In Search of a Prince

Author: Toni Shiloh

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: February 1, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A surprisingly fun and entertaining read that was far more enjoyable than I expected!

Brielle Adebayo has a good life; she works as a middle school teacher in New York City where her mother works as a surgeon. She has never known her dad, who died before she was born. One day her mother takes her to lunch and tells her a secret she had been keeping all her life, Brielle is a princess in a kingdom off the coast of Africa. Her grandfather, the king, is sick and wants her to come meet him and prepare to assume her position to become Queen when he passes. Even with the shock of finding out she is a princess, Brielle decides to go and visit her grandfather and see the kingdom she is set to one day rule. Not everyone is happy Bri is going to be Queen; the Royal Council lets her know that she can’t become queen without a husband. First, she finds out she is a princess and now she learns she must find a husband quickly. With everyone judging her every move Bri must be careful she doesn’t make the wrong decision in life and love.

I must admit, I have never read a Toni Shiloh book before and am kind of kicking myself for it now. In Search of a Prince was a fun read that reminded me of The Princess Diaries which I have always loved. The way the story was written with Bri coming into a new country with many against her and the way she relied on her faith and friend to help her through the difficult transition helped move the story along. The tropical setting was beautiful and left me longing to put my toes in the sand and warm up in this warm and inviting country. Brielle isn’t written as someone that is perfect and comes in thinking she can do no wrong, she is nervous and really has a longing to prove she can learn and do what is needed to make sure she is the right person to lead the country. If you go into reading this as a fun rom-com you will get exactly what you want and enjoy a delightful read. It was a very inspiring story that readers will enjoy and leave wanting more from this tropical paradise.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Hart of Noel

Author: Chautona Havig

Series: A Heartstrings Novella

Publisher: Independent

Release Date: October 4, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Just like the previous in the series, this is a fun, fast read that was full of all the feels for me. Loved the setting, characters, and story so much! I foresee myself reading this one over and over again!

Josh Hart wants nothing more than to see his little bookstore succeed. If you looked out the front window of his store, you would think sales would be great with a full parking lot. Unfortunately, the cars are there to get into the bakery across the street and enjoy all the goodness baked by Honey Potts. Josh and Honey clash over the parking spots when Josh asks if she will park her own large SUV somewhere else so that people can actually see his store. Milton Coleridge comes to town with his parrotlet, Atticus and quickly sees that Josh is in desperate need of his help if he is going to keep his bookstore afloat.

Hart of Noel was everything I was hoping it was going to be: fun, entertaining, and just right to sit down and lose myself in fiction for a few hours.  Chautona Havig has a way with crafting characters that are easy to all in love with and want to see them succeed. Her stories are quick and well written with characters that readers can relate to and feel themselves in the story. This story was perfect, especially for the holiday season and I am thankful to have had this to read and take myself out of the world and lose myself in fiction for a few hours. Josh was flustered from the start and with good reason, the start of his relationship with Holly was rough but it led to a way for them to work through it and find a good relationship that could lead to something. I recommend this book to those looking for a fun holiday read and with great characters and an even better storyline.

Never Leave Me

Author: Jody Hedlund

Series: Waters of Time #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 4, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What a follow up!

Ellen Creighton lost her sister and father to a worthless pursuit to find flasks of holy water to free her from a genetic disease that will end her life at a young age.  She decides that she would rather spend her last days on her terms and her friend Harrison Burlington’s estate.  When Harrison manages to locate two of the holy water flasks, Ellen refuses to take part in his scheme because she believes she has lost so much.  But after he drinks one of the flasks and she watches what happens, she can’t refute the power of the water.  But what awaits her beyond the water is nothing short of the imagination!

If you thought the first book in the series was a wild ride, you haven’t read anything yet!  Never Leave Me picks right up where Come Back to Me left off and it is even more of a wild ride!  Whether this is because readers have already developed a connection with some of the characters or just the storyline gaining intensity, I was much more invested in the romance and suspense played out in these pages.  I couldn’t put it down until I was finished and now the waiting begins.  Ugh!  All said, the time travel aspect is still interesting, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Winter Rose

Author: Melanie Dobson

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: January 11, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Check out the Q&A with author Melanie Dobson!

What a great time-slip novel to kick off 2022!  A fantastic read for the new year!

Occupied France in 1943 is a dangerous place to be, but when smuggling out Jewish children into Spain, it becomes treacherous.  Grace Tonquin was born into Hollywood fame and fortune but wanted nothing to do with it nor her mother.  After a party goes awry, Grace is taken in by her grandparents, Quakers in Oregon.  She loves the Quaker lifestyle and originally goes to France in the 1930s to help Spanish refugee children during the Spanish civil war.  She never imagined that just a few short years later, she would be smuggling children back into Spain for safe harboring.  When it is no longer safe for her to return to France, Grace accompanies two children across the Atlantic to meet their uncle, who is later found out to be non-existent.  As their primary guardian, Grace takes them back to Oregon to shelter them from the trauma of war and the Holocaust.

Several decades later, Addie Hoult lives a life of reckless abandon until she is given the choice of jail time or a fresh start at a girl’s home in Tennessee.  Through this second chance, she turns her life around with the help of the home’s parent couple.  Now a widow with a baby on the way, Addie’s father figure Charlie Tonquin has a rare cancer that requires a bone marrow transplant from a relative.  Though Charlie has no interest in sharing his past history, Addie finds a photograph of a young Charlie at a lake in Oregon.  In an effort to save the man who essentially saved her life, Addie takes the plunge into uncovering what happened to Charlie’s family.

What a great time-slip novel to kick off 2022!  It doesn’t get much better than this!  Readers will love reading between time to discover the connection between the two stories and finally seeing the outcome so desired through the whole story.  With descriptive French scenery, both present day and war-torn Europe, as well as rural Portland, readers will be transported throughout out space and time.  Addie has tremendous character growth as a young woman, even from the start of the story.  Charlie too shows that characters can grow when they are nearing the end of their life span.  Multiple elements of faith, doubt, hurt, and love show up throughout the story.  A great read for the new year!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Spines and Leaves

Author: Chautona Havig

Series: A Bookstrings Novella #0

Publisher: Independent

Release Date: June 18, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fabulously fun and fast read that was just perfect to lift my spirits and put a smile on my face!

Milton Coleridge works helping turn companies around to make a profit. He has a month to get from Orange County, California to Delaware for his next job. On his way, he stops and spends a week at Joshua Tree National Park and finds the cutest little bookstore that is on the verge of closing. Spines and Leaves is the oldest bookstore in town and has a lot of spunk under the surface. But if things don’t change soon, the doors will have to be shut permanently. Milton comes in and uses his skills helping corporations make money to help the bookstore be able to keep its doors open.

This was such a fun Novella to read and enjoy. I so enjoyed this story and the character of Milton. Atticus might be my second favorite character from the book. It was a short book, moved at a quick pace and didn’t feel like there was an excess or fluff that didn’t need to be there, something I love in a book. Set in a small town in the California desert, Ced, the woman he meets who is running the bookstore for her father, knows his help will be vital and they work together to turn things around with some extra romance thrown in. I love the way Chautona Havig wrote these characters, the troubles they faced and how they kept their faith in working through their problems. The story was sweet with just the right amount of tension and romance. A fun start to a novella series that I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest. I recommend this series to anyone that loves a great Christian romance with heart and a lot to offer readers.

After She Falls

Author: Carmen Schober

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: November 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of the best books I have read this year! Not your ordinary Christian Fiction; so much good within these pages!

Adri Rivera had been on track to be one of the best in the world of mixed martial arts, but then she fell in love with a man that took all the fight from her. Adri gets pregnant and puts the world of fighting behind her until her husband’s abuse becomes more than she can handle. She goes back to her hometown to live with her uncle who raised her and taught her all about the world of martial arts. While she is back home, she runs into her old flame, Max Lyons. Max has opened his own gym in town and wants to help Adri, so he gives her a job as an instructor for the kid’s class. It doesn’t take long for Adri to get the itch to fight again and Max agrees to coach her. The more time they spend together, the more sparks start to fly causing them to confront their past to determine if they have a future together.

When I think of Christian Fiction, particularly Contemporary Christian Fiction, a fast action, MMA fighting book is not what normally comes to mind. This story is one of the best I have read all year long. I loved the interactions between characters from beginning to end, Adri is strong but has been beaten down for so long she has forgotten her strength, until she must protect her daughter who she cares more about than her own safety. The fight scenes were written so well, I actually felt like I was in the ring with Adri fighting and felt every blow she landed and received. Her relationship with both her husband and Max are complicated but that is also what makes them believable. This book had me gripped and on the edge of my seat until the very last page. I so admired Adri as a main character and the strength she had to find for herself. This is the type of book that I think many, even those that don’t normally read Christian fiction, will greatly enjoy. It is a true underdog story with romance and drama sprinkled in at just the right places. If you are a fan of MMA and fighting give this book a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

A Piece of the Moon

Author: Chris Fabry

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fabry never fails to give readers a story that will be enjoyable with flawed characters that readers are easily able to bond with.

Gideon Quidley has achieved great wealth throughout his life and when he receives a divine vision telling him to hide his treasure based on bible verses, he sets out to do just that.  When people find out what he has done, treasure hunters search high and low based on the clues.  It becomes an obsession for some people.  For others, it’s become more of a joking matter.  In the small town of Emmaus, West Virginia, mooring radio talk show hosts Waite Evers and TD Lovett, tend to joke about the matter weekly.  But when one of TD’s estranged friends goes missing, he is suddenly pulled into the hunt for his friend over the treasure.  As TD dives into the clues, he begins to discover his own real treasure that isn’t just of this earth.

Leave it to Chris Fabry to set up an incredibly interesting tale that takes readers back to 1981.  I’ve never been disappointed in one of Fabry’s novels and this one kept me intrigued all the way through.  His characters are all incredibly flawed, just like real life, and have the ability to easily connect with readers.  Waite was just one of many, but he saw the good in everybody but himself.  TD felt he could never be more than he was and didn’t know what the point of trying was.  With plenty of supporting characters, readers will easily find someone to resonate with and cheer for throughout the book.  Fabry’s years of experience on the radio show with the technical knowledge included in this book!

The story centers around an earthly treasure of riches, but has a theme of discovering the treasure of ourselves with our heavenly father.  I love the way that this book ended.  I’m not going to say more than that, but I think all readers will enjoy the final wrap up!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Miriam’s Song

Author: Jill Eileen Smith

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fans of Smith will likely enjoy her adaption of the story of Miriam.

Miriam and her family have been living during the Israelite oppression in Egypt.  While they have been praying for deliverance, it has been quiet.  When the Pharaoh becomes threatened and decrees that all male Hebrew babies shall be killed, she knows that her mother’s new baby is likely to die soon.  Fortunately, Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and raises him as her own.  Miriam’s little brother, Moses, will change the world for the Israelite people.

I have always enjoyed Smith’s ability to tell a well-known biblical story from a different perspective.  I enjoyed her previous book with the story of King Herod told from his sister’s perspective and felt that this one would be interesting as well.  I was able to get into the story pretty easily having well known characters, but it took a little while for me to get through it.  I’ve done a lot of research on the books of law and had to go back to double check some events based on this book.  I know that fiction is subjective and can be interpreted differently.  I’ve read past authors that have even moved actual events to different timelines to support their stories. With this story, there were some things that didn’t seem to sit correctly, which took time to research and understand her point of view.  Fans of hers will likely still enjoy this book, but I’m hoping the next one turns out to her usual standards.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Orchard House

Author: Heidi Chiavaroli

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Two great stories that crossover in ways you won’t expect!

Taylor has had a rough go at life.  Abandoned by her mother at a young age and left with her uncle.  The uncle ends up going to prison and Taylor is placed in the foster care system.  Then in 1995, she is adopted by her best friend’s parents and she now has not only a sister, but a family.  Even so, she still feels like she is outside of their love and is more of a hindrance than a gift.  But she and her new sister, Victoria, share a common interest: writing.  Living in Concord, Massachusetts right down the street from Louisa May Alcott’s home, The Orchard House, makes many a young girl dream of writing.  They have their ups and downs over the next few years, but one evening Victoria betrays Taylor in one of the worst ways she can imagine and there is no going back.

Just after the civil war, Johanna Suhre has become acquainted through letters with Louise May Alcott after Louisa used Johanna’s late brother John as the basis of her publication Hospital Sketches.  When Louisa decides to go abroad to Europe for a time, she offers an adventure to Johanna to come stay at Orchard House in her absence to help take care of the house.  While there, Johanna becomes smitten with the neighbor Nathan Bancroft who Louisa does not hold in high regard.  Could this romance be the end of their friendship? 

This is the first book that I’ve read by Heidi Chiavaroli, but WOW!  I was hooked at the beginning and couldn’t stop reading until I found out what happened in both stories!  It’s easy to get lost in one of the stories of a time-slip novel but it takes a very talented author to get readers to lose themselves in both stories.  I loved how much detail she paid to each time period, not only the 1800s but even 1995 and early 2000s.  It was fun to have the main character my own age for a change and reminisce about how things were back when I was in high school and college.  A walk down memory lane for sure.

I related most to Taylor.  I’ve haven’t had the rough beginning that she did, but it was so easy to cheer for her when she was wronged that you didn’t want her family to pull her back.  In the end, it worked out for the best, but the process was a little messy, which made it real.  I’ve known women like Victoria and those in her situation and it is really tough to deal with.  It takes a lot of time and emotional withdraws to get someone through those times.  I loved how the author was able to use those two stories to draw similarities, but it might be in such a way that readers won’t notice until is right upon them.  She also managed to show the importance of faith and a relationship with God in a subtle yet very real way!  Great story!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Trial and Error

Author: Robert Whitlow

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: February 2, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Suspenseful, intriguing, and makes readers cheer for the protagonist!

Eighteen years ago, Buddy Smith’s girlfriend skipped town with their newborn daughter and he hasn’t found them since.  Now a defense lawyer back in his hometown, he often takes cases where one of the parents has fled with a child. 

Gracie Blaylock is the county clerk and coach of the local girls’ softball team.  She and Buddy have been friends for years, but never had a romantic aspect to their relationship.  When one of the girls on the softball team abruptly stops attending practice, the other teammates know that something is wrong and confirm that she has runaway.  She knows it’s not the same as an abduction case but feels that Buddy would be best to pursue it.

As Buddy and Gracie work together to find out what happened to the missing girl, clues start to show up that could lead Buddy to find his own estranged daughter. 

Robert Whitlow has such a great ability to blend faith, suspense, and legality into his stories.  It’s easy to get lost in the story, even when there is not much of a legal thriller aspect.  With cases of parents abducting their own child on the rise, this book fits right in for current times.  I love the rural small-town Georgia setting to this book.  It made me to want to have porch conversations with some of the main characters.  I also loved all the characters throughout this book.  Everyone contained some sort of flaw that was able to improve through the course of the book.  Gracie is such a role model for me, similar to other characters he has written.  No one took a step backwards and it worked out for the better by the end.  We need more books like this in our library today!  I’ve always loved his writing and will continue to read his books!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.