Saturday, October 19, 2013

AUTHOR TERRY SPEAR--"The Highlanders" series--recommended for lovers of tough-tender Highland warriors whose capacity to love is as great as their strength in battle



The Highlander 






Anora, the shepherdess, finds a half-naked man in her bed, so what's a woman living alone in a cottage in the Lowlands of Scotland supposed to do? Prod him with her pitchfork to chase him off! Only the man is not just a traveler seeking her bed for a rest—but a wounded Highlander, who fights back, swinging his sword!



Niall MacNeill is searching for a Frenchwoman of nobility to escort to his cousin's castle for safekeeping, when he and his friend, Gunnolf, are attacked by another Highland clan, seeking the same woman. The other Highlanders wish to sell her to the highest bidder—English or French—it does not matter.



Niall takes refuge in a sheepherder's cottage to heal up from his wounds and discovers the shepherdess taking care of him may very well be the woman he seeks. He has no intention of doing anything but what his cousin requests of him—ensure her safety on their way to Craigly Castle—but when the lass so bravely wields her pitchfork at him, he is thinking of other, more interesting possibilities.



MY REVIEW:


Niall MacNeill, cousin and "like a brother" to the famed MacNeill brothers of author Terry Spear's " The Highlanders" series, is finally the star of his own story in "The Highlander". Niall and his friend and compatriot, Gunnolf, have been sent on a mission to locate a French noblewoman and escort her to a MacNeill stronghold for safekeeping. While on their search, Niall and Gunnolf are attacked by a rival Highland clan who seek the same woman--their purpose to sell her to the highest bidder--the buyer matters nought. Wounded during the ambush, and separated from Gunnolf, Niall finds refuge in a sheepherder's cottage. However, it is not a shepherd who awakens him by prodding him with a pitch fork--it is the bonny shepherdess Anora, who lives alone in the cottage and considers Highlanders to be barbarians. Nonetheless, Anora tends Niall's wounds, feeds him and offers him shelter for the night. The more time that Niall spends with Anora, and the more he learns of her history, the more he suspects she may be the Frenchwoman whom he seeks. When the men who ambushed Niall and Gunnolf arrive at the cottage, Anora and Niall are forced to fight for their lives. Later, they are reunited with Gunnolf, and the three of them began a treacherous journey that will be filled with intrigue, peril, and a growing love between Niall and his noble shepherdess. When all truths are revealed, who will Anora really be? Niall knows that he wants her for his very own, but will that be possible? What will be Anora's heart's desire? The men of the MacNeill clan are fearsome in battle, intelligent and strong-willed. When they find the special woman who will rule their heart, they are tender, protective and passionate. "The Highlanders" series from author Terry Spear--recommended for lovers of tough-tender Highland warriors whose capacity to love is as great as their strength in battle.


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Taming the Wild Highlander (Highlander Medieval, #4)
Edana Chattan senses concerns where people she knows could be in danger. When her brothers warn her they're in trouble, she can't convince her father to listen to her, so with an escort, she tries to locate them. Separated from her escort during a storm, she is discovered by Angus MacNeill, who is tasked to return her home. Only Edana has other notions--and convinces him and his companions to allow her to use her abilities to locate her brothers who are manacled in a dungeon somewhere. That leads to a faux marriage and more dungeons and more trouble than Angus had ever thought possible. So why is the bewitching, fiery-haired lass making him think of marrying her for real?


MY REVIEW:


The youngest MacNeill brother, Angus, comes into his own with "Taming the Wild Highlander, the fourth book in author Terry Spear's Medieval-Era "Highlanders" series. As a youth, Angus MacNeill had become enchanted with young Edana Chattan, who was said to have been "touched by the Fae"--the sum of her powers unknown. The Chattans and MacNeills were friendly clans, and the sons and daughters of the clan families would gather together, although Angus was too shy to speak to Edana. Years later, as a man battle-proven in the Crusades alongside his brothers, Angus will be called upon to find and bring home the missing Edana. Both blessed and cursed with the power of mental telepathy, Edana had received a plea for help from her brothers, who had gone to visit a cousin. Something was desperately wrong, and none of her five brothers had returned, so they were all in peril. Due to a misunderstanding with her father, she could not tell him of the messages she was hearing from her brothers, and she set off to rescue them herself. When Laird Chattan realized that all of his sons and his daughter were unaccounted for, he asked the MacNeills for their help. Angus set off to find Edana, beginning a fateful journey which will change their lives forever. When Angus and his men find Edana, they insist upon returning her to her father and then going to search for her brothers. After much pleading, Edana convinces Angus that they must not waste time, and she must go with them. More than ever under the spell of his attraction to her, he enjoys the time spent with Edana. She also finds Angus quite appealing--she has never known the attention of a young man--they were all afraid of her supernatural abilities. Angus puts together a plan to seek entry to the castle where they think the Chattan brothers are being held. He and Edana will pose as husband and wife, travelers seeking hospitality from the laird of the keep. Their plans go much astray however, and eventually they must marry for real, something to which neither one truly objects. Angus has long held Edana in his heart, and she cares deeply for him as well. Not everyone is happy about their union, and there is one who will not rest until he has Edana for his own. Angus will let no other man claim his wife--only he will be the one to tame his "Wild Highlander Bride". A rousing historical romance with added elements of suspense and the paranormal. Another entertaining saga featuring the MacNeill brothers from author Terry Spear.


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Highland Rake (Highlander Medieval, #3)
Dougald MacNeill is the next to youngest MacNeill brother and he's not about to settle down, until Lady Alana Cameron is placed squarely in his lap...and then, the trouble begins.


When Dougald finds Alana roaming the heather on the MacNeill lands, he takes her in hand to see his laird brother James at Craigly Castle to determine her fate. But who has sent her there and why? Her uncle, laird of the Cameron clan, that has warred with the MacNeills for years, has made a marriage arrangement with another clan and now that is even at stake.


Having witnessed her father's death, and even believing he had returned her home when all along he had been dead, Alana discovers she has the gift, or curse, of seeing the newly departed and sometimes those who should have long ago passed over. Her own deceased brother continues to plague her, the rake, and now another, who is very much of the flesh, Dougald MacNeill, has her thinking marrying a rake might just have its benefits. Dougald's sister, who is one feisty ghost, has offered to help Alana keep Dougald in line if he thinks of even straying.


But who sent Alana on a fool's errand in the first place to remove her from the Cameron's lands and set her squarely in Dougald's care, and who really killed her father and her brother, and what has it all to do with Alana? Will she and Dougald learn the truth before it is too late?


MY REVIEW:


Medieval Scotland is the perfect setting for paranormal historical romance in author Terry Spear's "Highland Rake". An involving, atmospheric tale, this is a very well-written and well-paced story line with engaging and intriguing characters. Lady Alana Cameron was present when her father and many of her clan were attacked and killed. Both blessed and cursed by an ability to see and speak with the dead, it was her deceased father who guided her home to safety after he and his clansmen were killed in an ambush. As a grown woman, Alana is a respected healer, and known to converse with spirits. One of the ghosts from whom she receives visitations is her recently deceased brother, Connell. A known rogue and ladies man, Alana and her uncle both felt that his dalliances would lead to his death--and they did. He was killed by a jealous husband who caught Connell with his wife. When Alana is summoned to aide an ailing woman who is with child, she crosses onto the forbidden lands of the MacNeills--a rival clan. Someone has deceived her into treading on MacNeill territory, and Dougald MacNeill takes her into his custody in order to present her to his older brother James, the head of the MacNeill clan. Dougald is even more of a known rake than was her brother Connell, but Alana cannot help noticing his great charm and appeal. James decides that the only course of action to save Alana's reputation and hold off a bitter and deadly clash with the Camerons is to have Dougald wed Alana. Though they have just met, and each first had mistrust of the other, they both agree to the marriage. When Alana's uncle arrives to bring home his niece, she is already wed to Dougald, who agrees to live with the Camerons and one day take her uncle's place as head of the clan. Connell, who had followed Alana, is not the only ghost in the MacNeill stronghold. Seana MacNeill, sister of James and Dougald, had died after running off to marry a man of whom her family did not approve. Seana is delighted to be able to speak with Alana, but Connell raises her ire with his teasing. There is much plotting and planning throughout the clans of the realm, and not everyone would see Dougald and Alana happily wed. Can Dougald protect the bride whom he loves and desires, and can he keep peace among the clans? Will Alana find the security she needs in the love of her husband to set the nightmares of the past behind her? I absolutely loved this story, and I became completely involved with the characters. The respect that Dougald had for Alana and her intelligence and unusual abilities made him one awesome Highland Hero! Recommended for lovers of skillfully-crafted paranormal highland romance, rich in history, romance, and intrigue!


Review Copy Gratis Author



Lady Eilis Dunbarton’s life undergoes a drastic change with the death of her cousin, Agnes. Now she’s faced with the disagreeable prospect of marrying the man who was to be her cousin’s husband. Not by a change of contract, though. Instead, by deceit—pretending to be her cousin. But if her husband-to-be discovers she’s not really Agnes, her life is forfeit. So what choice does Eilis have but to flee? When Laird James MacNeill’s clan rescues a half-drowned lass from the sea, there is speculation she is of the enemy clan, especially since she doesn’t remember her own name. James is immediately enticed with the lady, but his focus must remain on finding the proper bride. For if he does not wed soon, he must give up his holdings to one of his younger brothers. Focus slips away with each day Eilis is close, and James finds himself contemplating the thought of taking her to wife without knowing her true identity. But how dangerous would the end result be? And what will happen if Eilis’s husband-to-be comes looking for her only to find her in the arms of another man?


MY REVIEW:


Author Terry Spear's unique talents as a storyteller take the reader on a wonderfully romantic journey to twelfth century Britain in "The Accidental Highland Hero". Laird James MacNeill must make a suitably profitable marriage or forfeit the title to his land holdings to one of his younger brothers. Lady Eilis is being forced to impersonate her late cousin Agnes in order to marry Agnes' intended, keeping Eilis' family from losing the chance to settle a feud with a rival clan. Eilis' uncle sends her by ship to wed the much older Laird Dunbarton, keeping behind her younger brother, Ethan, to ensure that she will follow through with the deceit. The ship carrying her to her fate wrecks at sea, and she is rescued by the MacNeill clan, who are the sworn enemies of the Dunbartons. James MacNeill had been anticipating a visit from the comely widow, Catriona, whom he hoped to wed. Instead, he becomes host and guardian of a mystery woman plucked from the sea. When Catriona delays her visit, James' own mother comes up with the idea of a pretend attraction between James and Eilis, whose memory has been affected by her near-death experience along with the onset of fever. The idea is to hasten Catriona's acceptance of James proposal by making her jealous. The attraction between James and Eilis is quite real, and although her memory is returning in random pieces, James cannot shake the notion that they have met before. Could she be the same girl whose life he saved years before? While James has his hands full with the women in his life, there are far more serious matters concerning the ongoing feud with the Dunbartons. Eilis' numerous attempts to escape from the MacNeills are as worrisome to James as are the deep feelings transcending his desire for the mysterious beauty. With no idea of Eilis' real identity, how can they hope for a future together? Will James be able to bring an end to an ancient clan feud and marry the woman he cannot resist? If Eilis remembers her true place in this world, will James be able to be a part of that world? The teasing banter and sweetly sensual attraction between James and Eilis is very enjoyable, and you will root for this unlikely pair to make their match.


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Lady Anice vows to flee the amorous advances of King Henry I, and return to her home in the Highlands, where she hopes to find a laird to wed, when she learns her staff has vanished. Premonitions of imminent danger warn her of foul play and she is certain she is cursed when it comes to marriage.


The king orders the Highlander Laird Malcolm MacNeill, seeking an English bride, to provide the lass safe escort and learn what has become of her staff. Escorting her home safely proves a dangerous trial in and of itself and keeping his heart out of the matter, when the king wishes her wed to one of his loyal barons instead, complicates issues further. Losing his heart to the lass means Malcolm could very well lose his head.


MY REVIEW:


"Winning the Highlander's Heart" is an entertaining romantic adventure from author Terry Spear. Set in Britain during the reign of Henry I, this tale of a spirited Scottish beauty and a brawny Highland laird will have great appeal for lovers of historical romance. Lady Anice, Countess of Brecken, is cousin to Matilda, wife of Henry I. A ward of his majesty, she is also the object of his amorous attentions. An attempt to flee Arundel Castle by climbing out a window finds Anice caught in the arms of the stalwart Highlander, Malcolm MacNeill, Earl of Pembrintin. While Malcolm is tempted by the charms of the lady whom he catches, after two mishaps with Scottish marital prospects he has sworn to find an English bride with a suitable fortune. The king may want to dally with Lady Anice, but he seeks to marry her off to a fortuitous Norman mate. Anice wants nothing more than to return to her home in Brecken Castle. Prone to premonitions, she has a feeling all is not well, and word reaches the king that the steward, chamberlain, and treasurer have all vanished under mysterious circumstances. King Henry appoints Laird MacNeill and his brothers to escort Lady Anice to Brecken Castle. The MacNeills will stand in stead for the missing men until the mystery is solved, and until the arrival of the Norman chosen by the king to marry Lady Anice. The spark of attraction that flared from the first meeting between Malcolm and Anice threatens to roar into life as they are forced into each other's company. The Highlander cannot resist teasing and tempting the lovely Scottish lady, and she finds him equally attractive and intriguing. Malcolm has sworn to the king to protect Lady Anice, but can he protect himself from the desires of his heart? Anice is intelligent and proud, but she is vulnerable to her feelings toward the compelling Highland laird. Can she trust her life and her emotions to a man who swore to wed a wealthy English bride? Terry Spear's writing is rich in historical detail and offers delightful romantic sparring between two very appealing characters.


Review Copy Gratis Author




THE VIKING'S HIGHLAND LASS  by Terry Spear

UPCOMING....GUNNOLF'S STORY


TERRY SPEAR


Terry Spear


Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense. She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA.


USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Author Robyn Carr's "Thunder Point" series--romantic tales of coastal Oregon community where wanderers settle in, newcomers are welcomed as friends, and friends become family...

The Wanderer (Thunder Point, #1)
 
 
 
 
From Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Virgin River novels, comes THUNDER POINT-the highly anticipated new series that will make you laugh, make you sigh, and make you fall in love with a small town filled with people you'll never forget. 
 
 
Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands. Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful. With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
Author Robyn Carr begins her "Thunder Point" series with "The Wanderer". Set in the ruggedly beautiful coastal area of northern Oregon, the book has some ties to her popular "Virgin River" series. "The Wanderer" is Hank Cooper, known as just "Cooper", who has received word of the death of his longtime friend, Ben Bailey. A loner, like Cooper, Ben left his beachfront property and business to Cooper, who is stunned to learn the extent and value of the land holdings. Ben lead a modest lifestyle, but his property is worth a fortune. Cooper only plans to stay long enough to handle Ben's estate, but the longer he stays, the more involved he becomes in the community, which starts to feel like home. He makes friends with the local deputy sheriff, Mac McCain, and he decides to renovate the bait shop/deli/bar that Ben had run on the property. As Cooper begins to restore Ben's place, he learns just what pivotal piece of property it is--if he sells it to developers, the whole community will be affected. Cooper befriends a teenager, Landon Dupre, who is being bullied by some of his classmates. When Cooper meets Landon's older sister, Sarah, he is instantly smitten, and he has one more reason to stay in Thunder Point. Like Cooper, Sarah is a helicopter pilot, serving with the Coast Guard. Cooper had served as a military pilot--Ben had been his mechanic--and now he goes where the work takes him. Having been badly burned by her cheating spouse, Sarah is not looking for an involvement. However, the chemistry with Cooper is impossible to resist, and they soon begin a passionate affair. To his surprise, Cooper finds himself wanting a deeper relationship, while Sarah tries to keep an emotional distance. Cooper has lived a nomadic existence by choice, but will his unexpected inheritance and surprising emotional longings finally give his life well-planted roots? Will Sarah give him her heart and her trust? "The Wanderer" is leisurely, but enjoyably, paced, allowing the reader to get a real sense of the setting and the characters. The secondary romance between Mac McCain and Gina James added much to the story line, and it is the basis for the second book in the series, "The Newcomer". If you love romances set in small communities where everyone and everything is somehow connected, then you will enjoy the "Thunder Point" series.
 
 
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The Newcomer (Thunder Point #2)
 
 
 
With humor and insight, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr looks at letting go of the past-and knowing when you've found something worth building your future on 
 
 
Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can't get enough of one another. And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They're wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure...but they are not going down without a fight. 

Step into the world of Thunder Point, a little town on the Oregon coast where newcomers are welcomed, hearts are broken and mended, and the dramas of everyday life keep the locals laughing, crying and falling in love.
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
Hank Cooper was "The Wanderer" in the first book in author Robyn Carr's "Thunder Point" series. Now that Cooper seems to be settling in for the long haul, he's "The Newcomer" in the Thunder Point, Oregon community. After an unexpected inheritance from his good friend, Ben Bailey, Cooper eventually grew to love the area where the property Ben had left to him was located. He also came to love Sarah Dupre, and her younger brother, Landon. Cooper became good friends with the deputy sheriff in the little community, Mac McCain. Mac was a single dad, raising three kids after their mother had left them a decade ago. With the help of his Aunt Lou, Mac managed to keep his family together and on the right track. The mother of his oldest daughter's best friend was Mac's best friend and parenting buddy. Gina James was a single mother, never married, living with her own mother and her teenaged daughter. Deep down, there was more than just friendship between Mac and Gina. Romantic attraction had made itself known on a couple of occasions, only to be shut down by an overly-cautious Mac, leaving Gina hurting and frustrated. Everyone knew that Mac and Gina belonged together, but it took another man's interest in Gina to make Mac stake his claim. Now that they're together, he can't believe it took him so long to claim the happiness that was there all along. However, when Mac's ex-wife makes an unwelcome return, she threatens the newfound joy for Mac and his family. Gina has serious issues of her own to deal with her daughter Ashley becomes distraught and self-destructive after she is heartlessly dumped by her boyfriend. Mac's buddy Cooper is trying his best for a happy future with Sarah, but a promotion for her in the Coast Guard could mean that she would have to leave Thunder Point. If her brother Landon went with her, he would be uprooted for his senior year of high school. If Cooper went with them, he would be leaving behind his newly found homeplace. Landon could stay behind and live with Cooper to finish out his school year, but then Sarah would be without the two most important people in her life. Meanwhile, Cooper receives another unexpected gift--one that will change the course of his life forever. Someone will have to compromise, but will it be a compromise of the heart? "Thunder Point" is like a patchwork quilt top--a work in progress where unexpected pairings and additions somehow come together to form a thing of beauty. Something unique and ever-evolving--just like the residents of Thunder Point.
 
 
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The Hero (Thunder Point, #3)
 
 
 
 
With warmth and sensitivity, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr shows readers that falling in love can be the bravest act of all. 

 
In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need. As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart. Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
Author Robyn Carr returns readers to the coastal community of Thunder Point, Oregon with Book Three, "The Hero". Rawley Goode is a sixty-something Vietnam Vet, usually short on words and spare with communication. However, when he sees a young woman and her small child walking the road alone in the early morning darkness, he offers them a ride. From the young woman's clothing and hairstyle, he surmises that she has just left "The Fellowship", a religious compound located in the area nearby. Since he was on his way to Hank Cooper's little deli & bar, he offers to provide breakfast for mother and child, and then give them a lift to wherever they want to go. Devon McAllister and her daughter are indeed fleeing the compound and the control of the manipulative ruler, Brother Jacob. Devon had been vulnerable to Jacob's persuasion to join his commune, and later he fathered her daughter, Mercy. Devon knew firsthand that Jacob was evil--sometimes physically violent. He grew pot as a cash crop, saying that it was medicinal herbs. He was on the radar of the authorities, suspected of kidnapping and human trafficking. Rawley extends his kindness even further, giving Devon and Mercy a place to stay, and advising Devon to change her looks. She cuts her long hair very short, and Rawley helps her to get new clothes. Another friend of Cooper's also takes an interest in Devon. Spencer Lawson had been married to a former girlfriend of Cooper's, and when she is dying from cancer, Cooper is called to see her one last time. She reveals that he is the biological father of her son, Austin, who has been raised by Spencer. After her death, Spencer and Austin show up in Thunder Point, and Cooper is delighted to be able to spend time with his son. Spencer accepts the job of head coach at the local high schooland he throws himself into the role. Devon finds work in the new doctor's office in town, and she moves into a small apartment which needs a lot of work. Spencer, Rawley, Cooper and his lady, Sarah, step in and fix up Devon's apartment while she is at work one day, and she and Mercy finally have a real home of their own. The friendship between Spencer and Devon blooms into romance. Cooper and Sarah are making plans for the future, and their friends, Mac McCain and Gina James are now happily married and co-parenting their merged families. Devon enjoys her work, her new friends, and the romantic attentions of Spencer, but she is always aware of the danger she left behind. When that danger comes looking for her, and Mercy is kidnapped, Devon is devastated. However, there's more than one "hero" in Thunder Point, and Devon's friends won't let her down. When the past is put behind at last, what will the future hold for Devon and Spencer? Each of them is healing from painful memories, but hearts can always hope for healing and happiness to lead them to brighter and better days ahead. Thunder Point is just the place for them to be--a place where wanderers come to settle, newcomers are welcomed as friends, and friends become family.
 
 
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The Chance (Thunder Point, #4)
 
 
 
 
Share the joys, heartbreaks, challenges and triumphs of the people who inhabit the small Oregon town of Thunder Point with #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr

With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she'll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge.

Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he's a man with a dark past, he's determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep...unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.
 
 
 
 
ROBYN CARR
 
 
 
Image of Robyn Carr
 
 
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, began in March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at www.RobynCarr.com.
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Author JOANNE BISCHOF--"CADENCE OF GRACE" series--a spiritual journey for two hearts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the beginning of the twentieth century



 
 
 
Gideon O’Riley has been given another chance at a life with Lonnie. But will the fight for her heart risk it all over again?
 

 
After finally finding love with his sweet bride Lonnie, Gideon’s heart was torn when a woman from his past claimed to be his true and rightful wife, forcing him away from his family. God’s merciful hand saw Gideon through the heartache, and with Cassie’s blessing, he is able to return home. But his journey back through the Blue Ridge Mountains will hold a trial he never anticipated.
 

Meanwhile, Lonnie determines to seal off her heart from Gideon, convinced he is lost to her forever. Strengthening her resolve to move on is her growing fondness for the handsome Scotsman, Toby McKee—the young reverend she has come to care for deeply. His proposal of marriage offers a bright future for her and her young son.

Yearning to allow joy back into her life, Lonnie must put aside the broken pieces of her heart that still love Gideon. When he returns to find her betrothed to another, he has to place his hope in God, trusting that the One who redeemed their love once can do it again.


“Joanne has hit a home run with her Cadence of Grace series… With memorable characters and struggles aplenty, this is the kind of story that will have readers telling their friends, ‘You’ve got to read these books.’”
—Lauraine Snelling, best-selling author of the Red River of the North series and Wild West Wind series

 
 
"The Cadence of Grace Series" from author Joanne Bischof is emotionally rich, spiritually rewarding, and exquisitely written. Ms. Bischof is a masterful storyteller, often leading the reader in an unexpected direction. She has the rare ability to convey powerful emotion with a delicate, deft touch. Book three in her series, "My Hope is Found", brings full circle the love story of Lonnie Sawyer and Gideon O'Riley. Life in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the early twentieth century was often one of poverty and hardship. Old traditions held fast as the outside world rolled forward. Lonnie and Gideon were brought together in a forced marriage, one that Gideon desperately wanted to avoid. Nonetheless, he and Lonnie became man and wife, and their journey together began. Leaving behind their home area so that Gideon could find work, they began an arduous trek faced with many obstacles. Finally, they were given shelter and sustenance from a kind older couple, Elsie and Jeb Bennett. Their time with the Bennetts was one of hard work and personal growth, with the Bennetts offering their hearts as well as their home. Gideon and Lonnie fell deeply in love and were blessed with a son, Jacob. Just as their lives seem to be on the right course, word comes that Gideon is still married to his first wife, Cassie, a wife that Lonnie had not known existed. Gideon had been wild and reckless in his youth, but he thought that his brief first marriage had been annulled. Stunned to learn that he is not legally married to Lonnie, they are both devastated when he is ordered by the court to return to Cassie. When Cassie finally agrees to release Gideon and grant him an annulment, he is overjoyed and begins his final journey home. However, as with every step in his life's path, there are side trails, and he must bide his time until the courts will hear his case. Before heading to Lonnie and Jacob, he goes back to work for an old friend in his apple orchard, and when at last he can head to the Bennett's farm, he takes with him young apple trees to begin his own orchard. In Gideon's absence, Lonnie has been befriended by a kind and handsome young minister, Scotsman Toby McKee. Toby loves Lonnie, and she is very fond of him, knowing that he would be a good husband and father. Lonnie accepts Toby's proposal shortly before Gideon arrives at the farm, and Gideon faces another spiritual challenge. He must learn what his newfound faith really means, putting the welfare and needs of those loves before his own, and placing his prayers for the future in the hands of the Lord. After Gideon and Toby have a physical altercation, Jeb declares that they must work together to plant the apple orchard. As the two men labor side-by-side, they get to know one another, and a grudging admiration is formed between them. As Gideon waits for the final court decree that will free him to marry Lonnie, she must decide which man will share her life and raise her son. This a highly recommended series. Read the first two books, "Be Still My Soul", and "Though My Heart is Torn", and then read "My Hope is Found". You will be so richly rewarded as a reader.

 
Review Copy Gratis Multnomah Books
 
 
 

Though My Heart Is Torn (The Cadence of Grace #2)

THOUGH MY HEART IS TORN  by Joanne Bischof 


Gideon O’Riley has two wives—but he doesn’t know it.
  

Settling into a simple life in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, Lonnie and Gideon O’Riley have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage. The roguish bluegrass musician has fallen in love with his gentle wife and the God she serves, and Lonnie rests secure in his tenderness for her and their young son. A heartless ruse interrupts their peace, bringing them back to Rocky Knob—and forces them to face the claims of Cassie Allan, a woman who says she is Gideon’s rightful wife.


As Gideon wades into the depths of his past choices, Lonnie is stunned by the revelations. She has no choice but to navigate this new path, knowing that surviving the devastating blow will take every ounce of strength  she has.


While Gideon’s guilt  and his bitterness towards Cassie threatens to burn up his fledgling faith, Lonnie wrestles to find the courage to trust the God who brought them together in the first place. Will their hard-earned love be able to conquer all?


Lonnie only wanted her husband’s love. Now that he belongs to another, can she surrender Gideon to a God with a bigger plan?   



MY REVIEW: 



Our lives here on Earth are an ongoing work in progress, as we face many trials and tribulations which test our faith. With the first book in her "Cadence of Grace" series, "Be Still My Soul", author Joanne Bischof introduced us to Lonnie Sawyer and Gideon O'Riley, who live in the rural poverty of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Lonnie is a shy young woman, blessed with a beautiful singing voice like her mother's. She and her siblings, along with their mother, live under the rule of her abusive father. Gideon is a young, handsome musician who would rather play music and pursue all-too-willing pretty young things than work for a living. A talented wood crafter, he chafes at other responsibilities. Due to a misunderstanding, Lonnie and Gideon are forced into marriage. Their journey to eventual happiness is filled with emotional strife, physical hardship, and spiritual searching. With book two in the series, "Though My Heart is Torn", Lonnie and Gideon look forward to a life of joy with their baby son Jacob, only to have a startling secret from Gideon's past shatter their carefully guarded hopes. Gideon never told Lonnie that his intimate relationship with Cassie Allan, a girl whom he knew before Lonnie, had led to a brief marriage. Later, Gideon and Cassie had signed divorce papers, and he did not know that she never filed the papers. Now, Cassie has come forward, claiming that she is still Gideon's wife, and she does not want a divorce. Through the decisions of the local clergy, the laws of the state, and the physical threats of Cassie's brothers, Gideon is forced to annul his marriage to Lonnie and renew his vows to Cassie. Heartbroken, Lonnie leaves Gideon behind and returns to the home they had found with an older couple on their farm. While Lonnie and Gideon long to be reunited, each must deal with the pain of their separation and the reasons why they are no longer together. Gideon's new and hard-won faith is greatly tested, and Lonnie, who has a deep, lifelong faith is emotionally battered. Will Gideon ever be free to return to Lonnie and Jacob? Author Joanne Bischof is an intriguing and compelling storyteller. Her works are exquisitely-wrought, heartrending, and surprising. At the core of her work is a great and abiding faith which ever reminds the reader that the Lord does not promise us that we will not suffer in life. He does promise that after we leave this world, those who believe in him will be given an everlasting life free of pain and suffering. I highly recommend the "Cadence of Grace" series, and I greatly look forward to book three, "My Hope is Found".


Review Copy Gratis Multnomah Books 




Be Still My Soul (The Cadence of Grace #1)

BE STILL MY SOUL  by Joanne Bischof 



Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
 

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate. 


Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.


Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?


Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?  



MY REVIEW: 



I was born and raised, and still reside, in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. This is a timeless place--as much as things change, they remain the same. The constancy of the mountains is comforting and immovable. Author Joanne Bischof offers a look at life in rural Appalachia in "Be Still My Soul". Lonnie Sawyer and her mother and siblings live under the rule of Lonnie's abusive alcoholic father. Lonnie's refuge is her Aunt Sarah, who offers brief respites from family troubles with readings from the Bible in her home. Lonnie and her mother are both blessed with beautiful singing voices, and at one local musical get-together, her father's pushes her up on stage. When handsome mandolin player Gideon O'Riley walks her home and asks for a kiss, both of their lives are forever changed. At first reluctant, Lonnie agrees to a kiss, but ladies man Gideon wants much more. Ashamed, Lonnie breaks away and runs back to her house before Gideon can have his way. The next day, to her horror, she discovers that her father witnessed the kiss, and he assumes the worst. Lonnie and Gideon are forced by both their fathers into a quick marriage ceremony. Taken away from her family and home, and now married to a resentful man whom she barely knows, Lonnie struggles for emotional survival. Her faith is as indelible as the mountains themselves, but can she endure what awaits? Gideon grew up in a different atmosphere from Lonnie. He was not abused, but he felt trapped by the lifestyle of the generations which had come before him. His music and woodworking skill were his refuge. He was attractive to women, and he went from one to another without a care. Now he was married, and he no longer could drift along through life. Goaded by his friends and emboldened by moonshine liquor, Gideon does have his way with Lonnie, which they both regret. Gideon is not kind to Lonnie, leaving her no choice but to follow him as they walk away from their home area toward a town which may offer work. With no money, and no transportation, they walk and walk, day after day. They find shelter with a kind older couple, Jebediah and Elsie, who have a nice homestead. Having witnessed Gideon's less than kind treatment of Lonnie, Jeb is a stern taskmaster, and Gideon works harder than he ever has in his life. Lonnie discovers that she is expecting a baby, adding to the chains of responsibility which weigh heavily on Gideon. At times, "Be Still My Soul" is tough to read. The poverty, abuse, alcoholism, and lack of education are all part of a continuing cycle. Yet, there is beauty to be found, as faith shines through, and hearts grow together as life goes on. While some never escape from the bleakness of an impoverished existence, others find riches beyond compare in an abiding faith. Gideon and Lonnie endure much, each having to find their own path before they meet as one heart. Highly recommended.


Review Copy Gratis Multnomah Books

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Author Jody Hedlund--richly-detailed, stirring and inspiring historical romance!


 
Rebellious Heart
 
 
 
 
 
In 1763 Massachusetts, Susanna Smith has grown up with everything she's ever wanted, except one thing: an education. Because she's a female, higher learning has been closed to her, but her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. She's determined to put her status to good use, reaching out to the poor and deprived. And she knows when she marries well, she will be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.
 

Ben Ross grew up a farmer's son and has nothing to his name but his Harvard education. A poor country lawyer, he doesn't see how he'll be able to fulfill his promise to make his father proud of him. When family friends introduce him to the Smith family, he's drawn to quick-witted Susanna but knows her family expects her to marry well. When Susanna's decision to help an innocent woman no matter the cost crosses with Ben's growing disillusionment with their British rulers, the two find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice.
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
The legendary real-life love between John and Abigail Adams is the inspiration between author Jody Hedlund's historical romantic fiction "Rebellious Heart". Set in Massachusetts of the mid-1700s, this is the compelling story of a woman who longs for higher learning, and a man who makes his living through his knowledge and skill with words. Susanna Smith was raised in affluence, and confined by the strictures of society. As a young girl, she had been quite aware of her social status, giving her an air of hauteur. Benjamin Ross, some ten years older than Susanna, was the son of a farmer and shoemaker. Young Ben had met the girl several times when delivering shoes to her grandfather's mansion, and he had been struck by the level of snobbery in one so small. Ben's father sold a substantial portion of his land to send his son to Harvard, and years later when Ben returns to Braintree, Massachusetts, he comes home a learned man of the law. Susanna is now a grown young lady, one who has changed much through the restrictions of her own circumstances. The sparks that still fly between Susanna and Ben are now those of two adults, aware of something unexpected flaring to life in each other's company. Ben has aspirations to marry a woman whose social standing will further his goals for his career. Susanna also wants to marry well in order to continue and expand her aide to those less fortunate than herself. Coming to the rescue of an indentured servant on the run, Susanna finds herself relying on Ben's guidance and legal counsel. Friendship and admiration blooms into a longing for a joining of hearts and lives. Can Susanna break free from her family's plans for her future? Dare she hope for a future with Ben? With the stirrings of revolution and the growing unrest of the times, are freedom and happiness achievable dreams? An intriguing and involving story which reminds us of the human drama and sacrifice which led to the birth of a free nation, "Unending Devotion" is unforgettable inspirational historical romance.
 
 

Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
 
 
 
 
A Noble Groom
 
 
 
 
 
Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can't prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.


For nobleman Carl von Reichert, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He's been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn't commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he'll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa's farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.


Annalisa senses that Karl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He's gentle, kind, and romantic--unlike any of the men she's ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love--but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
An exceptional historical romance, "A Noble Groom", from author Jody Hedlund, will not leave the reader untouched. You will long remember the trials and tribulations of these characters, the resilience of their faith--both old and new, and the enchantment of the romance at the core of the story. Seeking freedom from the oppressive constraints of the class system of Germany of the 1800's, a group of miners and their families settle in the United States in Michigan. Their hopes to continue mining in Northern Michigan are dashed by the brutalities of Winter, and they move southward to an area of the state where the soil is suitable for farming. However, it is wild and uncleared, and seemingly endless back-breaking labor is undertaken before the land is usable. Even though they endured much to gain a freer way of life, old traditions still hold fast, and men still regard women as little more than servants. Women live under the rule of the men, and they have very little personal freedoms. Such a woman is Annalisa Werner, wife of Hans, and mother of little Gretchen. Hans is a an unrepentant gambler, wasting away the precious little financial resources which Annalisa has worked so hard to keep from his reach. One day, she is unable to bear his selfish ways any longer. With another child on the way, and young Gretchen cold and hungry, Annalisa goes in search of her husband and finds him horribly dead. Some in the community suspect that he was murdered by the man who wants the Werner's land for his sawmill business. Annalisa's father is more concerned with securing her a new husband, and he sends word to his brother Matthias in Germany to find a groom for Annalisa. The man who arrives is sent by Matthias, not as a groom, but as a helper for Annalisa at her farm until her real betrothed can finally make the journey. Carl Richards, is no farmhand. He is really Carl von Reichart, a nobleman framed for a crime he did not commit. About to face the guillotine, he is freed at the last moment by Matthias, his manservant, who sends him to Michigan to his niece's farm. Carl is obviously not used to manual labor, but he works hard and applies himself to the task, using his intelligence and charm along with his growing physical strength. Annalisa has never met a man like Carl, who treats her with kindness and respect. Carl never expected to fall for the lovely young widow, but he is smitten just the same. Together they work to pay off the debts left by Annalisa's husband so that she won't lose the farm. They face much adversity, both from man and Mother Nature, but as they toil side by side, their feelings for each other deepen and grow into something rare and beautiful. All the while, they know that Annalisa's groom is still to come from Germany. Carl also knows that his own fateful flight from his near-execution is a secret which could change all their lives forever. Is there a future for Annalisa and Carl and the children? Will his name be cleared and the truth be revealed in his homeland? Will the mystery of Hans Werner's death be solved? Author Jody Hedlund has written an unforgettable and inspirational historical romance. Highly recommended.

 
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books

 
 
 
Unending Devotion
 
 
 
 
Michigan, 1883
 

In Her Darkest Hours, Is He the Man She Needs?

 
Lily Young longs to find her lost sister or will die trying. Heedless of any danger, she searches logging camps and towns, posing as a photographer's assistant. And then she arrives in Harrison, Michigan--and the sights of Connell McCormick.

 
Connell is determined to increase the fortune of his lumber-baron father and figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters. But when Lily arrives in town she upends his world, forcing him to confront the truth that dangerous men have gained too much power while good men turn a blind eye.

 
Vexing but persuasive, Lily soon secures Connell's help, drawing them ever closer to each other. Will standing for what's right cost them both everything?
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
Historical fiction which incorporates real people and events and blends them into a compelling and involving story line with added elements of romance and suspense is simply impossible to put down for a history lover like me. Jody Hedlund is a talented storyteller who combines fact and fiction with inspirational romance and leaves the reader wanting to read more of her work. "Unending Devotion" is set in the lumber country of late 1800s Michigan, and during this time, the lumber industry employed more workers than any industry in America. Its scope was huge, changing the landscape and the lives of those around it forever. With the boom of jobs and money came those who preyed on those laborers in order to siphon off the flow of money as quickly as it came in. Forced prostitution and white slavery made victims of countless young women, giving them little choice but to victimize their cash-carrying customers, who were sometimes brutal in their treatment of the women. Lily Young is desperate to find her sister, Daisy, whom she fears has been kidnapped into a life of prostitution. Traveling with a photographer, Oren, with whom she rescues prostitutes whenever possible, allows Lily to comb the lumber camps for her missing sister. In the town of Harrison, Michigan, Lily finds herself in an unfortunate situation where two men assume she is a lady of the evening, and they begin to fight over her. Coming to her aide is Connell McCormick, whose family owns one of the lumber companies in the area. Normally, Connell tries to stick to his own business and steer clear of the deviltry around him, but he can't let Lily be abused. Lily's fiery determination begins to shake Connell from his tunnel vision, and an attraction grows between them. Both of them have known disappointment and heartache, but will they discover in each other a faith and a love to last a lifetime? "Unending Devotion" is a recommended read for those who can't resist the thrill of well-written historical fiction.

 
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
 
 
 
Also by Jody Hedlund:
 
 
 
The Doctor's Lady
 
 
 
 
Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.
 

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.
 
 
 
 
The Preacher's Bride
 
 
 
 
In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aide. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family.
 

Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.
 
 
 
JODY HEDLUND
 
 
Jody Hedlund
 
 


Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances. She currently makes her home in central Michigan with her husband their five busy children.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.


She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Author JUDITH MILLER--"Home to Amana" inspirational fiction series set in real-life, unique, historical "Amana Colonies"

The Amana Colonies were founded in Iowa in the mid-1800s, but the idea began in Germany in the early 18th century. A group of individuals who believed in renewal of faith through reflection, prayer, and Bible study formed a group which became known as the Community of True Inspiration. Eventually the group left Germany to seek freedom to observe their beliefs, and they first arrived in New York in the mid-nineteenth century. As the community grew, they sought larger parcels of land, and they found one valley on the Iowa River to be ideal with fertile soil, stone, wood and water sufficient for their needs. In time, seven villages were established. The residents of the communities were given a home, medical care, meals, all household necessities, and schooling for their children. All properties and resources were shared. The men and women of the villages worked assigned jobs chosen by the village council of brethren. There were no wages--funds were pooled and distributed as needed in the community. Today, The Amana Colonies are a National Historic Landmark, and the sites continue to draw many thousands of visitors each year.
 
 
 
 
A Hidden Truth (Home to Amana, #1)
 
 
 
In the closed communities of the Amana Colonies, hidden truths are about to change everything for two young women....
 

East Amana, Iowa
1892

When Karlina Richter discovers that a new shepherd will be sent to her village, she fears she'll no longer be allowed to help her father with the sheep. She'll be relegated back to kitchen work, stuck inside all day. Her fears increase when the new shepherd shows little interest in the flock--or in divulging why he's suddenly been sent to East. Is he keeping secrets that will impact Karlina's family?
 

Dovie Cates visits the Amana Colonies to learn more about the place where her mother grew up. But when Dovie begins to ask questions about her mother's past, no one seems willing to reveal anything, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. Will the answers she finds spell disaster for her future plans and the longings of her heart?
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
Author Judith Miller begins her "Home to Amana" series with "A Hidden Truth", in which two young women discover unexpected truths along with a family connection. After the death of her mother, Dovie Cates longs to know more about her own heritage and about her mother's past life in the Amana Colonies. When her father informs her that they must move from Ohio to Texas in order for him to keep his job, Dovie asks if she may instead visit East Amana, Iowa. Her father agrees, and Dovie sends a letter to the only relative of her mother's whose name she knows, and hopes that the woman still lives in East Amana. Karlina Richter is intrigued by the letter her family receives from a cousin whom she had not known existed. Karlina prefers the outdoor life and tending sheep over housekeeping and cooking, but the thought of having another young woman living in her house made her happy. She was eager for companionship and news of the world outside the communal life of the colonies. When Dovie arrives in East Amana, her search for information about her mother is met mostly with silence, making her mother's youthful years even more of a mystery. While Karlina and Dovie are getting to know each other and becoming friends, each of them meets a young man who may change their lives forever. When all truths are revealed, will Dovie have the answers she has long sought, and will they gladden her heart? Will Karlina find someone who accepts her as she is and shares her hopes for the future? Step back in time with author Judith Miller as she offers a glimpse into a unique time and place in American history.

 
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
 
 
 
A Simple Change (Home to Amana #2)
 
 
 
Judith Miller's Novels Offer a Fascinating Look inside the Amana Colonies
 

Joining the communal society of the Amana Colonies isn't what Jancey Rhoder planned for her future, but when unforeseen circumstances force her family to make some difficult decisions, she chooses to give up her teaching position in a Kansas City orphanage and move with her parents to Iowa.
 

Her besotted suitor, Nathan Woodward, isn't at all happy about the move and is determined to get Jancey to change her mind. And Jancey herself isn't sure what she's gotten herself into when the simple life of the Amana Colonies means she'll be assigned a job and may have to give up teaching for good. Will Nathan woo her back to the city, or will she be forever changed by the mysterious events and new relationships that await her in the quiet villages of the Amana Colonies--and decide to make this unique place her forever home?
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
"A Simple Change" leads to a world of new experiences for one young woman in Book Two of author Judith Miller's "Home to Amana" series. Jancey Rhoder is happy living with her parents, Almina and Jurgen, in Kansas City, Missouri. The Rhoders want for nothing due to success in business, and Jancey is devoted to the children at the charity home where she volunteers as a teacher. However, the failing health of her mother brings about a life-changing decision for the Rhoder family. Her parents decide to sell their business and return to their homeplace of the Amana Colonies. They will sell their house unless Jancey wants to stay in Kansas City. Jancey is torn--should she leave her beloved teaching job and go with her parents? What of her beau, Nathan Woodward? Nathan, who works for her father, is a persistent suitor, but Jancey has been unsure of her own feelings. Jancey follows her heart, unwilling to leave her mother while she is ill, and makes the journey with her parents to Middle Amana. Life in the communal society is quite an adjustment. Women are not allowed to teach, and work is assigned by the village elders. Jancey is given the job of cleaning the boarding house for the outside workers. The Rhoders share a house with the Hertig family, having their own apartment on the lower floor. The Hertigs make them welcome, and their son Ritter, known as Ritt, takes an immediate interest in Jancey. As time passes, and Jancey spends more time around Ritt, her feelings for Nathan become even more unsure. Through his letters, Nathan continues to press Jancey to return to Kansas City. Eventually, he surprises Jancey by coming to Middle Amana to work in the local mill. The differences between Ritt and Nathan quickly become obvious, and Jancey is now sure that she was right in not agreeing to marry Nathan. Complicating matters even further is photograph that Jancey found while cleaning the men's quarters. The photo is of a young girl standing in front of the very charity home where Jancey used to teach in Kansas City. Soon, Jancey is involved in more than one mystery, and not everyone is whom they first appeared to be. Will the secrets Jancey discovers bring harm to the community, and will those same secrets destroy her chance for a happy future with Ritt? "A Simple Change" is an intriguing look at a completely unique chapter of American history, with added elements of suspense and romance.
 
 
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
 
 
 
A Shining Light (Home to Amana #3)
 
 
 
When Andrea Wilson receives the devastating news that her husband has been lost at sea, she decides to return home to Iowa with her young son. But what she finds there is equally terrible: the family farm has burned and her father has died, leaving Andrea with few options. Relying on the kindness of the members of the Amana Colonies, she accepts their offer to live among them until she can make plans for her future. Andrea discovers so much goodness and contentment among the Amana people that she doesn’t want to leave, especially since the strong, kind tinsmith, a man named Dirk, has captured her heart. But is this cloistered life what she wants for her and her son’s future? Is she prepared to give up the comforts and freedom of the outside world? And when yet another wave of shocking news comes her way, will Andrea ever find the serenity and hope that have eluded her for so long?
 
 
 
JUDITH MILLER
 
 
Judith McCoy Miller
 
 


Judith McCoy Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her husband make their home in Topeka, Kansas.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Author TRACIE PETERSON--"Land of the Shining Waters" inspirational historical romance series offers a fascinating look at late nineteenth-century Minnesota




The Miner's Lady (Land of Shining Water #3)


When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando...only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother. The older, more handsome one.


Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?


MY REVIEW:

"The Miner's Lady", Book Three in author Tracie Peterson's "Land of Shining Waters" series, tells an emotional tale of two feuding Italian families who work the iron ore mines of late nineteenth-century Minnesota. The Panettas and the Calarcos brought their decades old dispute with them from the Old Country to the United States. When young Isabella Panetta falls in love with Orlando Calarco, she turns to her older sister, Chantel, for guidance. Isabella needs Chantel to run interference and prevent Orlando's older brother, Dante, from keeping the young sweethearts apart. Dante is determined to carry out his father's edict that a Calarco can have nothing to do with a Panetta, and Chantel is offended by his abrupt, insulting manner. As Chantel and Dante continue to cross paths and be at cross purposes, an attraction between them grows. Neither of them expected to be so drawn to the other, and their admiration for each other only adds to the complexity of a very problematic situation. However, Isabella and Orlando are determined to be together, and there is as much assistance from Chantel as there is resistance from Dante. After surviving an accident at the mine, Chantel's father begins to make overtures of peace to Dante's father, who is highly opposed to ending the long-standing feud. When tragedy strikes, and strikes again, can faith pull together hearts and lives and allow love to conquer all? A very enjoyable and recommended series from author Tracie Peterson.

Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books



The Quarryman's Bride (Land of Shining Water, #2)


Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together...until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne's youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.

Years later, Emmalyne's family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne's father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin's father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.
Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?


MY REVIEW:


With "The Quarryman's Bride", author Tracie Peterson returns readers to Minnesota of the late 1890's. As the twentieth century approaches, and modernization invades, many of those whose families work as manual laborers wonder what the future will bring. Emmalyne Knox has a father and brother who depend on the rock quarry trade to earn a living. Her father, Luthias, had begun as a laborer, but his way with figures led him to work as a bookkeeper and office manager. Emmalyne's brother, Angus, worked in the quarry itself. More than a decade had passed since a devastating storm had passed through their home area of St. Cloud, wreaking havoc and taking lives, including those of Emmalyne's two younger sisters. The Knox family was emotionally torn apart, and Luthias moved the remaining family to Minneapolis, forcibly ending Emmalyne's engagement to Tavin MacLachlan. Claiming an old Scottish tradition, Luthias declared that with his two oldest daughters married and living a distance away, and his two youngest daughters dead, it was Emmalyne's familial duty to remain with her parents and care for them as they grew older. Already a harsh and unyielding man, Luthias could not be dissuaded from this heartbreaking path. Tavin begged Emmalyne to elope with him, but she was a dutiful and devout daughter, and she would not go against her father's wishes. Tavin bitterly let her go, leaving Emmalyne in despair. Now the Knox family has returned to St. Cloud, and this time her father and brother will work for Tavin's father, Robert, who has his own quarry business. Tavin had left St. Cloud not long after the Knox family moved away, and he and Emmalyne had not seen each other or had contact in all those long years. Tavin has traveled and worked all around the country, and when word reaches him that his father had been ill, he returns to St. Cloud to help his father with the quarry business. He is unprepared to be working with Luthias, the man who ruined his life, and when he sees Emmalyne again, he knows that he loves her still. Emmalyne is overjoyed to see Tavin again, but his bitter attitude is still very much in evidence. As circumstances bring them more and more into each other's company, the longing for what should have been grows deeper and deeper. Emmalyne's father is just as dictatorial and demanding as ever, and her mother has grown weaker and more melancholy as the years have passed. Is there hope that abiding faith and true love can change the hardest of hearts? Can the future leave the hurt of the past behind? When threats to the safety of the quarry and their families force them to fight side-by-side, will old wounds be healed? A stirring addition to Tracie Peterson's "Land of Shining Water" series.


Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books



The Icecutter's Daughter (Land of Shining Water, #1)
Merrill Krause longs for a family of her own, but she's bound by a promise to her dying mother to care for her father and older brothers until they no longer need her. She enjoys being part of the family business, harvesting ice during the brutal Minnesota winters. Merrill actively takes part, possessing a keen ability to work with the horses--despite the advice of her good friend, who disapproves of her unladylike behavior. 



 

When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small town to join his uncle doing carpentry, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. As he thrives under the mentorship of his uncle, Rurik dreams of inheriting the business and claiming Merrill as his wife. But while he is determined to start a new life, the past is determined to follow him when his former fiancee and her brother show up in town. Soon Rurik is put in the center of a major scandal that may damage his relationship with Merrill. Can they learn to trust God--and each other--and embrace the promise of love?


MY REVIEW:


Set in Minnesota close to the end of the nineteenth century, "The Icecutter's Daughter" is the first book in author Tracie Peterson's "Land of Shining Water" series. I loved the heroine of this story, Merrill Krause, who is strong, caring, hard-working, and feminine in her own way. Merrill became the "woman of the house" at ten years old when she promised her dying mother that she would care for her father and all her brothers. An excellent cook and housekeeper, Merrill inherited her mother's beauty and artistic flair. However, Merrill works just as hard as the male members of her family, toiling alongside them in the family icecutting business. She enjoys the physical labor, most especially working with the big work horses with whom she has a special bond. Rurik Jorgenson, the nephew of the Krause's family friend, Carl Jorgenson, arrives from Kansas to help his uncle, who is in failing health. Before leaving his home, Rurik's arranged engagement to young Svea Olsson had ended badly, causing hard feelings with Svea's brother Nils, who was Rurik's longtime friend. Working for his uncle in his furniture business is a pleasure for Rurik, made even more enjoyable each time Merrill comes to visit and bring delicious baked goods. Rurik is drawn to Merrill's unpretentious strength and kindness, and she is taken by his admirable work ethic and his respect and affection for his uncle. When Rurik discover's Merrill's artistic talent, he encourages her to join the furniture business adding her painted designs to specialty items. When Svea and her brother arrive unexpectedly from Kansas, they bring trouble with them, and soon Rurik's life is laden with unwelcome complications. Svea tries everything in her power to force Rurik to marry her, and Nils supports her efforts. A scandal ensues, and the consequences could ruin not only Rurik's reputation and livelihood, but also bring to an end his hopes of a future with Merrill. Almost twenty-one years old, Merrill had spent her life putting her father and brothers first, with her own dreams being pushed aside. Rurik is the only man she's ever met with whom she wants to share her heart, but can she trust him with her life and her love? Will they both have the faith and the fortitude to survive their time of tribulations? Tracie Peterson is one of my favorite storytellers, and with each book of hers that I read, my admiration grows for her skill in combining history and romance with inspiring faith.


TRACIE PETERSON

Tracie Peterson


Tracie Peterson is a bestselling author who writes in both historical and contemporary genres. Her novels reveal her love for research as well as her strong desire to develop emotionally meaningful characters and stories for her readers. Tracie and her family live in Montana.