A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden ~ Review

My Review:

A sweeping historical read, set in the White House, with high stakes tension, and opposites that attract.

I was thrilled to get the chance to read this book, I fell in love with the entire Delacroix family in the previous book were I was first introduced to the enigmaticly brilliant, and dazzlingly beautiful Caroline Delacroix. I admired Caroline's inner strength, she tackles the challenges of a difficult job as the secretary of tempermental First Lady Ida McKinley, with seeming ease, tirelessly giving her very best, and rising to the occasion at hand.

Nathaniel Trask is the head of the president's Secret Service, tasked with creating security protocols to protect the president. He is meticulous, paying great attention to detail, and devotion to his duty. He is more serious and reserved, while Caroline is more outgoing and a natural hostess. I loved how they are so different, yet they work together well, their strengths and weaknesses complimenting each other, even though they don't always see eye to eye.

I loved the mystery, intertwined with historic events and facts, I always leave Ms. Camden's books feeling like I've learned something new! I also loved the relationship between Caroline and her brother, Luke, how they are so close and protective of each other. I also really liked getting to know Luke better in this story, and have a feeling that he's going to be one of my favorites by the time this series is over!

Overall, a fantastic read with riveting characters, strong faith, rich history and mystery. This book was different from previous books by this author, with a stronger focus on real historical figures and events, and less on the innovations of the times, but just as enjoyable. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, and find out what is next for Luke, I really hope that Phillip gets plenty of page time too!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Secrets Resurfaced by Dana Mentink ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

A chance sighting, brings the past to light, as Dory a private investigator works to help clear the name of her ex's father, while hiding a secret herself.

Dory finds herself working with her high school flame, as they work together to clear his father's name, while coming to terms with their past. This is a fast paced read, with a mystery that kept me wondering, the closer they get the more baffling it begins to look.

There was great tension between Dory and Chad from their shared history, and the question of where they go next. Ivy is an adorable child with a green thumb, I love how she names her plants!

Overall, this was an entertaining and solid read, with great characters, tension, mystery, and family. I loved the characters and the development of their less than perfect relationships that made the story more realistic. I also admired Dory for her faith, and how both she and Chad have changed in the years since high school. Very enjoyable read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


At Love's Command by Karen Witemeyer ~ Review


One of my favorite reads of this year. There wasn't a thing I didn't love about this book, fantastic characters, plot, and I just didn't want to put it down--the only part of this book that I didn't love was the bad guy!

I admired Matthew for his leadership, as well as how he is respectful of others. He doesn't back down from a challenge, and is willing to fight for what's right. Plus his horse, Phinneas, is remarkably trained.

Josephine is intelligent, skilled at her craft, I liked her restraint and common sense in times of urgency. She isn't afraid to face a challenge, and always gives her best.

There's great interaction between the characters, among the Horsemen, as well as between Jo and Matt. I loved the camaraderie between the men and how the author did a great job of making them each memorable, and distinct. They tease each other, and have a fun, enjoyable report.

This is a engaging read, and a great series opener. The minute I turned the last page down I went back and re-read my favorite scenes, I just didn't want it to end! I had so much fun reading this book, it has great action, faith, and humor all blended together in a way that flowed seemingly effortlessly. In my opinion this book has some of the best characters and character development, of not only the main characters but also the side characters. I don't think a group of characters have ever captured my heart so quickly as Hangers Horsemen, I want a book about each and every one of them!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble ~ Review

Lucie's Review: 

There is a lot going on in this fast moving read as secrets are revealed, and the past might be the key to the mysterious events dogging Harper's every move.

Harper Taylor is a marine biologist who grew up with a chip on her shoulder in the foster care system, she's always been adrift, without a family. Ridge is suspicious of Harper at first, wondering if she is taking advantage of his father, but as he sees the danger she is in, he reluctantly offers his help. As more and more pieces of the past come to light, the tension builds making for a impossible to put down read.

This is a entertaining read with one thing happening after another, great character development and growth, I really liked how Ridge is challenged by his blind spots, and also his strong faith. I liked how supportive Harper's friend was, and how she genuinely cared, as well as Harper's relationship with Annabelle, and how they work together to make sense of their past. This book kept me guessing, and on the edge of my seat wanting more. I liked how it was very intense yet wasn't as dark as some of her more recent books that I didn't enjoy as much, and it reminded me a little of one of my favorite series, Hope Harbor. Satisfying storytelling, highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert ~ Review


New beginnings bring brother and sister duo, Macy and Bo together in new business venture in their hometown, that combines their expertise and passions. The Barks and Beans Cafe is a cozy coffee shop where patrons can sip on their drinks while hanging out with furry friends from the local humane society. When Macy adopts new dog, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a murderer.

A thrilling cozy mystery, filled with colorful characters, and a great small town feel. This book was well paced, and there was never a dull moment, because once I picked it up I didn't put it down.

The story is told in first person narrative from Macy's perspective, and we uncover the mystery right alongside her. I loved the humor, the twists and turns as secrets are uncovered, and getting to know the many colorful friends and acquaintances.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read from beginning to end with fantastic characters in a fun setting, and plot that moves the book forward. I loved the dogs and pretty everything about it! I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Fast-paced, compelling, and romantic, this book has it all.

Engaging from the very start, I was swept instantly into the drama, and intrigue of the story. A fantastic plot driven read that kept me slightly off balance and guessing all the way to the end.

Set in the Regency time period, I loved how the author incorporated political tensions and great character development, as well as realistically portrayed understandable relational obstacles. Also liked how the story brought back familiar faces, and how the main characters were very likeable, yet flawed in ways that made me like them more and cheer for them throughout. I really liked how the backstory was woven into the story and was slowly revealed in a way that enhanced the story.

I loved everything about this book, and just didn't want to put it down! Definitely recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Epic: An Around the World Journey Through Christian History by Tim Challies ~ Review

My Review:

Tim Challies invites his readers on an international journey visiting museums and many public access displays of artifacts and physical ties to our rich Christian history.

Each of the 33 chapters is short and accompanied by photographs, and insights into the changes occurring at that time in history. This is a good introduction to just a small part of Christian history and I think that it might encourage many to dive deeper and learn for themselves about these men and women who lived for their faith.

The chapters are conversational and concise, and the author shares his personal experiences on the journey as well. This book also has a companion video series and Bible study, which I can see this working well alongside.

Overall, a enjoyable read and great reminder how many people were used by God to bring his word to a multitude of people over the centuries.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Her Amish Suitor's Secret by Carrie Lighte ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

A sweet Amish/Englisher romance set at a summer camp resort.

Caleb Miller takes a seasonal job as a handyman, while searching for a way to clear his brother's name. He has always been a friend of the Amish, knows their language, and has always admired their more settled pace of life. He fits right in at the lakeside, and I liked his willing attitude to help out wherever needed.

Rose is helping out her aunt and uncle for the summer, hoping to raise enough money to fund her dream. She is very efficient and a talented cook. She is hesitant to trust, and I liked her self sufficiency and independence.

This was a sweet tale of two people brought together by timing circumstance, it was predictable, and at times the pace lagged,  though I did like their moments together, and how Caleb's faith grew.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews ~ Review

My Review:

A multi-decade saga of the legacy of Judah's most renown king, Hezekiah, as told through the eyes of his wife.

I love the way that Mesu Andrews brings Biblical culture to life, and this book is no exception, as she shows the struggle of a king to set himself apart from his father before him. I like how this book brought a humanity to Hezekiah, and showed that while he was incredibly faithful in many ways, he was also far from perfect, and fell short.

This book also brought a humanity to Isaiah, God's prophet, showing his struggles, and how following God was far from easy, taking into consideration how it might have affected his family.

I had high expectations for this book and it didn't disappoint, and crazy story but our pastor was preaching over Hezekiah's life for 2 months before I read this book, so I had pretty good background knowledge going in. Well constructed characters, and fantastic storytelling with respect to the history. This book did a great job of imagining the political and spiritual tensions, showing actions and consequence. Zibah struggles with fear, and the pressures of her position. I especially liked the friendship between Zibah an Yaira, as they support and encourage each other through many dark days. I loved the powerful message of God being the only true source of goodness and steadfastness.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Stay with Me by Becky Wade ~ Review

Lucie's Review: 

A shameful secret leads to new beginnings.

An engaging read from the start, I loved how this book talks about the struggles behind a picture-perfect image and the pressure of those expectations. Genevieve is a gifted speaker and author, but that doesn't make her immune. Sam understands what is at stake with Gen and doesn't want to get too close, yet he knows that he doesn't have it in him to leave her on her own. I loved the complexity and the honesty to the struggles that Gen and Sam faced.

There is a lot going on in this book,  with how it ties events from the past into the present and how it continues to affect them. There are great supporting characters, and the relationship between Gen and her sister is a huge strength in this story. There were also natural moments of humor, and I liked the counselor, because she doesn't mess around!

Overall, this is a well written read about two people who find each other amidst pain of the past, and facing problems in the present, while dealing with complicated relationships. A beautiful story of restoration and new beginnings.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy ~ Review

My Review:

Dreams realized, love found, and lives changed halfway around the world in this debut from Kimberly Duffy.

Nora Shipley is a bright young woman with an unconventional passion for entomology, instilled by her late father. She gets the opportunity to compete for a coveted scholarship by going to work out in the field in India alongside her biggest competition.

Right away I was intrigued by the plot of this book and the unique premise. The book is very well researched and you can tell that the author worked hard to bring Nora's world to life, even featuring real life entomologist and conservationist couple Joseph and Anna Comstock.

This was a quick read, but at times frustrating as Nora found herself in one impossible situation after another, and I  didn't always agree with some of the ways that Nora responded to challenges. I loved Sita's shining helpful heart, as well as her quick thinking.

 I enjoyed the details of entomology and how the specimens are preserved and studied, I think it really piqued my interest in a subject that I honestly hadn't thought much about before. There was also strong expressions of faith throughout, and I liked how Nora was challenged by her beliefs into growth. Owen is common sense, but also has an adventurous spirit, I loved his unwavering support for Nora throughout. A historical read that explores the challenges of a woman pursuing her passion for science  in a man's world.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


The Edge of Everywhen by A.S. Mackey ~ Review

My Review:

A wonder-filled adventure, with real world truths that stand strong after the last page is turned.

Piper and Phoenix are a brother and sister, who share a special bond. After the death of their mother and disappearance of their father they are sent to live with their father's older sister Aunt Beryl, where the discover a mysterious and wonderful book.

I loved how this book is told from the perspective of the book, and I couldn't help but think multiple times that this would make a fantastic audiobook read by a grandfatherly man with a cultured accent.

For me this book struck all the right notes, and is a story that could easily be enjoyed by the whole family, though the target reading level is middle grade/tween. This book will be especially appreciated by booklovers, as many well-beloved books are mentioned throughout, and Piper is a girl after my book-loving heart.

There are many wonderful characters, I especially liked Mr. Greene, and his kind, thoughtful countenance. Phoenix is a very intelligent boy, and I loved the relationship between him and his sister. There are fun quotes woven throughout the book at the beginning of each new chapter, some real and some made up, and I loved how they enhanced the story. Also this book does an excellent job of capturing the fantastic whimsy of this story, while revealing solid truths in a natural way that flowed within the fibers of the story without feeling forced.

I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and came away completely blown away and impressed with how well written this book was, and how well it presented spiritual truths. It is a book that stays with you after the last page is turned down, and the more I thought about the things that I liked in preparation for this review, the more things I found to appreciate. This book has a classic and inviting feel to it, and even though the main characters are children I never thought that this story over simplified or talked down to the reader, which brought to mind warm thoughts of Narnia and Mister Rogers Neighborhood. This is a wonderful adventure that I highly recommend for the whole family!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George ~ Review

My Review:

A satisfying conclusion to a thrilling fairy tale trilogy.

This book exceeded my expectations as the third and final book in this fantastic fairy tale series. It picks up the threads of the original tale and knits them into a brand new follow up, blending new characters, and familiar favorites, in this Red Ring Hood and Twelve Dancing Princesses mash-up that hits all the right notes.

Petunia is a brave young woman, who has already faced unimaginable danger from the time she was barely able to walk. I liked how she took initiative, and is constantly thinking ahead, though she does have her weaknesses as well.

Oliver and his family is a wonderful addition to this world, he is a courageous leader, and I love his strong sense of loyalty.

I loved how this book brought back all of the sisters and their husbands, especially Galen and Rose, as well bringing back the dangers from the very first book in a fresh, credible new way, adding more to the depth of the Westfalian lore and history. All in all it was a very quick, but satisfying read. And I loved how it kind of came full circle in a way, to the first story that started it all. Plus, as a fellow knitter and crocheter,  I couldn't help but love the bone thrown to needle-crafters! Definitely recommend!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Standoff by Patricia Bradley ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

A heart-pounding suspense, with high stakes and plenty of heart.

The death of Brooke Danver's father leaves her determined to find out who betrayed him. An old flame from her past reappears, but can she trust him?

A fast-paced, engaging adventure, filled with suspense and questions that kept me guessing. I loved the complexity of the plot, and how there were logical reasons for the secrets that were kept. Luke's grandmother is a wonderfully sweet and faithful woman, and I love her relationship with her grandson.

Brooke is just starting out her career in law enforcement, working with the National Parks system in the Natchez Trace. I admired her strong faith throughout the trials that she faces with all the unknowns and not knowing where to turn and who to trust.

Luke is a man of many secrets and responsibilities, he feel compelled to help Brooke, but he doesn't want to get too close. He has a strong sense of duty that weighs on him, and I liked how he tries to be there for Brooke when she needs him.

Overall, a thrilling plot driven read, with great tension and character interaction. I loved the high stakes and beautiful setting, there are many surprise twists and turns along the way. A well written start to what is sure to be a fantastic new series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Storing Up Trouble by Jen Turano ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Beatrix Waterbury is ready to expand her horizons, in this entertaining read with Ms. Turano's signature delightfully colorful, but lovable characters.

This book starts with a bang, then settles for a while until picking up speed. An enjoyable read of misunderstandings as sparks fly between the main characters, as they work together to solve a heist.

I loved how Norman, Beatrix, Theodosia and Aunt Gladys all defy the social norms, finding their own way forward, using their unique gifts and talents. There was also great humorous moments and exchanges throughout. Theodosia is a beautiful young woman with a bright mind, and I loved her story arc over the course of the book.

Norman is a man of science, close to his family, yet socially awkward for a man of his standing, he a passion for find answers. I loved his enthusiasm to find answers and be a fixer, even if it didn't always turn out.

This was a fun read, with moments that made me laugh out loud, and characters that I could cheer for; I really liked Aunt Gladys and her wisdom, there was a lot of good moments of faith too. I did wish that there had been more times that brought Beatrix and Norman together, as they weren't together as much as I would liked. Great for fans of humorous, historical reads, works great as a standalone as well as the third in a series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.