In Review... February 23, 2019

HBTB In Review.png

Happy Saturday! Here’s our latest batch of book reviews, just in time for the weekend to get started!


Young Adult Romance/Fairy Tale Retelling
THE WARRIOR MAIDEN
Melanie Dickerson
SERIES: Hagenheim #9

the warrior maiden.jpg

In this fantastic retelling, Dickerson brings to life a completely new aspect of the medieval era. Mulan’s ability to find her own strength and reliance in God, even though she is continually surrounded by warriors, death, and battles, is admirable and encouraging. This story is packed with the truth that, no matter the circumstances, God is working behind the scenes to work everything out for His glory. Dickerson also weaves a gentle and sweet romance into the story for these two precious and fierce war heroes. Discover castles, battles, beliefs, and injustices alongside Wolfgang and Mulan and let their story speak encouragement and truth. (THOMAS NELSON, Feb, 320 pp., $17.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON 


Bookmarked Review

Non-Fiction/Christian Living
RELATIONAL RESET: Unlearning the Habits That Hold You Back
Dr. Laurel Shaler

relational reset.jpg

Dr. Laurel Shaler tackles the biggest threats to relationships by combining modern counseling practices with scripture and biblical wisdom. Her conversational style, relatable examples, and moments of humor ease the reader into examining difficult matters such as insecurity, anger, fear, envy, blame, etc. While this book focuses on relationships, it also encourages self-care for the individual and healthy boundaries. With special insight into the complex world of technology and social media friendships, it has a modern feel. Each chapter ends with practical questions, challenges, and a prayer, leaving an impact long after the final page. (MOODY PUBLISHERS, Feb., 176 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Janine Rosche

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Non-Fiction/Christian Living
DEVOTEDLY: The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot
Valerie Elliot Shepard

devotedly cover.jpg

Affectionately narrated by their daughter, Devotedly exposes the hearts of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot through their letters and supplemental journal entries, poetry, and photographs. During times of waiting, wondering, and wanting, these two paragons of faith lean heavily into God’s word and promises, always seeking his will first. The honesty and intimacy Jim and Elisabeth shared—including misunderstandings, admonishments, struggles, prayers, dreams, and words of encouragement—reveal their differences as well as their humanness. From the simple recounting of daily activities to an acknowledgement of their love and attraction for each other, this peek into this true-life love story speaks to the romantic in everyone while setting the standard for a God-centered relationship between a man and woman. (B&H BOOKS, Feb., 304 pp., $19.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON

The practice of saying ‘I love you’ has become so commonplace and cheap that it has caused untold misery by dashing one’s hopes and damaging one’s heart if there is no determination to marry as a result.
— - Devotedly

Mystery/Suspense
CONVERGENCE
Ginny L. Yttrup

convergence.jpg

In the blink of an eye, life can change forever. Unfortunately, psychologist Denilyn Rossi knows this better than most. Having been the victim of a vicious crime, Denilyn has rebuilt her life one painstaking step at a time, only to wake up reliving her worst nightmare again. This hair-raising story is both clever and confusing, as it paints a terrifying picture of psychopathic behavior, utilizing parallel character voices and intersecting time lines. Ginny Yttrup may consider herself new to the suspense genre, but this novel is guaranteed to have every reader sitting on the proverbial edge of their seat up until, and including, the very last scene.  . . .back on the river where it all began. (SHILOH RUN PRESS, Mar., 320 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Rebecca Maney

BUY ON AMAZON


Contemporary Romance
WHEN HE FOUND ME
Victoria Bylin
SERIES: The Road to Refuge #1

when he found me.jpg

Victoria Bylin is known for writing contemporary romances that tackle tough issues and bring healing and restoration to broken characters, and the first book in her Road to Refuge series is no exception. When He Found Me weaves together the stories of an injured pro baseball player (Shane) who’s disillusioned with God, his estranged, alcoholic sister (Daisy), and a single mother battling HPV—the virus that causes cervical cancer (MJ). Bylin shares her characters’ struggles with a balance of authenticity and compassion that shows destructive behaviours for what they are even as she points readers to the hope that can be found in Christ. Readers will warm to Shane and MJ’s friendship from the start, and some last minute danger will have readers holding their breath until the final resolution. Note: References to issues such as abortion and domestic violence are non-graphic, but may still be triggers for sensitive readers. (VICTORIA BYLIN, Mar., 360pp., $0.99 ebook)

Reviewer: Katie Donovan

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... February 1, 2019

HBTB In Review.png

Our idea of a Super Bowl is a big tub of chocolate for reading snacks ;) Here’s our latest batch of reviews!


Historical Fiction
THE SKY ABOVE US
Sarah Sundin
SERIES: Sunrise at Normandy #2

the sky above us.jpg

Brought together by the war, two Americans find themselves on foreign soil preparing for D-Day. While the characters are different from what I have come to expect from Sundin’s recent books, her elegant style of weaving words into a story of love and redemption remains the same. A steady paced story building up to the climax of D-Day, there are many things to learn about WWII within these pages, including types of aircraft and the Red Cross. This is the second installment of the Sunrise at Normandy series, and the books really are best read in order. (REVELL, Feb, 384 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON 


Contemporary Romantic Suspense
COLD DAWN
Susan Sleeman
SERIES: Cold Harbor #7

cold dawn.jpg

Susan Sleeman continues to write inspirational romantic suspense with enough thrill and danger to capture any true romance and suspense fan. In Cold Dawn, Sleeman reaches back into the world of Blackwell Tactical and allows the groups' teamwork to help solve Andy's, a friend of Samantha Willis and Matt Griffin, death. Using police procedural research and knowledge, she creates deep dimensional plot lines to keep the tension pumping. Her applicable characters jump off the page, making readers want to read the series from the beginning to understand all the dynamics between them. The predictable romance has depth and illustrates how trust can conquer fear. With all the tension, romance, and the hunt for justice, this makes for an entertaining and informative read. (EDGE OF YOUR SEAT BOOKS, INC, Jan., 314 pp., $3.99)

Reviewer: Kelly Bridgewater

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Historical Fiction
BETWEEN TWO SHORES
Jocelyn Green

between two shores.jpg

History collides with fiction in this remarkable story. Catherine Stands-Apart is an admirable heroine as, by taking charge of her own life and her own story, she changes the course of history. This can be a difficult and emotional read with possible triggers due to the setting of this story (violence and abuse) but these are handled with grace. Catherine’s growth in her faith is an excellent reminder to believers that our faith should be ever expanding, ever growing. Through this unique perspective on the French and Indian War, customs, and loyalties, readers will discover a new view of history. Reading this story was like watching a sunrise, the shift from darkness to light, an overwhelming burst of life and color. As rhythmic as rowing a bateau along the river, readers will spend many a sleepless night alongside Catherine Stands-Apart fighting for freedom and for what is right. Green has created a masterpiece of literature with beautiful imagery and vocabulary as her medium. (BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS, Feb, 416 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON


Contemporary Amish Fiction
MENDING FENCES
Suzanne Woods Fisher
SERIES: The Deacon’s Family #1

mending fences.jpg

Fans of Fisher’s Stoney Ridge books will be delighted at this return to familiar characters and story threads introduced in previous books that now get a chance to shine. (And before anyone wonders, yes HANK LAPP IS BACK TOO.) When readers last saw Luke Schrock, his life was a mess of his own making, and most people in Stoney Ridge had given up on him. As his story picks up in this new series, the tough love that deacon Amos Lapp and bishop David Stoltzfus show to the newly-rehabbed (again) Luke is as inspiring as Luke’s own determination to change. Of course there is much laughter to be had as well, from the usual sources in Stoney Ridge and from poor Luke’s sincere but misguided attempts at redemption. Izzy’s plot line is also very compelling - and responsible for a couple of gut-punches along the way. While some threads are tied up by the end of this first book, there are others which are waiting to be fully played out and promise some emotional moments ahead. (REVELL, Feb., 330 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Non-Fiction/Spiritual Growth
WHEN LIFE DOESN’T MATCH YOUR DREAMS
Jill Eileen Smith

when life doesn't match your dreams.jpg

This non-fiction release - a concise study of twelve Old Testament women - from novelist Jill Eileen Smith offers women compassion and encouragement in the face of regrets, disappointment, betrayal, and more. Drawing on her years of experience in bringing Biblical people to life through fiction, she invites readers to walk a mile in these women’s shoes and explore their disappointments and the choices that impacted their lives. With gentle wisdom, Smith also leads readers to consider how they can learn from women such as Eve, Rachel, and Zipporah, and grow their trust in the Lord no matter what circumstances they find themselves in. Brief discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this an ideal resource for small groups or individual study. (REVELL, Feb., 224 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Katie Donovan

BUY ON AMAZON


Contemporary Amish Romance
HER AMISH CHILD
Lenora Worth
SERIES: Amish Seasons #2

her amish child.jpg

This second installment in Worth’s “Amish Seasons” series is reminiscent of the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi. Raesha is shocked to find baby Dinah on the doorstep of the house she shares with her mother-in-law Naomi, whereas Josiah Fisher, in town to sell his family homestead and look for his missing sister, wonders if Dinah is his niece. Some parts are a bit redundant (such as multiple reminders of why Josiah is in town), but the flawed characters are relatable and the pace steady in this sweet read. Second chances and new beginnings are key themes that are likely to resonate with readers. While this is part of a series, it can stand alone. (LOVE INSPIRED, JAN, 224 pp, $5.99)

Reviewer: Leslie L. McKee

BUY ON AMAZON


Contemporary Romantic Suspense
BREACH OF TRUST
Rachel Dylan
SERIES: Atlanta Justice #3

breach of trust.jpg

The author closes out her Atlanta Justice trilogy with the fast-paced thriller one would expect after the first two books in this legal series. Despite the similar predictability of the opening sequence to a television drama, Breach of Trust smooths out into an investigation within a murder trial filled with intrigue and dubious characters. As danger lurks behind a seemingly simple open-and-shut murder, corporate lawyer Mia may realize too late the implications it has to her current corporate case. While unexpected romance blossoms with private investigator Noah, Mia and readers alike will not know who to trust as they embark on finding the truth behind both cases. One thing for sure, this is one suspense-filled legal thriller that will keep readers guessing. (BETHANY HOUSE, Feb., 304 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... January 26, 2019

HBTB In Review.png

Looking for some good reads this weekend? Here’s our latest batch of reviews!


Non-Fiction/Spiritual Growth
WHAT IF IT’S TRUE: A Storyteller’s Journey with Jesus
Charles Martin

what if it's true.jpg

Taking the same storyteller’s heart that has made his novels so soul-deep meaningful - and channeling it into a non-fiction platform - Martin challenges readers to see Jesus on a more personal level than ever before. Bringing scenes from Jesus’ life, death and resurrection vividly to life, this prolifically talented author also shares his own struggles and progress on the journey with an honest and authentic voice. Sometimes raw, sometimes almost graphic (while maintaining a tasteful tone), each chapter aims right at the soul and hits its mark every time. This is a book that readers will be tempted to devour in one sitting but would be best savored and reflected upon slowly, allowing the sensory visuals and profound truths to fully sink into the heart. (THOMAS NELSON, Jan., 320 pp., $24.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON 


Bookmarked Review

Historical Romance
A RETURN OF DEVOTION
Kristi Ann Hunter
SERIES: Haven Manor #2

a return of devotion.jpg

Hunter continues to dive deep into the written world of nobility and their secrets in the second book of the Haven Manor series. As Daphne’s haven - and secret - threatens to implode with the arrival of a marquis with an obvious connection to her past, readers will be roped into the emotional thread and the ironically unpretentious storyline. Sincere and genuine, the author skillfully incorporates wit and depth amid the intricacy of emotions in both the storytelling and the dialogue. What at first seems like a simple romance novel in fact blossoms into a profound story about finding the courage to forgive and to move forward. (BETHANY HOUSE, Feb. 2019, 400 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON

Remember that your pride isn’t as valuable as you think it is. Keeping it might cost you more than you
could imagine.
— A Return of Devotion

Inspirational Historical Romance
A DESPERATE HOPE
Elizabeth Camden
SERIES: Empire State Novels #3

a desperate hope.jpg

Camden excels at taking little-known bits of history and bringing them vividly to life, particularly those actions that dramatically changed the lives of those immediately affected and the world as we know it. In her Empire State novels, she has done exactly this, and the third novel again keeps readers riveted, this time to the early stages of New York’s aqueducts - and the towns in its path. The people of Duval Springs tug at the heartstrings as they valiantly do whatever it takes to save their beloved community in the face of imminent domain. Alex and Eloise’s relationship - from childhood friendship to first romance to distant strangers - leaves readers with plenty of swoony moments as they slowly find a new footing, and the growth in each of their characters warms the heart. A dash of suspense adds a different kind of tension, rounding out the novel with something for everyone. (BETHANY HOUSE, Feb, 352 pp., $29.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Amish Suspense
AMISH SAFE HOUSE
Debby Giusti
SERIES: Amish Witness Protection #2

amish safe house.jpg

Giusti’s latest is part two of the Amish Witness Protection continuity series, but it can be read as a standalone. Julia and her family find themselves in the crosshairs of a local gang, and the witness protection program is their only hope of staying alive, though they didn’t expect to find themselves in an Amish community with Abraham, who is leery to give his heart away again. While there are a few lulls midway through the book, the action keeps the reader hanging on through the twists and turns. Romance takes a bit of a backseat to the suspense in this non-typical Amish-themed tale that will have the reader questioning just what price Abraham will pay to keep his charges safe. (LOVE INSPIRED, Feb., 224 pp, $5.99)

Reviewer: Leslie L. McKee

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Review

Time-Slip Romance/Women’s Fiction
THE SECRETS OF PAPER AND INK
Lindsay Harrel

the secrets of paper and ink.jpg

Harrel delivers a wonderfully unexpected and skillfully executed adventure of love, loss, and healing. The ebb and flow of perspectives between two modern-day women and the life of a mysterious Victorian woman mesmerizes and captivates. While each woman’s life is individually compelling, when intricately stitched together into the same tapestry, the result is unforgettable and breathtaking. Book lovers will be right at home in (or perhaps envious of) the quaint and cozy Cornwall bookstore and intrigued by the historical journal’s mystery. The author champions the soothing balm of friendship and community, all while exuding a spiritual strength, hope, and irrefutable faith-based identity in the face of brokenness, desperation, and betrayal. (THOMAS NELSON, Feb., 336 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON

On the outside, I was a simple woman, with a simple life. I did not, however, have simple dreams.
— The Secrets of Paper and Ink

Western/Historical Romance
HEALING HEARTS
Sarah Eden
SERIES: Savage Wells #2

healing hearts eden.jpg

Eden weaves fact and fiction effortlessly into the pages of this story where readers will get the chance to explore the repercussions and influences of mental health in the 1870's. While many of the situations are the same as we face today, the knowledge and treatment were primitive at best and make for some intriguing reading. Miriam is a heroine that makes her own mark - plucky, defensive, and independent - and she will go to any length to protect her past. With a communication mix-up that adds levity to the story, this sweet romance will seep into the heart. The descriptions of the Wyoming Territory of 1876 are vivid and bright; for example, Eden paints pictures in a way that allows readers to feel and hear the wind blow across the open plains.  (SHADOW MOUNTAIN, Feb, 336 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Patsy Glans/Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON


Juvenile Nonfiction
LIES GIRLS BELIEVE: And the truth that sets them free
Dannah Gresh

As readers on the precipice of adolescence help a new friend with questionable situations that arise after Gresh addresses common misconceptions, a foundation of truth is formed. From topics of boys, family, friendships, appearance, and more, each lie is combated with biblical truth in this conversational, colorful, and interactive manual. In addition, readers are given the tools to identify other lies in their lives and counteract them by seeking out God’s word and talking to their parents or a trusted mentor when questions arise. Gresh equips girls ages 8-12 by offering ways to identify “sticky” feelings and talk about difficult topics with their parents or mentors. The companion book, A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe, allows mothers to follow along with their charges as they seek out answers to some of today’s most common lies. (MOODY, Feb., 176 pp., $12.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON

You become the most beautiful to God when you get excited about wearing things like kindness, helpfulness, and cheerfulness, rather than some cool new shoes, or a great lip gloss.
— Lies Girls Believe

Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... January 11, 2019

HBTB In Review.png

Are you hunkered down for the big winter storm? Either way, do you need some ideas on what to read? Check out our 2018 Staff Picks and this week’s batch of reviews!


Inspirational Suspense
NEVER LET GO
Elizabeth Goddard
SERIES: Uncommon Justice #1

bold and blessed.jpg

Readers are in for a treat with this sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense novel. Between the romantic tension, surprising twists and turns, and constant danger, there is no time for readers to pause until they reach the end. Goddard presents a common theme throughout the book – not everything is as it seems. Willow’s stubbornness puts her into some tough situations, but thankfully for readers, Austin McKade has been hired for help. Austin has his own demons to face, but watching him sort through them and become more open with Willow in the process will have readers cheering for this destined-to-be-together couple. Austin’s brother Heath is a swoony secondary character that will have readers begging for more by the end. Thankfully his story is coming next! (REVELL, Feb., 368 pp., $10.99)

Reviewer: Jessica Baker

BUY ON AMAZON 


Bookmarked Review

Amish Romance
THE AMISH CANDYMAKER
Laura V. Hilton
SERIES: The Amish of Mackinac County #2

Her Cowboy Inheritance.jpg

Readers may want to invest in a big bag of gourmet chocolate or their favorite candy before indulging in this latest sweet-with-a-little-sass-mixed-in story from Laura V. Hilton. The author delves deeper into Agnes’s personality, a character previously a little difficult to connect with, and delivers a heroine who is engaging and very easy to like. Isaac will weaken knees with his winks and flirty behavior, and like Agnes he becomes even more likable as more of his story is revealed. Delightful banter and swoonworthy kisses between the two, as well as the adorable scenes with Isaac’s young charges, will leave a perpetual smile on readers’ faces from start to finish - even though a few tears may be shed as well. Another delicious visit to Hilton’s Mackinac County, in more ways than one! (WHITAKER HOUSE, Feb., 256 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Historical Romance
THEIR WYOMING COURTSHIP AGREEMENT
Stacy Henrie
SERIES: Sheridan’s Sweethearts #3

their wyoming courtship agreement.jpg

Sweet and heartwarming, this is a light and entertaining story that readers will delight in from cover to cover.  This novel intricately brings to life what it’s like to live in a Wyoming town in 1902 and the hardships of building up a small business in such a town. The author also beautifully highlights the timeless struggle of people comparing themselves to others - and realizing everyone is special and can succeed in their own and unique ways.  The story of an old and beloved friendship that blossoms into a romance when least expected also plays a large role in capturing the attention of readers.  A fabulous combination of history, friendship, and romance, this splendid book is sure to enthrall readers. (LOVE INSPIRED HISTORICALS, Feb, 288pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Sydney Anderson

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Romance
WEDDINGS, WILLOWS AND REVISED EXPECTATIONS
V. Joy Palmer

the coffee club mysteries.jpg

When Apryl Burns’s life is turned upside down, she finds herself required to work with Chance McFarland, the man she has claimed as her nemesis. Apryl’s big personality includes a humorous sarcastic streak, stubbornness, a love of potato chips, and a fiery temper, but also love for family and a vulnerability which makes her likable. The debates between her and Chance are heated and passionate, foreshadowing what a less tumultuous relationship between them could entail. Palmer includes several fun pop culture references, a few discussions of superheroes, and a bonus romantic storyline for Apryl’s twin sister in this book, but also the challenges of remaining loyal to family when goals and dreams don’t align and leaning into God when storms of change arrive. (WHITEFIRE, Feb., 217 pp., $15.99 )

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Historical Romance
THE ALAMO BRIDE
Kathleen Y’Barbo

SERIES: Daughters of the Mayflower

love made.jpg

The author’s love of Texas history shines from cover to cover with all the drama and action readers would anticipate from a story touting a connection to the Alamo. Ellis is an engaging and independent heroine. Her knowledge of herbs and healing, fierce love of her family and home, and willingness to boldly and courageously do anything in her power to protect and defend them are just some of the many layers which make Ellis such an endearing character. Clay embodies the swoony hero vibes with integrity and vulnerability as his complex mission is compromised by both injury and his distracting attraction to Ellis. Matters of trust, subterfuge, loyalty, and love muddy the waters as they weigh their contributions to the greater good against their individual desires, hopes, and dreams. (BARBOUR, Feb., 256 pp., $12.99 )

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Children’s Picture Book
QUINN’S PROMISE ROCK
Christie Thomas

With beautiful, soft pictures and the constant reminder of God’s care over us, young readers will treasure this picture book by Christie Thomas. In a world full of anxiety and fear, adults and children both can be reminded through the gentle guidance of father owl that there really is nothing to fear at all. God loves everyone and strives to keep them safe. The fun examples will entertain young ones, while also teaching the depth of God’s love. Although written for the benefit of young readers, older readers will also find themselves comforted with the knowledge of God’s love as they read. (HARVEST HOUSE, Feb., 32 pp., $16.99)

Reviewer: Jessica Baker

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... December 28, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

Happy Friday after Christmas! We hope you had a wonderful time with loved ones and moments to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. As you look ahead to the new year, here’s another round of book reviews to inspire your TBR list! A fabulous batch this week - several bookmarked reviews for you!


Inspirational Historical Romance
THIS HOMEWARD JOURNEY
Misty M. Beller
SERIES: Heart of the Mountains #5

this homeward journey.jpg

In the fifth installment of Beller’s Heart of the Mountains series, she addresses the problem of addiction (rampant even in the 1800's) in a truthful manner, without being graphic. It is refreshing to see a strong female lead with backbone, and Rachel Gray is full of grit and determination to keep herself and her son safe while traveling through the wilds of Montana. While Seth Grant made some bad decisions in the past, he is now a understanding and more approachable person. The description of the Canadian mountains is picturesque, and it is enjoyable to see the interaction between Rachel and Seth during the journey. (MISTY Y M. BELLER BOOKS, INC. Oct., 306 pp., $14.95)

Reviewer: Patsy Glans

BUY ON AMAZON 


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Romantic Suspense
CODE OF VALOR
Lynette Eason
SERIES: Blue Justice #3

code of valor.jpg

An intense beginning followed by an action-filled plot sequence keeps readers riveted in this third book in Eason’s Blue Justice series. What had been a quiet lake-side vacation for Detective Brady St. John turns into a deadly game of protection of Emily Chastain, a woman with a complex past, after several attempts on her life. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced development and unraveling the layers of mystery surrounding the case and, more specifically, the characters. With twists and turns, plus the involvement of a network of law enforcement and medical teams, each chapter of Code of Valor will entertain readers with visual imagery, while impacting them with themes of perseverance, self-image and love. Thrilling and captivating, Code of Valor makes its mark for romantic suspense readers. (REVELL, Jan., 336 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Contemporary Romance
THE RANCHER’S UNEXPECTED BABY
Jill Lynn
SERIES: Colorado Grooms #2

Fans of “older brother’s friend” or “childhood crush” romance tropes will especially enjoy this delightfully heartwarming ranching duo and the sweet baby bringing them together. Their journey through grief and regrets inspires tears, laughter, and gratitude. Emma’s crush and her resulting anti-stalker self-talks are stiff competition for Gage’s brand-new dad skills and unexpected (and assumedly forbidden) attraction to his friend’s little sister in the levity department. These authentic characters reflect the everyday attraction and connection forged through life’s less than glamorous yet essential pursuits such as housecleaning, cooking, and caring for little ones. Emma’s genuine love of children and compassion for others brings balance and contrast to Gage’s determination to avoid any and all relational entanglements. Lynn skillfully crafts a story that lingers within the heart while championing second chances, forgiveness, priorities, and love. (LOVE INSPIRED, Jan., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON

...she believed in love with a capital L—the conquer-anything kind.
— The Rancher's Unexpected Baby

Inspirational Non-Fiction/Evangelism & Ministry
LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE: How to Live Sent in the Place You Call Home
Shauna Pilgreen

love where you live cover.jpg

Part memoir, part instruction manual, and part encouragement, Love Where You Live challenges readers to live out the great commission wherever they call home. Whether handing out free pizza to the neighbors, interceding for the people she sees but hasn’t yet met, or raising their children in a community of faith, Shauna Pilgreen and her family strive to make intentional, authentic connections in a city that thrives on individual expression. It’s not always easy.  The author expresses genuine honesty as she shares some of the challenges and hard conversations she had with God when He called her family from a small southern town to San Francisco. Yet, her joy is evident in the connections she’s made and the faith that is forming in some of the people she’s met in her city. This book is a call to action for all believers to see where God has planted them as a mission field. (REVELL, Jan., 272 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON

If those who live near us are to know we are Christians by our love, it must be on display.
— Love Where You Live

Contemporary Amish Romance
SEASONS OF AN AMISH GARDEN
Amy Clipston

Seasons of an amish garden hbtb.jpg

These heart-warming stories of four ‘garden couples’ continue the author’s tradition of well-written sweet romance with a glimpse of realistic difficulties in relationships. They might be young, but these characters learn quickly that compromise is key and faith must be absolute, both in each other and in God. Young adult readers will enjoy the relatable perspective of these young people, who are still managing the difficulties of growing up as they navigate both their new romances and their places in the Amish community. Service to an elderly neighbor and the homeless in their area is a priority for them as well, and Clipston integrates their collaborative efforts with their personal growth flawlessly. (ZONDERVAN, Jan., 386 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Kerry Sutherland

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Contemporary Amish Cozy Mystery
KAPPY KING & THE PIE KAPER
Amy Lillard
SERIES: An Amish Mystery #3

kappy king and the pie kaper.jpg

Kappy King, her word-of-the-day calendar (and the rest of her endearing quirks), her English sidekick Edie (and Edie’s special needs brother Jimmy - and their endearing quirks), and hunky detective Jack Jones return with all the wit and warmth readers have come to expect from this series. Kappy is genuine and completely lovable, and the author’s portrayal of her is heartfelt if a bit delightfully tongue-in-cheek at times. Her sidekick Edie - Kappy’s direct opposite at least outwardly - provides the perfect counterpart, and this dynamic duo (along with Jimmy) may soon take over Jack’s job if he isn’t careful. The well-plotted case will appeal to cozy mystery fans - even if they aren’t a fan of Amish fiction. Lillard’s dry sense of humor, engaging characters, and on-point comedic timing are ideal for those looking for a book that makes them smile from the first page to the last. (ZEBRA, Dec., 352 pp., $12.95)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Romantic Suspense
SECRETS AT CEDAR CABIN
Colleen Coble
SERIES: Lavender Tides #1

Murder, mystery, mayhem and more! With villains who hide in plain sight, and heroes who don't, readers will quickly fall deep into the reading rabbit hole that is Colleen Coble's newest story. In fact, this book will be almost impossible to set down as Coble handles hard topics such as murder and human trafficking with decorum and ease. With a striking writing style, the author beautifully blends the lives of multiple characters whose every strength and flaw is utilized to create a masterpiece that will linger in readers’ minds long after the book is finished. Awesome read! (THOMAS NELSON, Jan, 352 pp., $16.99)

Reviewer: Alysha Worthen

BUY ON AMAZON



Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Suspense/Time-Slip Fiction
THE CURSE OF MISTY WAYFAIR
Jaime Jo Wright

The past and present collide in this time-slip suspense, weaving the lives of two women together in a high-intensity thriller. With emotions running wild, readers will get lost in this story from the very first page. While there are several elements that may be triggers for some readers, Wright presents these aspects tastefully and respectfully. One poignant takeaway is the concept that if the secrets of the past are never brought to the surface, history is doomed to repeat itself. Even more importantly though, Wright reminds us that to find true identity, we must first seek The Creator. Prepare for a mystery transpiring through time that will stimulate the senses. (BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS, Jan, 384 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON

We weren’t created to find our identity in life. We were created to discover our Creator. In doing so, our identity is defined.
— The Curse of Misty Wayfair

Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... December 21, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

Happy last Friday before Christmas! Can you believe it?!? Here’s another batch of recommended reads for you when you’re ready to take a break this weekend :)


Historical Amish Romance
WHERE THE HEART TAKES YOU
Virginia Wise
SERIES: Amish New World #1

where the heart takes you.jpg

An historical Amish debut and the beginning of a new series, this intriguing novel sheds light on the harsh realities faced by the earliest Amish settlers in America. By emphasizing their reliance on God and each other, the story allows these engaging characters to find a place in readers’ hearts. Greta is genuinely likable, despite her frequent cluelessness, and Jacob’s layered backstory adds further dimension to their current situation. Both hero and Heroine are headstrong, and romantic chemistry isn’t the only emotion sparking between them - the author does a good job of keeping both of these elements realistic and not over the top. Some of the editing could be a bit tighter (head hopping, telling vs. showing) but overall the charming plot, lovable characters, and inspiring history overcome these minor issues. Readers will chuckle, smile, swoon, and maybe even shed a few tears, and for sure they will be ready for another trip to the Amish New World. (ZEBRA, Dec. 288 pp., $7.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON 


Bookmarked Review

Amish Contemporary Romance/Novella Collection
THE AMISH SWEET SHOP
Emma Miller, Laura Bradford, Mary Ellis

the amish sweet shop.jpg

Stock up on chocolate before diving into this sweet read or prepare to fight off chocolate cravings throughout! Each of the three stories in this collection have a distinct flavor, per each author’s unique style, but are all tied together through Beechy’s Sweets. “The Sweetest Courtship” by Miller is completely delightful, the perfect blend of wit, warmth, and romance as Jacob and Rose are thrown together with a little help from his mom Clara and a broken knee. Bradford’s “The Sweetest Truth” is a heartwarming story with humor and heart - as well as some sizzling romantic tension. Readers will embrace Sadie’s journey to accepting that she is still worthy of love, and they’ll fall head over heels in love with Amos in the process. “Noting Tastes So Sweet” by Mary Ellis doesn’t have quite the same tone as the other two, and it doesn’t have romance as a focus. Despite this - and a couple of continuity hiccups - it stands well on its own with layered characters and a compelling plot. (KENSINGTON, Dec., 304 pp., $15.95)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Children’s Picture Book
ABC BIBLE VERSES FOR LITTLE ONES
Rebecca Lutzer

with this pledge.jpg

Young readers now have a fun and creative way to learn their ABC’s. Each page is filled with beautiful, vibrant illustrations that will catch the eye of any youngster. Each bible verse presented with the letter is in simple format for young readers to easily understand. Lutzer has provided a lovely, engaging book to introduce little ones to the bible and the Lord. Perfect for little ones, early readers, and even young Christians, this gem has a little something for everyone. (HARVEST HOUSE, Jan., 32 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Jessica Baker

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Historical Women’s Fiction
WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS
Erin Bartels

we hope for better things.jpg

Debut Novelist Erin Bartels gives readers a compelling story that touches on the difficult topics of interracial marriage, social status, and generational secrets. Although living during different times, Elizabeth, Nora and Mary show similarities that stem far beyond their relation to each other. They each learn the importance of staying true to oneself, defying the odds, and going against the grain of societal pressures. Bartels is not afraid to tackle adversity, and does so gracefully and poetically. We Hope For Better Things will easily gain favor from readers, and leave them wanting more. (REVELL, Jan., 392 pp., $9.99)

Reviewer: Jessica Baker

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Historical Romance
FLIGHTS OF FANCY
Jen Turano
Series: American Heiresses #1

flights of fancy.jpg

Turano delivers a fresh new story that is filled with laughter, mischief, danger, and romance. Isadora Delafield, an American heiress of the Gilded Age, embarks upon a most peculiar adventure, for the safety of her future and her person. True to the author’s style, this book includes (more than) a few mishaps from the heroine as well as devious antics from the villain. The children will pull at heartstrings, the hero will steal all hearts, and when readers come to the conclusion of this story, they will be begging for more Turano adventures. Written with all the unique flavors of this author’s voice, Flights of Fancy is a light-hearted, fun-filled adventure every reader should experience. (BETHANY HOUSE, Jan., 368 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON

A woman who doesn’t like chickens isn’t to be trusted.
— Flights of Fancy

Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Romantic Suspense
NORTHERN DECEPTION
Laurie Wood
SERIES: Heroes of the Tundra #1

moondust lake.jpg

Readers are taken to the dangerous yet beautiful Canadian tundra in Laurie Wood’s debut novel. Packed full of action, romance, and fun, readers will find themselves holding their breath as Kira and Lukas dodge bullets, bombs and more. Woods also brings in a special-needs character, adorable Sophie, adding a much needed bright spot to a novel that is so full of suspense; readers cannot help but fall in love with her sweet spirit. The fierce protectiveness Lukas portrays will have readers swooning as he battles to save his beloved Kira from harm. Wood captures the reader’s attention from page one and doesn’t let go all the way to the end. (ANAIAH PRESS, Dec., 170 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Jessica Baker

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Non-fiction/Christian Living
BRAVE LOVE: Making Space for You to Be You
Lisa Leonard

A Cowboy in Shepherds Crossing by Ruth Logan Herne.jpg

Fans of the Lisa Leonard Designs jewelry line will find the founder’s memoir especially appealing. Leonard, remarkably one of three sets of twins, shares how strong a connection she feels to her twin sister Chrissie and describes an idyllic childhood, yet confesses she constantly struggled to be perfect in order to be loved. The author describes her early life, marriage, and how her business started and eventually developed into the multi-million dollar company it is today. Readers, however, will find themselves most connected to Leonard’s struggles as a mom to her oldest son, David, who was born with Cornelia de Lange syndrome, and how she worked through grief and shame in order to parent her son with confidence. Leonard’s ongoing theme throughout every chapter is that it takes courage to love and bravery to communicate what one needs most, giving readers much to contemplate. (ZONDERVAN, Jan., 256 pp., $22.99)

Reviewer: Michele Howe

BUY ON AMAZON


Contemporary Young Adult
PRETTY IN PUNXSUTAWNEY
Laurie Boyle Crompton

pretty in punx.jpg

Many people would love to have a do-over day, and that’s exactly what Andie gets as she starts her senior year … again and again and again. Can a true love’s first kiss stop the endless cycle and allow Andie to see tomorrow? Various social issues and cliques (though there is a lack of diversity) are addressed as Andie struggles to find where she fits in. This book is a blast from the past, which may make it more relatable for an adult audience vs. the targeted YA crowd, who may not understand the 80s movies references. While the characters acted and spoke like teens, they felt more like teens from a few decades ago vs. present day. There is some predictability, especially if you’re familiar with John Hughes’s movies, but it’s a quick, fun, enjoyable read overall. (BLINK, JAN, 304 pp, $17.99)

Reviewer: Leslie L. McKee

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... December 7, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

Happy FRI-YAY! We hope you are staying warm and snug if you’re in the path of this weekend’s winter storm. A good rule of thumb is to keep 10 books on hand for every 1 person in your house, just in case you get snowed in! Here’s a batch to get you started :)


Inspirational Historical Fiction
THE PLUM BLOOMS IN WINTER
Linda Thompson
SERIES: Brands From the Burning #1

Benjy and the Belsnickel.jpg

This debut novel, inspired by a true story presents an emotionally compelling look at the complexities of defeat and the awesome power of forgiveness. As the author follows the often gritty journeys of an American Doolittle Raider and a Japanese woman through WW2, she gives readers an intriguing perspective from both sides of the war and enables them to put themselves in the characters' shoes. The contrast of prisons in different forms - not all of them with visible bars or easily escaped - further drives home the story's deeper meaning. Readers will like Linda Thompson's novel as she weaves long-ago facts into a roller coaster ride of emotions. Have a box of tissues at the ready for the unexpected turns that this road to forgiveness takes. (MOUNTAIN BROOK INK, Nov., 360 pp., $13.99)

Reviewer: Patsy Glans/Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON 


Inspirational Romantic Suspense/Christmas
HOLIDAY AMNESIA
Lynette Eason
SERIES: Wrangler’s Corner

holiday amnesia.jpg

When Robin Hardy can’t remember the past six months, how can she possibly know Toby Potter is who he claims to be? Yet, the connection to the man is ingrained deeper than her memory because despite the edge of anger she feels toward him, she believes she can trust him. Toby has his own worries—keeping Robin alive and wondering when she will remember his betrayal. The action is intense, the stakes are high, and the law enforcement agents are abundant in Wrangler’s Corner. With little to go on as far as suspects for most of the book, Toby and Robin are forced into defensive mode. Lynette Eason masterfully blends tension, strong emotions, and a burgeoning romance that will leave readers engaged until truths are revealed. (LOVE INSPIRED SUSPENSE, Dec., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Historical Fiction/Romance
SEARCHING FOR YOU
Jody Hedlund
SERIES: Orphan Train #3

amish christmas memories.jpg

Be prepared for an epic journey in this conclusion of Hedlund’s Orphan Train series. Sophie’s long-awaited journey captivates as she travels on an unknown road to freedom and safety. Hedlund’s words sink into the heart and soothe the soul, causing readers to melt into the story. With irresistible passion, the power of truth, the strength of family, the truth that ‘family’ does not always mean blood, and a genuine faith thread that Hedlund is skilled at portraying, Searching for You is a perfectly balanced binge-worthy read. Historical Fiction lovers should put this one at the top of their reading list. (BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS, Dec, 352 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Historical Fiction/Romance
SO BRIGHT A HOPE
Amber Lynn Perry
SERIES: Daughters of His Kingdom #5

so bright a hope.jpg

Find adventure in the heart of the American Revolution in this riveting tale of romance and espionage. With unique perspectives given throughout the story, readers will be able to grasp a well-rounded view of the circumstances that throw British Captain Higley and the Patriot, Miss Whitney, together. An admirable woman, a dashing officer, Perry delivers a heated passion in the most tasteful of ways!  Filled with rich vocabulary, intriguing characters, and vivid details, readers will be glued to their reading chair as they uncover the secrets hidden within these pages. (LIBERTY PUBLISHING, Dec, 403 pp., $2.99 ebook)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON

A room was not a room without a book.
— So Bright a Hope

Inspirational Split-Time Romance
WHO I AM WITH YOU
Robin Lee Hatcher
SERIES: Legacy of Faith #1

who i am with you.jpg

Hatcher weaves a story of betrayal, forgiveness and faith in her latest novel. Readers can easily relate to Jessica and Ridley as strong yet flawed characters. Showing the importance of not taking situations at face value, Jessica and Ridley take the time to really get to know each other rather than judge each other based on circumstances. In this seamless time slip novel, Hatcher provides inspiration in each character’s growing relationship with the Lord, and prompts readers to reflect on their own journey. This story of loss and redemption is sure to win the hearts of contemporary and historic romance fans alike. (THOMAS NELSON, Dec., 320 pp. $15.99)

Reviewer: Jessica Baker

BUY ON AMAZON


Contemporary Romance (clean)
CHRISTMAS AT PRESCOTT INN
Cathryn Parry

The Lieutenant's Bargain by Regina Jennings.jpg

Parry gives a delightfully fun story that showcases the highs and lows of the business world. Set at the perfect time of year for miracles to happen, readers will witness Nathan and Emilie overcome their past and gain footing on a bright, new future. Nathan learns to balance good business decisions with those from the heart, with a little help from a young lad, a past love, and a loyal niece. Filled with wonderful characters and a picturesque setting, this charming Christmas story will warm reader’s hearts as they enter the holiday season. (HARLEQUIN HEARTWARMING, Dec., 384 pp. $4.99)

Reviewer: Jessica Baker

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Romance
A COWBOY IN SHEPHERD’S CROSSING
Ruth Logan Herne
Series: Shepherd’s Crossing #2

A Cowboy in Shepherds Crossing by Ruth Logan Herne.jpg

Fans of small-town stories will fondly relate to the common challenges faced and unifying sense of home shared by folks who live in tight-knit communities like Shepherd’s Crossing, Idaho. Melonie, a driven and ambitious southern belle, is determined to make her mark on the world. She is a complex and compassionate character, reluctant to reconnect with the ranching culture, yet delightfully sassy. Jace’s work-ethic and compassion alone make him a winsome hero. With the tip of his authentic cowboy hat, the challenges he works through make Jace a genuinely swoon-worthy character. Herne skillfully uses the bold beauty’s arrival and an unexpected revelation to shake things up for the cowboy carpenter hero to engage minds and emotions with themes of adoption, identity, diversity, and integrity. (LOVE INSPIRED, Dec., 224 pp. $5.99)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Young Adult Fiction
GONE TOO SOON
Melody Carlson

Gone Too Soon by Melody Carlson.jpg

When favorite daughter Hannah dies in a terrible car accident, her family is left reeling. When Kiera discovers Hannah’s diary, she finds the perfect daughter was hiding some horrible secrets of her own and fears the family will be torn apart by grief and guilt. This book is raw, emotional and points to struggles even Christians can face. While the writing style may not be for everyone, this book would be an excellent read for young adults dealing with loss, anger and family issues. Recommended for readers 14 and up; parents may wish to pre-read so as to be ready to discuss. (WHITE SPARK PUBLISHING, Nov., 334 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Katelyn S. Bolds

BUY ON AMAZON



Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... November 30, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

Happy FRI-NALLY! We hope you have a marvelous weekend full of family, fun, and good reads! Here are some new reviews to get you started and keep your TBR list hopping…


Middle Grade/Historical Fiction/Christmas
BENJY AND THE BELSNICKEL
Bonnie Swinehart

Benjy and the Belsnickel.jpg

An exciting story for children this Christmas season, Benjy and the Belsnickel is reminiscent of the Little House books. With an engaging voice to capture the readers, the author weaves a tale of folklore that Benjy learns to heed - persuaded to behave as Christmas approaches for fear of a visit from the Belsnickel. Swinehart delivers a fun story that reminds children about the benefits of doing the right thing. Parents, too, will enjoy discussing the plot’s events with their young readers. (WHITESPARK PUBLISHING, Nov, 132 pp., $11.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON 


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Romantic Suspense/Christmas
COLD CASE CHRISTMAS
Jessica R. Patch

cold case christmas.jpg

Immediately from the first page, readers are dropped right into the suspenseful tension that remains a steady presence even to the last pages. A long-submerged car, skeletal remains and some other mysterious clues have Nora Livingstone determined to find out what really happened to her mother all those years ago. While Nora on the surface appears brash and cold at first, Patch slowly draws out the layers to Nora’s personality and in so doing uncovers her softer side, buried under years of hurt. Deputy Sheriff Rush Buchanan, however? The embodiment of swooniliciousness with some deep hurt to address too. Romantic chemistry sizzles between these two former flames even as Nora must fight for her life at every turn - and Rush must figure out how to protect her and his heart at the same time. A riveting thriller from beginning to end with a soul-deep message of grace, forgiveness, and true love. (LOVE INSPIRED SUSPENSE, Dec., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Amish Fiction/Christmas
AMISH CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
Vannetta Chapman

amish christmas memories.jpg

Just in time for Christmas, Vannetta Chapman’s new novel embodies the warmth the season awakens in us. Beautiful white snow, a warm fireplace, cozy blankets, family, friends and a story of love fill this short novel with heartwarming sweetness that reminds readers where home is. Lost and confused, Rachel is grateful for Caleb and his parents for saving her, but his traditional and conservative mindset annoys her to no end. However, together through Rachel’s amnesia, time may just open their eyes to God’s plan for each of them and for each other. (LOVE INSPIRED, Dec., 220 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Romance
THE COWBOY’S MIXED-UP MATCHMAKER
Valerie Comer
SERIES: Montana Ranches #2

the cowboy's mixed up matchmaker.jpg

Friends don’t let friends turn thirty… single.  As James and Lauren quickly approach their thirtieth birthdays, they separately remember the marriage pact they made as teenagers. And panic. Unable to stand the thought of the man she loves marrying her out of obligation, Lauren tries desperately to set James up with anyone else, while James regrets not making his feelings for Lauren known sooner. This sweetly romantic story is full of humorous miscommunication and tender longing. The reader will be touched by James' close-knit family and will hurt for Lauren due to the pressure and sharp criticism she receives from her mother. The Cowboy's Mixed-Up Matchmaker contains a compelling message about how we can know God's will for our lives. (GREENWORDS MEDIA, Dec., 213 pp, $0.99 ebook)

Reviewer: Phyllis Helton

BUY ON AMAZON


Nonfiction/Devotional
RESTORATION YEAR: A 365-DAY DEVOTIONAL
John Eldredge

restoration year.jpg

The approaching year is the perfect time for a fresh start, and that is what Eldredge hopes to provide for the reader with this new devotional book. In the introduction, the reader, whom Eldredge refers to as “friend,” is asked to consider how the new year can be different. Restoration Year is a great way to implement some changes, as well as provide a daily time with Jesus. Each devotion begins with a verse and ends with a reflection/action step or a prayer. Readings are encouraging and relatively short, so they’re easy to fit into a busy schedule. Males and females alike can enjoy this, as the topical themes are universal (including healing, friendship, hope, prayer, and Jesus’ love). (THOMAS NELSON, Dec, 400 pp, $19.99)

Reviewer: Leslie L. McKee

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Historical Romance
THE LIEUTENANT’S BARGAIN
Regina Jennings
SERIES: Fort Reno #2

Bookmarked Review

The Lieutenant's Bargain by Regina Jennings.jpg

Genuinely heartfelt, this engaging plot and endearing cast bring Fort Reno to life! The combination of awkward discomfort and delicious tension between the artistic, determined spitfire and scholarly, masculine soldier is simply delightful. Readers will appreciate the masterful levity and authenticity Jennings incorporates into the tale as well as her compassionate, respectful depiction of the Native American tribes and their culture during the tumultuous time period of the Indian Territory. Themes of insecurity, communication, fear, respect, courage, faith and love ground this light-hearted story in truth and reality.

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

In Review... Thanksgiving Week

HBTB In Review.png

We here at Hope By the Book hope those of you in the United States had a blessed & delicious Thanksgiving! Now that the busyness of the holiday and Black Friday are behind us, here is a new batch of reviews to help you find the best reads for your weekend!


Bookmarked Review

Devotional/Christmas
WHEN GOD CALLS THE HEART AT CHRISTMAS
Brian Bird & Michelle Cox

when god calls the heart at christmas.jpg

Inspired by the hit Hallmark Channel TV show ‘When Calls The Heart’ (which is based on author Janette Oke’s popular book series by the same name), this beautiful devotional book is full of spiritual application from the show. It’s also warmly brimming with pictures from the show, recipes, and stories of Christmases past. Adding to the delightful tone of this book is the fact that most of the recipes and Christmas memories are contributed by ‘Hearties’ (the nickname for the show’s devoted fans) or people otherwise connected with the show’s production. Bible verses, prayers, and thoughtful questions at the end of each day’s devotional contribute to the book’s deeper meaning as well. A great gift idea and must-read for any fan of the show or the original novels! (BROADSTREET, Sept., 176 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON 


Gold Star Review

NonFiction/Christian Living
IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY
Lysa TerKeurst

it's not supposed to be this way.jpg

Lysa TerKeurst, the New York Times bestselling author of Uninvited, has yet again written a heartfelt recounting of shattering disappointments and painful circumstances while also framing them for readers from God’s perspective. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way touches on the life-long question of the whys, matched with the innate desire to know all the answers and be in control. Challenging, engaging and insightful, the author’s easy and friendly style of writing will draw you in like close friends sharing their most intimate struggles. Additionally, the end-of-chapter reminders, Biblical references and reflections to ponder, make this book the perfect choice for individual use or small group study. More than a devotional or self-help book, readers will find personally relevant themes as well as encouragement to trust God in His promises, learn to let go and let Jesus “take the wheel” in their own lives. (THOMAS NELSON, Nov., 272 pp., $22.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON

Using God’s truth as your fighting words will not change what you see, but it absolutely will change how you see.
— Lysa TerKeurst, It's Not Supposed To Be This Way

Inspirational Historical Romance
A DREAM FULFILLED (An O’Connor Christmas short novel)
Julie Lessman
SERIES: Daughters of Boston & Winds of Change

a dream fulfilled.jpg

Skip the mistletoe and warm your spirit with steamy kisses of wedded bliss from the queen of purposeful passion in this quick O’Connor Christmas read. Lessman’s refreshingly transparent take on marital discontent and reconciliation is loaded with tension over unmet expectations, compromise, and contentment. This story reminds readers of God’s sovereign plan for our lives especially as our own plans seem to blow up in our faces. The continuing O’Connor legacy of faith, love, and Irish tempers continues to thrive and delight fans with fresh new chapters in the lives of familiar and beloved characters. (JULIE LESSMAN, Oct., 188 pp., $2.99, ebook)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Historical Fiction/Romance
THE LIBERTY BRIDE
MaryLu Tyndall
SERIES: Daughters of the Mayflower #6

the liberty bride.jpg

Taking readers to the seas, ships, and shores of the War of 1812, Tyndall weaves a romantic tale of espionage and intrigue that will keep readers guessing. Emeline and Owen are both layered characters with backstories to unpack, faith to wrestle with, and secrets to maintain, though Owen may take longer to warm up to for some readers. Emeline’s kind heart and inner strength in the midst of the horrors of war are a highlight of the story, as is the nearly-tangible romantic chemistry between hero and heroine. Divided loyalties - at least outwardly - complicate their growing feelings for each other and add further dimension to their relationship. Tyndall doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of the war or the truth of history, yet she also makes sure to wrap it all in hope, love, grace, and an incredibly touching example of deeply personal faith. (BARBOUR, Dec., 256 pp, $12.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Romantic Suspense
MIND GAMES
Nancy Mehl
SERIES: Kaely Quinn Profiler #1

mind games.jpg

Nancy Mehl’s new romantic suspense is full of heart-pounding plot twists, sizzling attraction, and deep insight into the mind. Readers will quickly fall in love with the strong heroine, Kaely Quinn. The daughter of an infamous serial killer, Kaely works for the FBI providing behavior analysis to profile and catch killers. She is dedicated solely to her job, having learned as a young girl not to trust anyone, especially men. But now that a serial killer has started writing poetry predicting the deaths of Kaely and others, she must learn to trust her handsome new partner--Special Agent Noah Hunter--no matter how much she’d rather go it alone. And the emotions she starts to feel toward him, well, those will just have to wait. They have to catch the killer before he targets his last victim--her. You won’t be able to put this book down. (BETHANY HOUSE, Dec., 336 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Katelyn S. Bolds

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Suspense/Legal Thriller
CHOSEN PEOPLE
Robert Whitlow

chosen people.jpg

Warning: do not relax while reading this latest high-stakes legal thriller from Robert Whitlow. While it’s tempting to do so when the text slows in places (particularly in the middle), giving in to that temptation would ultimately be a mistake. The slower pace at times can be attributed to the author’s tendency to tell rather than show details of character and setting, but ultimately the choice works for his proven style. Intriguing international law combines with the continuing complex and charged dynamics between all faiths and cultures represented in Israel - as well as the masterful unpredictability of the plot - to keep readers riveted to the page, waiting to see how it all unfolds. And when it does, well, buckle up and remember to breathe! In the midst of all the intrigue and not knowing who to trust, a couple of touching faith threads weave straight through the story to the heart. (THOMAS NELSON, Nov., 448 pp., $16.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Romance/Christmas
THE RANCHER’S CHRISTMAS MATCH
Brenda Minton
SERIES: Mercy Ranch #2

The Rancher's Christmas Match.jpg

While there are plenty of sparks between Isaac and Rebecca (not always the good kind, though there are a plethora of those as well), the heart of Brenda Minton’s newest release lies in the wounds the characters carry. From Rebecca’s pain and heartache over her emotional rejections to every wounded veteran residing at Mercy Ranch, and to Isaac who carries both emotional and physical reminders of his trials, the scars are raw and affect the directions chosen and decisions made in the lives of this tight-knit community. During the Christmas season filled with some festive activities to put readers in the holiday spirit, this small Oklahoma town lives up to its name. What better place for a fresh start than in a place called Hope? (LOVE INSPIRED, Dec., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

For more on our review philosophy, click HERE

Jerry Jenkins's new book 'Dead Sea Rising' may be his best yet

Jenkins-PRPhoto.jpg

With 195 books and over 70 million copies sold (including the blockbuster Left Behind series), Jerry B. Jenkins is no stranger to the publishing industry - or to readers.

Twenty-one of his titles have reached the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists. Jenkins has been featured on the cover of Newsweek and his writing has appeared in Time, Reader’s Digest, Guideposts, and dozens of other periodicals. He and his wife, Dianna, have three grown sons and live in Colorado. He also owns the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild which coaches thousands of aspiring writers in both fiction and nonfiction.

His new series - The Dead Sea Chronicles - promises to be a ‘heart-stopping adventure of historical proportions’. The first book - Dead Sea Rising - releases November 13th from Worthy Publishing, and we at Hope By The Book are excited to have the opportunity to chat with Jerry today.


About the Book

Nicole Berman is an archaeologist on the brink of a world-changing discovery. During her first dig in Jordan, she believes she has found concrete evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history books forever. But someone doesn’t want the truth revealed. While urgently trying to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle, a dangerous enemy is out to stop her.

“Jerry Jenkins’ dialogue is equal to the best of Nelson DeMille, his storylines equal to the best of John Grisham. And now Dead Sea Rising . . . this book may be Jerry’s best.”
—ANDY ANDREWS, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE TRAVELER’S GIFT AND THE NOTICER

“Jumping back and forth in time at a breakneck pace, Dead Sea Rising is a thriller as only Jerry B. Jenkins can tell it. Biblical history combines with gripping contemporary mystery. Just be aware—you’ll be hooked.”
—JAMES SCOTT BELL, INTERNATIONAL THRILLER WRITERS AWARD WINNER


Q: Just for fun: If you were an archaeologist, which city or artifact would you most love to find?

Jerry: I’ve long been fascinated by the time of Jesus, First Century Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and great strides have been made between our first and most recent trips to the Holy Land (about 30 years apart). We’re seeing more and more of the archaeological level where Jesus actually walked. A dream dig would uncover artifacts directly tied to Him.

Q: You are a prolific writer, with 195 books to your name, including 21 New York Times bestsellers (seven of those debuting at #1). What is the best advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Jerry: Two things: First, don’t start your career with a book. That would be like 5-year-olds beginning their education in graduate school. Write and sell shorter stuff as you learn the craft—getting a quarter million clichés out of your system, collaborating with editors, polishing your prose. And second, never set out to write a bestseller. Write from your passion and give yourself to the things you can control: your work ethic, thinking reader-first, and hitting your deadline. Leave sales and reviews to the marketplace.

Q: What can readers expect from your book, Dead Sea Rising? What is your favorite aspect of the book?

Jerry: I worked hard to infuse the novel with lots of setups and payoffs designed to keep readers turning the pages. My favorite aspect is the alternating chapters that weave a contemporary story with one from four thousand years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. Archaeologist and biblical consultant, Dr. Craig Evans, keeps me on track in areas not in my wheelhouse. He’s been a joy to work with, as he has the ability to keep the cookies on the lower shelf where I can reach them.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Dead Sea Rising and its heroine, archaeologist Nicole Berman?

Jerry: It was truly a collaborative effort with Worthy Publishers and editors I’ve long worked with. Having families face similar pressures four thousand years apart came to me during the writing process.

Q: Why do you think readers continue to find this type of Biblical history/contemporary thriller so irresistible and compelling?

Jerry: Well, I hope they do! Readers are becoming increasingly discerning, and no author dares just assume their interest and, in essence, mail it in. The more I write, the more I want each book to be better than the last, so I give it my all and hope readers like it.

Q: Which books have helped you find hope lately?

Jerry: I’m reading Jim Watkins’s modernization of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. And while this may seem dichotomous, I’m also reading the multi-volume biography of Winston Churchill. Strangely, though he lived through some of the most tumultuous times in world history, I find hope between the lines.


Jerry, thank you so much for chatting with us today! It’s such an honor to have you at Hope By The Book!

Preorder the Book

In Review... November 2, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

For your weekend reading pleasure, we’ve got reviews for nonfiction, contemporary romcom, suspense, Amish fiction, and dystopian!


Inspirational Non-Fiction/Personal Growth/Memoir
THE VOICE
Sandi Patty (with Cindy Lambert)

the voice.jpg

In The Voice, singer Sandi Patty shares her struggles with finding hers. As a recording artist, Patty only expressed herself onstage through music but there was a world of hurt, shame, and pain in all other areas of her life. She shares some difficult seasons and the truths she learned through them without offering excuses or justifications for her sin. In addition to her experiences, Patty encourages readers to find their own voices while emphasizing it won’t be easy but is worth it. At the end of every chapter, readers are provided questions and exercises to put the lessons into practice along with a scripture verse to reflect on. Despite some difficult topics which include sexual abuse, a broken marriage, food addiction, and more, Patty’s personality, sense of humor, and heart for broken people shine through the pages. The Voice is like sitting down with a friend for an update on life, complete with laughter, tears, and healing. (ZONDERVAN, Nov., 208 pp., $22.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON 


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Contemporary Romantic Comedy
TEAL PAISLEY TIGHTS
Barbara Brutt

teal paisley tights.jpg

Pleasing other people is Jadyn’s number one concern. But what is it that she wants in life? Creative, unique, and original, Brutt brings a breath of fresh literature in her debut novel. Real life issues can be found in this fun yet truth-packed story, and remembering to follow the passions God has placed in one’s heart is a lesson which benefits all. With a cast of characters spanning a wide variety, this story is sure to touch the heart and elicit many laughs along the way. Waltz into this perfect Fall read and lose yourself in the artistry of words. (VINSPIRE PUBLISHING, Nov., 370  pp., $16.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Amish Fiction/Novella Collection
AN AMISH HOMECOMING
Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Shelley Shepard Gray, and Kathleen Fuller

an amish homecoming.jpg

Four brand new novellas by four of the top authors in Amish fiction equals a fabulous reading experience from start to finish! Clipston’s No Place Like Home features young widow Eva Dienner who returns home to her estranged parents with her young son; this is a sweet story with great romantic chemistry, a swoony hero, and layered emotions. In When Love Returns, Wiseman tells the story of Hurricane Harvey survivor and single mom Sarah Zook who has no choice but to come home with her young daughter; lots of dimensions to this story - with plenty of emotional conflict and long held secrets. Gray’s The Courage to Love catches readers up with fan favorite Irene Keim and the ways she’s moving on after a tragic death; the couple who have taken her in are delightful, and their son Marcus adds the right combination of conflict and romance. Finally, in What Love Built, Fuller heads back to Birch Creek with a story that reminds readers of the power of community and second-chances at love. (ZONDERVAN, Oct., 416 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Amish Romance
AN AMISH WIFE FOR CHRISTMAS
Patricia Davids
Series: North Country Amish #1

an amish wife for christmas.jpg

Prolific author Davids starts a new series, set in Maine, with a fledgling Amish community and plenty of layers (and not just the outerwear needed for the stark cold and snow). The author’s trademark wit and charm are fully in place, and readers will fall in love with the endearing characters - particularly a dog named Sadie Sue who steals hearts just as much as she steals the show. Her relationship with Michael (who is recovering from PTSD) and with Jenny (the heroine’s little sister) are both so well-written that readers may find themselves wishing a dog like Sadie Sue would find them too. At the core of the story is Bethany Martin’s struggle to raise her siblings alone (particularly her troubled brother Ivan), her blossoming friendship with Michael, and Michael’s battle to overcome his PTSD. Well-written with a sweet romance and lovable characters, this is the perfect choice to get in the mood for Christmas and winter weather! (LOVE INSPIRED, Nov, 224 pp, $5.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Amish Fiction/Romantic Suspense
AMISH CHRISTMAS EMERGENCY
Dana R. Lynn
Series: Amish Country Justice #5

amish christmas emergency.jpg

In Lynn’s latest installment in the “Amish Country Justice” series (#5), Nurse Alexa Grant has a stalker who has followed her across the country. He will stop at nothing to have her, but police officer Gavin, a determined hero, vows to keep her, and those around her, alive. Relationships develop at a natural pace amid the twists and turns of this romantic suspense. The mystery is solid, and sharp details, mixed with action from the get-go, keep the reader guessing. God’s grace and the importance of forgiveness are evident in the characters. (LOVE INSPIRED, Nov, 224 pp, $5.99)

Reviewer: Leslie L. McKee

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Young Adult/Dystopian
ENCLAVE
Thomas Locke

enclave.jpg

With all the lawlessness of a Wild West tale, this intense story is a stark look at a future where hope is rare and fear is rampant. Caleb, Kevin, and Zeke are young adults charged with the fate of others like them, known as ‘specials,’ and ultimately, ‘adepts,’ who have a variety of mental gifts that make them targets of the government as well as others want to control them.  Strong yet believably flawed characters and a snappy pace will keep readers eagerly anticipating chapter after chapter, and ultimately, wishing for more books. (REVELL, Nov., 288 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Kerry Sutherland

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

In Review... October 26, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

From contemporary & historical romance and romantic suspense to children’s titles and nonfiction, we’ve got your weekend reads covered!


Inspirational Contemporary Romance/Christmas
LONE STAR CHRISTMAS
Jolene Navarro
Miniseries: Lone Star Legacy #3

lone star christmas.jpg

When a tough bull-riding cowboy spends the holidays with his kid brothers, the wall blocking the soft parts of his heart slowly melts away. Facing the ghosts from his past and finally putting to rest the animosity between his founding family and the rest of the town may be a job too big to handle alone. He can wrangle a bull, but kid brothers? That's a whole different arena. Hallmark Christmas movie lovers will fall in love with this sweet romance. Family, love, forgiveness, and healing are the main aspects of this story. A quick read and Christmas themed, this is a great story to read during the upcoming holiday season. (LOVE INSPIRED, Nov., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON 


Inspirational Contemporary Romance
ON MAGNOLIA LANE
Denise Hunter
Series: Blue Ridge Romance #3

on magnolia lane.jpg

Hunter caps the final installment of her Blue Ridge Romance series with a story of unsuspected romance toppled by revealed secrets extending to grace and the wisdom of forgiveness.  Trying to get Daisy to see him as more than a figure of authority, Pastor Jack hides behind the anonymity of internet dating. When Daisy starts to fall not only for Pastor Jack’s alter ego, TJ, but also Pastor Jack himself, things get a bit complicated.  Add in a life-changing family secret, and we have ourselves a hot mess. Despite the kerfuffle our characters are in, the author’s writing is splendid in laying the foundation for grace, building anticipation toward a climax when redemption is the only answer, and leaving readers satisfied and inspired. (THOMAS NELSON, Nov., 320 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON

...sometimes you just have to extend a little grace to people. Not because they deserve it - but because we don’t deserve it either.
— On Magnolia Lane

Inspirational Romantic Suspense
IN TOO DEEP
Lynn H. Blackburn
Series: Dive Team Investigations #2

in too deep blackburn.jpg

Dive into Lynn Blackburn's newest thrilling read, where trust and loyalty are tested continuously. Readers will be hooked from the beginning when a message from the grave reveals there might be more deep-rooted evil going on in this small town than first appears, even as people turn a blind eye to it. Though this book deals with tough topics such as human trafficking, the author lightens the mood with lovable, witty characters who bring a bright side to the bleak situations. Blackburn also wonderfully captured the dynamic of friends who are more like family. (REVELL, Nov., 352 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Alysha Worthen

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Children’s Picture Book
HOLES IN THE SKY
Patricia Polacco
Grades 1-4

holes in the sky.jpg

For everyone who fell in love with Miss Eula in Polacco’s touching 1992 release Chicken Sunday, she’s back in this prequel story set just after Trisha’s family moves into the ethnically diverse neighborhood. As well as opening up important discussions about loss and grief, Holes in the Sky paints a beautiful picture of a multicultural America where people embrace each other’s differences and commonalities. Polacco’s signature illustrations elevate the story even further, with a richly drawn focus on African American and Russian Jewish cultures. The plot and the characters settle right in the heart and make this delightful book one for the keeper shelf! (G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, Sept., 48 pp., $18.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Historical Romance/Novella
ENCHANTING NICHOLETTE
Dawn Crandall
Series: The Everstone Chronicles #5

Bookmarked Review

you've got this.jpg

Fans of Crandall’s Everstone Chronicles will be delighted to re-enter the realm of the Everstone family. With impeccable imagery, this short story will entice readers with the beauty of the Gilded Age. Romance to touch the innermost crevices of the heart, faith that moves the soul, and a hero unrivaled, this is a story that should not be missed. Don’t forget to visit the rest of the Everstone family in the rest of the series as well. (WHITAKER HOUSE, Oct., 176 pp., $12.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Non-Fiction/Christian Living
ODD(LY) ENOUGH
Carolanne Miljavac

odd(ly) enough.jpg

Social media sensation and inspirational speaker Carolanne Miljavac pens an unyielding letter to readers in Odd(ly) Enough: Standing Out When the World Begs You To Fit In.  Authentic and relatable, it hits home with the many physical and emotional issues one faces from anxiety to abuse, self-doubt to depression and fear to grief.  Yet, in all that, the author encourages readers to see beyond the pain and find solace, strength and courage to let go and let God. Her coaching style of writing may not appeal to all, but her voice is true and honest, inspiring those that see themselves in her to strive to find their own voice. (SHILOH RUN PRESS, Nov., 224 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON

How could you ever know just how strong you are if your strength has never been tested? How could you know that you can do hard things if everything is easy?
— Odd(Ly) Enough

Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

In Review... October 19, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

From contemporary romance and women’s fiction to children’s titles and nonfiction, we’ve got a little something for everyone!


Children/Picture Book
THE COW SAID NEIGH!: A Farm Story
Rory Feek (illustrated by Bruno Robert)

the cow said neigh.jpg

“The grass is always greener on the other side.” In Rory Feek’s The Cow Said Neigh! A Farm Story, each farm animal wants to be a different one by mimicking the sounds of the other. A great fun story with beautiful illustrations that will catch the attention of anyone who lays eyes on it, not just the little ones. Of course adults will grasp the all-too-relevant message of comparison and confusion, but little ones may just enjoy it for the silliness of the animals and the colorful pictures. Either way, it’ll be a story for emerging young readers to learn, for adults to enlighten, and definitely for all to enjoy. Also available as a board book. (TOMMY NELSON, Oct., 26 pp., $9.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Children/Middle Grade
LEARNING TO FLY
Sandra Atkins

learning to fly.jpg

When a boy plays a trick on his younger sister, he learns very quickly the consequences of being mean. This story teaches a lifelong lesson to children about teasing and being mean to others. Taking something that someone loves and turning it against them can be so cruel and unfeeling. Thankfully, there is forgiveness from the Father. There is hope to overcome the fear that was instilled. The author’s writing style will engage young readers and speak to their hearts, although some of the plot choices are surprising. In this story, children, and maybe even parents, will learn the valuable lesson about actively being kind. (AMBASSADOR INTERNATIONAL, Aug., 56 pp., $8.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Romance
WHEN YOU LOOK AT ME
Pepper Basham
Series: Pleasant Gap #2

Bookmarked Review

when you look at me front.jpg

Musical camaraderie opens the doors to a quiet friendship as two kindred spirits discover the comfortable freedom of mutual understanding. Basham presents an unlikely heroine (a young Appalachian woman preparing to become a single parent following a brutal attack) and faithfully delivers the measured and respectful approach such a situation demands. The handsome and successful British composer hero is amicable despite his emotional baggage of betrayal and contentious family relationships. Awkward exchanges and social blunders further endear Julia and Henry to one another despite the undeniable challenges a relationship beyond their status as casual friends would incur. Readers will swoon over Henry’s sweet patience and care for Julia’s heart. Matchmaking, humorous culture clash, an old family mystery, and the birth of a precious babe will dance across the reader’s imagination with a rich musical soundtrack in this tale of healing, family, and love. (WOVEN WORDS, Oct., 296 pp., $11.99)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
INDIVISIBLE (A Novelization)
Travis Thrasher

indivisible.jpg

Based on the screen play by David Evans, Travis Thrasher has written a heart warming tribute to those who serve our country. Servicemen and servicewomen know there is a chance they may not come back from each deployment; when they do come home, they are changed forever. This novel highlights the courage they have to get out of the darkness and into the light with the help of a God who gives hope for everyone. Army chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather are deeply affected by Darren's deployment to Iraq, him by being a part of the conflict and Heather by battling to keep her fears at bay and take care of their children. Does time heal all wounds? Can having hope get them back to where they were before or will it be too much? Powerful and touching novel with a great message, inspired by true events. (THOMAS NELSON, Oct., 336 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Patsy Glans

BUY ON AMAZON


Devotional/Inspiration
YOU’VE GOT THIS (Because God’s Got You)
KariAnne Wood

Bookmarked Review

you've got this.jpg

Popular decorating and lifestyle blogger, KariAnne Wood (Thistlewood Farms) delivers an encouraging collection of 52 devotions. With a fun voice and authentically-relatable personal reflections, Wood encourages weary women with these quick but meaningful reads. She speaks right to the heart with Scripture, brief prayers, anecdotes, and application. Additionally, the aesthetic of the cover and interior page designs starts readers out, right from the beginning, with a smile. It’s a book that catches the eye and maintains that appealing connection throughout each day’s reading. Can be read ‘popcorn’ style - by heading to the topic that most appeals - or by meditating on one devotional a week all year. Versatile, engaging, and encouraging, this would also make a great stocking stuffer! (TYNDALE MOMENTUM, Sept., 224, $12.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON

But here’s the thing: even when the situation looks hopeless, even when making the right choice looks hard with extra challenge on top, God’s got you.
— KariAnne Wood

Inspirational Non-Fiction/Relationships
NAVIGATING THE FRIENDSHIP MAZE
Michele Howe

navigating the friendship maze.jpg

In this engaging book on friendship (the good, the bad, and the toxic), Howe helps readers navigate the labyrinth of relationships to find authentic friends that edify and point to God. She spends time defining Biblical friendship (and why it’s essential), discussing the kind of friend every woman needs, and coaching women on how to become a lasting friend to others. Each chapter is short and sweet, with thought-provoking personal stories, Scripture, quotes, reflections, and prayers. She also includes a ‘take-away action thought’ in each chapter, as well as ‘focus on friendship’ questions that make this a great choice for both small group study and personal reading. Easy to read and meaningful, there is much treasure to be mined here for readers who simply want to pan for gold or readers who want to dig deeper. (HENDRICKSON PUBLISHERS, May, 160 pp., $14.95)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Women’s Fiction
AT HOME IN WISHING BRIDGE
Ruth Logan Herne
Series: Wishing Bridge #2

Bookmarked Review

At Home In Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne.jpg

Herne’s compassion for people from all walks of life is unabashedly woven into the undeniable authenticity of her skillfully crafted stories. The genuine heart of this small-town community draws even its staunchest city-slicker residents as they grapple relevant, raw, challenging issues. Dedicated nurse practitioner Thea has an endearing combination of confident independence and sensitive vulnerability. While she and Dr. Ethan Bradenburg often experience frustration with one another, their biggest obstacle is their growing attraction considering the temporary nature of their positions. Wishing Bridge presents readers with a realistic cross-section of residents in a variety of ages, economic classes, cultural backgrounds, and professions. Grief, poverty, racism, foster care, accessibility of medical services, and human trafficking all play a role within the plot, yet the community, friendship, and sweet romance keep darker themes from overpowering the inspiring hope of faith. (WATERFALL PRESS, Oct., 304 pp., $12.95)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

In Review... October 12, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

From historical fiction to science fiction to contemporary romance and romantic suspense, we’ve got a little something for everyone!


Inspirational Historical Romance/Christmas
A TALE OF TWO HEARTS
Michelle Griep
Series: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #2

a tale of two hearts.png

Griep exquisitely weaves a Christmas tale that would make Dickens proud. Escape to Victorian England this Christmas season within the pages of this book. Two hearts have collided, yet with a relationship rife with deception, are there any chances left for forgiveness or love? The author beautifully draws the reader in with intriguing characters, subterfuge, mysterious pasts, and the hope of second chances. Woven into the theme is the distinct truth of God’s forgiveness of the past and the promises of the future. Readers are sure to lose themselves in this fantastic addition to Griep’s Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. (SHILOH RUN PRESS, Sept., 192 pp., $12.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Contemporary Romance
ALL MADE UP
Kara Isaac

all made up.jpg

Isaac blends an outlandish media situation with heartbreaking medical realities when two former flames are unexpectedly reunited on the set of a “Bachelor” style reality television show. Although sparks certainly fly between small-town rancher Caleb and world-renowned make-up artist Katriona, an intimate and vulnerable wall of blame and bitterness continues to stand firmly between them. Eyebrow-raising bloopers provide ample levity as the characters reexamine their dreams, seek forgiveness, and learn to engage in honest communication. Bravo to the author for shining a light on the helplessness and loneliness of incurable medical conditions. This story reminds readers that it’s possible to have it all and still miss out on what matters most. Glamour, fame, and travel don’t fulfill a heart’s desire for family, faith, and love. (BELLBIRD PRESS, Sep., 446 pp., $13.99)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Speculative Fiction
THE RELUCTANT DISCIPLE
Jim O’Shea

the reluctant disciple.jpg

While his popular new age news program exploring unexplained phenomena such as UFOs and ghosts is sits at the top of the rankings, host Ryan Kates is skeptical. One whose strongest belief—that there is no God—is about to be tested to the breaking point. Through a handful of characters, Jim O’Shea sets up the ultimate end game as prophesied in Revelation. Combining religious and Biblical history, a dash of science, intense—sometimes frightening—moments, and a plethora of deceit, The Reluctant Disciple serves as an unforgettable reminder that the final battle for every soul draws nearer. (AMBASSADOR INTERNATIONAL, Oct., 308 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Historical Fiction/Mystery
LADY OF A THOUSAND TREASURES
Sandra Byrd
Series: The Victorian Ladies #1

lady of a thousand treasures.jpg

Treasure, mystery, and romance are exquisitely intertwined in this Victorian Era story. Between the heart-pounding drama and the heart-stopping kisses, readers will lose themselves in this world of antiquities and love. See the beauty of trust and honesty played out on each page, and learn a lot of real history as well. Byrd allows the characters to tell their stories and readers to be swept into a different age. Any fan of Victorian fiction is sure to fall in love with this one. (TYNDALE, Oct., 464 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon

BUY ON AMAZON

All people want to believe what they wish to believe, but we must all eventually look to believe the truth, whether or not that’s what we wished.
— Lady of a Thousand Treasures

Inspirational Romantic Suspense
HIDDEN PERIL
Irene Hannon

Series: Code of Honor #2

hidden peril.jpg

Irene Hannon’s romantic suspense is a balanced blend of heartwarming attraction, page-turning suspense, and pulse pounding climax. Readers will be inspired by the heroine’s warm, confident, and compassionate personality. Through her volunteer work with a children’s theater and the operation of her missions-funding fair-trade boutique, Kristen Dane is making a positive impact on the world. Although Detective Luke Carter is new to town and still processing his personal grief, he doesn’t deny the future possibilities a certain mutual attraction presents. His ability to focus on the case Kristen is indirectly involved in while keeping their relationship at a professional level requires an admirable level of integrity and self control. The hero is attractive, intelligent, and a modern-day knight in shining armor. While events surrounding the case seem to spiral out of control, the story reminds readers of the importance of solid faith and positive relationships. (REVELL, Oct., 416 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Beth Erin

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Romantic Suspense
LETHAL TARGET
Janice Cantore
Series: The Line of Duty #2

lethal target.jpg

Written by a former law enforcement officer, the second installment of The Line of Duty series delivers suspense with a great dose of authenticity that seems all too real at times. With tensions in Rogue Hollow on the rise over the legalization of marijuana, police chief Tess O’Rourke has quite the battle to overcome, both professionally and personally.  When a recent murder seems to be tied in with the local drug supply chain, the chief will need all the help she can get, even if that means delving into her struggle with her faith. With believable characters leading the charge to a suspenseful plot that keeps you guessing, and the thoughtful inspirational message of grace and truth interwoven throughout, Lethal Target will leave you entertained and encouraged. (TYNDALE HOUSE, Oct., 416 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Romance
THE TWINS’ FAMILY CHRISTMAS
Lee Tobin McClain
Series: Redemption Ranch #2

the twins' family christmas.jpg

Lily Watkins has an ulterior motive for becoming acquainted with Carson Blair and his daughters, but the secret she holds requires she keep this family at arms-length. A feat that grows more difficult as she spends time with two little girls, their father, and a wise veteran residing at her aunt’s Colorado ranch. Like Lily, readers will be drawn by two these adorable six-year-old sisters with big, but different, personalities and an even bigger Christmas wish. McClain combines the laughter, warmth, and togetherness of the holidays to the forefront with a stark reminder that the season isn’t joyous for everyone. In so doing, she skillfully draws readers into this heartwarming Christmas story, inviting them to sit at the table with characters who feel like long-lost friends and family. (LOVE INSPIRED, Nov., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Suzie Waltner

BUY ON AMAZON


Inspirational Contemporary Romance
A KITE ON THE WIND
Patricia Lee
Series: Mended Hearts #3

a kite on the wind.jpg

Grief over his wife's death drove Monty, a marine scientist, to relocate with his eight-year-old twins. His children struggle with their own pain and are referred to Claire, a learning specialist who struggles with a heartache of her own. As the two adults work together to help the children, they discover healing for themselves and their hearts begin to soar. With endearing characters and a compelling plot, this story of restored hearts and love is a touching and inspirational addition to the Mended Hearts series by this author. (MOUNTAIN BROOK INK, Oct., 303 pp., $13.99)

Reviewer: Phyllis Helton

BUY ON AMAZON


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.

In Review... September 28, 2018

HBTB In Review.png

Looking for a great book to read this weekend? Our reviewers are loving these picks!


Contemporary Romance / Novella
ROSE IN THREE QUARTER TIME
Rachel McMillan
Series: Three Quarter Time #2

Rose in Three Quarter Time name higher.jpg

Rose in Three Quarter Time, a love letter to music, is one of those marriage of convenience romances that melts your heart with the beauty of love and the harmony of music. Like a composer, the author created a stirring story and, like a musical conductor, she directed the tempo and pulse of Rose in Three Quarter Time in perfect rhythm.  Readers will feel Rose’s excitement as a musician meeting the renown conductor Oliver Thorne, and they will understand Oliver’s plight in keeping Rose by his side, even towards the road of deception.  The question remains, is it deception to the world or just their hearts?  Though short in word count, this novella will satisfy readers looking for a quick read but will compel the reader to read it more than once. (Sept., 178 pp., $0.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt


Inspirational Contemporary Romance / Christmas
A CHRISTMAS BY THE SEA
Melody Carlson

a christmas by the sea.jpg

Each year readers look forward to Carlson’s Christmas stories - for her sweet Hallmark-Channel-esque plots and gorgeous covers that sets the mood for Christmas. In her latest holiday release, Carlson goes to the coast of Maine with young widow Wendy Harper and her tween son Jackson who are there to fix up and sell the cottage she recently inherited from her grandfather. All the characters (with maybe one exception) are multi-dimensional and relatable, but especially Wendy and Jackson and the emotional layers to their story - past, present, and future. A nice dash of romance (with a bit of easily-forgiven instalove because it’s Christmas!) accompanies the palpable chemistry between Wendy and swoony local craftsman Caleb Colton. This is a delightful story that can be enjoyed no matter what time of year it is, but certainly will call for a re-read next Christmas too! (REVELL, Sept., 176 pp., $16.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt


Contemporary Young Adult
WHITE AS SILENCE, RED AS SONG
Alessandro D’Avenia
translated from the Italian

white as silence red as song.jpg

There is much more dimension to this coming-of-age story than might first appear. Hints of something deeper, something just out of Leo’s grasp, weave in and out of his stream-of-consciousness narrative (which the author captures perfectly). Various characters who cross his path, two in particular (Gandalf and The Dreamer, as he refers to them), gently nudge him to think beyond the surface, beyond the not-yet-mature reactions of a teenage boy, to the bigger picture of faith in God and what it means to be a friend. To Leo, white is ‘nothingness’ and silence and scary. Red is passion and love and life - and Beatrice, his unrequited crush. When white and red suddenly clash together in Beatrice, Leo has to quickly make some grown-up decisions. While the writing style may not be for everyone, it is brilliantly done nonetheless and isn’t afraid to tackle tough questions of life, death, and faith. (THOMAS NELSON, Sept., 272 pp., $16.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt


Inspirational Historical Fiction
HIDDEN AMONG THE STARS
Melanie Dobson

Gold Star Review

hidden among the stars.jpg

Melanie Dobson captivates readers when the past collides with the present in this unique time-slip story of the Second World War. Written from several perspectives, the author explores a side of WWII that is not often featured. Forced into situations beyond their control, our characters must fight for survival in Nazi occupied Austria - including Max Dornbach, a kindhearted man with a fierce desire to protect those he loves. In present day, Callie Randall is determined to uncover the secrets of the past, spurred by the discovery of an old children’s book with unusual markings. Filled with intrigue and sacrifice, Dobson stirs a passion in readers for this era. A heartrending story combined with passion and hope, this time-slip story is not to be missed. (TYNDALE HOUSE, Sept., 416 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Rachel Dixon


Inspirational Historical Romance
AN HOUR UNSPENT
Roseanna M. White

Series: Shadows Over England #3

Bookmarked Review

an hour unspent.jpg

Fans will adore the romance, suspense, subtle humor and delightful ragtag family of street orphans in this conclusion of the Shadows Over England series. Be prepared to swoon over the hero, a devoted big brother with a heart of gold, as he navigates the unfamiliar narrow path of a new believer while using his unique skill set as a former thief for the greater good during the height of WWII. Barclay’s fiercely protective nature and carefully honed street smarts make him an invaluable asset to his family, his nation, and his new neighbor. Cool and controlled Evelina fights for women’s rights and female independence yet she wasn’t prepared for a broken engagement (or her mother’s reaction) when her fiancée unexpectedly enlists and ships out to the front lines. Secrets, lurking dangers, and intriguing new technology bring Barclay and Evelina together in this story of home front heroes, family affection, and abiding faith. (BETHANY HOUSE, Sept., 416 pp., $15.99)

Reviewer: Beth Erin


Inspirational Romantic Suspense
A SECRET TO DIE FOR
Lisa Harris

Bookmarked Review

a secret to die for.jpg

Lisa Harris writes romantic suspense that is full of mystery and heart pounding suspense. Her new book focuses on the fear of cyber-terrorism that has an end of times feel. The budding romance between Grace and Nate was sweet. Both Grace and Nate are dealing with grief. Nate’s grief is wrapped in the cloak of PTSD which is what drives him. Living off the grid, Psychology, PTSD, Grief, Child loss, and Cyber-terrorism make up this very suspenseful, edgy romantic read. (REVELL, Sept., 336 pp., $14.99)

Reviewer: Andi Tubbs


Bookmarked Review

Inspirational Romantic Suspense
EXPLOSIVE FORCE
Lynette Eason
Series: Military K-9 Unit #6

explosive force.jpg

Wow! The Military K-9 Unit series continues to be edge-of-your-seat suspense, action, and romance. Eason’s installment starts out with a bang - quite literally - and the danger doesn’t let up until the very end. Even then, the underlying story arcs of the Red Rose Killer and the missing K-9s continue to linger in the air, promising more action and danger ahead. Nick and Heidi make a great team, with fun banter that brings brief levity when most needed. Nick’s love/hate relationship with Heidi (and all reporters) is tested in both extremes throughout this quick-read novel, and Gramps adds a few more chuckles with his wry observations of the situation. “Gotta find me a woman I don't like as much as you don't like that one.” Annie, Nick’s bomb-sniffing bloodhound, is a loyal partner and heroine in her own right. Eason excels at taking her characters on an intense quest for survival while still organically weaving threads of faith and humor throughout, and Explosive Force is yet another example of her talent. (LOVE INSPIRED SUSPENSE, Sept., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewer: Carrie Schmidt


Gold Star Reviews are for those books that are just truly in a class by themselves. Given rarely.

Bookmarked Reviews are for those books you'll definitely want to put on your 'keepers' shelf! Given sparingly.