28 February 2019

A Most Inconvenient Love | Excerpt + Giveaway


Sober businessman Seb Ward may have come from a wealthy lumber-baron family in Minnesota, but he knows that appearances can be deceiving, and that his illustrious family is pretty dysfunctional. Being in another state has provided the buffer he sought from his father’s misdeeds, but when a little boy shows up on a train… a little boy who looks enough like Seb to be his own child… Seb’s faced with a dilemma. Raise the boy as his own, or let his mother suffer the embarrassment of “a brother by another mother.” And when the boy takes a shine to the Rachel Eichas, the newly contracted school teacher, Seb can’t help but do the same.

But Rachel was raised by an unloving, business-first father and there’s no way she’s looking for those same qualities in a husband. Can she see through Seb’s focus and drive to find the loving man within?

Release Date: February 26, 2019


A Desperate Hope | Book Review + Giveaway


Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she believes is finally behind her. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed. 

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them.

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: February 5, 2019


27 February 2019

Never Let Go | Excerpt + Giveaway


The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up.

Forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather’s footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than twenty years ago. When someone makes an attempt on Willow’s life to keep her from discovering the truth, help will come from an unexpected source.

Ex-FBI agent–and Willow’s ex-flame–Austin McKade readily offers to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they’ll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he’s spent much of his life trying to forget–and put Willow’s tender heart at risk.

Publisher: Revell
Release Date: February 5, 2019


Field Notes on Love | Waiting on Wednesday

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.
(Similarly, Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.)

Happy Wednesday!

This just looks too cute.

26 February 2019

Bookish Places I'd Love to Visit | Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted weekly by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy Tuesday!

I love the adventure of reading, the ability to disappear into a story and travel across the world (or universe) in seconds. Naturally, such experiences have made me want to travel in real life more. I have a whole list of places I'd like to see, but here are a few book-inspired choices (similar to this list I made a few years ago).

25 February 2019

The Last Memory | Book Review, Guest Post + Giveaway


Lighthouses have long been the symbol of salvation, warning sailors away from dangerous rocks and shallow waters.

Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.

The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser: 1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.

Publisher: Barbour Books
Release Date: November 1, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #37

Hosted weekly by The Book Date.

Happy Monday!

A week of homework, good food and friends, bowling, and plenty of readingI'm happy.

24 February 2019

Brunch at the Bittersweet Café | Book Review, Guest Post + Giveaway


Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country—an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: February 5, 2019


23 February 2019

Never Let Go | Book Review


As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth.

Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow's tender heart at risk.

In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end.

Publisher: Revell
Release Date: February 5, 2019


22 February 2019

How the Light Gets In | Book Review


“Compellingly woven by Jolina Petersheim’s capable pen, How the Light Gets In follows a trail of grief toward healing, leading to an impossible choice–what is best when every path will hurt someone?” –Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

From the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast and The Alliance comes an engrossing novel about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on.

When Ruth Neufeld’s husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law Mabel to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps.

Ruth and her family are welcomed by Elam, her husband’s cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest. Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she’d lost forever.

But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself. On the precipice of a fresh start and a new marriage, Ruth must make an impossible decision: which path to choose if her husband isn’t dead after all.

“A mother’s love and a mother’s duty war with a woman’s need to feel loved and whole, in a story that will have you pondering long after you close the final page.Which path would I take?” – Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

“Petersheim’s gentle retelling of the story of Ruth will both stir and settle the hearts of her readers.” – Lauren K. Denton, USA Today bestselling author of The Hideaway and Hurricane Season

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: March 5, 2019

Vienna Prelude | The Friday 56 & First Line Friday

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.

Happy Friday!

It's a throwback this week. I distinctly remember receiving this book as a Christmas gift in high school, reading it nonstop, and immediately buying the rest of the series. Now that I'm thinking about it, I might be due for a reread.

21 February 2019

The Hiding Place | Book Review + Giveaway


The thrilling second novel from the author of The Chalk Man about a teacher with a hidden agenda who returns to settle scores at a school he once attended, only to uncover a darker secret than he could have imagined.

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang—the betrayal, the suicide, the murder—and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town—while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since—is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing.

It was the day she came back.

With the same virtuosic command of character and pacing she displayed in The Chalk Man, C. J. Tudor has once again crafted an extraordinary novel that brilliantly blends harrowing psychological suspense, a devilishly puzzling mystery, and enough shocks and thrills to satisfy even the most seasoned reader.

“Some writers have it, and some don’t. CJ Tudor has it big time—The Hiding Place is terrific in every way.” –Lee Child

“With The Hiding Place, CJ Tudor has proven that she is a true master at creating perfectly dark, highly propulsive, and tightly coiled mysteries that are utterly impossible to put down. From page one, the reader is pulled in with a gathering sense of dread, and taken on an addictive, thrilling ride to the very last page.” –Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

Publisher: Crown
Release Date: February 5, 2019

The Seamstress | Book Review, Guest Post + Giveaway


A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: February 5, 2019

20 February 2019

The Noble Guardian | Waiting on Wednesday

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.
(Similarly, Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.)

Happy Wednesday!

Historical fiction from Michelle Griep has always been worth the wait. I'm glad this new book looks like it won't disappoint.

19 February 2019

What Blooms From Dust | Book Review


Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, a tornado tears down the prison walls, and he is given a second chance at life. With the flip of a coin, he decides to return to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, to settle the score with his twin brother Josiah. But upon his escape, he enters a world he doesn’t recognize—one that has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl. And the gift he once relied on to guide him is as unrecognizable as the path back to Nowhere.

After one jolt in Old Sparky, Jeremiah sees things more clearly and begins to question the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders he was accused of. On his journey home, he accidentally rescues a young boy who follows him the rest of the way, and the pair arrive at their destination where they are greeted by fearful townspeople. When the Black Sunday storm hits the very next day, the residents of Nowhere finally begin to let the past few years of hardship bury them under the weight of all that dust.

Unlikely heroes, Jeremiah and his new companion, Peter Cotton, try to protect the townspeople from themselves, but Jeremiah must face his nightmares and free himself from the guilt of flipping the coin on those men who died.

Filled with mystery and magic, What Blooms From Dust is the story of finding hope in the midst of darkness and discovering the beauty of unexpected kindness.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: June 26, 2018

Books I Loved With Fewer Than 2,000 Goodreads Ratings | Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted weekly by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy Tuesday!

Apparently, I have read a lot of books with few ratingsand enjoyed many of them. Here are (just) a well-loved-by-me few of them, limited to those released before 2018.

18 February 2019

Her Hope Discovered | Excerpt + Giveaway


Is the sure thing worth risking for the possibility of maybe?

Charla Winthrop, a savvy business woman seeking a permanent lifestyle change in small-town Ruby, learns that things aren’t always what they appear when she takes up residence in a house steeped in charm and a hint of mystery.

Rumor has it that Sam Packard the town carpenter is her go-to guy for home remodeling, but can Charla convince him to help her—with no strings attached, of course?

Alone far too long, Sam’s prayed that God would send him a wife and a mother for his daughters. However, the new Ruby resident is hardly what he imagined. A new place to call “home,” the possibility of what might be, and the answer to someone’s prayers unite this unlikely pair with the help of the town’s residents.

Nestled in the Ozarks’ hills and hollows is Ruby, Missouri, a quaint, cozy town where “neighbor” is merely another word for “friend.” Ruby will charm and delight as will her quirky, lovable characters who will steal your heart, but hand it right back—with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Savor your new friends’ sorrows and successes in the community where offbeat is perfect and mishaps and mayhem never tasted so good.

Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink
Release Date: December 31, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #36

Hosted weekly by The Book Date.

Happy Monday!

Despite some not-fun homework, I had a good week: watching This Is Us (finally back!), A Million Little Things, and The Bachelor with the roommate, getting wings with family and breakfast with friends, and seeing Isn't It Romantic (so funny!)plus, of course, great books (lots of romance!).

16 February 2019

The Sky Above Us | Book Review


Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-Day draws near. And secrets can't stay buried forever.

Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past--and the most fearsome battle of his life.

Publisher: Revell
Release Date: February 5, 2019


15 February 2019

Five on Friday | Quick Reviews

Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon

There's complicated drama aplenty when Willow Lamott's best friend, Ashton Kelleralso an accused murderer—returns to their small town. Mystery, suspense, danger, and of course, romance fill Langdon's story as the pair works to reestablish their friendship and discover what exactly happened all those years ago. It's a fun, intriguing, spooky-ish read.

In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

When one of her classmates commits suicide, Hadley Jamison gets the opportunity to rewind twenty-seven days and try to rewrite the future. As I read, I worried about the commentary Gervais would make regarding suicide, but in the context she creates, the message of Hadley's experience is well delivered. All in all, it's a great story of friendship.

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

In a refreshing retelling of the Cinderella fairytale, Tatum Elsea's summer looks nothing like she expected: wrongly accused of a crime, at odds with her best friend, distrusted by her father and stepmother. Everything may seem hopeless at first, but her story plays out with great humor and heart, including lessons of self-discovery, friendship, and forgiveness. It's a definite recommendation from me.

One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

Against her wishes, Sophie Brooks is sent to spend a summer in Paris with her father. She'd rather devote her time to practicing piano, but it's clear she has some important growing to do in her familial relationships. With some adventure and romance, too, it's a cute story (that reminded me of Anna and the French Kiss at times), and I heartily enjoyed it when I read it.

The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle

Emilie Day has spent years protecting herself from the world, thanks to her epilepsy. Now, as she begins to attend public school again, she must confront her fear. With moments of friendship, romance, and discovering that everyone has challenges to overcome, this was exactly the type of good-hearted YA I needed when I read it. I loved it.

So, what books have you enjoyed reading lately?

Thanks to Blink YA Books, I received complimentary copies of these books 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.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss | The Friday 56 & First Line Friday

The Friday 56 is hosted weekly by Freda's Voice.
First Line Friday is hosted weekly by Hoarding Books.

Happy Friday!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I can't resist featuring this cute, new YA romance. I'm not sure exactly when I'll have a chance to read it, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's soon. I always have fun with a Kasie West book. 

14 February 2019

His Honor, Her Family | Book Review + Giveaway


She could be The One

If he’ll let her in.

The rustic mountain town of Golden, Georgia, is the ideal place for crime scene investigator Deke Matthews to heal after a tragedy left him questioning everything. But there’s another reason he’s here, and moonlighting as an adventure guide provides the perfect cover. It doesn’t include falling for his boss. Attorney Grace Harper is back in Golden only long enough to save her family business. Just when Deke has found the woman to share his life with...

Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
Release Date: February 5, 2019


13 February 2019

After the Rain | Book Review, Excerpt + Giveaway


Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.

As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.

When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels.

It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore?

Publisher: Bling! Romance
Release Date: January 15, 2019