Monday, March 30, 2020

Book Review: Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander's kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.

Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.

When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam's thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he's come to love?

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

My Review

Like Flames in the Night, the fourth book of the Cities of Refuge series, is one that I can't recommend highly enough!  It was a wonderful book from beginning to end!  

Anyone can pick up this book and be enthralled by it, but after having read the previous books by Cossette, it was especially moving.  Throughout the story, the reader was lovingly reminded of the previous characters and story lines, and how they all fit together.  And in that, there was a continual theme of God's presence, provision, and direction for His people.  

This exciting story brings to life the biblical time in which Othniel was the judge of Israel.  Those faithful to God were called to rise up against their enemies, and how this played out for Tirzah and Liyam was amazing!  I finished reading the main thrust of the book, where the conflict was resolved, and realized that I was only halfway through the story!  I was satisfied, but there was so much more yet to come!

I highly, highly recommend this book to those who read Biblical fiction.  To those who have read Cossette's work before, you won't want to miss this one!  Anyone new to Biblical fiction will find out how amazing this genre is, in the hands of a capable author.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Book Review: The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship still wearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately has suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy and is held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker and has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need--a starving girl abandoned by her tribe. Intent on helping the girl, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?

This book is available here.

My Review

The Runaway Bride is a great historical romance that readers will enjoy.  It is rich in local history, and has characters of depth.

The historic elements are of bride ships, which brought young women from England to the Canadian frontier, and of the treatment of native peoples in that area in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

Arabella Lawrence is a young woman who escapes what would be an abusive marriage.  As a member of London society, she sought a gentleman husband to provide well for her.  Throughout the story, she struggled with the desire to marry well versus the desire to marry for love.  Living on the frontier was a challenging experience for her as she had to learn to do for herself and others, rather than being dependent on servants to take care of her.

Pete Kelly is no longer rebellious, but is now an industrious, hard-working young man.  His desire to do right and see the natives treated justly lands him in trouble the the navy lieutenant.  Both Arabella and Pete had much to struggle through in light of their growing relationship.

As well as presenting another well-researched historical, author Jody Hedlund demonstrates her ability to capture the passion between the two characters.  Although she always keeps it clean, the attraction between Arabella and Pete was palpable . . .  even steamy!

Historical romance readers will certainly want to read this book.  Although it is second in The Bride Ships series, it stands entirely on its own.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

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.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Book Highlight with a Giveaway: Byrd's Eye View by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book: Bird’s Eye View
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Fiction / Christian / Historical / Mystery
Release Date: April 15, 2020

If everything looks so perfect, how does she know it’s all wrong?

Madeline just wanted to learn to develop her own pictures. It seemed an innocent enough pastime until she sees something in the developer’s tray that piques her meddlesome curiosity.

Now she’s on the hunt for clues to spare a man’s life, and she might just land her father in hot political waters while she’s at it.

The fifth book in the Meddlin’ Madeline Series, Byrd’s Eye View sees Madeline back at home in Rockland and determined to stay out of trouble, although that’s not likely to happen, is it?

Click here to pre-order your copy!

My Review

I was given an e-ARC of the first five (unedited) chapters of this book.  It was so good to read about Madeline again, just like connecting with an old friend.  This book picks up where the last one left off, so there is a lot of extra tension between the characters.  I can't wait to read the rest of the book and find out how that is resolved.  Havig writes this novel in a way that someone new to the series could pick it up and enjoy it, so go ahead and preorder now, while it is on sale!

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

It’s Like This Book Didn’t Want to Be!

It’s an hour and a half from my mother’s old house in Missouri to the Springfield airport—a perfect distance for plotting out a book. So, when I had to drive back to swap out rental cars, I decided to work on the early 2020 books. Up first… Madeline #5.

Often when I’m plotting out a new book, the first few minutes are kind of jumbled messes as I consider this plot point or that and get into a work flow, and that day was no exception. However, by the time I hit the interstate again, I’d done it. Madeline would learn how to develop pictures in this one. The plot would revolve around that new skill.

By the time I hit Noel, I’d really come up with a cool book idea. I was so excited. You have no idea. Then, as I passed Noel on my way to the hospital in Gravette, Arkansas, I stopped on the side of the road so I cold turn off the voice recorder and start working on another book.

The recorder was off. All my “brilliant ideas” were gone.

Sometimes, I wish I was a crier. It would have been appropriate right there. Just sayin’.

Determined to record the ideas all over again before I forgot them, I started the first few things, watching the recorder bars rise and fall with the inflection of my voice. It worked great.

The only problem was I couldn’t remember anything I’d come up with. Photography. That was it.

That’s when I called my friend and wailed.

Look, it had been a hard couple of weeks, a rough day, and now this. But, complaining about it offered enough catharsis that by the time I went back to Springfield the next week, I was able to record most of it again. Some of it was actually better.

Little hint: it usually is the second or third round of ideas.

By the time I’d finished, I knew what happened and what havoc it would cause, but not to whom or why. Enter Clark.

You know, the guy who made me split the first book into two separate books (you can read about that HERE), and the guy who tried to make things get really gruesome in book four (you can read about that HERE—halfway down the pageish—and be assured that I didn’t do it).

So, just as I was getting into Byrd’s Eye View, Clark and I met up at Denny’s to figure out how to make all the elements I had work.

My one issue became another one. Why became totally different from anything I’d considered. Who became a great reason for it to make things tough on Madeline’s father, and a previous thing I’d thought was a bit excessive became more so… and more believable at the same time. How cool is that?

There was still one problem, though.

I wasn’t done with the book I needed to finish before I could immerse myself in this one.

And this book needed to be done yesterday.

Look, I had actually considered not doing this book until later in the year. For a few minutes, I wished that I had. But Madeline always comes out in February/March and I’d kind of like to keep it that way. So…

Despite losing my notes, having plotter’s block, having Clark upset everything I’d planned and making it better… again. It’s here. And I think it’s my favorite one yet. Who am I kidding? Of course it is!

Blog Stops

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of all five paperbacks in the Meddlin’ Madeline Series!!

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

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Book Review: One Little Lie by Colleen Coble

About the Book

Book: One Little Lie
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 3, 2020

It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth in this gripping new romantic suspense.

Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama, after her father retires, but there’s no time for an adjustment period. When her father is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, Jane quickly realizes she’s facing someone out to destroy the only family she has.

After escaping with her father from a cult fifteen years ago, Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Dixon is well-known for his documentaries, and his latest project involves covering Jane’s career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid’s calm manner as he follows her around filming, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross—especially once her father’s lie catches up with him.

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

This book was action-packed, and full of layers to discover.  The action kept me turning pages, and trying to figure out who was committing the crimes.  

I was amazed at how newly-appointed police chief Jane Hardy was able to keep level-headed with everything that was going on.  Throughout the book, I could see growth and stability in her character.

I also appreciated the way that different characters dealt with the trauma that occurred during their childhoods, and how they were still in process, even fifteen years later.  Lack of honesty and anger can hurt people for a long time.

What I loved about this book is that the story line will continue in the next book of the series.  Although the mystery was solved, there is still so much story left for Jane, Reid, Will, Charles, Olivia, and the other characters in Pelican Harbor.

Readers who love mystery and suspense or police and crime drama will surely want to read this book, and those following.  I highly recommend it!

I received and ARC of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. You can visit her website at

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, March 10
Life of Literature, March 10
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10
Texas Book-aholic, March 10
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 11
The Avid Reader, March 11
Lighthouse Academy, March 11
By The Book, March 12
Older & Smarter?, March 12
Through the Fire Blogs, March 12
Remembrancy, March 12
Betti Mace, March 13
April Hayman, Author, March 13
Emily Yager, March 13
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 14
Bigreadersite, March 14
deb’s Book Review, March 14
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 15
Inklings and notions, March 15
CarpeDiem, March 15
Christian Bookaholic, March 15
Just the Write Escape, March 16
For Him and My Family, March 16
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16
Robin’s Nest, March 17
All-of-a-kind Mom, March 17
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 17
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 17
Stories By Gina, March 18
Janicesbookreviews, March 18
Mary Hake, March 18
Empowermoms, March 18
For the Love of Literature, March 19
Blossoms and Blessings, March 19
Because I said so – and other adventures in Parenting, March 19
Hallie Reads, March 19
A Baker’s Perspective, March 20
Quiet Quilter, March 20
Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Splashes of Joy, March 21
Moments, March 21
amandainpa, March 21
Locks, Hooks and Books, March 21
Pause for Tales, March 22
Britt Reads Fiction, March 22
Spoken from the Heart, March 22
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 22
To Everything There is a Season, March 23
Life love writing, March 23
Daysong Reflections, March 23
Lights in a Dark World, March 23

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Book Review: The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason

About the Book

Quinten Aspinall is determined to fulfill a promise he made to his deceased father to keep his family together. To do so, he must travel to Canada to find his younger siblings, who were sent there as indentured workers while Quinn was away at war. He is also solicited by his employer to look for the man's niece who ran off with a Canadian soldier. If Quinn can bring Julia back, he will receive his own tenant farm, enabling him to provide a home for his ailing mother and siblings.

Julia Holloway's decision to come to Toronto has been met with disaster. When her uncle's employee rescues her from a bad situation, she fears she can never repay Quinn's kindness. So when he asks her to help find his sister, she agrees. Soon after, however, Julia receives some devastating news that changes everything.

Torn between reuniting his family and protecting Julia, will Quinn have to sacrifice his chance at happiness to finally keep his promise?

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

The Brightest of Dreams was a a satisfying conclusion to the Canadian Crossings series by Susan Anne Mason.  With cameos by characters from previous novels, and a sweet double-romance, this is a book that romance readers will love!

Quinten Aspinell was an honorable man, doing his best to find his family and Julia.  He was protective of each of those under his care.  Julia Holloway was industrious and very independent, but she learned to be comfortable with asking for help when she needed it.  I enjoyed getting to know these characters as their relationship with each other grew, and as they found what was in their hearts for each other.  It was beautiful to see how they showed honor and love to each other.

There was much to keep the plot moving in this book, with sub-plots providing added interest.

The plot of this book closely mirrored that of Carrie Turansky's No Ocean Too Wide, which the author acknowledges.  There were shared characters, places , and situations, which confirms the historical accuracy of both books.  

Historical romance fans will certainly enjoy this novel, especially to discover more about Canadian historical events.

I received a copy of this book from the author, through the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Susan lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she works part-time as a church secretary. She is a wife and the mother of two amazing kids, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In addition to writing, she likes to scrapbook and to research her family history on-line. You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website