Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes


A few years ago I was blessed with a digital review copy of Amanda Dyke’s Bespoke. I was enchanted by the story and by her marvelous, lyrical writing style. At some point I also read her Tin Can Serenade and loved it also. I was excited to have a chance to read this author’s first full length novel Whose Waves These Are. With a cover that beautiful the story inside had to be beautiful too, especially given the previous experience I’ve had with her work.

It is somewhat difficult for me to capture all the impressions this book left on my heart. At times it was almost unbearably heartbreaking and other moments made me want to jump up and cheer. It is a story that will take your emotions on a roller coaster ride and leave them wanting another ride. Characters were vividly portrayed in a plot that pulled me in and made me feel a part of it.  The author’s poetic style and so many quotable passages were such a pleasure to read.

This book made me yearn for relationships such as described in its pages and made me want to be more like Annie and her GrandBob and Fletch as well as all the others who worked together and made this book such a profound experience.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Bethany House. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Its message? Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the harbor village on the coast of Maine, and he sets his callused hands to work.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when GrandBob, the man who gave her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is the one in need of help. But what greets her is a mystery: a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Memories of stone ruins on a nearby island ignite a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

Together with the handsome and enigmatic town postman, Annie uncovers the story layer by layer, yearning to resurrect the hope GrandBob once held so dear and to know the truth behind the chasm in her family’s past. But mending what has been broken for so long may require more of her and those she loves than they are prepared to give.

Read an excerpt HERE.


Photo Credit: © Michael Pettrey

Amanda Dykes (www.amandadykes.com) is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she’ll be happy for hours. She’s a former English teacher, and her novella, Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, was met with critical acclaim from Publishers Weekly, Readers’ Favorite, and more. She is also the author of a novella in The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection. Whose Waves These Are is her debut novel

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck


I have read most if not all of Rachel Hauck’s books since I first discovered them and appreciate being given the privilege to review many of them. Her latest novel The Memory House is one more example of why I love her books. Another split-time book, The Memory House shares the stories of two young women generations apart and their path from brokenness to restoration and recovery in the Memory House on the Florida coast.

Hauck’s characters are always easy for me to identify with even though our life experiences may be far apart. I could well imagine Beck’s reaction to losing her father on 9/11 and Everleigh’s (I love that name!) trauma after her devastating loss during a Texas tornado. Each woman’s tale of tragedy made them who they were but a better plan that included hope and love was waiting for them at the Memory House. This book was a joy to read despite some of the very sad chapters of both women’s lives. I can always count on at least one Holy Spirit magical moment during one of this author’s books and I was not disappointed. A book filled with faith, love, and restoration, The Memory House is one for my keeper shelf.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Read With Audra. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

 Click here to read an excerpt!


Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

For more information, visit www.rachelhauck.com, Facebook (@rachelhauck), Twitter (@RachelHauck) and Instagram (@rachelhauck).


The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright


The Curse of Misty Wayfair is one of those books that grabs hold of the reader and won’t let go. With a dual timeline, the stories of both Thea Read and Heidi Lane, two women from two different centuries. It is a story of family secrets and a legend that has lived on in Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin for over one hundred years.

Wright has woven a haunting tale of two women, each searching for her own identity. The narrative does move a bit slowly at first as it builds layer upon layer of the foundation that becomes the story that the reader doesn’t want to put down. It is a book that I was eager to reach the conclusion but yet I did not want it to end. It’s gothic atmosphere, vivid portrayals of mental illness and dementia, and the descriptions of the mental asylum, and Thea’s work as a traveling photographer all contributed to create a wonderfully spooky book.  Despite the mysterious vibe, The Curse of Misty Wayfair has a strong spiritual message of finding one’s identity in the Lord.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to many more by this author.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Bethany House. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to turn-of-the-century Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin. When the clues she finds lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a postmortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman haunting the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, they must overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined.

Read an excerpt here.

Purchase a copy here.


Jaime Jo Wright is the Christy Award-Winning author of The House on Foster Hill. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.com.

Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher


I fell in love with Robin Lee Hatcher’s books a number of years ago when I first encountered her Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series. The whimsical and romantic western series was delightful and I have made it a point to read as many of this author’s books as possible since that time. One thing I have learned about this author is that although her books may vary from historical to contemporary romance and women’s fiction, I can always count on a satisfying experience when reading one. Who I Am With You offers the best of both worlds in a split time novel that features Jessica Mason’s current story side-by-side with her great-grandfather’s story from the early 1900s.

The tale of two wounded people attempting to just survive their pain with no intention of becoming involved with the opposite sex, Who I Am With You is a story that offers hope to its readers. well-developed characters with more strength than they imagine are brought together unexpectedly and form a bond that helps to heal them both. I loved how Jessica was encouraged in her faith by the notes in her grandfather’s Bible. It was also encouraging to read about his own marital struggles and his determination to keep his marriage together.

All-in-all, Who I Am With You is a story that will not only warm the reader’s heart but will give her plenty to think about in the following days. I am certain that this book may just be what someone might need to hear and the exact time she reads it – at least I do hope that will be the case.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Audra Jennings PR. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination.

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.


Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher and Instagram @robinleehatcher.


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We Hope For Better Things by Erin Bartels


Debut novelist Erin Bartels has taken on difficult subject matter in her novel We Hope For Better Things. This split time narrative explores relationships between blacks and whites through the stories of three different women in the Detroit, Michigan area. Their individual stories take place during the civil war, the volatile sixties, and the present time. While the reader is presented with views from both sides of the equation, it is evident that we still have a long way to go if we are ever to resolve the divide between the races.

Overall, the story is well told although I found myself lost a time or two when the plot switched from one time frame to another. The characters are strong ones but I would have liked to get to know each of them more thoroughly than was possible in a split-time story. I did feel like the story was well researched and presented a historically accurate view of the respective time frames, especially the effects certain choices made on the women and their families. By the end of the book, most of my questions had been answered with the exception of the true cause of one death. I have my suspicions but I imagine the author intended for her readers to draw their own conclusions.

Erin Bartels definitely has a way with words and should find more of her novels on store shelves in the future.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


The past is never as past as we’d like to think

When journalist Elizabeth Balsam is asked to deliver a box of old photos to a relative she didn’t know she had, the strange request seems like it isn’t worth her time. But as she explores her great-aunt’s farmhouse with its locked doors and hidden graves, she soon discovers just how dramatically some of the most newsworthy events of the previous two centuries shaped her own family. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding.

Take an emotional journey through time–from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to Michigan’s Underground Railroad during the Civil War–to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

Purchase a copy HERE.

Read an excerpt HERE.


Erin Bartels has been a publishing professional for more than 15 years. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. A freelance writer and editor, she is a member of Capital City Writers and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son, Calvin, and can be found online at www.erinbartels.com. We Hope for Better Things is her first novel.

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson


Any time I feel like our world has gone totally crazy, I only have to read a novel about the people who lived through the absolute terror of Hitler’s assault on Europe. Melanie Dobson has a rare talent for taking me right into their reality for awhile and leaves me more appreciative for the blessings I have in my own life.

Hidden Among the Stars is a time-slip novel that moves back and forth between war-torn Austria in 1938 and present day in the United States. When an antique book with mysterious lists inscribed within its pages is given to her, bookstore owner Callie Randall determines to do her best to solve the mystery. The narrative alternates between Callie’s story and that of Max Dornbach, Annika Knopf, and Luzia Weiss, central characters to the story connected to the book.

Not only is this book very well written but its characters and setting are so vividly described that I could almost see them. Much of the book is intense with several separate threads that are all tied together perfectly at the end. Hidden Among the Stars was such a powerful story that I feel mostly inadequate to even review it. It is nearly impossible for me to imagine the sheer strength of character it took Max, Annika, and Luzia to remain so strong and determined in the face of the Nazi takeover. The story is truly a perfect example of what it means to lay one’s life down for another.

If you enjoy your history with plenty of action, drama, mystery, and a touch of romance, Hidden Among the Stars might just be perfect for you.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


Book Title: Hidden Among The Stars

Author: Melanie Dobson

Genre: Historical Fiction (However, this is a time-slip novel, so there is also a contemporary component to the story)

Release date: September 4, 2018

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

Click here to purchase your copy!


Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nearly twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels including Catching the Wind and Chateau of Secrets . Three of her novels have won Carol Awards; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010; and The Black Cloister won the Foreword Magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.

Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes at George Fox University.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and reading stories with her girls.

Visit Melanie online at www.melaniedobson.com.


Hallstatt’s Hiding Places

Backpacking across Europe—that’s how my husband Jon and I decided to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We savored the old world culture and charm as we hiked along Italy’s coast, toured medieval castles in Germany, and cruised the canals in Belgium; we both left a bit of our hearts in an ancient lakeside town called Hallstatt.

The moment we stepped off the ferryboat and into this storybook village, we crossed through a portal of sorts, traveling back several centuries in time. The rugged, snow-capped mountains around us and alpine lake, the quaint village with its church steeples and cobblestone lanes and waterfall that spilled into town—all of it captivated us.

Along the shore, hidden partially by trees, we could see spires of an abandoned castle, and I wanted to know its story. No one in Hallstatt could tell us who’d lived in the castle—at least, not in English—so my husband agreed to a new adventure. With a swan as our escort, we glided across the lake in an electric boat so I could study the rusty turrets, boarded windows, and wooden boathouse resting in the water like a felled log.

Instead of quelling my curiosity, the match of inspiration ignited my mind. Who had lived in this castle, and what happened there? I began writing in my journal that night, trying to capture my rogue thoughts on paper, hoping that one day a novel would emerge from the ashes of this castle’s story.

When we returned home, I began researching more of Hallstatt’s history and discovered that this region, in all of its beauty and mystique, had been infiltrated by an enemy in 1938. This town and the surrounding Salzkammergut became a mountain retreat for Nazi officials who built mansions on the shores of its many lakes and used salt mines to hide “ownerless treasure”—the gold bullion and artwork they’d stolen from the Jewish people.

The Nazis intended to build a Fourth Reich in this alpine fortress, but the Allies had other plans. Near the end of the war, these lakes became a dustbin of sorts, collecting whatever the enemy dumped into its waters—weapons, counterfeit banknotes, concentration camp lists—as they fled south from the Allied troops. The Devil’s Dustbin, locals call it.

Lake Hallstatt plunges more than four hundred feet between the fortress of mountains. Because of its depth and the many hiding places in the underwater forests, caves, and shifting sands, divers continue finding World War II artifacts today. Some still believe there’s a treasure trove buried on the bottom, but no one has reported finding any gold.

After our trip, a story about this castle and what happened to the heirlooms of the Austrian Jewish people continued to burn inside me until I finally put it on paper. So I built Schloss Schwansee—Castle of Swan Lake—in my mind, inspired by the castle along Lake Hallstatt, and created a cast of historical and contemporary characters who are searching for lost treasure.

Hidden Among the Stars is a time-slip novel about a castle and treasure and fairytales, but most of all, it’s a story about God using ordinary people across Austria to resist evil in their own extraordinary way.



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Mary Hake, September 9 Bigreadersite, September 16
Reflections From My Bookshelves,
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Genesis 5020, September 10 By The Book, September 17
Faithfully Bookish, September 10 Christian author, J.E. Grace, September 17
Simple Harvest Reads, September 10
(Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Janices book reviews, September 17
Margaret Kazmierczak, September 11 Texas Book-aholic, September 18
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 11 Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18
Daysong Reflections, September 11 Carpe Diem, September 18
Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, September 11 Godly Book Reviews, September 19
Seasons of Opportunities, September 12 For The Love of Books, September 19
Remembrancy, September 12 Live. Love. Read., September 19
Inklings and notions, September 12 Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 19

To celebrate her tour, Melanie is giving away a grand prize package that includes a $25 Amazon gift card, Catching the Wind paperback, and Hidden Among the Stars paperback!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.