gray

Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's new series, Amish Brides of Pinecraft, and the first book in the series, The Promise of Palm Grove! Romantic Times said, "Vibrant descriptions and details bring the plot to life in this heartwarming tale of new beginnings and renewal." Does Leona follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

Enter to win a copy of The Promise of Palm Grove—five winners will be chosen! The winners will be announced March 30 on Shelley's blog!

About the Book
Amish bride-to-be Leona is thrilled to be in Florida, on a mini vacation in the pretty town of Pinecraft. Her girlfriends think she's happy because she's away from the stress of wedding planning. They have no idea that Leona's real joy is in being away from her fiancé.
Edmund is a good man and will make a decent husband… just not for Leona. The more time she spends with him and his overbearing ways, the less she wants to be his wife. Her cousins are sure Edmund is the right man for her – and their certainty makes Leona begin to doubt herself. But when a chance encounter with a wayward cat brings her face-to-face with a handsome, fun-loving Amish man named Zachary Kaufmann, Leona's faced with two vastly different futures.
Leona must decide: should she follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

Yet again, Shelley Shepard Gray delivers a charming tale of heartwarming Amish romance. As Leona Weaver vacations with her friends in Pinecraft for a couple weeks, she holds very little hope for her future, certain no happily-ever-after awaits with her husband-to-be Edmund. But everything changes when she crosses paths with Pinecraft local, Zachary Kaufman, sparking her to truly think through her doubts and desires. Both Leona and Zack are fun characters to follow through the storyline, and though their developing friendship is a bit instantaneous, it is sweet and endearing. Fans of Amish fiction will not be disappointed with this quick, heartfelt beginning of Gray’s Amish Brides of Pinecraft. I recommend it and now look forward to read the next book, The Proposal at Siesta Key.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of The Promise of Palm Grove and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. To read other opinions, be sure to check out what other reviewers think here.

About the Author
Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Learn more about Shelley at her website and Facebook

18 March 2015

Life Unstuck: Finding Peace with Your Past, Purpose in Your Present, Passion for Your Future by Pat Layton

About the Book
No matter where you are today, the life you long for can be yours! 

We all start life with the ability to dream, but somewhere along the way life gets sticky. We find ourselves wondering:

· Does anyone know me for who I 
really am?
· Am I going to have to "fake it" forever?
· What do I have to offer the world?
· How can I dream about tomorrow when I can't even handle today?
· Is this all my life will ever be?
· Do I dare to dream of more?

With passion and enthusiasm, Pat Layton invites you to imagine a life where you experience peace with the past, enjoy purpose in the present, and expect the possibilities that the future holds. With fresh personal tools and clear action steps, she delves deep into the areas we get stuck in the most and unveils the path to the life you long to live.

You are a one-of-a-kind design. Life Unstuck will help you live like you believe it!

Pat Layton’s new book, Life Unstuck: Finding Peace with Your Past, Purpose in Your Present, Passion for Your Future, discusses the importance and the challenges of living an unstuck life with an inspiring look at Psalm 139. Despite the overuse of the word “unstuck,” Layton provides many encouraging and beneficial points to understanding the facets of an unstuck life. She writes openly, honestly and vulnerably, which I greatly appreciated. I found many of her points helpful, making the overall book a worthwhile read, and would certainly recommend this book to women looking for an inspirational and encouraging read. 

Thanks to Revell Reads, I received a copy of Life Unstuck and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. 

About the Author
Pat Layton, founder and president of Life Impact Network, serves on the board of directors of Proverbs 31 Ministries and is a busy speaker, author, and life coach specializing in "dream design" for women. She is founder of "Imagine Me… Redeemed, Restored, Renewed… Set Free," a national women's conference, and the author of A Surrendered Life. She and her husband, Mike, have three children and five grandchildren.

Waiting on Wednesday: Taken

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: Taken
Author: Dee Henderson
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Expected Publication Date: 28 April 2015

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She has enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator and former cop Matthew Dane to help her navigate her reentry into society, she quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn't mean her troubles are over. For one thing, her brother is the leading candidate in the race for Illinois governor, and news of her escape will create a media frenzy. For another, the ransom her family reportedly paid years earlier appears to have been a scam; no one knows what happened to the money. And then there's the fact that Shannon's escape involved faking her own death. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they'll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon's life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her - even if it means stirring up a hornet's nest of secrets.

17 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR List

Hosted weekly by The Broke and the Bookish.

Deception at Sable Hill by Shelley Gray

The World's Fair is nearing its end, but the danger in Chicago lingers.

It's mid-September of 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning beauty of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret. Several months ago, she endured a horrible assault at the hands of Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago's wealthiest families. Fearing the loss of her reputation, Eloisa confided in only one friend. That is, until she meets Detective Sean Ryan at a high-society ball.

Sean is on the outskirts of the wealthy Chicago lifestyle. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best opportunity to ensure his future security. Despite society's restrictions, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean seethes inside at what he knows happened to her, and he will do anything to keep her safe – even if he can never earn her affections.

Eloisa longs to feel normal again in the midst of the danger surrounding the Chicago World's Fair, but a killer is on the loose. In the last month, three debutants have been accosted in the city by an assailant wielding a stiletto. As the danger in the city increases, and as Eloisa's and Sean's romance blossoms, they both realize they want to be seen as more than how the world views them. But will they catch the killer before all their hopes come tumbling down?

The follow-up to Secrets of Sloane House in Shelley Gray’s Chicago World’s Fair Mystery, Deception on Sable Hill offers another intriguing historical mystery and romance. Once again, I loved the exquisite backdrop of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago Gray utilizes, as well as the characters she places within it. Eloisa Carstairs and Sean Ryan take the focus of this novel, as they seem to continually cross one another’s path, despite their class differences, in the pursuit of the fearsome Society Slasher. The closer they draw to the surprising culprit, the deeper their relationship naturally becomes and the more vulnerable each must be with their fears and past. An overall entertaining and satisfying read, this well-rounded story has a little bit of everything to give its readers, alternating easily between sweet and suspenseful moments. I really enjoyed reading Deception of Sable Hill and I would certainly recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of Deception on Sable Hill and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

About the Author
Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times bestseller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Colorado, and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.

16 March 2015

All Right Here by Carre Armstrong Gardner

Ivy Darling can't have children of her own, and her husband Nick's resentment is forcing them apart. And while Ivy has the support and love of her large, close-knit family, Nick's family has never welcomed her into the fold.

When the three children next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy and Nick take them in for the night. One night becomes several, and suddenly Ivy and Nick find themselves foster parents to the only African-American kids in the town of Copper Cove, Maine. As Ivy grows more attached to the children, Nick refuses to accept their eclectic household as a permanent family. Just as Ivy begins to question whether or not she wants to save her emotionally barren marriage, Nick begins to discover how much Ivy and the children mean to him. But is his change of heart too little, too late?

All Right Here wonderfully opens Carre Armstrong Gardner’s Darling Family series. Filled with a great and diverse cast of characters, covering a complex variety of situations and emotions, the story is beautifully and dramatically told and kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I really enjoyed All Right Here and cannot wait to come back to the Darlings in future novels. I would certainly recommend this novel for fans of contemporary fiction - it’s an all-around entertaining and uplifting read.

Thanks to Tyndale House and NetGalley, I received a copy of All Right Here and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

14 March 2015

In Tune with Love by Amy Matayo

April is willing to do anything for her sister’s wedding – until she comes face to face with a guy from her past.

April Quinn is thrilled to be her sister’s maid of honor, until the wedding coordinator quits and the responsibilities get dumped on her. It’s April’s worst nightmare – especially since her sister has more objections and opinions than a lawyer presenting a high-profile court case. When the wedding singer walks out at the last-minute, her sister hires a replacement. When April finds out who the replacement is, she’s ready to call it quits as well.

Because there’s only one person in April’s past that she never wanted to see again, and her sister just handed him a front row seat to the wedding.

Jack Vaughn finally has the career he’s always wanted. After playing in bars and singing in weddings as a struggling musician for half a decade, he’s just released his second album and sales are skyrocketing. But while visiting his parent’s Nashville home the weekend before his first headline tour, he runs into an old friend. When she asks him for a last-minute favor, he can’t bring himself to say no. Even though saying yes means he has to come face to face with April Quinn – the girl who hasn’t spoken to him in years.

And rightly so, since he stole something from her that he’ll never be able to repay.

Amy Matayo provides another cute and sweet addition to A Year of Weddings. Her novella, “In Tune with Love,” brings April Quinn and Jack Vaughn together after several bitter years apart. With equals parts wit and honesty, these two characters determine the likelihood of a second chance with their relationship and there is no shortage of entertaining and romantic moments. Though the faith element of this story is minimal, Matayo’s contribution fits nicely within the whole novella collection and still adds its own quirky and sarcastic flare. I think fans of A Year of Weddings will enjoy the wedding fun of “In Tune with Love” - I know I did.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley, I received a copy of “In Tune with Love” and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.