Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

Series: A Vintage National Park Novel

Publication Date:  June 2018


ARC  from Waterbrook and Netgalley.com

 “For three years he’d explored Yosemite and the High Sierra, hoping for a word from God about his failed calling. Nothing so far.”

                                                                   –Thoughts from Clark Johnson

Three years wandering through Yosemite and the adjoining area as a guide had certainly given Clark Johnson plenty of time to think about his situation. As his time as a guide draws to an end, Clark’s last guided tour includes Olivia Rutherford, a beautiful young artist hired to paint scenes from the park for Scenic Magazine, a national publication and Marcus and Sophie Vanderbilt, friends of the artist.

Clark, a nature loving solitary man, and Olivia, a polished social butterfly, couldn’t possibly have anything in common. However, as they begin working together they find that opposites often attract. Each of them has secrets they are keeping to themselves and until they find a way to be honest with each other, their friendship will go no further.

An appealing tale filled with adventure, a few unconventional characters, and some interesting twists will hold your interest! Once again the national park setting and the unique features of Yosemite add an additional dimension to the story. Karen Barnett finds a beautiful way to weave faith and inspiration into the story. An enjoyable read you won’t want to miss!

This ARC copy was received from Waterbrook and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#Netgalley  #WhereTheFireFalls


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Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Publication Date: July 17, 2018

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com


Excerpt: “Still, the cottage by the sea was the one place she could remember where she’d been completely happy. She didn’t know if she’d ever find that sense of peace again, but Annie was determined to try.”

In search of peace, Annie Marlow packs her bags and moves to the tiny beach town of Oceanside. As a physician’s assistant, Annie could have chosen from a vast array of locations, but she was searching for peace and a place to rebuild her life after a terrible tragedy. Going back to a familiar spot from childhood, Annie moves back into a cottage her family rented for many years.

This novel is all about the characters and their eccentric range of personalities. Seth Keaton, a gentle giant of a man, paints rooms and houses by day and quietly paints beautiful murals around town when no one is looking. Soft spoken, awkward and shy his crush on Annie has lasted for years unbeknownst to her. Melody Johnson, rude, ill-mannered and extremely anti-social, never leaves the old house behind Annie’s cottage. As Annie’s landlord, Melody and Annie have an uncomfortable working relationship which Annie is determined to better. A cast of minor characters play a role in Annie’s life and her battle to find her happy place again at Oceanside.

I enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters as well as the comfortable pace of the story. The book is one to read and enjoy slowly in spite of its rather serious tone and nature. Travel Annie’s journey with her to find her serenity and her happy place. Good beach read for the summer for those who want a little depth to their story!

This copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#CottageByTheSea #NetGalley




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Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Series: Blackbird Mountain, Book 1

Publication Date: July 3, 2018

ARC from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Netgalley.com

“The Lord does not test His children beyond what He thinks they can manage—with His strength. We will pray for the Lord’s strength now.”

This story touches chords deep in one’s soul with its setting, its characters, and its deep, personal struggles. A beautiful, haunting story of one woman and three brothers living deep in the mountains of Virginia! This profound tale and its lyrical dialogue will engage you until you turn the last page.

Arriving on Blackbird Mountain in August of 1890, Aven Norgaard, a quiet, shy and very capable young woman of twenty-one, is greeted by a surprise when she meets the three Norgaard brothers, Jorgan, Thorald, and Haakon. Arriving upon invitation from Aunt Dorothe to help care for the Norgaard brothers, she is expecting young boys in need of childcare only to find that the Norgaard brothers are grown men. Not only are the brothers grown men, but Aunt Dorothe died while Aven was en route.

As a widow of their cousin, Benn, the men take on Aven as a member of their family until she can figure out what to do with her life. The story follows Aven and the brothers’ day to day life on the farm where they raise apples for the making of alcohol, a business that creates great unrest in Aven’s soul and a deep, unquenchable thirst for one of the brothers.

Aven attracts the attention of two of the brothers; Thor, the middle brother who lives in his own silent world, and Haakon, the youngest and most charming of the three. Even though Aven has no intention of pitting brother against brother, the inevitable happens. In the midst of their personal turmoil, the three brothers struggle with conflicts regarding their business, their neighbors, and their beliefs. Ultimately, their choices have consequences that will set them against many of their own and endanger them and their loved ones.

Begin the journey to Blackbird Mountain and read this beautiful story interwoven with threads of faith and family.

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

Publication Date: 3 July 2018

Publisher: Revell

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Revell


“My little friend, prayers are funny like that. It is easy to see the times others answer our own prayers, but so often we don’t realize we too are the answer to someone’s prayer.”
-Margaret Anders

The novel begins in Azure Springs, Iowa in the year 1881. Em, a sad, wounded young woman is brought into town and her mysterious circumstances soon have the entire town talking. As she heals at the home of Abraham and Abigail Howell, her story is gradually revealed. The tale of a young girl and her sister sent west on an orphan train depicts a story heartbreaking in its details. As Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, a determined man of integrity, works with Em to untangle the mystery that brought her to this small town, he unexpectedly finds himself drawn to her.

The book reads at a very good pace. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Em heal and her life open up in front of her as she works to resolve her past and its complications. The themes running though the storyline are strong and deep: judging people by their looks can be very deceptive; living life to please others will not make you happy; and kindness is never wasted. Make the time to read this intriguing historical fiction novel and see where life will take Caleb and Em.

This ARC copy was received from Revell and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#NetGalley  #TheHopeofAzureSprings

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Filed under American Frontier, Book Reviews, christian fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Publication Date: 26 June 2018

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Ballantine Books


This emotional story goes straight to the core question of right and wrong in today’s world. The multi layered details are peeled away and the story unfolds predominantly through the narratives of Nina Browning, wealthy privileged wife of Kirk Browning, one of Nashville’s golden sons and Tom Volpe, a blue collar, single dad who works hard to maintain a decent life for his teenage daughter, Lyla.

The Brownings and Volpes worlds collide one weekend as a result of poor decisions on the part of both of their teenagers. Lyla and Finch, the teenage son of the Brownings, attend Windsor Academy; she is on a scholarship for high school and he has attended since kindergarten. The story is much more than just the privileged and wealthy son versus the lower income, scholarship girl. Neither teenager understands the far reaching consequences of their actions nor how many other people will become involved as a result of poor choices and the use of social media.

Read this story so relevant to our current times and find out exactly how widespread the effects of their decisions become! A terrific contemporary read with depth and complexity!

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky

Publication Date: February 2018

Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC copy from Netgalley and Waterbrook Multnomah



“It was time to remember Martha’s advice—trust the Lord and wait for Him to do His part.”


Action, adventure, romance and a bit of mystery pull the reader right into this heartwarming novel, Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky. Set in Edwardian England in 1909 the story revolves around Isabella Grayson, daughter of Charles Grayson, the wealthy landowner of the Broadlands estate, and James Drake, a rather poverty stricken young pilot struggling to build airplanes and make a name for himself.

Opportune timing places James and his partner, Professor Thaddeus Steed directly in the path of Mr. Grayson and his lovely daughter. The pair meet when a flying mishap occurs at Broadlands. As common interests are discovered among the group, an acquaintance builds which benefits both James and Bella.

Rich with historic detail about early aviation during this time period, readers of historical fiction and those with an interest in aviation will be very much enjoy this book.  An interesting read that also delves into the obstacles faced by women who had an interest in careers at that time. A quick and enjoyable summer read!

This ARC copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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The Patchwork Bride by Sandra Dallas

Publication Date: 5 June 2018

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

Copy from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press

“He might look like the hottest thing since Texas chili, but he’s awful high and mighty. Too much ambition for a cowboy. He reads books, that one. He’s a knowin’ man. Don’t mind him.”

                                                                             –Warning from Aunt Lucy

This delightful tale begins as a recounting of a story to Ellen’s granddaughter, June, who has run off from her fiancé to rethink her wedding plans. As Ellen stitches on a quilt for June’s wedding, she recounts various tales of a young woman who once ran away from marriage three times. The recounting of the vivacious Nell’s journey toward matrimony begins in 1898 as she meets the charming cowboy described in the opening quote above. How could Nell bring herself to leave Buddy, a man who looks like “the hottest thing since Texas chili?” But move on, she did!

Ellen continues the story over the course of her granddaughter’s visit regaling her with Nell’s other trips toward marriage that never quite materialized. The story is an interesting, enjoyable read with vivid characters that take you right back in time. Nell journeys to the country and back to the city as she struggles to find a husband and a life that will fulfill her.

The story spans decades as Ellen recounts and stitches along on the wedding quilt. Each piece tells a story that unfolds for the reader as it progresses. The similarity in generations becomes apparent by the end of the book and a poignant tale comes to a pleasant ending.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ranch talk and the salty characters that were part of Nell’s life. The book highlights families, expectations, and the true meaning of love and marriage. A truly enjoyable read!

This ARC copy was received from St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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