Sunday, April 18, 2021

Ruby's Redemption By Edwina Kiernan

Ruby's Redemption
by Edwina Kiernan
Publisher: Moliant Publishing
Series: Gems of Grace
ISBN: 978-1838285074

How thankful I am to Edwina for reaching out to me about reviewing her book! Had she not, I may have never gotten to know her and her writing!

Summary:

A gentle clergyman. A broken prostitute. A blossoming love that will endanger both their lives…

Forced into depravity by her tyrannous guardian after her parents’ death, Ruby’s life is one of vile deeds and violence. Unable to remember much of life outside the brothel’s walls, years of despair and abuse have crushed all hope of ever breaking free from her captor’s iron grip.

Until an unlikely encounter with Henry, a gentle country clergyman, sets an escape in motion that will change both their lives. But when Ruby’s worst fears are realized, the uncommon pair will face more devastation than either thought possible. 

As the dawning of a new life of peace and love is ripped from her grasp, Ruby discovers that true freedom has a high cost... but who will have to pay?


My Review:

Ruby's Redemption is a pretty big book. And I have been pretty busy, but I read this book in under a day! And without really knowing what the story was about, I was a bit 😳 at the start. hahahaha I mean, it's a book that starts off in a brothel. Ahem. 

Let me tell you something about this story. It is FULL of grace. Oh my goodness, if you need hope or a reminder that we all deserve it, look no further. Not only that, the flip side of the coin is that we need to remember that NO ONE is too far gone. God will redeem anyone if they turn to him. THAT is what I found throughout Ruby's Redemption.

You know when characters show up on the page and you know they're the main character? While I recognized this with Ruby (I mean the title is the obvious giveaway there), but I didn't with Henry. Initially I thought he would lead us to the other MC. Nope, he was the fella who was going to take center stage. 

Their initial encounter sets up the entire storyline. And let me just say, the beginning is a rough one. I mean, living in a brothel under force won't be a story that's all butterflies and sunshine, right? It's pretty gritty and a harsh reality for those living it. The author brings us a bit into the depravity of it all. Nothing gratuitous, but she has to set the stage. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the wholesome character of Henry. He has the best of intentions, but also a bit naive. Now, that being said, he fully trusts in God for help and provision. Unfortunately, you can tell Ruby has no experience with anything relating to God. That and the fact that much of her life has been spent being used and discarded by men makes it near impossible for her to trust Henry.

We also meet Abigail, Henry's aunt, who welcomes Ruby with kindness and gentleness, but remember, she's Henry's aunt so maybe a bit protective. I actually really liked her because we see so much humanness in her. It's entirely possible I could relate to her because I can be a bit on the emotional side. hahahaha

And then one of my favorite characters of the entire story, and one whom Ruby likes just as much as me, is Browne. He's the steadfast man of the story. Browne safe and comforting. He's another one of those characters that you want to come alive and just always be in your corner.

Edwina wrote the character Millforte in a way that will have all of us shirking back. He's villainous to the core and written in such a way that we know we'd never want to meet him in a lighted alley let alone a darkened one. What an evil character! He really shows himself and how deplorable he is in the story.

My favorite part of the entire story was the faith. The way God was discussed, their prayers, the way in which the characters viewed Him were wonderful! If more books could be filled with this level of faith, Christian fiction would make an even bigger impact in the lives of people who read this category. At least that's my take. I think Edwina did an exceptional job of incorporating it the storyline and I think it will impact every reader. 

Now, who else is ready for book two aside from me? lol

About the Author:

Edwina Kiernan is a Christian writer, and author of the new novel, Ruby's Redemption. 

An enthusiast of classic novels and history, Edwina combines her faith, imagination and research in hope-infused tales set in times past. Her latest novel is the first in a new Inspirational Regency romance series, Gems of Grace. 

A lifelong word admirer, with Welsh and Irish heritage, she started writing stories early in childhood. She still loves to learn, taking courses from places like Oxford University and the Beau Monde, for both fun and further education. 

When she's not writing, Edwina loves spending time with her dashing husband and lively little son, reading and studying the Bible, getting lost in a captivating novel and drinking more types of tea than most people realize even exist. 

Join her mailing list for free gifts, updates and lots of classic and historical fiction goodness. Subscribe at www.edwinakiernan.com

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Blackberry Beach By Irene Hannon

Blackberry Beach
by Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Series: A Hope Harbor Novel
ISBN: 9780800736156

I've only read one other book by Irene Hannon, but have the entire Code of Honor series sitting on my tbr bookshelf waiting for me to get to them. That being said, I like that Irene can write so well in different genres! That makes me love an author even more. So, thanks to Revell, I'm able to read Blackberry Beach for my review.

Summary:

Her lifelong dream is in sight, but does a new--and better--future await in Hope Harbor?

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted--fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss--and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. As their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

My Review:

I loved the first line in Blackberry Beach! "The mystery woman was back." This story was such a satisfying read! I'm ready to travel to Hope Harbor and never leave! And yes, this is book 7 and it's my first time visiting! Don't judge my lack of reading this series in order. hahahaha

Since I'm not sure if any of the characters have been in the previous stories, we're just going to pretend they aren't. So, we meet Zach who runs The Perfect Blend, which sounds like a coffee shop that my coffee loving heart would love! A mystery woman has visited his shop a couple of times and he's trying to figure out what her story is. Unfortunately, Kat has no desire for anyone to even notice her let alone try to figure her out!

I just loved everything going on in this story. It was absolutely refreshing! It was really all about relationships and I needed that escape. To not have crazy, nefarious stuff going on in the background of any of the characters lives was fantastic! If you need a story that you can "rest" in, look no further. You will grow to care about all of the characters in equal amounts. Ok, that's a lie, some more than others. HA!

One of the huge aspects that I enjoyed about this story was having 5 POVs. Yes, 5. But Irene Hannon does it in such a way that it's not confusing, and gives you insight into that specific character. That's something I'm immensely fond of! I hope this is something she's done in the other books of this series.

And yes, while this book is mainly about Zach and Kat, his Aunt Stephanie and his barista, Frank really appealed to me. They're a bit older than me, but reading their storyline really stuck out to me in the sense that we need more books written for the older crowd in such a way that we know they still have vitality and a penchant for trying new things!

Can we also talk about Charley for a moment? On occasion stories have characters that I think we would agree we need to have in our lives. Charley is certainly one of them. His kindness, understanding, acceptance, and wisdom are a magnet any of us would want to be pulled in to! He was kinda my favorite! Don't tell any of the other characters though.

Thoroughly enjoyed this story and can't wait to read the other 6!!!

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including the long-running Hope Harbor series, as well as Point of Danger and the Code of Honor, Private Justice, and Men of Valor suspense series, among others. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, Booksellers' Best, Carol, and Reviewers' Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement Award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Lavender Tears By Sondra Cunningham

Lavender Tears
by Sondra Cunningham
Publisher: Bowker
ISBN: 978-1736187807

I love Biblical fiction so I was thankful to Sondra for reaching out to me to review her book! She sent it to me for today's post.

Summary:

The strength to rise again and again is not for the faint of heart.


Like each new sunrise, Mary of Bethany’s journey required an inner strength and faith that would permeate through the darkness of life’s unexpected tragedies. When her hopes and dreams came crashing down around her, Mary’s life began to spin, seemingly, out of control. What she couldn’t see, was that God, the faithful potter, was shaping her life into a valuable vessel. One mended and filled with the pure gold of the Father’s love and destined for a unique purpose. Held together by the sweet and calming scent of lavender and the memories of her mother’s garden, Mary journeys on, learning how to defeat the night and radiate like the noon day sun. ~Join Sondra on her debut novel’s heart felt journey alongside the woman with the alabaster jar, as she grows from soil to Savior!

My Review:

You know, one minute you're sitting there, reading Lavender Tears, thinking just how sweet this book is, and then boom, things take a turn! I was "concerned" to start with because I couldn't figure out any word to use to describe the book as other than, "sweet".  And honestly, I would've been ok reading a book that was 100% sweet all the way through. Life isn't like that though, right?

I thoroughly enjoy stories set in Biblical times and it was so fascinating considering the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Sondra's take on what life might've been like for them growing up in the time of Jesus. I really enjoyed how she infused Jesus' ministry into the story. Of course, with any Biblical fiction, the author does take license with anything not directly pulled from Scripture. I think we always need to keep that in mind as we read this genre.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the fact that the family worked so well together in all they did. So many stories I read pits family members against each other. Not only that, but we know that men ruled everything back then, but in this story, we see men treating the women kindly and as though they were worth something. I appreciate that!

This story took several turns that were very unexpected. I think all of us who know the story of Mary and Martha wonder how they came to that situation. That's what everything leads up to. How Mary ends up at the feet of Jesus while Martha is keeping busy. You can see how their personalities and "life experiences" brings them to being in such different places. I have to admit, there were a couple of spots that I had tears in my eyes. I certainly got emotional towards the end when Jesus was once again in the story.

Being a gardener, I loved how Mary and her mom tended the garden together. Also that her mother saw her gift with herbs and made sure she had something of her own that she could nurture. Of course, the name of the book fits in with their garden.

As I got further into the story more people from the Bible are involved and that really made me curious about how they're connected in Scripture just from what the writers of the Book wrote. I appreciate that with Sondra's book because I learned much more about them than I expected!

About the Author:

Sondra Cunningham is a wife and mother who has served in full time ministry since her teenage salvation. Sondra has flowed in the gift of worship, and worship leadership from those early years and continues today. Sondra ministers from her home and out in her local community, winning the lost, reaching out to pray, and teaching women how to grow deeper and more intimate relationships with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sondra makes her debut into the Christian Author's world with her new novel, "Lavender Tears." A biblical fiction story following the life of Mary of Bethany, the woman with the alabaster jar. Her words are eloquently written with sincere pathos and personal understanding of life's hardships. Sondra's desire is to use her voice in both song and written word, to sing healing over others and inspire the fallen to get back up. Through many difficulties within her years, Sondra has learned the precious truth of overcoming. Her ministry radiates hope for all those who have struggled to truly receive the love of God and find the confidence to leave the past behind. Sondra lives and works out of her home in upstate New York with her family. She spends her time passionately seeking Jesus, homeschooling her two children, leading worship, interpreting dreams, painting, and writing.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Is It Any Wonder By Courtney Walsh

Is It Any Wonder
by Courtney Walsh
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1-4964-3443-2

It was an incredible surprise when Courtney asked me to read and review her book. Last year I read If For Any Reason (which I loved) so I knew I absolutely HAD to say, "Yes," to the offer! She sent me my copy for review.

Summary:

Can a promise made as kids bring them back together as adults? In this Nantucket-set beach read, “master of the genre” (Midwest Book Review) Courtney Walsh delivers a sparkling inspirational romance about first love and second chances. Twelve years ago, Cody Boggs and Louisa Chambers made a pact that no matter where their lives took them, they’d return to Nantucket Island’s Brant Point Lighthouse on July 30, their shared golden birthday, and continue their tradition of exchanging birthday wishes. But that was before a tragic accident upended both of their lives, irrevocably pulling them apart.

Their worlds collide just months before that particular day when Louisa’s fledgling event planning company is hired by the local Coast Guard station, where she discovers Cody has recently returned to the island as the second in command. As they plan a regatta fundraiser, hoping to promote positive PR in the community, neither can deny the fireworks each encounter ignites. But working together also brings up memories of the day Cody’s father died, revealing secrets that have Cody and Louisa questioning everything they thought they knew and felt about their families and each other.

My Review:

Let me just say from the gate, if you're looking for a fantastic Christian Romance read, look no further than Is It Any Wonder! I know you don't see a heck of a lot of contemporary romance in my posts, so when I share them and love them, you know I'm not joking!

I enjoyed so many spots in this book I have a ton of sticky tabs on the pages! I got so involved in the story during the second half I forgot to put the tabs on the pages!

Let's talk about Nantucket. Can anyone make you want to visit there more than Courtney Walsh? She paints this vacation town in such a way that it makes you feel like you could be a part of it.

Cody is the hero of the story literally and figuratively. He comes onto the scene in a whirlwind and his life collides with Louisa's once again. You could've cut the tension with a knife with them together for the first time in so many years. I love when you can "feel" the emotions of the characters through an author's writing. He's the brooding sort and she's all warm fuzzies. A perfect combination if there ever were one. lol

Louisa is wonderful! She is a fixer and sakes alive she's surrounded by people who need fixing and her business The Good Life is such a great funnel for her care of others. When she ends up working with Cody because of the Coast Guard trying to repair all I could do was sit on pins and needles along with Louisa while she hoped for the rift to be fixed.

Louisa's co-worker, Ally, cracked me up. She just said whatever came to mind, especially about Cody, and made even better when done with Louisa in the vicinity. Her parents and her ex-boyfriend all wanted to make me lose my mind. How they treated her had me rooting for Cody even more. He could see in her what others couldn't.

The faith thread in this story was so sweet, especially with their mutual friend, Maggie. She really tried to get them to see how important forgiveness is and that sometimes wrongs couldn't be righted, but you could move on. Maggie was definitely the bright spot in this story. Through Cody's dad, the reader is able to understand how you can show Jesus to others through your actions. I loved that about this story.

I think for me, when I read Christian Romance, it has to be REALLY good for me to want to give it more than 3 stars. I've got to REALLY love it, and this one knocked it out of the ballpark for me. I don't know if I've rooted for another contemporary couple more! Life has taken a toll on both Cody and Lou, but God!

About the Author:

Courtney Walsh is the author of Just Look UpJust Let GoPaper HeartsChange of Heart, and the Sweethaven series. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright.Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

Monday, April 5, 2021

No Unturned Stone By David James Warren

No Unturned Stone
by David James Warren
Publisher: TriStone Media
Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone
ASIN: B08PTSR2KD

Being on a launch team for a book/series that is phenomenal is one of the best opportunities I've had as a book reviewer! It's been amazing being able to read No Unturned Stone as an ebook thanks to the publisher!

Summary:

"The One Rule Is, Don’t Mess With The Past”

But he did, and now ex-detective Rembrandt Stone is reaping the devastation of ignoring those words when he traveled back in time to solve the one case that had haunted his dreams.

Yes, he solved the crime. Yes, he saved lives. But Rembrandt returns to find the unthinkable has happened and his life has shattered.

There’s only one answer: break the rule again. Go back in time once more, fix what went wrong, save what went right, and yeah, in his spare time solve another brutal crime.

But it’s not so easy to change time, especially when time turns you into a target. And of course there’s the strong possibility if he goes again, he’ll never get back.

Get ready for your mind to be blown in Book 2 of the time-travel suspense series, The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone.

The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing as DAVID JAMES WARREN.

My Review:

Oh my word! Where do I even begin? Love suspense? Read No Unturned Stone. Love time travel? Read this book. Love to have the unexpected happen? Read this book. Love going through the ups and downs with the characters? You know what I'm going to say, right? 

I like to take my time reading stories. Take them at a decent pace. Not possible with Rem's story. I had no choice but to swipe furiously through it because I HAD to know what was going to happen! I felt like every page held a piece of Rembrandt's disintegrating reality. I didn't expect to finish it in a day. The writing was just so good. It hooked me, reeled me in, and didn't release me until... well, I was going to say the last page, but that only propelled me into book three because I wasn't released! Gah! So good! 

Rem, sakes alive, he's still a favorite of mine. He's a deep character who knows his own flaws and wants to fix the ones he sees in his younger self. Once again he's trying to right his world, he's so desperate for it, it's palpable, but we know there's a ripple effect when things are changed during time travel. We saw it happen in book one, and all we can do is anticipate what might happen this time. 

I forgot that in book one we get "young Eve's" perspective of the past. I think I like this part the best because it gives a sense of normalcy in the insanity that is Rembrandt Stone's life. I love Eve because she sees Rem. Truly sees him and doesn't care what others think. I also love their interactions.

The case this time is gut wrenching and time is limited. So much for Rem to figure out and cases to solve. It's just impossible to predict what lies on the next page. There wasn't even time to wonder what might be happening. You're just right there in the thick of things with him.

Of course I still love Burke. Oftentimes I feel like he's Rem's plumb line. There's a steadiness to him. He's a rock and he's dependable. He was kind of my favorite last time (I no kinda about it) and I loved him this time, too!

I just know this series is going to do me in. I should probably get an ekg fine before I read book three. Ha ha ha I'm not sure if my heart can take it!

About The Author:

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man's body. He's the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they'll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He's dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award-winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves travelling and telling stories about life, adventure and faith. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com.

David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he's never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He's grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.

 
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.