31 January 2015

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

Goodreads | Amazon
In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston holds a respectable position as a government statistician when she encounters a rival from her past, the insufferable Trevor McDonough. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and she's bewildered at the way he suddenly seeks her out. Surprising even herself, Kate agrees to Trevor's entirely unexpected and risky proposal to work side-by-side with him in his quest to rid the world of tuberculosis, a contagious and deadly disease. 

As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, she realizes there is much more to him than she could have imagined. His hidden depths may fascinate her, but his most closely guarded secrets and a shadowy enemy lurking in the background carry a serious threat to their future. 

When the truth of the past comes out, threatening to destroy everything they hold dear, how will Trevor and Kate ever overcome all that stands in their way?

I love that I have yet to be disappointed by an Elizabeth Camden novel. She has a wonderful way of bringing unique history to life with authentic characters. In With Every Breath, Camden fascinated me with the search for tuberculosis’ cure, since I never realized how rampant and deadly nature of this disease during the nineteenth century. And her main characters, Kate and Trevor, are so entertaining with their witty and competitive relationship. I just loved everything about this book. It is such an interesting read and I would recommend it for readers of historical romance.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley, I received a copy of With Every Breath 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.

30 January 2015

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

Get ready for Valentine's Day with a new story of romance and falling in love in Kathryn Springer's The Dandelion FieldThe handsome firefighter makes a living “coming to the rescue,” but Gin is used to fighting her own battles. Can a woman who doesn't believe in happy endings take a chance on a new beginning? 

Celebrate a second chance at love and family with Kathryn by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Dandelion Field
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 15th. Winner will be announced February 16th on the Litfuse blog.



About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.

After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future… a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: "The baby is mine."

Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

I almost don’t know what to say about Kathryn Springer’s The Dandelion Field. This book grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. Springer’s characters thoroughly engaged me in their story from the very start. Each character has a brokenness, created by life’s unique hardships and heartaches, and my heart broke for each one of them. Yet, as they interact with each other through the challenges that arise, the support and encouragement they share is inspiring and emotional and had me rooting for their redemption and happy ending. I loved every page of this beautiful story. I would highly, highly recommend The Dandelion Field for any reader of contemporary fiction. I think it’s definitely worth the read.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of The Dandelion Field 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
Kathryn Springer, winner of the 2009 ACFW Carol Award (Family Treasures), grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child, she spent many hours sitting at her mother's typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books – which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. Encouraging women in their faith journey is the reason Kathryn loves to write inspirational fiction. When she isn't at the computer, you'll find her sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee and a good book or walking the trails near her country home. 

Find Kathryn online at her website and Facebook.

29 January 2015

At Home in Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

Goodreads | Amazon
What happens when the life you're running from won't let go of your heart?

Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden have always had a similar philosophy of life: when the going gets tough, they get going – out of town and away from the problem. Now they are both back in Last Chance, New Mexico, and trying to start over. 

Kaitlyn is working to reestablish a relationship with the seven-year-old daughter she left behind six months earlier. Steven is trying to prove to his family that he is not the irresponsible charmer they have always known him to be. As Kaitlyn and Steven find themselves drawn to one another, one big question keeps getting in the way: How will they learn to trust each other when they don't even trust themselves?

With emotional depth and characters who leap off the page and into your heart, Cathleen Armstrong invites you to return once more to the dusty and delightful town of Last Chance.

I haven’t read either of Cathleen Armstrong’s A Place to Call Home novels, but I really enjoyed At Home in Last Chance (which can easily be read as a standalone, though previous main character makes appearances). Set in the small town of Last Chance, New Mexico, this novel details the experiences of Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden over a few months. These two characters have many similarities, both being the youngest in their families, as well as the expected screw-up. Though both developed a tendency to run away from their problems in the past, Kaitlyn and Steven decide the time has finally come to grow, mature and settle down. It is never easy to change when everyone remembers the past, but Kaitlyn and Steven handle their challenges admirably and with many humorous moments added in for good measure. Overall, At Home in Last Chance is a great, quick read about second chances and starting over and I would recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction, especially those who have read the previous novels in the series.

Thanks to Revell Reads, I received a copy of At Home in Last Chance 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
Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Ed, and their corgi. Though she has been in California for many years now, her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. She is the author of Welcome to Last Chance, winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for Women's Fiction, and One More Last Chance.

28 January 2015

Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell

Goodreads | Amazon
For years Charlotte Withersby has worked as an assistant to her father, an eminent English botanist. As she approaches the old age of twenty-four, her father pushes her out into society, swayed by an uncle who believes God's only two roles for women are marriage and motherhood. When one of the Withersbys' colonial correspondents, Edward Trimble, returns to England, he's drafted as the new assistant so Charlotte is free to marry. This suits Edward's plans quite well, since the last thing he wants to do is reunite with the family he is ashamed to call his own.

Though Edward proves himself vexingly capable on the job, Charlotte won't surrender the job without a fight, and schemes with her best friend to regain her position. Perhaps if a proposal seems imminent, Charlotte's father will see his error and ask her to return. Charlotte tries to make headway in her town's social life, but reveals herself to be unaware of all the intricacies of polite society. Though Edward pitches in, tutoring her in society's expectations, she just seems to make things worse. And the more she comes to know of her father's assistant, the more trouble she has imagining life without him. Caught in a trap of her own making and seeing the hopelessness of her prospects, will Charlotte get to keep her work or will she have to cede her heart?

Reading Siri Mitchell’s Like a Flower in Bloom made me so very happy and left me smiling like a fool. I just loved everything about it - especially Mitchell’s main character and narrator, Charlotte Withersby. She grows up studying botany, assisting her father, and knows the science inside and out. Yet, suddenly her father decides the time has come for her to marry and her life turns upside down. Charlotte definitely does not know as much about social interaction as she does about plants, which provides many awkwardly entertaining situations. As Charlotte searches for a husband and finds herself, her story is a fun read and I would recommend it to any fan of historical romance. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more from Siri Mitchell in the future.

Thanks to Bethany House, I received a copy of Like a Flower in Bloom 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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Together With You

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

Goodreads | Amazon
Title: Together With You
Author: Victoria Bylin
Publisher: Bethany House
Expected Publication Date: 7 April 2015

When a Lost Child warning blasts over the mall's PA system, toy store manager Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about five-year-old Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that Penny suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's own past suddenly confronts her. Never again will Carly become involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny – and Penny's handsome father – tugs at Carly's heart. Before she has time to think it through, she agrees to a much-needed job as a nanny. 

Dr. Ryan Tremaine knows he messed up his life. But this summer he will redeem himself. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan is dedicated to his sink-or-swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruiting Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.

Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

Why I'm Waiting: I think this novel sounds really interesting, and after reading Until I Found You, I can't wait to read more from Victoria Bylin.

27 January 2015

Breaker's Reef by Terri Blackstock

Goodreads | Amazon
A Cape Refuge teenager is dead…
Then another body is found…
Will Sadie Caruso be the next to die?

When a famous mystery writer moves to Cape Refuge, ex-con Sheila Caruso – mother to Sadie and Caleb – is thrilled to get a job working for him. But when a teenage girl is found murdered, Sheila discovers that a scene in one of the eccentric writer's novels matches the crime scene. Exactly.

Then a second dead girl is discovered by Police Chief Cade and Blair Owens. And when this murder mirrors a scene in another of the writer's books, Cade is drawn into a web of trickery and deceit. Shockingly, evidence turns up in Cade's truck – evidence that points to Cade himself as the number one suspect!

Cade tries to clear his name, but when eighteen-year-old Sadie Caruso disappears, tensions mount to a fever pitch. Can Cade find the real killer before Sadie winds up dead? Is the author a demented killer or a hapless victim? And what does Sadie's own mother have to do with the crimes? Secrets are uncovered while lessons are learned about the sins of the fathers being visited upon their children. Will the consequences of Sheila's poor choice in life be fatal, or is there redemption and mercy for her and her children?

Terri Blackstock’s Breaker’s Reef provides another wonderfully suspenseful trip to Cape Refuge. I loved the chance to revisit characters I had grown to love in River’s Edge and see them in the midst of yet another murder mystery. From the start, I thought I had the identity of the culprit figured out and spent most of the book just waiting for the revealing to play out. However, Blackstock proved my original guess completely wrong with a few unexpected twists and turns. Though the ending seemed a bit abrupt to me and left me feeling betrayed by a character I wanted to like, Breaker’s Reef is still a very satisfying and surprising read, and I would recommend it along with River’s Edge. I can’t wait to read more from Terri Blackstock very soon.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of Breaker’s Reef 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
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times best-selling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape RefugeNewpointe 911, the Sun Coast Chronicles and Restoration.

24 January 2015

The Ishbane Conspiracy by Angela, Karina & Randy Alcorn

Goodreads | Amazon
Jillian is picture-perfect on the outside, but terrified of getting hurt on the inside. Brittany is a tough girl who trusts almost no one. Ian is a successful athlete who dabbles in the occult. And Rob is a former gang-banger who struggles with guilt, pain, and a newfound faith in God. These four college students will face the ultimate battle between good and evil in a single year. As spiritual warfare rages around them, a dramatic demonic correspondence takes place.

Readers can eavesdrop on the enemy, and learn to stave off their own defeat, by reading The Ishbane Conspiracy.

The Ishbane Conspiracy by Angela, Karina and Randy Alcorn takes a look at the lives of four teenagers and the demons trying to tempt and steer them away from God. This novel tries to modernize the message of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, though I do think it falls a bit short. While the Alcorns have many valid, important points about spiritual warfare throughout their writing, the story itself could have been better crafted. Their characters seemed like mere caricatures of cliches, the exchanged (long-winded) letters between demons grew more tedious to read as the plot progressed and many moments of dialogue came across preachy and over-the-top. Strangely though, I couldn’t seem to stop reading it and the ending caught me off guard with a bit of emotion. The Ishbane Conspiracy is an overall interesting, thought-provoking read, but still, I can’t say that I see myself recommending this book to anyone - I think I’d be more likely to recommend Lewis’ classic for interested readers.

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I received a copy of The Ishbane Conspiracy 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.

23 January 2015

A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliot

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott. Thea's first quilt show begins to fall apart at the seams. Will she be able to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before another attack happens... with far worse results.
Enter to win a Kindle HDX!


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott
  • Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 8th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog February 9th.



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About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
Thea's first quilt show is literally coming apart at the seams!

Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale's first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she's already feeling frayed when things start to unravel.

Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea's dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds?

When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale's reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town's investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again… with far worse results.

I really hate to say this, but of all the Quilts of Love books I have read, A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott is my least favorite (but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t enjoy reading it). Elliott’s main character, Thea James, ends up at the center of a quilt-show mystery and must discover the culprit before the big event at the end of the week. Yet, this mystery did not have the suspense (or the romance) I expected, and instead, I simply felt curiosity at the culprit’s identity. With its slow pace, A Stitch in Crime is a pleasant quilt-filled read. Though different than I would have liked, it entertained me nonetheless and I did enjoy the relationships between characters and the bits of witty humor here and there. Fans of the Quilts of Love series, looking for a calm mystery, may want to pick this one up.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of A Stitch in Crime 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
Author and speaker Cathy Elliott nourishes her night-owl habit by creating cozy mysteries and more on her trusty laptop in Anderson, California. Like the protagonist in her new mystery, Cathy is an avid quilter. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antique treasures.

Connect with Cathy at her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

About the Series
Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

22 January 2015

I, James by Mike Hartner

About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11.

Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land.

Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 

In I, James, Mike Hartner provides no shortage of action and adventure. Whether on land or on sea, the novel’s title character moves swiftly from place to place, confronting the challenges that arise with the characters who surround him. His story is enjoyable and, for the most part, well-paced. (It did take me a handful of chapters to really get into the story.) That being said, I do wish Hartner portrayed more emotion and inner character development within the happenings. Overall, I felt mostly disconnected from the characters, with action overshadowing emotion, and as I read, I don’t think I truly commiserated or rejoiced over their circumstances with them. I really like to emotionally connect with characters, so this was a bit disappointing for me. However, this is just my personal preference and by no means do I think other readers can’t enjoy this tale. Fans of historical adventure could easily enjoy I, James. (Don’t worry if you haven’t read I, Walter, the first novel in Hartner's Eternity series, yet. I, James can easily be read as a standalone.)

Thanks to Mike Hartner and Pump Up Your Book, I received a copy of I, James 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.

§  I, James is available at Amazon.
§  Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

About the Author
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post-secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

Mike won first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction and first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Dante Rosetti Award in the YA category for I, Walter.

His latest book is the historical fiction/romance, I, James.

§  Visit Mike Hartner’s website.
§  Connect with Mike on Facebook and Twitter.
§  Visit Mike’s blog.
§  More books by Mike Hartner.
§  Contact Mike.

21 January 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: When Grace Sings

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

Goodreads | Amazon
Title: When Grace Sings
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Expected Publication Date: 17 March 2015

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion? 

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths. 

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

Why I'm Waiting: After reading When Mercy Rains, I want to see what happens next with the characters.

20 January 2015

River's Edge by Terri Blackstock

Goodreads | Amazon
The man Lisa Jackson loved most may have betrayed her. Another used deception to manipulate her. But did one of them kill her?

Ben Jackson is sure to defeat Jonathan Cleary in Cape Refuge's mayoral race, until his wife turns up missing the day before a major debate. Suspecting foul play, Police Chief Cade launches an island-wide search. But it takes a psychic's "vision" to point police to the riverside – and Lisa's body.

The evidence implicating Ben in his wife's murder is convincing. But as a local scandal escalates into a national media circus, Cade's instincts tell him to dig deeper. And he's not the only one. Blair Owens of the Cape Refuge Journal is using her investigative skills to uncover a rat's nest of dirty secrets – and more than one person with a motive for murder. But Blair's methods are jeopardizing her relationship with Cade, and an unsolicited prediction from the psychic only adds to her troubles. Is the man's so-called gift truly from God, as he claims?

Did Lisa's murder have anything to do with the mayoral race, her husband's alleged affair, or her decade-long struggle with infertility? Whoever the killer is, he's about to take his evasion of justice to the next, lethal level. And someone else is going to die.

River’s Edge is the third book in Terri Blackstock’s Cape Refuge series. Starting this novel, I was a tad bit nervous, since I haven’t yet read the previous two books in the series (Cape Refuge and Southern Storm) and therefore was unfamiliar with the recurring characters. But as I read, I felt Blackstock gave me enough information to understand her characters and their recent history (without giving any spoiling details) and I quickly connected with the characters, gripped by their intriguing circumstances. The murder mystery sucked me in and held my attention until the very end. I guessed and guessed, but still, the ending surprised me - in a good, satisfying way, of course. Though there were moments when the abundance of perspectives bothered me and the dialogue seemed overly preachy, River’s Edge is an overall fantastic story with plenty of mystery and suspense. I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the series, Breaker’s Reef, and I would recommend this one to any fans of the genre.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of River’s Edge 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
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times best-selling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the Sun Coast Chronicles and Restoration.

19 January 2015

Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris

Goodreads | Amazon
Michael Hunt is alive – and on the run. Presumed dead by friends and family, the undercover assignment he's been working for the past eight months has just been blown. With a hit out on his life and corruption inside the Atlanta police department, Michael finds himself hunted by both the cartel and the law. His only hope is the daughter of the man who wants him dead.

This nonstop chase from taut suspense writer Lisa Harris will leave readers breathless as they race to connect the dots before it's too late.

Lisa Harris’ Hidden Agenda, the third book in her Southern Crimes series, gives readers fast-paced action from the very first page. As Michael Hunt discovers his cover blown, he must run for his life - surprisingly with Olivia and Ivan, the children of the man who wants him dead. Danger after danger, this group of three determines to take down the threat - and grow closer in the meantime. I loved getting to know both Michael and Olivia with the developing relationship between them. Their story really kept me guessing on the edge of my seat, never knowing who to trust and if these characters would make it to the end safely. It’s certainly a gripping and suspenseful read, with valuable spiritual themes of trust and truth, and I would recommend it to any reader of romantic suspense. (Though it’s the third book in the series, I feel like it can easily be read on its own. I haven’t read the previous two novels and still, I easily followed the characters and the plotline. However, I do now, after reading Hidden Agenda, hope to go back read the series from the start.)

Thanks to Revell Reads, I received a copy of Hidden Agenda 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
Lisa Harris is the award-winning author of more than twenty books, including the Christy Award-winner Dangerous Passage and Fatal Exchange. Winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times, Harris has spent over ten years living with her family as missionaries in Mozambique, where she leads a women's group and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. Visit her website for more. 

17 January 2015

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

Goodreads | Amazon
A haunting story of love and survival that introduces an unforgettable literary heroine.
Ladydi Garcia Martínez is fierce, funny and smart. She was born into a world where being a girl is a dangerous thing. In the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, women must fend for themselves, as their men have left to seek opportunities elsewhere. Here in the shadow of the drug war, bodies turn up on the outskirts of the village to be taken back to the earth by scorpions and snakes. School is held sporadically, when a volunteer can be coerced away from the big city for a semester. In Guerrero the drug lords are kings, and mothers disguise their daughters as sons, or when that fails they “make them ugly” – cropping their hair, blackening their teeth – anything to protect them from the rapacious grasp of the cartels. And when the black SUVs roll through town, Ladydi and her friends burrow into holes in their backyards like animals, tucked safely out of sight.
While her mother waits in vain for her husband’s return, Ladydi and her friends dream of a future that holds more promise than mere survival, finding humor, solidarity and fun in the face of so much tragedy. When Ladydi is offered work as a nanny for a wealthy family in Acapulco, she seizes the chance, and finds her first taste of love with a young caretaker there. But when a local murder tied to the cartel implicates a friend, Ladydi’s future takes a dark turn. Despite the odds against her, this spirited heroine’s resilience and resolve bring hope to otherwise heartbreaking conditions.
An illuminating and affecting portrait of women in rural Mexico, and a stunning exploration of the hidden consequences of an unjust war, Prayers for the Stolen is an unforgettable story of friendship, family, and determination.

In Prayers for the Stolen, Jennifer Clement tells an intriguing coming-of-age story set in rural Mexico. Clement’s narrator, Ladydi Garcia Martínez beautifully presents her childhood with matter-of-fact clarity and a fluid sense of time. In her world of solitary, strong women and a constant sense of danger, Ladydi pulled me into her fascinating story of violence and sorrow, friendship and courage. Opening my eyes to completely different way of life, this novel is heartbreaking and moving, yet at times, humorous. I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading Prayers for the Stolen, but I found it to be worth the read. I would certainly recommend it.

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I received a copy of Prayers for the Stolen 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.

16 January 2015

Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble

Goodreads | Amazon
When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers' famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she's attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal - someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex?

The cover of Colleen Coble’s Butterfly Palace has me interested from the start, eager to find out what would happen within the walls of such an impressive mansion. And then, once I started reading, I was hooked. Within the historical setting, Coble creates a puzzling set of intertwining mysteries, involving a whole cast of interesting characters and heartwarming romance. Butterfly Palace is a novel that kept me both guessing and entertained, and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it for fans of historical mystery and romance.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley, I received a copy of Butterfly Palace 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.

15 January 2015

Stand by Becky Johnson

About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
Nine months ago Charlotte Marshall survived a nightmare when she was hunted by a sadistic killer. Now routine, ritual, and a vigorous self-defense schedule barely keep the fear at bay.

Desperate to move on Charlotte finds hope in volunteering with FindMe, an organization dedicated to finding missing people and helping their families. Her first case ends up being more than she bargained for, and she soon learns that a little hope can be a dangerous thing.

While Charlotte unravels a mystery, an old enemy circles waiting for just the right moment to strike. Charlotte will have to choose to stand and fight, or to give in to the fear that waits for her.

Becky Johnson’s second Charlotte Marshall novel, Stand, picks up nine months after the end of the previous one, as Charlotte determines how best to move forward with her life in light of the traumatic events. And unsurprisingly, she finds herself in the midst of yet another dangerous mystery - and many of the bothersome aspects of the first book bothered me again in the second. In all the action-packed pages, revelations and resolutions arrive fairly easily, and despite all that happens, the end left me disappointingly without any answers to the questions I had after the first book. However, I do have to say that while reading, I found myself liking Stand a bit more than Run - though I can’t quite pinpoint the reason why. Perhaps I felt more connected with this second glimpse at the characters, or perhaps the few additional plot intricacies upped the intrigue. All in all, it provided me with a quick read. I think readers who enjoyed Run will equally enjoy Stand.

Thanks to Becky Johnson and Pump Up Your Book, I received a copy of Stand 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.

§  Stand is available at Amazon.
§  Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

About the Author
Books are Becky Johnson’s passion and always have been. She used to get in trouble in school for reading during class!

Becky has Master’s degrees in social work and history, and for her day job she is a social worker. In her writing she tries to answer a question that is important to both social work and history: Why? She always wants to know why people do the things they do or feel the way they feel.

When not reading or writing she enjoys yoga, cooking, and makes a pretty mean chili!

§  Visit Becky Johnson's blog.
§  Connect with Becky on Facebook.
§  Find out more about Becky at Goodreads.