Category: #ThrowbackThursday

Quote from The Line Between: What did it mean that the divine could not only notice but seem delighted in me?

#ThrowbackThursday | The Line Between by Tosca Lee

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of dystopian thriller The Line Between by Tosca Lee, because the sequel releases this month. A Line Between is a great story, and the sequel promises to be just as nail-biting.

It’s near-future North America. Wynter Roth has just escaped the pseudo-Christian cult she’s lived in for the last sixteen years. Disease is sweeping the land. And Wynter is afraid the cult leader might have been right … maybe the outsde world was all heading for hell.

Wynter is a character who is both brave and naive. She knows little of the ways of the modern world, because she was only five when she entered the cult’s compound and has rarely been permitted to leave. Her views of God and the world have been twisted by the cult leader, Marcus. Yet she has a strong sense of right and wrong. And she’s prepared to risk everything she knows for right … which means leaving the cult.

The story is fast-paced and disturbingly believable. That’s the key with dystopian fiction: twist something in our reality (in this case, infectious rapid onset dementia). Use that twist to destroy everything the characters know and rely on. Then see how they react.

The story flips back and forth between Wynter’s present and the events that led her to leaving the cult. This weaving provides added layers of complexity, and propel the present plot forward. It’s masterful writing. I challenge any fan of dystopian fiction to put this one down.

Recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner.

Thanks to Howard Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Tosca Lee

Author Photo: Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the House of Bathory duology (THE PROGENY and FIRSTBORN), ISCARIOT, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, DEMON: A MEMOIR, HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (FORBIDDEN, MORTAL, SOVEREIGN). A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games and football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.

 

Find Tosca Lee online at:

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About The Line Between

In this frighteningly believable thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.

When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness.

You can find The Line Between online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to The Line Between below:

And don’t forget to watch out for A Single Light, which releases this month! Here’s the book description from Amazon:

Six months after vanishing into an underground silo with sixty others, Wynter and Chase emerge to find the area abandoned. There is no sign of Noah and the rest of the group that was supposed to greet them when they emerged—the same people Wynter was counting on to help her locate the IV antibiotics her gravely ill friend, Julie, needs in order to live.

As the clock ticks down on Julie’s life, Wynter and Chase embark on a desperate search for medicine and answers. But what they find is not a nation on the cusp of recovery thanks to the promising new vaccine Wynter herself had a hand in creating, but one decimated by disease. What happened while they were underground?

With food and water in limited supply and their own survival in question, Chase and Wynter must venture further and further from the silo. Aided by an enigmatic mute named Otto, they come face-to-face with a society radically changed by global pandemic, where communities scrabble to survive under rogue leaders and cities are war zones. As hope fades by the hour and Wynter learns the terrible truth of the last six months, she is called upon once again to help save the nation she no longer recognizes—a place so dark she’s no longer sure it can even survive.

Click here to find The Line Between, A Single Light, and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon shop.

#Throwback Thursday | One Last Thing by Nancy Rue

An Exceptional Tale of Contemporary Issues

Tara Faulkner is marrying Seth Grissom: her brother’s best friend, the son of their pastor, and the guy she’s loved for ten years. But they have a strange argument three weeks before the wedding, and when she returns to discuss it with Seth, she finds him doing something awful.

He promises he’ll change and never do it again, and she wants to believe him. After all, the alternative is cancelling the wedding. But when she finds he lied, she does just that—but he makes her promise not to tell anyone why. This leaves her dealing with all the fallout, not least two families blaming her for the cancellation.

One Last Thing is written entirely in first person point of view from Tara’s viewpoint. This normally only works for complex characters, and Tara wasn’t complex, at least not in the beginning. She was the perfect pampered Southern princess, and while she hasn’t lived an entirely sheltered life, her family is financially stable and she’s always been given the best of everything. She attends church with her family, but there was little indication she had any personal faith: something that’s normally a must in Christian fiction, especially Christian romance.

At first I was a little frustrated that Seth, a Christian man who worked for a mission organisation, was planning to marry a woman who had little or no personal faith of her own. But as the novel progressed, Tara began to search for God … and it explained why Seth was prepared to be “unequally yoked”.

The explanation was misogynistic or hypocritical or possibly both, but it worked. And it worked without making me feel as though my emotions were being manipulated.

That’s strong writing.

The more Tara digs into Seth’s issues, the more she finds out, and the more secrets she has to keep from her friends, her family, and from Seth’s family. The only person who has any sympathy for her is Seth’s younger sister—who’s seen as a troublemaker. She is helped in her troubled journey by a disparate group of ladies she meets while working in a local coffee shop—her first-ever job.

Tara slowly discovers Seth’s issues, and strangely, this allows us to move from repugnance to sympathy for his problems while still acknowledging Tara did the right thing. Seth acknowledges that he has to take responsibility for his own actions, especially when they have hurt others. This is as a positive thing.

I wish it didn’t, but it does, and One Last Thing does an excellent job in sensitively fictionalising a growing problem in society.

It’s not easy reading, and it’s not nice. But it is real. Unfortunately.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Rebecca St James and Nancy Rue at their websites.

You can read the opening here:

It isn't us who are on trial, it is science itself. And I am confident we will win.

#ThrowbackThursday | A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden. She is one of my favourite historical romance authors because I love the way she finds fascinating scraps of history to share about—like the fight for clean water in the growing cities of Golden Age America. It’s not the typical background to a romance novel, but it works!
This review first appeared at Australasian Christian Writers in June 2018.

Rosaline Werner lost both her parents to cholera when she was just ten years old. The loss changed her life, but eighteen years later she’s back in America, working as a biochemist fighting to eradicate waterborne diseases including typhoid. She’s convinced the answer is to chemically treat the city’s supply of drinking water with chlorine, but not everyone agrees.

Nicholas Drake is a plumber, and a commissioner of the State Water Board of New York, responsible for ensuring the citizens have access to clean water. But he can’t see that adding poison to water is the solution—he prefers the tried-and-true method of filtering the water.

It’s a great set-up: two people who want the same thing.

Two people with noble reasons. But two people who fundamentally disagree on the best process, to the point where their factions are fighting it out in court. It’s a plot that isn’t going to allow for compromise. Rosaline will win, or Nicholas will win. Unless Rosaline can convince Nicholas to change his mind …

It’s also a unique concept for a novel. Plumbing. Water. Dams. Chlorination. Filtration. Most of us in developed countries take safe drinking water for granted, and it’s hard to believe that it’s only been a little over a century since the idea was mooted, accepted, and popularised. Elizabeth Camden is known for taking little-known and intriguing historical factoids and turning them into compelling historical novels with plenty of romance and more than a little suspense.

The one possible fault with A Daring Venture is that while Elizabeth Camden’s earlier novels were definitely Christian, this (and the previous novel in this Empire State series, A Dangerous Legacy) do not have any overtly Christian content. But nor are they general market titles, with all that implies. Perhaps it’s that the faith element is woven in so subtly that it’s not noticeable.

And in some ways, it shouldn’t be. A Daring Venture isn’t a faith-based story. It’s the story of clean, disease-free water, and some of the people who helped change our world for the better by fighting for what was right. Which, if you think about it, is the outworking of the Christian faith.

A Daring Venture is an excellent novel with a unique premise.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction, especially romances and novels with a basis in historical fact. I hope there will be a sequel, because I want to see more of Nicholas and his growing family.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Elizabeth Camden

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

Find Elizabeth Camden online at:

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About A Daring Venture

As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city–but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York, Nicholas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team’s techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, the odds stacked against these two rivals swiftly grow more insurmountable with every passing day.

You can find A Daring Venture online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to A Daring Venture below:

Quote from Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

#ThrowbackThursday | Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin. He’s one of my favourite male Christian fiction authors, with a real strength in structuring stories so I can’t predict what’s going to happen.

About Send Down the Rain

Allie is still recovering from the loss of her family’s beloved waterfront restaurant on Florida’s Gulf Coast when she loses her second husband to a terrifying highway accident. Devastated and losing hope, she shudders to contemplate the future—until a cherished person from her past returns.

Joseph has been adrift for many years, wounded in both body and spirit and unable to come to terms with the trauma of his Vietnam War experiences. Just as he resolves to abandon his search for peace and live alone at a remote cabin in the Carolina mountains, he discovers a mother and her two small children lost in the forest. A man of character and strength, he instinctively steps in to help them get back to their home in Florida. There he will return to his own hometown—and witness the accident that launches a bittersweet reunion with his childhood sweetheart, Allie.

When Joseph offers to help Allie rebuild her restaurant, it seems the flame may reignite—until a 45-year-old secret from the past begins to emerge, threatening to destroy all hope for their second chance at love.

In Send Down the Rain, Charles Martin proves himself to be a storyteller of great wisdom and compassion who bears witness to the dreams we cherish, the struggles we face, and the courage we must summon when life seems to threaten what we hold most dear.

Send Down the Rain is an unusual story in many ways.

It starts decades ago with two brothers the day their father moves out, then jumps forward to the present. The first part shows three different characters, and it wasn’t until about a quarter of the way through that it became clear who the main character was.

Joseph is a 63-year-old Vietnam war veteran who has been running for more years than seems possible. We get to know him only gradually, as the story bounces back and forth between his past and his present, highlighting his failures (and sometimes his successes), his weaknesses and sometimes his strengths. He’s a strong narrator because he is weak: he’s humble and unpretentious and focuses more on what he’s done wrong than what he’s done right.

I got to about the 90% point in this book and thought it was good, but it hadn’t reached the heights of The Mountain Between Us (now a major movie starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba) or Long Way Gone (a modern retelling of the story of the Prodigal Son).

But by the time I finished Send Down the Rain I had changed my mind.

It’s at least as good as these, but the power builds up and up and only bites at the end. There isn’t an obvious Christian thread or an overt parallel with a Bible story (as there was in Long Way Gone). Send Down the Rain is more of an exploration of love, loyalty, and family, a story of sacrifice and second chances. And that pretty much sums up the gospel.

An outstanding novel of love and faithfulness, in Martin’s trademark understated yet compelling style. Recommended.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Charles Martin

Author Photo: Charles MartinChristy and I married in 1993. If you include dating, I’ve known and loved her for more than half my life. She is and always will be the home for my heart. We have three boys. Charlie, John T. and Rives. Folks often ask me, which of my books do I like the best. You might as well line up my sons and ask me who I love the most.

My hobbies are bow hunting, working out (a blend of old school stuff and martial arts, called Fight Fit) and Tae Kwon Do. In October 2012 I earned my black belt but I’m still the least flexible person you’ve ever met. The guy that trains me, laughs everytime I start warming up. My boys are far better at Tae Kwon Do than I but I doubt they have as much fun – I get to do and watch. They just do.

I also like to write, but that’s another story.

You can find Charles Martin online at:

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You can find Send Down the Rain online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to Send Down the Rain below:

From No Less Days by Amanda G Stevens: He wished people valued books—paper, ink, effort, art, knowledge—the way they used to.

#ThrowbackThursday | No Less Days by Amanda G Stevens

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing one of my favourite not-romance reads from 2018, No Less Days by Amanda G Stevens.

While I enjoy reading romance, when it comes to watching, my favourite TV shows and movies tend to be science fiction of some form: Star Wars. Star Trek. Stargate. Fringe. Forever. (Chuck.)

I’d categorise No Less Days as Forever with a dash of Highlander. It’s part science fiction and part urban fantasy.

About No Less Days

David Galloway can’t die.

How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself from the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan. But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead.

Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offer the sort of kinship and community he hasn’t experienced for decades—but at what cost?

David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own. . .protecting more than himself alone. He’ll have to decide what’s worth the most to him—security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?

My Thoughts

No Less Days is not contemporary romance, although it does have a minor romance subplot. I suspect most novels could be improved with the addition of a minor romance subplot …

David Galloway is 167 years old, but looks thirty-five, thanks to a doctor who saved his life over 130 years ago. He’s survived five major wars, and now makes a living selling second-hand and antique books. He thinks he’s the only one of his kind until he sees a news story about a daredevil who falls to his death crossing the Grand Canyon, yet miraculously survives.

David is curious. There is no way this daredevil, Zachary Wilson, could have survived that fall. Is there someone else like David? He goes to Nevada to find out the truth, and finds something unexpected: he is not alone.

Like I said, No Less Days isn’t the usual book I review.

But if there were more Christian novels like this, I’d read and review them because No Less Days was excellent. A unique hook: the man who lives forever. Great characters: David, Zac, Tiana. A moral dilemma to work through. And lots of amusing insights from a man who has lived longer than he should.

The story of No Less Days is told entirely from David’s viewpoint, and that’s one of the strengths. Learning things about the Longevites as David learns them gives the sense of being in the story. The writing is excellent, and while this story comes to a complete and satisfying end, there is certainly scope to turn No Less Days into a series.

I recommend No Less Days for fans of TV shows like Fringe and forever who’d love to see more Christian fiction delve into these areas of the unknown.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing for providing a free book for review.

About Amanda G Stevens

Author Photo: Amanda G StevensAs a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She is the author of the Haven Seekers series, and her debut Seek and Hide was a 2015 INSPY Award finalist. She lives in Michigan and loves trade paperbacks, folk music, the Golden Era of Hollywood, and white cheddar popcorn.

You can find Amanda G Stevens online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

You can find No Less Days online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to No Less Days below:

Quote: Do I believe miracles can happen? Sure. But we have to step aside and let them.

#ThrowbackThursday | Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Where Hope Begins, a powerful novel by women’s fiction queen Catherine West. If you’re looking for a Christian novel that goes deep into a broken marriage, I recommend Where Hope Begins.

About Where Hope Begins

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

My Thoughts

Savannah’s husband of twenty years is leaving her for the other woman. Now the house is empty—their three children are at boarding school, college, and in a grave. Broken, Savannah goes to stay in her parent’s holiday home, where she meets the neighbours: an old woman, her nephew, and his daughter.

A daughter who is the spitting image of Savannah’s dead daughter.

Yes, Where Hope Begins has lots of angst. As the story progresses we find out more about how Shelby died, about how Savannah is convinced Shelby’s death was her fault, and convinced husband Kevin blames her, even though he says he doesn’t. We also see how this tragedy shaped their marriage, and paved the way for it’s destruction.

At the lake house, we see Savannah’s developing relationship with Brock, the bestselling author who is her new next-door neighbour. Her very attractive next-door neighbour. Why not? Her husband has left her for another woman and wants a divorce. That presents Savannah with a dilemma … and us as the reader. We’re convinced we don’t like Kevin, but does that justify Savannah’s growing relationship with Brock?

The intricacies of the relationships are compounded by Savannah’s Christian faith, a faith her husband supposedly shared. As Christians, we have clear views on adultery, but when is a marriage over? When is the wronged spouse allowed to move on?

Where Hope Begins is an intelligent, thought-provoking, and emotional read in a situation where there are lots of hard questions and no right answers.

The writing is excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Catherine West. The characters are well-developed, the plot complex but not convoluted, and the Christian elements threaded through but not overwhelming. Oh, and I cried. It’s been a long time since a novel made me cry.

Recommended for anyone looking for Christian fiction that addresses some of the hard issues of life.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Catherine West

Author Photo: Catherine WestCatherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew).

You can find Catherine West online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Find Where Hope Begins online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Where Hope Begins below:

#ThrowbackThursday | Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of one of Victoria Bylin’s earlier novels. Someone Like You is a great Christian romance set in the real world.

Victoria Bylin doesn’t shy away from the tough topics.

In fact, anyone who scoffs at romance novels in general and Christian romance novels in particular should read Someone Like You. Whether they like it or not, they can’t call it soft or shallow or any of the other less-than-complimentary terms people use.

As an aside, it’s fascinating how some Christians exhort others to follow their God-given calling at the same time as decrying romance novels. Do they forget God is the author of the ultimate romance? Or reject the idea that He might call authors to model godly sacrificial love in fiction as well as non-fiction?.

Anyway, Someone Like You covers it all.

Faith, loss of faith, premarital sex, single parenthood, men with control issues, men with personality issues, men with faith issues. Fortunately, these issues are balanced out with a good dose of sense.

Zeke Monroe is the General Manager of the Caliente Springs resort, a position that might be temporary if he can’t pull the resort out of a financial tailspin and convince the co-owner not to sell. He’s hoping to land a big contract with Carter Home Goods . . . but doesn’t expect the event planner here to review the resort to be his college girlfriends, Julia Dare.

Julia has recently left her partner, the father of her four-year-old son, and become a Christian—in part, because of the influence of her college boyfriend, Zeke—the guy she dumped to hook up with suave lawyer Hunter Adams, Max’s father.

She’s now struggling to set up an event planning business to support herself and Max, and manage a relationship with a narcissistic ex who seems set on sabotaging her childrearing methods and her life in general. Especially when he finds out she’s in contact with Zeke again. Even though that’s purely professional. Isn’t it?

Basically, Someone Like You had everything a Christian romance should have.

Loveable hero. Intelligent and likeable but flawed heroine. A strong Christian theme that achieves challenging without being preachy. And excellent writing. Recommended.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Victoria Bylin

Author Photo - Victoria BylinVictoria Bylin is known for tackling tough subjects with great compassion. In 2016, Together With You, a story of grace and healing, won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary Romance.

Her other books, including historical westerns, have finaled in the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and RT Magazine’s Reviewers Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky.

Find Victoria Bylin online at

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

About Someone Like You

Julia Dare is trying to run her own business, raise her young son, Max, and help her widowed mother. Her biggest worry, though, is keeping Max’s father from being a bad influence while still allowing the boy to spend time with his dad. When an account from her event-planning business sends her to Caliente Springs resort, she’s shocked to encounter Zeke Monroe, her college sweetheart.

Zeke is determined to keep Caliente Springs running despite financial trouble. When Julia walks back into his life, he’s surprised at the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client’s wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. With Zeke and Julia both pushed to their limits, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

Find Someone Like You online:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | ChristianBook |Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to Someone Like You below:

And click here to find Someone Like You (and other great Christian fiction) in my Amazon store!

 

 

Most people are waiting for someone to give them hope. If you can do that, then they’re more than happy to give you their money in exchange.

#ThrowbackThursday | Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

I’ve just found out Siri Mitchell has a new book coming … so I’m resharing my review of one of her historical romances, Flirtation Walk.

About Flirtation Walk

West Point History Comes Alive in this Warmhearted Romance

Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He’s kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth’s mother’s money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn’t fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It’s too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won’t she?

My Review

Seth Westcott is the top cadet in his year at West Point Military Academy, a rank which sees him destined for a coveted position in the Corps of Engineers. When he finds his sister has been swindled of the money from the sale of their family farm, he decides a cavalry posting out West would be a better idea . . . somewhere he can protect his sister, and hunt down the swindler. To do that, he’s going to have to become an Immortal—ranked at the bottom of the class.

When Miss Lucinda Pennyworth’s father dies, she goes to stay with family in Buttermilk Falls, near the military academy where her uncle lectures. Here she learns that some of what her father told her over the years wasn’t true, and she begins to question the values he raised her with, and his views on the military . . . and on God.

Lucinda finds herself having to learn a new set of rules.

Rules in which she considers others and doesn’t do everything to best meet her own needs, but considers the needs of others and the lessons mistakes can sometimes teach us. It’s not an easy journey, especially as many of her father’s philosophies and sayings are as real in 2016 as they were for Lucinda in 1855. Lucinda also learns she doesn’t have to look and be perfect all the time:

“I would think that would be tiring, trying to make sure you were perfect all the time.”

Perhaps. But even today many people fall into the trap of believing that it’s enough to look perfect and behave properly, that our underlying motivations and beliefs are less important than the image we project. (Social media doesn’t help this perception, when people curate their lives to only show the nice bits). While this isn’t necessarily a Christian message, it’s still a strong message, one worth thinking about, and Flirtation Walk did it well. I’ve found some of Siri Mitchell’s novels push a theme at the expense of the story, but this didn’t.

I liked the way Flirtation Walk emphasised that God is a god of love, not rules.

But I would have liked to have seen the characters show some faith in God, rather than merely attending church (which seemed to be more of doing the right thing). But I did like the overall theme about the balance between obeying the rules and doing the right thing.

Thanks to Baker Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

Read the introduction to Flirtation Walk below:

And don’t forget to click here and check out Flirtation Walk and other top Christian fiction in my Amazon store!

Quote from Fawkes by Nadine Brandes: Fighting for what you believe in is subjective. We need to fight for truth. Your beliefs can be misguided.

#Throwback Thursday | Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Fawkes by Nadine Brandes (which previously appeared at International Christian Fiction Writers). Fawkes is an intriguing mix of fantasy and historical fiction, and so is her new novel, Romanov, which releases next month. But now, let’s check out Fawkes!

About Fawkes

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

You can find Fawkes online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

My Review

Remember, remember, the fifth of November …

Fawkes begins in 1604, not long after King James I has ascended the throne of England and joined the thrones of England and Scotland. The country is filled with tension as two factions fight to rule.

The history books has this fight as being Roman Catholic vs. Protestant, with King James (and Queen Elizabeth before him) being firmly of the reformed Protestant faith. But Fawkes twists this into a fight between Keepers and Igniters, both blaming the other for the plague of stone that is at risk of taking over the land.

Fawkes begins with Thomas Fawkes, the narrator, at boarding school on the eve of his Color Test.

Yes, there are echoes of Harry Potter and Divergent here, in that every adult has a Color which they can control to a greater or lesser extent. Keepers believe each person can and should only control one Color. Igniters believe the Keepers have been hiding the White Light from the public for centuries. Both sides believe the other caused the plague which kills by turning its victims to stone.

Thomas Fawkes is the son of Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the thirteen men who plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament to kill King James I and restore a Catholic king to the throne (I live in New Zealand. We still “celebrate” Guy Fawkes with fireworks on 5 November every year). Those who know history (and know history is written by the victors) know the plot was foiled and Guy Fawkes has gone down in history as the bad guy.

Fawkes places us in the mind of Thomas.

While he and his father have been estranged for years, both are Keepers. At least, Thomas thinks he’s a Keeper … except he keeps hearing the voice of the White Light. He has been raised to believe Keepers are right, and he has no reason to doubt that.

But he’s never actually stopped to consider what is true.

And that’s an unexpectedly modern theme—that what we believe to be right and true isn’t necessarily so. Instead, we need to search for truth. Find truth. And fight for truth.

All of which are difficult in this modern era of #FakeNews.

Anyway, students of history will understand that while Fawkes is trying to persuade us that Thomas Fawkes (and the thirteen conspirators) are the “good guys”, history tells us they are not. That makes the early chapters an uncomfortable read. But students of history will be pleased to know the story does run true to history. Well. Kind of. History doesn’t have Keepers and Igniters and the Stone Plague. Fawkes does not have Roman Catholics and Protestants at loggerheads. But the parallels are there for those who know or care to look.

I’m not a big fantasy reader. But Fawkes worked for me, perhaps because it was a Harry Potter-esque twist on truth that allowed the reader to consider Truth.

It got me thinking without taking me out of the story, and that’s high praise.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

You can read the introduction to Fawkes below:

Quote from Falling for You by Becky Wade

#ThrowbackThursday | Falling for You by Becky Wade

Falling for You is the second novel in the Bradford Sisters series, and it’s the story of an internationally famous model and a retired football star.

Here’s the Amazon description:

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

My Thoughts

Injury has forced Corbin Stewart to retire from football. He’s bought a house in Shore Pine, Washington, to be near his only remaining family. What he didn’t know was that it also put him near ex-girlfriend Willow Bradford, now on a sabbatical from modelling, living in nearby Merryweather and managing her family B&B.

Charlotte Dixon, Corbin’s twelve-year-old niece, has discovered a family secret.

She’s convinced Willow Bradford will help her uncover the mystery behind the secret, and convinces Corbin to introduce her to Willow. Willow agrees to help, even though helping will bring her into too much contact with ex-boyfriend Corbin. Who is still devastatingly attractive, despite the way he broke up with her four years ago.

Falling for You follows the same pattern as True to You and the free prequel novella, Then Came You. It intersperses the present-day story with letters, emails, and text messages from the past and present. It’s a novel (!) way to tell a story, and it works as we see the past and present stories of Willow, Corbin, and others.

And it’s a strong story.

It’s the romance of two people who messed up years ago, and have to work out if there’s a way through that mess to find happiness. Part of that mess was because while Willow is and always has been a strong Christian, Corbin called himself a Christian but didn’t live the life (football star, remember?). He’s now become a Christian, but finding life hard.

Willow has her own problems with faith, and they are so deep-seated it actually takes her a while to realise they even exist. This, to me, was the depth in the book—Willow coming to terms with her past choices, and what that means for her faith. And there was a fascinating suspense plot around Charlotte’s secret.

I loved True to You because I related to Nora, the librarian. She’s bookish, and that meant I could relate to her in a way I can’t relate to an internationally famous model. But I could still relate to Willow as a woman who has made mistakes, who has to learn what forgiveness really means.

Falling for You is a touching tale of love lost and love found again, underpinned by an intriguing mystery, and the power of God to forgive.

Now I’m looking forward to the third book in the Bradford Sisters series, the story of the pastry chef who doesn’t realise her best friend of forever is in love with her (and has been forever). He knows it. I know it. Her sisters know it. But she doesn’t, and that’s a trope I love.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Becky Wade

Author Photo Becky WadeBecky is the Carol and Christy award winning author of heartwarming, humorous, and swoon-worthy contemporary inspirational romances.

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

These days, you’ll find Becky in Dallas, Texas failing to keep up with her housework, trying her best in yoga class, carting her three kids around town, watching TV with her Cavalier spaniel on her lap, hunched over her computer writing, or eating chocolate.

You can find Becky Wade online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

You can find Falling for You online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Falling for You below: