REVIEW: Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray

Set in San Antonio, this book covers about a month’s worth of time. During the story Lizbeth is approached inappropriately by Bushnell. This leads her literally to the room of Ethan. Ethan and Lizbeth met, though only he knows it, during the War when Ethan’s team was scavenging for supplies for the Confederacy. She has haunted his dreams for the years inbetween; he is surprised to run into her in San Antonio.

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Devin and Julianne may be star-crossed lovers; their backgrounds are quite different. But, the book keeps emphasizing that war changes everyone.

The antagonist in the story is Bushnell; a fellow Confederate soldier who has been a pain to Ethan and Devin for many years. To wrap up the trilogy of the four soldiers, Devin and Ethan call on Robert Truax and Thomas Baker to help them settle the score with Bushnell.

Thanks to Zondervan for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

Zoe Collins returns to Copper Creek with the settlement of her grandmother’s estate.  The timing is excellent as she is thinking of getting away, at least for a while, from her music partner and captor, Kyle. Going home, though, means reckoning with her stoic father and adopted brother, Brady. Oh, and let’s not forget high school boyfriend Cruz Huntley who has never won her father’s favor.   At 24, though, Zoe can call her own shots and she decides to try and work her grandmother’s orchard.  

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Great story of Sarah and her failed marriage, reconstructed life, and call to Christianity and salvation. Sarah comes into her own as the author of sultry romance novels. However, her blossoming romance with the new church pastor (Ben) creates waves with her past following them both. Put into the story some unrequited love from an old flame of the pastor and you have a recipe for disaster. However, with God squarely in the mix, there is hope for a God-filled love story.

Thanks to Revell Company for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs

It’s such a joy to read Liz Curtis Higgs’ work as she crafts fact with humor and combines Bible knowledge with teaching.  She has taken 31 different Proverbs and split them into digestible pieces to teach about all the wisdom hidden in a single Proverb. I appreciate the work she has done with the use of various Bible translations to give several points-of-view for a word or phrase of the Proverb.

Thanks to Waterbrook Press for an ARC for a  review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin is one of those authors who crafts a unique story that draws you in. Here we follow sisters Flora and Rebecca over the span of years from their teen years to their 50-60s. It is set from 1850 – 1890 when women were expected to marry well and have children. These two independent souls defied convention to follow their God-led paths. Blessed with financial means, the sisters had a life’s calling to help others with their difficult circumstances and to make sure that the history of the Bible is protected. We also meet teenagers Soren and Kate who come into the care of Flora and Rebecca after difficulties of living on the streets.]

For those who have finished the book – wasn’t the wedding scene quite a hoot?

The author’s notes at the end of the book relay that she wrote about the Smith sisters who preserved ancient manuscripts. She took liberties with the Chicago setting and other details, but the idea behind the travelling sisters came from a slice of history.

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Loving Luther by Allison Pittman

This book focuses on the possibly life’s story of Katharina von Bora, eventual wife of Martin Luther. In honor of the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, Pittman has written about the unique partnership of Katharina and Luther. While growing up in a convent, which was a safe place for her destitute family to place her, Katharina becomes awakened to the desire to know more about God’s design for each person. She finds enlightenment in the messages from Luther’s works, pieces of which are smuggled into the convent. She and a band of other novitiates/nuns leave the convent and seek shelter through Luther and his acquaintances. In this time period, marriage was of utmost importance for the survival of women. A couple of failed matches for Katharina bring she and Luther together.

Another fantastic story about the same couple can be found in Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion by Jody Hedlund.

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Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Ernest Young, “imported” from China as a young boy, becomes the ward/charity of Mrs. Irvine in the Seattle area.  At boarding school, though, he is a pariah and unhappy in his circumstances.  He tells Mrs. Irvine who solves the problem by raffling him off at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1909.  Unbelieveable, really.  And, Mrs. Irvine is aghast at the party who has won Ernest.  He makes his home in a parlor house in Seattle’s red light district.  There he finds acceptance and purpose, to the disbelief of Mrs. Irvine.

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Ernest’s two great friends are Maisie, daughter of the house madam, along with Fahn who was sold to slavery from her family back in Japan.  The story follows the likely path of these three youth from 1909 to 1962.  Love and friendship are strong themes of the book, along with a history lesson of settling Seattle.

Thanks to Ballantine Books for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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