Book Review: Silence in The Dark

30 May

51bDf2Az4QL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Two years ago, Bailey Adams broke off her engagement to Danny Maxwell and fled Logan Point for the mission field in Chihuahua, Mexico. Now she’s about to return home to the States, but there’s just one problem. After Bailey meets with the uncle of one of the mission children in the city, she barely escapes a sudden danger. Now she’s on the run — she just doesn’t know from whom. To make matters worse, people who help her along the way find themselves in danger too — including Danny. Who is after her? Will they ever let up? And in the midst of the chaos, can Bailey keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

 

 

A1zndxFSplL._UX250_Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series set in Mississippi and two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice and The Christmas Campaign are available on Amazon. She is currently working on The Memphis Cold Case series.

Patricia’s workshops on writing include two online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

 

My Impressions:

For fast-paced romantic suspense, look no further than Patricia Bradley and her newest book in the Logan Point series, Silence in The Dark. Old and new characters return to Logan Point, Mississippi where danger and love combine for a quick and satisfying read.

Bailey Adams runs from complications, seeing herself as a coward when it comes to tough situations and relationships. Danny Maxwell has never stopped loving Bailey, and when the two are thrown together in Mexico in their attempts to elude drug cartel members, both kidnappers and killers, sparks fly.

Romance and suspense keep this page-turner going. Twists and turns abound and no one is sure just whom to trust. Danger comes from the known and the unknown. Characters are likable, with doubts and fears common to all. In fact, the theme of fear/anxiety/guilt and their power to keep us away from those we love, as well as the God who loves us, runs throughout the book. I especially like that the author points out that keeping our eye on our circumstances and trials, keeps us from trusting in God.

A perfect book to take on your summer getaway, Silence in The Dark is another winner from Patricia Bradley. Please note: Silence in The Dark is book 4 in this series, but can be read as a standalone. But I recommend starting from the beginning — the series is just that good!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. all opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop!

27 May

Thanks to Mary at Bookhounds for hosting the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop! To find out about all the bookish goodness bloggers are giving away, click HERE. The hop runs from May 28-June 8.

splash into summer

 

Summertime usually means more time for reading. If you are like me, you enjoy a book by the pool, in the car or plane on the way to a vacation, or really anywhere you can escape into another world. So, to start you out right, I am giving away a Surprise Box of Books with a mix of historical and contemporary. To enter my giveaway, just leave a comment telling me your favorite summer spot to read. Good luck!

Book Review: The Quieting

27 May

51gFieK2tzL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_The Stoltzfus family faces serious problems, both in the church and at home. Everyone in the community expects minister David Stoltzfus to fix things — fast. But David doesn’t work fast. He prefers to wait for God to work in individual hearts. However, even he is left wondering if the solution to their most pressing problem might be a Quieting.

When David’s mother arrives, uninvited, more upheaval is in store. She has matchmaking plans for everyone in the family, including David and her eligible granddaughters — and especially for David’s niece Abigail. When Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem — but will it create another?

swf-headshot3Suzanne Woods Fisher’s interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they can provide wonderful examples to the world. In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate many of their principles–simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily, trusting in God – into your life.

When Suzanne isn’t writing or playing tennis (badly!) or bragging to her friends about her grandbabies (so cute!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth. Suzanne can be found on-line at: http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

My Impressions: 

I jumped at the chance to return to the Amish community of Stoney Ridge when I was offered Suzanne Woods Fisher’s latest novel, The Quieting, book 2 in The Bishop’s Family series. Great characters with wonderful stories await Suzanne’s fans. And if you have never read any of her novels, what are you waiting for? Suzanne may write in the Amish genre, but her characters face the same struggles and doubts, hopes and dreams as people around the world. The message is universal — God is in control!

New arrivals to Stoney Ridge bring both order and disruption to the life of David Stoltzfus and his family. Mammi the Meddler, as well as cousin Abigail, seek to put the family to rights with varying degrees of success and cooperation from the original members of the household. The Amish community is also trying to restore the peace that was disturbed following the revelation of man’s interference in God’s plans. David’s sincerity and steadying hand is just what is needed to guide both family and community.

The Quieting is written in the third person, and provides insight for the reader into the minds of three characters: David, Abigail and Jesse. It’s through their unique perspectives that the heart of family and community is revealed. I enjoyed getting to know these characters and those with which they interacted. I felt like I was among friends as I immersed my self in this book. Full of wit, humor and the presence of quirky, but lovable characters, this book is a fun read. The theme of belonging shines through — belonging to family, a faith community and to God. Characters (and the reader too) learn that support, dependence and accountability are key to maintaining all three relationships. And a good dose of love overcomes a multitude of sins!

The Quieting continues the story begun in book 1, The Imposter, so make sure to read this series in order. You won’t want to miss anything going on in Stoney Ridge! I’m looking forward to a return trip soon.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Author, Author! — Pepper Basham

26 May

pepperquiltlaughingIt’s my pleasure to welcome talented author, Pepper Basham, to my blog. Pepper writes inspirational fiction in two different genres: historical romance and contemporary romance. Thanks, Pepper for joining us today!

By The Book: When did you first know that you were a writer?

Pepper Basham: I feel like I’ve always been a storyteller, but I didn’t start ‘writing’ down those stories until I was about 7 or 8. I actually still have a story I wrote and illustrated from when I was 9. Poorly illustrated . . . it was pretty clear writing was more my forte than drawing (especially from the sizes of the noses on my poor people I drew😉.

BTB: What people, including friends, family, teachers or other authors, have influenced/encouraged you?

ATwistofFaith 500x750_v2FINALPepper: The very first person who ever called me a writer was my Granny Spencer. She was a wonderful Appalachian storyteller, all oral storytelling, but the love for storytelling started with her. My parents have been an ENORMOUS wealth of encouragement. My wonderful AlleyCats have been such supports and cheerleaders through the journey as well as the amazing gals of Seekerville! And, I cannot forget my amazing Street Team and Brainstorming Team. I’m just surrounded my wonderful supporters.

BTB: You write both historical and contemporary romances. Is the writing process the same or different for each genre? What types of research do you do?

Pepper: I love story. The main difference between the two is the research (although there is, of course, voicing difference as I write them. Historical doesn’t ‘sound’ the same as contemporary). I love watching movies of the time period, reading books (especially first person accounts), and even trying on costumes. I LOVED getting to drive a Model T for research. For contemporary I usually do a lot of chatting with folks who have the occupation of my characters.

TheThornbearer 500x750 (1)BTB: The Christian message is strong, but naturally woven throughout your novels. What is your motivation for writing Christian fiction? What do you want your readers to take away after the last page is turned?

Pepper: I love writing faith into fiction. Love it . . . and Him. I hope people see the hope Christ’s love can bring and the power in His forgiveness to change lives. I also want to show humor and authenticity.

BTB: Can you give us a sneak peek at soon to be released works or works-in-progress?

Pepper: Oh my! How about a first few paragraphs of book 3 in the Penned in Time series! The Thorn Healer releases in November!

Chapter One

May 1918

Wounded soldiers returned from war as heroes. Wounded nurses returned as old maids.

Jessica Ross gripped the handle of her purse a little tighter, and peered out the dusty train window, eager to catch the first glimpse of her hometown in two years. Home. The word swept a sweet balm over the ragged edges of her memories, rife with the devastation of a world at war. For two dark years, loss and fear crowded light from the shadowed spaces of Jess’ mind, but, now, those dreadful moments could rest in the past. The Great War, as some called it now, held nothing ‘great’ within its muddied trenches and dying breaths, except the weight of its sorrow and its forever-swell of hopelessness.

Her eyes drifted closed and brought visions of her mother and brother to mind, stilling her grin. Home couldn’t be the same without their presence. During her last visit to Hot Springs, she buried her mother. German gunfire took her gregarious baby brother a year and a half later, his remains interred on a battlefield in France, and her only surviving sibling, her older brother, had almost been killed by a German spy.

The hardened fist of hatred tightened around Jessica’s heart with a deeper grasp. Trench warfare, treachery, Kaisers?

She was finished with all of it – especially Germans. She hated them. Even German food was out of the question from this point on. She’d suffered enough from the Huns barbarous hands. Too many nightmares.

“Next stop, Hot Springs!”

The clarion call of the train whistle followed the conductor’s announcement with a glorious exclamation. A waft of mountain air breezed through the window, dampening the unusual May warmth and Jessica’s darkening thoughts with the scent of honeysuckles and fresh rain. Hope tickled a dangerous longing, fragile and as broken as she was, but she grasped its promise. A smile bloomed awake. Even if she was damaged beyond the use of war or the makings of a wife, even if nightmares stole her sleep and fear ripped at her peace of mind, one place always promised a sense of belonging. The Blue Ridge Mountains.

Wow! Just wow, Pepper!

BTB: Please share anything else you want my readers to know — personal info, hobbies, etc

Pepper: Well, I love love love being a mom. I have five awesome kids and I’ve enjoyed watching them grow through every phase. It’s been such a cool journey. Challenging, but such a blessing!

I love dressing in costume, am a huge DC/Marvel fan, love Phineas and Ferb, enjoy very eclectic reading choices, and have a tendency to write music.

 

Thanks so much, Pepper, for sharing with us today!

pepperbarnsmile-1Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, and has already garnered its first award with Readers’ Favorites International Awards. Pepper’s second and third books in the series arrive in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in April.

You can connect with Pepper on her website at http://www.pepperdbasham.com, Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham or Twitter at https://twitter.com/pepperbasham.

Book Review: Where Two Rivers Meet

25 May

2195620On the brink of the Revolutionary War, a plantation known as Washington’s Woods which borders the Ohio River, becomes a center of controversy. Forbidden romance crosses racial lines and a family secret is left hidden in the symbols of a star sampler. Generations later, the truth emerges as best friends, Nicole and Kate realize they are actually related through a newly discovered biracial bloodline. This painful revelation tears at the heart of their friendship, but in the end a renewed understanding of family comes to light. Thus begins the journey to find true freedom and hope for a promising tomorrow at the place where two rivers meet.

 

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Londa Hayden is a native Texan now living in beautiful Tennessee with her husband and three sons. She studied music at East Texas Baptist University. Where Two Rivers Meet is the first historical romance in the Washington’s Woods series. The idea for this novel was conceived while Hayden lived in West Virginia and began researching her personal genealogy. She discovered ancestral involvement with George Washington and his tobacco plantation during the Revolutionary War Era near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Thus, the title Where Two Rivers Meet came about while overlooking the confluence of the Kanawha River and the Ohio River. Two more books are expected to follow.

Her experience in the medical field gave her the opportunity to volunteer during the Katrina crisis, which inspired Candy Moon, the first in a children’s book series. Candy Moon Choo Choo is the sequel and offers a touching tribute to veterans. Londa is the founding president for Bartlett Christian Writers and a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine. Her memoir, Date Pray Wait offers Christian dating advice. Londa is happily married to Steve, her first and only husband, for almost three decades now. She enjoys spending time with her family. Other interests include volunteering for non-prophet organizations to help the homeless and teach Christian values to youth, theater, movies, music, crafts, the arts, exploring the outdoors and other cultures.

My Impressions:

Londa Hayden has written an intriguing novel with roots in the past and a hope for the future. In Where Two Rivers Meet, racial tensions, forbidden romance, and suspense-filled action combine in a dual story set in the present day and in the early years of our nation’s history.

Two parallel stories are explored in Where Two Rivers Meet. Two young women are connected by family and common experiences across the decades. Constance is a young white woman, daughter of a landowner in the colony of Virginia. Her family is sympathetic to the plight of slaves and helps many achieve their freedom. Nicole is a modern day high school student in love with the wrong boy — she is biracial and his father is a powerful man with ties to the KKK. Both experience the depths of man’s prejudices that can be overcome through love, faith and forgiveness.

While Constance’s story has a definite adult feel to it — some heat-filled, though not explicit scenes, Nicole’s story seems written for a YA audience. This disparity threw me off a bit, and makes it hard to label it for a particular audience. Both stories are told in the first person, allowing the reader to get into the minds and hearts of the two main characters. Emphasis is placed on the historic with the inclusion of historical figures, places and artifacts (journals, samplers, etc.), but the latter part of the book is action-packed suspense. A Christian novel, much of the faith message is shared at the end of the book after the characters have experienced loss, grief, and danger. Although there were times when I felt like the story dragged, Where Two Rivers Meet, was an interesting read with enjoyable characters.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Review: Anchor in The Storm

25 May

Anchor-in-the-Storm-emailjpgOne plucky female pharmacist + one high-society naval officer = romance—and danger.

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

SSundin-312Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm. Her novel Through Waters Deep was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years”, and her novella I’ll Be Home for Christmas in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.

Find out more about Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com/.

 

My Impressions:

For a romance featuring the Greatest Generation, your must-read author is Sarah Sundin. With the perfect blending of historical detail, complex characters and well-crafted story, Anchor in The Storm is another recommended read. Sarah’s novels just keep getting better and better!

Anchor in The Storm again takes place in Boston in the early days of WWII. The Navy is struggling to perform its duties amidst the terror of the German U-Boat. Sarah’s historical research is spot-on as she creates a world readying for war. Old and new characters are featured in the novel with the story focusing on Lillian Avery and Arch Vandenberg. Lillian and Arch are not your typical romantic characters. Lillian is an amputee in a day when she is labelled crippled. Arch suffers from PTSD, something that even in today’s modern world is at best misunderstood and at worst ignored or denied. Both struggle with the perceptions of others and this affects their emotions and actions in almost every way. They try to overcome hardship and fears through their own power, ignoring the strength that God provides in weakness.  The plot contains elements of mystery and suspense that kept me turning the pages and drew the characters closer together. Yay! — history, mystery and romance all in one volume!

Sarah always weaves a message of faith and hope in her novels. In Anchor in The Storm, characters and readers are reminded that Jesus is the anchor of their lives in the midst of any storm. While life today may not be like that of 1942 America, uncertainty and anxiety still make their way into our lives. I needed to hear that message again. Viewing disability through the eyes of those in this story was sometimes painful. No politically correct responses here! But it made me think of those unspoken views that I may hold when coming face to face with those different from me. Bravo, Sarah, for making me rethink my own reactions and perceptions.

Anchor in The Storm exceeded my expectations, making this novel my favorite so far from a very talented author. So if you are looking for a book to take you away, then look no further! Please note: Anchor in The Storm is book 2 in the Waves of Freedom series. It is not necessary to read book 1, Through Waters Deep, first, but I would recommend you do just that. This is a great series — you won’t want to miss any part!

Highly Recommended!

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse and Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

GIVEAWAY!

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

anchor-in-the-storm-400

One grand prize winner will receive:

A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
Hope Anchors the Soul journal
Set of two nautical tea towels

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Enter today by clicking HERE. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

Book Review: Life Verse Creative Journal Set

23 May

61Drv5t84LL._SY325_BO1,204,203,200_Are you ready to discover your life verse?

Choosing a life verse from Scripture is a powerful way to aim your steps toward God. This two-pack of beautiful journals (64 pages each) will guide you to choose a life verse and to make it your own! In journal 1, fifteen verses are explored through text and journaling prompts and combined with beautiful line-art illustrations for you to color and make your own. Journal 2 is blank and ready for your imagination, your art, and your story!

 

My Impressions:

The new adult coloring books are all the rage. But what about combining it with a spiritual journey? The Life Verse Creative Journal Set will let you do just that. In book 1, scripture is explored through meditation and contemplation in a new and exciting way by combining intricate designs and God’s truth. I loved that the book allows you to ponder as you doodle, color and journal. Book 2 allows freedom to create your own way with blank pages just ready for prayer requests (and answers!), thoughts and questions, and any other way you want to get closer to God. I think this would be a great gift for a new graduate.  Small enough to tuck into a backpack or purse, the Life Verse Creative Journal can be a wonderful take-along resource.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this set, click HERE.

(Thanks to B&H Publishing for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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