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Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Night Fall

 



Back Cover

For any little boy or girl who hears the Train Man speak,
Who feels his rancid breath caress their pretty cheek,
Must close their eyes, pretend to sleep, and very softly pray,
Or else the evil Train Man may carry them away.

Finally free of her troubled upbringing, Alex Donovan is able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains - all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars.  When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she'd left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve4 the case and recover a deadly virus sample the killer intends to spread, Alex must face how far she'll go - and what she's willing to risk - to put a stop to the Train Man.

Review

Night Fall is...certifiably creepy. I was super excited for a new Christian crime novel - a chance to cheer on the good guys while they chase down the bad ones while also showing growth in faith. But I struggled with this one. I had picked up this book many times to start it, but had to put it back down for something different as I couldn't get past the first few pages. While I'm a huge fan of suspense novels, this one set me on edge, and not in a thrill-seeking way. By diving in deep into the depraved Train Man's mind, you learn more of his story of growing up in a perverted cult and having absolutely terrible parents. It creates somewhat of an understanding of how he came to be, but the double-edged sword is that you have to read through a whole lot of darkness to get to that point. This certainly isn't a lighter police procedural drama like "Castle", but a dark and twisted ride without a whole lot of light at the end of the tunnel. 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  

Come Back to Me

 

Back Cover

The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? 

Crazy.

That's exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father's quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them.  But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions.  He's left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he's crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight, comes to Marian's rescue and offers her protection...as his wife.  The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.


Review

The year 2021 keeps getting better and better when it comes to good reads.  Come Back to Me has vaulted itself to the top of my "Favourites" list for this year! It has everything you could possible want in a time-travel novel: rich historical detail, swoon-worthy romance, multi-faceted characters, and a fully engaging story that caused me to stay up waaay too late one night in order to finish! I love, love this novel. Marian is a worthy heroine: strong, independent, and stubborn, who works tirelessly seeking only for the good of her family. Will is handsome and broody, a chivalrous knight with a dark and troubled past. Together, they set each other's hearts on fire as they fall head over heels in love. However, Marion finds herself faced with an unbearable choice: save her sister who is suffering from an incurable disease, or stay with Will, her one heart's desire?

I'm so happy to see this book is the first part in a series!  I cannot wait for the next instalment to arrive in January 2022!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

A Tapestry of Light



 
Back Cover

In 1886 Calcutta, Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither.  In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon the skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger named Everett Scott appears with news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light.  Despite her growing friendship with Everett, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her bother.  Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in a cold, foreign land.

Review

A Tapestry of Light is a sweeping historical novel that crosses two countries to bring a moving story of love, loss, faith, and belonging. In beautiful prose, the author tells the story of Ottilie Russell, who has encountered so much loss in her life that her faith is near shattered. For the sake of her younger brother, Thaddeus, she embarks on a journey to England where she is faced with racial prejudice from London society and her extended family. Feeling forced to forsake her heritage and familial connections, Ottilie begins a journey of finding herself and discovering her true worth.  She finds comfort within her talents in beetle-wing embroidery, a skill that had been passed down to her by her mother and grandmother. With each stitch, she brings herself one step closer to becoming socially independent and discovers that God isn't nearly as far away as she thought Him to be.

An absolutely beautiful story, A Tapestry of Light has become one of my all-time favourite novels. Highly recommend!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

A Dance in Donegal


Back Cover

All her life, Boston-born Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of the Emerald Isle. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira is compelled to fulfill her dying wish - that she become the teacher at Ballymann, the beloved village in Donegal, Ireland, she's heard so much about.

After an arduous voyage, Moira begins a challenging new job in an unfamiliar and ancient country. Through a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends - and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced - as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of...but perhaps was meant to live.

Review

Jennifer Deibel literally picks up a reader and plunks them straight into the story, complete with rich descriptions of setting and characters. A Dance in Donegal has a sweet romance, but it isn't all that. The main story is about Moira finding herself and discovering the truth regarding the persistent mystery shrouding her mother's time in Donegal. Throughout the story, Moira's presence in Donegal is dogged by shadowy rumors and whispers of scandal surrounding her mother. While Moira truly wants to know the truth, while at the same time, she is apprehensive in learning of what the truth may be. What if it's truly scandalous? would it forever change her affections and memories towards her deceased mother? Through it all, she finds herself falling for the attractive local thatcher, Sean, who is quick to help her settle into her new role as schoolteacher in any way that he can.

With intriguing details about life in a small-town village in Ireland, A Dance in Donegal will appeal to lovers of historical fiction.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  



Thursday, 24 June 2021

When Twilight Breaks

 


Back Cover

Munich, 1938

Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession and to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line.  If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country - or worse.  If she does not report truthfully, she'll betray the oppressed and fail to wake up the folks back home.

Peter Lang is an American graduate student working on his PhD in German.  Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society.  But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party - to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can't get off his mind.

As the world marches relentlessly toward war, Evelyn and Peter are on a collision course with destiny.

Review

Wow.  When Twilight Breaks is one of the best historical - and World World II - novels I have read - and I've read a lot!  It offers a fascinating storyline with compelling characters set in a very turbulent time in history.  In the story there were facts about the Nazi regime that I had never heard of before that especially highlighted the gradual tightening of control and oppression towards the Jewish people. The close censorship of news was eye-opening and the terror felt during that time was clearly expressed on the pages of this book.  A suspenseful and moving read, When Twilight Breaks is a must read for lovers of historical fiction.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  

The Way It Should Be


Back Cover

After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly intertwined again.  When Eve's troubled lifestyle causes the state to contract Zara about taking custody of Eve's two children, Zara feels wholly unprepared.  Besides never knowing she was an aunt, her new house, new husband, and plans for the future were meant to give her a fresh start.

Meanwhile, Eve may have a real chance at a new beginning with the help of Tiff Bradley, who, after facing a heartbreaking tragedy in her own family, is dedicated to helping women everyone has given up on.

Over the course of one summer, all three women's hearts and lives hang in the balance as Eve desperately works toward a new life.  Can they redefine their expectations of how life should be to find the hope they - and those they love - so desperately need?

Review

Christina Suzann Nelson has a remarkable talent for creating an original storyline and down-to-earth characters you really want to root for.  I loved her novel, More Than We Remember and equally enjoyed The Way it Should Be. I would never hesitate to buy one of her books!

This novel is an story about the lives of three different women and how through an interesting turn of events, they become intricately connected.  Zara, Eve, and Tiff have all encountered tragedy, and are going through hardships that have impacted or are currently impacting their immediate relationships. For Zara, she has been estranged from Eve for a number of years by her own choice. Eve feels trapped in the web of addiction, but desperately loves her children and wants only the best for them. Tiff walks through the depths of sorrow over the tragic loss of her daughter, causing a deep rift between her and her husband and son. You can't help but feel enormous empathy for each woman, especially realizing that their stories probably ring with more truth than fiction. 

One thing I really enjoyed was how the writer did the narrative of the story.  For two of the women, Zara and Tiff, it is written through third person narrative.  But for Eve, it is written through first person narrative through her journal entries.  It provided a unique style of writing to combine all points of views and provided a wonderful depth to the stories.

In all, I loved this story and can't wait to see more books from Christina!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  

Blackberry Beach

 

Back Cover

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted - fame, money, and acclaim.  So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to clam the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss - and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. As their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected...and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Review

Blackberry Beach is another winning novel by Irene Hannon that treats the reader to not one, but two sweet romances. The main romance is the one between Katherine Parker and Zach Garrett. It comes as an unexpected surprise for both individuals when they find themselves hopelessly attracted to each other. The attraction turns into a swoon-worthy read as Katherine and Zach try to navigate a realm of "what-ifs" and "maybes" when it comes to the possibility of being together. 

Meanwhile, Zach's Aunt Stephanie, recently retired from the fast-paced corporate world, finds herself drawn to Frank, a kind, albeit, withdrawn widower who works in Zach's coffee shop. 

For both sets of couples, compromises would need to be made in order to give wings to the budding relationships. And therein lies a beautiful novel that I will read again and again. 

Irene Hannon's "Hope Harbor" series is such a breath of fresh air as each story brings the reader into a lovely seaside town full of wonderful people with big hearts for God and each other.  Irene is a master with the written words, creating characters with depth and realism, and a story that always warms the heart. I look forward to many more adventures in Hope Harbor.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.