Tag Archives: historical romance

Reading Road Trip — Alaska!

12 Jun

This week I am truly on a road trip — I am cruising the inside passage of Alaska! I spent a few months before the trip doing research. Yes, that’s right, I read books set in Alaska. 😉  I admit I did frequent some travel and cruise blogs too. The books I read, along with old favorites, heightened my excitement and anticipation for the sights I would soon experience. I recommend all of these books whether you have a trip planned soon or just need a virtual vacation. My husband and our travel buddies read fiction as well. Some of the books they read are featured on the list 50 Great Novels Set in Alaska. So if my list below isn’t enough (it’s a big list for a big state), there are many more to choose from.

Reading Road Trip — Alaska

Dawn’s Prelude by Tracie Peterson

Newly widowed Lydia Sellers discovers that through an unforeseen fluke, she is the sole recipient of her husband’s fortune. But instead of granting her security, it only causes strife as her adult stepchildren battle to regain the inheritance for themselves. Lydia, longing to put the memories of her painful marriage behind her, determines to travel to Alaska to join her aunt.

Lydia’s arrival in Sitka, however, brings two things she didn’t expect. One is the acquaintance of Kjell Bjorklund, the handsome owner of the sawmill. Second is the discovery that she is pregnant with her dead husband’s child. What will this mean for her budding relationship with Kjell? And what lengths will her stepchildren go to reclaim their father’s fortune? Lydia soon finds her life — and that of her child’s — on the line.

In The Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

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.

Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble

For some people, Alaska is a breathtaking wilderness adventure, full of light and beauty. For Haley, it is a dangerous world of dark dreams and tortured memories. On the surface, she’s here to document wildlife activist Kipp Nowak’s bear encounters. But her real reason is to unearth the truth about a past murder. The suspense mounts when another body turns up, and Haley beginst to wonder if the tragedies she experienced in the past are connected to the dangers and mysterious incidents of the present.

From behind her camera, Haley observes it all, including Tank Lassiter, the wildlife biologist who has been forced to lead Kipp and his team into the Alaskan backcountry. As she watches him with his work, she feels a growing attraction. It will take great courage and faith to confront the truth she once ran away from. Before it’s over, Haley may be viewing herself from an entirely new angle.

Alaska Twilight is the story of a young woman’s emergence from the shadows of past sorrow into the light of forgiveness and grace.

Alaskan Courage Series by Dani Pettrey

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers.

Yancey, Alaska was a quiet town…until the truth of what was hidden in the depths off the coast began to appear.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation–and Yancey’s a small town. She’s returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey’s own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn’t appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey’s reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he’s not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

After the murder of her twin sister, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak, Alaska, to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again — and back in the killer’s crosshairs.

The deathbed confessions of an Alaskan hunter have Murphy drawing the five bodies he discovered on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago. But what investigators find has them mystified. Evidence suggests that the bodies were deliberately destroyed, and what they uncover in an abandoned Quonset hut from World War II only brings more questions.

As one by one the investigators who were at the hut die, Murphy knows there is something much darker at stake. What happened on this island during the war? And who is willing to kill to keep its secrets buried?

The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Fiorello

A cruise to Alaska sounds like the perfect vacation–it’s a geologist’s dream and will give Raleigh space to sort out her feelings about her recent engagement. But before the ship even reaches its first port, a case manages to find her. The producer of a movie that’s being filmed onboard goes missing and is then discovered hanging from the railing. Suicide seems to be the cause, but Raleigh quickly realizes the pieces don’t add up.

When the Seattle field office sends Jack Stephansonto assist her in the investigation, her personal uncertainty skyrockets. Why is it that she forgets to even call her fiancé back in Virginia. And Jack seems to know her as well as she knows herself. She’ll have to wait to sort out those feelings, though, because she and Jack only have five days before the cruise ends to solve this case.

Summer of The Burning Sky Series by Susan May Warren

Former bad-boy Tucker Newman has learned his lesson—as the temporary team leader of the Jude County Smokejumpers, he’s all about following the rules to keep his team safe. Especially when he has to partner with a group of local low-security prisoners to knock down the raging fire. But the prisoners are not who they seem, and when they stage a break, kidnapping one of his teammates, he’ll have to break every rule he knows to get her back.

US Marshal Stevie Mills knows that to get the job done, she must work alone. She simply can’t risk another person getting hurt because of her. When she discovers that a wanted fugitive accused of rape and murder has not only been set free to fight the fire — but is now on the lam with a hostage– the last thing she needs is a zealous smokejumper getting in the way of her pursuit.

Whether they like it or not, Tucker and Stevie must join forces if they hope to save lives, and in the meantime, they just might discover a new definition for the word teamwork, in book 1 of the Summer of the Burning Sky.

Of Moose And Men: Lost And Found in Alaska by Torry Martin and Doug Peterson

Torry Martin — a comedian, actor, and hippie — fled from California to the wilderness of Alaska, searching for answers to life’s big questions. He found what he was looking for…and a lot more!

A moose got its head stuck in Torry’s window. A reindeer was trapped in his kitchen. A bear almost prevented him from reaching his airplane. He once woke up frozen to his cabin floor.

Like the Israelites of old, Torry experienced plenty of miracles and mishaps in the wilderness. And like them, he came face-to-face with God and was changed forever.

Each of these true stories of Torry’s hilarious blunders and misfortunes contains a nugget of truth, but one theme prevails: If God can reclaim and repurpose Torry Martin’s life, He can do the same for you and those you love.

 

Book Spotlight — A Reluctant Bride

5 Jun

Jody Hedlund has released the first book in a brand new series that looks so, so good! A Reluctant Bride follows a young woman from the slums of London to British Columbia in search of a new life — on a bride ship! If you love historical romance, Jody is the author to read. Check out the details below.

 

Living in London’s poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she’s offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship’s surgeon, he’s in charge of the passengers’ welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love.

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

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.)

First Line Friday — The Captured Bride

25 May

 

This week, my First Line Friday post comes from the book at the top of my TBR pile — The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep.  I am digging into this beauty this weekend. Part of the excellent Daughters of The Mayflower Series, this historical romance promises to be a great read. What about you? What is the first line of your current or next read? Share in the comments and then head over to Hoarding Books to discover more fabulous first lines!

 

A War-Torn Countryside Is No Place for a Lady

Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause . . . to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart. Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he is offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort — but he is the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought. Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

 

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.comor stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Book Review (+ Giveaway!): The Melody of The Soul

30 Jan

Anna has one chance for survival—and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

 

Best-selling novelist Liz Tolsma is the author of several World War II novels and prairie romance novellas. She also works as a freelance editor. She lives in a semirural area of Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters. Her son serves with the US Marines. All of their chidlren came to them through international adoption. Her other passions include walking, gardening, camping, and reading.

Find out more about Liz at http://www.liztolsma.com.

 

My Impressions:

Both man’s inhumanity and man’s compassion are revealed in Liz Tolsma’s latest novel set in WWII Europe, The Melody of The Soul. In this first novel in the Music of Hope series, Tolsma’s characters attempt to survive the soul-crushing cruelty of the Nazi regime in Prague and Terezin. This novel is a moving account that I just could not put down. Highly recommended.

Violinist Anna Zadok loves her family, Prague, and music. All three have been integral parts of her life for as long as she can remember. But with the occupation of the Nazi’s she loses one after the other as the Final Solution decimates the Jewish population of the city. Faced with either boarding a transport train or trusting a Nazi officer, Anna and her grandmother take a risk that God is really protecting them.

I loved the historical details that Tolsma effortlessly wove throughout The Melody of The Soul. The beauty and cultural richness of Prague is contrasted with the desperate conditions of the transition center the Nazi’s called Theresienstadt. She somehow portrays the horrible conditions of Terezin and the depraved actions of the Nazi occupiers without being too graphic. But the story still makes the heart break for all those lost in the Holocaust. The characters are very complex. Anna and Nazi officer Horst Engel struggle with their place in the drama that is unfolding around them, as well as what God is doing in their lives. Resistance fighters Particie and Georg place others above themselves. And the villain of the story, Stephan Jaeger, is a man of contrasts. Despite the hopelessness of many of the characters’ situations, they find themselves depending more and more on God and finding that He can indeed be trusted.

Music plays a major role in the characters’ lives. Anna’s brother David finds himself performing during his stay in Terezin. This is what it did for him — And then the music enveloped him, carried him far from this place. He sailed above Terezin’s confines, peering down on this miserable lot. He soared above green fields, majestic mountains of blue, shimmering turquoise oceans. Away, far away from the misery of his soul. The terrible ache in his heart over the loss of his parents, of his family faded. But music can only take you so far — only God can bring real salvation.

The Melody of The Soul displayed the human experience at its worst — grief, despair, fear and impotence, and at its best — sacrifice, faith, and perseverance in trial. While not always an easy read — there are many scenes I wished I could have looked away from — it is definitely a beautifully written and thought-provoking one.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Litfuse and Gilead Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Giveaway and FB Party! 

Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz’s prize pack giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the HERE. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz’s Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

 

 

Book Spotlight: The Lady And The Lionheart

8 Aug

So excited to spotlight The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof. I can’t wait to dig into this book! My review will be out in September, but in the meantime, check out all the details below.

The-Lady-and-the-Lionheart-768x1185Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia.

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, country nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this ill Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

 

What people are saying:

“The sights, sounds and people of a turn-of-the-century circus come alive in this novel that captivates from word one. Every sentence is pitch perfect, while the characters embed themselves soul deep. Charlie Lionheart is the hero of heroes and a reflection of the fairy tale “Beast.” He is so brilliantly multidimensional that he could easily live outside the pages. The romance between Charlie and Ella is heartachingly beautiful, and the redemption organically sewn into the story’s tent flaps will linger with readers for years.”RT Book Reviews, 5 Star TOP PICK!

“Absorbing. Emotional. Colorful and clever… Bischof brings the world of the vintage circus to life with vibrant scenes and deeply poignant characters. It’s a masterful portrait of redemption- with faith and hope deftly woven in- that grips the reader until the final page. I was swept away and didn’t want to return.”Kristy Cambron, author of The Ringmaster’s Wife

“Only a handful of authors craft stories that leave an indelible mark on my heart ~ Joanne Bischof is one of them…guaranteed, every single time. The Lady and the Lionheart is simply stunning, from the provocative beginning to its exquisite conclusion, this story is mesmerizing. Delicate and sententious prose immerses the reader in the sights, sounds, and aroma of the circus, with a tale that leaves jagged edges upon your soul for a time, then binds the wounds with healing and hope. Charlie Lionheart is the most attractive of heroes, handsome and charismatic, yet it is his life changing sacrifice that will render your heart more than once. Ella Beckley’s heart shines more gently, but her compassion and courage, stemming from her wounded past, is the perfect foil for Charlie’s magnetic appeal as both lion tamer and man of faith. Joanne writes with such nuanced spiritual depth, this tale captivates heart, mind, and soul, its themes reverberating for a good while to come.”Rel Mollet, Relz Reviewz & INSPY Award advisory board member

Joanne-Bischof-Headshot-1About Joanne Bischof:

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. Watch for her 2016 Victorian novel, The Lady and the Lionheart coming this summer!

 

(Thanks to the author for a review copy of this book.)

Book Review: The Magnolia Duchess

27 Apr

UnknownFiona Lanier is the only woman in the tiny Gulf Coast settlement of Navy Cove. While her shipbuilding family races to fill the demand for American ships brought by the War of 1812, Fiona tries to rescue her brother who was forced into service by the British Navy.

Lieutenant Charlie Kincaid has been undercover for six months, obtaining information vital to the planned British invasion of New Orleans. When a summer storm south of Mobile Bay wrecks his ship and scatters the crew, Charlie suffers a head injury, ultimately collapsing in the arms of a beautiful mermaid who seems eerily familiar. As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political loyalties begin to collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true heart lies.

313204_b8f0fbd6de603d031772f89385f2f7f1-jpg_srz_p_268_398_75_22_0-50_1-20_0-00_jpg_srzAbout Beth White (from her website) — I grew up in the South, specifically North Mississippi, which has a rich tradition of fostering writers, storytellers, and musicians. I’m fond of both music and literature, so I amuse myself by teaching chorus and piano in an inner-city public high school by day, while conducting a secret life as a romance writer by night.

Anyway, I find myself, after more than half the years I’ve been alive, still married to my last college boyfriend. He still makes me laugh, he still gives me the warm fuzzies, and he still checks my tires, so I guess I’ll keep him. We somewhat successfully raised two young adults, who are both married and have begun producing amazing grandchildren. My cup runneth over.

 

My Impressions:

Beth White continues the saga of the Lanier family in her latest offering in the Gulf Coast Chronicles, The Magnolia Duchess. I have enjoyed learning more about this fascinating time and place in our nation’s history. With a mix of cultures, races and nationalities, independent and determined men and women shaped the region from Mobile to New Orleans. With meticulous research, a mix of historical and fictional characters and just the right amount of romance and intrigue, White deftly brings it all together. As delicious as gumbo, White’s books are perfect for those looking for historical romance. Reviews of the first two books in the series — The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess.

While her family has sought to tame Fiona Lanier, much of their efforts have been in vain. Young Fiona is as spirited as the horses she trains. Charlie Kincaid is a British naval officer with a past, he just can’t remember it. When their paths cross again after years of being apart, sparks fly. But family loyalty and patriotism get in the way of their romance. Both are determined to risk all for love and country.

White’s scene setting is excellent. The reader gets a great sense of the Gulf Coast of 1814, especially Mobile and its environs. The author’s portrayal of the commerce, society and the military presence is spot on. The characters, too, are well-drawn. And while Fiona and Charlie are the focus, supporting characters and their story lines are interesting as well. Three romances flourish in The Magnolia Duchess — fans of the genre rejoice! My favorite part of the book is the dialog — a natural mix of teasing and flirting, but with a dose of serious conversation. There’s never a dull moment with Fiona and Charlie, so if you like a bit of adventure, suspense, and danger, this book will fit the bill. A faith message is naturally woven throughout the novel with characters seeking God’s presence and guidance.

A delightful addition to the series, The Magnolia Duchess is a recommended read.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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