Review: Out of the Storm by Jody Hedlund

Out of the Storm by Jody Hedlund
Beacons of Hope Novella
Bethany House, 2014

Isabelle Thornton has grown up in a lighthouse with her father. She has resigned herself to this simple life with her father until they rescue a man from a shipwreck. As she nurses Henry back to health, Isabelle finds herself longing for a life she knows she can’t have. Their lives crossed by accident and Henry will be gone before long, but she can’t help but get her heart entangled with his. Will they find a way to be together? Or is their story together meant to be short and sweet?

I was completely charmed by this novella. Although it is short, Jody Hedlund has written another compelling story to prepare readers for her Beacons of Hope series. This new series from Jody will center around the lives of lighthouse keepers, and I am eager to read the first installment. I recommend this novella to readers who are waiting with me for Jody’s new series. The e-novella is free, so go download a copy for yourself. There is a sneak peek of Love Unexpected at the end of the novella, so that’s a fun extra bonus to this freebie!

Summary (from the publisher’s website):

Having grown up in a lighthouse, loneliness is all Isabelle Thornton has ever known–and all, she assumes, she ever will know. But when her lightkeeper father rescues a young man from the lake, her sheltered world is turned upside down.

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund’s Out of the Storm is her first ever novella and introduces readers to Beacons of Hope, a new series set in the 1800s amid the romance, history, and danger surrounding the Great Lakes lighthouses of Michigan.

Happy Release Day, Katherine Reay!

Today is the official release day of Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay! Congratulations, Katherine!

This novel is deeply moving, emotional, and sheds light on what real life looks like for you and me. It deals with cancer, difficult relationships, and what love looks like through it all. It can be messy, complicated, and uncomfortable. But it is also genuine, heartfelt, and meaningful. Lizzy and Jane takes cancer, sisters, food, and Jane Austen, and with it creates a remarkable story that will resonate with readers.

So, if you are interested, read my review here. Also, you can read the feature cover article I had the wonderful opportunity to write for Family Fiction all about Katherine’s new book here. But, most importantly, go grab a copy for yourself today!

Congratulations, again, Katherine!

Seasons of Grace Review & Giveaway: To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling

Summary:

In bestselling author Lauraine Snelling’s new novel, To Everything A Season, the tight-knit town of Blessing, North Dakota faces change and challenge at every turn.

In the middle of the maelstrom is young Trygve Knutson. He’s devoted to his family and his community, but he sometimes dreams of other horizons–especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.

Miriam is in Blessing with one goal: to complete her training as a nurse, and get back to Chicago to support her siblings and her ailing mother.  But the town of Blessing has a way of drawing in the most reluctant visitor, and soon Miriam’s attachment to Trygve and his family has her questioning her entire future.

To celebrate the release of this heart-warming novel, Bethany House and author Lauraine Snelling are pleased to present the SEASONS OF GRACE Sweepstakes. This sweepstakes features three special prizes, each closely connected to the book:  One prize to sweep you back into history, one prize to enable you to give to someone else, and one prize to help you celebrate a little of the story’s romance, in your own home. Giveaway ends November 3, 2014 and winner will be announced at laurainesnelling.com.

To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling
Song of Blessing, Book 1
Bethany House, 2014

My Thoughts:

The first book series I ever read from Lauraine Snelling was the Dakotah Treasures series, which is still my favorite from her. After also having read the Daughters of Blessing and Home to Blessing series, a bit of nostalgia overtook me when I had the chance to review this new series about the continuing story of Blessing. This is a must read for fans of Lauraine Snelling and the town of Blessing and it’s residents.

While long-time fans of Lauraine Snelling will enjoy this return to the characters they have come to know and love, this book may be harder for new readers to fall in love with. With so many characters who have their own storylines that have been established in previous novels, it is hard to catch up and figure out who’s who. Even I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight, and I’ve read some of the previous books! However, this new series will be a delight for fans who have followed this author. It might not have been for me, but don’t let me stop you from entering the growing town of Blessing.

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

To learn more about the giveaway and enter for your chance to win, click here.

Review: The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance

The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance
Worthy Publishing, 2014

My Thoughts:
The Covered Deep is a skillfully written novel from debut author Brandy Vallance. If you are looking for a fresh story, look no further. With an intricately woven plot and a cast of fascinating characters, this book will take you on an adventure through London and the Holy Land set in the 1800’s. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it.

The characters are an eccentric and diverse group of lucky contest winners who are surprised with the trip of a lifetime by Sir Adrian. However, they don’t quite know what they are getting themselves into, for there is far more going on under the surface than what meets the eye. And the reader is as much in the dark as Bianca is to the plotting and treachery going on beyond her innocent imagination.

While the story was interesting and thoroughly mysterious, I didn’t completely fall in love with this book. Bianca and Paul were characters that I had a difficult time with; at times I liked them, and then not so much. Unfortunately, they never truly won me over. However, something I would have liked to explore more was the character of Sir Adrian. He is, by far, the most complex and enigmatic character in the story. His game of manipulating people and observing the way they react to intense situations was intriguing. I would have loved to get a better understanding of what made him tick. Why does he play these games and what does he get out of it? Where did his strange fascination for this game he plays originate? And why does he choose to play his game rather than form real connections with others?

Secrets, history, and a twisted social experiment combine to create a story that will impress readers. This promising debut leaves me interested to see what will come next from Brandy Vallance.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through First Look in exchange for my honest review.*

Summary (from the publisher’s website):
An incurably romantic bookworm from Appalachia wins a contest and travels to England and the Holy Land in search of the perfect romantic hero. Set in 1877.

Bianca Marshal is holding out for the perfect husband. Finding a man that meets the requirements of her “must-have” list in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has proven impossible. Bianca’s mama insists that there’s no such thing as a perfect true love, and that Bianca’s ideal man is pure fiction. On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Bianca discovers a devastating statistic: her chance of marrying is now only eighteen percent. Unwilling to accept spinsterhood, Bianca enters an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for her soulmate. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of the Holy Land, Bianca’s true love will be revealed, but not without a heavy price.