Book Review: Sweet on You by Becky Wade

sweet on you

Sweet on You

Author: Becky Wade

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: April 30, 2019

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who’s spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He’s achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him—Britt’s heart.

When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle’s tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?


REVIEW

Charming. Delectable. Elegant. Like the chocolates described in the third entry to the Bradford Sisters Romance series, Sweet on You delivers in all the right ways. Christian fiction star Becky Wade knows just the elements to blend for the perfect story in the way a chocolatier knows the correct amount of cocoa for each truffle. As we all wish for one more bite of chocolate upon coming to the end of the box, readers will wish for one more novel in this sister series upon closing the final page of Sweet on You.

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford bring emotional depth to the forefront of Wade’s latest story. Chocolatier and owner of Sweet Art, Britt Bradford is a fiesty, independent, resilient heroine whose determination to stand alone often gets her into trouble and brings a breath of fresh air to the leading lady category of Christian fiction. While many times I wanted to shake her refusal to open up to the man who so clearly loved her, Britt’s independent streak lent itself to a heartbreaking scene at the end of the novel that wholly supported her character growth. Bestselling author Zander Ford, a handsome hero with a Dickensian air, was a 100 percent perfect hero who was just flawed enough to give the novel conflict. His part of the ending of the novel cemented his role as breakthrough hero of the year in Christian fiction–gentleness mixed with strength, soul blended with sincerity, protectiveness embedded with love. It will take a lot to top this guy. Add in an art mystery and faith element and this novel has it all.

With epistolary elements that demonstrate Britt and Zander’s feelings for each other closing each chapter, Wade’s writing strengths are on full display in Sweet on You. This novel will surely leave each of its readers hungering for more from this talented author.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Becky WadeBecky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Christy and Carol award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

Book Review: Now and Then and Always by Melissa Tagg

now and then and alwaysNow and Then and Always

Author: Melissa Tagg

Publisher: Larkspur Press

Published: May 28, 2019

“It was just a house. Just a weathered old house in a hidden grove, shuttered and still…”

Last year, after traumatic circumstances forced her from her job as a nanny, Mara Bristol finally found a place to belong—the winsome Everwood Bed & Breakfast at the edge of Maple Valley, Iowa. For months, she’s helped its owner, Lenora, maintain the ramshackle property despite their shortage of guests. But when Lenora fails to return from a month-long trip and the bank threatens foreclosure, Mara worries she’s once again alone . . . abandoned . . . about to lose the only true home she’s ever known.

Detective Marshall Hawkins is no closer to whole today than he was two years ago . . . the day his daughter died. Between his divorce, debilitating migraines, and a dependence on medication, his life is falling apart. And when a reckless decision on the job propels him into administrative leave, he has no other plan but to get in his truck and drive. A one-night stay at the Everwood was supposed to be just that. But there’s something about the old house—or maybe its intriguing caretaker—that pulls him in.

Together, Mara and Marshall set out to save the Everwood. But its secrets run deeper than they could’ve imagined. As they renovate the house and search for its missing owner, they’ll each confront the pain that brought them to the Everwood in the first place . . . and just maybe discover a faith and love to help them carry on.

Romance and mystery collide in this first installment in award-winning author Melissa Tagg’s new Maple Valley series.

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW

In the first book of her new series, Tagg brings readers back to Maple Valley, a quirky small town filled with memorable characters, quaint scenery, and places we’d all like to visit. Joining that list of must-visit imaginary locales is a central star of Now and Then and Always–the Everwood B&B. This charming home away from home for many of the characters is a focal point for Marshall and Mara, the hero and heroine, respectively, of Tagg’s latest novel. With her trademark rom-com style infused in every scene, Tagg has also continued to explore adding depth to her stories with Now and Then and Always. Mindful of the sensitive subject matter but up front about the issues, Now and Then and Always stars characters who are challenged yet resilient, flawed yet humble, and wounded yet (eventually) open. Blending humor, romance, realistic challenges, and a little something extra into a story that could play off of a heightened HGTV reality show, Tagg has crafted a worthy entry into her Maple Valley cannon.

RATING4 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa TaggMelissa Tagg is the award-winning author of the popular Walker Family series, the Where Love Begins series and the Enchanted Christmas Collection. She’s a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. Her recent releases include a Carol Award winner (One Enchanted Noel), an RT Book Reviews TOP PICK (All This Time) and a Publishers Weekly Spring Top Ten Pick (Like Never Before). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.

Book review: After the Rain by Brandy Bruce

After the RainAfter the Rain

Author: Brandy Bruce

Publisher: Bling! Romance

Published: February 4, 2019

Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.

As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.

When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels.

It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when the pieces of her broken past remain lodged in her heart?

“Brandy Bruce has weaved together a bittersweet tale that had me laughing and crying within a mere three words. Filled with loss, love, and beautiful life, After the Rain will forever be in my heart, sitting on my shelf of favorites.” ~V. Joy Palmer, Author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


Topping my list of most-anticipated books of 2019, After the Rain proved to be a bit of a different story than I expected and so much more at the same time. I’m an avid lover of Bruce’s debut with Bling! Romance, The Last Summer, and fell head-over-heels for that hero and heroine while finding Debra my least favorite of the group for no reason other than simply being different from her. Knowing how much I loved The Last Summer and how badly I wanted a positive outcome for Debra, I eagerly jumped into After the Rain.

Bruce’s sophomore contemporary romance proves just how talented a writer she is. She took a vivacious, bubbly emotional character from The Last Summer and turned her into a mature, cautious, thoughtful heroine in After the Rain. Debra’s emotions are so beautifully portrayed in this book that I actually myself felt her heartbreak, questions, doubts, and uncertainties. By the middle of the book, when Debra’s outlook begins to shift ever so slightly back to her The Last Summer-self, I found myself thinking “atta girl.” Bruce’s use of themes and symbolism are superb in, lending depth to this already-strong story. Add one God-fearing, kind hero and a cast of characters I sincerely hope return for their own stories, and After the Rain is one book I will be recommending on many lists in 2019.


About the Author

brandy bruceBrandy Bruce is the award-winning author of The Last Summer*, as well as the novels After the Rain, Looks Like Love, and the Romano Family Collection series. She’s also the co-author of the YA fantasy novel Chosen, with her sister Sara Hanson. Brandy has worked in book publishing for more than ten years–editing, writing, reading, and making good use of online dictionaries. She’s a graduate of Liberty University and currently works as a freelance book editor. She and her husband make their home in Virginia with their three children. When Brandy isn’t editing manuscripts or writing novels, she loves spending time with her family, baking any kind of cheesecake, watching movies based on Jane Austen novels, or curling up with a favorite book. You can contact her through her website at http://www.authorbrandybruce.com. Find her on Twitter at @BrandyBruce. Also on Instagram at @ALittleBitofBrandy.

*Bookvana Award for Chick lit/Women’s Lit

Book Review: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

A Song Unheard

A Song Unheard

Author: Roseanna M. White

Series: Shadows Over England

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Published: January 2, 2018

If Betraying Her Heart Means Saving Countless Lives, Will She Find the Courage?

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I–to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has.

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW

Once again Roseanna White has proven her mastery with historical storytelling in a novel that is poignant, fascinating, informative, and fresh all at once. A Song Unheard takes a unique approach to a a common trope–orphans afraid to love for fear of being deemed unworthy–and spins a tale of beauty from ashes amidst the heartache and terror of World War One. Faster-paced than its predecessor, A Name Unknown,  and completely different than most Christian fiction in the hero and heroine’s path to romance, A Song Unheard takes readers on a fascinating journey to Wales and Belgium, from concert halls to back-alley bookshops used for hidden escapes from German soldiers, and is comprised of secondary characters who help bring the story to life. Book three, An Hour Unspent, just released last week–and to say I was excited  to already have this book in my hand when I finished A Song Unheard would be an understatement.

RATING: 4 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roseanna WhiteRoseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna’s fiction ranges from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at at her website.

Book Review: More than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

More than Meets the EyeMore than Meets the Eye

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Series: The Patchwork Family

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Published: June 5, 2018

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW

With her trademark style of humor, romance, history, and Biblical truths weaved throughout a moving story, Witemeyer has gifted readers with another enjoyable novel. More than Meets the Eye blends the author’s American West storytelling talent with her growing ability to spin challenging and unique circumstances into authentic plots that take the reader out of their own world yet still have them identify with the characters.

Evangeline and Logan make strong leading characters whose emotional backgrounds make for compelling reasons to turn the pages of this novel. I adored the woodsprite heroine whose positive outlook colored her every move and thought. Evangeline’s spunky attitude and headstrong approach to her relationships with her brothers and Logan brought many smiles and laughs as I read More than Meets the Eye. Logan’s steady personality balanced Evangeline’s zest for life, which I liked more and more as the novel continued and more conflict came into the story. This hero and heroine paired well throughout the dangers and realities of the 1800s American West, although I would have liked a better understanding of why they cared for each other as a way to develop the romance.

While this novel is not my favorite of Witemeyer’s (although I did thoroughly enjoy the story), I think it is the best written of the author’s because of the historical detail, the unique circumstances the hero and heroine faced, the complex plot, the outward-facing spiritual themes, and the well-written prose.  Witemeyer continues to strengthen her storylines and writing skills with each novel, and More Than Meets Eye proves that,  with this one is as a good as it is, the author’s next novel will certainly continue the trend.

 

RATING: 4.5 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

karen-witemeyerChristy Award finalist and winner of the ACFW Carol Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

See Karen’s book list here.

Book Review: Keturah by Lisa Tawn Bergren

KeturahKeturah

Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren

Series: The Sugar Baron’s Daughters

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Published: February 6, 2018

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of
what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

Set on keeping her family together and saving her father’s once-great plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW

Get swept away in a story that is beautiful from the outside in and touches on subjects that are just as poignant now as they were in the late 1700s. Keturah is so much than an island-set novel of history and romance–it’s a story of faith, justice, strength, and equality in a place whose beauty defies the horrors of the past.

I’ve been a fan of Lisa Tawn Bergren’s novels since I read her European tour series years ago. To say I was thrilled to learn she had a new series coming from Bethany House would be an understatement, and this first entry into the Sugar Baron’s Daughters trilogy fulfilled my expectations. Filled with strong women, thought-provoking truths, an engaging plot, and a unique setting, Keturah is a book to be savored.

Bergren balances the scales between historical accuracy and modern thoughts with the three Banning sisters. While filling the restrictions of eighteenth century women, Keturah is an elder sibling so very identifiable with her need to protect her younger siblings and take a challenging situation in hand. I thoroughly enjoyed delving into this leading lady’s heart, soul, and mind as she traversed Nevis and leading her family’s sugar plantation.

The beautiful landscape and a character to identify with do not belie, though, the dark past of the eighteenth century, including slavery, domestic abuse, and social injustice. As historical fiction illustrates so well, Keturah is an example of how literature can take the horrors of times gone by and turn the messaging into an agent of change. Books like Keturah are why I love reading, especially Christian (historical) fiction–to examine how strong, capable people handled situations I will never be a part of and yet can experience through their stories and and how those heroes and heroines grew in their faith.

Through skilled writing and talented storytelling, Bergren delivers a story that opens a door to an engaging series I am certain will long live on my bookshelves. Keturah is a book to buy as soon as possible–if it’s not already in your to-be-read pile.

RATING: 4.5 stars

Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Tawn BergrenLisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than 40 books, with over 3 million copies sold. Her most recent works includes the YA series Remnants (Season of Wonder, Season of Fire, Season of Glory), the River of Time Series (WaterfallCascade, Torrent, Bourne & Tributary, Deluge), God Gave Us Sleep, a devotional called Upside-Down Prayers for Parents and the Grand Tour Series (Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences, and Glittering Promises).

Lisa’s time is split between managing home base, writing, and working on ducks with her husband, Tim (RMrustic.com). Tim’s a worship leader and duck-sculptor. They have three kids–Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

 

Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, NY by Amanda Barratt

My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, NYMy Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey

Author: Amanda Barratt

Series: My Heart Belongs

Publisher: Barbour

Published: January 1, 2018

Journey to Niagara Falls, New York, 1870

She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.

Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.

Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.

On a sightseeing trip to the Falls, Adele meets several eligible suitors. Incredibly wealthy and pompous, Franklin Conway takes an immediate fancy to her. But Adele would truly like to marry for love. When she encounters the mysterious Drew in the garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves?

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW

A story of faith and romance set among the pounding water of Niagara Falls delivers heartfelt lessons in award-winning author Amanda Barratt’s latest historical tale. Journey back to a time when class distinctions often inhibited the chasing of dreams and hard work wasn’t always rewarded–but when those barriers were broken, the results were all the sweeter.

My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York is a delightful story penned by an author whose love of history emanates through her words. Details of times gone by in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY paint pictures of the perks of high society and challenges of lower-class living that bring this story to life. From a flower-filled estate in England to refuse-filled Canal Street; from Adele Linley’s beautiful dresses to Drew Dawson’s sparse living accommodations and everything in between, I envisioned it all as I turned the pages of this entry into the My Heart Belongs series.

A small cast of characters fills the pages of this moderately paced story. Heroine Adele Linley and hero Drew Dawson come from opposing sides of life; however, their desires to protect the ones they love and their selflessness to do what they think will make their loved ones happy demonstrate that who people are has very little to do with material possessions. Of the two main characters, I identified with both but felt a much stronger connection with Drew. His compelling backstory and desire to take care of his disabled younger sister made for strong characterization. Adele’s story, while moving, didn’t impact me as much because I felt like a wall removed any sort of emotional connection I could have made with her. Supporting characters Hope and Delany endeared themselves to my heart by the end of the story. I’d love to see a sequel starring these two.

With a solid start to her full-length novel writing career, Amanda Barratt has penned a  romance colored with heartfelt truths–both in faith and in historical accuracy–brimming with details that readers who wish for times gone by will savor. I enjoyed My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls and hope to see another novel from this author very soon.

RATING: 3.5 stars


Amanda BarrattECPA bestselling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story – a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes inspirational historical romance, penning stories that transport readers to a variety of locales – from the sweeping coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, to the rugged landscape of Central Texas. Her novella, The Truest Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, who kindly put up with the invisible people she calls characters.

These days, Amanda can be found reading way too many books, watching an eclectic mix of BBC dramas and romantic chick flicks, and trying to figure out a way to get on the first possible flight to England.

Contact Amanda: FACEBOOKTWITTERWEBSITE