The Kissing Tree Novella Collection

I am excited to share with you all today the newest novella collection from Bethany House featuring a wonderful group of authors–Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes and Nicole Deese. Novellas tend to release this time of year and it’s no wonder why. Time seems to speed up just before Halloween and doesn’t stop until after the New Year.

It can be difficult to fit in your regular reading while your passing our candy on Halloween, wrapping Christmas presents and buying sparklers to celebrate the beginning of 2021. But that’s the magic of novellas! They are much shorter than a full length novel but still packed with all the humor, romance, inspiration and action of your favorite books.

And I am not one to pick favorites, but The Kissing Tree is my new favorite novella collection. The idea of following the legendary tree through generations was such a charming idea, and having all these lovely ladies supply the stories of the tree’s past and present is just perfection.

Keep reading to find my review of all four novellas and find a purchase link to get your copy. (Hint-this would be a great Christmas present!)

More About The Kissing Tree:

In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.  

Regina Jennings – “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts”
When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer – “Inn for a Surprise”
Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise. 

Amanda Dykes – “From Roots to Sky”
WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese – “Heartwood”Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?

Here’s where you can get your copy.

My Thoughts:

I have always enjoyed novellas. I love their faster-moving timelines and the swift satisfaction that comes with a shorter story. But it’s not often I love all the stories within a novella collection equally. But with the four lovely novellas in The Kissing Tree, it would be impossible for me to choose a favorite!

“Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts” by Regina Jennings was a sweet and playful start to the tradition of The Kissing Tree. I enjoyed the agricultural setting of the story and the close-up look at the innovation of the threshing machine. And the complicated history between Bella and Adam brought them together in a unique and often laugh-out-loud way. And I always love a hero who brings out the best in his girl. This is a perfect introduction to Oak Springs! 

“Inn for a Surprise” by Karen Witemeyer was a charming story all about romance–in the way of cherub wallpaper, bright pink paint, and an inn designed for couples in love. The Kissing Tree Inn is the whimsical dream of Phoebe Woodward, to create a romantic getaway centered around the tradition of the Kissing Tree. But all of her pink, frilly, and cupid covered decor comes into question by Barnabas Ackerly and his knack for business. I loved this couple. They are opposites, yet they suited each other well. Even when they were sparing verbally, they were kind and respectful to each other, and the development of their relationship from strictly business to possibly more kept a smile on my face the entire time. You will enjoy your visit to Inn of Smooching Shrubbery, as Barnabas would call it!

“From Roots to Sky” by Amanda Dykes took a more serious turn in the novella collection, but I loved the story just the same. It follows Luke Hampstead on his journey back to civilian life after serving as an airman in WWII. He had exchanged letters with his buddy’s sister, Hannah, after his friend was killed in action and wanted to meet her in person. Hannah and Luke’s story is rich in pain and grief as much as it is in hope and love. I loved the cottage they worked on together that incorporated sketches Hannah had received from her brother and Luke during the war. It was just as quirky and unique as Hannah herself. This is a beautiful story of healing and finding a sense of normalcy after a tragedy.

“Heartwood” by Nicole Deese is the contemporary novella in the collection, and despite being a (mostly) historical fiction fan–I LOVED this story. Abby and Griff have a second chance at romance, but grief, fear, and regrets from their last conversation continue to keep them apart. But when they are forced to work together to save The Kissing Tree from being destroyed, the reasons they loved each other resurface. Abby and Griff’s story also deals with deep-rooted grief, but Abby’s journey is touching and will make you reach for a tissue a time or two. Heartwood was the perfect conclusion to the novella collection, which was a wonderful representation of many forms of love.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The Light at Wyndcliff

There is something about a good mystery that pairs well the brisk, blanket-worthy air of fall. And the darker themes of the Regency-era, gothic type mysteries are even more perfect. The Light at Wyndcliff by Sarah E. Ladd is the perfect choice for your plaid throw, apple cider reading session.

Keep reading to find our more about the book, a purchase link and my full review!

About the Book:

In the small Cornish village of Pevlyn, secrets are as treacherous as the rocky English shores.

Cornwall, England, 1820

Raised on the sprawling and rugged Wyndcliff Estate near the dangerous coast of South Cornwall, Evelyn Bray lives with her grandfather, a once-wealthy man now reduced to the post of steward. Evelyn is still grieving her father’s death and her mother’s abandonment when a passing ship is dashed against the rocks.

Isn’t this gorgeous? I can’t get enough of Cornwall!

Liam Twethewey is a mere two and twenty when he inherits Wyndcliff Estate from his great uncle. His optimistic plans of opening a china clay pit to employ the estate’s tenants meets unexpected resistance, and rumors of smuggling and illegal activity challenge his newfound authority.

Brought together by troubling questions surrounding the shipwreck, Evelyn and Liam uncover even darker mysteries shrouding the estate. But as they untangle truth from deception, their loyalties separate them—and their budding love might not be strong enough to overcome the distance.

This latest Regency romance from Sarah E. Ladd evokes the captivating worlds and delicious dramas of Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier, and Winston Graham.

Purchase your copy here.

My Thoughts:

The Light at Wyndcliff is book three in The Cornwall Novels series by Sarah E. Ladd. I must say after reading this book and the second in the series, The Thief of Lanwyn Manor, I have a fondness for Cornwall, its coastal beauty, and its open, gloomy moors. The setting of this novel played perfectly into the mysterious and ominous feel of the story and will leave you longing for a visit of your own.

I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the coastal property of Wyndcliff. The dangerous cove, suspicious lights, and heartbreaking shipwrecks made for a page-turning adventure. Danger, it seemed, loomed closer and closer with each twist in the plot. It drew me in completely until the very end.

Evelyn Bray is a complicated creature. I admired her bravery and kind heart, and I could truly feel the pain and anguish caused by the strained relationships with her family. I found her growth through her journey inspirational and encouraging. She is a lady in her heart even if not in her title.

Liam Twethewey is an honorable and ambitious man. His quest to improve his land and the lives of the people who lived there was noble, and I loved his steadfastness in keeping his honor above all else.

The romance in The Light at Wyndcliff is gentle and sweet. And while it may not be at the forefront of the story at all times, it still has an important impact. I loved the respect and admiration between Evelyn and Liam. So sweet!

I would recommend The Light at Wyndcliff to anyone who enjoys Regency-era romance–especially if you like the mystery/gothic feel to your Regency stories.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

I hope you are enjoying your fall TBR as much as I am. What are some of the fall releases you are looking forward to reading the most?

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

Light in the Mountain Sky and a Giveaway

The Third Installment in the Call of the Rockies series is here! I’ve been looking forward to getting to know Meksem since reading the last book in the series. If you are looking for a little adventure or an exciting escape from reality, then Light in the Mountain Sky is sure to fit the bill!

Keep reading to find out more about the book, learn more about the camas root eaten by Nez Pearce people, and find out how to enter the giveaway!

About the Author

Book:  Light in the Mountain Sky

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 29, 2020

Light in the Mountain Sky (1)

This epic journey may seal her fate forever.

Determined to prove her worth, Meksem fiercely fought to earn her place among the warriors in her Nez Perce camp. When her half-sister is captured by an enemy tribe, she refuses to trust the rescue to anyone else. But her new friends insist on joining her mission, and she battles between relief and frustration at their presence. Especially the white man who peers at her as if he can see through the face of the warrior she struggles so hard to maintain.

Spaniard Adam Vargas thrives on adventure wherever his travels take him. He’s fallen in love with this Rocky Mountain wilderness, as well as the spotted horses the Nez Perce tribe raise. His fascination with this Indian maiden-turned-warrior catches him off guard though, including the way she seems to be fighting for more than her sister’s safe return.

The journey proves more perilous than any of the group expects, and the secret Meksem hides becomes impossible to conceal. If they live through this mission, the life they knew will never be the same again.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and intense adventure.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Light in the Mountain Sky by Misty M. Beller is the third book in the Call of the Rockies series. I have read the entire series, and have enjoyed each new adventure. After reading Hope in the Mountain River, I was intrigued by Meksem, a woman warrior of the Nez Perce people. Most of the time, she appeared stiff, stern, and unapproachable. But I knew there had to be more to her and her story. So, I was thrilled when I saw the third novel was Meksem and Adam’s story!

Every time I pick up a Misty M. Beller book, I know adventure awaits within its pages, and Meksem’s story delivered by featuring an epic and harrowing journey through the snow-filled Rocky Mountains in search of a raiding Blackfoot party and their hostages. As usual, the setting painted by the author is majestic, realistic, and breathtaking. You could feel the cold in your bones as you traveled with Meksem, Adam, and the rest of the gang.

I loved getting into Meksem’s head and learning more about her, especially her younger years. It was fun to watch her heart soften from Adam’s kindness and attention, and I loved how Adam was the one who could always see past her warrior mask. Adam was her safe place where she could be herself without any repercussions, and I loved that part of their relationship.

Adam is an adventure-seeking, horse-loving hero, and the scenes with him and Tesoro, his spotted gelding, were quite entertaining. He is a bit of an odd mixture between gentleness and spontaneity, but it works for him–and makes him a perfect match for Meksem.

I really enjoyed the journey in this book–both across the wilderness and through the hearts of Meksem and Adam. I highly recommend this series and this book for any lover of inspirational historical fiction. Light in the Mountain Sky is an excellent adventure and a wonderful distraction from everyday life.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.   

About the Author

Misty M. Beller photo (1)

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

More from Misty

Early Nez Perce Business Women

As I’ve been researching for my current Call of the Rockies series, I’ve had the pleasure of diving deep into the culture of the Nez Perce tribe. I found it interesting that one of the primary food sources of The People (as they called themselves) was camas roots.

But what really drew my notice was how the women would cultivate entire fields of camas root, store what they needed for their family through the winter, then use the extras for bartering. Some savvy women would become quite wealthy from their business dealings!

The bulbs of the camas plant are full of calories and nutrients, and each fall, Nez Perce families would travel to their particular camas meadow (a section of land whose camas rights had probably been passed down from generation to generation within their family). Many of these meadows were located near present-day Weippe, Moscow or Grangeville, where the onion-shaped bulbs grew thickly.

Women used pointed wooden tools to harvest the bulbs, and could often gather over 50 pounds a day, satisfying their full winter’s supply within just a few days.

Native American peoples who ate camas include the Nez Perce (Nimíipuu), Cree, Coast Salish, Kalapuya, and Blackfoot, and Yakama, among many others. Not all of these people groups harvested camas themselves. Instead, many relied on trade in order to procure it. Trade networks were established all the way from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean, and a shrewd businesswoman who tended her camas meadows well could provide everything her family needed and more!

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, October 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

Splashes of Joy, October 13

A Baker’s Perspective, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 14

Blessed & Bookish, October 15

Connect in Fiction, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 15

For the Love of Literature, October 16

Betti Mace, October 16

Texas Book-aholic, October 17

21st Century Keeper at Home, October 17

Inklings and notions, October 18

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 18

jeanette’s Thoughts, October 18

Older & Smarter?, October 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 19

For Him and My Family, October 20

Mary Hake, October 20

She Lives To Read, October 21

Writing from the Heart Land, October 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 22

Simple Harvest Reads, October 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Artistic Nobody, October 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Blossoms and Blessings, October 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 24

reviewingbooksplusmore, October 24

Bizwings Blog, October 24

Connie’s History Classroom, October 25

Book Love, October 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 26

Bigreadersite, October 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/101f7/light-in-the-mountain-sky-celebration-tour-giveaway

Good luck with the giveaway and happy reading!

God bless,

Kristina

Pretending to Wed and a Giveaway

What is your favorite romantic troupe? I will admit that marriage of convenience is usually one of my favorites. I have a requirement, though! (I promise I’m not super picky reader.) Even if the characters do not have any romantic feelings for each other, they must respect each other and treat each other kindly. I just don’t tolerate a husband or wife who is downright cruel or condescending. Arguments? Sure. Disagreements? Of course! But blatant disrespect turns me off to any story.

But what I love about marriage of convenience stories are all the awkward situations the hubby and wife find each other thrust into because of their fledgling marriage. And it’s fun, for me, to see their preconceived notions of each other fall apart as they truly get to know each other–and fall in love with each other.

Pretending to Wed is full of those awkward moments (the one with the chicken eggs will make you giggle), and I loved Nolan and Corinne’s relationship from the beginning–even if they started as business partners.

Keep reading for my full review and a chance to win Melissa Jagears’s giveaway!

About the Book

Book: Pretending to Wed

Author: Melissa Jagears

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 28, 2020

PretendingToWed_Ebook

It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love!

The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress.

Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow.

When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn’t as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren’t quite as compatible as they thought?

Pretending to Wed is the second book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like marriage-of-convenience stories that deal with the nitty-gritty of making a relationship work, you’ll love this authentic romance set in a time gone by that tackles issues still relevant for today.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Pretending to Wed is the second novel in the Frontier Vows series from Melissa Jagears. It is a marriage of convenience story, which is one of my favorite troupes. And although marrying as strictly business partners is common, Nolan and Corinne take it to a whole new level, drawing up a contract and splitting profits.

I loved the respect Nolan and Corinne had for each other from the beginning. Nolan was surprising in how he supported his new wife in everything from working chores on the ranch to tinkering with inventions. His attention to her happiness was endearing and had me cheering for him instantly.

I also loved how business savvy Corinne was, and how creative she could be with her inventions–while still being practical. Sometimes her unwillingness to communicate with Nolan and her focus on increasing profits for their ranch was frustrating, but after learning more about her past, it was obvious she just wanted to be helpful and wanted.

For me, all the conversations about Corinne’s experience in the bedroom (in her past and otherwise) was a bit distracting. I understand it is a realistic problem, but I felt like the discussions didn’t add much to the plot. And the conflict that resulted could have been explained by other heartbreaks in Corinne’s history. Also, I felt like it was highly unlikely for Nolan’s best friend’s wife to talk to him about it openly when they were alone. It all just felt out of place for me.

Still, I enjoyed reading Nolan and Corinne’s story and watching their mutual respect deepen into something more.

Pretending to Wed is a sweet love story and one marriage of convenience fans will enjoy. 

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Melissa jagears

Award winning author, Melissa Jagears, is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance into the wee hours of the night. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children. Her ebook novella, Love by the Letter, is her ACFW Carol Award winning novella and free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com

More from Melissa

The Elusive Electrical Spark to Awaken Frankenstein’s Monster

The plot of Pretending to Wed just wasn’t coming together for me. I had the romantic dilemma, but I didn’t love the characters. They were boring. And if I’m going to write a book, a.k.a. read it a bazillion times, I have to really want to read the book myself. I decided to take a break from the weeks of struggle and read. I was recommended a book because of the author’s great voice (I can’t recommend it because it’s not a clean novel), but I loved the fact that the heroine was a scientific illustrator. I wondered if I could give my heroine a scientific hobby and came up with inventing. That single character tidbit was the jolt that awakened Frankenstein’s Monster. She came alive! The research into what she could have patented at the time led my imagination to the egg hatching romance scene in the middle of the story and I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to read my book that didn’t yet exist.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 17

Writing from the Heart Land, September 17

Through the Lens of Scripture, September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 18

For Him and My Family, September 19

Connie’s History Classroom, September 19

deb’s Book Review, September 19

Batya’s Bits, September 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 20

lakesidelivingsite, September 21

Genesis 5020, September 21

The Book Chic Blog, September 21

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, September 22

The Collaborative Press, September 22

Betti Mace, September 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 23

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, September 24

Remembrancy, September 24

Wishful Endings, September 24

Life of Literature, September 25

Book Love, September 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Bizwings Blog, September 25

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 26

Bigreadersite, September 26

Labor Not in Vain, September 26

CarpeDiem, September 27

Hookmeinabook, September 27

Splashes of Joy , September 27

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, September 28

Artistic Nobody, September 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 29

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, September 29

Blessed & Bookish, September 29

Simple Harvest Reads, September 30 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Maureen’s Musings, September 30

NovelsCorner, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a Gift Certificate for the winner’s Choice of Book (up to 16.99 plus S&H) from Melissa’s Local Christian Bookstore, Faith & Life Bookstore, and a signed copy of Pretending to Wed!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/100e6/pretending-to-wed-celebration-tour-giveaway

Something Worth Doing

I was excited when I read the blurb of this book. It sounded different, unqiue–and definitely not my typical romance or historical romance. But I loved Abigail Scott Duniway’s story. The history is rich. The emotion is raw. The challenges important.

Continue reading for more information about the book, my full review and a purchase link.

About the Book

Some things are worth doing–even when the cost is great

In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old school teacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls her–and prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote.

Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

Something Worth Doing is a riveting account of one woman’s lifetime struggle to improve the rights of women, especially those in the western United States. Any woman, whether married or not, a mother or not, or working out of the home or not can relate to this story. A woman’s work is never done, and I’m thankful for women like Abigail Scott Duniway who chose to dedicate so much of their life to a greater cause.

This story, while based on a historical figure and true events, is fiction, but it reads more like a biography and less like a typical novel, which I loved. I sped through chapter after chapter, enthralled by the ordinary and extraordinary parts of Abigail’s lie. It captured the struggle, the frustration, and the beauty of a woman’s world in the 1800s, particularly in the West. 

The work and expectations of women in Abigail’s time were outrageous, and yet they persevered, like women often do. And while so many rights have been added to women since Abigail’s fight for the vote, the expectations still placed on women to be the perfect mother, the successful boss lady, and still maintain a tidy home continue to be overwhelming. Any woman can see herself in this story. I know I did. When Abigail doubted her desire to keep fighting for suffrage at the expense of time with her family, I saw the modern stresses of women, trying to attain dreams while still balancing the care of their family and home.

So, while this book is historical, it is still so relevant in the insight it provides on one progressive woman’s impact on history and our lives today.

Any woman who enjoys historical fiction will like this book. I know I spoke of this story and Abigail to all who would listen!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful, historical account of one woman’s path toward changing all of our futures. Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The London Restoration

As a lover of unique parts of history, I’m happy to recommend The London Restoration to you all! I have been the woman left behind in time of war. I know how things can change within a person when you are asked to do everything without your loved one by your side. And I understand the restoration required of any relationship that’s been touched by such a life-changing event as war.

Continue reading for my full review and purchase link!

About the Book

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King’s College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles’ long-anticipated reunion is strained by everything they cannot speak of. Diana’s extensive knowledge of London’s churches could help bring down a Russian agent named Eternity. She’s eager to help MI6 thwart Communist efforts to start a new war, but because of the Official Secrets Act, Diana can’t tell Brent the truth about her work.

Determined to save their marriage and rebuild the city they call home, Diana and Brent’s love is put to the ultimate test as they navigate the rubble of war and the ruins of broken trust.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan is my first book by this author, and I absolutely loved it. This is a completely different WWII novel than I’ve ever read, but that’s what made it so interesting! Danger, secrets, mystery, romance, and history…this novel has it all! You will fall effortlessly into post-war London, walking it’s ravaged streets with Brent and Diana and feeling the gut-wrenching devastation of the city, its churches, and its inhabitants.

Rachel McMillan does a brilliant job of layering the many facets of this story–everything from war secrets to breath-taking architecture–the depth of this story will astound you.

I loved Diana–her enthusiasm over her love of Wren churches, her pride in the woman she became during the war, and her determination to heal her marriage. I would love to see London’s churches through her eyes, especially since she could see beyond the devastation to a brighter future.

I listened to most of this story on audiobook, which I have to say I LOVED. The narrator’s voice was perfect and made the scenes and London come to life. It was difficult to turn it off when I arrived at my destination! I wanted to listen for hours!

Any fan of Christian historical fiction will appreciate the history of this book, and I believe you will love the characters and their tales of survival through the war and beyond. It is a unique and interesting read with never a dull moment!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you enjoy The London Restoration!

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The Edge of Belonging

The more I read time-slip novels, the more I fall in love with the depth and intricacy of their stories. The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox is a fantastic debut novel and a beautiful example of a time-slip novel at its finest. I fear my words are not adequate to describe the how powerful this story truly is or how the author is able to craft such beauty from pain and sorrow.

This book is a five star, must read for me! Keep scrolling to find out more about The Edge of Belonging, where you can get a copy, and my full review!

About the Book

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee her late grandmother’s estate sale, she soon discovers that the woman left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-timeline story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

The Edge of Belonging by debut author, Amanda Cox, is a heartfelt and genuine novel. After I finished the last page (with tears in my eyes) I knew I would have to let the story fully settle in my mind before I could even begin to try to put its beauty into words.

The Edge of Belonging is a split time novel–split between childhood and adulthood in the life of a young woman named Ivy. But to me, this book is simply about love, which may sound too simple. But there are many kinds of love: maternal, paternal, sacrificial, familial, Christ-centered, and romantic (to name a few). And this story shows how one life can set into motion many forms of love, how love can grow in the most unlikely places, and how love can heal and nurture above and beyond all else.

The characters in this story are all broken in some way, yet by trusting in God’s power and His will–and the love He pours into us to share with others–they begin to understand how God can use the brokenness to create something new and beautiful. Watching every single character struggle, persist, and be molded into a new creation was a joy. I can’t possibly name a favorite character from the story, but Pearl’s strength through weakness, Thomas’s kindness through darkness, and Harvey’s unconditional love through neglect touched me deeply. I can’t get them out of my mind!

The Edge of Belonging has many moving parts and jumps between timelines, but I never felt lost. In fact, I felt at home in its pages, like I was welcome to sit on Pearl’s sofa anytime. Any fan of split-time novels will enjoy this story, and I believe any fan of Christian fiction will be blessed by reading it.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you pick up a copy of The Edge of Belonging, and I wish you happy reading!

God bless,

Kristina

Almost a Bride

It’s here! The fourth and final book in The Bride Ships series by Jody Hedlund is releasing on August 25th! If you’ve read the first three books, you’ve likely been eagerly anticipating learning more about Zeke Hart and his life in the mining town of Williamsville–I know I have!

Keep reading for my full review and a link to get your own copy!

About the Book:

Always close, but never a bride.

Longing to find true love, Kate Millington arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship. With countless men waiting to snag a bride, Kate has no trouble getting engaged. It’s staying engaged that’s the problem. After traveling to the remote mining town of Williamsville to marry her newest fiancé, she finds herself single again.

As the prosperous owner of a gold mine, Zeke Hart has everything he’s ever wanted except for a wife. At Kate’s arrival, he takes it upon himself to protect his childhood friend from the men clamoring to court her. The more he renews her friendship, the more he wants to win her for himself. But as much as Kate admires Zeke, she’s resolved not to marry someone who doesn’t share her faith.

When Zeke begins receiving anonymous threats, he unwittingly puts them both in grave danger. In the midst of peril, the past rises up to haunt them both, and Zeke realizes the fight for Kate’s affection may be his biggest challenge yet.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts:

Almost a Bride by Jody Hedlund is the fourth and final book in the Bride Ships series. It is sad to see a series with such rich historical detail and strong inspirational themes come to an end, but I’m glad I ventured with the brave women who chose to sail around the world and start a new life.

I enjoyed seeing the Cariboo region through Kate’s artistic eyes and charcoal sketches. The beauty of the landscapes around Williamsville came to life, and I longed to see such beauty in person. Jody Hedlund has a way of painting a setting to perfection.

Kate is a complicated soul. It took me a good portion of the story to really understand her motivation behind her fear of marriage, which contrasted with her haste at finding a suitable husband. But Kate had a compassionate heart, even if it was damaged by her past, and her positive attitude and willingness to help others was endearing.

Zeke. I will admit I was looking forward to reading Zeke’s story after meeting him in A Bride of Convenience. And while I already knew he was strikingly handsome and successful in his mining endeavors, I didn’t expect him to be so generous with his good fortune. I loved how he never forgot his roots and strove to make his part of the world better. At times, I felt he was a bit controlling and deceptive, but I felt like that was because he was trying to control his life without relying on God and was part of his journey back to his faith.  

Overall, I found Kate and Zach’s love story interesting, dangerous, and full of devotion and passion for each other. It was quite a journey, and I enjoyed watching them both redeem their pasts.

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this story! Although this story is published separately from the first three, I would still recommend reading the series or at least A Bride of Convenience before reading Almost a Bride. Enjoy!

Have you read any of The Bride Ships series? Which one is your favorite?

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

A Life Once Dreamed

Since I read almost nothing but romance novels, I’m used to reading one love story after another. But Aggie and James’s story in A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham stood out. Their lives were so genuine, their friendship and past so tangible…I wish I could have lived in Penance and been their friends! Witnessing them together, hearing their banter gave me all the warm fuzzies. They were meant for each other.

The themes of this book touched a special place in my heart, and I’ve no doubt this story will evoke many emotions for every reader. Keep reading to find the book blurb, purchase link and my full review.

About the Book:

Where you come from matters far less than where you’re going

Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory. In the shadow of the Black Hills, she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid–despite being only twenty-four. But the past has a way of catching up with people.

When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves–but he is precisely the one person who can never know.

Can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts:

A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham was a beautiful story about searching for acceptance and learning a pure, Christ-like, love.

I absolutely adored this story and could hardly put the book down. Between the witty banter between Aggie and James to the unending, socially awkward questions of little Tommy, I fell in love with Penance and all its residents. 

Aggie and James’s love story is beautiful, rich, and bittersweet. I loved their history together, and their automatic familiarity–the ease of their company and comfort of their conversations. The way their love matured through the years with them made their story full of warm fuzzy moments.

Aggie is a town favorite for a reason. Her big heart and easy smile make it easy to love her. I had a great respect for her courage to share her secret with others, knowing the risks.

James. Sigh. A charmer from the get go, I loved how he unashamedly pursued Aggie. He was a bit ornery in his teasing, but his antics had me laughing repeatedly. And you just can’t help love a man with so much compassion for helping others. Get ready to add his name to your favorite heroes list!

I would highly recommend this book. Any fan of Christian historical fiction will love this book!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions.

I hope you enjoy this story as much as I have!
Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

We Go On Blog Tour and Giveaway

We Go On Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for We Go On by Regina Walker, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: We Go On
Author: Regina Walker
Release Date: June 12, 2020
Genre: Inspirational Fiction

Content Warning: This book deals with loss by suicide and the grief a family endures.

Life has been comfortable for the Miller family. Liz and Josh have devoted their lives to raising their two sons. Their oldest son, Colby, reached adulthood and set out on his own. A few hard knocks sent him back to live with Mom and Dad until life got to be too much, that is. As Liz and Josh grapple with the hole in their hearts left by Colby’s early departure from this world, they find themselves at odds with one another and with their faith.

Will they remember that Jesus is enouMgh in the middle of this dark storm? Will they see through their own pain and help each other and their teenage son, Tyler, learn to live despite the grief?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository 


MY THOUGHTS

We Go On is a genuine, well-written story about the individual struggles of a family grieving after the tragic loss of their son to suicide. The story begins with tragedy, but as time goes on, it becomes a beautiful testament to the real-life challenge of continuing life without the ones we love. The author did an amazing job of showing the range of emotions associated with grief and talking about how it’s possible to continue to live and even enjoy life after such a loss.

This topic is so relevant today, and I applaud the author for breaching a subject that is often kept in whispers. It is important to remember and reach out to people in the grief as this book reminds us. And by traveling the path of grief with Liz and Josh, I got a better idea of what life is like for those who wake up with the burden of grief every day. 

I enjoyed this story to the very last page and shed several tears along the way. It is a story that will challenge you, but also a story that will inspire you–both to be grateful for every day we have with loved ones and to reach out to those who are grieving.

I was given a copy of this book by the author with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina Walker

Regina Walker was born in the beautiful state of Colorado. She moved to Oklahoma in her late teen years, where she has resided ever since. She likes to curl up on the couch and binge-watch crime shows with her hard-working husband. When she’s not wrestling with a writing project, she can be found wrangling their children, riding their horses, or tending the garden. Along with finding horses on their small farm, chickens, dogs, and cats can be found at nearly every turn.

Regina crafts compelling characters facing some of life’s hardest challenges. Her heart’s desire is to always point toward Jesus through the way her characters face challenges, relationships, and adversity.

CONNECT WITH REGINA: Website Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive his/her choice of bookish socks or a bookish candle!

We Go On JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight August 10, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on August 17, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.