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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015

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Aug 20, 2015
After almost six years, The Sheepish Scribe is moving over to a brand new site at Wordpress. Come check out the new site at peggthomas.wordpress.com.
Aug 11, 2015
Hearts Awakening (Hearts Along The River #1)Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love books with people who are real. People who aren't the smartest, the prettiest, the richest, the perfect. This is one of those stories.

Ellie Kilmer didn't have much choice - or chance - in life. She chose to spend her life caring for her elderly parents. Tall and plain, it wasn't like she had many offers anyway. Upon their deaths, she was shuffled between her cousins, neither of whom wanted her, until she accepted a business-like proposal.

Jackson Smith had survived losing the love of his life and his unfaithful wife. With two young boys to raise, he needed help. Living on an island away from town, his only good option was to marry again. But he had no use for another woman other than to raise his boys. What better woman to pick than one who lacked any appeal?

Will being a stepmother fulfill Ellie's inner desire for a family of her own? Can Jackson trust another woman when two others have let him down?

A good story with characters the reader can get behind and root for. Engaging little boys who act like little boys, not little angels, and even a stray dog to round the story out. Worth the read!
Aug 3, 2015
Code of Honor (Australian Destiny #1)Code of Honor by Sandy Dengler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first in a series, this book caught my interest in the first few pages. Samantha Connolly was born and raised in Ireland, but there's nothing for her there anymore. Doomed to finish life as a spinster, she gambles on an advertisement asking for indentured servants in Australia.

Cole Sloan had a lot of Australian land and little money. The laws had changed and no longer allowed him to use the native black people for slave labor. Enticing Irish lasses to his shores was the perfect solution. Or so he thought.

Sam's sisters, Meg and Linnet, sell themselves into indenture along with her. They arrive in Australia hoping for a better life and husbands. What they find is hard work, a steamy tropical jungle, crocodiles, and a master who drives a hard bargain.

This is the type of book that doesn't wrap up many loose ends at the finish. It more or less pauses at a logical point, to be picked up again in book 2. If you enjoy long historical sagas, this is a good one.
Jul 28, 2015
The Most Eligible Bachelor Romance Collection: Nine Historical Novellas Celebrate Marrying for All the Right ReasonsThe Most Eligible Bachelor Romance Collection: Nine Historical Novellas Celebrate Marrying for All the Right Reasons by Amanda Barratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a collection of nine short romance stories, all set at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. It's hard to rate a book of multiple stories, because some are so much better than the others. In general, I'm not a big fan of short stories, but two of these make the price of the book worth it.

There is one in here that really stood out to me titled "The Highwayman" by Shannon McNear. This story surpassed the others in the uniqueness of its main characters. Ms. McNear defied the stereotypical hero and heroine so commonly found in short romances. You can't help but connect with these two people and wish them their the desires of their hearts. I haven't read anything by this author before, but I'll be looking for her first full-length novel.

My second choice is "The Most Ineligible Bachelor in Town" by Connie Stevens for some of the same reasons. The hero and heroine are both down-to-earth people, the type you'd invite over for dinner after church. He's got his quirks and she's got some baggage, but you want them to get it figured out.

There aren't any bad stories in this collection. I just highlighted the two that really caught my eye. They are all light reading and suitable for all ages.
Jul 17, 2015
Midnight on the Mississippi (Secrets of the South Mysteries #1)Midnight on the Mississippi by Mary Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Romantic suspense is not my go-to genre to read, but I've enjoyed many of Mary Ellis's books, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was not disappointed!

Loved the spunky heroine, Nicolette Price, from the rural backwater of Mississippi. She's a wonderful contrast to the hero, Hunter Galen, who is from the "old money" of New Orleans.

Like most suspense stories, there is a body count. It's up to Nicki, with her brand new P.I. license, to find out who is behind the murders, both current and in the past. And she needs to do that under the jealous eye of an adversary in 4" heels.

There's a lot going on, both in the current timeline and from Nicki's past, to keep the reader turning the pages with plenty of fun banter and toe-clenching romance. Read it!
Jul 15, 2015
To Capture Her Heart (The Southold Chronicles, #2)To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book of The Southold Chronicles. It continues the fiction story inspired by the author's ancestors. There are many references to the first book, so I recommend the reader take this series in order.

Heather Flower is the daughter of her tribe's Grand Sachem. She is stolen away by a warring tribe and rescued by Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren, a Dutchman. Heather Flower's people are friendly with the English settlers. Across the ocean, the Dutch and English are at war.

Benjamin Horton has grown up with Heather Flower, their families being close friends. He wants nothing more than to protect her, from another attack as well as from the handsome Dutchman.

Lots of good history in this book and many, many characters. It can be a little overwhelming to keep them all straight. But the author does a good job of building the closeness of not only a large family, but the friends that surround them. There is a puzzle to be solved near the end of the story. I liked that.

And who doesn't like a giveaway!?!  To Capture Her Heart Book Launch Click on this link for a chance to win some great prizes!


Grand Prize: $75.00 Gift Card of choice (Amazon, Target, iTunes or Google play), Signed copy of To Capture Her Heart & A Place in His Heart.
  
Runner Up Prize: $25.00 Gift card to Barnes & Noble, Signed copies of To Capture Her Heart & A Place in His Heart

Second Runner Up Prize: Signed copies of To Capture Her Heart & A Place in His Heart

Winners will be notified on July 23rd. Get your entry in now!
Jul 13, 2015
Chasing AmandaChasing Amanda by Robin Patchen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is there anything more frightening than being stalked by a creep who means you harm?

Is there anything better than being saved from that fate by a handsome Marine?

Amanda didn't expect to be stalked. And she sure didn't expect to meet her own version of Superman. But it happened. To her.

She fell in love with a man on his way to war, but could she keep him?
Jul 10, 2015
Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream #1)Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this story on many levels. One - which struck me as I read through it - was the Catholic background of the Irish immigrants. So many times we see that aspect of the Irish glossed over or shoved under the rug. But it was such an integral part of who they were. It brought the level of historical authenticity of this story up a whole notch.

The characters are intriguing and complex. These aren't cookie-cutter ethnic characters. They have backgrounds, faults, ambitions and goals. It's a fairly large cast and the author did a great job with all of them. These are the type of people you wouldn't mind renting a room to.

There are snippets of history slipped in all throughout the story. I always love that.

And it has horses. Lots of horses! (Okay - I'm biased, I admit it.)

This is book number one of the series Courage to Dream. I'm looking forward to book number two. And I'm feeling a little smug that I figured out who book two is going to be about before I read the author's note at the back of the book. HA!
Jul 1, 2015
The InnocentThe Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ann Gabhart once again immerses us in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. The Shakers were governed by a theology that valued peace and work ethic above all. While these are admirable goals for anyone's life, they took it to the extreme. Marriage was considered a sin and individually was discouraged. Like other cults and communes, there was both good and bad in their culture. Ann Gabhart does an excellent job of presenting her Shaker characters in an understandable, and even sympathetic, way.

Carlyn Kearney's husband doesn't return from the Civil War. He's listed as missing. Two years after the war, she must admit the truth. He's not coming home.

Mitchell Brodie is the town's sheriff. Unpleasant duty is part of his job. Evicting a widow from her home ranks at the top of that list. A beautiful young widow who tugs at his heart.

With no family and nowhere to go, Carlyn turns to the Shaker village for a roof over her head and food on her plate. She's content to work for her keep, even if the Shaker teaching doesn't match the Bible teaching of her youth. But there are dark corners within the village. Can Carlyn fit in and find her own peace? Or will she get caught up in the darkness?
Jun 23, 2015
Masterpiece Marriage (Quilts of Love)Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love quilting and history, so I knew I couldn't go wrong with this one. The creation of the crazy quilt, as they were done back in the day, was beautifully embedded in the story. The rich color and textures came alive under the characters clever fingers. Very well done!

Mary Varrs has a mission she needs to complete and a deadline looming in front of her. Zenus Dane has a flooded textile mill full of partially damaged bolts of fabric. Mary's neighbor - also Zenus's aunt - holds the key to both of them getting what they want. But will either get what they think in the end?

Truly a fun romance between the main characters and some very strong secondary characters (I love those!). I'm dinging it one star because the dialogue was very modern and I quite often forgot I was reading a historical piece. It doesn't harm the story, but if you're a history geek at all, it was a bit disconcerting. If you love quilts - read it for that alone!
Jun 18, 2015
The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia, #1)The Meeting Place by Janette Oke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in the Canadian frontier during the turbulent years when France and Great Britain fought for control of the territory. Catherine Price was married to her British office on the same day Louise Robichaud married her French farmer. The two women met by accident in a forest meadow. Could their blooming friendship span a cultural divide steeped in hatred and suspicion?

Wonderful setting and history background to this story. Loved the rich descriptions of the area during this time. The characters are strong and likable, having missions the reader clearly understands and sympathizes with.

This is the first book in a series and it doesn't really end, it stops. The action, presumably, picks up with the next book. It is not a book to read as a stand alone novel. If you're not willing to invest in the series, this is probably not the best book for you. If you enjoy the saga of a full series, dig in!
Jun 9, 2015
A Place Called Bliss (Saskatchewan Saga, #1)A Place Called Bliss by Ruth Glover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A saga of a two families who leave Scotland to make their way in the growing territories of Canada. Sophia and Hugh Galloway, being of noble lines with deep pockets, settle in Toronto and build a mansion to rival what they left behind. Mary and Angus Morrison left Scotland for a better life, a chance to be successful away from the hierarchy of the old country. They settled in the western bush territory, where land was free if one was tough enough to prove it out. But through the years, the two families remained connected.

From the hardship of crossing the Atlantic to the struggle to survive on frontier, the reader is treated to numerous historical insights. Delightful details about how the upper class would dress, their mannerisms, their outings, all combine to give the reader a look back in time.

The story is good and the plot is engaging, but the it meanders quite a bit and drags on in places. Told in the omniscient point of view, the book reads more like a classic of old. The characters lack the intimate depth modern readers are accustom to.

If you like epic stories that cover more than one generation with excellent historical references, this might be the book for you.
Jun 5, 2015
The Preacher's BrideThe Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another gripping story from Jody Hedlund. I loved that I guessed which historical figure the story was inspired by early in the book. No spoiler here. You'll have to read it and see if you can figure it out.

Puritan maiden Elizabeth Whitbread wants to serve Christ by helping others. When the town's tinker and lay preacher, John Costin, is left a widower with four small children, Elizabeth knows she's been called to help. Elizabeth defies the town matron and even her betrothed to become the housekeeper Brother Costin needs.

The political winds of England are changing and the Puritans have fallen out of favor. John Costin has powerful enemies who resent his preaching. Enemies who aren't afraid to strike at those near him. Elizabeth is threatened and attacked by one such enemy. Despite the danger, she knows God wants her to continue to care for the children she's grown to love. And their father who occupies too many of her thoughts. But will the cost of her service be more than she's willing to pay?

Jun 2, 2015
Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope, #1)Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Could not put it down! Fascinating story, beautifully told, more than worth every minute of reading. Characters so real you'll think of them as old friends by the end of the book. My favorite Jody Hedlund book so far.

Emma Chambers wants a home of her own with a husband and a family to care for. But she's moving once again with her brother until their ship sinks into Lake Huron off the coast of Presque Isle. Pulled from the waters by handsome lighthouse keeper Patrick Garraty, Emma finds herself the unwelcome and unwanted guest of the only other woman at Burnham's Landing. When the circuit preacher suggests she marry the newly widowed Patrick Garraty and become mother to his young son Josiah, she agrees.

In spite of the fact that she can't cook and has absolutely no idea how to raise a child, Emma is thrilled with her new home. She's even getting used to the idea of being married to the taciturn stranger who spends most of his time either fishing or tending the light. His kindness stirs feelings she barely understands. But then she hears things - disturbing things - about his past. Just who did she marry? Is he the man she thinks he is? Or is he the man the rumors say?

May 30, 2015
Out of the Storm (Beacons of Hope, #0.5)Out of the Storm by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story is set in my back yard - well - almost. It's always fun to read about a place that you've visited.

Isabelle Thornton watched her father pull the bodies from the frigid waters of Lake Huron. Another ship wrecked, in spite of her father's diligent tending of the lighthouse in Presque Isle, Michigan. Only one of those who washed ashore was still alive. Isabelle knew she'd have to tend his injuries while her father buried the dead. But she never expected to fall for Henry Cole. She never expected to fall for any man, much less the son of a wealthy lumber baron. She knew her future could never include a husband and family.

This is a novella, so it's shorter than a full-length novel. I prefer a longer story in general. Not a bad story, but not as good as the other Jody Hedlund books I've read.
May 27, 2015
Love's Rescue (Keys of Promise, #1)Love's Rescue by Christine Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written tale of secrets and romance in the Florida Keys. Delightful setting with all the mystery and marsh of Key West. Smell the salty air and feel the humid breeze as the story unfolds.

Elizabeth Benjamin was expected to make a brilliant match in Charleston. Instead, she returns home after the death of her mother to take care of her father and her crippled brother. When the ship she returns on hits a reef, she's rescued by the one man she needed to forget. Rourke O'Malley hasn't changed. Not one bit. But even if her heart still yearns for him, she knows her loyalty and duty belong elsewhere. Her father views her duty differently. He expects her to marry well and secure the future of their family. Can she marry the man her father has chosen and forget the handsome pirate who holds her heart? Does she even want to after her father's secret is revealed?
May 23, 2015
Wings of a DreamWings of a Dream by Anne Mateer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rebekah Hendricks knows what she wants in life, and it's nothing like what her mother envisions for her. Rebekah longs to shake the dust from her small Oklahoma town from her feet as she finds adventure in the big city. Arthur Samson offers her all her heart desires, but first he must train to do his part in WWI.

Then the telegram arrives. Rebekah is sent to nurse her ailing aunt, an aunt she barely remembers. She arrives in a little Texas town that could be the equivalent of the one she grew up in. And she finds her aunt on a farm much like her father's back in Oklahoma. But nothing else is the same. She arrives in time to watch her aunt pass from life and to meet the four children her aunt is responsible for. Children Rebekah knew nothing about.

Sheriff Henry Jeffries helps her and the children through the Spanish Flu crisis. Rebekah and the four children escape the often fatal disease. But then what? The children's father is serving in France. They have nobody to care for them, except Rebekah, and she plans on traveling to Dallas to find Arthur. Pulled between her desires and her new responsibilities, Rebekah learns that life - and people - aren't always what they seem.

I had a little trouble getting into this story at the beginning, but warmed up to it quickly and enjoyed the read. The secondary characters are strong and the storyline is compelling. The history of the Spanish Flu outbreaks and how people coped during them is heart-tugging. Worth the read!
May 20, 2015
A Constant HeartA Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting historical tale set in Elizabethan England. Historically well done, going in depth into the whole royal court aspect of life. A Constant Heart parts the curtain and lets us see behind all the pomp and circumstance.

Marget, raised by a knighted merchant father who has done well financially, is married to the Earl of Lytham because he needs her money. Still, she hopes to find love and acceptance with her new husband. What she finds instead is a life at court. A life comprised of intrigue, power struggles, and danger. Can she earn the love and respect of the Earl without alienating herself from the Queen?

An enjoyable read, especially if you're into the history of that era.
May 16, 2015
Fancy Pants (Only in Gooding, #1)Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a book with strong secondary characters and this is one of them. The main characters are interesting and engaging too, of course, but the secondary characters really took this tale to the next level for me.

Lady Sydney Hathwell came to the United States to marry a man who had corresponded with her father. Her father now deceased, she felt obligated to meet his choice for a husband for her. But it was disaster at first sight.

Sydney flees to her uncle's ranch, her American mother's brother. But there's a catch. Uncle Fuller doesn't like females. So Sydney becomes "Syd" with a haircut and a change of clothes. From a British royal lady to a British fop training to be a ranch hand.

Big Tim Creighton doesn't relish babysitting his partner's nephew until Fuller gets home. How's he going to turn this prissy greenhorn into something his uncle will be proud of?

Plenty of page-turning adventures in this book. You'll laugh out loud at some of the antics "Syd" gets into. And giggle some more at Tim's inability to grasp the blatantly obvious. And if you don't love Velma ... well ...

I'll ding it one star because in places it got a little preachy. But the laughs will more than make up for that in the long run.
May 12, 2015
Paradise Valley (Daughters of Caleb Bender, #1)Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the premise of this book. It starts in 1922 when Amish fathers in Ohio were jailed for keeping their children out of the public school. Caleb Bender decides to move his family to Paradise Valley, Mexico, where schools are not regulated - if they exist at all. Their church decides that one family should go first to the new land and determine if the move is good for more. Caleb's family learns the language and are befriended by Domingo, a half-Indian/half-Mexican native who speaks several languages. The land is good where they settle, and they build their farm. But not everything is good. The land has been torn apart by warring factions. Between the bandits and the government forces, who know who to trust?

The characters are good, solid people, the kind you'd like for next door neighbors. The setting and history of the story are very well done. I'm dinging it down to three stars because it's one of those books that doesn't end, it just stops. It's obviously the first in a series, and while I enjoy series books, I like them to each have a definite beginning and ending. That's a personal preference and may not bother other readers.
May 8, 2015
Writing in Obedience - A Primer for Christian Fiction WritersWriting in Obedience - A Primer for Christian Fiction Writers by Terry Burns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished this book. Now before you laugh at that statement, you must understand that I'm the queen of unfinished books on writing. I have a STACK of them. I'd like to tell you that they are all unfinished because I got so inspired half-way through that I dropped everything and dug into my writing. But you go to hell just as fast for lying as you do for stealing.

This book isn't a how-to type of writing book. It's a thoughtful look at whether or not you're ready to be a writer. It gives a general overview of what it takes to write a book, what it takes to get published, what it takes to self-publish, and all along the way, questions for the reader to think about in their own writing journey.

I found it very insightful and realistic, while also encouraging. Writing in Obedience is for the newbie writer, the thinking-about-it writer, and the discouraged writer. It's not a long book. It's easy to read through and absorb. If you're wondering whether or not writing is for you, get a copy.
May 5, 2015
The ChoiceThe Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Carrie Weaver is ready to jump the fence and run off with Solomon Riehl. Together they'll leave their Amish heritage behind. They have it all planned, right down to Sol's baseball career. Everything is going according to plan - until Carrie's father dies.

How can Carrie walk away from her little brother now? She can't leave him with their step-mother. Sol leaves to start his career and Carrie is left with one choice. When Daniel Miller, the son of her father's best friend, asks her to marry him, she says yes. He's offering her and her brother a home.

But Daniel has deep secrets of his own. Included in them is his cousin, Abel Miller, fresh out of jail. When tragedy strikes again, what choice will Carrie have?

Not your typical romance story. This story digs deeper. The characters are very complex and intriguing. There isn't a "perfect" character in the lot. They hurt, they fear, they despair ... it's all real. The story caught be off guard with a twist I never saw coming. No spoiler - but it's worth the read.
May 1, 2015
A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction, #1)A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whimsical story about a young English woman who has lost her fortune and travels across the ocean to New York City to find the culprit who stole it. Lady Eliza Sumner takes a governess position, but she's found out soon enough when handsome Hamilton Beckett arrives on the scene - or at the scene - of the crime. The two partner with an unlikely cast of characters to save Eliza's fortune and solve a mystery from Hamilton's past.

A fun story with engaging characters. It would have gotten a 4-star review from me if the characters had been more authentic to the time period. There is quite a bit of modern language and behavior in this one. It doesn't spoil the story, but for someone who loves the historical aspect of a historical romance, it got in the way.
Apr 28, 2015
The Blue Castle The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For Valancy Stirling, turning 29 years old was worse than a death sentence. No husband. No prospects. Living with her widowed mother and aunt. Stifled and alone, she lived a life she despised. She had no hope for anything better. And then the doctor told her she was dying.

Armed with the strength of knowing her time was limited, Valancy found the courage to break free. She walked away from her upper-crust family and its bondage to tradition and public perception. Freedom tasted sweet and got even sweeter when she met Barney Snaith. Could she sustain such happiness, even for the short while she had left?

It's fun to take a break from contemporary writing and sink back into the prose of bygone days. Written in the omniscient point of view, this story clues the reader in to the thoughts and motivations of everyone in the room. Sometimes that's just ... refreshing.
Apr 24, 2015
AngelhoodAngelhood by A.J. Cattapan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story is amazing. A.J. Cattapan does a great job tackling a very tough subject for our youth today, suicide. What better use for fiction than driving home truths in a palatable format that our kids will enjoy. The characters are engaging, realistic, and on a journey that will keep youths - and adults - turning the pages.

The opening scene is hard-hitting. High school senior Nanette commits suicide. Where can the story go from there? How about into a whole new realm. Nanette finds herself in a limbo-like state where she's put in charge of watching over another young girl who is considering suicide. As Nanette helps Vera, she starts to change, and it's not all about the wings that sprout from her back. In helping another, she learns the value of all she left behind. Can both girls reach the healing truth in time?

This is fiction. While some may want to quibble over the theology, I want to encourage readers to glean the message within its pages. The consequences of suicide reach far beyond the person who dies. Angelhood explores these consequences in a touching, authentic, eye-opening story.
Apr 21, 2015
Rebekah (Wives of the Patriarchs, #2)Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We have only sketchy information about most women in the Bible. Jill Eileen Smith does an awesome job of fleshing out these women in her stories. While fiction, this story is a plausible exploration into the life of Rebekah, the wife of Isaac.

Rebekah leaves her brother's home to marry a man she's never met. She knows about him, of course. Isaac's fame has spread far and wide. He is the chosen offspring of Abraham. Imagine the emotions that batter her from all sides as she makes that journey. They meet, they marry, but how much do they really know about each other? As a couple, they face infertility, tense family relationships, and then finally the birth of their twins. The long-awaited children that will eventually drive a wedge between Rebekah and her husband.

Jill Eileen Smith crafts a compelling story that colors in the spaces between the verses. There is plenty of emotional punch to keep the reader engaged. The story also transports the reader back in time to experience the smells, tastes, and textures of a time long, long ago.
Apr 16, 2015
Finding Amanda: inspirational suspenseFinding Amanda: inspirational suspense by Robin Patchen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finding Amanda tackles a tough subject, survival of an abusive situation and the life-long ramifications the survivor, and her family, must battle. But in typical Robin Patchen style, it's wrapped in a story full of intriguing characters and plot twists that will keep the reader flipping pages.

Amanda Johnson is plagued by the past and it's interfering with her life. She thinks she can make it on her own, writing her cooking blog, teaching cooking classes, and raising her two little girls. But pressures from the past are still there. Writing her memoir seems like the perfect solution to expose her abuser and finally release the past. Her so-to-be-ex-husband doesn't agree.

Mark Johnson wants nothing else but to save his marriage. He didn't fight overseas to come home and lose the most important battle of his life. But how can he cope with his wife's past if she won't talk, or listen, to him? And when she turns to someone else for comfort, can he keep his mind on the goal?

No spoiler here, but fasten your seat belt for a thrilling ending!


Apr 14, 2015
The Lady of Bolton HillThe Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clara Endicott was born to privilege, her father a well-known and respected preacher. It was expected that she would leave her mark on the world. Clara follows her heart and makes her mark in a way her family didn't expect. She champions the cause of the working class. Those kept in poverty by those who own the industrial revolution.

Daniel Tremain's world consisted of poverty, hunger, and hardship. He lost his chance at college when his father died and left him the man of the family. By his wits and pure hard work, he pulls himself and his family out of poverty. Daniel becomes a lion on the jungle of the industrial revolution.

Music brought them together, but the bonds of friendship formed in their early years will be sorely tested in the years to follow.

Check out my reviews of more Elizabeth Camden books:
Into The Whirlwind
The Rose of Winslow Street
Against the Tide

Apr 9, 2015
The Creole Princess (Gulf Coast Chronicles, #2)The Creole Princess by Beth White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful sequel to Beth White's The Pelican Bride. The reader is once again steeped into the history of the Gulf Coast region, now in the grip of the Revolutionary War. The part this region played in the war is not a subject often addressed, even in history textbooks or biographies of the period.

While the British, French, Spanish, and American rebels decide the fate of the colonies, Lyse Lanier does her best to provide for herself and her family. Her family, steeped in the tradition of the area, has fallen on hard times. She's too busy to worry about what happening hundreds of miles away in the northern colonies.

Don Rafael Gonzales arrives in Mobile with confidence and flair, in all outward appearance, a dandy who dabbles in trade. Quite against her will, Lyse is drawn to the handsome stranger. But he comes and goes with little rhyme or reason, and Lyse can't spend her days dreaming about the Spanish Don.

As the war presses in against the Gulf Coast, it becomes impossible for anyone to ignore it. Suspicion about who is and who isn't a loyalist to the Crown of England tears old friendships - and families - apart. New lines are drawn about who can be trusted, and who can't. Lyse and Rafael have to decide where they fall along these lines, and if they'll be on the same side, or not.


Apr 6, 2015
Against the TideAgainst the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Camden is one of my new favorite authors. She is a master at helping us to sympathetically connect with the less-than-perfect people who populate her stories. This is another one of her touching stories embedded with some little-known historical facts.

Lydia Pallas survives growing up in an orphanage, but not totally unscathed. She builds a safe life for herself until Alexander Banebridge brings her more than just documents to translate. While she untangles the languages he needs translated, he tangles her emotions into knots she doesn't want. Until the day he explains what he's really looking for. Joined with a common goal, they set out to right a wrong that stems from both of their pasts.

Mar 23, 2015
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is an autobiography of a young woman who - eventually - escaped from slavery. It's an interesting look into the life of a slave in the mid-1800s. A little confusing to me is that the book is written by Harriet Ann Jacobs yet the main character is called Linda. I'm not sure why that discrepancy. It isn't explained.

Most of the biographies I've read about people who have escaped slavery or were emancipated during the Civil War were of field slaves. Linda was a house slave and her story is quite different from any I've read before. She had a much different life - overshadowed by the evil that is slavery - than the field hands. In many ways, she was treated much kinder. She learned to read and write. She had some freedom to come and go and visit her relatives. And yet, she only had these freedoms at the whim of her master. Although a learned man and a doctor, he wasn't a noble character.

Fascinating look into a depraved society that kept their fellow humans in bondage and the creative and cunning ways the oppressed found to escape that bondage. Worth reading if you're at all interested in this subject. The author goes into detail about the evils faced, but also goes into detail about the kindness of others who helped her on her journey to freedom.
Mar 16, 2015
The Captive Imposter (The Everstone Chronicles, #3)The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The capstone on The Everstone Chronicles. Following the tragedy at the end of The Bound Heart (book 2 of The Everstone Chronicles), Estella Everstone considers it prudent to go into hiding for a time. Her goal is to keep her identity secret from others, but in truth, she learns much more about herself and her family. Thrust into a lifestyle as foreign to her as possible, Estella sees the world from a new perspective. And others see her very differently from what she's used to - if they notice her at all.

Dexter Blakeley manages an upper-class resort filled with spoiled rich women. He's seen enough of them to last a lifetime. But he has a soft spot for females in distress. When Estella finds herself abruptly unemployed and left - literally - standing beside the road, Dexter comes to her rescue. He doesn't connect the youngest daughter of his former employer with this charmingly shy lady's companion.

Plenty of romantic ups and downs to keep the reader turning the pages, while rounding out this series by author Dawn Crandall. I highly recommend reading this series in sequence. Each one builds upon the one before. This is a wonderful Christian historical romance series. It touches on some issues, very tactfully handled, that might not be appropriate for younger teens, however.

See my review of book 1 The Hesitant Heiress
See my review of book 2 The Bound Heart

Mar 12, 2015
Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charming medieval story! Aimed at young adults, there is plenty to please any reader who enjoys a dash of daring-do, a rumbling of romance, and good spackling of suspense.

Lady Merry Ellison leads a group outlaws - barely more than children - who protect the innocent remnant of a village scourged by the wicked King John. They survive by their wits and their commitment to each other, stealing only what they need to survive. Then one day, Merry lifts a box filled with gold coins from the top of a nobleman's coach.

Forced to move out of their usual territory to escape detection, they relocate too close to their old village. Discovered by someone she knew from childhood, someone who meant more to her than she's comfortable remembering, Merry is forced to make some soul-wrenching decisions. Decisions that will affect not just herself, but the lives of the children she protects. Who can she trust?

Well-written tale with engaging characters. It started a bit predictable, but soon morphed into a delightful romp that took the reader through medieval forests and towering castles. Is says this is book one, and I look forward to reading the following books in this series.

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Mar 8, 2015
Spy of Richmond (Heroines Behind the Lines #4)Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awesome read! Why can't I give it 6 stars?! This is the fourth book in Jocelyn Green's series about women whose lives were forever altered by America's Civil War. These books really should be read in order. While any one can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, when taken together, they build a compelling set of stories about women - white and black, free and slave - who you can't help but admire.

Being the history geek that I am, the factual background through which these stories are woven, and the interaction of the fictional characters with real-life historical figures, pulls me ever deeper into each story. Jocelyn Green handles both aspects beautifully.

Sophie Kent is a native Virginian, born to a Virginian father and a northern mother. Educated in Pennsylvania, including a healthy dose of abolitionist teaching, she lives in Richmond even though she abhors the war and the reasons for it. Her father away with the Confederate Army, her mother lying in the grave, Sophie decides she needs to do ... something. What she never plans is the tightrope stretched between loyalties and principles that she'll have to walk to help bring the war to an end. Staying on top of that rope would be impossible without the assistance - and love - of people both black and white who pass through or live under her roof.

A perfect wrap-up of the series. I'm glad Jocelyn decided that a trilogy wasn't enough. Familiar characters will greet the reader like old friends and the ending satisfies the reader by bringing full circle the story lines we've come to treasure.
Mar 4, 2015
Anna's Crossing (An Amish Beginnings #1)Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful story about a reluctant, yet brave, young woman who leaves her family behind to face the New World. Anna Konig agrees to travel to Penn's Woods with part of her Amish community as their only English-speaking representative.

Beautifully written story with details that bring this 1737 adventure to life. If you suffer from seasickness, you may have to be careful! It's that compelling. The rigors of the journey, the fears, the disease, but underlying it all - the hope in God to see them through.

Anna wants to see their friends settled and return to her grandparents in Germany. She doesn't expect to meet Bairn, a handsome sailor who tugs at her heart. But everything isn't as it seems. Greed and lies sail on the ship with the Amish immigrants. What will happen when the truth comes out?
Your chance to win a $250 Amazon gift certificate or a copy of Dina Sleiman's new release - Dauntless.
Mar 2, 2015
Joey's StoryJoey's Story by Ruth Ann Stelfox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a tough book to read. It shows the dark side of our culture, the side most people don't want to think about and don't want to deal with. I don't recommend this for younger teens because, while not graphic, it is straight-forward about what this young girl was exposed to.

Joey calls herself a "welfare brat" after she hears that name from others. Born into a dysfunctional family, she learns all the wrong lessons from a shockingly early age. After their mother dies, Joey and her siblings are taken from her father and pushed into the foster care system. Joey is shuffled around between some good - and some not so good - homes. Finally the four children are selected to be adopted all together into a family. However, tragedy doesn't stop there.

But God. Joey's story is ultimately a testimony to the grace and power of Jesus Christ.
Feb 18, 2015
The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #1)The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Biblical character of Rahab has always intrigued me. How did a prostitute factor into the Lord's plan so prominently? What was she like? How did she see the God of Israel for who He truly is? What made her hide the Jewish spies on her roof? What was there about Rahab that earned her a spot in the lineage of Christ?

Nobody knows the true answers to these questions. But via this fiction story, Jill Eileen Smith paints a very credible picture of the complex character of Rahab. She rounds out the character into a fully dimensional woman with faults and virtues and an amazing spiritual growth.

This is a darkly uplifting story. Darkly because we have to experience a time in history when people were brutal. There was no grace through Christ. It's a time in history that we can barely comprehend in today's culture. We think we have it rough today? We're clueless. But as with any good uplifting story, there is a hero and there is a way to rise above the circumstance. Love it!
Feb 9, 2015
Remember the LiliesRemember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Books like this have hooked me for a WWII-era historical reader. Liz Tolsma does a great job of transporting the reader back in time. I so admire The Greatest Generation and being able to read quality fiction like this depicting the people who survived that war is uplifting and humbling.

Irene Reynolds and Rand Sterling have nothing in common. She's the niece of a missionary. He's the owner of two of Manila's hottest night clubs. But war changes everything. Gathered like sheep and kept behind fences and walls, they strive to survive as civilian prisoners of war.

Heart-rending scenes of deprivation, hardship, and cruelty are softened only by the writer's ability to weave in the only true hope any of us have, the hope in Christ. A little slow in some places, stay with it because the story is worth it.
Jan 27, 2015
The Last HeiressThe Last Heiress by Mary Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mary Ellis at her best. I've read several of Mary's books and The Last Heiress tops them all.

British heiress Amanda Dunn travels to North Carolina. She plans to renew her relationship with her estranged twin sister, the one who shamed the family by running away and marrying an American. But she also needs to reestablish cotton shipments to her father's textile mills in Yorkshire.

Reuniting with her sister is easy. Bucking the American Civil War, however, proves much more of a challenge. And falling in love with a common working man? Preposterous.

A tender romance with a wide variety of characters gives an interesting glimpse into the fading years of the Civil War from the sea port of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Jan 20, 2015
The Simulacrum: Creationism, Evolution and Intelligent DesignThe Simulacrum: Creationism, Evolution and Intelligent Design by Brad Seggie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even though:
1) I couldn't pronounce the title
2) I had no idea what it meant (it's explained in the book)
3) This isn't a genre I normally read
I couldn't put this book down. Brad Seggie and Linda Yezak owe me a good night's sleep!

Mary Dillard's uncle is murdered, at least she thinks so. The police don't agree. So she hires down-at-the-heels private eye, Gunnar Schofield. Together they delve into the dangerous world of academic science that neither knew existed.

With a deep underlying message - sometimes you need to take a stand for truth - and plenty of action, plot twists, and heart-stopping moments, this book will keep you turning each page. If you enjoyed the movie, God's Not Dead, you'll enjoy this book. I highly recommend it!
Jan 15, 2015
Undeniably Yours (Porter Family #1)Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Contemporary romance is not my first genre to pick up, but when it involves thoroughbred horse racing? Oh, yeah! Love it! Unfortunately, there was virtually nothing in here about horse racing, other than people standing around looking at horses. Fortunately, it's a story with very compelling characters that sucked me into their story.

Meg Cole is a poor little rich girl, the type who could be a brash stereotypical cardboard character we've seen too often before. But she's not. She's vulnerable and sweet and desperately struggling to be strong after the death of her father.

Bo Porter is an ex-marine, a cowboy, and a simple guy from a small town in Texas. Now his future rests in the hands of his deceased oil tycoon boss's daughter.

She's all pink and frilly. He's all denim and straight lines. What on earth do they have in common? Nothing ... but a heart pumping attraction that will keep the reader turning the pages.
Jan 12, 2015
Emissary (Legends of the Realm, #1)Emissary by Thomas Locke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had not read a good fantasy novel in a long time. I enjoy the genre when it's done well, and Emissary is done well. It has all the elements of a good fantasy tale. There is a hero who is honorable and steadfast. The hero has a quest that is shrouded in a mystery. There is an older wizard (okay, not a mandatory element, but one I like) who mentors the hero. And there are clear lines between good and evil. Fantasy that smudges that line won't work for me.

Hyam begins his journey by honoring his mother's last request. He discovers a truth about himself that shakes his world. It also requires that he leave his home and everything he's ever known. Mysterious things start happening to him and around him. He discovers the world is not what he had learned it was. People thought long dead are not. Myth and fact mix together in a confusing array of events that draw Hyam to his ultimate purpose.

Emissary is a very good story with wonderful characters. I'm withholding one star because parts of it lacks clarity, or explanation, of unfolding events. While the mystery aspect is definitely part of the story, I was at times a little frustrated over that lack of clarity.

The end of the book includes the first couple of chapters of the sequel - and I will be reading it when it comes out.