Beacons of Hope / Book 1

Today is the last day of April. It's hard to believe; although I'm really looking forward to May so I'm not disappointed. My family and I are participating in the Woman's Care Center of Erie's "Heroes for Life" 5K. It's the day before Mother's Day and I think it just hit me that I only have a little over a week left to practice. Where did the time go?!

Today's review is on book two in the Beacons of Hope series by Jody Hedlund. For any of you that haven't read this book yet Jody graciously provides on her website an excerpt from the book. I know for myself that after reading the first couple pages I was hooked. It's almost impossible not to get a book when you've gotten a taste of how awesome it will be. (Click HERE for the link.) 

P.S. There's a special treat being posted tomorrow that I'm sure you'll like, Question & Answers with Jody Hedlund!
(And if anyone is concerned that I might get sidetracked and it'll be delayed (I'll admit, it's happened), don't worry, I already have it scheduled to publish. :)
Book Title: Love Unexpected
Series: Beacons of Hope (Book 1)
Author: Jody Hedlund

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.
My Review:
Like all of Jody Hedlund's book, Love Unexpected not only met my high standards for a good book but surpassed them. Emma Chambers was a well written character. Sweet, kind, with a vulnerable side, and besides a few flaws (I can't fault her for those; who doesn't have any?!), she's great example to emulate.

Patrick was probably my favorite of all the characters. Besides the fact that was guy, and I'm most definitely not :), I felt like I could connect with him in all lot of ways. The big thing about Patrick was, he let his past define who he was. And although he understood that God had saved him, he couldn't accept that he was forgiven, the past erased, and his sins gone in God's sight. I think most people struggle with this. I've noticed this in my own life and this book really brought this point to life.

I also really liked the setting for this book. The details of the landscape, sounds, smells were amazingly real in my mind. So much so, that I felt like I was there. This is what all authors strive to achieve in their writing and Jody Hedlund definitely hit the mark. I've totally loved this "lighthouse" series and can't wait for the next one!

My Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Follow Jody Hedlund's board Novel: Love Unexpected on Pinterest.

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt

I'm participating in this really cool scavenger hunt / giveaway hosted by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Robin Lee Hatcher! Come and join too! It started today, April 16th, at 12:00 MST.

Here are the links you'll need to get started:

Basic Rules

Be "Team Purple"

Be "Team Pink"

Good luck to all!

New Releases: The Creole Princess

You might remember the book I reviewed quite a few months ago, The Pelican Bride, well this book is the second in the series. The main character, Lyse, is the great granddaughter of Tristan and Genevieve Lanier. I really enjoyed how Beth White, the author, mixed romance and war history into a great read. I hope you will too.

Book Title: The Creole Princess
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Revell

Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.

It is 1776, and all along the eastern seaboard the American struggle for independence rages. But in the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is much quieter--though no less deadly.

Lyse Lanier may be largely French in heritage, but she spends most of her time in the company of the ebullient daughter of the British commander of Mobile. When a charming young Spanish merchant docks in town, Lyse is immediately struck by his easy wit and flair for the dramatic. But is he truly who he makes himself out to be? Spies abound, and Spain has yet to choose a side in the American conflict. Is Lyse simply an easy mark for Rafael Gonzalez to exploit? Or are his overtures of love as genuine as Spanish gold?

With spectacular detail that brings the cultural gumbo of the Colonial Gulf Coast alive, Beth White invites you to step into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known slice of the American Revolutionary War.

My Review:
I was a little hesitant starting this book because the first book in this series I found to be pretty dry. So it was to my pleasant surprise to find myself totally immersed in The Creole Princess. Rafa and Lyse were both characters that I really admired and thought were well written. Their relationship with each other was sweet with witty comments from both.The only thing I would have liked better is if the periods of time that passed between chapters had been shortened. Months would literally go by in a page and I just don't really care for that. But it's difficult for an author to write a book to everyone's taste so it really wasn't that big a deal. I wasn't interested in continuing to read this series after the first book but after giving it a second try I will be on the lookout for the next book when it comes out. :)

My Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley.

Beacons of Hope / Novella

I think the weather is finally getting the memo that it's spring. For the first couple weeks of Spring it was still cold and we even got snow in April! It's finally warmed up and almost our snow has disappeared. It's so wonderful to be able to go outside without a coat! As much as I will miss the joys of Winter, I'm loving this warm weather.

I decided on reviewing the series, Beacons of Hope by Jody Hedlund. So far book one and a novella have been written. The second book, Hearts Made Whole is coming out in June! I can't wait. Today's book, Out of the Storm is the novella and one of the first that I've actually liked; usually, I find the plot development to be boring. I wrote this review when the book first came out, as you might be able to tell when you read it. The book is currently free on Amazon so if you want to read it now's the time. :)

Book Title: Out of the Storm
Series: Beacons of Hope (Novella)
Author: Jody Hedlund

Having grown up in a lighthouse, loneliness is all Isabelle Thornton has ever known–and all, she assumes, she ever will know. But when her lightkeeper father rescues a young man from the lake, her sheltered world is turned upside down.

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund’s Out of the Storm is her first ever novella and introduces readers to Beacons of Hope, a new series set in the 1800s amid the romance, history, and danger surrounding the Great Lakes lighthouses of Michigan.

My Review:
For being a novella I was really pleased with this book. I'm not usually a fan of them, way too short, and even though I would have loved it to be longer, Out of the Storm was an exciting and romantic story. I really loved both the main characters, Isabelle and Henry. They made a cute couple and I liked how Isabelle made Henry a better person and vica-versa. The plot with the "bad guys" was not that enthralling but I don't see how it could have been better with the limited number of pages so overall, the book was great! It always makes my day (day? no week :) when Jody Hedlund comes out with another book.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is something I found on the author's website. I guess you could call it a bonus feature. (Is there an actual term...?) I was excited to have come across it. Hope you will enjoy it too.

Isabelle’s Letter

Click here to keep reading.
December 1854
Presque Isle Lighthouse
Lake Huron, Michigan

My name is Isabelle Thornton and I sit down at my father’s desk this winter day to put into words all of the many thoughts and experiences I’ve had since the big storm hit in October two months ago….

New Releases: From the Start

The author of this book, Melissa Tagg, was just recently discovered for me but I'm so glad I found her. Her books are some of my new favorites. You'll see her name added to my list of favorite authors. :) It just keeps getting longer, doesn't it?

Book Title: From the Start
Publication Date: April 7, 2015 (Another book that I actually managed to post the review on the day it was published. Yeah! :)
Publisher: Bethany House

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley. 

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?

My Review:
I'd never read any books by Melissa Tagg before but after this book I definitely will read more! From the Start draws you quickly into the story and before you know it you're hooked. (For me, that's always a good thing... unlike fish :) Katherine and Colton were both great characters. The author did a wonderful job creating their likeable personalities, quirks, and history. Their unselfish compassion for others is what really stood out to me. 

This book has a perfect mixture of romance, Christian values, humor, and depth--Definitely a book I suggest you read. 

My Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley.

New Releases: After a Fashion

I'm always on the lookout for a new book by Jen Turano so I was thrilled when I came across this! It lived up to my high expectations for another great book by her. I hope you all will enjoy it as much as I did.

Book Title: After a Fashion
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House

Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiance cause the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.

Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

My Review:
Jen Turano probably writes the funniest books I've ever read! You are constantly laughing at the characters antics and their conversations with each other. It has an interesting plot that's not suspenseful but still enthralling to read. Also, it teaches an important lesson of how we can always depend on God in every situation of our life. I'm glad this is the first book of a series. I already can't wait to read about Lucetta's, Millie's, and Everett's stories--A really great book!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley.

Fairy Tales / The Healer's Apprentice

April is here already! Seems like the year just began yet in reality it's already a quarter into it. I'm sure no one wants that reminder so I'll end that subject. :) I've been trying to get this review posted for almost two weeks now. Finally getting this posted is a happy checkmark on my mental list of things to do. It's a long list for all those interested but before I get sidetracked and start listing them I'd better mention a bit about today's review. It's called The Healer's Apprentice and the author is Melanie Dickerson. This is the last book by her that we're going to review... currently. (She has more books that have either just come out or are in the process and I know I'll want to review those sometime :) I haven't decided what book series to review next so if anyone has suggestions I'd definitely be open to them.

Enjoy the beginning of warm Spring weather!

Book Title: The Healer's Apprentice
Series: Book 1 of the Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance
Author: Melanie Dickerson

Two Hearts. One Hope.

Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill. When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

My Review:
Rose and Lord Hamlin made such a cute couple in this book. But then again, all of the other characters in the rest of the series do too, so that should come as no surprise. Rose was a super sweet girl and Lord Hamlin was, well, the Prince Charming girls dream about. :) The plot was enchanting but I guessed it in the first few chapters. It seemed pretty obvious, but that was okay for me. The evil villain, Moncore was pretty, well, to sum it up, evil. It's not my favorite thing to read about a sorcerer sending demons into someone so that was a down point for me. The overall story was good but it would have been much better if it didn't deal with black magic and demons--a warning to others who don't like those sort of things either.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐