Contemporary Romance: Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus — For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
A Man to Trust by Carrie Turansky — After years spent helping manage her family’s Christian bookstore, it’s time for Adrie Chandler to give her own dream of playing her flute with a symphony orchestra a chance. But can she really trust the beloved shop to new manager Ross Peterson? The man is too handsome, too charming….and too much a reminder of another dream Adrie had to let go of – marriage. Yet Ross surprises her by knowing a thing or two about making sacrifices. Suddenly, Adrie is questioning what she really wants. And whether the dreams she once thought unlikely are within reach after all. (Contemporary Romance from Flowing Stream Books)
Fall Flip by Denise Weimer — The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband–her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business–stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets–and their own mistakes–cost them a second chance at love? (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Listening to Love by Beth Wiseman — Lucas is Amish. Natalie’s Englisch. They are best friends—and friends only. Despite what the gossips say. Besides, they couldn’t be together even if they wanted to be. Lucas would never leave the Amish faith, and Natalie is pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. But when a terrifying accident happens, Natalie and Lucas are forced to confront their true feelings and decide if they can stay true to themselves and each other. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
General Contemporary:The Christmas Portrait by Phyllis Clark Nichols — A family facing their first holiday season without Mama finds a way to celebrate Christmas. (General Contemporary from Gilead Publishing)
Historical:Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson — 1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape. Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life?and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried. (Historical from Tyndale Publishing)
Historical Romance: Treasured Christmas Brides by Amanda Cabot, Rebecca Germany, Cathy Marie Hake, Colleen L. Reece, MaryLu Tyndall, and Michelle Ule — Six historical Christmas romances prove life’s most priceless gifts come not in the form of polished gold or silver—but from the vast riches of a loving heart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Thankful for the Cowboy by Mary Connealy — Hero Tom MacKinnon rides up driving a wagon with a second wagon trailing him. He and his sister want to be hired to build windmills. They’ll ask for very little money and, in exchange heroine, Lauren Drummond, newly widowed mother of four nearly grown sons, will help them learn to survive in the Sandhills of Nebraska. What to grow, what to hunt, how to build a sod house.
Tom’s windmills will save her ranch. Lauren needs three windmills on this drought year or her growing herd of cattle is going to die of thirst. She agrees to teach him the ways of the Sandhills, and to give him fifteen head of cattle. She’s not ready to think of another man. But Tom changes her mind. His little sister and one of her sons find love together before Tom and Lauren do. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
The Return of the King’s Ranger by Angela K. Couch — The war is over…for everyone but him. The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger. Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing. With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])
Christmas Next Door by Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough — Visit an Old West Texas town where a mysterious benefactor leaves gifts each Christmas, but also where four pairs of neighbors battle over hearsay, secrets, and mysteries. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Under Moonlit Skies by Cynthia Roemer — Esther meets Stewart, her brother-in-law’s ranch hand, when helping her sister recover from childbirth. Any interest she may have in the cowboy is hopeless, since she must return home to Cincinnati and the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed. till reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)
Mail-Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer — Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl wants a helper for her widowed father and a mama for herself, so she writes for a mail-order bride. Without telling him. Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor encourages her to answer an unusual letter from a little girl, hope opens an unexpected door. Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta may have to risk everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and find a second chance at love. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
The Witness Tree by Denise Weimer — Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother. Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Romantic Suspense: Don’t Give Up On Me by Jodi Artzberger — When Cragge Automotive Group’s heiress, Amanda Cragge is left for dead, the only man she’s ever loved finds her. As the threats continue, will she accept help from the man who left her eight years ago without explanation? When Ryker Scott returns to Otter Bay, he is brought face to face with his past. He thought he could handle coming back but he might have been wrong. As a trained Army Ranger, he’s going to have to use his skills if he wants to keep the only woman he’s ever loved alive.
Will their past become their future or will their futures be destroyed forever?(Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Breaking Point by Marji Laine — Ever since her father’s death, Alynne Stone has had a series of strange “accidents.” Police Lieutenant Jason Danvers believes her father was murdered. He tries to connect the attempts on Alynne’s life, but things just don’t add up. Even in a small town, the mere rumor of treasure can change lives, end friendships…maybe even kill? Still dealing with the pain of his own wife’s death, he can’t allow an innocent woman’s life to be snuffed out on his watch. Especially one who shines as bright as Alynne. (Romantic Suspense, Write Integrity Press)
Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills — FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. (Romantic Suspense, Tyndale House)
Thriller: The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal — Talia Inger is a rookie CIA case officer assigned not to the Moscow desk as she had hoped but to the forgotten backwaters of Eastern Europe–a department only known as “Other.” When she is tasked with helping a young, charming Moldovan executive secure his designs for a revolutionary defense technology, she figures she’ll be back in DC within a few days. But that’s before she knows where the designs are stored–and who’s after them. With her shady civilian partner, Adam Tyler, Talia takes a deep dive into a world where only criminal minds and unlikely strategies will keep the Gryphon, a high-altitude data vault, hovering in the mesosphere. Even Tyler is more than he seems, and Talia begins to wonder: Is he helping her? Or using her access to CIA resources to pull off an epic heist for his own dark purposes? (Techno-thriller from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
This is the emotional conclusion of Angela Couch’s Hearts at War Series, one which definitely had me crying happy tears at the end. I’ve never seen a series wrapped up so well and so honestly. Post American Revolution culture didn’t immediately let bygones be bygones. And honestly, even in today’s culture it isn’t realistic, even if it is painted as such in so many books. That is what I love about this story. You see a realistic look at relationships of people who lived and fought on opposite sides. The struggle to come to terms with each other. The struggle to love someone who believes differently than you. Beliefs so different, it was possible to have fought on opposite sides of the battle line. If you haven’t read the other three stories, it is possible to read this one as a stand alone, but you’ll have a great more appreciation for the story if you have. You can check out my review for the other books here: The Scarlet Coat, The Patriot and the Loyalist, and The Tory’s Daughter.
Genre: Historical Romance – Post American Revolution, Mohawk Valley
Overview of Plot:
The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger.
Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing.
With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her.
Favorite Character and Why:
I really loved Myles. His strong adherence to his beliefs, desire to find his family, and struggle to do what’s “right” by Nora really just made him into such a real character.
What I liked:
As always, I love the complex relationships. People who stood on opposite sides of the war (literally) had to come to terms with how they moved forward in this new country. Some decisions were hard but great, others had you yelling at Angela Couch for allowing to happen, but acknowledging the truth of that part of history. (Sorry no spoilers.)
Who would like this:
Those who love the complexities of relationships borne out wartime divisions, stories of hidden identities, and love stories which undergo tension and growth, developing both people into better characters.
*I was provided a copy of this book by the author/publisher. The above opinion is my own and by no means was influenced.*
Fascinated by history and in love with creating fiction, Angela K Couch has been lost in writing novels most of her life. As a passionate believer in Christ, she can’t help her faith from permeating the stories she tells. Often her martial arts training, love of horses, and appreciation for good romance sneaks in there as well.
Reading has always been my escape, from the time I was young and read ALL the books in the children’s department (yes, ALL) to now. If you saw last week’s post, you know that I’ve been hit emotionally hard with rejection (in several forms) and then some things outside of the writing world which made me just want to escape, and escape big time. Thankfully, my TBR pile is always near at hand. At the top of my pile was Yours Truly, Thomas.
While technically not part of a series, Yours Truly, Thomas takes place in Azure Springs, the setting of The Hope of Azure Springs, and was as delightful as the first novel by Rachel Fordham. If you are a fan of Hallmark’s Sign, Sealed, and Delivered, then you will definitely want to check out this story as the heroine works in the dead letter office.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1883, Washington D.C. and Azure Springs, IA
For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.
Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn’t expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.
When Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.
What I loved: The concept of the story is one that has been done before, but the actual story was unique and enjoyable. It took you through all the emotions, and had a touch of danger to add a thrill to the read.
Favorite Character: Penny makes me smile. She tries to think things through, but also takes leaps without real clarity on where she will land. She is an emotional mess in some ways (which I can totally relate to right now), but had a deep compassion and love for strangers.
Who would like this: Fans of Hallmark’s Sign, Sealed, and Delivered, those who love stories where letters play a key role, sweet romance, and stories of leaps of faith.
Rating and Why: I gave this a four-star rating because I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to others.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. The review above was influenced in no way by this and the above opinions are my own.
So I had intended to post my review of Yours Truly, Thomas this week, but God woke me up at 2:30 in the morning and wouldn’t let me go until I wrote this…and I think it will apply to everyone out there on some level.
So in case you are feeling rejected, unworthy, and unwanted, you’re not alone.
Yesterday I received a rejection on my manuscript…again. The simple answer is I only need one “Yes” to move me from “aspiring” author to “published” author, but the reality is the “No” still hurts.
And it hurts no matter what form it comes in, whether it be a rejection in a relationship, career, or long awaited goal…because deep down, we all want to be accepted and loved by our peers. I know God wants to be King of our Heart and that we should not value other’s opinion of ourselves (or our writing) above HIS opinion. But the human condition, such as it is, struggles and still hungers for the approval of others.
Maybe this is just the revelation of my sinful heart. In fact, I know it is. But the first step in changing is accepting you have a problem, and so I stand here before you saying I have a People Problem. I’m a people pleaser.
Yet, I’ve always felt like the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. Oh, everyone likes me well enough, but I never seem to quite fit in. When everyone was reading Harry Potter (I did try people) and romance novels, I was reading stories like The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, War of the Worlds. When romance authors today do polls of their favorite romance movies or novels, I’m woefully ill-equipped. I’ve not seen most of them, and the ones I did see were snarky and sarcastic (Ten Things I Hate About You). The only classic romance novels I read were Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and a few required reading at school. While I enjoyed them well enough, it’s the adventure stories that draw me.
I love the action of battles between good and evil. The romance of the hero rescuing the girl, or even the girl rescuing the guy. I like complex stories that engage the mind. Movies like Now You See Me and The Tourist.
Kiss scenes gross me out. I seriously cannot watch them…and I’m a married woman, for heaven’s sake! My husband is the romantic one, and while I love it, I don’t seem to have the same knack for it as him. And I feel awful, because it doesn’t mean I love him any less, I just am not good at creating surprises for him that are romantic.
I feel so woefully out of place in this world, and yet, I’m supposed to market myself? Get people interested in what I have to say? There is a quote I wish I could use from a dear friend’s manuscript here, but since it’s yet unpublished I can’t. Suffice it to say, she taught me, it’s not the words I have to say, but the words Christ has to say through me.
May the stories that well up from within me come from His precious place. Because I am not enough, and I think that is the point.
We are not enough…without Him.
We are not good enough, because only He is.
My words will fail and be forgotten, but His words have stood the test of time, crossed barriers they should have never crossed, and been spread across the world and cultures despite strong suppression in many places.
I’m still hurting. I still have no idea where I fit in this marketing world. I still feel like my crazy story ideas are square pegs trying to fit into round holes. But I’m choosing to rest in His words.
Specifically, in Psalm 139.
So if you are like me, and you struggle to find your worth, whether it be in the midst of a relationship or career rejection, or just in the midst of living everyday life, this Psalm is for you. It was written with YOU in mind. And even if you have read it a million times, slow down, read it out loud word for word, and really soak it in.
Any emphasis below is my own, but I encourage you to pray over it. To write His words on your heart.
Because no matter what the world says about you, Jesus wants you. Wants you so bad that he choose to suffer to rescue you. His story is the greatest romance story ever written, and you are His CHOSEN bride.
Just like every Bibliophile, I have a TBR pile that can fill a library… and quite literally it does. My basement has no less than 10 bookcases packed tight. Of course I’ve read about a fourth… maybe more like a fifth of them. So there are plenty waiting to be read. These are the books currently at the top of my pile, (and some of them aren’t Historical Fiction –Eep! In fact, you’ll notice a lot of suspense. Partly due to the fact on road trips we read books aloud, and with three males in the car, suspense catches their interest.):
Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano – What seems like a Pygmalion dream come true turns into a nightmare for rag woman Raina Bretton. Ever since a handsome stranger brought her to Rothburne Abbey, she’s been uneasy. Amid the ruin and decay of the old mansion, one man stands between her and her true identity. Will he reveal her mysterious secret—or keep it hidden?
Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate – Natalie Groves is convinced that she was meant for great things. But after her fiance, Jeremy, leaves her, her grand dreams evaporate. Back in town seven years later with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Jeremy asks Natalie for help. When they join forces, sparks fly—but will they get burned again along the way?
More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer – People consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Born with mismatched eyes and orphaned at a young age, she’s been rejected repeatedly. Logan Fowler arrives in Pecan Gap, Texas, seeking revenge against the gambler who stole his birthright—Evie’s “brother,” Zacharias. But as they fall in love, will Logan choose to avenge Zach’s past—or embrace the future with Evie?
Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson – Top FBI cop Paul Falcon knows Ann Silver is one of the most respected homicide investigators in the Midwest. So when a supsicious death causes their worlds to collide, he hopes she’ll be a useful colleague. He never expects to be smitten! Still, he wonders . . . Why does everybody trust her? What secrets is she keeping?
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.
Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter – When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation.
Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her independence at every step. Although Aaron’s job is to protect her from the dangers that could get them both killed, Kailyn is getting to him. As an undercover agent, Aaron has grown adept at playing many roles. But will he be able to embrace his true identity and God’s plan for his life in order to keep Kailyn alive?
A young woman working at the Dead Letter Office in 1883 opens a series of heartbreaking love letters. She’s determined to find their rightful owner and make things right. But a trip to Azure Springs, Iowa, may provide love and healing for more than just the letter writer.
The Cost of Betrayal – Three Romantic Suspense Novellas. Dee Henderson’s “Betrayed,” Dani Pettrey’s “Deadly Isle,” and Lynette Eason’s “Code of Ethics.”
Sins of the Past – Three blockbuster authors team up for a “triple threat” page-turner! In Missing, a Wyoming sheriff must travel to Chicago to rescue his elderly mother. In Shadowed, the McKennas come face-to-face with a possible Russian defector. And in Blackout, a woman falsely accused of theft must find the loot before the true criminal discovers her!
Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett – Nate Webber takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. When Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship.