A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

I loved this book and I cheered when I learned Rosemary’s family would be featured in future books.

Rosemary Gresham and Peter Holstein couldn’t be more different. Peter is a rich gentleman with a speech impediment. He’s a good man but not many people know that as he keeps to himself. Rosemary is a thief…an excellent thief at that. She is poor, opinionated, calculating and feisty. Their characters are developed and rich. As they get to know each other, they force the other to reconsider their own prejudices and boxes that they place people in. Things aren’t always black and white. People are complex.

The story line intrigued me from the start and kept my attention throughout. It was interesting to think of what it might have been like for someone of German ancestry in England as the world was on the brink of war. There are mysteries to be solved, a story within a story, and twists a plenty. The writing style was wonderful. “She took a drink of blessedly cool water and then a bite of fresh greens while the silence took its own seat at the table” (location 1507). I enjoyed it immensely.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

After seeing her father murdered, Grace hides out in a remote town as she tries to solve the mystery her dad was working on. Is it a coincidence that soon after she finds out her enemy has found her that a Pinkerton detective shows up in town, as well as a man she’s only known via the telegraph wire? Can they be trusted?

I loved the colorful characters in this book. I would enjoy getting to know “Revolver Granny” (who wears bloomers into battle) and “Cookie Granny” better. I enjoyed seeing Helen pushed out of her comfort zone when a near dead man showed up in her life. I was proud of Grace that she wasn’t swayed by surface beauty but could recognize what really matters. I appreciated her clever ingenuity and her telegraphic communications with Amos. Amos’ desire to be Grace’s shining knight was so sweet. Whether he can attain that in the face of incredible danger is the question.

I hadn’t read a book by this author in quite a long time and I really enjoyed it. The whole idea of a women’s town was fascinating. I am definitely going to go back and read book one in the series and will look forward to reading more about the ladies of Harper’s Station and why they have come to live there.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Ladies of Harper’s Station series:

Book 1: No Other Will Do

Book 2: Heart on the Line

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

“It wasn’t the first decision in my life that I regretted almost as soon as I uttered the words” (location 1585). I think Georgie could have made this statement many times. When your fiancé, your mother, and the Queen of England all ask you to do a little detective work on their behalf, how can you say “no.” Nothing is ever as simple as it might seem on first inspection and Georgie is quickly immersed in danger, mystery, and intrigue. The story reminded me of a P.G. Wodehouse novel with its quirky servants, laughable situations, and wit. I was immediately drawn in.

This is the first Rhys Bowen book that I’ve read. It was a great read as a stand-alone book but it was clear that there was a lot of back story that I didn’t understand. After finishing this book, I ordered the first 10 books in the series and I can’t wait to read more about Queenie and her inept maid skills and how Georgie and Darcy saved the king and queen.

If you are a P.G. Wodehouse or Dorothy Sayers fan, I would highly recommend this book. It was delightful. Thank you to Berkeley Publishing Group for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

A Royal Spyness Mystery series:

Book 1: Her Royal Spyness

Book 2: A Royal Pain

Book 3: Royal Flush

Book 4: Royal Blood

Book 5: Naughty in Nice

Book 6: The Twelves Clues of Christmas

Book 7: Heirs and Graces

Book 8: Queen of Hearts

Book 9: Malice at the Palace

Book 10: Crowned and Dangerous

Book 11: On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service

The Separatists by Lis Wiehl

The Separatists (A Newsmakers Novel) by [Wiehl, Lis]

I thought this book was fascinating. I grew up in North Dakota, where much of the story takes place, and I have heard people there jokingly speak of secession. It was interesting reading a book that makes it seem more plausible and it made me shudder to think of all the ramifications if it were to happen.

Erica Sparks once again finds herself with the inside scoop on a story of mind-blowing proportions. As the danger increases, so does her drive to find out and reveal the truth about the Bellamy’s and their “Take Back our Homeland” initiative. Erica is a classic workaholic who struggles to find time for her daughter and husband. I appreciate that this is shown realistically and isn’t glossed over as being okay. Erica feels the distance in her family and reaps the consequences. There is a glimmer of hope though for her in this regard.   Still, Erica is not a particularly likeable character. She often thinks about how her success provides the money for this or that for her family. She just wasn’t very relatable.

While I thought the plot was interesting and had a good pace to it, there were a couple of writing style issues that I found peculiar. At times statements would be made that felt like an author’s side note. For example, “Erica only wears clip-ons—as a teenager there was enough pain at home, she wasn’t about to self-inflict more” (location 247).   Also, the author likes to use uncommon words. It’s fine for someone who is reading on a kindle and can just click on the word to see the definition, but those reading a paperback may need to keep a dictionary handy for words like “insouciance,” “avuncular,” or “zeitgeist.”

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe

This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by [Crowe, Jaquelle]

This is a book for teens written by a teenager. As such, the author is able to speak with disarming honesty in a refreshing, challenging, winsome way. She states, “These aren’t our rebellious years; these are the years we rise up to obey the call of Christ. This isn’t our time to slack-off; it’s our time to stand out. This isn’t a season for self-satisfaction; it’s a season of God-glorification” (location 45).

She goes on to write about how the gospel transforms everything in life including identity, community, time, relationships, and more. This book casts a vision and provides many practical steps and ideas from tips for memorizing scripture to steps to listening to a sermon. She points out that “growth doesn’t happen by turning our minds on autopilot” (location 1049). It takes intentionality.

I think this would be a great book for a youth group to read together and discuss the questions provided. At 160 pages, it’s very manageable even for a busy teen.

Thank you to Crossway for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I enjoyed it. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall

With Love, Wherever You Are by [Mackall, Dandi Daley]This book is based on the true love story of the author’s parents.  They met in a men’s room during World War II and soon both were serving on the front lines of Europe.  I usually don’t like reading letters in books but these letters served to keep moving the plot along.  They even had a secret code that I enjoyed solving right along with them.

I enjoyed getting to know Helen.  She was a spunky nurse.  She had a winsome way with her patients.  She felt their pain and worked to alleviate it in any way she could.  Her compassion for her patients, whatever their nationality, was beautiful.

Frank knew from the start that Helen was the girl for him.  He was dogged in his pursuit of her and in trying to find ways for them to be together.  Though he and Helen loved each other,  they experienced conflict, realizing that there was much they didn’t know about each other when they got married.

This book really highlights what it would have been like to be a medical professional in WWII.  I could feel their shock when the first concentration camp victims showed up for medical care and their stories started to be told.  I wanted to weep with Helen when she entered a room of amputees and realized they were just boys.

This is a poignant, moving book.  I learned more about WWII but it didn’t feel like a history lesson ever. It was just a story of two people trying to do their best to serve those around them and to keep their marriage intact for when they got out.

Thank you to Tyndale House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  I was not required to leave a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl

Dark Deception (Defenders of Justice Book #2) by [Mehl, Nancy]

Kate O’Brien has been in witness protection for four years since testifying against the serial killer who murdered her twin sister. When new evidence comes to light, the killer is released from prison. Suddenly the facts aren’t so clear any more. Just who is the Blue Eyed Killer?

I love the suspense. There are several good options for villains. Also, there are different law enforcement agencies working various aspects of cases. It gets pretty complex trying to figure out who knows what and how all the clues string together. The story was disturbing and intriguing at the same time.

An unusual thing about this story is that the main characters aren’t the focus for a good chunk of the book. There is very little romance development. The story doesn’t end with the main characters. It’s interesting and a bit mysterious. I enjoyed it.

If you like books with a strong sense of danger, urgency, and suspense, I’d recommend this book. Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Defenders of Justice:

Book 1:  Fatal Frost

Book 2:  Dark Deception