Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reviewer's bookshelf: A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

Book Summary (Goodreads): October 1776--August 1777

It is said that what a man sows he will reap--and for such a harvest there is no set season. No one connected to Reginald Aubrey is untouched by the crime he committed twenty years ago. 

Not William, the Oneida child Reginald stole and raised as his own. Identity shattered, enlisted in the British army, William trains with Loyalist refugees eager to annihilate the rebels who forced them into exile. Coming to terms with who and what he is proves impossible, but if he breaks his Loyalist oath, he'll be no better than the man who constructed his life of lies.

Not Anna, Reginald's adopted daughter, nor Two Hawks, William's twin, both who long for Reginald to accept their love despite the challenges they will face, building a marriage that bridges two cultures. 

Not Good Voice and Stone Thrower, freed of bitterness by a courageous act of forgiveness, but still yearning for their firstborn son and fearful for the future of their Oneida people.

As the British prepare to attack frontier New York and Patriot regiments rally to defend it, two families separated by culture, united by love, will do all in their power to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.

My thoughts...

   This novel is part two in Lori Benton's "Pathfinders" series, so it is necessary to read book one, Into the Woods, before this one.  In fact, I would encourage anyone to read these novels...they are both fantastic.
   I was drawn into this novel from the beginning.  Lori Benton weaves a tale of love, romance, family, heartache, and at the center of it all, forgiveness.  Her attention to historical detail of the battles that were being fought across the frontier of a young America made me feel like I was reading a factual account.  Of course, these were real events happening in our nation's history, but Benton skillfully wove the fictional characters into the story. The descriptions of what was happening...the heat, the flies, the blood, and the fear...leapt off the page.  I was immersed in their world.
   There was also tension throughout the novel that made me not want to put it down. Battles being fought were a large part of that, but there was also the romantic tension between several characters. Benton was able to describe the longing and passion between the main characters while still keeping it a clean novel. In my mind, that takes true skill.  There was also the tension between two Native American, the other a white man who had stolen their child many years ago and his adopted daughter.  The way that both families battle the heartache of their circumstances and turn to God for healing and forgiveness really spoke to my heart.  There was a point where tears were in my eyes as they all made sacrifices to honor God and His call on their lives.
   I really can't say enough about how excellent this series is.  I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys clean historical Christian fiction.

Connect with author Lori Benton

Lori Benton's website is filled with information about her and her books, as well as upcoming events in Christian fiction 
* You can also follow her on FacebookGoodreads, and Pinterest

**I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.**

Monday, April 11, 2016

Reviewer's bookshelf: The Reluctant Duchess by Rosanna White

Book Summary (Amazon): Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she has never felt good enough--not for her father, not for the man she thought she'd marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she's willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping Loch Morar.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has found himself in possession of a rare treasure his enemies are prepared to kill for. While Brice has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, the last thing he needs is the distraction of Lady Rowena, who finds herself in a desperate situation. But when Rowena's father tries to trap Brice into marrying his daughter, Brice makes a surprising decision.

Rowena wanted to escape the Highlands, but she's reluctant to marry a notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she's about to end up directly in the path of everything she was trying to avoid.

My thoughts....There is no lack of tension in this novel!  From the beginning, there is a steady stream of events that not only cause romantic tension, but include mystery, danger, heartache, sadness, jealousy...basically every emotion is explored.  I loved the addition of a Highland element...the language and culture of that part of the world has always fascinated me.  I love Rowena's spirit, even though she has been broken by years of abuse.  Brice also grows and matures throughout the story, learning to consider others more than himself.  The characters' growth was the backdrop in a somewhat intense drama involving, as I mentioned before, multiple levels of physical abuse and a dangerous game involving a priceless treasure.  This was not a novel I was able to sit back and leisurely read...I was almost in knots as I was drawn in to this story and its players.  There is still more to come from this cast of characters, as not all the mysteries were resolved.  Rosanna White does a great job keeping your attention, including many elements of interest in the novel, but in a way I wouldn't have minded a little less.

**I was given a free copy of this novel from the publisher in order to give an honest review, which I did.**

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reviewer's Bookshelf: Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Book Summary (from Goodreads): Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley's haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher...if only she knew who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime--a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he's inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She's scrappy, but wounded. He's dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley's quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.

My thoughts: As the second book in this series, it's not essential that you read the first one, but it does help to know some of the backstory of the characters, particularly the supporting characters.  Amelia and Logan's story is explored much more in-depth in this novel than the previous one.  I really enjoy the setting that Melissa Tagg has created, along with the people in it.  There is a warmth and support among the Walker family that is central to the small town of Maple Valley, and it seems every character in the story is either part of the family or affected in some way by them.  Amelia is no different.  Before she even meets Logan, she has a connection with his sister and has read his work (and loved it). Both she and Logan seem to have something to prove: Amelia wants to show that she can be successful at something whether it's a relationship, keeping the local newspaper intact, or solving the small town's mystery.  Logan wants to prove that he is a good father and that he can balance that with being a successful speech writer. Each character grows as their faith and personal lives are tested.  There are some mild romantic elements to the story as well.  For me, this wasn't a fast-paced, action packed story, but more like it's setting: a nice stroll through a quaint little town. I love the author's use of descriptive language and lines that just made me smile. Here are a few of my favorite quotes in the story:
"Stars glittered in clusters across the stretch of sky, like sequins on a satiny black dress." (Love the word picture!)
"He wasn't a bad-looking man any day, but tonight...well, he looked good, that's all.  If good meant a hundred kinds of attractive."<3 font="" this="">
"Why did he have to stand so close? Close enough he could probably smell her morning breath and hear her heart trying to punch its way out of her chest." : )
"Man, I don't think God is out to confuse us.  When multiple doors open up, maybe there's not a right and a wrong one.  Maybe sometimes God says, 'Dude, choose.'"

I enjoyed this novel!  If you like contemporary Christian fiction, very clean, you'll enjoy it, too.  Melissa Tagg is also on Instagram and should check her out.  I love seeing her posts and passion for what she does!

**I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in order to give an honest review, which is what I gave.**