King’s Shadow

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Hunt, Angela. King’s Shadow. The Silent Years Series- Book 4. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
As King Herod’s only sister, Salome lives her life full of resentment, selfishness, and uncertainty. On the other hand, Zara, Salome’s handmaid, is full of compassion, selflessness, and humbleness. With a storyline that alternates between characters, King’s Shadow, written by the New York Times bestselling author, Angela Hunt, demonstrates the struggles of each woman. Set in the years between the Old Testament and the New Testament, both women must survive their different positions during King Herod’s rule.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Giving voice to a quiet time in history, author Angela Hunt fills in the gaps in a story-like fashion. Certainly not an easy, light, fast read, rather this novel is deep, strong and full. With a convenient format of each chapter being labeled, not only was the book interesting but it also kept me reading to reach the next chapter as I followed each woman. (Sometimes, I even jumped ahead a bit if I just couldn’t wait.) Absolutely a book for fans of Biblical Historical fiction (which I generally am not), I think it may also offer a substantial Bible study. Not having read all the previous books in The Silent Years series, the story was able to stand alone fine but may have been even heartier if the other books were read before. Definitely a thought-provoking and well written book.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of King’s Shadow from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

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The Number of Love

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White, Roseanna M. The Number of Love: The Codebreakers-Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Margot De Wilde spends much of her time in Room 40 deciphering codes of German telegraphs during the Great War. Taking place in Great Britain, The Number of Love shares the mysteries and secrets associated with such an activity. Seeing her world through numbers which portrays Margot as quirky, intellectual, winsome and perhaps a bit eccentric, Margot prefers digits to people. That is until Drake Elton appears and tries to change her mind…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Drawn to the book by the cover as well as the riddle of the title, though not an author I read regularly, I was a bit uncertain of the book within the first few pages. Thinking perhaps I had missed something, I did restart the book and was able to follow along a bit better. I did find the history of the codebreakers to be quite interesting and allowed the story to revolve around those events for me which made the struggle in the beginning worth finishing the book. Not having read the previous novel in which Margot was introduced, I do not think I necessarily missed anything except her earlier childhood. Intrigued enough to watch for the next book in The Codebreakers series, I hope to learn even more of the activity that took place in Room 40 during World War I.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Number of Love from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

On a Summer Tide

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Fisher, Suzanne Woods. On a Summer Tide: Three Sisters Island. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Paul Grayson, retired and following a dream while also harboring an ulterior motive, buys an island. Renaming that island to now be known as Three Sisters Island, Paul invites his three daughters to join him on his new quest. Siblings, Blaine, Maddie and Camden, all struggle with their own issues and don’t always agree on life; however, as the island progresses, life takes some interesting turns…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a perfect summer vacation read! An island, water, romance, sisters and challenges all combine for a fun, fast, lively and charming story. With all 3 sisters facing situations in their personal lives, it was so real watching them unite for the best of intentions when it was needed. With an adorable dad added in the mix along with a mess of an island, it was endearing to see Camp Kicking Moose evolve. On a Summer Tide is definitely a book I would recommend taking to the beach, the cabin, the pool or the hammock; this newest contemporary novel from author Suzanne Woods Fisher is sure to be a highlight of the summer. With a delicious recipe and discussion questions rounding out the book, I hope we have not seen the last of the Three Sisters Island.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a compimentary copy of On a Summer Tide from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Tinderbox

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Lewis, Beverly. The Tinderbox. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Sylvia Miller has always had a curious side but she may have allowed it to go too far this time. Sneaking a peek into her Dat’s tinderbox, Sylvia discovers a secret she may regret finding. Struggling with the secret she now carries, Sylvia watches as the secret disrupts relationships, family, beliefs, and trustworthiness, yet brings forth forgiveness, redemption, sincerity and strength. Rooted by both pain and joy, faith becomes important. Written by New York Times Bestselling Author, Beverly Lewis, her newest novel is filled deeply with emotion.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having grown up near the Amish farmland and thus, very familiar with the Amish cultures, author Beverly Lewis shares that knowledge in her newest book, The Tinderbox. Having met the Miller family in previous books, it was nice to catch a glimpse of them again, yet this story stands alone and will actually be followed by a sequel due out this September, The Timepiece. With a fulfilling storyline in this novel while also leaving enough of a cliffhanger to make waiting for the next a bit difficult, though the Amish genre is not my most favorite, I was engaged enough to likely read the follow-up in fall. Liking this author’s smooth, graceful, calm writing style, at the same time, my interest was captured enough by some mystery and suspense that I read straight through to the end. Writing since the age of nine, Beverly Lewis has certainly earned her award winning title.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Tinderbox from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

The Secrets of Paper and Ink

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Harrel, Lindsay. The Secrets of Paper and Ink. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Split between England in the 1850’s and here in the present day, The Secrets of Paper and Ink travels on a journey with three women who connect in the process of finding forgiveness, redemption and love. Sophia, dealing with the guilt of an abusive relationship, Ginny, trying to pick up the pieces after her husband left, and Emily, discovered by the other women through her diary written many years ago, all relate in a manner unforeseen. With a dual timeline story surrounding a journal found in a bookstore, author Lindsay Harrel shares the struggles, challenges, heartbreaks, and friendships of life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving the idea of a story involving a bookstore with lots of books, a bookstore owner hoping to keep her store, a cute literature professor and a written journal found among the shelves, I knew I had to read The Secrets of Paper and Ink. Filled with a bit of mystery, 3 interesting women characters with real-life issues, a bookstore filled with books (can you tell I love to read?), and a storyline which bounces back and forth in time, I truly enjoyed this novel by Lindsay Harrel. Reading it in just two evenings, it flowed easily, kept my interest, and was relatable to everyday life. I hope for a sequel to this novel, allowing me to catch up with Sophia, Ginny and Emily.

RATING: 4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Secrets of Paper and Ink from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Memory House

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Hauck, Rachel. The Memory House. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Another dual timeline story by award-winning/ best-selling author, Rachel Hauck.  In her newest novel, The Memory House, two women share grief, sorrow, loss, hope, love and faith through a common strong connection. Everleigh Applegate and Beck Holliday, though separated by over 50 years, find solace, answers and a future through the “Memory House”.  Set in the 1960’s yet also the present day, as the timespan starts to shrink between them, the bond grows deeper between the women while they search for forgiveness, overcome guilt, learn to trust again, and listen to their hearts…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet again author Rachel Hauck conquers the difficulty of successfully writing between two timeframes. Leaping back and forth while connecting the women in a common thread, I wasn’t sure she could do it again (but she did)! As a favorite author of mine, I knew I would read The Memory House and am certainly glad I did. With real characters, a strong message, an interesting connection and subtle faith, the newest novel from this author may just be her best. Beautifully written in a readable style, I am already waiting for her next story.  Success…again!

RATING: 4.75 (out of ) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Memory House from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Far Side of the Sea

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Breslin, Kate. Far Side of the Sea. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Set during WWI, Far Side of the Sea shares the story of Lt. Colin Mabry as he overcomes his war injuries, now decoding messages rather than in battle. Receiving a personal message meant for him, Colin is certainly surprised to find another person waiting for him in Paris other than the expected woman, Jewel. Johanna, Jewel’s half sister, requires Colin’s help in locating Jewel and their father; however, they soon find themselves caught in a web of espionage, not sure whom to trust nor where to turn. As uncertainty grows, feelings develop, emotions ignite, and danger ensues, the risks and mystery only continue to develop throughout the new novel by author Kate Breslin.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read other books by this author, I knew I just had to add this one to my list. Full of unexpected twists, a developing romance, historical references and subtle faith, Far Side of the Sea is actually the second book following Not by Sight, which I absolutely enjoyed (https://savurbks.com/2015/08/24/not-by-sight/). As an added interest to this novel, carrier pigeons are included as a role in the story, causing me to delve further into the subject of their use in WWI. With added notes on the period history as well as a few discussion questions, I know I made the right decision to read this book. I am already looking forward to Kate Breslin’s next book!

RATING:
4.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Far Side of the Sea from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Secrets at Cedar Cabin

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Coble, Colleen. Secrets at Cedar Cabin: Lavender Tides- Book 3. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Literally running for her life, Bailey Fleming flees Michigan to the safety of Cedar Cabin in Lavender Tides. Not quite sure how she truly fits in, nor even for sure her true identity, Bailey soon discovers even Cedar Cabin may not be safe. Meeting FBI agent Lance Phoenix, who believes she may be involved in illegal activity, Bailey must decide if she can help Lance find his missing sister, if she can protect herself from a murderer out to find her, and if she needs to keep track of her heart in the process…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As usual with author Colleen Coble, the action and suspense begins right from the start of the story and Secrets at Cedar Cabin is no exception. Full of identity mysteries, a murderer at large, a missing teenager, a human trafficking ring, suspicious activity and evolving emotions, Secrets at Cedar Cabin is an attention-grabber ensuring late reading into the night. As book 3 in the Lavender Tides series, I did not have a problem following the storyline though I haven’t read all of the previous novels. Definitely an author I read often, I will continue to look for new books from this author as well as continue with this series.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Secrets at Cedar Cabin from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Almost Home

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Luesse, Valerie Fraser. Almost Home. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Owning a boardinghouse in Blackberry Springs, Alabama, Dolly and Si Chandler welcome guests into their home as America enters into World War II. With a mixture of boarders from different locations, varying ages, diverse beliefs and various backgrounds, the dinner table tends to be full of numerous lively conversations. As friendships grow and healing takes place, a mystery is uncovered from the past. As a historical romance, Christian fiction and heart-warming novel, author Valerie Fraser Luesse writes a story which makes everyone feel Almost Home

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Instead of a fast-paced novel, Almost Home took time to reveal the characters, create emotions and provide that cuddly, homey feel. I enjoyed meeting the characters and learning their stories, watching where the mystery might lead, and sipping my hot chocolate while I lingered through the book. Though not necessarily my favorite time-period to read, I found the guests interesting and the home-owners delightfully charming. A slower read yet perfect for the coziness of winter, I read this book at just the right time of year. Definitely a warmhearted book, I may continue to watch for this author in the future. (I did also like her previous book, Missing Isaac.)

RATING:
3.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Almost Home from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

With This Pledge

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Alexander, Tamera. With This Pledge: The Carnton Series- Book 1. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
As a governess to the MacGovock’s young children, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Clouston is very capable of handling difficult situations. Yet, when faced with the daunting, heart-rendering job of overseeing wounded soldiers who have overtaken the MacGovock’s home, Lizzie is tested to the limits of her inner strength and feels quite helpless. Set during the Civil War, With This Pledge also follows Captain Roland Jones’s journey as he attempts to save both his limbs while strongly sharing his beliefs. Author Tamera Alexander writes an emotionally intense, historically grounded, and undeniably romantic story in the first book of her new series…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Beautifully portrayed while heartbreakingly experienced, With This Pledge is perfectly told in true Tamera Alexander style.  With full characters, an interesting storyline, and an intended message, I had trouble putting this book down once I started it. Already a fan of this author, I wasn’t disappointed in her newest novel and am glad it is the beginning of a series. With the Civil War full of immense casualties, the backdrop for this story flowed through the characters as they found the necessary strength while exploring and standing behind individual beliefs, creating the heart-tugs this author is known for. Well-written and definitely enjoyed, I will continue to seek out this author in the future.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of With This Pledge from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*