7 Reasons to Love The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White

7. This gorgeous cover.

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6. A glimpse into both Scottish and English Cultures in 1912 gives readers just a taste of fan-favorite televisions series Downtown Abbey and Outlander.

5. Relationship born. Relationships mended. Relationships strengthened, torn apart, and ended. Just like in life, everyone one of these is effortlessly woven throughout the pages of The Reluctant Duchess.

4. The Return of the Fire Eyes diamonds (and all that goes with them: deception, greed, and intrigue). Readers of The Lost Heiress will also enjoy catch up with Brook and Justin Stafford.

3. The Duke of Nottingham. Because who doesn’t love a hero? Who doesn’t long for a champion to rescue them when all hope seems lost? His Grace’s strong faith and desire to do whatever God asks of him makes him even more irresistible.

2. Author Roseanna M. White’s magnificent ability to weave complicated and life-altering circumstances into a story of hope, redemption, and love.

1. Rowena Kinnaird’s journey from a broken shell of a woman to the one God intended her to become.

A brief overview of The Reluctant Duchess (book 2 in the Ladies of the Manor series):

After an attack that changes her life, Rowena Kinnaird, heir to a Scottish Earldom, longs for nothing more than to leave everything behind her, to escape from her father. Flee from the man she’s intended to marry. From a life she believes she doesn’t deserve, isn’t worth.

Enter the Duke of Nottingham, a man Rowena has not met before yet offers her the means to escape she desperately desires. But is she exchanging the nightmare she knows for one she doesn’t? Will running to a county she’s never seen, where everyone will look down on her despite her new station, deter her from being able to finally stand on her own? To discover who she truly is?

And what of the rumors swirling about the Duke and some cursed diamonds? Is she in even more danger in her new life than in her old?

Available for sale everywhere Tuesday, April 5. Pre-order yours today.

And don’t forget to stop by the author’s website on release day for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

****Bethany House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Removing the Masks: Playing the Part by Jen Turano

Jen Turano has become a must-read author for me. Her ability to set up humorous situations and fun side characters draw me into her stories, but the poignant messages her characters comprehend on their journey are what bring me back every time.

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Readers of the first two books in the A Class of Their Own series have met Lucetta Plum, the popular actress in theaters around New York City. When one of her fans insists on winning her anyway he can, she’s forced to leave the theater (and her starring role which the playwright insisted she take) and New York. Abigail Hart, the woman who has taken Lucetta under her wing, insists they hide at her grandson’s home (er, castle).

Bram Haverstein is an enigma. Rumors spread amongst the townspeople add to the mystery of what exactly goes on at Ravenswood. Add in a second rumor hinting the man would like to be married within months, and there are now unwanted visitors to his home from the outside in addition to the strange happenings inside the walls.

After a memorable (and hilarious) meet-cute, Lucetta and Bram form an odd friendship. The actress isn’t the genteel, wilting flower Bram imagined her to be, and Lucetta’s intrigued by Bram but unwilling to depend on a man for anything.

As the two spend time together and the mysterious incidents keep building up within Ravenswood, will Bram learn that the Lucetta’s true character is much better than the one he’s imagined? And will Lucetta realize that giving her heart to another does not mean she loses her independence?

Not only are the interactions between Lucetta and Bram delightfully enchanting but Bram’s staff with all of their past baggage and different backgrounds a breath of fresh air. Their actions and attitudes kept me guessing as to which employees were loyal and which may have something to hide. Add in Abigail and her matchmaking schemes and Bram’s mother (Abigail’s estranged daughter) and sister along with Lucetta’s bodyguard, and memorable characters abound.

Several scenes in Playing the Part are lighthearted and fun while the conversations between Lucetta and Bram are revealing and meaningful. The chemistry between these two is almost immediate and readers will cheer these two (and maybe some other couples in the book) on to their happily ever after.

While we wait to see what Turano has up her sleeve for readers next, Playing the Part is available online and in stores now.

***Bethany House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Where Do You Find Your Identity: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

Some writers’ imaginations amaze me. To create a future world and all the details that go into it is a gift. Rachelle Dekker’s future world which began in her first book of her Seer Trilogy, The Choosing, is expanded in The Calling. While the first book focused mostly on Carrington Hale and her desire to be wanted, the second is about another character readers met in book one, Remko Brant. Yet, both stories are about identity, find who each of these characters is and who God wants them to become.

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A year and a half after the first book ends, Remko is now married to Carrington and a father, and the risks he takes to sneak into the Authority city and rescue other seers comes with a higher price. With his background as a CityWatch guard, he is the best choice to lead these missions but as they become more dangerous and the group experiences a couple of failures, Remko’s doubts and fear begin to take their toll.

When other seers in the camp question his leadership, Remko is left to wonder why he continues to lead the group for a cause he doesn’t believe in. If he left, would his wife follow him as he had her?

Dekker portrays Remko as both a reluctant leader (one who doubts his abilities much like Moses did) and an egotistical leader (much like King Saul). The combination is powerful and emphasizes Remko’s internal struggle of trying to be everything to everyone while being unsure of where his true identity lies. Is he the rebel leader? A husband and father? A man who wants to save his friends and family?

The story moves along at a quick clip, pulling the reader along with Remko through the highs and lows (expect some nail-biting close calls and some heart-wrenching losses) as the seers strain to make a life of freedom outside of the city. This book is part fiction, part dystopian, part YA, part speculative and entirely engaging.

In case you recognize that last name, here’s a little info about the author as well as some Q&As about her latest book. But I have to say, if Rachelle keeps writing books like these, people may be asking her dad if he’s related to her.

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The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full time. Rachelle lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair. Visit her online at www.rachelledekker.com.

 

 

Q: Remko struggles with his anger often throughout the book. Is this expression of anger connected to his fears? If so, how?

RD: Anger is just a natural reaction to the circumstances Remko faces. Sometimes being afraid can stir up anger because it makes us feel weak or out of control. This is definitely true for Remko in The Calling.

 

Q: Carrington struggles with the pain that comes from watching Remko miss the Truth that was so clear to her. What encouragement would you give to others that have loved ones who do not yet share their faith?

RD: Everyone needs to take the journey. For some, truth comes more easily, and others have to struggle to see it. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love miss the truth right in front of them, but don’t forget that the Father is still God, and He holds them in His hand. So love those that struggle restlessly and trust that the Father is ever-present, even in the darkness.

 

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the story?

RD: I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

 

Q: What can readers expect in the final book of the series?

RD: Characters they know and some new ones I hope they’ll love! More questions of identity, and fear, but the characters will also be looking at forgiveness and letting go. I’m really happy with the way the final book played out, and I’m hoping readers will be as well.

 

I, for one, am looking forward to reading how this series is concluded.

 

The Calling is available everywhere (and if you haven’t picked it up yet, The Choosing is also available).

****Tyndale Fiction and Tyndale Blogger Network provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter

Can I just say, I’m hooked on Denise Hunter’s books. She’s been a favorite author of mine for several years now. And I’d have to say others agree considering she’s now got a deal with the Hallmark Channel for one of her books, The Convenient Groom (pick it up if you haven’t read it yet.)

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In Hunter’s second Summer Harbor novel, The Goodbye Bride (available everywhere March 8, 2016), readers will enjoy a little twist on the romance trope. Turns out our main characters, Zac Callahan and Lucy Lovett, were engaged before. Seven months later, Zac is still trying to forget the woman who left him with no explanation when she calls out of the blue asking for his help.

A concussion has left Lucy with no memory of the last seven months or the explanation as to why she left Zac. The one thing she knows for absolute certain is she’s still in love with him. But he’s doesn’t trust her any longer.

The mystery of what happened to Lucy—why she left, how her new life (the one she can’t remember at all)—made if difficult for me to put this book down. Despite their past, Zac can’t leave Lucy alone and homeless (and who isn’t going to fall for that kind of hero from the very beginning?) so he brings her home to Summer Harbor, Maine. As the two interacted, I found myself waiting for them both to admit how they felt.

This is a story of second chances. It shows how burying past hurts can affect all of your relationships in your future, especially those with the people you love the most. Hunter is an expert at pulling emotions from her characters, and those kissing scenes….SWOON!!!

Thank you, Denise Hunter for another fantastic clean read. I look forward to reading Riley Callahan’s story in the future!!

***Thomas Nelson Fiction and BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Humor, A Littley History Lesson, and a Lot of Heart: Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

If you are connected with Melissa Tagg, author of the Walker Family series, on any social media outlet or follower her blog at all, you are familiar with the “rather ridiculous crush” (her words) she developed on the cover model for her second book in the series.

So, I have to admit, this guy doesn’t do it for me but hey, I get it. I’ve made no secret of my celebrity crush. The boy-next-door smile (Matt Damon), the way his eyes crinkle when he laughs (Matt Damon), the friend and father his is off screen as well as the heroes he plays on screen.

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But while the photo on the cover did nothing for me, once I read Like Never Before and “met” Logan Walker, I totally see the appeal.

A man committed to the happiness of his daughter despite a demanding career as a political speech writer. Add in the tragedy of losing his wife—three-year-old Charlie’s mother—and the relative isolation of living in California (his only interactions with clients, his co-workers, his business partner and wife, and his nannies), and those heartstrings are jerked a little more.

When Logan returns to his hometown—the quirky yet charming Maple Valley—readers get to glimpse another side (or maybe sides) of the man. The big brother. The son. The man who seems to have it all together but is breaking inside.

Yet one unexpected person somehow sees beyond the façade. Amelia Bentley is determined to save the town newspaper—the same one Logan now owns—and she’s also enraptured by everything Logan has written. With her own past filled with broken dreams and regrets, Amelia has found a home—and a family—in Maple Valley.

Injecting humor at just the right moments, Melissa Tagg had me chuckling one moment and blinking back tears in the next. While there is a lightheartedness to a few scenes in the story, the author doesn’t hesitate to tackle some tough subjects—loss of a spouse, disagreements with family, and feeling out of touch with your faith. With God.

I look forward to what Tagg has in store with the remaining Walker siblings. With stories like this one, she’s becoming an author I will watch with anticipation. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

And Melissa, if I’m ever in Iowa, I’ll take you up on that pizza party invitation. Because if you’ve got a smidge of the sense of humor and spiritual insight I find in your books, you’ll be a lot of fun to hang out with.

Pre-order you copy today (Available everywhere April 5, 2016)

****Bethany House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Oh, and if you’d like to read how Melissa Tagg fictionalized her cover model crush, check out her Christmas novella, One Enchanted Christmas.