Monday, September 28, 2015

Must-Have October Releases

Anna’s Healing

        When a tornado strikes the farms surrounding Cody’s Creek, Anna Schwartz’s life is changed forever. She suffers a spinal cord injury and suddenly finds herself learning to live as a paraplegic.
        Three people—Chloe Roberts, Jacob Graber, and Ruth Schwartz—join forces to help Anna through her darkest days. Chloe is an Englischer who writes for the local paper. Jacob has recently arrived in town and stays on as a hired hand at her uncle’s. And Ruth is her grandmother, a woman of deep faith and a compassionate spirit.
        Then one morning Anna wakes and finds herself healed. How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what is she to do now? Her life is again turned upside down as the world’s attention is drawn to this young Amish girl who has experienced the unexplainable.

                Anna’s Healing is the first book in Vanetta Chapman’s new Plain and Simple Miracles series. I have enjoyed everything I have read by Vanetta so far, so I am looking forward to another new novel by her. Although I am used to her Amish mysteries, I am sure this series will be just as interesting. Besides, who doesn’t love miracles?


Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?
        That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.
        When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers…if they can survive long enough to solve it.

        Although I didn’t get the chance to read the first two books (Firewall and Double Cross) in this FBI: Houston series, I did intend to, as they all sound super interesting, and I’m looking forward to hopefully picking them up soon. Deadlock sounds full of suspense and intrigue, and I cannot wait to read it and the rest of the books in the series!

A Refuge at Highland Hall

        Penny Ramsey is determined to do all she can to help those she loves face the challenges brought about by The Great War—World War I—but can her heart survive the losses that will surely come her way as war sweeps through Europe and bombs begin falling on London? When Penny meets Alex Goodwin, a confident, dare-devil RNAS pilot, intent on defeating the Germans and proving his worth, her heart is drawn to him, but should she give her heart away, when it will most certainly mean losing the man she loves? Penny, her sister Kate, and the nine orphaned children in their care seek refuge at Highland Hall, and the family’s unity is tested. When Alex is seriously injured, Penny’s unyielding devotion helps him recover and find hope for the future. But an unexpected event puts Penny in great danger. Can Alex find the strength and courage to rescue her and bring her home to Highland Hall?

        A Refuge at Highland Hall is the third book in Carrie Turansky’s Edwardian Brides series, and is one of my most anticipated novels for this month. I absolutely loved both of the previous books—The Governess of Highland Hall and The Daughter of Highland Hall, so I am positive that I will really enjoy this one too. I really loved all that I had read of Penny in the earlier novels, so I know she will be a wonderful character, and I can’t wait to meet her love interest. I just can’t wait to read this book!!!!

Fire and Ice

Saddle up for mysteries and laughs with the Wilde sisters!
        Bailey Wilde is the oldest sister—and the one who takes care of everyone else in her family. But after her sisters marry and move away, her little homestead becomes bleak and lonely, especially during the long winter months. In a moment of weakness, Bailey agrees to a wild plan concocted by her neighbor, Gage Coulter.
        Gage is an honest man, but he didn’t make his fortune by being weak. He won’t break the law, but he’ll push as hard as he can within it. Five thousand acres of excellent grazing land is lost to him because Bailey’s homestead is located right across the entrance to a canyon full of lush grass. Gage has to regain access to this land—and he’s got to go through Bailey to do it. So he makes a proposal…
        Can these two independent, life-toughened homesteaders finally loosen up enough to earn each other’s respect—and maybe find love in the process?

        Fire and Ice is the also the third book in its series (Wild at Heart), coming after Tried and True and Now & Forever. Although I really wanted to read both of those novels, my schedule unfortunately didn’t permit it. I am sure, however, that I will read them eventually, as well as this new addition. It sounds soooooo interesting, doesn’t it?

The Imposter

A heart once deceived should not be easily fooled again…
        Katrina Stoltzfus though she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future. When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose.
        What she doesn’t need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow’s farm just when help is most needed—and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real or too good to be true? She’s been deceived once before, and she isn’t planning on experiencing it again.

        Oh my word, doesn’t this novel sound amazing?! An imposter? Unwanted attention? Deception? Those are all elements that make for a super intriguing, probably swoon-worthy book, and I just love Amish fiction. Suzanne Woods Fisher never fails to captivate me with her stories, and I am sure this one will be no exception.

Luther and Katharina

She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.
        In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
        His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.
        Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.
        But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support, and love.
        Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

        Oh, this sounds interesting, doesn’t it?! Martin Luther? Really? Who wouldn’t love a fictional novel about him and Katharina? I am sure this book is going to be full of all of the things I love, romance, intrigue, and tension, and on top of that, Jody Hedlund is one of my new favorite authors. She hasn’t disappointed me yet, and I am sure that this novel won’t be the first time.

A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft

        When Beverly Overholt’s beloved Orange Blossom Inn is broken into, she’s shaken to her core. After all, the inn has been her whole life since her fiancĂ© left her for her best friend. In the face of repairing what’s been lost, Beverly calls Eric Wagler, the inn’s handsome owner. To her surprise, he promises to be on the next flight out to Sarasota. Beverly’s been closed off to love for years, but with Eric, she can’t help seeing a glimmer of hope, even if they’re from different worlds.
        From the moment Eric met Beverly, he’s tried to fight his attraction to her. Though now Mennonite, Beverly was raised Amish, but Eric grew up in Philadelphia and got into his fair share of trouble as a young man. Though he’s worked to overcome his earlier mistakes, with Beverly’s security scare, Eric’s sure she’s not going to want anything more to do with him. And considering how he just might want a future with her…that’s a tough pill to swallow.
        But as Beverly and Eric put the inn back together, prepare for Christmas, and even witness a new love blossoming for another couple, the trust…and love…between them grows. Will Christmas bring a second chance at love for Beverly? And if it does, will she be brave enough to take it?

        A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft is the fourth book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, coming after The Promise of Palm Grove, The Proposal at Siesta Key, and A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn. Although I haven’t had the chance to read the third novel—it just came out last month and therefore isn’t at my library yet—I really loved both of the first two. Shelley writes such great Amish love stories, and I am so, so excited for this one! I’ve already been introduced to both Beverly and Eric in the previous novels, and I love the attraction and tension between them, or what I’ve been able to see of it so far, that is. I cannot wait to read the rest of the story!

Another Way Home

        Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have been trying for years with no baby in sight.
        Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She’s finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed.

        Another Way Home is the third book in Deborah Raney’s Chicory Inn series, coming after Home to Chicory Lane and Two Roads Home. Although I didn’t get to read the previous novels in this series either, they all sound so, so interesting, and I know I will pick them up as soon as my hectic schedule allows. Besides, this novel sounds amazing, doesn’t it? There’s so much drama alluded to in just the synopsis! I cannot wait to dive into this one!

Every Girl Gets Confused

        Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn’t seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanies by angelic choirs. In fact, the sounds being heard at the bridal shop where she works are on the contentious side lately, as a bride-and-groom-to-be try to meditate the growing rivalry between their basketball-obsessed families in the middle of play-off season. On top of that, Katie’s parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Carson is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What’s a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

        Every Girl Gets Confused is the second book in Janice Thompson’s Brides with Style series, coming after Every Bride Needs a Groom. Although I didn’t have the chance to review that novel, I did start it, and I must say I liked what I read. I didn’t get super far into the plotline, but it was definitely interesting, and I know that I will attempt to finish it sometime soon. And then, of course, I will look to carry on the series with this one. Besides, it sounds even better than the first!

        Well, those are my most anticipated releases for the month of October! What are you looking forward to reading this fall?

        Happy October!

All credit for the italicized synopses goes to the authors and their publishers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall TBR

        This week's Top Ten Tuesday was a relatively easy list to make, except when it came to narrowing it down to just ten. I did it, however, by choosing which ones I expected to read first. If there's anything you need to know about me, it's that my to-read list is always infinitely longer than my have-read list. So these type of lists are always easy to fill. It's just narrowing it down that's the problem.

1. As Love Blooms by Lorna Seilstad

Young romance opens like a rose…but even a rose has its thorns.
        Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in the hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. But before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park—and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her…or capture her heart?

        Doesn’t that sound just amazing?! I read the first two books in the series—When Love Calls and While Love Stirs—a couple of months ago in anticipation of As Love Blooms’ release, and I really loved both of them. They were the first books I had ever read by Lorna Seilstad, but I fell in love with her style of writing almost immediately. I have been anticipating reading this novel ever since, and I am finally going to be able to over the next couple of weeks.

2. A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears

        Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.
        Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she’d been deceived about her intended groom, she’s now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she’ll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony, until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy’s father.
        Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony’s wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

        I just love mail-order bride stories, don’t you? And this one sounds full of drama and intrigue. I have read all of Melissa Jagears’ other novels—Love by the Letter, A Bride for Keeps, and A Bride in Store—which are all in the same series as A Bride at Last, and loved each one of them. I cannot wait to finally get to read this one, and I will have my chance very soon!

3. The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

When Lucy’s secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.
        Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.
        In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.
        As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.
        Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

        This novel sounds so, so good, doesn’t it? I just love anything Jane Austen, and Katherine Reay’s parallels to Austen’s novels are perfectly spot on, and I love that she’s added the Bronte sisters to her repertoire. Since I really enjoyed her first novel, Dear Mr. Knightly, I knew this would be a book I would love, so I’ve already preordered it. I know I will make time to read it as soon as it comes out, in mid-November. Look out for my review, because I will be posting it as soon as possible (in November of course)!

4. The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.
         Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.
        Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.
        The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?
        As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

        I love, love, love Melanie Dickerson. Recently I read one of her novels—The Captive Maiden—and I was reminded again just why she is one of my favorite authors. Her fairy tale retellings are always wonderful and never fail to melt me into a little puddle, and her medieval settings are perfectly portrayed. So, I decided early on when I found out she was doing Rapunzel that I would preorder this book. And I have. So I cannot wait until November when it will finally get sent to me!

5. Last Chance Hero by Cathleen Armstrong

What happens when your heart is intercepted before you even know it’s in play?
        The folks in Last Chance, New Mexico, could not be more pleased. Dr. Jessica MacLeod has opened an office right on Main Street and Andy Ryan, the best athlete the town ever produced, has come home from the NFL to coach the high school football team. Unfortunately, Dr. Jess immediately gets off on the wrong foot with this football-obsessed town when she admits that she’s never seen a football game, isn’t really interested in doing so, and in fact doesn’t know a first down from a goalpost.
       Despite having little in common, Jess and Andy find themselves drawn to each other. But when a disagreement over the future of an injured player puts them both on the defensive, it begins to look like this game is over…

        Although I got super busy over the last month and didn’t actually have a chance to finish the three books that come before this one in its series, I know I am still looking forward to reading this novel. Cathleen Armstrong is a wonderful author, and all of her stories sound extremely captivating. Hopefully I’ll actually get a chance to finish this series soon!

6. The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate

        Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Guilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?

        Recently I read the first book in the Carolina Heirlooms series—The Prayer Box—and I loved every second of it. Although I didn’t get a chance to read The Story Keeper, I am positive I would enjoy both that novel and The Sea Keeper’s Daughters. I am hoping that I will be able to soon, but I am not sure if my all the sudden hectic schedule will allow it!

7. To Get to You by Joanne Bischof

To get to the girl he loves, Riley Kane must head off on a road trip with the father he never knew. Then pray for a miracle.
        Most teens would love to have a pro surfer for a dad. Just not Riley. Abandoned as a kid, he hates the sound of the ocean and the man who gave himself to it.
        When the eighteen-year-old learns that his best friend is stranded at a New Mexico hospital as her father fights for his life, Riley hits the highway to head east. But when his Jeep breaks down before he even leaves California, he must rely on the one man he despises to get to the girl who needs him the most. And when it comes to the surfer with the Volkswagen van and dog-eared map, a thousand miles may—or may not—be enough to heal the past.

        I cannot wait to read this book! Although I have never read anything by Joanne Bischof yet, this novel sounds completely and utterly amazing, and I know I would never be able to resist it. I have been anticipating reading it ever since I stumbled upon it, so I’m so excited that I will get the chance to soon!

8. The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

For sixty years, a wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late.
        Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—the wedding chapel he built for Collette Greer, the woman he fell for back in ’49. But now an offer has come to turn the chapel into what it was meant to be—a place for love—and Jimmy sees no reason to hang onto his dream any longer.
        Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s abysmal marriage rate. But love surprises her when she falls head-over-heels for Jack Forester, a top ad man. Their whirlwind romance results in an elopement, and a mountain of doubt. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to overcome his own demons to find the words of his heart.
        When Taylor takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time.
        When Taylor’s journey intersects with Coach’s, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.

        Doesn’t this sound wonderful? I have absolutely loved every one of Rachel Hauck’s novels that I have read so far, so I am sure that The Wedding Chapel will be a hit. I’ve already preordered this one as well, so I am sitting on pins and needles as I wait for its November release. As soon as it comes out, you can guarantee I will be reading it!

9. When Love Returns by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Riddled with doubt and lingering regrets, will Suzanne and Paul find strength in God to explore a second chance at love?
        It wasn’t easy to move back to the Old Order Mennonite community from which quiet, responsible Suzanne Zimmerman was shamefully sent away as a pregnant teen. Returning twenty years later to take care of her mother, Suzanne and Alexa—the daughter she raised as her own—have spent months rebuilding relationships with her family.
        Now, with the upcoming wedding of their biological daughter, Suzanne and Paul find themselves drawn to one another once again—but with new challenges to face. They have been single parents with painful pasts. Can Paul and Suzanne find the strength to rebuild the loving relationship that was torn apart by their teen pregnancy so long ago?
        Suzanne must also let go of Alexa as she heads back to Indianapolis to visit friends—and as her chance to find her birth parents. Leaving the bed-and-breakfast in Suzanne’s apprehensive hands, Alexa embarks on a journey that will certainly changer her life completely. Can mother and daughter trust God to restore all things in His timing?

        I cannot wait for this book! I read When Mercy Rains and When Grace Sings—the first two books in this series—a couple of months ago, and I really, really loved both of them. So naturally, I’ve been anticipating this novel ever since. And it sounds so, so good, doesn’t it?
10. The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren

        Mortified after her semester abroad is cut short, Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, certain she isn’t brave enough for the adventures she’s dreamed of. The last thing she expects is for the man who broke her heart to cross the Atlantic and beg forgiveness.
        Heir to a European hotel dynasty, Roark St. John has trekked from one exotic locale to another, haunted by tragedy and the expectations that accompany his last name. Amelia is the first woman to give him a reason to stop running. He’ll do anything for a second chance—even contend with Amelia’s old flame, who is intent on sending Roark packing.
        While on surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?

        Oh my word I cannot wait for this novel!!!!! I loved, loved, loved all four of the previous books in this series, so much that I couldn’t even pick a favorite. When I read Take a Chance on Me, I fell in love with the Christiansen family, and after reading It Had To Be You, When I Fall in Love, and Always on My Mind, I have fallen so deeply for the characters of these novels that I still think about them all the time. And I read these books four months ago! I have been sitting on pins and needles waiting for the chance to read this book, so I cannot wait until I get to pick it up!

        Those are my top ten to be read books this fall! What are some books on your fall TBR list?
        Happy reading!

All credit for the italicized synopses goes to the authors and their publishers.

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Bookshelf: Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

Eden Martelli is too busy fleeing the clutches of danger to realize she’s running straight into the arms of new love.
        Speeding north through rural Maine, Eden Martelli wonders how it ever came to this—on the run, with her mute five-year-old son dozing fitfully in the passenger seat. But when a breakdown leaves them stranded in Summer Harbor, Eden has no choice but to stay put through Christmas…even though they have no place to lay their heads.
        Beau Callahan is a habitual problem-solver—for other people anyway. He left the sheriff’s department to take over the family Christmas tree farm, but he’s still haunted by the loss of his parents and struggling to handle his first Christmas season alone.
        When Eden shows up looking for work just as Beau’s feisty aunt gets out of the hospital, Beau thinks he’s finally caught a break. Eden is competent and dedicated—if a little guarded—and a knockout to boot. But, as he soon finds out, she also comes with a boatload of secrets.
        Eden’s been through too much to trust her heart to another man, but Beau is impossible to resist, and the feeling seems to be mutual. As Christmas Eve approaches, Eden’s past catches up to her.
        Beau will go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe. But who’s going to protect his heart from a woman who can’t seem to trust again?

        Falling Like Snowflakes is the first book in Denise Hunter’s new Summer Harbor series. Since I fell in love with Denise’s writing when I read her Chapel Springs series a couple of months ago, I knew this book would be one I would love, so that’s why I went on ahead and ordered it. What I didn’t expect, however, was for it to be quite that good! I mean, I already knew she was an amazing writer, but I just wasn’t expecting such a wonderful book! Although Dancing with Fireflies is still my favorite novel she’s ever written, Falling Like Snowflakes comes in at a very close second.
        Eden Martelli is such an amazing heroine! Brave and strong, she would do anything to keep her little boy—Micah—safe, no matter the cost. Although she is a bit stubborn at times and only accepts help for Micah’s sake, and only then because she has no other choice, she really does want what’s best for her son, and freedom for the both of them. Running from a tortured past, Eden and Micah end up in Summer Harbor after their car breaks down on the freeway and the repair time and costs force them to stay put until Christmas is over. Eden is frustrated at the delay, longing to be somewhere she can finally feel safe, but as she settles in to her new temporary job helping take care of Summer Harbor native Beau Callahan’s aunt, she begins to find more than she expected in the small, rural Maine town. Could the peace and freedom she’s been longing for be closer than she thought, or will her fear keep her from trusting the man who would do anything to keep her safe?
        Beau Callahan is by far one of the most swoon-worthy heroes I have ever encountered. Tall, strong, and handsome, he fills the protective big-brother role perfectly, and I loved reading about the way he brought his brothers together after their parents died. Always sweet and caring, Beau does so much for Eden to make sure she has what she needs, and the way he interacts with Micah is just the most precious thing. As always, I loved reading about how the sparks flew between him and Eden, and the bar was raised once again for my own future hero based on what an amazing guy Beau turned out to be.
        Something I really loved about this book was the tie-in it had to the Chapel Springs series. Beau and his younger brother Zac both made appearances in the last novel in that series—Married ‘til Monday, which was about their cousin Abby and her almost ex-husband Ryan—and I was pleased to find the Abby showed up multiple times in this story. Another thing that I enjoyed was the suspense packed into this novel. Near the end, it really gets your heart racing as you wonder how everything will ever begin to work out. And the love story—just thinking about it makes me want to swoon—but wait, did I mention that already? Anyway, Denise knocked it out of the park with this heartwarming, touching, action-packed (though some of the action was more like sparks flying across the room, wink wink) novel that well earns all five bookshelves. Now I cannot wait for the next one!
        Happy reading!

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Denise Hunter and Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My Choice

        This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, and it took me forever to decide what I wanted my list to be. After much thought, debate, and chocolate, I decided to go with something simple. My top ten favorite classics. I’m going to try to keep it from being repetitive, but everyone knows, some authors are just too good to resist.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

        To Kill a Mockingbird is by far my favorite classic of all time. You will never, ever find a fictional novel with more meaning, or will touch you more, than this book. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to drop everything right now and get yourself a copy. You will never regret, or forget, reading this book.

You won’t regret purchasing this novel! Grab a copy here!

2. Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery

        Anne of Green Gables is a classic novel that most girls have read at some point in their lifetime. What many people don’t know, however, is the fact that there are more than just the first book. Anne of Green Gables is wonderful, but there is also Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside—the last two being more about Anne’s children than Anne herself. In my opinion, the later books are even better than the first. But beware, both Anne’s House of Dreams and Rilla of Ingleside—although definitely more Rilla of Ingleside—are real tear-jerkers, so I would be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Honestly, I’d have to say Rilla of Ingleside is probably my favorite of them all, but I have read each and every one at least three times since I purchased them.

You should pick up these books here!

3. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm series by Eric Wiggin

        Another classic series I have read many times since I purchased them, and another book that many people do not know is actually part of a series. Although Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a classic that is fairly well known, not many people have ever even heard of Rebecca of the Brick House and Rebecca Returns to Sunnybrook. As I said about Anne, the later novels are even better than the first, and all are well worth reading. I haven’t read them recently—which makes me want to toss aside my blog to-read list so that I can re-read them once more—but I have so many great memories of all the times I read them, growing up and even after. This is another classic series that you absolutely must read.

You can pick up all the books in this series here!

4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

        Although I’m not entirely sure that this is considered a classic by the rest of the world, I believe that it is. I read this book for school when I was in my early years of middle school, and I was a bit reluctant at first. A witch? Really? But as soon as I got within the first couple of chapters, I knew that this would be a novel I would love forever. And I still do. I have read it multiple times since then, and I know it will be something I will recommend to my future children.

Snatch up a copy of this book here!

5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

        All seven of these books are by far some of my favorite books of all time. C. S. Lewis is a genius. And The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, and The Last Battle are perfect examples of classic, Biblical based literature. They are so, so good. I could read them over and over, even now, despite the fact that they are ‘children’s books’. The movies are wonderful as well, but there is nothing like reading through all the books of this series.

You can pick up all seven of these novels here!

6. The Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott

        Another classic series I have yet to get enough of. I have read all four of these books—Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys—many, many times, and I love them all dearly. Jo’s Boys is by far my favorite, but all of them really are wonderful novels. For those who are curious, the Little Women movie—the really, really good one with Christian Bale and Kirsten Dunst—is based on both Little Women and Good Wives. Anyway, all four of these are really good, and well worth reading.

You can purchase any of these books here!

7. Persuasion by Jane Austen

        Now is when I’m going to start to sound repetitive. Jane Austen is by far my favorite classic novelist, and I have loved everything I’ve read by her (which is all of her books except for one—the only one I don’t own). Persuasion is so, so good, but I cannot say that it is my favorite. I love each one I am going to list pretty much equally, although all for different reasons. The stories are wonderful, and Persuasion is just one of the sweetest stories I have ever read. I read it for the first time a couple of years ago and then read it again less than half a year later, just because I loved it so much, if that tells you anything.

You should check out this book here!

8. Emma by Jane Austen

        Emma is another wonderful example of Jane Austen’s books. Although it might be the longest of them all, it is really so, so good, and is another one I read, and then re-read, all within the span of about a year. Mr. Knightly is amazing, and the entire storyline is just heart-melting. I turn into a little puddle every time I so much as think of this novel. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to re-evaluate your life.

You can purchase a copy of this novel here!

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

        Pride and Prejudice is literally one of the best books I have ever read. And the movie…oh my word I melt just thinking about it. It is by far my favorite movie of all time. I cannot get enough of it and have seen it more than ten times. I’ve read the book quite a few times as well. It is just so, so good. I mean, beyond words good. Jane Austen hit it out of the park with this one (but then, doesn’t she always).

Pick up this book here!

10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

        Another movie that I absolutely love, this story is one of my favorites as well. While the movie is completely and utterly wonderful, the book is, in my opinion, even better. There are a few things that were left out of the movie that really make the story what it is, and I just really enjoyed reading it, all of the many times that I have. Although the multiple Mr. Dashwoods at the beginning can get a little confusing, once you get past the first chapter it is smooth sailing for a wonderful tale of hearts that are broken before love wins in the end.

You can purchase a copy of this book here!

        So, that’s my top ten list for the week! What are your favorite classics?
        Happy reading and happy Tuesday!

Linking up at Top Ten Tuesday, Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me, and Totally Terrific Tuesdays.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Finished Series I Have Yet to Finish

        This week's topic is series we have yet to finish. Although it was difficult to narrow my list down to ten, I did it. Here they are!

The Unexpected Brides series by Melissa Jagears

        Although I have read the first two books in this series—A Bride for Keeps and A Bride in Store—and loved both of them, I have yet to pick up the third novel. Granted, it did only just come out a few months ago, but I have been dying to read it so it is fairly odd that I haven’t read it yet. Only there is a perfectly good—or bad depending on how you look at it—reason for that, I have been busy with life and the other books I have been reading for this blog. Fortunately, I am planning on reading A Bride at Last next month. Hopefully that will actually be accomplished.

The Gregory Sisters series by Lorna Seilstad

        This is another series that I have almost finished, but not quite. I have read When Love Calls and While Love Stirs, just not As Love Blooms. Since I really enjoyed the first two books of the series, I really should have read As Love Blooms by now. Once again, this blog keeps getting in the way (wink wink)! But I’m planning on reading it next month as well, so hopefully this series will be finished soon.

Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

        Despite my fear of sounding redundant, that is also the story with this series. I have finished both When Mercy Rains and When Grace Sings, but I have yet to pick up When Love Returns, though I have been dying to do so. I really, really loved this series, so I know I will finish it eventually, but so far as I know, the library doesn’t even have the third book yet. We’ll see if they do by November.

Texas Dreams series by Amanda Cabot

        I first started this series ages ago, when I got the first book—Paper Roses—for free on my nook, and I loved it. So I rushed to the library and borrowed the second novel—Scattered Petals—and absolutely loved that one as well. Why I have yet to finally read the third book is a mystery to be, but it is a problem that seriously needs to be fixed. If I loved the first two as much as I did, it’s logical to expect that I would enjoy Tomorrow’s Garden as well. Obviously I need to put it a little bit higher on my TBR list.

Wings of the Nightingale series by Sarah Sundin

        Just recently I read the first book in this series—With Every Letter—and I loved it so, so much. I got it for free on my nook and thought I would give it a try, and I absolutely fell for Sarah’s ‘World War’ themed romance novels. But, because I already had everything I was reading for the rest of the month planned out, I didn’t get around to reading the rest of the series, and even know I don’t even have it listed on my TBR blog list. Obviously there is something wrong with that picture.

Secrets of Crittenden County series by Shelley Shepard Gray

        Although I technically have finished this series—I read all three main books—I have yet to actually put this series to rest. You see, there are three books—Missing, The Search, and Found—but there is also a Christmas novel that was written to come after the three of them. I haven’t read the Christmas novel—Peace—yet, even though I absolutely loved this series. Why? Because my library refuses to carry it. And I much prefer having whole the whole series rather than just the last book, so I am reluctant to actually buy it for fear I will end up buying all of them even though I don’t have the funds to do so at the moment. So for now, this series will have to remain unfinished.

Weddings by Bella series by Janice Thompson

        Okay, it is not my fault that I haven’t finished this series yet. I loved, loved, loved these books, but I thought there were only three! I read Fools Rush In, Swinging on a Star, and It Had to Be You a couple of years ago, but until recently I had no idea there was a fourth book! And once again, I cannot find That’s Amore anywhere in my library. I am severely tempted to purchase these as well, but we shall see. Someway, somehow, I will finish this series, though.

A Katie Parker Production series by Jenny B. Jones

       I know, I know, I sound repetitive again, but I really didn’t know that Jenny was going to add a fourth book to this series! I absolutely loved In Between, On the Loose, and The Big Picture, so I know I would enjoy Can’t Let You Go as well. I just didn’t know that book existed until recently! I’ll get to it eventually, though. I wonder if my library has it…

September 11 series by Karen Kingsbury

        Unlike all the others, I do know why I haven’t finished this series. Although I love Karen Kingsbury and typically read anything she has written just because she wrote it, I doubt I will ever finish this series. Don’t worry, it isn’t because they aren’t good books. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed One Tuesday Morning. I just cannot bear to read it again, or read the ones that come after it, because they are just too sad and I don’t enjoy crying that much. Otherwise, this series wouldn’t even be on this list. But my compassionate heart makes it impossible for me to even consider finishing this series.

Southern Discomfort series by Tamara Leigh

        Last but not least is another series that I cannot wait to finish. Then why haven’t I, you ask? Honestly, I’m not exactly sure. Oh yes, I remember, because my TBR list is far too long! I read Leaving Carolina about a year ago when it was lent to me by a friend, and I fell in love with Tamara’s writing but then things came up and I got busy with my blog, and the rest of the series fell by the wayside. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

        How about you? What are some series you have yet to finish?
        Happy Tuesday!

Linking up at Top Ten Tuesday.

My Bookshelf: The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

        Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. When her friend Justin uncovers the fact that she is possibly the missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.
        The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and although her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threated do they draw close—but will their loyalty come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother?
        As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that their friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?
        And then for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession—and those who can save her still aren’t sure who to trust.

        The Lost Heiress is the first book in Roseanna M. White’s Ladies of the Manor series, and is a novel that I had been anticipating for a very long time. Roseanna M. White is one of my all-time favorite authors, and her book Whispers from the Shadows is one of the best novels I have ever read, so I knew going in that I would enjoy The Lost Heiress. But, as all wonderful novels do, this book well exceeded all of my expectations, and made me melt into a little puddle far more times than I thought it would. The mystery and intrigue that filled this novel made it absolutely impossible to put down, and the romantic elements didn’t make it any easier. So many things went into the making of this story, and that made it all the better for the way that she tied up the ends and pulled off the perfect happily ever after.
        Brook Eden is such a great character! I love her wild spirit—the way she cannot be tamed—and I am inspired by her kindness and generosity. Despite the way she is treated, by both the staff and her new family, she never once treats them in an unkind manner. Rather, she continues to build a life for herself in her new home, even though it is so completely different from everything that she has known. Then there’s the mystery that comes calling. She really does stay pretty calm through it all, although she is obviously—and understandably—extremely scared. She handles it well though, especially those times you really see her wild spirit shine. You’ll figure out what I’m referring to when you read the book.
        Justin is perfection. For the most part. Obviously both he and Brook have their faults, especially when it comes to their growing relationship with one another, but when it comes down to it, Justin is there when she really needs him. And his fear for her safety—though he doesn’t do a great job of showing it—is just the cutest thing. He really does care for her—I mean he is her best friend and all—and that is made obvious through the way he finds her family and strives to keep her happy and safe. Plus his jealousy of any man who so much as looks at her is pretty much the cutest thing ever.
        Let me just take a minute to say, even though he isn’t mentioned on the back of the book, Lord Worthing is by far one of my favorite characters of all time. So that I don’t spoil anything for you, I won’t clarify what his place is in the story or what he means to Justin and/or Brook, but I just had to give him a little of the spotlight. He is just the sweetest thing! And his relationship with Christ is the type that people dream of having. He is constantly in tune with the Lord and His will, and he has a really godly character. He’s always doing for others and making me melt into little puddles, and I really was glad Roseanna wrote him into this story (and if my suspicions are correct, he is the hero of the second book, The Reluctant Duchess, which releases in April).
        Anyway, this book was so, so good! The historical aspects were impeccable, of course, and the story was flawlessly written. It was captivating, mysterious, and heartwarming, and I know I would read it again in a second. So I must give it all five bookshelves. It would be impossible not to, especially since it is now on my ‘favorite books of all time’ list. Roseanna hit this one out of the ballpark, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the series has in store.
        Happy reading!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

You can purchase a copy of this gem here!

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Roseanna M. White and Bethany House Publishing.