Tag Archives: historical romance fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — The Novella

17 Jul

no·vel·la

noun
1. a short novel or long short story.

Yep, that is the official definition of novella, the subject of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. As in the case of their longer cousins, novellas span genres and styles — historical, contemporary, suspense, romance — there is something for everyone! Looking at the varying forms novellas take, I have come up with a few categories. What do you think?

Don’t forget to check out other bloggers favorite novellas at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top Novellas

The Complimentary Novella — books that are written to introduce or compliment a novel series. These help to fill in the blanks, as well as entice a reader with a quick read. They are often prequels to the main story.

An Awakened Heart (An Orphan Train Novella) by Jody Hedund

Then Came You (A Bradford Sisters novella) by Becky Wade

 

Interrelated Novella Collection — these 2-4 novella collections often have several authors all writing within a continuing storyline. The examples I have chosen either follow different members of a family, involve characters connected with a place, and/or tell the story from different characters’ points of view.

Austen in Austin, volume 1 by Susan Dietze, Gina Welborn, Anita Mae Draper, and Debra E. Marvin

Invitation, Cycle One of The Harbingers Series by Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, Bill Myers, and Alton Gansky

Where Tree Tops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin

 

Serialized Novellas — a series of individually published novellas (not part of a published collection) that follow a character, or group of characters, and are written by a single author.

Boo series by Rene Guttering (there are 4 in the series)

In The President’s Service series by Ace Collins (there are 14 books in this series, I have included the covers of the first 2)

Summer of The Burning Sky series by Susan May Warren (a third is due out in August)

Thematic novella collections — several novellas published together and united by a common theme or subject matter. They often involve several authors.

Among The Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser, and Shelley Gray

Sins of The Past by Dee Henderson, Lynette Eason, and Dani Pettrey

 

Standalone Novellas — a complete, unto itself story, just in novella length. I have found that there are lots of novellas published with Christmas themes — great for quick reading during a very busy time of year.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti 

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Richard Mabry, M.D.

 

What is your favorite novella?

 

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Book Review (+Giveaway!): Sons of Blackbird Mountain

16 Jul

sons of blackbird mountain FB banner copy

About the Book

sons of blackbird mountain

Title: Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Author: Joanne Bischof

Genre: Historical Romance

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Bischof JoanneJOANNE BISCHOF is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children. Visit her online at JoanneBischof.com, Facebook: Author, JoanneBischof, Instagram: @JoanneBischof.

 

My Impressions:

Sons of Blackbird Pond will go down as one of the best books I have read in 2018. The world of the late 1800s Appalachia comes alive in this beautifully written and richly detailed novel. This one really made an impression on me — I will be thinking about it for a long time. It gets the very rare very highly recommended rating from me.

Bischof has done her homework. The setting of the novel is an apple farm and cidery in the mountains of Virginia. This reader could almost smell the rich aromas of apples, cider, and woodsmoke. Vividly told with a wealth of historic detail, the novel explores the family dynamics and the community relationships of the Norgaard family. Former slaves and plantation owners are part of the mix, and Bischof presents an unvarnished narrative of those tensions. Of Norwegian heritage and the sons of immigrants, the three Norgaard brothers work together to make a life that is in many ways very fulfilling, but in others, especially for Thor and Haakon, lacks the essentials of what brings joy. A love triangle develops between these two and the widowed wife of a cousin who arrives on their doorstep from Norway. Her presence is a welcome addition to the family, yet brings to a head the complex rivalry of the two brothers. Characterization is strong. The characters’ flaws make them so very real, and I couldn’t help loving them like family too. One theme of the novel is the need to be heard and is poignantly portrayed by Thor who has been deaf from birth. The silence that he endures is a good representation of all who struggle to be heard by men and by God.

While the novel at times takes a dark turn, the overall story is one of hope. Sons of Blackbird Mountain is just the first book in the series, and I look forward to revisiting the Norgaards in Daughters of Northern Shores due out next March. In the meantime, I may have to schedule a re-reading; this one deserves to be savored again and again. Also, I know you’ll want to talk about this book, so grab some friends to read it together.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

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

 

 

 

 

Guest Video from Joanne Bischof

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, July 5

Carpe Diem, July 5

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 6

The Power of Words, July 6

Among the Reads, July 6

Fiction Aficionado, July 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 7

A Baker’s Perspective, July 7

History, Mystery & Faith, July 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, July 8

Luv’N Lambert Life, July 8

Cordially Barbara, July 9

Kathleen Denly, July 9

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 9

Faithfully Bookish, July 10

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, July 10

Simple Harvest Reads, July 10 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Novels corner, July 11

Inklings and notions, July 11

Just Commonly, July 11

Two Points of Interest, July 11

Maureen’s Musings, July 12

Book by Book, July 12

To Everything A Season, July 12

Inspiration Clothesline, July 13

With a Joyful Noise, July 13

Pause for Tales, July 13

Radiant Light, July 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 14

Remembrancy, July 14

proud to be an autism mom, July 14

Just the Write Escape, July 15

Bibliophile Reviews, July 15

Vicky sluiter, July 15

By The Book, July 16

Texas Book-aholic, July 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 16

Janices book reviews, July 17

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 17

Bigreadersite, July 17

Connie’s History Classroom, July 18

amandainpa, July 18

Seasons of Opportunities, July 18

Reader’s cozy corner, July 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Joanne is giving away:

Grand prize of a country crate, a jar of apple butter, a bag of gummy berries, journal, bath salts, honey spoons, copper earrings, and a blackbird sign!!

Click the link to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d140/sons-of-blackbird-mountain-celebration-tour-giveaway

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2018, Part 2

10 Jul

A couple of months ago, I took advantage of a TTT Freebie week to post the best books I had read so far this year. (Check out that list HERE.) But that’s okay, because I have another 10 novels to add to the list. 2018 has been a great reading year! The books on my list vary in genre and include new-to-me authors as well as time-tested favorites. What about you? What are some your favs from this year?

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ favorite books.

 

Top 10 Favorite Books of 2018, Part 2!

 

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

A Vast And Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

What are some favorite books you have read this year?

Top 10 Tuesday — Red, White, and Blue Books!

3 Jul

Happy Top 10 Tuesday — Colors of America! What a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with a bevy of red, white, and blue books — all with a connection to America’s history. Featuring the settling of a new nation, wars, Civil Rights, etc., these novels connect readers with pivotal times in our nation. I hope you find a new-to-you book to enjoy this holiday week!

 

For more patriotic offerings, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Red, White, And Blue Books!

 

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

 

The Pelican Bride by Beth White

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Snapshot by Lis Wiehl

 

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

 

What are some of your favorite red, white, and blue books?

 

2018 Carol Award Nominees

2 Jul

Congratulations to the 2018 Carol Award shortlist authors! The Carol Awards are sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers. If you are looking for a good book to read, this list is a great start!

 

Contemporary

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert
The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser
A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

 

Historical

Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson
A Plain Leaving by Leslie Gould
Liar’s Winter by Cindy Sproles

 

Historical Romance

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett
Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Four Months in Cuba by Luana Ehrlich
Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry
Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

 

Novella

Puzzle House by Lillian Duncan
An Awakened Heart by Jody Hedlund
One Enchanted Noel from Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg

 

Romance

A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese
Then There Was You by Kara Isaac
A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

 

Romantic Suspense

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley, Revell
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman
The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Short Novel

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander
A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller
Claiming Her Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe

 

Speculative

Awakened by Morgan L. Busse
Huntress by Julie Hall
King’s Blood by Jill Williamson

 

Young Adult

For Love & Honor by Jody Hedlund
Playing by Heart by Carmela Martino
Betrayal of the Band by Sarah Tipton

 

Debut

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli
If We Make It Home by Christina Suzann Nelson
Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Congratulations 2018 Inspy Award Winners!

2 Jul

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Inspy Awards! This blogger-based award seeks to honor the best in Inspirational fiction, both in the Christian and secular markets. The Inspy Awards are unique in that books are nominated by readers and judged by book bloggers, insuring that not only are these books highly readable, but demonstrate excellence in faith-based writing. If you are looking for a great reading experience, you definitely need to check these out!

2018 Inspy Award Winners 

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

True to You by Becky Wade 

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

 

Debut Fiction

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano 

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance – and perhaps even her father’s death.

 

General Fiction

A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner

“I believed it would have been a sin to stay inside when God had sent us such fine weather. According to Pastor Ezra Anderson, sin was the reason we’d got in the dusty mess we were in. The way I saw it, that day was God’s way of letting us know He wasn’t mad at us anymore. Just maybe He’d seen fit to forgive us.”

Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That’s one thing Pearl no longer questions.

But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life.

Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn’t sure she’ll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

 

Historical Romance

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son . . . especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do — be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

 

Literature for Young Adults

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about —l ike becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something — or someone — is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections — and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

 

Mystery/Thriller

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming — and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

 

Speculative Fiction

The Divide by Jolina Petersheim

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: A Rebel Heart

28 Jun

Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.

Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.

Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.

 

Beth White‘s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at http://www.bethwhite.net.

 

My Impressions:

I have been a big fan of Beth White’s fiction for a long while now. Whether contemporary or historical, if she wrote it, I read it! Her newest novel, A Rebel Heart, did not disappoint. Set in Mississippi in the years following the Civil War, this book includes a sweet romance against the backdrop of a changing South. I loved it and give it a recommended rating.

As the author mentions in the notes to readers, Reconstruction was a difficult time for the South. Once prosperous families were beset with hard times, and those who finally gained their freedom suffered exploitation and continued prejudice. I applaud White for setting her novel in the midst of this time period. She certainly did her homework — economic, political, and societal issues are woven seamlessly throughout the story. Both hope and desperation are present with the inclusion of characters looking forward to a new life and those who want to prevent progress even if it means destruction. There is a dark side to A Rebel Heart, but those parts only highlight the right path taken by main characters Selah and Levi. Selah is fiercely loyal to her family and feels the weight of providing for her two sisters. Levi has endeavored to do the right thing throughout his life, but regrets some of the actions he had to take in a time of war. The past taints their relationship, but their dependence on God allows for a future. Towards the end of the book, Selah ponders what is required of her and determines that justice, mercy, and humility are what God commands. I loved that Selah, a daughter of a plantation owner, knows the truth and determines to live her life according to God’s principles, seeking to bring reconciliation in whatever small way she can. As for the the sweet romance between Selah and Levi, it proceeds in a most satisfying way. 🙂

A Rebel Heart is a well-written historical romance that combines wit and wisdom in an entertaining and thoughtful read. There are two more Daughtry daughters, so more great reading is on its way. Can’t wait!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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