At the ripe old age of twenty-two, Emily’s great-aunts have decided that if they don’t quickly find her a husband she will end up an old maid. Unfortunately their idea of a suitable match is appalling. Realizing that no man would ever be interested in her and her clumsy tendencies, Emily has resigned herself to spinsterhood and is dedicated to promoting women’s rights until she sees the laws change.
The son of a banker, all Carter really wants to do is play baseball. He is good at it and believes he has what it takes to make a professional player. He is tired of trying to live up to his older brother’s sterling example and is determined to prove himself in his own way.
When the two young people literally run into each other their attraction is immediate but Emily’s poor self image makes it impossible for her to understand that Carter could possibly be interested in her. As their relationship develops, it is fraught with misunderstandings. Only as Emily and Carter come to grips with their own insecurities and learn to depend on the Lord and to trust others will they discover any hope for their future together.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Great Catch. The historical facts about the women’s suffrage movement and turn-of-the-century baseball added interest. The Lake Manawa setting took me back to a way of life I have only heard of through my late grandmother’s stories. A feisty heroine and a strong but sensitive hero are complemented by a lively supporting cast. The author has managed to weave an entertaining story filled with humor, drama, suspense, and romance while teaching some valuable spiritual lessons as well.
For those who enjoy a good historical romance, A Great Catch should definitely be on your to read list.
This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Bloomer Girls Play The Owls and Suffragists Speeches Heard at Pavilion
“So sad. Almost a spinster.” Aunt Millie shook her head. “If we don’t do something soon, no man is going to want a woman that advanced in years.”
Author Lorna Seilstad delivers another wonderful novel for summer with A Great Catch (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3446-6, $14.00, May 2011). It’s 1901 in Lake Manawa, Iowa, a beautiful little lakeside resort in America’s heartland. Summer has arrived, along with all the seasonal activities at Lake Manawa: baseball, swimming, roller-skating, picnicking, strolling along the boardwalk, and listening to speeches by the suffragists.
Educating the women of Lake Manawa to their equal status as men and their voting rights, Emily Graham, a 22-year old suffragist tries to live her life independently and free from her meddling aunts who think she is bound for spinsterhood. They want to find a suitable husband among the resort guests for her. Emily prefers to decline their choices; she has neither the time nor the need for a man in her busy suffragist life.
Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer at the resort before he is forced into the business world by his older brother.
When Emily crashes into Carter at a roller skating rink, life begins to change for both of them. Carter must choose what he enjoys most; Emily will have to decide what is most important to her.
A Great Catch takes you back to the turn of the century with endearing characters and incredible settings, all found in America’s heartland.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves and is a fresh voice in historical fiction with spirited and entertaining writing. She is a history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer. Seilstad draws her setting from her home state of Iowa. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted, was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years, has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets, and has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer’s Network, the International Christian Writers, and International Thriller Writers. His short stories have appeared with Amazon Shorts and in Coach’s Midnight Diner genre anthology. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master’s Graduate School of Divinity.
Mike Dellosso writes novels of suspense for both the mind and the soul. He writes to both entertain and challenge. In addition to his novels, Mike is also an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and a faculty member at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Sam Travis lives in a Civil War era farmhouse in Gettysburg, PA, where he awakens one morning to find an old journal with an entry by a Union soldier, Lt. Whiting…written in Sam’s own handwriting. When this happens several more times, both at night and during waking “trances,” Sam begins to question his own sanity while becoming obsessed with Lt. Whiting and his bone-chilling journal entries. As the entries begin to mimic Sam’s own life, he is drawn into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own.
Can the unconditional love of Sam’s daughter, Eva, break through his hardened heart before a killer on the loose catches up with them and Sam’s past spurs him to do the unthinkable?
MY REVIEW: (duplicate of my May 10 review for another blog tour)
Mike Dellosso has done it to me again. He has written another book that makes me want to slam the covers shut because I fear what will happen next but it is also one that I can’t put down because I have to find out how it will end. Each time I pick up one of Mike’s books, I soon remember just why they are so addictive. His books bring back childhood memories of telling each other scary stories until we were afraid to cross the hall alone for a trip to the bathroom – except Mike’s stories far exceed what we found scary in those days.
Darkness Follows is further proof that Dellosso is a master at building suspense line by line and page by page until it is almost unbearable. Characters are developed through both their present circumstances and their past with even their history being offered up just one enticing bit at a time. In Samuel’s case, the reader just knows something devastating happened to him as a teen but must wait for the complete story to be revealed. As the title implies, Darkness Follows is a very dark story in which evil seeks to destroy. However the darkness is balanced by the light of the Lord as Samuel’s daughter constantly reminds him how much she and Jesus love him.
I cannot say more about this book without revealing major plot spoilers. Suffice it to say, if you are a fan of deep, dark suspense, Darkness Follows will grab you and won’t let you go.
I usually restrict my book reviews to Christian fiction but when I was offered Friendship Bread through the Amazon Vine program, it seemed to be an intriguing but safe choice. As it turned out, Friendship Bread was a thoroughly delightful story – well written with an interesting plot and a stellar cast of characters. Although it is not a faith based book, I found nothing in its pages that should offend the Christian reader. It is a wholesome tale centered around family, friends, and community with central themes of friendship, reconciliation and doing the right thing.
Friendship Bread has several primary characters whose lives intersect in one way or another. As it begins Julia Evarts, a young mother who has been isolated from friends and family since the death of her son, receives a plate of Amish Friendship Bread and a package of starter. Little can anyone imagine the events that one package of starter will set in motion and the lives that will be changed as a result.
Not only is Friendship Bread a warm and tender story but the author has included recipes for the starter, basic Friendship Bread, and several variations. If that is not enough for you, the companion website offers a wealth of recipes, hints, and ideas.
This book was provided for review by the Amazon Vine Program.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated.
One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others.
Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.
When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever.
In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread. But even as the town unites for a benevolent cause and Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister.
About life and loss, friendship and community, food and family, Friendship Bread tells the uplifting story of what endures when even the unthinkable happens.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Darien Gee is an author, wife, and mother of three. She’s a Libra Monkey, a chocoholic, and of late, an Amish Friendship Bread addict. A former California resident, Darien served on the board of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and ZYZZYVA, an award-winning literary journal. She’s an alum of Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her next Avalon novel, Memory Keeping, will be published in 2012 by Ballantine Books.
The Missions of Mercy series is just one more example of why Susan May Warren has become one of my favorite authors. I honestly believe the woman can write about anything and I love it all! Her books run the gamut from contemporary romance to historicals, to suspense thrillers. With settings all over the world, a varied cast of characters, and themes that can be lightly humorous or deadly intense, her novels have earned their place on my keeper bookshelf.
Published under the Love Inspired Suspense section of Harlequin Books, the three books of this series pack a serious punch for their small size. The three heroes are all retired special ops military men who own and/or work for a private security company in Europe. In each installment, one of the men is involved in a dangerous mission with a young woman and in the midst of their precarious exploits, love begins to bloom.
Although part of a series, each of these books can stand alone. Warren has done an excellent job providing well paced plots set against interesting backdrops with well rounded and realistic characters. Elements of faith are woven seamlessly and inconspicuously throughout the stories. Each novel has its share of nail biting moments and all end satisfactorily.
Don’t let the small size of these books fool you. There is a wealth of action and romance crammed between those covers. As always, I look forward to whatever Susan May Warren has up her sleeve for her next book.
Copies of these books were provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.
About The Missions of Mercy series:
Three heroes, all on missions of mercy, who discover that God not only saves us from evil, but from the darkness inside.
Point of No Return: An American boy and a warlord’s engaged daughter have disappeared-together-in an Eastern European border country. Only one man can find them in time to prevent an international meltdown-Chet Stryker. But Chet is taken aback when he realizes the boy is the nephew of Mae Lund, Chet’s former flame. When Mae insists on rescuing her relative herself, Chet knows he has to protect her from the enemy on their trail. Yet can he protect himself from falling for Mae again?
Mission: Out of Control: Brody “Wick” Wickham is a former Green Beret turned security agent-with a 100 percent mission success rate. No way is his new assignment changing that. Even if it’s protecting a diva American rock star while she’s on tour in Europe. Except Veronica “Vonya” Wagner isn’t just a beautiful celebrity used to having her way-she’s the daughter of a U.S. Senator. And she’s hiding a dangerous secret. When Wick discovers what’s at stake, how far over the line will he go to keep them both alive?
Undercover Pursuit: The only way to get security agent Luke Dekker to a wedding? An undercover mission as groomsman. He’ll bust the groom, a drug cartel heir, before anyone can say “I do.” Then Luke can escape all this love and romance nonsense-and the too pretty bridesmaid/agent assigned as his “fiancée” for the weekend. Until Luke discovers that sweet, vulnerable Scarlett Hanson isn’t his contact. Isn’t an agent. Isn’t trained for the high-stakes mission now trapping them both. And worse, Luke’s falling for her-which is not part of the assignment.
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of thirty novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.
Martha Ockley is the pen-name of Rebecca Jenkins. She read history at Oxford University, and spent several years working alongside her father, the Rt. Revd. David Jenkins (Bishop of Durham 1984-94) during the turbulence of the 1980s. She lives in Teesdale in the North East of England where the landscape and history provide the inspiration for her Regency detective, F R Jarrett. Since September 2009 she has been Royal Literary Fund Fellow and Writer in Residence at York St John University. She is a full-time author, writing both fiction and non-fiction. (She should not be confused with a Canadian actor and singer, also called Rebecca Jenkins.)
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Reluctant Detective sees Faith Morgan arriving back in the region of her birth – Winchester in Hampshire. Recently ordained, she had been working as a curate in an Anglican inner-city church. Within an hour of her arrival at Little Worthy, she witnesses the sudden shocking death of a fellow priest during a communion service at St James’s. He had been poisoned with a pesticide mixed with the communion wine. The senior police officer who arrives at the scene turns out to be Detective Inspector Ben Shorter, Faith’s ex long-term boyfriend.
She is urged by the Bishop to stay on to look after the parish of Little Worthy. As she meets her parishioners she learns some surprising facts about her apparently well loved predecessor, and starts to suspect a motive for his death. And it is she who finally identifies the murderer.
The story gets off to a dramatic start with the previous vicar collapsing as soon as he drank the communion cup, and it holds the interest throughout. There is some romantic interest too. Inspector Ben Shorter starts by sneeringly telling his sergeant, “Ms Morgan is a vicar. One of the ordained,” Ben emphasized the word. “She’s a card-carrying professional at the touchy-feely stuff.” But he soon starts to feel differently about her again, although she is well aware that he “didn’t understand the reality she experienced through her faith. He didn’t even recognize its existence. That was the gulf between them.” Her own beliefs and doubts are convincingly described, for even she can’t help wondering, “What if there is no truth to it?” But for her, as for Pascal before her, it was a gamble worth taking.
It took me awhile to get into The Reluctant Detective but my persistence rewarded me with a pretty good mystery that did not have a blatantly obvious suspect. The story itself was a bit different than I am used to but I imagine that the setting and customs of a small English village had a lot to do with it.
I also did not feel that I got to know the characters very well. I could tell that Faith was quite torn between her current position as a newly ordained priest of the Church of England and her former life as a policewoman. She showed the compassion and mercy befitting her position but couldn’t manage to stay out of the murder investigation.
For the most part The Reluctant Detective was a satisfying story and I was glad I read it in its entirety. There were a couple of things that might be offensive to some Christians so be warned. I felt that the subjects of alcohol and extramarital affairs were treated in an offhand manner as if they were acceptable Christian behavior. If you can overlook this and enjoy clerical mysteries, you would probably enjoy The Reluctant Detective.