Thursday, January 31, 2013

"The Tutor's Daughter" by Julie Klassen

Combine a daughter trying to help her father, with a cliff-top manor in Cornwall, secrets, and some very mysterious happenings and you have Julie Klassen's latest book - "The Tutor's Daughter." 

Emma Smallwood does not like seeing her father depressed and she doesn't like the reason. His school has failed. Now she knows it is up to her to help him pick up the pieces and face life anew. But how? Where? An opportunity arises in Cornwall and Emma agrees to go with her father and help with the educating of four boys. But, the boys remember Emma as a young girl who was very engrossed in her studies. This is not the Emma they knew. Soon mysterious things begin to happen causing Emma to search for answers. Is there a ghost or intruder, of is it one of the boys playing a prank? Will Emma find love as her father comes back to life? The story will captivate you as you continue to turn the pages searching for answers.

This is a wonderfully written, intriguing book. The characters and setting are well written, and invite readers to come hear the story. I recommend this book to readers who love mystery, intrigue, and love all wrapped up together. I received my free review copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.
 Book Info
About The Tutor's Daughter
Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast-a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions-where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems-and secrets-of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...
When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart? 
Link to buy the book:    
Meet Julie:  
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. 
Find out more about Julie at

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"A Just Man" by Helen Daniel

Serving God is pretty easy when times are good. But, what about the bad times? In her new book, Helen Daniel follows one family through three generations and a myriad of turmoil to find that answer.

The Matthews family is composed of hard working, God fearing men and women. They simply want to serve their Lord and trust Him. As children are born, the message is relayed, giving the children a firm foundation on which to stand. But, what happens to that faith when the Revolutionary War breaks out, will they be able to continue to have strong faith? Drought and floods take their toll, and the Matthews try to hold on. When they reach out to help others, will it strengthen their faith or break it? Come join the Matthews family, watch the children grow up, and find out about the strength found in faith.

This is an interesting young adult novel. I found it a quick read with many great points about faith. It will make a wonderful gift for the YA in your life.I received my free review copy from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review.

"The Bracelet" by Roberta Gately

Abby Monroe is a UN worker who chooses Peshawar, Pakistan as her place of work. How will a brutal murder and a bracelet change her life?

Abby is discouraged and broken-hearted. She needs a cause to lift her out of her despondency, and finds that in helping women in Peshawar. But after witnessing the murder of a woman with a beautiful bracelet on her wrist and hearing the stories of sex trafficking and abuse, she decides to partner with a NY Times reporter to uncover the facts and show the world. As they work to uncover the facts, they travel to South East Asia where the trafficking is worse than they could have imagined. How will the reappearance of the bracelet affect Abby and the story? Will they make it out of the investigation alive? Roberta Gately writes a compelling story taken from today's headlines.

This is a powerful book. It has the power to make the reader sit up and take notice of the atrocities facing women today. It deals with difficult topics and is sometimes hard to imagine. I think book clubs would have interesting conversations around the content found here. I received my free review copy from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Blurring the Lines" by Jerry Zehr

Faith and the desire for fame and fortune collide in this book by Jerry Zehr. Would you be willing to give everything, including your soul, for fame, fortune, and the like?

Thomas wants to be a successful actor. He has had some parts but fame has eluded him. There are moments when his Amish heritage breaks in and tells him that things are wrong and he should turn away. But, Thomas has a crisis of faith wondering which life is truly worth his pursuit, and which should be abandoned. His choices create a place where Thomas must do something or be swallowed up. Can his two sides co-exist with drugs, weapons, and other bad choices? Will the lines between right and wrong be so blurred that Thomas no longer knows the difference, or will his rooting in faith bring him out of it? Does society offer nothing to help Thomas?

This is an interesting book about choices and their aftermath. It is easy to get caught up in the wonder and the fame, but as you read about Thomas, you wonder at many of his choices. This is a book that will probably make you think about yourself and your own choices. Thank you to Jerry Zehr for the review copy. I would love to read more about Thomas.

Guest Blog by Roberta Gately, author of "The Bracelet"

By R"oberta Gately,
Author of The Bracelet
I am an accidental author. Though I've been reading since forever, and writing since I was seven years old, I'd never thought of myself as a writer. It wasn't until I began writing articles chronicling the stories of my aid work for a nursing journal that I began to wonder if maybe I could do more. When I was in Iraq shortly after the U.S. invasion there, a freelance reporter with the New York Times told me that I should write a book, and, thoroughly besotted with the very idea, I began to scribble out notes. Later, while I was in Darfur, I was lucky enough to be tapped to write a series of stories for the BBC News Online ( about the situation there, and I knew a book was in my future.
I tackled first a non-fiction book, and then abandoned that to write a novel. A novel gave me the freedom to use my imagination to make a story richer than the reality of it might be. But writing a book, as so many will tell you, does not guarantee that it will be published. I'd been told that less than 0.001% of aspiring writers are published, although these days, with the glut of self-published books, that statistic has likely changed. Still, writing is only the first step in a long road to publication. Finding an agent is as daunting a task as anything I've ever done, but dogged persistence pays off, and today, I am represented by the two best agents in the business.
Aahh, so finally -- a publisher wants you, news that is at once both exciting and fearful. Lipstick in Afghanistan, my first novel (even that phrase sends a tiny thrill through my veins!) was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010, but the real work of being a writer was just beginning. And the worries piled on. Will people read my book? Will Oprah call? (If you're wondering, she hasn't, at least not yet. But ever the optimist, I still believe that anything is possible.) My second novel, The Bracelet, was released by Simon & Schuster in November 2012, and so for me the cycle has begun again. Will people read my book? Will Oprah call? But these days, I have little time to ponder those questions -- I'm busy promoting my books, and working on my next, and the thrill of it all hasn't worn off. And, thanks to readers, I can't imagine it ever will.
So the next time you curl up with a fabulous book that keeps your eyes glued to the pages, I hope you'll pat yourself on the back, and know that somewhere an author is whispering thank you.
© 2013 Roberta Gately, author of The Bracelet
Author Bio
Roberta Gately
, author of The Bracelet, has served as a nurse and humanitarian aid worker in war zones ranging from Afghanistan to Africa, about which she wrote a series of articles for the BBC World News Online. She is also the author of the novel Lipstick in Afghanistan.
For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

"Claiming Mariah" by Pam Hillman

"Claiming Mariah" has all the elements of a wonderful love story combined with elements of suspense and intrigue. Mariah stands to lose everything she has ever know because the farm was not bought legally. Slade approaches her with an absolute claim to the land, and his desire to reclaim what is rightfully his and exact vengeance for the wrongs done, threaten to make Mariah fall to pieces. Her faith in God, however, grows as she learns that He is the only one who can provide the place of rest and resolution.

After Mariah is confronted with the possible loss of her home and land, she is faced with many dilemmas. What will she do if she has to give it all up? Is there any possibility that she can stay? When difficult situations arise, there is always someone willing to help - for a price. That person would be Frederick Cooper. His promise of taking care of her financial problems sounds promising, but will Mariah take the offer that means she has to marry him? Or, will she find a way to work with Slade and stay? Will Slade be able to find peace with the past and let go of his anger?

"Claiming Mariah" is a book that will have you feeling a range of emotions. Pam Hillman makes each case compelling and you want it to work out for everyone. Her characters and settings are realistic and written so that the reader if placed right in the scene. I really enjoy reading books by authors who can do that. If you enjoy reading books that draw you in, this book is for you. I received my free review copy from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Secretly Smitten" by Coble, Billerbeck, Hunter, & Hunt

A good love story can get to just about anyone. In "Secretly Smitten" there is more than one story; more than one way to get to someone's heart. It began with a set of dogtags in an attic and ended with, well, I won't give that away! 

Tess, Claire, and Zoe find a set of dog tags in the attic but can't get any answers about who or how. While their mother tries to discourage them, they are set on finding out the story. Each of the stories in this novel leads one of the women to an interesting encounter. Could any of them lead to love? Find out by reading, "Love Between the Lines," "Make Me a Match," Knit One, Love One," and "Love Blooms." Will these authors tie everything together in the end? The book is waiting for you to come get the answer.

Fun, that is what this book is. I love all four authors and the fact that they put this together. Love stories have to have realistic characters and story lines to get my attention. This book definitely did that. If you enjoy a good love story once in a while or all the time, this book is for you! I received my free review copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Book Info 
About Secretly Smitten: 
Summer, fall, winter, spring-Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There's a secret in Grandma Rose's attic-a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?
The mystery intrigues Rose's three granddaughters-Tess, Clare, and Zoe-and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?
Join popular romance novelists-and real-life BFFs-Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.
Link to buy the book:     
Meet "The Gals":  
RITA-finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense novels, including "Tidewater Inn", and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. * Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year award, Kristin Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. Her books include "A Billion Reasons Why" and "What a Girl Wants." * Denise Hunter is the award-winning and best-selling author of several novels, including "A Cowboy's Touch" and "Sweetwater Gap." She and her husband are raising three boys in Indiana. * Diann Hunt has lived in Indiana forever, been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, her dog, and, well, chocolate.
Find out more about Coble, Billerbeck, Hunter, Hunthere.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"In the Shadow of Sinai" by Carole Towriss

What would it have been like to be living when Moses and Aaron approached the Pharaoh of Egypt with God's message to let the Hebrews go? In this new book, Carole Towriss gives her readers the opportunity to find out.

Egypt is the home of the Hebrews, the home where they are slaves. Bezalel is a wonderfully talented artisan who seems to have endless patience in creating marble busts, golden bracelets, and so much more. As a Hebrew, he should be making bricks for the Pharaoh's new city  but his talent has landed him a job in the palace. While he tries to keep out of trouble, seeing a child who is mistreated causes him to react in a way he didn't think he ever would. Ahmose is only seven, what will happen to him? 

When Moses and Aaron appear before the Pharaoh delivering a message from God, Bezalel watches every time he can. He knows Yahweh  but isn't as trusting as he should be. Little by little he sees the effects of the plagues. How will he reconcile his life in the palace with his people at home? Will he learn to trust and obey his God? 

I loved this book and I can't wait to read more from Ms. Towriss. The characters and settings are based on Bible history, and I love "getting to know" them a little. The situations and thoughts seem real and drew me completely into the story. I recommend this book to lovers of Christian fiction and to those of you who simply enjoy a well written book. I received my free review copy from Cross Focused Media in return for an honest review.