A ★★★★★ Book Review of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, a historical fiction novel.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers book review program and Thomas Nelson (a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A heartrending story of loyalty, courage and perseverance in the face of adversity.


 A ★★★★★ Book Review of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, a historical fiction novel from Thomas Nelson. 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, a historical fiction novel from Thomas Nelson. 

★★★★★ || Auschwitz Lullaby is a truly remarkable tale based on a the true story of Helene Hannemann, a German nurse who chooses family over freedom when the Nazis force her Gypsy husband and five children into encampment during WWII. As they are delivered to Auschwitz-Birkenau II, her story unfolds when she’s is torn from her husband and must fight to keep her family alive in the very place where thousands upon thousands of people died from starvation, poor living conditions, Nazi cruelty and disease. 

The author, Mario Escobar, closely follows WWII history and portrays camp life vividly, and yet, heartbreakingly well. As he wove his fictitious tale of real courageous men and women, I was pulled into life in the Gypsy camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau II. This story was very carefully crafted with captivating characters and events that keep readers intrigued from page to page.  I believe readers will want to celebrate the sense of loyalty and perseverance in the brave men, women and children of those perilous times when the Nazis sought to crush the very soul of humanity. 

As a true five star novel, I loved this book because it was rich in historical details, beautifully written and seemingly accurate. The author doesn’t sugarcoat camp life for his readers, but even in the harsh reality of circumstances, he maintains the dignity of his characters and offers bits of joy for his readers. This is a MUST READ for historical fiction readers and anyone with a particular interest in WWII or the Holocaust. It is my understanding that this book may be available in multiple languages as well for readers all over the world.


Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost. - Synopsis from Auschwitz Lullaby


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 Image courtesy of http://www.marioescobar.es/

Image courtesy of http://www.marioescobar.es/

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Learn more about Mario at http://www.marioescobar.es/. You can also follow him on Facebook or Twitter


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Auschwitz Lullaby or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 

I review for BookLook Bloggers

 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of The Solace of Water, by Elizabeth Byler Younts, a Christian Fiction Novel

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers book review program and Thomas Nelson (a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


The Solace of Water is not a book to just be read, but rather a book to be experienced. 

Have you ever read a book that was so riveting, you needed time after finishing the book just to process the depth of the words and the emotions tied up in them? I’m feeling that way after just finishing the new release, The Solace of Water, by Elizabeth Byler Younts.  For hours, my mind and heart has mulled over what I just read - the extreme depth of grief, love, friendship and the redemption that can only be found in forgiveness.


 A ★★★★★ Book Review of The Solace of Water, by Elizabeth Byler Younts, a Christian Fiction novel from Thomas Nelson. 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of The Solace of Water, by Elizabeth Byler Younts, a Christian Fiction novel from Thomas Nelson. 

★★★★★ || As I try to compose a review, I’m not even sure my words will do this novel justice. I loved everything about this book. How the characters and their thoughts jumped off the page, coming alive and coercing me to relate to them. How I felt angered over their decisions, grief over their losses and heartache over their pain. I felt the newness of life come about as forgiveness made its way into the lives of the characters, a refreshing balm for the soul. 

Words cannot describe how good this book was.  The Solace of Water is not a book to just be read, but rather a book to be experienced. 

Author Elizabeth Byler Younts wasn’t afraid to entwine hard truths or expose the realities of lies and deception. She brought life to the pages and made me, as a reader, see how we as humans make choices without fully realizing how they impact those around us.  Using a timeline when racial tension was at an all time high, she weaves a story that is just as relevant today as it was in the mid 1950’s. Friendship and love can transcend all religions, races and ways of life. 

I can’t say enough about this book, without giving too much of the story away. It is a story I would highly recommend to other adult readers. It is one that won’t soon be forgotten and quite possibly remembered for a long time to come.


In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.

After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.

Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.

With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.

Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart. - Synopsis from The Solace of Water


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 Image courtesy of https://www.elizabethbyleryounts.com/

Image courtesy of https://www.elizabethbyleryounts.com/

Elizabeth Byler Younts writes women's fiction for Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She gained a worldwide audience through her first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl and is a RITA nominated writer. She is also the author of The Promise of Sunrise series. She has consulted on Amish lifestyle and the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect for two award-winning television shows. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, two daughters, and a cockapoo named Fable.

Learn more about Elizabeth at www.elizabethbyleryounts.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Solace of Water or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A Children's Book Review of God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers by Hannah C. Hall, Illustrated by Steve Whitlow

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers book review program and Tommy Nelson, an imprint of Thomas Nelson (a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes links to purchase the book  but I do NOT receive a commission from any sales generated.


This adorable children's book is perfect for your little one's nightly routine and bedtime snuggles, helping them learn to seek God and His promises through prayer. 

Appropriate for any child aged 0-7, this precious book of sweet, little critters and soft, rhyming phrases will help your child learn to pray in a practical way about praising God, giving thanks, praying for loved ones and overcoming fears, trials and worries. Each page offers colorful illustrations and accompanying scripture featuring the promises God has made to His children. 


 God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers, a Tommy Nelson children's book written by Hannah C. Hall, illustrated by Steve Whitlow. 

God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers, a Tommy Nelson children's book written by Hannah C. Hall, illustrated by Steve Whitlow. 

★★★★★ || I truly adore the God Bless Our books and this new release is certainly no exception.  The practical way that the author teaches children to pray is both simple and sweet.  The ten little prayers can stand alone, with one read each evening or the entire book as a whole.  I loved that each prayer taught something different - praise, thanksgiving, casting your worries on Him, trusting in the midst of fear, praying for sick loved ones, repentance and even finding rest in God. This book would make a great reference point for parents to read with their children as individual circumstances arise in a child's daily life, helping them look to the Lord for comfort and peace. Throughout this book, children are encouraged to seek God with underlying messages of love, hope and trust. It is truly heartwarming and fulfilling. 

I enjoyed that each prayer had verses to support the sentiment and thought those would work well as memory verses for older children. 

The book is an excellent quality, with thick, board pages so children can enjoy the book from a young age on.  The soft, delightful illustrations are simply too precious! My daughter (aged two and a half months) loved looking at them as I read her this book!  I would highly recommend this book to other families and look forward to reading this multiple times with my little girl! 

Note: For families that do not have both parents involved in the child's life, please know this book does mention both a mother and a father.  For children raised in single parent households or for those who have another individual as a guardian, that may be a sensitive subject. 


I review for BookLook Bloggers

Lastly, pick up your own copy of God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers or borrow it from your local library.  You can also find the other God Bless Our... books available here.

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


A ★★★★ Book Review of A Daring Venture (Empire State #2) by Elizabeth Camden - A Historical Fiction Romance

*I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House at Baker Publishing Group via NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


★★★★ Book Review of A Daring Venture (Empire State #2) by Elizabeth Camden - A Historical Fiction Romance

A fascinating, suspenseful romance between two dynamic characters...

Step back in time to early 20th century America when times were changing and evolving as new science and inventions began making history. Follow the budding romance between two compelling people and lose yourself in a mystery of sabotage and intrigue.

As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city-- but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York Nicholas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team's techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, these two rivals will face higher stakes than they ever could have known.. - Synopsis from A Daring Venture


 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ Book Number 11/50  |  After reading the synopsis of this newly released book about a month ago, I was excited to begin reading it.  From the very first chapter, I was hooked! Dr. Rosalind Werner is a woman ahead of her time, making her mark in a world of scientific research that was primarily dominated by men.  Readers will love her fierce determination and bright mind.  

Nicholas Drake immediately identifies himself as a force to be reckoned with, yet readers catch a glimpse of his soft side where he adores his family and cares tenderly for his young daughter. When these two dynamic characters cross paths, the chemistry between them is quickly kindled.  As their magnetic relationship grows, so does the suspense. The characters begin making decisions that impact their relationship while colossal history is being made.  In the background, an evil force is at work, seeking to destroy this new love and the progress being made. 

This exciting story kept me interested and entertained from beginning to end.  Quite frankly, I was sad to have the book wrap up.  Author Elizabeth Camden does an excellent job of mingling history, romance and suspense all into one thrilling story!  This is the first book I've read by her and I am looking forward to reading her other titles now.  While this book is a second book in the Empire State series, it is designed to be a stand alone story and I did not feel like I'd missed anything by not reading the first book in this series.  

I enjoyed the flow of the story, the compelling way it was written, the historical significance and the empowering position Dr. Werner held as a forefront leader in her time.  The story was laden with accurate facts and included two real life characters who indeed made an incredible impact on our country at that time. I learned things I hadn't known before and truly loved that part of this book.  I appreciated the suspense and mystery that worked it's way into the story without overpowering the romance, making this a very entertaining read.

I chose four stars for this wonderful book because it is a great addition to any historical fiction lover's bookshelf. It is one I believe readers will enjoy and highly recommend to their friends! 

‘I care about you, Rosalind. We may be different on the outside, but beneath all the manners and accents and background, you and I are like a house on fire.’ ... He knew everything about her past yet still looked at her with a combination of hope, determination, and raw strength. It shot a bolt of confidence straight into her soul. They were united. They would venture forth into this uncertain and frightening future side by side, and face whatever challenges came their way together.
— Elizabeth Camden, A Daring Venture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 Image courtesy of www.elizabethcamden.com

Image courtesy of www.elizabethcamden.com

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

Learn more about Elizabeth Camden at www.elizabethcamden.com.

You can also follow her on Facebook


Lastly, pick up your own copy of A Daring Venture or borrow it from your local library.  You can also find the other books by Elizabeth Camden available here.

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


A ★★★ Book Review of A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot - A Historical Fiction Romance

*I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Revell at Baker Publishing Group via NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A sweet, historical fiction read for any age!

Cozy up with this easy read as you step into Cimarron Creek, TX and lose yourself in a story of secrets, faith, love, forgiveness and suspense. 

There is no such thing as an impossible dream . . . 

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the local doctor's treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek's dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He's managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality. - Synopsis from A Borrowed Dream


 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★ Book Number 7/50  |  A Borrowed Dream, book two in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy is a book that rather surprised me.  It is the first book I've read by author, Amanda Cabot. The story begins when Austin Goddard and his young daughter move to Cimarron Creek, harboring secrets that mean life or death.  As Austin ushers his young daughter to school, he meets the young and beautiful school teacher, Catherine, who he quickly begins falling for while he battles his need to keep his true identity secret and keep his daughter safe.  Catherine finds herself wrapped up in her own secrets and trials as she walks through life with a mistrust for the town's current doctor, meets and takes in a stranger, and cares for her schoolchildren.  The story is one of new love, secrets, forgiveness, tragedy and even mild suspense.  

In beginning this book, I immediately saw the connection to the first book in the series, which I have not yet read.  At times, I did feel like I had missed something, especially when it came to understanding some of the characters and their history, but this book does focus on a story that is completely separate from book one. Without giving too much away, the love story is sweet as we see a relationship form out of friendship and respect.  There are fairly exciting twists and turns that keep readers interested and turning the pages to find out what happens next. There's even an evil villain... The story moves quickly, is sweet, touching, predictable, clean and has the perfect happy ending, just as you'd expect. 

A Borrowed Dream has similarities to Janette Oke's "Love Comes" series so if you're a fan of hers, you will really enjoy Amanda Cabot as well.  Because the story does touch on subjects like murder and rape, I would ask parents of young adult readers (ages 11-13) to consider the reader's maturity level but I do feel the book was well suited for teenage girls 14+.  My reason for this rating is simply a matter of personal opinion.  The book was good and I liked it. You may like it much more than I did.  I desired a deeper storyline, while this one merely skimmed the surface. Several tragedies happen and I felt the author only lightly touched on what would have been a deep impact for such a small, close knit community.  The predictability was another factor that I wrestled with, unfortunately knowing exactly how the book would end. The outcome of too many events felt so convenient and obvious for the storyline. However, amidst my desires for something deeper, I still found myself turning the pages as the story moved along, held my interest and had various climactic elements. When all was said and done, I found myself wanting to read more by this author in this series and I think you will too!  Again, if you're looking for a cozy, historical fiction read with engaging elements, this is the book for you! 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of A Stolen Heart, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com. You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter


Lastly, pick up your own copy of A Borrowed Dream or borrow it from your local library.  You can also find the other books by Amanda Cabot available here.

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


A ★★★ Book Review of The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere - A Historical Fiction Novel

Spring blossoms are bursting forth around here and I have a brand new release from Bethany House Publishers to share with you today! The Heart's Appeal, by Jennifer Delamere was just released this month.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


An attractive tale of two purposeful young people who's lives become intertwined in love. 

Steal away to Victorian England with this romance novel that attributes to a time when the world was changing and new, exciting things were happening in the world for both women and men. 

London, 1881 | He Never Expected to See Her Again. Then She Appeared with a Most Unexpected Request. . . .

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor--a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It's only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women's medical school. He's supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he's made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome? - Synopsis from The Heart's Appeal


 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★ Book Number 6/50  | The late 1800's were an exciting time for our world with new innovations and breakout ideology.  Perhaps, more important though was the movement that was underway for women and their rights to pursue equality in a predominantly man's world.  This likable romance weaves the lives of Julia Bernay, a young nurse who intends on becoming a missionary doctor and Michael Stephenson, an established barrister in ways they never imagined.   

The Heart's Appeal is a moderate read with well researched medical and law terms that are easy to understand.  Readers will feel themselves step into Victorian England and get caught up with these two young people as they embark on a journey of love.  Readers will also enjoy learning bits and pieces about George Muller and Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, two real people who made a significant impact on society in their time. 

I loved Julia's tenacity and determination. Her faith was beautiful and was what made me, as a reader, feel an instant connection with her as a character. She has a beautiful conviction to make a difference in the world while making her own way, with God's help, of course.  I also enjoyed Edith Morton, who among others in the story, helps stand up for women's rights and strives for the equality of her profession among men.  If it wasn't for celebrated women like these, our society wouldn't be as advanced as it is today when it comes to women's right and a right to choose and excel in their own profession.  

Michael Stephenson is a charming character who at first, I believe, wasn't sure of his own convictions in life.  As the book moves along though, readers experience the softening of his heart and his desire to make a difference in the world as well, which is a direct result of his budding love for this beautiful young woman. Their romance, as it grows, is touching and quite tender. 

While this book is clearly a part of a series, it read well as a standalone. In fact, after finishing it, I'm looking forward to reading the first book, The Captain's Daughter, and the book that is to follow. 

In my opinion, this appealing book is a solid three stars and I believe that other historic fiction readers will like it as well.  My fondness for the story is because of it's historical aspect and the significance of the women's movement. The story flowed well, held my interest and had points of intrigue and excitement. In my opinion, I would have loved it more if the author had dealt less with the libel case and more with the struggles women faced entering the medical field. I would also have loved if Julia had been more actively involved in ministering right there in London, while I enjoyed the bit that she did.  However, this was the first book I've read by Jennifer Delamere and so, I am looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer, especially in this series. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.. Visit her at http://www.jenniferdelamere.com or follow her on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Heart's Appeal or borrow it from your local library.  

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


A ★★★★★ Book Review of A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green -A Historical Fiction Novel

How fast this year is moving! In case you missed it, my husband and I had some really exciting news we shared earlier this month so my days have suddenly become busy and filled with lots of preparation and paperwork. Amidst the crazy excitement though, I have scheduled in some time during the wee hours of the morning to practice my current favorite method of self care: reading. I'm curious, what are some ways YOU practice self care?

I was recently given a wonderful opportunity by Bethany House Publishers to gain a copy of the newly released novel, A Refuge Assured, by Jocelyn Green. Friends, I couldn't put it down!

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


Captivating & Suspenseful... A detailed look at French émigré life in America after the Revolutionary War.

This beautiful story weaves the lives of strong, engaging characters in an exciting series of events while offering a storyline rich in historic details that is sure to delight any historical fiction enthusiast.

Fleeing One Revolution to the Aftermath of Another, She Seeks and Dreams of Peace

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.  -  Synopsis from A Refuge Assured


 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★★ Book Number 3/50  | War, suspense, mystery, determination, faith and romance... From the gorgeous cover to the heartwarming ending, this story is sure to win the hearts of its readers. Early on in this captivating novel, the author, Jocelyn Green, introduces readers to French émigré, Vivienne Rivard,  who must flee her beloved home in France to save her own life. Vivienne faces the heartbreaking loss of her dear aunt and learns the details of her estranged mother's questionable past, while living life in a country ravaged by the horrors of the French Revolution.  We follow her journey overseas to America, where readers meet Liam Delaney, a former militiaman in the American Revolution just years prior.  Throughout the early storyline, additional, supportive characters enter and lay the foundation for exciting plot twists which add a sense of mystery to the novel. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of this book as well as the suspense that builds from the events taking place throughout the story. The author depicts an accurate peek into the gut-wrenching perils of the French Revolution, portrays early American life beautifully and details major historical events such as the Whiskey Rebellion while bringing historical figures like Alexander Hamilton and Monsieur Omer Talon to life. In addition, the author sets forth the story in intricate details which delights reader's imaginations and brings vivid color to the sights and smells of the era.

When Vivienne finds herself as a sudden guardian of a young boy, mystery surrounds the lad who could possibly be Louis-Charles, the heir to the French throne. Readers will get a glimpse into this boy's life and his story as he and Vivienne must once again flee their home to protect their very lives.  Finding refuge in a place called French Azilum, a historically accurate place in Pennsylvania, they find their lives even more intertwined with Liam Delaney and other important characters.  

Vivienne, who never knew the love of her own mother, finds herself shepherding this young boy through life, providing for him, caring for him and nurturing him as she struggles to make her own way in life. She discovers the value of family and opens her heart to forgiveness along the way. It is her admirable determination and grit that I loved most about her. 

Liam, who's noble character has readers falling in love with him from the start, makes his way through the story fighting moral battles and upholding what he believes to be right. As he quickly falls for the beautiful Vivienne, readers find a hint of romance that later becomes a beautiful love between two strong and independent people. 

The end of the story wraps up with an exciting, climactic turn of events and a heartwarming ending.  I don't want to give too much away in the details but suffice it to say, the ending will not disappoint.  I truly believe historical fiction readers will love this book as much as I did. It is indeed a five star book, in my opinion. 

The birds were free to wing over land and sea, yet they came home to roost at the edge of the country she could no longer call home. Vivienne had come unmoored. Adrift, in more ways than one.
— Jocelyn Green, A Refuge Assured

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of A Refuge Assured or borrow it from your local library.  

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


A ★★★ Book Review of Out of the Ashes (Heart of Alaska #2) by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Hello sweet friends and readers! I know I've been MIA around here since last November... Unfortunately, my husband and I experienced a tragic event in our lives over the holiday season and as a result, I had to have an emergency life saving surgery. I am now six weeks post surgery and feeling mostly recovered as our lives begin to return to our new normal. For me, the new year snuck in quietly while I was focused on other things, but I do hope that you are having a wonderful, productive start to the new year!

Soon, I hope to be back here sharing about some of my goals (or dare I say, lack of goals) for 2018. In the meantime, however, I want to share some thoughts on a heartwarming, newly released book I received from Bethany House Publishers!  This touching story weaves the tale of two people battling different struggles and how God uses those struggles to bring their hearts to Him and then to each other.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

" Can the Majesty of Alaska Foster Hope and Healing for Those Who Need it Most? After the death of their father, Collette and Jean-Michel Langelier are no longer tied to post-war France. While his sister dreams of adventure, Jean-Michel is hoping to finally escape reminders of the horrors he faced in the Great Syrian Revolt of 1925. When an unexpected invitation for them to visit Alaska and the Curry Hotel arrives, it seems the perfect opportunity.

Young widow Katherine Demarchis is also traveling to the foot of Mt. Denali with her grandmother--a last trip before she retreats into a quiet and solitary life, finally free of the dangerous husband she was forced to marry. Yet when she encounters there a Frenchman from her past, her plans for the future are thrown into question.

Both haunted by the violence of their pasts, can Katherine and Jean-Michel rediscover the bond they once had? Or, when Jean-Michel's nightmares return with terrifying consequences, will it be impossible to heal what's been broken for so long?   -  Synopsis from Out of the Ashes


 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★ Book Number 2/50  |  This tender story is sure to melt your heart!  When I first received this book, I was immediately drawn to the cover. It's visually appealing for anyone who loves historical fiction and makes you want to dive right in! As this story begins, you'll learn about the two main characters, Katherine and Jean-Michel - two people who loved each other but were torn apart. As their lives moved on without each other, their hearts are scarred by battles they each endured separately as the result of the paths their lives take.  When Katherine's grandmother becomes involved, the two former lovers are given the opportunity to reconnect and reunite their love from years ago.

I enjoyed the story line and felt both Jean-Michel and Katherine were genuine, endearing characters.  They were easy to relate to and their separate journeys in understanding themselves, finding their faith and rekindling a long lost love was so touching.  Throughout the book, the authors do a wonderful job of setting forth the plan of salvation as we get to watch the main characters discover their faith and turn to God to deliver them from their past. In addition, there's sustenance developed for their faith as they find mentors in their friends and loved ones who explain the Scriptures to them and help them grow in their new faith.  For that, I loved this book!

While Out of the Ashes is clearly the second book in the Heart of Alaska series, I didn't feel like I'd lost anything by not having read book one, In the Shadow of Denali, first or even at all.  Out of the Ashes continues the story of Cassidy, Allan, and the Curry Hotel staff from book one, but works well as a stand alone novel. Readers also get to learn about some minor characters such as Colette, Jean-Michel's sister, and Thomas and Mrs. Johnson, two of the hotel staff.  While I did find Colette a little too immature to be believable, I felt these characters added merit to the story.

The book opens with all the interesting details readers need to know about the main characters' backgrounds and lays the groundwork for the story. Roughly halfway through, readers might find themselves anxious to skip ahead as there's a bit of a lull in the drama. But keep reading because 3/4 of the way through the story, just as Katherine and Jean-Michel reconnect on a deeper level, an influenza epidemic becomes a very serious concern for the little town.  Then, as you would expect, this novel will wrap up quickly and neatly, with the warm-gooey ending you anticipated in the beginning.

I gave this book three stars because I enjoyed the history that I learned in the book and the journey of personal faith for Katherine and Jean-Michel.  The two things that kept me from giving Out of the Ashes a higher review was that, for me, the novel had too many perspectives on the story.  While I enjoyed learning about the other characters that made up the Curry Hotel staff, I found myself feeling like the novel jumped between different characters' points of view too often and left me wanting more from one character's point of view.  As a result of that rapid shift in perspective, I felt that things moved too quickly and that I missed out on the details and depth the story could have held.  I believe, however, that the reason for multiple perspectives is because this book IS a part of a series and the authors wish the readers to be able to connect with all the lovely staff of the Curry Hotel in order to enjoy the series as a whole. I am certain that we will find in the book to follow that the lives of these dear characters continue. Secondly, the novel uses the influenza epidemic as a crisis point in the story, but then downplays the reality of it later, with all the characters miraculously getting well but not attending the six funerals of those who passed. I found that hard to fathom in such a close knit little community. Also, little is mentioned of the outcome for the four people who contracted the disease while camped outside of town during the quarantine. At that point in the story, things move quickly and wrap up with a predictable ending.  Overall, though, this book is truly heartwarming if readers focus on the journey that Katherine and Jean-Michel embark on.  By the end of the story, readers have fallen in love with these characters, the Curry Hotel staff and will find themselves wanting to pick up other books in this series.

One beautiful thing came out of the torment of the last few years. She was redeemed. And that changed her life forever. No matter what, she couldn’t allow herself to listen to the lies of the enemy any longer.
— Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse, Out of the Ashes

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: 

If you would like to learn more about authors, Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse, you visit Tracie's website here and find Kimberely's website here.  Also, be sure and check out the first book in the Heart of Alaska series, In the Shadow of Denali.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Out of the Ashes on Amazon or borrow it from your local library.  

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


A ★★★★  Book Review of The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

I am so excited to share with you today about a brand new release from Bethany House Publishers!  This sweet novel shares a beautiful story of two young people who begin to seek God's will for their lives and futures, while falling in love and learning the value of family, friendships and faith. 

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Book Look(s) | A Book Review of The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

"In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water,  In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through. Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother's life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward's life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more--maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she's never even met someone who's lived there--until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father's timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd's and Larkin's dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together--or maybe, it will take a miracle."   -  Synopsis from the Sound of Rain


 Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ Book Number 47/50  |  This lovely book is near and dear to my heart for many reasons.  First, I live in the Appalachian mountains and have vacationed in Myrtle Beach so I easily identified with the characters and the locations set in this story.  In addition, I have experienced several hurricanes and their aftermath firsthand during my years growing up.  The Sound of Rain beautifully ties tragedy, young love and personal growth together in a sweetly woven story that takes place between the mountains, the ocean and the hearts of two yearning people. 

I loved the easy flow of this story... It was soft and touching with many author-induced smiles along the way, especially when referencing the humidity of South Carolina versus the cooler air of the mountains.  I appreciated how Judd wanted to carry on his deceased younger brother's memory while courageously embarking on a new path and welcoming change.  The author created a character whom we can all fall in love with as a man of integrity, grit and perhaps even a quiet passion.  As for Larkin, I enjoyed seeing her pursue the repairing of a relationship between her family members. In her pursuit, she becomes the main tie in connecting her family and helping them grow back together.  The author beautifully portrayed Larkin as a delightful caring, willing spirit who should be an inspiration to us all.

Amidst all the glory of this tender story, a massive hurricane and quite possibly one of the largest of it's decade, makes landfall in the heart of this book.  While I do believe the author accurately described the historic details of the storm, I wondered where the fear of such an intense storm was. Oftentimes, witnessing howling winds shake the very walls of your home while weathering a category 4 storm is quite unbelievable. The aftermath of such is a state of disarray; so much so that life doesn't easily resume, especially without power, aid from neighbors and the accessibility to roads, food and stores.  I am certain, however, that the author merely included this historic storm as a way to draw her characters together and give them a deeper connection while using the event as a bridge for the rest of the book's plot, rather than as a show stopping experience like this hurricane most likely was for life at that time. 

As the story continues to unfold after the storm, readers begin to soul search along with the characters and learn that God has a way of honoring our dreams and changing our hearts to see His dream for our lives.  That was, perhaps, my favorite part of this book and a beautiful thought to absorb. 

For readers who enjoy historic fiction and the 1950's era particularly, I know you'll love this book! You'll not only fall in love the characters, but you'll find yourself enjoying a look back in time at coal mining, beach trips to the oceanfront and a well-researched peek into timbering the land and the U.S. Forestry division. 

I gave this story four stars because I eagerly looked forward to every moment I could spend in this book and it truly was a heartwarming story with a beautiful, underlying message. The book was so well written and it flowed naturally, and easily. In addition, I just have to add that the cover with it's gold foiled raindrops, is simply stunning! 

...as much as he wished he could go back and take Joe’s place, he couldn’t. But there was a sweet girl with laughter in her eyes who just might give him a good reason to go on living for as long as he could.
— Sarah Loudin Thomas, The Sound of Rain

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

If you would like to learn more about author, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and her wonderful books, visit her website at www.sarahloudinthomas.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Sound of Rain on Amazon or borrow it from your local library.  

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


Introducing Fall Magic by Paislee Press | 9x12 Digital Pocket Scrapbook Page

Hello my friends and Happy-Almost-Thanksgiving! I can't believe we are just a few days away from one of the biggest holidays of the year! I have desserts to bake for an evening at family's house and all the craziness of a short work week.  In the meantime, I'm here to share a beautiful new layout I've created using the incredible Fall Magic collection from Paislee Press.  This lovely collections features papers, elements and journal cards

Like the Autumn Vibes collection, this set has rich colors, more autumn themed elements and magnificent patterns.  

Introducing Fall Magic by Paislee Press | 9x12 Digital Pocket Scrapbook Page