Posted in Book reviews

“To Dwell Among Cedars” by Connilyn Cossette

To Dwell Among Cedars (The Covenant House, #1)


“To Dwell Among Cedars” by Connilyn Cossette

Biblical Fiction

Review copy from the publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Eight years ago, when the Philistines stole and then surrendered the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora left her Philistine homeland to follow the ark to the community of Kiryat Yearim. There, the family she was adopted into has guarded the ark at the top of a mountain in seclusion.

Ronen is a Levite musician determined to secret away the ark to a more fitting resting place, watched over by priests who would restore the Holy of Holies. He never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he’s tasked to deceive.

As Ronen’s attempts to charm Eliora lead them in unexpected directions, betrayal leaves Eliora with strained family ties and Ronen questioning his own loyalties. Ultimately, Eliora and Ronen are caught up in the battle for the soul of Israel and its future under the leadership of Samuel, the last judge before the era of the kings begins

My Thoughts:

Oh, this was such an amazing book! Author Connilyn Cossette never disappoints – her Biblical Fiction books are always so engaging, and captivating.”To Dwell Among Cedars” is Eliora’s story, and what a touching story it is. Part one begins from when Eliora (then known as Arissa) and her brother, Lukios, are very young, living with their Philistine aunt and uncle, but having been raised by their Hebrew slave.Straight from page one, I was tied to Eliora and her story. She and her brother tugged at my heart strings. The entire novel did so, and the depth found within the pages is so beautiful and so meaningful.Eliora is an incredible character, and her devotion to the Ark and Yahweh was greatly admirable. I love how she was ‘grafted in’ to the Hebrews; the family that took her in was absolutely endearing and so full of compassion.I loved the Ronen as well, and his story was just as captivating and enjoyable to follow.The author has woven such a truly exquistic novel, and I am so very eager for its sequel where we will get to read more about Lukios! That ending only begs to be continued. :)”To Dwell Among Cedars” is too full of amazingness to properly review it all, but I can definitely say it will make it on my favourites for 2020 – highly recommend!
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I received a complimentary copy of this novel as apart of the launch team. I was not required or paid to write a positive review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Posted in Uncategorized

“Joy To The World” Novella Collection Book Review

Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection

Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Novella Collection by Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt, and Erica Vetsch

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness.

“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller
Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome both their obligations and their fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?

“Far as the Curse Is Found” by Amanda Barratt
One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?

“Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch
A Scots portrait painter finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart. 

My Thoughts:

This is a sweet, lighthearted collection, perfect for this time of year.All three of the novellas were lovely and enjoyable, and I liked all of them for various reasons, but it was the third final novella that really captured my attention and made this book shine for me. “Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch tells the story of Priscilla Haverly who we are introduced to in Vetsch’s series , Serendipity and Secrets. It was such a treat to read her own story, and it was such a good one! I loved Hamish Sinclair – he was positively wonderful, and they were such a good match. His Scottish brogue was delightful to read, and his character was superb.The whole collection was very festive and a great read for this time of year!

*I received a complimentary book from the publishers for the purpose of this review. I was not required to give a positive review, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

Posted in Uncategorized

“THe Kissing Tree” Novella Collection Book Review

The Kissing Tree: Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love

The Kissing Tree Novella Collection by Regina Jennings, Karen Witemeyer, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese

Review copy from publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Bestselling novelist Karen Witemeyer joins award-winning authors Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese for this Texas-sized romance novella collection. Each of the authors’ unique voices is on display in stories where courting couples leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.  

In Regina Jennings’ Broken Limbs, Mended Fences, a small-town teacher has her credentials questioned by a traveling salesman.

In Karen Witemeyer’s Inn for a Surprise, two opinionated collaborators with conflicting visions must turn a doomed business venture into a successful romantic retreat.

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes follows a young WWII naval airman who heads to Texas to meet the sister of a lost compatriot.

Heartwood 
by Nicole Deese is a modern-day romance about the groundskeeper of a historic inn who’s reunited with someone from her past while she fights to save a town landmark.

My Thoughts:

Novella collections are so fun – I love getting little stories and tastes from various authors. The Kissing Tree collection starts out with Regina Jenning’s story, “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts”, and it was absolutely endearing! I was hooked and laughing from the very start – and the ending was so sweet. It was an adorable story with relatable characters that really leapt from the pages.

Second comes Karen Witemeyer’s novella, “Inn for a Surprise”  which was very good too – I really liked Phoebe, and loved her “quirks” and genuinely sweet character. Her heart for starting the Kissing Inn tree was lovely, and I appreciated that Barnabas softened so much towards her and her vision. They complimented each other really well. The only thing I will point out in this story, is that it kind of bothered me that when he was mentally pointing out her beautiful qualities, he had to mentally remark that he could see why others might pass over her because she’s plain. A reader might be allowed to think a person is plain because “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, however, I’d much rather see the hero be absolutely taken with her, regardless what the townspeople or even reader thinks of her appearance. I hope that makes sense. :) Otherwise, I really liked their relationship and their balance together. A very sweet story!

Third we have Amanda Dykes’ “From Roots to Sky”, and this one carries an aura of more ‘seriousness’, following the story of  WWII airman Luke Hampstead as he meets his friend’s sister for the first time – the young woman he’s been writing to during the war. I liked the message of this one, and the overall theme of heart-aching beauty. It started off just a little slow for me, but I was soon taken up with the story and really loved getting to know the characters, and see the town of Oak Spring in the aftermath of WWII. Definitely a touching story.

And lastly, we end with “Heartwood” by Nicole Deese, the contemporary novella of this collection. This is the second piece of read by this author, and I really love her writing style. “Heartwood” is a sweet and realistic romance, with complicated emotions and pasts the characters have to work through. There was a bittersweet part to this story, but it made for the perfect ending, and I love how the story, while contemporary unlike the first three pieces, really wove everything together and made for a beautiful finish. A great novella collection overall, that I very much enjoyed!

*I receiveda complimentary copy of thisbook from the publishers for the purpose of this review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not compensated to share my review.

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Nothing Short of Wonderous” by Regina Scott ~ Book Review

Nothing Short of Wondrous (American Wonders #2)

“Nothing Short of Wonderous” by Regina Scott

Book Two in the American Wonders Series

Review copy through Revell Reads

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.

Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate’s aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him. When her 6-year-old son is kidnapped by a poacher who wants the boy to guide him to the place where the last of the Yellowstone bison congregate, Will and Kate must work together to rescue him, save the bison, and protect the park. In doing so, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.

My Thoughts:

This was my first novel to read by this author, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to step into this series. The descriptions of the Yellowstone Park were well-written, and while I’ve never been there myself, it was easy to picture and beautiful to imagine.

The characters were steady, though I had a hard time feeling really connected to them. There was the case of an instant attraction between the two main characters, and while I know that can be realistic, I didn’t personally feel drawn in by it. It was an interesting book, and I liked the setting, and appreciated the Christian message towards the end.

I think fans of Tracie Peterson and Lauraine Snelling will love it.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“The Conqueror” by Bryan Liftin ~ Book Review

The Conqueror (Constantine's Empire, #1)

“The Conqueror” by Bryan Liftin

Review copy from Revell Publishers

My rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

It is AD 312. Rome teeters on the brink of war. Constantine’s army is on the move. On the Rhine frontier, Brandulf Rex, a pagan Germanic barbarian, joins the Roman army as a spy and special forces operative. Down in Rome, Junia Flavia, the lovely and pious daughter of a nominally Christian senator, finds herself embroiled in anti-Christian politics as she works on behalf of the church.

As armies converge and forces beyond Rex’s and Flavia’s controls threaten to destroy everything they have worked for, these two people from different worlds will have to work together to bring down the evil Emperor Maxentius. But his villainous plans and devious henchmen are not easily overcome. Will the barbarian warrior and the senator’s daughter live to see the Empire bow the knee to Christ? Or will their part in the story of Constantine’s rise meet an untimely and brutal end?

My Thoughts:

I was looking forward to this book, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect to the characters, and there was a lot of content that felt extremely unnecessary and inappropriate. I felt that the faith content was also more focused on religion vs a real relationship with Christ. The book wasn’t poorly written, I just didn’t care for its content and graphicness. The ending felt strange too.The story was quite crass. I know Rome was a very awful place, but it was all described with extreme crudeness, and the amount of sex that was discussed was unpleasant. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone under the age of 20, and even then, as I said, there was a great deal of unnecessary content.For being a historical book, there were a lot of really modern phrases such as ‘girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend’, ‘pimps’ and others. I found the story unsettling. Unfortunately not a book I can recommend.

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“The Plans We Made” by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue – Blog Tour and Review

“The Plans We Made” by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue

Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Review copy from the publishers as apart of I Read With Audra Tour

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

When past secrets hold the only key to hope for the future…

Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations.

Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect – a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart.

Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that life doesn’t always go according to The Plans We Made.

My Thoughts:


This is the story of two women whose lives remarkably intersected, connecting them in a powerful way.”The Plans We Made” is a gentle novel with good characters and a good plot. I enjoyed seeing how the stories connected, and also how their stories resulted. It covered a span of time but the timeline moved smoothly, and it was nice seeing how the characters changed, adjusted, and grew.There is a slight love-triangle towards the end for Caroline – while I understand her struggle, I had a bit of a hard time connecting to her and didn’t really like that she was kind of back and forth between the two guys. Especially when the one guy was pretty unhealthy in his view of life and relationships, but that wasn’t strongly pointed out.While I didn’t deeply connect to the characters myself, I still enjoyed seeing how it all worked out, and am glad I had the opportunity to read it. 

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts given are my own.

Enter the Giveaway by clicking on the image above or following THIS LINK.

Posted in Book reviews, Reviews, Tessa Afshar

“Pearl in the Sand” 10th Anniversary Edition by Tessa Afshar – Review

“Pearl in the Sand” by Tessa Afshar

10th Anniversary Edition

Review copy through the publishers/author

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Can a Canaanite harlot who made her living enticing men be a fitting wife for a leader of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.

This 10th anniversary edition of Pearl in the Sand includes new features that will invite you into the untold story of Rahab’s journey from lowly outcast to redeemed child of God. Rahab’s home is built into a wall, a wall that fortifies and protects the City of Jericho. However, other walls surround her too, walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness… Years of pain and betrayal have wounded Rahab’s heart—she doubts whether her dreams of experiencing true love will ever come true…

A woman with a wrecked past—a man of success, of faith… of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.

My Thoughts:

How has it been ten years since this beautiful novel first released? I have such fond memories including Pearl in the Sand. I just happened upon it after it first came out, sitting on our library’s New Release shelf, and it was my first foray back into the world of Christian Romance after taking a break. I’m so glad I picked it up, and I devoured it that first time. It touched me so much, I got my own copy and read it again…and again…and here I am now, having the absolute delight of reading the new revised edition. This beautiful story touched me as much now as it did each of the previous reads of it.The author does such a brilliant job of telling Rahab’s story – her life as a harlot and what led up to that point is delicately told in a matter of the first few chapters. It is never explicit, or summed up with no meaning; it truly is handled with care and grace. Each of the characters are so realistic and so multidimensional. We are engulfed in their struggles right alongside them, and it is a joy to become a part of their journey.I love this novel so much. The message is so touching. It’s not just about Rahab and Salmone, it is about God’s pursuing, redeeming, and precious love for us. He woos us, and calls us worthy. I tear up every time I read Pearl in the Sand, because these truths are so wondrously told – it impacts me every time.The author’s note in this new edition also had me misty-eyed. She writes so from the heart, and that heart is so for the Lord that it translates vibrantly to the page.This will remain one of my favourite reads for ever, I am quite sure. I love how God uses it, and how the author allows the Lord to use her! <3

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“A Portrait of Loyalty” by Roseanna M White ~ Review

@vikinglady10

A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M White

Book Three in the Codebreakers Series

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Zivon Marin was one of Russia’s top cryptographers, until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee after speaking out against Lenin and separated from his brother along the way, he arrives in England driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera–and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and recreating photographs. With her father’s connections in propaganda, she’s recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily. He sees patterns in what she deems chaos; she sees beauty in a world he thought destroyed. But both have secrets they’re unwilling to share. When her photographs reveal that someone has been following Zivon, his loyalties are called into question–and his enemies are discovered to be far closer than he’d feared. 

My Thoughts:

What a phenomenal conclusion to the Codebreaker series! I have loved each of these books so much,  and I daresay that the hero of A Portrait of Loyalty might just be my favorite. All the characters really are so marvelous though. This author has such a way at weaving historical details into an immensely enriching story with excellent plot and strong characters. I loved this novel,  and it was fascinating to get more of a glimpse into the unrest that was occurring within Russia at the time of WWI. I loved getting to see both Zivon’s and Lily’s roles as part of the Codebreakers – Lily’s skills at photography and aiding in the alteration of photos was so interesting.”A Portrait of Loyalty” held a bit of a plot twist that I wasn’t expecting, but it happened so smoothly, and while it had me rather teary-eyed, it did have purpose in the story.Also can’t neglect to mention how impressive it is that the characters who we are not rooting for got their own POV sections so we were able to really get to know them and see why they believed what they did. Just exceptionally handled, the whole thing.Truly, I loved this book and found it excellent and moving! Brilliantly beautiful, and I highly recommend this entire series!!

@vikinglady10


I received a copy of this book from the publishers as apart of the launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Until I Met You” by Tari Faris ~ Book Review

Until I Met You (Restoring Heritage, #2)

“Until I Met You” by Tari faris

Book Two in Restoring Heritage Series

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

When she hears that the small town of Heritage, Michigan, is looking for a new librarian, Libby Kingsley jumps at the opportunity. Little did she know the library is barely more than a storage closet stuffed with dusty, outdated books. What the community really needs is a new building. But the only funds available are those being channeled into the new town square, and the landscape architect in charge of the project wants nothing to do with her plans.

All Austin Williams wants to do is get the town square project finished so he can do right by the family business and then extricate himself from the town that reveres the brother who cost him so much. But the local media and the town’s new librarian seem to be conspiring against him at every turn. Will the determined bookworm find her way into his blueprints–and possibly even his heart?

My Thoughts:

I love discovering new authors! This was my first book to read by Tari Faris, though it is the second in the series. I seem to have a habit for doing that…but I do plan on catching up on the first book soon as I can. :) “Until I Met You” tells the story of Libby and Austin, as well as Austin’s brother Nathan, and Libby’s roommate Olivia. I really enjoyed how the novel played out, displaying each character’s story with care and attention. It all read very smoothly, and I enjoyed my visit to their little town of Heritage. ^.^ 

While primarily a light hearted read, Until I Met You also contains a great message of the importance of God’s grace. That was lovely. I think this book stood well on its own, but I think reading them in order would be the best way to enjoy it, as there are return-characters. I like when books interconnect, even if I haven’t had the pleasure of catching up on the first book(s) XD

I liked all the characters, though I’ll admit Austin could frustrate me. I understood his struggle with forgiveness, and appreciated his journey to arrive at that point, but I just had a bit of a hard time with his anger sometimes. But again, we get to see him grow so that was nice.

All in all, a fun, sweet story. :)

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“The Secret Place of Thunder” by Alicia G. Ruggieri ~ Blog Tour/Review And Giveaway

About the Series:

The Secret Place of Thunder is part of the Librarians of Willow Hollow multi-author novella collection. Each novella stands on its own but is connected to the others in this historical Christian fiction series set in 1930s Appalachia.

Other books in the Librarians of Willow Hollow series:

A Strand of Hope by Amanda Tero

I Love to Tell the Story by Faith Blum

Hearts on Lonely Mountain by A.M. Heath

Come along as four packhorse librarians find adventures outside the books they carry!

The Secret Place of Thunder (Librarians of Willow Hollow, #4)

The Secret Place of Thunder by Alicia G. Ruggieri

Librarians of Willow Hollow #4

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

The mountains have imprisoned her long enough…

Edna Sue O’Connell came back to the Kentucky hills out of duty and can’t wait for the chance to escape again. Her work as a horseback librarian in rural Appalachia provides enough income for her invalid father to survive in the midst of the Great Depression, but it affords her with little else.

When an opportunity arises for Edna to take on an additional book delivery area, she spies a glimmer of hope that she might find a way out of Willow Hollow after all… and that she might actually make something of her life apart from the tragedy that has filled it thus far.

But the new routes give Edna more than she ever bargained for. Slowly, she finds that the mountains contain many valuable secrets – if she has the grit to meet them.

My Thoughts:

It’s been too long since I picked up a story by this author (entirely my fault!), and so returning to her writing was a true delight.

The Secret Place of Thunder is the fourth novella in the HorsebackLibrarians of Willow Hollow series, but I confess I read it first, and am now planning on catching up on the others. ;)

Edna Sue’s story is one of rawness and struggle, but also full of poignant truth. Dear Edna Sue is a bit rough – and in this story we get to understand why. I felt for her. And enjoyed seeing her journey unfold, and her inner battle find completion.

Cecil was an excellent character as well, and I really liked how he complimented Edna Sue and didn’t give up on her.I loved Mr. Ravenhill too! He was such a great character.I really enjoyed this story as a whole, and think this collection is a wonderful idea. :)

Purchase the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BFBF93T — Available in e-book and softcover

Author’s Website: http://www.aliciagruggieri.com

Author’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri

Author’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliciagruggieriFind The Secret Place of Thunder on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54151965-the-secret-place-of-thunder

About the Author:

Alicia G. Ruggieri grew up breathing in the salty air of coastal New England. She now writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction from her home in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and sweet second-hand mutt. She loves old graveyards, dusty libraries, and excellent cannolis ~ not necessarily in that order.

!!GIVEAWAY!!

To celebrate this release, Alicia is giving away an Appalachian music CD, a mini Appalachian Breakfast soy candle, and a set of whimsical bronze bookmarks! (Due to shipping costs, the giveaway is limited to the continental U.S.) You can enter by clicking on the giveaway image or ENTER HERE!

Blog Tour:

9/15 Welcome to the Tour at A Brighter Destiny – http://www.aliciagruggieri.com/abrighterdestiny

Amanda @ https://amandatero.com/blog

Raechel @ https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com

9/16 Kaitlyn @ www.maidensformodesty.com

J.E. Grace @ http://bizwingsblog.blogspot.com

9/17 Rebekah @ www.readytobeoffered.com

9/18 Jane @ www.janemouttet.wordpress.com

9/19 Connie @ https://connie-oldersmarter.blogspot.com

9/20 Abigail @ http://readreviewrejoice.com

9/21 Tara @ www.towerintheplains.wordpress.com

Ryana @ www.lifeofheritage.com

9/22 Wrap-up & giveaway winner announced @ http://www.aliciagruggieri.com/abrighterdestiny