Book Review: A Long Bridge Home

Happy Friday everyone! I’m happy to be sharing book two in the Amish of Big Sky Country Series by Kelly Irvin. Set in the Montana mountains, it’s sure to make you want to go and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation for a while.

 

About the Book

alongbridgehomeAfter her community in the awe-inspiring Montana mountains is suddenly consumed by a raging wildfire, one young Amish woman finds herself in a new town where she’s introduced to the Native culture of the Kootenai people.

When the Mast family is forced to evacuate their home in the West Kootenai region of Montana, Christine chooses not to move with her family to her father’s childhood home in Kansas. Instead, she wants to stay closer to home and to her beau, Andy Lambright, who has yet to ask for her hand in marriage and who seems to be holding tightly to secrets from his past.

Now, living with her aunt and uncle in St. Ignatius, Christine is on her own for the first time in her life. While working in her uncle’s store Christine meets Raymond Old Fox, whom she befriends, and he introduces her to his rich native culture with strong ties to the earth and nature. Despite the warnings of her aunt and uncle, Christine is inexplicably drawn to Raymond, and her mind is opened to a history and heritage far different from her own.

With her newly expanding horizons, Christine wonders if she can return to the domestic life that is expected of her. Her heart still longs to be with Andy, but she isn’t the same person she was before the fire, and she wonders if he can accept who she is becoming. Has too much distance grown between them? Or can they bridge the gap from past to present and find their way back together?

 

Goodreads | Amazon


My Thoughts

Irvin takes readers into the beautiful West Kootenai region of Montana in A Long Bridge Home. My heart ached for Christine and the entire community as the wildfires spread and took their homes. Irvin’s descriptive writing had me right there with them, running throughout the house, trying to get the necessary items. At times I felt as if I could even smell the smoke, see the haze in the distance, and feel the fear of having to escape. At a time when wildfires seem to be across the world, it certainly made them more real to this New Yorker, and my empathy for those in the path of the wildfires has doubled.

But Irvin paints a picture of how God can turn something tragic, life a wildfire destroying a community, into something beautiful. Christine meets Raymond Old Fox, and their friendships is perhaps the most beautiful part of this entire story, and just what readers needs to see in today’s world. Two people, with different cultures and beliefs, are able to come together and teach each other about their ways. Each had an open mind to listen to the other, contemplate what they’d heard, and amicably speak about their differences. Neither placed judgement. There was no heated arguments, or pressure to change viewpoints. It was simply talking, teaching, and inspiring. Christine learned that while Raymond’s beliefs were different, there was some value to them. There was away she could apply portions of it to her own life while still honoring God. And isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Find ways to honor our Lord? I can’t express how deeply their friendship moved me as I was reading.

Rest assured there is much more to this beautiful story. Romance, faith, community, family, restoration, and the beauty of God’s creation. I highly recommend reading this delightful read. I hope it speaks to your heart as much as it did my own!

 


About the Author

Kelly Irvin

Best-selling novelist Kelly Irvin’s latest series, The Amish of Sky Country, features an Amish community in Northwest Montana affected by wildfires that destroyed thousands of acres in the state in recent years. The first book, Mountains of Grace, debuted in August 2019, and delves into the impact on not only an Amish man and woman, but also a smoke jumper, a sheriff’s deputy, and a young English woman forced to confront her past because of the fires.

Kelly also writes romantic suspense novels. Her most recent forays into this genre include Tell Her No Lies and Over the Line, both set in San Antonio and South Texas. Of Tell Her No Lies, The Library Journal says, “Irvin creates a complex web with enough twists and turns to keep even the most savvy romantic suspense readers guessing until the end. Known for her Amish novels, this two-time Carol Award finalist shows that her talents span subgenres from tranquil Amish stories to rapidly paced breathless suspense.”

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the ACFW San Antonio local chapter Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers, as well as Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Sisters in Crime.

Kelly retired in 2016 from her position of 22 years as public relations manager for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, where her duties included writing and designing an employee newsletter, writing news releases, collaborating on marketing campaigns, coordinating ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings, coordinating press conferences, updating the web site, and acting as a media spokesperson.

Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for more than 30 years, and they have two young adult children and three grandchildren. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories, read books by her favorite authors, and visit the babies.

For more information, visit http://www.kellyirvin.com


 

Do you enjoy reading books set in the mountains? What aspect of this book do you most look forward to?

Book Review: Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge

It’s Fri-yay!! I hope you’ve had a great week and have a weekend ahead full of great reads! One of my very fave authors is Ruth Logan Herne – her warmth and heart exude from the pages of her stories into a soul-deep hug. I’m delighted to bring you my review of her upcoming release, Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge! Jazz has been a prominent secondary character in the first two books of this series, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for her story.

About the Book

findingpeaceinwishingbridgeCreator of the bestselling “Welcome to Wishing Bridge” and “At Home in Wishing Bridge” award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne invites readers back to the little town with the big heart with “Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge”.

Being a supermodel isn’t just hard.

It can be a killer, so when international sensation Jazz Monroe answered a friend’s call for help, she’d just taken a hiatus from the job that made her a very rich woman and almost took her life. Outwardly Jazz was everything anyone would want to be. Beautiful, confident, rich and famous, and often seen on the arm of some of the world’s most eligible bachelors, Jazz knows the truth she hides. Her self-confidence is an act and the eating disorder that plagues her refuses to let her rest.

But then she and her old friend Thea are called to help a friend and fulfill a pledge they’d made a dozen years before as high school seniors. If any one of the three ever needed help, the others would come running. Last December, Kelsey made that call and her two old friends, the other members of the “Soul Sisterhood”, responded. They’re here now. Thea is practicing medicine, Kelsey has married the hero deputy that saved her life and Jazz is finding the hints of peace that have eluded her for nearly two decades. She settles into the little town, helping out at a local diner, waiting for the sky to fall.

It doesn’t. Instead, the sun begins to shine, winter fades to spring, and surrounded by new and old friends, Jazz begins to believe in herself. She loves the small town, the kindness of the locals, the warmth of the family diner and the special attention from two very different and distinct men makes her think new thoughts. Thoughts of family and picket fences and settling down.

But an unexpected attack on a wood-edged path reignites her fears and insecurities. Now she’s looking in shadows again, doubting herself and others. In Manhattan, locked elevators and a staffed entrance desk kept her safe from intruders.

Wishing Bridge has nothing like that. Here, she lives life at ground level, with no bodyguards watching out for her. But when a local contingent makes it their job to keep her safe, Jazz learns not to sell the small town short. Folks here mean what they say because that’s the kind of town Wishing Bridge is.

As Jazz rediscovers the most important things in life, she realizes that happiness isn’t about where you are: it’s about who you’re with. And who you love.

Join Jazz, Kelsey, Thea and the rest of the Wishing Bridge cast as they band together to help the town and one another because together– in Wishing Bridge– they can make anything happen.

Goodreads | Amazon


My Thoughts

First, let me say that I’m THRILLED to learn that Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge is not the last book in the series. I was afraid that, since we’ve been given a story for each of the three friends in the Soul Sisterhood, this would be our last visit to Wishing Bridge. But I wasn’t quite ready to leave yet – I enjoy the secondary & even tertiary characters and the setting so much. This town is truly a special place, albeit a fictional one, and I’m delighted that we’ll be returning there in 2021.

Now, on to the review of this book. Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge was everything I hoped it would be and more. Jazz’s story, like Kelsey & Thea’s before her, is complex and layered – a former international supermodel who realized quickly that the industry can destroy you from the inside out, finding her footing again in this sweet little town and enjoying the freedom of just being herself. Until her past comes back to stalk her – literally – and now I want Herne to branch out into romantic suspense. Because the scene snippets from the stalker’s point of view, the feeling of danger that exuded off the page whenever Jazz was alone, the protectiveness of Garrett & her other friends – it was all pitch perfect and kept me glued to the story.

Keep a tissue box handy for this read though – there are some gutwrenching moments walking alongside the heartwarming ones. One particular plot twist left me absolutely bereft, and another plot point had me blinking back tears more than once.

Another thing I love about this series are the children. Herne is nearly unparalleled in her ability to create child characters that you want to reach inside the pages and hug close. Endearing, precocious, charming… even with backstories that sadly reflect the reality for many children today. Yet, each word is penned with heart and compassion and the author’s love for children is clearly felt. In Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge, we get to know more about Emerson, whom we met briefly with his dad in the previous book. And oh my stars, what a sweetheart. He kept a grin on my face in every scene he was in – despite a little lump in my throat as well thanks to his story.

Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge is at its heart a story of friendship, faith, and the kind of family you create above & beyond the one you’re born into. Endearing, diverse characters you’ll quickly fall in love with and a charming setting welcome you to Wishing Bridge with each new book and Jazz’s long-awaited story is no exception. Definitely put this series – and the latest book – on your must-read list!


About the Author

ruthyUSA TODAY bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is about to welcome her 53rd and 54th books to book shelves in March and April, so she’s pretty stoked about romance, about love and crazy-stoked about faith!

You can friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, visit her website ruthloganherne.com or email Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com She loves to chat with readers and writers and she also loves God, family, faith, friends, fun and fiction…. and add chocolate and coffee to that list!


What interests you most about Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge? Have you read the other two books in this series?

Book Spotlight: Safe Harbor

Hi, reader friends! Today’s featured title looks irresistibly swoony and it is from romantic suspense master storyteller, Christy Barritt!


About the Book

Safe Harbor by Christy BarrittA JOB AS EASY AS SUNDAY MORNING

Guilt over past mistakes haunt former Navy SEAL Dez Rodriguez. When he’s asked to guard a pop star during a music festival on Lantern Beach, he’s all set for what he hopes is a breezy assignment.

UNTIL HE MEETS BREE JORDAN

Bree hasn’t found fame to be nearly as fulfilling as she dreamed. Instead, she’s more like a carefully crafted character living out a pre-scripted story. When a stalker’s threats become deadly, her life—and career—are turned upside down.

DANGER RISES UP THE CHARTS

From the start, Bree sees her temporary bodyguard as a player, and Dez sees Bree as a spoiled rich girl. But when they’re thrown together in a fight for survival, both must learn to trust. Can Dez protect Bree—and his carefully guarded heart? Or will their safe harbor ultimately become their death trap?

Goodreads | Amazon | BOOKBUB

 

About the Author

 

Christy BarrittChristy Barritt, a Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author, writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year.

She’s married to her prince charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious–but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado.

Christy currently splits her time between the Virginia suburbs and Hatteras Island, North Carolina. She has more than seventy books published with nearly two million copies sold.

If you’d like to receive updates via email about book releases, special events, and other happenings please sign up for her newsletter.

 

I’m going to have to pick up this series in Kindle Unlimited! What do you say, reader friends?
Does this story sound appealing to you? Let’s talk about that cover!

 

POST CREATED BY BETH ERIN

 

Book Spotlight: Summer to Remember

Happy Wednesday! Friday is in sight!!

Today I’m spotlighting a book by a new-to-me author – Tara Grace Ericson. Summer to Remember is book 4 in the Main Street Minden series but looks like it can be read as a standalone, without having to read the previous books.

ABOUT THE BOOK

summer to rememberFitting together might be more important than fitting in.

Danielle Washington never felt like she belonged. After she loses her bakery job, she is left with no family, no job, no car, and no money to pay rent. When she gets a call that an aunt she doesn’t remember breaks a hip, Danielle jumps at the chance to come help. Maybe the small town holds chance to start over. Or at least discover the secrets that kept her mother from ever returning home.

Mark Dawson doesn’t fit a mold, either. His family has lived in small-town Minden his entire life, but his trendy style and that’s-definitely-not-a-sport interests didn’t always fit in. As a middle-school teacher, Mark tries to teach students it’s okay to embrace your quirks; a lesson he also finds himself reiterating to the cute new baker in town. But when he is accused of the unthinkable and his career and community threaten to crumble; the shame is too much to share.

Danielle finds herself caught up in the charm of small-town life and the handsome school teacher who shares her love of video games and superheroes. But can she overcome the skeletons of the past to connect with the only family she has left? Will Mark’s own secrets push them apart before they ever have a chance? The healing power of the truth and God’s provision are front and center in this story of forgiveness, acceptance, community, and love.

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

tara grace ericsonfaith, hope, and happily ever after

Tara Grace Ericson writes small-town, contemporary Christian romance. She loves stories of modern-day characters struggling to obey God, forgive others, and accept themselves – oh, and finding their happily-ever-after along the way.

She lives in Southwest Missouri with her husband and two sons, writing full-time, in between chasing a two toddlers!

Get a free e-book by signing up for Tara’s newsletter at her website!

Follow on instagram: www.instagram.com/taraericsonauthor
Follow on facebook: www.facebook.com/taraericsonauthor

Book Review: Beauty From Ashes

Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?!? Less than two weeks away – it’s like we blinked in January & suddenly it’s December lol.

Today I’m sharing a review of a book that has such a pretty cover! The story inside is just as beautiful.

ABOUT THE BOOK

beauty from ashesSERIES: Orchard Grove #1
GENRE: Inspirational Women’s Fiction
PUBLISHER: Firstfruits Publishing
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2017
PAGES: 327

A baby was never part of Tiff’s plans. Especially not a sick baby in a NICU, struggling for life on a ventilator.

As days in the hospital turn to weeks, Tiff grows more and more convinced that God is punishing her for turning her back on him so many years ago. Or is it possible he’s working in the midst of her daughter’s bleak prognosis to draw Tiff back to himself once more?

The Orchard Grove Christian Women’s Fiction books are standalone literary novels about real-life believers facing real-life struggles. You won’t meet perfect saints whose lives are faultless models of the Christian faith. Instead, you’ll meet a perfect God whose plans of redemption are far more glorious than what the mortal mind could ever imagine.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

other books in this series

before the dawn  breath of heaven

MY THOUGHTS

“…whatever you’ve done, you can’t pluck yourself out of God’s hand.”

Beauty From Ashes is an incredibly moving story about a young woman in a heartbreaking situation. It reads like a conversation between the main character Tiff and the reader, as she tells us about the events leading up to and including the past few months of her life. In her frank yet endearing manner, Tiff reflects on her years in foster care, her relationship with God, and how she wound up married with a baby in the NICU.

I loved how honest Tiff is about God, and we see this particularly during the church service. There’s no guile to her as she struggles to pay attention, struggles to make sense of the service, and then as something touches her deeply. Side note: If you haven’t spent time with people who aren’t familiar with church and God, you are really missing out on seeing your faith and your worship practices in fresh ways ♥

One thing I love about Alana Terry’s writing is that she always surprises me. Just when I think a scene or a character is about to slide into cliche territory, she turns it on its end and takes it somewhere I wasn’t expecting. This happened more than once in Beauty from Ashes, not the least of which involved Tiff’s incredibly difficult mother-in-law. I also loved the diversity of the characters – their ethnic backgrounds as well as their backstories.

I will say that, if you’re currently going through a very difficult season, Beauty from Ashes may feel almost too heavy to keep reading at certain points. Life just continues not to turn around for Tiff and instead of seeing ‘beauty’ you see mostly ‘ashes’. In fact, I remember looking at the ‘time left in book’ on my kindle copy and thinking, “I’m not sure how the author is going to pull this one off with the 18 minutes left of my reading speed.” And, of course, as usual Alana Terry surprised me yet again. So I want to encourage you – if the ‘ashes’ overwhelm you in this story, keep reading for the ‘beauty’.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Review first appeared on ReadingIsMySuperPower.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alana TerryAlana Terry is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. 

Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching

She has also been accused of making her readers stay up way too late.

Alana and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: website | Facebook | Twitter


 

What about you?

What interests you about Beauty From Ashes?

Book Spotlight: Taye’s Gift by Pat Simmons

Happy Wednesday! Christmas is fast approaching (how did that happen?!?) and ’tis the season for Christmas reads! Today, I’m spotlighting Taye’s Gift by prolific author Pat Simmons!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Welcome to Snowflake, Colorado—a small town where wishes come true! When six old high school friends receive a letter that their fellow friend, Charity Hart, wrote before she passed away, their lives take an unexpected turn. She leaves them each a check for $1,500 and asks them to grant a wish—a secret wish—for someone else by Christmas. It sounds simple but the friends soon discover that it isn’t as easy as it seems! With the clock ticking, will they make it happen in time?

Join Mia, Caro, Nate, Sara, Holly, and Taye on their journey to make a wish come true—and find love along the way.

taye's giftTaye’s Gift is part of a series of 6 Sweet Inspirational Romances from 6 Sweet Romance Reads authors.

Who lays off someone before the holidays? Taye Thomas’ employer did, so instead of Christmas shopping, she’s job hunting. More devastating news comes when an old high school friend passed away. Could God be answering her prayers for help when she learns that Charity Hart left a $1500 check?

No, the caveat is it’s more blessed to give than receive. Taye has 30 days to find someone else in need to bless. To complicate matters, she’s lives in Kansas City, which is more than eight hours away from Snowflake and she can’t do it alone. Keeping a secret has never been so much work.

GOODREADS | AMAZON
Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES:

mia's gift  caro's gift  nate's gift

sara's gift  holly's gift


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pat's picturePat Simmons is the multi-published author of more than 30 Christian titles, including the #1 Amazon bestseller in God’s Word category A Christian Christmas. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels, in the hope of tracking down any distant relatives who might happen to pick up her books.

She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. She believes God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.

Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. She oversaw the media publicity for the RT Booklovers Conventions for fifteen years. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

Pat’s other hobby includes sewing. She has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter. Readers may learn more about Pat and her books by connecting with her on social media.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM


What about you? What interests you most about Taye’s Gift? Have you read it?

Book Review: The Someday List

Happy Friday! Today, I’m pleased to bring you my thoughts on The Someday List by Stacy Hawkins Adams. I was recently introduced to Stacy and her books on this great discussion at Seekerville!

About the Book

somedaylist

*an Essence magazine bestseller*

Rachelle Covington has it all. A fabulous home, a handsome and prestigious husband, two beautiful children, and a place in the upper crust that’s quite comfortable. But her life is not all it’s cracked up to be. When her husband goes away on business trip and the kids are sent off to the grandparents for a month, Rachelle takes up the challenge of a dying friend to start a list of things to do before she dies. She heads back to Jubilant, Texas, to reconnect with her past, her purpose, and herself. But when her ex shows up in town looking very fine and very single, Rachelle must confront feelings she thought she’d long buried. Will she give up everything to recover the past? Or will she find a reason to plan for the future?

The Someday List is an honest look at what makes us who we are and what can throw us off track. Author Stacy Hawkins Adams writes with a voice that is fresh, sincere, and completely real. Her characters jump off the page and into her readers’ hearts.

SERIES: Jubilant Soul #1
PUBLISHER: Revell
RELEASE DATE:
January 1, 2009

BUY THIS BOOK: goodreads | amazon | b&n | book depository


My Thoughts

This may have been my first book by Adams but it won’t be my last! In fact, I’m already wishing the next two books in the series were available to read on Kindle Unlimited like The Someday List is.

One thing I loved the most about this story was that Adams spared no one when it came to flaws, some hidden beneath the surface and others more obvious. From devoted believers to prodigals and every level in between, the characters in The Someday List present an authentic picture of the struggle to share this planet with each other. Every reader should be able to see themselves in at least one character in this book, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Perhaps we may not share the specific sins or stumbling points… perhaps we may… but the bottom line is that these characters are real and honest with weaknesses common to many.

Aunt Melba was my favorite character, hands down. She brought smiles and laughter when needed & also brought home some wisdom at the appropriate time. She was full of life – with a surprising history – and I’d love to read more of her story (she doesn’t seem to have her own book but I hope we spend more time with her in the next two books.)

The writing style was a little disjointed sometimes, at least as far as background information. Most of the time we’re left to connect the dots on our own, and that works just fine with a couple of exceptions. I struggled to connect with Rachelle in certain areas, particularly regarding her first marriage, and I would have liked to see a bit more to the ending. But, then again, life doesn’t always make sense nor tie up nicely with a red bow so in that sense Adams continues the pattern of authenticity that we see throughout the story.

The Someday List is a story of decisions that change the trajectory of our lives. Good decisions that lead us closer to each other & Jesus… and poor decisions that cause painful divisions and lifelong regret. Some surprising twists and turns are in store as you get to know & love these characters and, while I wish there was a bit more emotional dimensionality to the events that transpire, it really touched my heart.

I voluntarily reviewed this book after reading it via Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Stacy's fotoStacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning author and journalist who loves to inform, entertain and inspire readers through the written word. She has a gift for weaving tales in both the fiction and nonfiction genres, and in both faith-based and secular markets, that help readers thrive and grow confident in their own stories.  

She has penned 10 books – nine women’s fiction novels and one nonfiction faith-based devotional book. Her fiction features themes related to personal growth, self-esteem, matters of faith, forgiveness, friendships and family, and some of the books have been featured reading selections in high school and college courses.

Beyond the literary world, Stacy is a marketing and communications professional for an independent school. She holds a graduate degree in women’s leadership studies, and often shares messages with corporate, civic and faith-based organizations related to empowerment and leadership, personal growth, and the power of storytelling. She devotes considerable volunteer time to advocating for women and children, leading to recognition in recent years as a YWCA of Richmond “Outstanding Woman of the Year” and a Style Weekly magazine Top 40 honoree. Stacy is also an alumna of Leadership Metro Richmond and is well-versed in diversity and inclusion issues as a result of that experience and her communications work. She lives with her family in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

CONNECT WITH STACY: website | blog | facebook | twitter


What about you? Have you read The Someday List?

Some Of My Favorite Diverse Reads (Part 2)

Happy Wednesday again, friends!

Today, I’m picking up where I left off last week in my spotlight of several of my favorite diverse reads, specifically with ethnically diverse characters & blended cultures.

Set against the stunning landscape of Kenya, the multi-generational From Kenya, With Love series by Rula Sinara is a feast for the senses.

every serengeti sunrise

In This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller, we meet Daniel, a complex character wrestling with the many dimensions & nuances of his heritage.

this courageous journey

Sydney Tooman Betts’ People of the Book series will make God’s Word come alive for you in fresh ways, seeing His Story from the Native American’s perspective with new eyes.

a river too deep

Terri J. Haynes’ “Legacy of Love” in The Runaway Brides Collection is a sweet romance & also gives insight into a different perspective on the Reconstruction era than what we’re normally taught in history class.

The Runaway Brides story collection

Speaking of history not really taught in schools, the Creek Country Saga from April Gardner is powerful and emotional as it highlights a period of history we don’t often read about

The Red Feather by April W. Gardner

In Camy Tang’s Protection for Hire series, we get well-defined & layered (sometimes hilarious) characters, romance, humor, faith, cultural diversity & smartly-plotted suspense (with martial arts!)

protection for hire

Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home, a compelling inside look at the underground Chinese church, quite simply changed my life.

safely home

Pick up any book by Lori Benton for an emotional and compelling story of blended cultures that will linger long in your heart

the woods edge

Pick up the Secrets of Rios Azules suspense series by Alexa Verde and meet a diverse group of friends & multicultural relationships

color of danger

I love the biracial characters – and relationships – in Ruth Logan Herne’s Shepherd’s Crossing series from Love Inspired

her cowboy reunion

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser is a multicultural, multi-continent story that will open your eyes

the long highway home

What about you? Have you read any of these diverse reads yet?

Book Review: “Legacy of Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! Who else is looking forward to it finally feeling like Fall outside?!?

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Legacy of Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Runaway Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Runaway Brides story collection

What is a woman of the 1800s to do when she feels powerless to choose her own spouse and marry for love—run!

Amy’s home is at stake if she doesn’t marry her neighbor. Delia’s father wants her to marry into a political family. Georgiana is posing as a wealthy man’s wife in order to hide from her groom. Callie is fleeing one wedding and racing to marry a stranger. Emily flees her wedding with the help of a mysterious coachman. Josey’s best friend leaves a letter proposing marriage unanswered in order to elope. Bernadine becomes the ward and pawn of her evil uncle. Where will each turn when they have only God to trust?

Seven women facing the marriage altar make the decision to flee, but who can they now trust?

Legacy of Love by Terri J. Haynes

1877, Kentucky

Delia McClure longs to create a family legacy like her father, a former slave, who now owns a general store in a black community outside Lexington. But can Delia consent to her father’s choice of a husband for her when she has come to love another?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour


MY THOUGHTS

Haynes is quickly becoming one of my fave Barbour collection authors – both novellas of hers that I’ve read to date have been engaging and romantic, both touching and really fun to read.

In “Legacy of Love”, part of The Runaway Brides Collection, we have one of my very favorite tropes – friends who fall in love. Josiah and Delia live in very different economic situations – Delia, the daughter of a former slave turned wealthy merchant & Josiah, a hard worker who promised his dying parents he would take of his little sister Grace. The two have become good friends, however, in spite of their societal differences – and beneath the surface some deeper feelings are simmering. That first kiss? Whew! Mercy, it’s the stuff of swoons and weak knees and husky voices. The emotion behind it – and the realizations it prompts – leaves it in ‘memorable kisses’ territory for sure.

But the other thing I loved about this story is the compelling history that frames it. Along with the layered diverse characters Haynes has created, the perspective that she brings to the Reconstruction period is one I was, sadly, unfamiliar with. The tidbits about the Exodusters & the black migration to the West (specifically in this case to Kansas) is something that was never covered in my American history classes in school, nor in the citizenship materials I used to teach international adults in more recent years. Yet, it should have been, because the courage shown and the sacrifices made by those who left behind the familiar for the unknown deserve to be remembered and honored.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Book Review: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! I hope you’re finding some place cool to read in this summer heat! Is it Fall yet???

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Underground Railroad Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Underground Railroad Brides collectionLove Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes

East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour

MY THOUGHTS

“Love had never been as valuable as strength and freedom. Until now.”

I absolutely loved this story!

Despite being limited to a short novella-length word count, the author has packed the riveting plot with heart-in-your-throat moments of life or death… and a sweet romance that lightens the emotion a bit when needed. Layered and well-defined characters will quickly settle in your heart, and you’ll be rooting for them every step of the way.

Additionally, the author’s writing style is very engaging as well as entertaining. Every page makes you eager to read the next one & I would love to see a follow-up novel with these characters – specifically related to the escaped slaves’ stories Winnie has recorded in her notebook.

Winnie’s revelation about her owners will also linger with me for a while – how many similar things in modern times have we passed off as well-meaning or kind when in fact it’s sin? And once we realize that, what are we willing to do about it?

A sobering but simultaneously encouraging story of the power of love and the pull of freedom – and the people who risked their lives to give others the chance at both. Perfect for your weekend reading list. I’m off to catch up on the author’s backlist 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram