Tag Archives: Christian Fiction

Scrumptious Independence by Melissa Wardwell on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to purchase your copy!

Melissa Wardwell created another delightful story with Scrumptious Independence, and even though it is book 2 in a series, it works well as a standalone.

Beth Andrews’ Gram surprised Beth and her family by willing her Merriweather home to Beth. Beth decides to leave Michigan and return to Merriweather Island. The remembrances of her sweet childhood with her Gram lure her back. She arrives with big plans, never expecting to run into her old friend, Scott, or jealous women or, even worse, the dangerous and mysterious things that happen to her.

Merriweather Island sounds like an idyllic and heavenly place to live. The way the islanders have ensured that the island won’t become a tourist trap is wonderful. The traveling food and book trucks sound delightful. And the weather. . .well, I would love it!!

I enjoyed the story very much. There was just the right amount of romance rounded out with treachery and intrigue. Gram was the perfect foil to Beth’s reserved personality. Scott was a sweetheart, and most of the residents of the Island were treasures. The cooking aspect was appealing, also, as food is a large part of social and familial interactions.

I can’t wait to read the other stories in the series!

I received Scrumptious Independence from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices that have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.

Melissa’s Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad

Dressing

1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

Bon appétit

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21

Soulfully Romantic, September 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 22

For Him and My Family, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

She Lives To Read, September 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Quiet Workings, September 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26

Older & Smarter?, September 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26

Blogging With Carol, September 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27

Batya’s Bits, September 27

Emily Yager, September 28

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28

Stories By Gina, September 28

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28

CarpeDiem, September 29

Christian Bookaholic, September 29

Cultivating Us, September 29

Aryn the Libraryan, September 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

The Collaborative Press, October 1

Livin’ Lit, October 1

Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Joanne Markey, October 3

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Vicky Sluiter, October 3

Blossoms and Blessings, October 4

Splashes of Joy, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10105/scrumptious-independence-celebration-tour-giveaway

To Love a Prince by Rachel Hauck on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: To Love a Prince

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Royal Romance

Release Date: August 11, 2020

An enchanting new royal romance from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Daffodil Caron is not a princess, even though she once dreamed of being one. After all, she grew up as a playmate to royal princes, running through the halls of Perrigwynn Palace and dining with the queen. But the day she stumbled upon a royal secret, everything changed.

Flash forward eighteen years, and Daffy’s living a sweet, non-royal life. A skilled art curator for the Royal Trust, she has friends, a flat in the heart of the city, and a handsome, successful fiancée. The last person on her mind is Gus, a prince she once called her best mate.

HRH Prince Augustus is no longer “Prince Pudgy,” as characterized by the press, he’s charming and gorgeous, possessing a world-famous smile. But when he’s jilted at the altar by an American heiress as millions of people around the world watched, the spare heir to Lauchtenland’s ancient House of Blue escapes, finding solace on a Florida beach.

A year as a regular bloke allows him to rethink his purpose. He’s half decided his calling is to pour pints at a tiki bar, rather than serving his country and the Family.

Until an accident on the beach with a Frisbee changes his course.

Despite his long hair and beard, Daffy recognizes her prince, and their childhood friendship is renewed. She assures Gus Lauchtenland needs him, giving him the courage to return home.

When Daffy and Gus find themselves on assignment to Hadsby Castle in preparation for his brother’s wedding, their friendship blooms into affection.

But Gus cannot, will not, trust his heart again. Daffy’s engaged. And she also remains a royal family outcast because she knows the Queen’s secret.

When affection grows into love and secrets are exposed, trust is destroyed. Gus must choose which is stronger: the lies of his past or the hope of his future. And Daffy must face every fear to prove she will forever love a prince.

“Another compelling royal story by the master of princely tales!” Susan May Warren, USA Today bestselling, RITA award-winning novelist

Click here to get your copy!

Rachel Hauck’s books always include characters from “beyond the veil,” and To Love A Prince is no exception.

I enjoy Hauck’s books, some more than others, and it usually depends on how much of what I consider “supernatural” is included. To Love A Prince has less than usual, and I found I enjoyed it even more.

Hauck’s newest book is based on the premise of childhood friends, now grown, one of royal persuasion and one not.

I felt the main female protagonist, Daffy, allowed her friends too much latitude and should have drawn the line at Lesley, Blinky and Thomas’ betrayals. Lesley’s second HUGE betrayal should have ended their friendship. I know we’re to turn the other cheek. However, I don’t feel we’re to be a mat for others to walk on.

Prince Gus, Daffy’s childhood friend, is “twice bitten, twice shy,” and wants to avoid anything to do with those of the female persuasion. However, the pull between him and Daffy is strong.

The novel is cute, whimsical and as always with Hauck’s books, slightly unusual, but fun.

I received To Love A Prince from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!

I’m thrilled to share To Love A Prince with you. So many of you who loved the Royal Wedding Series have asked for more royals so as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward princes and princesses. What’s more romantic than a royal wedding?

This royal story, the first book in a new series, True Blue Royal, is set in a new fictional country, Lauchtenland, in the North Sea. I’m really squeezing all those oil wells currently occupying that body of water.

The beauty of royal stories is they remind us of who we really are: princes and princesses. There is always a point in the story where the royal character, as well as the commoner, must come to grips with his and her true identity! Who God says we are!

Stories are a powerful reflection of life and it’s fun to insert ourselves into the tale. While fiction employs a lot of hyperbole we can find ourselves on the page somewhere, somehow.

Thanks for going on this little tour with me and To Love A Prince. You are so vital to my story as an author. Thank you!

Yours,

Rachel

Blog Stops

Worthy2Read, September 10

Captive Dreams Windows, September 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 10

Genesis 5020, September 10

Novels Corner, September 10

Connect in Fiction, September 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 11

deb’s Book Review, September 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 11

Remembrancy, September 12

Breny and books, September 12

Texas Book-aholic, September 12

Inklings and notions, September 12

For Him and My Family, September 13

Artistic Nobody, September 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 13

The Book Chic Blog, September 13

Among the Reads, September 14

Soulfully Romantic, September 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 15

lakesidelivingsite, September 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 15

Betti Mace, September 16

Where Faith and Books Meet, September 16

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 16

Blossoms and Blesssings, September 16

She Lives To Read, September 17

Wishful Endings, September 17

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, September 17

Life of Literature, September 17

Life, Love, Writing, September 17

Book Love, September 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Maureen Timerman, September 18

Batya’s Bits, September 18

Labor Not in Vain, September 18

Bigreadersite, September 19

Hallie Reads, September 19

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 19

Splashes of Joy, September 19

Christian Bookaholic, September 20

Musings of A Sassy Bookish Mama, September 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 20

Inside the Wong Mind, September 21

By The Book, September 21

Mary Hake, September 21

Godly Book Reviews, September 21

Hebrews 12 Endurance, September 22

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, September 22

Livin’ Lit, September 22

Writing from the Heart Land, September 22

Simple Harvest Reads, September 23 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mamma Loves Books, September 23

Daysong Reflections, September 23

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, September 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a royal gift box of Pampering Princess items that includes bath balms, tea, tiara and other surprises!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10098/to-love-a-prince-celebration-tour-giveaway

Christmas Carol Society by Rebekah Jones on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Christmas Carol Society

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Christian Fiction

Release Date: October 30, 2019

Christmas Carol Society – How Do You Impersonate a Christmas Ghost?

The Christmas season has arrived. The members of the newly-formed Christmas Carol Society are beginning their weekly meetings. Charlie Baker finds the first meeting odd enough, but when the assignments start, he has to wonder why he allowed himself to get roped into attending. Miss Dartmoor tells her members to impersonate the Ghost of Christmas Past for their own personal Scrooge.

Just how does a mere human accomplish such an absurd task? Charlie tries to figure it out, but begins to see the Lord might plan for the assignments to have a deeper impact on him than he expected.

An impact that Charlie isn’t sure he wants to face.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.
Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah Jones

Christmas Carol Society is a book very near and dear to my heart. Partly because of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, which is among my favorites, and partly due to my characters. Especially, Charlie Baker.

Charlie is very special to me. He wants to hide in his tiny corner of the world, and give up. He wants to give up on a world that has hurt him tremendously or taken people he loved. He wants to push away any possibility of repeating the past; he doesn’t want to be hurt again.

Charlie doesn’t want to join the Christmas Carol Society.  He doesn’t want to find a  “Scrooge.”  He doesn’t want to make new friends.  He doesn’t want to do any of it.

He joins because he loves his cousin. He doesn’t do it for any other reason.

His father encourages him to do it right, if he’s going to do it at all. His cousin calls him out, when his Christianity is at odds with his behavior. And Albert, his would-be friend, just doesn’t give up on him.

In a sense, Charlie is a Scrooge – and yet, he’s not. He has to find a Scrooge of his own. And through it, he finds himself doing all the things that he really doesn’t want to do at all – and it’s a good thing. Painful sometimes, but good. Scary at times, but good.

The characters that the LORD uses to teach me the most, end up being particularly special to me. Charlie is one of them. In some ways, I relate to Charlie rather a lot, and writing this story drove me to prayer often, so I would know what to do next. I frequently wasn’t sure where the story would go. But I learned along with Charlie.

I hope that my readers will love Charlie Baker as much as I do, and that his story, along with the others in this book, will in some way bless and encourage my readers for the LORD’s glory.

To the KING be all the glory!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 26

deb’s Book Review, August 26

Inklings and notions, August 27

Splashes of Joy, August 28

Mary Hake, August 28

For Him and My Family, August 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 30

Captive Dreams Window, August 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 31

Blogging With Carol, August 31

Just the Write Escape, September 1

Get Cozy Book Nook, September 1

She Lives To Read, September 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 3

Artistic Nobody, September 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Batya’s Bits, September 4

For the Love of Literature, September 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 6

Connect in Fiction, September 6

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 7

Emily Yager, September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Christmas Carol Society, a copy of A Christmas Carol, and an ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ffb6/christmas-carol-society-celebration-tour-giveaway

You’re Amazing by Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini

Hannah Arduini and her mother, Julie Arduini, have created and co-authored another beautiful story, it too will resonate with a female of any age.

You’re Amazing focuses on Jazmin, a teenage ballet dancer, and Lena, a young mother of two boys and a mentor at Linked. Both are overwhelmed and questioning whether their roles are right for them.

The authors have done an amazing job of capturing Jazmin and Lena’s feelings in a way that young girls and women can understand and identify with.

I love how they take the feelings of inadequacies and hurt and not only show Biblical discernment to help them, but also use their friendship and friends to help, too.

Jazmin and Lena had different childhoods, however, their feelings of failures and shortfalls come from the same deceiver. Throughout the book, the authors point us back to the only One who tells us the truth. In fact, God’s truth permeates this book, but one really caught my attention. A conversation between two of the characters reminds us how deeply God loves us, something that is too easy to forget in our day-to-day life.

This storyline is constructive, encouraging and re-affirming, written to help us readjust and release our harmful thoughts and turn them over to God.

The Arduini’s have written a third book in the series, too. I can’t wait to read it.

(I purchased You’re Amazing.)

Publisher’s Summary

YOU’RE AMAZING: Beautiful things happen when a group of girls and their mentors discover they’re worthy.

Jazmin’s a natural at dance until a series of changes make her wonder if she should even keep up with her favorite hobby.

Lena’s a mom with young children overwhelmed with her schedule when a woman remarks that what Lena does isn’t even important.

Both Jazmin and Lena belong to Linked, a mentoring ministry where all ages encourage each other and build friendships.

Can these two surrender the lies they are believing and realize they are amazing?

The second book in the Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series that can be read as a stand-alone for tweens, teens, and women of all ages by mother and daughter authors Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini.

Friday Flashback-You’re Beautiful (Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Book 1) by Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini

My Review

Hannah Arduini and her mother, Julie Arduini, created and co-authored a beautiful story that will resonate with a female of any age.

The story focuses on Hayley Atkinson and Sabrina Wayson. Hayley is in middle school struggling with fitting in and hurtful lies, while Sabrina, a college graduate, is trying to figure out where her life is going and resolve feelings of unworthiness. Both of them suffer from low self-esteem, brought on by similar, but very different reasons. They join Linked, a mentoring program started by Sabrina’s parents, Sabrina as a mentor and Hayley as a mentee. However, they feel like frauds who can not really contribute to the group.

The book has many teachable moments for adults and young adults. One example from the mentoring group, Linked, is especially powerful. As you read, it is easy to relate, absorb and readjust some of your own stinkin’ thinkin’. Of course, real change and adjustment come from sincere desire, repentance and prayer- which is perfectly illustrated in the narrative.

A positive, thought-provoking tale designed to encourage readers to re-think their thoughts and emotions, You’re Beautiful reminds all of us we are daughters of God, His princesses, a truth regardless of what anyone, including ourselves, tells us.

I can’t wait for the other books in the series to come out. I want to read them, too!

I received the book from the authors. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Quick Comment~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Julie and Hannah Arduini have written two more books in the series. Next week I will review book 2.

Publisher’s Summary

Hayley Atkinson withdraws from her friends and new opportunities with the new mentoring group, Linked, after she is told a lie that she believes is true about herself. Sabrina Wayson is a mentor in Linked who feels she can’t help encourage girls because she’s struggling as much as they are. Can they surrender the lies and find freedom?

Friday Flashback-Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick

Where Lilacs Still Bloom, by Jane Kirkpatrick, is a wonderful book of fiction based on the life of Hulda Klager.

Hulda was born in 1863 and came to America with her family when she was two.  With only an eighth grade education she was able to turn her love of hybridizing and lilacs into a rich legacy by creating over 250 new varieties of lilacs.

Her father encouraged her in her experiments and cautioned her that not everyone would think what she did was a respectable or moral thing.  Indeed Hulda, herself, sometimes felt guilt that was induced by others, at what some perceived as tampering with nature.

In her 96 years of living, Hulda faced many, many heartaches and losses and even overcame a bout of major depression to triumph over most of the hardships.

Jane Kirkpatrick does a masterful job of integrating composite characters with real people allowing the reader to get to know Hulda, her family, and her hybridizing experiments even better.

The book is very inspirational and exciting. During the course of reading, I found that Hulda’s gardens have been restored and are still available for viewing.  I’ve decided, because of my love for lilacs, that I want to visit her gardens sometime soon.

This book was provided for me by Waterbrook Multnomah. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

(Revision from original published on 5-10-2012)

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

What a beguiling and captivating novel, Stories That Bind Us is! Susie Finkbeiner captures the era of the ’60s in vivid, powerful and striking detail.

Betty Sweet and her sister, Clara, grew up in tough circumstances. Betty was able to overcome most of her younger life with the help of her husband, Norman, and her penchant for inventing stories.  Her faith in God lifted her above the adversity in her life. Sadly, Clara was not so lucky.

Stories That Bind Us takes us through tumultuous times for our country and for Betty and Clara. Even though there seems to be a lot of turbulence and upheaval in their lives, Betty is able to ground herself and Clara’s son, Hugo, with her stories. Betty’s tales are relevant to the situations she and Hugo often encounter.

Reading the novel instilled a positive, encouraging and heartening feeling about life. Despite depressing and heartbreaking times, both in their lives and in the United States, Finkbeiner shines the light on the good and wonderful aspects of life, family and love.

I enjoyed the flashbacks to the “oldies” music of the ’60s, which reminded me of my childhood. Accounts of historical events also teased my mind, as I vaguely remembered news stories and happenings in areas I lived in or near, which resonate with current events now.

A novel that will stay with you for a long time after reading it, Stories That Bind Us, is a must-read for anyone interested in faith-inspired historical fiction.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

#StoriesThatBindUs #NetGalley

Publisher’s Summary

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Roll Back the Clouds by Terri Wangard

Terri Wangard interweaves a tale of heart-wrenching sadness, devastating disclosures and earth-shattering secrets masterfully blended in unexpected ways. As the Lusitania passengers embark on journeys of friendship, each person’s life becomes interwoven with the other, in unforeseen and helpful manners.

Historical fiction has always been my choice in fiction books because I love history, but sometimes it is just the cut and dried bare facts and dates, leaving me wanting to know more about the people and the era.

As I read the story, I felt dread because I knew the fateful ending (same reason I am the only person in the world that has not watched the movie Titanic). However, even though I knew about the history surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania, I knew very few details.

Wangard writes about the stunning beauty of the ocean liner, in diagrammatic detail, leaving the reader in breathless awe, and in raw, poignant sadness knowing the future of the fated liner.

Geoff and Rosaleen, along with a multitude of others board the Lusitania, looked forward to enjoying its beauty along with scheduled fun activities and relaxation. But such was not to be.

As a survivor, Rosaleen relives the horrific circumstances repeatedly, and her husband’s injuries add to her distress. Wangard’s details leave the reader feeling Rosaleen’s anguish, suffering and torment, too. I can not even begin to imagine.

Historical fiction fans will want to read Terri Wangard’s newest book, Roll Back the Clouds.

Some scenes are very intense and may be difficult for a few readers; for this reason, I would suggest the book be read by older teens-14+ and adults.

I received this book from the author through Interviews & Reviews.

Publisher’s Summary

A dream-come-true becomes a nightmare.

Geoff and Rosaleen Bonnard embark on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to England aboard the fabled Lusitania in 1915. Europe is embroiled in war, but everyone insists the conflict shouldn’t affect a passenger liner.

Then, the grand ship is crippled by a German torpedo. Rosaleen makes it into a lifeboat, but Geoff is missing. Convinced he lives, she searches the morgues in Queenstown, heartsick at recognizing so many of her fellow travelers. Geoff is finally located in a Cork hospital, alive but suffering a devastating back injury.

While waiting for him to recover, Rosaleen is thrilled to meet her mother’s family, but a dark cloud hovers over her. The battered faces of dead babies haunt her. She sinks into depression, despairing of Geoff’s new interest in religion. Her once happy life seems out of reach.

Will joy ever be theirs again?

The Lost Lieutenant by Erica Vetsch

I always look forward to Erica Vetsch’s novels. I, unfortunately, have not had time to read novels like I have wanted to. I’m so glad I took the time to read The Lost Lieutenant!

Vetsch has done a great job in her research, not only into the Regency period but also the feelings and emotions of the people who lived them.

Diana Seaton has a cruel father. He obviously never wanted a daughter, and never lost an opportunity in digs, slights and other ways of letting Diana know his feelings. I could really empathize with Diana. Even though my father wasn’t quite as cruel as Diana’s, my father was sometimes cruel. He, too, wanted a boy and was extremely disappointed when his first child, me, was a girl (hence my name!).

Evan Eldridge was a war hero, much to his dismay. The Prince Regent promoted him to the ranks of nobility, leaving Evan upset and disgruntled. I could also understand Evan’s feelings. I would rather be a regular everyday person than one in a position of “privilege”.

Vetsch pulls you into the roller coaster named The Lost Lieutenant and does not let go until the end of the story. She paints vivid word pictures, putting you right in the scene. Her characters run the gamut from kind, charismatic and loving to cruel, hedonistic and evil, which creates a thoroughly captivating novel.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

He’s doing what he can to save the Prince Regent’s life . . . but can he save his new marriage as well?

Evan Eldridge never meant to be a war hero–he just wanted to fight Napoleon for the future of his country. And he certainly didn’t think that saving the life of a peer would mean being made the Earl of Whitelock. But when the life you save is dear to the Prince Regent, things can change in a hurry.

Now Evan has a new title, a manor house in shambles, and a stranger for a bride, all thrust upon him by a grateful ruler. What he doesn’t have are all his memories. Traumatized as a result of his wounds and bravery on the battlefield, Evan knows there’s something he can’t quite remember. It’s important, dangerous–and if he doesn’t recall it in time, will jeopardize not only his marriage but someone’s very life.

Readers who enjoy Julie Klassen, Carolyn Miller, and Kristi Ann Hunter will love diving into this brand-new Regency series filled with suspense, aristocratic struggles, and a firm foundation of faith.

Within Golden Bands (A Home for My Heart Book 2) by Norma Gail

Within Golden Bands, Norma Gail’s newest book, transports you to the beautiful area of Loch Garry in Scotland where the main characters, Bonny and Kieran MacDonell, live. The descriptions portray a peaceful, calm and tranquil area. However, it is anything but for Bonny and Kieran.

I was unaware that Within Golden Bands was the sequel to Land of My Dreams. I found though, that except for one or two small exceptions, I was able to follow the story quite easily.

The book is full of action, suspense, mystery and intrigue, along with following the honeymoon and getting to know one another phase of the MacDonell’s lives.

There were several things I appreciated about the story. For instance, the way Gail describes a devastating but very real loss and its effects on both the characters and their family and friends. The faith storyline was skillfully written without self-righteousness or holier than thou. Nonetheless, there were several aspects of the book I struggled with. I could not comprehend how any one person, much less two, could bear up under the constant, non-stop onslaught of pain, tragedy, fear and horror in this story. Some of the more descriptive pages of the aforementioned horror are truly horrific.

I would caution anyone with PTSD or other such difficulties that there are several heartbreaking and heart-stopping scenes.

I received this book from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn?

#WithinGoldenBands