Review: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter


Often in fiction, the story ends and readers are left to assume the happily ever after. It’s usually at high point—a declaration of love, an engagement, a wedding. But what happens after the last first kiss? After the I do’s? When real life encroaches on the high of falling in love? What happens when there are hiccups in the happily-ever-after?

In her latest book, Denise Hunter explores this concept while delicately balancing on the line of realities of life and the hope of love while weaving the main characters’ history with their current-day situation.

Noah and Josephine had a whirlwind romance, one that seemed to set them up for a lifetime of love. But it ended too soon…or has it?

Josephine didn’t completely open herself up to her husband while Noah hadn’t wanted to push his wife whenever he saw that expression of sadness cross her features. Yet, in successful relationships—ones that last lifetimes—communication is so key.

Forced together due to a storm, Noah and Josephine must fast their failures and faults in their relationship while admitting there is still something between them. Will they allow past hurts and angry words to overrule God’s grace, forgiveness, and healing? Sweetbriar Cottage presents a picture that reminds the reader that only God’s love is limitless. That people make mistakes and errors that hurt deeply but unconditional love is not something we earn, it’s something given freely.

My Rating:

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Social Media Saturday: Kristy Cambron



Welcome to another Social Media Saturday. If you don’t already follow this week’s author online, you need to!!


Author Bio

social media saturday kristy cambronKRISTY CAMBRON has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists for 2014 & 2015, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. The Lost Castle (HarperCollins, series debut in 2018) is her fifth novel. Her first Bible studies (DVD + study guides), The Verse Mapping series, will release in 2018.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University, and has 15 years experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She loves storytelling from the stage and travels to teach about the intersection of story roads, faith-following Jesus, and her affection for Bible Verse-Mapping. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

The last and most important thing? Jesus Christ is everything — let her tell you about Him sometime.


What I love about Kristy

Not only does Kristy write beautiful and moving stories, she opens my eyes to history like no one has before. Whether she’s showing readers the beauty that existed in German concentration camps during World War II (The Butterfly and the Violin and A Sparrow in Terezin) or delving into the lives of historical figures I’ve not thought of much (John and Mable Ringling in The Ringmaster’s Wife and Harry Houdini in The Illusionist’s Apprentice), she brings history alive through her stories.

In addition to her fabulous fiction, Kristy is working on some non-fiction books: verse mapping studies. I am so excited for these! If you want to learn more about verse mapping, check out Kristy’s Verse Mapping 101 Blog Post.

And if those two things alone don’t convince you, her Friday Cafe coffee chats on FB live will. These are informal chats in which you can see some of Kristy’s personality shining through. Her humor, her heart, and her passions shine through during these special author/reader chats.


Connect with Kristy


*under construction this summer as the verse mapping Bible studies come together






Newest Release

Not all illusions happen on the stage.

Wren Lockhart, apprentice to master illusionist Harry Houdini, uses life on a vaudeville stage to

escape the pain of her past. She continues her career of illusion after her mentor’s death, intent on burying her true identity.

But when a rival performer’s act goes tragically wrong, the newly formed FBI calls on Wren to speak the truth—and reveal her real name to the world. She transfers her skills for misdirection from the stage to the back halls of vaudeville, as she finds herself the unlikely partner in the FBI’s investigation. All the while Houdini’s words echo in her mind: Whatever occurs, the crowd must believe it’s what you meant to happen. She knows that if anyone digs too deep, secrets long kept hidden may find their way to the surface—and shatter her carefully controlled world.

Set during one of the richest, most vibrant eras in American history, this Jazz Age novel of illusion, suspense, and forgotten pasts is perfect for fans of The Magician’s Lie, challenging all to find the underpinnings of faith on their own life’s stage.

“Prepare to be amazed by The Illusionist’s Apprentice.” —Greer Macallister, bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie and Girl in Disguise

Order online or pick up at your local bookstore





Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

A beautiful portrayal of lives altered by one corrupt and greedy woman.

When I finish a book, I like to let the story sit with me overnight before I review it. Before We Were Yours took more than one evening. There is so much depth to this story, so much pain and sorrow. The bright spots in the novel don’t allow the reader to get fully dragged under.

Based on true events surrounding Georgia Tann (who brokered children to the wealthy from the 1930s-1950s), Rill’s story is fictional but based on accounts of children who spent time in one of Tann’s homes.

Rill’s story is heartbreaking. A twelve-year-old girl who assumes responsibility to her four younger siblings but can’t keep them all together despite her best attempts. A girl who has only known life drifting on rivers in her family’s shanty boat with parents too young to call Mom and Dad. A girl who has everything she loves about her life stripped away only to be forced into a nightmare that grows worse as the days spent apart from her family stretch.



As Avery Stafford, a politician’s daughter whose life has been mapped out by her family, dives into the mystery present by a woman she meets at one of her father’s political appointments, she uncovers secrets long buried. Secrets that will make her take a hard look at her own life and future.

While reading, I felt Rill’s heartache, her shame and guilt over not keeping her family together, and her desire to return to the life she once had. And I felt Avery’s tug of war between keeping her family happy and living a life that makes her happy.

This story has a satisfying ending, though not exactly a happy one for everyone. It took me a bit to get into it but this is not unusual for me with Lisa Wingate’s stories. Probably because I tend to read more romances than anything, and while there was a hint of it in Before We Were Yours, the romance is not the heart and soul of this story. And just like every other book I’ve read written by this author, sticking with it was more than worth the payout.

My Rating:

Note: This book is written for the ABA market but is a clean read.



Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shanty boat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation . . . or redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Review: You’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher


When a man with a life plan and a woman whose only goal is daily survival for her and her ten-year-old daughter, will their pasts and prejudices ruin a promising future?

In You’ll Think of Me, Robin Lee Hatcher weaves a story of letting go and learning to trust in the beauty and grandeur of southern Idaho.

Brooklyn Myers has known a lot of disappointment in her life. All she’s known is people leaving her. Her mother. Her husband. Even her father has given up on her.

Upon learning of his best friend’s decision to leave the land he’d promised Derek to his wife and child instead, Derek is engulfed by disappointment. He never much cared for Brooklyn, and here she is again. Ruining his best-laid plans.

As a former resident of Idaho, I love reading about the state in stories. And Robin Lee Hatcher is one of the best in describing the beauty and grandeur of the southern portion of that state. But the author’s true gift is in the heart of her stories.

In the struggles of her main characters, and even a couple supporting characters in a small Idaho town. “You’ll Think of Me” touches on so many difficult issues—abandonment, trust, abuse—in a poignant way.

This one is another winner from Robin Lee Hatcher.

My Rating:


Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Tyndale House Publishers. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


In a small town in Idaho’s idyllic wine country where the past looms large, can two people realize their individual dreams for the future … together?

Abandoned once too often, Brooklyn Myers never intended to return to Thunder Creek, Idaho. Her hometown holds too many memories of heartache and rejection. But when her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies and leaves his family home and acreage to her and their ten-year-old daughter Alycia, it’s an opportunity to change their lives for the better—a chance Brooklyn can’t pass up, for Alycia’s sake if not her own.

Derek Johnson, Chad’s best friend since boyhood, isn’t keen on the return of Brooklyn Myers to Thunder Creek. He still blames her for leading his friend astray. And now she has ruined his chance to buy the neighboring ten acres which would have allowed him to expand his organic farm. To add insult to injury, Chad’s dying request was that Derek become the father to Alycia that Chad never was. How can he keep that promise without also spending time with the girl’s mother?

Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Derek and Brooklyn must both confront challenges to their dreams and expectations. He must overcome long-held misconceptions about Brooklyn while she must learn to trust someone other than herself. And if they can do it, they just might discover that God has something better in mind than either of them ever imagined.


Review: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

Admission: I have read the popular mainstream YA bestsellers. In fact, I try to read most of them before the movie comes out. The Hunger Games, Divergent, Ender’s Game, The Maze Runner, The Fifth Wave, and more are books I’ve read and (for the most part) enjoyed. And I am often in awe of the worlds their imaginations create.

Mary Weber’s is no exception. Her newest offering takes elements from several of these—aliens, hackers, games of skill—and combines them into a creation that draws readers in.

As the book opens, Sofi’s sole focus is on her brother. A fact readers soon learn is more of a way of life for her. When things go awry, Sofi’s one goal is to find her brother. Between rebelling against her CEO-focused mother and her protection of her brother, some of her choices are not the best. But, you see and understand the motivation behind those poor choices.

What I loved about this book is how fast it moved. There is some good action with the FanGames, but there are more nuances that keep the pace.

Sofi’s past heartbreak where Miguel (the youngest ambassador in earth’s history) is concerned; her relationships with her team, her mother, and her brother; and the question the Delonese people’s motivation all kept my interest. Add in that I never quite knew who to trust, and this one was a page-turner. Continue reading