Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?
Pepper Basham’s novel is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during World War I, featuring a British missionary who discovers a whole new world.
When Jonathan Taylor begins his new position as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse, he experiences culture shock, to say the least. Laurel McAdams, who has had a difficult life, tries to help Jonathan navigate skepticism and animosity from the mountain people while fantasizing about escaping to the beautiful places Jonathan mentions.
Basham readily incorporates Bible texts into the plot through the characters’ dialogue. She also uses wit, humor, and local idioms to express her affection for the Appalachian region.
A lot of the writing spoke to me because my family is from the Alabama backwoods, and they, too, have had a hard-scrabble life. They speak and communicate in a unique fashion that is difficult, if not impossible, to understand. They are, however, a passionately loyal, caring group of individuals who will go to great lengths to help you if you are family or have proven your worth if you aren’t family.
From beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Basham has an uncanny ability to draw you into a story and keep you there. You’ll find yourself thinking over her book well after you’ve already completed it.
I received this book from NetGalley. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.
Journey now to Galveston, Texas, of 1880… Where is Mrs. Smith’s granddaughter? Who is the mysterious Mrs. Smith?
Pinkerton agent Jonah Cahill is hired by the mysterious widow to find her lost granddaughter, rumored to be living in Galveston, Texas. Though Jonah prefers to travel alone, Mrs. Smith insists that she and her companion accompany him. Madeline Latour, investigative reporter, has been acting as Mrs. Smith’s assistant for several months, and Madeline will not allow anyone—even a Pinkerton agent—to ruin the story of a lifetime. The pair forges an uneasy truce as the investigation grows dangerous.
Is there a bigger story beyond a missing girl to be revealed?
Kathleen Y’Barbo’s My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas, piqued my interest for several reasons. The gorgeous blue garment was the first thing I noticed even before reading the title—such a cool, calming color. The second reason was Texas, mentioned in the title. Texas is a state that I have high regard for and miss. I wasn’t born in Texas, but I spent most of my childhood there, and I still miss it.
Y’barbo’s book is chock-full of suspense, mystery and secrecy, creating a spellbinding, page-turning journey. There’s a Pinkerton agent forced to allow an investigative reporter, the companion to his client, to go with him. Before being able to unravel the mystery for the client, Mrs. Smith, the agent, Jonah Cahill, and the reporter, Madeline LaTour, face multiple challenges.
Bible verses intersperse the story as this intrepid group trusts God for encouragement and protection as they search for the truth.
I’m always enthralled by history, especially that of Texas. There were numerous fascinating elements of the history of Galveston, along with interesting facts Y’Barbo included at the end of the book.
A word of caution, however: some portions of the book’s subject matter could be triggering for victims of crime.
I received this book from NetGalley. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.
You will notice, over the next few days, that my reviews are on older books from NetGalley. I am trying to get all the reviews I was unable to do due to my hospitalizations, surgeries, rehab and recovery this last year and the year before.
A friend loveth at all times, but a brother is for adversity.
In a decrepit shack on a piece of river bottom property Henry Buckmeyer bought, he finds a human skull with a hatchet embedded in it. Much to Charity Lowell’s delight, her husband Morgan agrees to co-author a mystery based on the find with dime novelist, May Meriwether, Henty’s wife! After digging into county records and interviewing locals, plenty of facts are discovered and blanks filled in. A story takes shape, but is the novelists’ narrative what truly happened? It’s hard for Charity not to get in the big middle of the investigation. After two decades, will they be able to learn who the skull belonged to and who left the hatchet behind?
Caryl McAdoo never fails to write interesting fiction books, primarily about Texas, and her newest book continues the trend.
Skullduggery, the second book in theCross TimbersMystery Series, opens in Dallas, where the Lowell’s decide to pair up with the Buckmeyer’s to solve a murder mystery and create a book about it.
The story is intriguing with its novel within a novel concept, which allows for including more dialogue and speculation into the narrative.
I especially enjoyed some of the character names, such as Sunny Day and Windy Morn, perfectly fascinating names for a fascinating story.
There is plenty of mystery in this whodunnit thriller. It will keep you in suspense and anticipation as the multiple layers of secrecy and scheming introduced keeps you guessing until the end.
The story held my interest throughout. I had a small problem with triggering, due to the subject matter, because of PTSD. However, I still think highly of the book.
Even though Skullduggery is the second book in the series, it works well as a stand-alone.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.
About the Author
Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—fifty-nine published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and twenty-one grandsugars (three greats), Caryl and Ron (her high-school-sweetheart-husband of fifty-plus years) live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.
More from Caryl
At the end of DUPLICITY At The Lowell House, book one in my new Cross Timbers Mystery series, Henry Buckmeyer travels from Red River County to Dallas to serve as a character witness in the big murder trial.
At a supper with friends in that book, he mentions he and Levi Baylor found a human skull with an ax still embedded in it inside a falling-down shack on some timberland property they bought together.
What starts out as an off-handed comment—merely mentioned for interesting conversation—turns into a great way to unite four of my all-time favorite characters together again for SKULLDUGGERY In The Sulphur River Bottoms!
Charity Lowell (Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga, book four and DUPLICITY) pulls out all the stops to persuade her husband, salivating to investigate and discover whose skull it is and who left the hatchet behind!
She’s got to talk him into first, solving the mystery and second, writing another novel about it! If only she can convince him to collaborate with May Meriwether, Henry’s famous dime novelist wife, things will be perfect! Just imagine!
Poor Morgan. Strong as he is, he cannot tell her no. He never could. So, with an invitation from the Buckmeyers, as much as he hates leaving home and his own bed, he agrees.
My favorite part is having Henry alive again! SKULLDUGGERY is set in 1866, so he’s still got almost twenty years to live!
—It so hurt my heart in COVERING LOVE (book eight in the “Texas Romance Family Saga”) when the patriarch passes to his reward in 1885. I wept while writing his demise then couldn’t get through reading those chapters at our writers’ workshop without crying—
So being able to resurrect his character in the Cross Timbers Mystery DUPLICITY made me so happy! SKULLDUGGERY became the perfect vehicle for me to be joyful again! Plus, I adore joining the characters from both my family sagas into a new story!
I was right up in Morgan’s face with Charity trying to talk him into going to Clarksville and staying a few weeks to investigate and write that book! Yes, he agreed, but he tells her in no uncertain terms, that’s the last one!
She’s unmarried and pregnant, he’s the preacher who’s building his cabin right next door to her! Can Hannah & Luke make peace with their differences to find their happy ever after?
Hannah Fairchild ran away from her abusive guardians with her sister. Together they’ve settled in a fledgling community in the middle of the Kansas prairie. The isolation suited Hannah just fine…until a preacher moved in next door.
Being a preacher isn’t just a vocation to Luke Johnson–it’s who he is. He’s determined to restore Hannah’s faith…if only he could persuade her not to walk off every time she sees him!
When circumstances contrive to throw them together, can Luke heal the pain of Hannah’s past and claim the heart of His Unexpected Bride?
The Preacher’s Unexpected Bride: Prairie Brides is the second romance in the Walton Valley Series, by Catherine Kennedy. The book could be read as a stand-alone, though reading the first book and understanding the backstory enhances the novellas. (See my review of Wagon Train Wife)
Catherine Kennedy continues her series with Hannah Fairchild’s saga.
Hannah finds herself pregnant and unmarried through no fault of her own. Her sister, Eliza, and her sister’s husband, Thomas, help Hannah begin a new life in a new city. Things are going well until, one day, a preacher stakes out the land next door to where Hannah and her sister live. Hannah’s worst nightmare has come true-she wants nothing to do with God, and a preacher is all about God.
Filled with unexpected events, Kennedy’s second tale will keep you guessing about what happens next.
The only thing I considered amiss in the narrative was the seemingly quick wrap-up toward the end. However, it doesn’t take away from the storyline.
I am looking forward to reading Kennedy’s next book in the series, due out in November. I enjoy the stories and catching up with old friends.
I received The Preacher’s Unexpected Bride: Prairie Brides from Book Sirens. However, I was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Can Hanna and Will Find True Love amid the Bright Lights of Reality TV? Perfect for the fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette!
Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.
William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?
When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations. Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all? When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.
I have not seen the shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorettethat The Engagement Plot references. However, I thought this might be a fun book to read, and I was right.
Hanna Knight, at the instigation of her best friend, entered to be on the show The Price of Love. Though not really excited when she was chosen, Hanna felt it would be a great opportunity for highlighting her faith and beliefs. Little did she know…
William Preston, CEO of a cosmetics company, was the bachelor who at the instigation of his company, went on the show, then decided to choose Hanna.
Krista Phillips does a great job of showing the angst and heartache Hanna suffers because of William’s careless words on national television. She also does a wonderful job of illustrating how to hold onto your faith when things become rocky. When Hanna becomes angry, hurt and frustrated at times, the story shows the human side of Christians as well.
The Engagement Plot has a cute, conceivable ending interspersed with humor, faith and romance.
I had not read any books by Krista Phillips before, but I will be reading more after reading The Engagement Plot.
I received this book from NetGalley. However, my review is voluntary.
When the sheriff’s daughter goes into hiding from her father’s killer, her life isn’t the only thing in danger.
Jessica Thomson is fleeing the man who killed her father. But her stagecoach is robbed, and when the stranger who rescues her declares she will be his wife, she does the only thing she knows to do—shove her revolver in his back. Never would she have expected he wore a star on his chest. Too bad she vowed never to love another lawman.
As sheriff, Blake McKenny prides himself on protecting his town’s people from danger, but his efforts didn’t include a headstrong woman bent on putting herself in harm’s way. When outlaws threaten his town and put Jessica’s life in danger, Blake’s failure to save his late wife haunts him.
Can Jessica and Blake forgive themselves for the past and protect each other—even if that costs them their hearts in the process?
Little did Blake McKenney know Jessica Thomson wasn’t your typical damsel in distress when he tried to rescue her from stagecoach robbers. Neither realizes the journey this will put them on nor the secrets the other holds that will waylay their plans.
Tanya Eavenson’s second book, The Proposal, from The All Roads Lead to Texas Series, is a historical romance novel located in Texas during the 1890s when stagecoach robberies were common.
The budding love story is set in motion with the two unlikely heroes at a loss as to how to overcome all their secrets.
Jessica craves love and acceptance, including safety. However, danger always seems to follow her. She can’t risk another person’s life as she did with her father’s.
The story of Jessica and Blake’s burgeoning romance had just the right amount of pathos and hope based on a deep faith.
I enjoyed reading about early Texas as I spent many of my childhood years in Texas and remember learning of how the stagecoach connected the cities and people.
The Proposal is book 2 in the series, but it works well as a stand-alone.
I received The Proposal from Celebrate Lit and am leaving a voluntary review.
About the Author
Tanya Eavenson is an award-winning Christian romance novelist. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. You can find her at her website http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/
More from Tanya
Fiction to Reality
Ever had those moments when you’re reading a novel and it’s as if the author wrote the story line, the characters, or included verses just for you? When your world turns from fiction to reality with the flip of a page?
At the beginning of December in 2014, I took a novel from my bookshelf, snuggled on the couch with a blanket, and began to read. The title of the novel is called The Rancher’s Reunion by Tina Radcliffe. The hero in the story is Will, and he has a hereditary disease that caused him to fear, not only his future, but in trusting God. And that’s when God used this story to speak to me.
“I’m scared, Annie.”
“I know, Will. I know.” She blinked back the moisture pricking her eyes.
“No, Annie. I don’t think you do. I’m not just scared. I’m terrified.”
And I understood Will’s fear. Weeks prior to reading this novel, my doctor told me I have cancer. It’s a single word that can change the course of your life, emotionally, physically, but not only yours, others around you. And though I knew God’s presence would be with me no matter what the future held, my desire to write or edit anything had vanished. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to write anymore with my future so uncertain. I wasn’t just scared, but terrified my time with my family would be shortened.
But as I continued to read Will’s story, God’s whispered words, Do not be afraid of things you cannot control, pray, and continue your call to write, took hold and draped around my heart.
I knew at that moment this book was meant to be read at this appointed time. That God was leading me to give Him every single fear, open my laptop, and begin to write again.
During the time I’d stopped writing, I was in the middle of two stories, a contemporary romance, and The Rescue, the first story in the All Roads Lead to Texas series. It took some months before I returned to writing, but I had to give my fears to God the only way I could. Like Will and Annie’s story, day by day. Moment by moment.
In my new novel, The Proposal, the second story in the All Roads Lead to Texas series, Jessica Thompson understands fear and must learn how to give it to God. She has her father’s killer on her trail and the only means for escape is to run, but she never counted on the sheriff of Graham, Texas, to get in her way.
Have you ever had a time in your life where fear caught you so unexpectedly that you didn’t know what to do next? Perhaps you didn’t know where to turn? Maybe couldn’t pray?
I’m here to tell you it’s okay. God knows how you feel, good or bad, it doesn’t change His love for you. Just remember, He’s with you, by your side through it all. He will never leave you.
Turansky’s skill at incorporating history with fictional characters is impressive, steeping us in the stories of WWI veterans and orphans. I cheered for each of the major characters as individual challenges arose, and I was greatly inspired by the way their trials, with God’s help through prayer, were settled.
A stirring and poignant tale of the McAllister family’s redoubtable odds and undying love, No Journey TooFar will leave you thinking long after reading the last page.
Although No Journey Too Far is a sequel, it works well as a stand-alone, also.
I received No Journey Too Far from Net Galley and Waterbrook Multnomah. However, my review is voluntary.
In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth?
After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart.
#WaterBrook Multnomah #NetGalley #Carrie Turansky #No Journey Too Far