Tag Archives: Jody Hedlund

Book Review: Searching for You

9 Jan

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

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.

 

My Impressions:

Finally! Finally I know what happened to Elise and Marianne Neumann’s little sister Sophie and the two children she has vowed to care for. I have loved all the books in the Orphan Train Series, but I have to say that Hedlund saved the best for last. Searching for You exceeded my expectations with its wonderful characters and beautifully expressed truth.  If you have been waiting (impatiently) like me, then you are in for a treat. If you haven’t read any of this series, you are in luck because they are all available for binge-worthy reading.

Sophie Neumann has been doing just about anything to survive. She loves her adopted children Nicholas and Olivia, but it soon becomes apparent that her life in New York is not the best for them or her. She embarks on an orphan train determined to make a new life for them all. What she finds might just break her heart.

Sophie is a wonderfully written character. She has a seed of faith deep down, but life has caused her to make compromises that trigger feelings of guilt and shame. Her determination to clean herself up is realistically portrayed. I’ve often heard those same sentiments (and have even felt the same). Reinhold Weiss is another relatable character. Anger issues keep him from wholly committing to relationships. Both Sophie and Reinhold do a lot of growing in Searching for You — in their relationship with each other and with God. While I loved both of these characters (and their sizzling romance 😉 ), it was secondary character Euphemia Duff that truly spoke to me. Maybe it’s because I am of an age with Euphemia, but her wit and wisdom was an inspiration. Her transparency about her past failings and God’s grace was beautiful. I loved how Euphemia’s life spoke to both Sophie and Reinhold. Searching for You is an historical novel and Hedlund did a wonderful job of making the time period come alive. From the mean streets of New York to the farmland of Illinois, the reader gets a real feel for what life was like in the mid-19th century. As I stated above there is plenty of romance for those who like swoony heroes and kissing scenes. But this is Christian fiction, so while realistically portrayed, there’s nothing graphic or inappropriate. (Your grandma would approve. LOL!)

For those looking for a book to sweep them up, I cannot recommend Searching for You enough. But remember, you really need to read books 1 and 2 first. Well worth it.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

 

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First Line Friday — Searching for You

28 Dec

Happy last Friday of 2018! Wow, can it be that 2019 is right around the corner? I am featuring Searching for You by Jody Hedlund, another last — the final book in the Orphan Train series. If you haven’t read this series yet, get those Christmas gift cards out and order them! I was tempted to share the last line of this novel, but I wouldn’t want to spoil anyone’s reading experience. 😉

Leave a comment with the first line of the book closest to you. Then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines.

 

 

 

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

 

Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

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.

Top 10 Tuesday — Winter TBR

18 Dec

The weather outside has been frightful so far this winter — rainy and cold — so it’s a good thing I have a lot of good books on my Winter TBR List! What about you? What are you planning on reading during the long, dark days of winter? Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for lots of great suggestions.

 

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBR List!

 

Breach of Trust by Rachel Dylan

Brunch at The Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Code of Valor by Lynette Eason

 

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Emergency Case by Richard Mabry, M.D.

How The Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

The Liberty Bride by Marylu Tyndall

 

Searching for You by Jody Hedlund

Secrets at Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartles

 

What are you reading this winter?

Happy Book Birthday! — Searching for You

4 Dec

Today is release day for Searching for You, the long anticipated final book in the Orphan Train series by Jody Hedlund. I have been waiting a looong time for this one! I cannot wait to dive into Sophie’s story. Happy Book Birthday!!!

 

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

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.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Siblings

27 Nov

Our Top Ten Tuesday prompt is platonic relationships, including siblings. I thought it would be fun to revisit books that involve sibling relationships — all the best and worst aspects with plenty of dysfunction! The books are a mix of contemporary and historical — something for everyone.

Make sure to check out other bloggers’ lists at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Sibling Relationships — The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

(for series, the link is for book 1)

 

Cousins of The Dove series by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

 

Heart Between Us by Lindsey Harrel

 

How Sweet The Sound by Amy Sorrells

 

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

 

The Memory of You by Catherine West

 

Orphan Train series by Jody Hedlund

 

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

 

What books with sibling relationships are your favorites?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Backlist Books

6 Nov

The lure of new shiny books is so, so real. They whisper of wonderful characters, exotic locales, and stories to get lost in. But what about all those books that I have missed? My TBR pile grows ever larger as new books are released and as the ones I have missed by favorite authors demand to be read too. Today, Top Ten Tuesday is all about the backlist — books that we just haven’t gotten to — yet. 😉 I’m featuring favorite authors’ books that I need to read! All of the books on my list are from authors I love and include historical and contemporary, romance and suspense genres. They were released a few (or a lot) of years ago and are still hanging out on my shelves or Kindle. Have you read them? Let me know what you thought.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover more books and authors. Your TBR will love you!

Top Backlist Books I Need to Read!

 

Dangerous Mercy by Kathy Herman

Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson

Junebug by Chris Fabry

 

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

The Queen by Steven James

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

 

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

When The Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

 

What backlist book do you need to read?

Top 10 Tuesday — Authors I’d Love to Meet

2 Oct

When I started this book blogging gig 9 years ago, I had no idea the great fun it would be. Never did I imagine that I would get to meet favorite authors in person! Can you say fangirl? I have had the pleasure of hosting author meet and greets, attending book events, and interviewing authors, many face to face. So when That Artsy Reader Girl challenged us to list the authors we would love to meet, I already had a list ready. I’ll get to meet some sooner than later — my book club is traveling to meet Lindsey P. Brackett, author of Still Waters, later in the month, and I am finally getting the chance to attend the Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat next spring. Woo hoo!

Make sure to check out That Artsy Reader Girl to discover which authors other bloggers dream of meeting.

 

10 Top Authors I Want to Meet

(all info is taken from the authors’ websites or Goodreads)

Karen Barnett

Fueled by a passion for research and learning, and a secret desire to travel in time, author Karen Barnettcreates historical romances that draw readers deep into a story. She’s fascinated that even though human history is constantly changing, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The point where those two facts collide forms the basis for her writing–finding those moments when an ordinary person brushes up against the eternal.

A graduate of Valparaiso University and Oregon State University, Barnett’s debut novel, Mistaken, was released in 2013 and earned her the Oregon Christian Writers “Writer of Promise” award and a Cascade Award for best historical fiction. She also won the coveted “Writer of the Year” title from the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2016.

Karen spent several years working in outdoor education as a park ranger and naturalist for Mount Rainier National Park and Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park before becoming a stay-at-home mom and professional writer. She spends her free time hiking, taking photographs, dragging her kids through dusty history museums, and decorating crazy birthday cakes.

Karen lives in western Oregon with her husband, two teenagers, and three mischievous dachshunds.

To connect with Karen follow her on Facebook (KarenBarnettAuthor) and Twitter(KarenMBarnett).

Lynn H. Blackburn

I started writing in 2009 and my first book, Covert Justice, was published by Love Inspired Suspense in 2015. Hidden Legacy followed in 2017, and Beneath the Surface, the first book in my Dive Team Investigations series with Revell hits stores in March of 2018. The remaining books in that series will follow in November of 2018 and July of 2019. And hopefully a new series will come after that!

I write romantic suspense for a couple of reasons.

  1. I love romance. Happily ever romance where no matter how hard things have been, two hearts find each other and will cherish each other forever. I believe the reason romance is so popular is because our hearts were made for the Truest Love. No human relationship can ever compare to the eternal and all-consuming love God has for us, but I’m so glad we get to enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth with another person who has committed to stay with us no matter what.
  2. I love suspense. Not because I’m tough, but because I’m a huge chicken! In my books, I can be so much braver than I really am. I can be tough and defeat the bad guys and run into burning buildings. And my characters can wrestle with so many big questions — why God allows bad things to happen and how we can trust Him when it seems like He’s dropped the ball.

When I’m not writing, I lead a crazy busy life! I was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina and still claim the Blue Ridge Mountains as home. But I found my way to Clemson University for engineering school and married my college sweetheart, Brian, as soon as I graduated. We’ve been married for twenty years, have three children—Emma, James, and Drew—and live in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina.

Our daughter, Emma, has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome and for a lot of years I considered myself to be a “therapy” mom. Having a child with a disability rocked our world, but God was both patient and faithful as we wrestled with our new reality. Being Emma’s mom has changed me in ways I never could have imagined and many things God has taught me about himself find their way into my books. Emma is a joy and a challenge — just like any other teenage girl! She loves her school, her friends, her books, and her electronic devices.

I adore having boys. They are so loud and so fun! James is our deep thinker and sports lover. He regularly asks questions I can’t answer and can tell us football scores from three years ago. We’re pretty sure he’ll make a great lawyer or a sports commentator! Drew is our youngest. He’s our comedian and our warrior child. He keeps us laughing and keeps me praying that God will use him as a champion for truth and justice.

After the boys came along, no one was more surprised (or reluctant) than me to find that God was leading us to homeschool them. I still have no idea how that happened, but I love it and count it a privilege to have them at home with me during this season.

As a family, we’re active in our church, love to read, spend time outdoors, hang out with our extended families, workout at our CrossFit box and cheer for Clemson — Go Tigers!

Lindsey P. Brackett

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own great works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has also published articles and short stories in varying publications. In 2015, she joined Splickety Publishing Group as Editor of Web Content, and in 2017 she migrated over to Firefly Southern Fiction as a general editor. Her popular column, Just Write Life, appears bi-weekly for The Northeast Georgian and weekly in The Elberton Star.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first southern fiction novel, Still Waters, a four-star Romantic Times review being called a “brilliant debut”.

She makes her home at the foothills of Appalachia with her husband and their four rowdy children. They lose library books, brew strong coffee, and quit homeschool.

Contact her on social media or email: lindsbrac@gmail.com.

She’d much rather talk to you than wash the dishes.

Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan writes legal thrillers and legal romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. She enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, a Holt Medallion Finalist, and an FHL Reader’s Choice Award Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids – two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. She is represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.  You can find Rachel at http://www.racheldylan.com.

Susie Finkbeiner

Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the bestselling author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (Kregel, 2015), A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression, and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (Kregel, 2017).

Her next two novels will release in 2019 and 2020 with Revell Publishing.

She is also the author of My Mother’s Chamomile (WhiteFire, 2014) and Paint Chips (WhiteFire, 2013).

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.

Jody Hedlund

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.

Dani Pettrey

A consummate world traveler: Africa, South America, Australia—been there, done that.

A die-hard thrill seeker: heli-skiing, cave diving, storm kayaking—if it’s extreme, she’s there.

A bullet-dodging, high-speed-car-chasing, treasure-hunting adventurer.

An antiquities theft investigator, FBI agent, archaeologist, forensic anthropologist, and a detective who tracks down justice for a living.

Okay, not really, but her characters are. And, that’s why she loves the passion God has placed in her for telling stories.

In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, former homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, son-in-law, and 2 super adorable grandsons.

Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Jill Eileen Smith

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and the Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Catherine West

Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

 

Jaime Jo Wright

If I were to summarize my life in three words, my instinct is to say: “I love coffee”, and leave it at that. But, I realize that is rather shallow and a tad obsessive. So, summarizing who Jaime Jo Wright is can be a challenge.

I love life. I always have. God has blessed me, even in severe trials, such as the loss of three of my babies. He has never failed, never given up, never gone easy on me, and always disciplined me with a loving hand. (and trust me, when you have my personality which pushes boundaries and considers rules to be negotiable, you need discipline). Our ship was joined by a little Tinkerbell in 2009. Our CoCo has tamed the pirate exponentially better than I ever could. Peter Pan came along in 2012 and whisked me away to Neverland where we refuse to grow up and make mischief on a daily basis.