Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Grace Hitchcock: The White City


By Kelly Bridgewater

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

From Amazon


My Thoughts:

I am really excited to jump into this series about true crimes from Historical America. The first book in the series is from Grace Hitchcock, and this is her debut novel. The story of The White City takes us to the world of the World's Fair in Chicago. Deanna Guist has also done a series around the World's Fair. It appears to be a popular time period to write about.

But this time around, the novel is a mystery, which I LOVE to read. The idea of a heroine following her instincts from reading way too many mysteries has been done a number of times, but I still enjoyed reading the novel. The plot kept me engrossed as I flipped through the pages. It didn't take me long to finish the novel. I do like the idea of how the villain captured and eluded the police to get away with their crime.

The romance was predictable too. I had a good idea of who Winnie would fall in love with. It is pretty predictable for a strong heroine to fall in love with this type of hero. The romance didn't sweep me off my feet either.

I did enjoy following Winnie as she put herself in danger in order to prove her worth to her father. I do enjoy how she liked to read A LOT. It does remind me of me. I read A LOT and don't feel bad about doing it. It is a wonderful way to pass the time.

Overall, The White City is a different mystery that sparked my interest. The romance and characters were predictable, but I enjoyed hanging out with Winnie. I believe fans of historical mysteries like Jaime Jo Wright might enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of The White City by Grace Hitchcock from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Grace Hitchcock
From Amazon
Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com (Taken from Amazon.)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Lindsay Harrel: The Secrets of Paper and Ink


By Kelly Bridgewater

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancĂ©, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

From Amazon


My Thoughts:

Some Contemporary Romance bores me to tears. Predictable plot. Not original idea. You always know how the story is going to end. That is why I usually don't pick up this type of genre. But I have found some that I enjoy. Becky Wade. Deborah Raney. Beth K. Vogt. I have tried Lindsey Harrel's second novel, The Heart Between Us, and it wasn't my taste at all. But her third novel, The Secrets of Paper and Ink, sounded interesting, so I took another chance for Harrel to change my mind.

Harrel does have a good grasp on how to write a novel. She understands the mechanics of writing a good story. She does have her characters transform by the end of the novel, which I believe is the most important aspect to writing a good novel.

But . . . the plot didn't really wow me. I did enjoy watching Sophie travel to London where she decided to take a journey of self-discovery. She needed to learn how to move on from an abusive relationship and learn to find herself again. I did enjoy how Harrel created a wonderful book addict in Sophie, which resounded with me. Being an avid bookworm, I could empathize with her completely as she flipped through the number of books and wanted to help Ginny with her bookstore and her broken relationship. While there are two contemporary timelines, Harrel added a historical backstory that Sophie tries to solve by the novels end. I actually liked the historical story better than the contemporary ones.

A contemporary romance has a predictable romance where two characters meet and overcome obstacles where they decide, usually, to spend the rest of their lives together. In this novel, nothing different from this plan. William and Sophie follow the path to love by the end of the novel. They have a shared love of books.

Overall, The Secrets in Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel might be right up the alley for fans of Contemporary Romance but the predictability of the story and the three point of views didn't really grasp my attention. I think fans of Robin Lee Hatcher, Melissa Tagg, Kara Issac, and Becky Wade might enjoy the novel.

I received a complimentary copy of The Secrets in Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About the Author:
From Amazon

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and--of course--writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter. (Taken from Amazon.)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Travis Thrasher: American Omens


By Kelly Bridgewater

In this taut thriller that depicts a future where belief is dangerous, faith is deemed hatred, and a group of powerful elite keeps watch, the Reckoner has come to wake up America.

The year is 2038 and Cheyenne Burne is a brilliant young programmer working for Acatour, the world's top technology firm. Her father converts to Christianity, and he suddenly disappears without a trace. When a stranger hands Cheyenne a coded message that sends her on a collision course with a clandestine group of believers, she must put her life in the hands of those following a man known only as the Reckoner. He claims he wants to bring back true faith in Christ to America and also reveal the forces behind the disappearances of the many renowned people who publicly declared their Christian faith.

Operating in the shadows and living off the grid, this mysterious prophet assembles a ragtag team--including a former bookseller whose store was shut down for selling prohibited books--to help him take the battle for transparency to the top. With a ruthless FBI agent closing in, can Cheyenne and the others expose the truth and lead a return to God in America before it's too late?

From Amazon


My Thoughts:

Travis Thrasher penned a persecuted church thriller with the fright of what could be coming for future America. Torn from the pages of present life, Thrasher used the fears of tons of Americans and placed into a novel with Christians being the targeted group. American Omens could be predicting the future with elements that appeared realistic. While the plot moved at a slow pace, I enjoyed the concept and watched the three different perspective characters discover the truth about what the government allows the world to see. The main problem I have with the story is how long it took for Thrasher to explain what the purpose of hunting for Cheyenne's father and the Reckoner was. I wanted this big moment at the end of the story to expose and / or destroy the Acatour, but it really wasn't that big of  a deal. It was a small thing. Even though, in reality, it might have caused a lot of damage, but from a reader's perspective, I wasn't that wowed. I wanted more. From the ending, it was hard to tell if this was the first book in a series or if this was the only one in its kind.  Overall, the premise intrigued me, but I think the idea's delivery didn't come across the way it wanted it. I feel torn on how I feel. If this story captured a reader's imagination, I suggest picking up Amanda G. Steven's Haven Seekers' four book series.

I received a complimentary copy of American Omens by Travis Thrasher from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Travis Thrasher
From Amazon
Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written more than fifty books and worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years. He has penned fiction in a variety of genres, and his inspirational stories include collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, and pastors. Travis lives with his wife and three daughters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. www.travisthrasher.com (Taken from Amazon.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Jocelyn Green: Between Two Shores


By Kelly Bridgewater

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel's life convince her he's in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She's risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

40390724
From Goodreads


My Thoughts:

Jocelyn Green's Between Two Shores captures the essence of the French and Indian War on the Canadian grounds. With a strong mixed breed heroine, she captured the strong-willed women of the age. The conflict between the characters and the nations sparked an overwhelming story filled with heart and hate. While the story moved along at a great rate, I did find myself nodding off a couple of times. It didn't capture my attention the whole time. It was a dry read for me personally. On the other hand, Green does a wonderful job at bringing the late eighteenth century to life for readers. The unpredictable ending to the romance threat was different, and I actually enjoyed this different viewpoint. Overall, Between Two Shores sweeps the reader into a fascinating world of conflict, but the enduring heroine of Catherine brings heart to the dilemma. Fans of Jocelyn Green's other stories or historical romance might enjoy this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction, and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels' time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com. (Taken from Amazon.)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Elizabeth Goddard: Never Let Go


By Kelly Bridgewater

As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth.

Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow's tender heart at risk.

In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end.

40392262
From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Romantic suspense is a genre that I read widely in, so when I read that Elizabeth Goddard was moving into a full-length romantic suspense novel from her shorter Love Inspired Suspense novels, I was intrigued. The novel, Never Let Go, does start out a little slow. Goddard spends a little too much time explaining Willow's and Austin's backstory right up front, even though she hints at a mystery to Austin's backstory. The backstory for Austin wasn't that big of a deal for me. I have seen it before. The idea of a stolen baby and trying to find it again was a neat mystery element, but it didn't seem to be the main point of the story's progression until about fifty percent into the novel. Then I started to read a random person's point of view belonging to Charlie, a girl, lost in the woods, hiding from her killer. Austin and Willow didn't appear to be any different than any other hero and heroines from previous romantic suspense novels. Overall, Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard is a mediocre romantic suspense novel that really didn't have me grasping for attention and clinging to the pages. I wished for more  in depth of a tragic backstory for the hero. Fans of romantic suspense might enjoy the novel, but it fell short for me.

I received a complimentary copy of Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Elizabeth Goddard
From Amazon

About the Author:

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than thirty romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES--a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.


To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website: http://elizabethgoddard.com
Follow her on Bookbub! https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-goddard
You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook: http://facebook.com/elizabethgoddardauthor
or Twitter: http://twitter.com/bethgoddard (Taken from Amazon.)