Book Review: Driftwood Bay

19 Apr

After tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room — until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn’t worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.

Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it’s least expected?

 

Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspense. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. Irene invites you to visit her at her website, http://www.irenehannon.com.

 

My Impressions:

Driftwood Bay, the 5th book in Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor series, brings the reader back to the small Oregon town with a big heart. I absolutely love the seaside setting with its sea stacks, quaint harbor town,  and lavender and cranberry farms. The people are special too. Each book in the series focuses on a different couple in the town, but there are a number of recurring characters that add more than extras for the stories. They add heart and soul. Romance and real life issues combine to make this series and Driftwood Bay winners. Recommended.

Driftwood Bay has two story lines that intersect. In each, the characters are dealing with loss, displacement, and grief. I really liked how Hannon explored the varying ways the characters dealt with their circumstances. Some, like Mariam Shabo hold fast to their faith, trusting God for His promises. Others, like Jeanette and Thomma retreat — from the world or their own family. Hannon’s inclusion of the struggles of the two young girls brought a deeper dimension as well. The varying reactions were very real and relatable. At the heart, though, was fear — of further loss and rejection. Hannon’s small town is a great vehicle for exploring how people of faith can reach out to others. The whole town gets involved. I loved that! Love is very much at the forefront of the story, in the depiction of love for others and the sweet romance that builds between main characters Logan and Jeanette. And for fans of the romance genre, you are going to love this one.

Driftwood Bay is a great addition to a wonderful series. It can be read as a standalone, but don’t do it! LOL! Begin at the beginning. And with 5 in the series already published you are in for a real binge-reading treat. I am excited that there will be more to come. Can’t wait!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

First Line Friday — Of Fire And Lions

19 Apr

On this Good Friday I am sharing the first line of Mesu Andrews’ latest Biblical novel, Of Fire And Lions. I am looking forward to reading this imaginative look at the life of Daniel. It may be a departure from what you’ve always heard about Daniel, but Andrews always provides a thoughtful perspective on the life and times of God’s people. Have you read this book yet? I’d love to know what you thought.

 

In the meantime, leave a comment with your first line and then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!

 

 

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear — until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

To purchase, click HERE.

Mesu Andrews grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.

Book Review (+Giveaway!): The Governess of Penwythe Hall

18 Apr

About The Book

Book: The Governess of Penwythe Hall

Author: Sarah Ladd

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: April 16, 2019

In the first of a new series from beloved Regency romance author, Sarah Ladd, Delia, a governess to five recently orphaned children, would risk anything to protect them . . . even her heart.

Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she tries desperately to forget.

Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About The Author

SONY DSC

Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky golden retriever. Visit her online at SarahLadd.com; Facebook: SarahLaddAuthor; Twitter: @SarahLaddAuthor.

 

 

More About The Governess of Penwythe Hall

5 things to know about Cornwall, England:

  1. Throughout its early history, Cornwall’s inhabitants called the country Kernow.
  2. Early inhabitants largely spoke their own language known as “Cornish,” which became nearly extinct in the 1800s.
  3. The country has a long and rugged coastline and there were frequent shipwrecks.
  4. Fishing was a major industry, with herring, mackerel, and sardines being common catches.
  5. In 1870, novelist and poet Thomas Hardy called Cornwall “the region of dream and mystery.”

 

Imagine yourself in The Governess of Penwythe Hall with these pictures of 19th Century life in Cornwall

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/gallery/2016/may/19/everyday-life-in-cornwall-captured-in-the-19th-century-in-pictures

 

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/cornish_nation_01.shtml

https://www.maritimeheritage.org/ports/Cornwall.html

http://www.cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk/cornish-fishing/history-of-the-cornish-fishing-industry.php

 

My Impressions:

I was immediately swept up in Sarah E. Ladd’s latest Regency-era romance, The Governess of Penwythe Hall. Ladd has long been a favorite of mine with her beautifully written tales of love and intrigue set in England of the early 1800s, but I think this book has got to be my all-time favorite. Why? I loved the caring young governess who fights fear to protect those she loves. Cordelia Delia Greythorne has lost so much, yet remains steadfast in her faith and loyal to her young charges. She is more than just a governess to the five Twethewey orphans. I also loved hunky hero, Jac Twethewey! He opens his home and his heart in ways that made him a true savior of his nieces and nephews. The wild Cornish coast and its environs as described by Ladd captured my imagination. The sea breezes and crashing waves, and the secretive smuggling that set it apart were vividly portrayed. The setting and storyline could have been enough for a good historical romance, but Ladd adds a faith thread that is relevant to modern readers. The destructive nature of fear and the triumph of faith are explored in The Governess of Penwythe Hall. One minor character had a great impact on main character Delia (and this reader) when she stated Faith is why I don’t fear tomorrow or the next day. I read that line at just the right time. Isn’t it cool how that works out! God’s sovereignty in the midst of the unknown was also a strong theme in the novel. The novel was very fast-paced, and at the end I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough as the main characters faced danger with stalwart hearts.

For adventure, intrigue, history, and, of course, romance, The Governess of Penwythe Hall cannot be beat! Add a timely and timeless inspirational message, and this novel is a real winner!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, April 11

LifeofLiterature, April 11

Moments, April 11

Genesis 5020, April 11

Maureen’s Musings, April 12

The Power of Words, April 12

Mary Hake, April 12

To Everything A Season, April 12

KarenSueHadley, April 13

EmpowerMoms, April 13

For the Love of Literature, April 13

Inklings and notions, April 13

The Avid Reader, April 14

Blogging With Carol, April 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 14

Rachel’s Back Talk, April 15

Wishful Endings, April 15

Simple Harvest Reads, April 15 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Kat’s Corner Books, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Daysong Reflections, April 16

The Becca Files, April 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 17

Blossoms and Blessings, April 17

Remembrancy, April 17

Worthy2Read, April 18

By The Book, April 18

Texas Book-aholic, April 18

Just the Write Escape, April 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 19

Babbling Becky’s Book Impressions, April 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 20

For HIm and My Family, April 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 21

Inspiration Clothesline, April 21

Pause for Tales, April 21

Through the Fire Blogs, April 22

Bigreadersite, April 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 22

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 22

Inspired by fiction, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Hallie Reads, April 23

Henry Happens, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 24

janicesbookreviews, April 24

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a grand prize of a finished paperback copy of The Governess of Penwythe Hall!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/de80/the-governess-of-penwythe-hall-celebration-tour-giveaway

Children’s Corner — Gracefull

17 Apr

Hope and Anna love seeing each other at church. When a Sunday grace offering is collected to help lift up Anna’s homeless family, Hope begins to ask questions and has a unique opportunity to learn what grace looks like, both for her and for Anna’s immigrant family. This touching story teaches children that God showers grace that is meant to be shared—allowing us all to be GraceFull!

In this follow up to her first two books, ColorFull and ThoughtFull, Dorena Williamson opens a dialogue on the tough subjects of poverty and homelessness and offers children encouragement to show God’s grace and love to others whose home life or homeland might look very different than their own.

To purchase, click HERE.

Dorena Williamson is a bridge buider, speaker, writer, and worship leader who knows the power and beauty of racial awareness. She and her husband, Dr. Chris Williamson, planted Strong Tower Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and have spent more than twenty years ministering to its richly diverse faith community. Dorena and Chris have four children.

 

My Impressions:

Grace — unmerited favor that God showers down on His people. That grace is the foundation of Dorena Williamson’s book Gracefull, a colorful storybook for kids ages 4-8. In the book, Hope gets a glimpse at the very different life her friend’s family faces. Homeless and needing a big help up, Anna and her family are sheltering at Chen House. I loved that the two girls in the story are seen as peers, not one that has more and one who has less. The storyline revolves around helping others as a response to the grace that God has shared with us. The subtitle, Growing A Heart That Cares for Our Neighbors, summarizes what the book is all about. Williamson tells her story in a natural way allowing kids to see that there are others out their who need our help. The illustrations are bright and bold, and include a diverse group of people. The message is simple, but this book will springboard into deeper conversations. To help guide parents, a scripture passage reinforcing the message and discussion questions to make little ones (and their parents 😉 ) think are include. Gracefull makes a great addition to any home library.

Recommended.

Audience: kids ages 4-8 and their family

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

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: In The Shadow of Denali

17 Apr

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel outside Mt. McKinley. While John will be expedition and wilderness exploration guide for the wealthy tourists, Cassidy has signed on as a cook’s assistant. Both are busy as the hotel prepares to welcome the president of the United States on his way to drive in the golden spike to officially complete the railroad.

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice of a seasoned Alaska mountain guide. Ever since his father’s death climbing Mt. McKinley, he’s worked to earn enough money to make the trek to the Alaska territory himself. His father’s partner blames their guide for the death of his father, but Allan wants to find the truth for himself. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

Tracie Peterson is a bestselling author who writes in both historical and contemporary genres. Her novels reveal her love for research as well as her strong desire to develop emotionally meaningful characters and stories for her readers. Tracie and her family live in Montana.

Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than a dozen books. She is a wife, mother, author, and musician with a quick wit and positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. A popular speaker, she’s shared at more than 2,000 venues across the country. Kimberley and her family’s story have garnered national media attention for many years including ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, Discovery Health channel’s Mystery ER, The Hour of Power, The Harvest Show, and over 1,000 other TV appearances and radio interviews. She lives and writes in Colorado with her husband of twenty-five years and their two amazing kids.

Find Kim on twitter and facebook:
twitter.com/kimwoodhouse
author fan page Kimberley Woodhouse

 

My Impressions:

Continuing my quest to learn more about Alaska through fiction, I listened to the audiobook edition of  In The Shadow of Denali, the first book in the Heart of Alaska series by Tracie Peterson and Kimberely Woodhouse. I really enjoyed the journey back to the early 1920s when the railroad leading to the new national park was completed. Denali had been renamed Mt. McKinley, and experienced and not-so-experienced outdoorsmen were flocking to see the wonders of the Alaskan wilderness. I loved this glimpse into the history surrounding Denali. I found the historical details interesting, while the adventure and intrigue kept me saying just one chapter more. The descriptions of the beauty of the area has heightened my anticipation to see Alaska for myself. There is also a wonderful romance for fans of the genre. Peterson and Woodhouse weave a faith thread throughout the book that focuses on the reliability of Christ to care and provide, even in the hard times. Main character Cassidy Ivanoff is the catalyst for many of the characters to discover or grow in their faith. Cassidy’s faith is also tested in ways that felt very natural. The book’s plot line is resolved, making it a standalone, but I am eager to return to Denali to see just what awaits some of the other characters that were introduced in book 1.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Rainy Day Reads

16 Apr

Ok, I am going literal today with my Top 10 Tuesday post, Rainy Day Reads. Not sure if it’s pure genius or laziness that inspired my choices. 😉 The books on my list either have a storm as part of the action or impetus for the story, or the title includes rain/storm. This may or may not be what the post should be about, but you can be assured that the books, which include a variety of genres,  are great reads — rain or shine!

 

To find out how others interpreted this week’s challenge, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Rain Is In The Forecast — Books with Storms As Part of the Story Line

 

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth Vogt

Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Deadly Isle by Dani Pettrey

TennysonKent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on revenge before they become the next victims?

(This book is a novella and part of the Cost of Betrayal collection)

 

 

Elevator by Angela Hunt 

In the path of a devastating hurricane, three very different women find themselves trapped in the elevator of a high-rise office building. All three conceal shattering secrets-unaware that their secrets center on the same man. The betrayed wife, eager to confront her faithless husband, with rage in her heart and a gun in her pocket… The determined mistress, finally ready to tell her lover she wants marriage and a family… The fugitive cleaning woman, tormented by the darkest secret of all…

 

 

 

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing — and the relationships that must be mended along the way.

No Small Storm by Anne Mateer

September 1815, Providence, Rhode Island

Thirty-year-old Remembrance “Mem” Wilkins loves her solitary life running the farm and orchard she inherited from her father and has no plans to give up her independence. Especially not for the likes of Mr. Graham Lott. But when Mem is unable to harvest the apples on her own, she accepts the help of the man she despises.

Fresh off a boat from Ireland with his four-year-old son in tow, Simon Brennan secures a building in which to ply his trade as a cobbler. Still healing from the grief of his wife’s death a year earlier, he determines to focus only on providing a good life for his son. But when he intervenes in an argument on behalf of the intriguing Miss Wilkins, sister-in-law of the tavern owner who befriends him, he suddenly finds himself crossways with his landlord, Mr. Lott, and relieved of his lease and most of his money.

With no means of support, Simon takes a job helping Mem with her harvest, relieving her of the need of Lott’s help. But their growing attraction to each other makes them both uneasy. Mem gladly escapes to town when her sister begins labor, and Simon, believing it best to distance himself from Mem, takes his son and leaves.

But neither anticipates the worst gale New England has ever seen — or that the storm will threaten all they hold dear.

 

Storms of Life — Titles with Rain/Storm

 

Anchor in The Storm by Sarah Sundin

One 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?

The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly

They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. They’re wrong.

Colom had the perfect childhood, the much-loved only child of a church pastor. Yet he wakes screaming from dreams in which his sister is drowning and he can’t save her.

Fiona turns to her husband, desperate to help their son. But David will not acknowledge that help is needed—and certainly not help from beyond the church.

Then they find the suicide pledge.

Fiona, in panic, takes Colom and flees… but when will she acknowledge that the unnamed demons Colom faces might be of her and David’s own creation?

Mercy’s Rain by Cindy K. Sproles

When your life is built around a father’s wrath, how can you trust in the love of Father God?

Mercy Roller knows her name is a lie: there has never been any mercy in her young life. Raised by a twisted and abusive father who called himself the Pastor, she was abandoned by the church community that should have stood together to protect her from his evil. Her mother, consumed by her own fear and hate, won’t stand her ground to save Mercy either.

The Pastor has robbed Mercy of innocence and love, a husband and her child. Not a single person seems capable of standing up to the Pastor’s unrestrained evil. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands.

Her heart was hardened to love long before she took on the role of judge, jury, and executioner of the Pastor. She just didn’t realize the retribution she thought would save her, might turn her into the very thing she hated most.

Sent away by her angry and grieving mother, Mercy’s path is unclear until she meets a young preacher headed to counsel a pregnant couple. Sure that her calling is to protect the family, Mercy is drawn into a different life on the other side of the mountain where she slowly discovers true righteousness has nothing evil about it–and that there might be room for her own stained and shattered soul to find shelter. . . and even love.

Mercy’s Rain is a remarkable historical novel set in 19th century Appalachia that traces the thorny path from bitterness to forgiveness and reveals the victory and strength that comes from simple faith.

Of Stillness And Storm by Michele Phoenix

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

Thunder And Rain by Charles Martin

Third generation Texas Ranger Tyler Steele is the last of a dying breed —  a modern day cowboy hero living in a world that doesn’t quite understand his powerful sense of right and wrong and instinct to defend those who can’t defend themselves. Despite his strong moral compass, Ty has trouble seeing his greatest weakness. His hard outer shell, the one essential to his work, made him incapable of forging the emotional connection his wife Andie so desperately needed.

Now retired, raising their son Brodie on his own, and at risk of losing his ranch, Ty does not know how to rebuild from the rubble of his life. The answer comes in the form of Samantha and her daughter Hope, on the run from a seemingly inescapable situation. They are in danger, desperate, and alone. Though they are strangers, Ty knows he can help —  protecting the innocent is what he does best. As his relationship with Sam and Hope unfolds, Ty realizes he must confront his true weaknesses if he wants to become the man he needs to be.

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: Far From Here

15 Apr

How long do you hold on to hope? 

Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell.  But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down. It’s his dream, he reveals, and Danica knows that she can’t stand in the way. Ell is on his last flight before heading home when his plane mysteriously vanishes shortly after takeoff, leaving Danica in a free fall. Etsell is gone, but what exactly does gone mean? Is she a widow? An abandoned wife? Or will Etsell find his way home to her? Danica is forced to search for the truth in her marriage and treks to Alaska to grapple with the unanswerable questions about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. But when she learns that Ell wasn’t flying alone and that a woman is missing, too, the bits and pieces of the careful life that she had constructed for them in Iowa take to the wind. A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Hereexplores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.

Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. Her books have been featured in Southern Living, Country Woman, Book Page, Glam, Brit & Co., and on Yahoo Lifestyle, and her latest release, Little Broken Things, was a People Magazine Editor’s Pick. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

 

My Impressions:

I am going to Alaska in a few months, so I’m listening to audiobooks that are set in Alaska. Kind of trying to immerse myself in the culture and setting before I get there. I’m also trying to read varying genres to get a wide variety of viewpoints and experiences. So, I found Far From Here by Nicole Baart, a women’s fiction novel which is partially set in Alaska. Let me first say this is not an Alaska novel. A few scenes are set in that state, but the majority of the novel takes place in the main character’s small Iowa town. Alaska is a big symbol, though, for Danica Greene the young woman who is at the center of Far From Here. It is the place where her hopes and dreams of the future vanish. This novel is labeled as Christian fiction (its publisher is a Christian imprint), but it is far different from the traditional offerings found in CF. This novel is edgy, to say the least. The characters’ lives are really messy. They drink, swear, and sleep around (albeit off the page). And while the center of the novel is the disappearance of Danica’s husband, the novel is really about the lies, half-truths, and deceptions we tell others and ourselves. I really liked this book. It was not an easy read — for most of the book despair and depression dominate. But the hope found in the end was well worth all the angst along the way. This book made me think; it would be a great book club selection. Far From Here is told in the first person recollections of Danica and in an objective third person voice. This style allowed the reader to get in the head of the main character, while at the same time understand all that was actually going on. The audiobook employed two readers to great effect.

As I stated, I liked this book. Would I recommend it? Yes, but with a caveat for those who just don’t want to read a book with adult language and situations.

Recommended (with a warning for language and adult situations.)

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchase the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)