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Waves of Freedom #1: Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin
Waves of Freedom #1: Through Waters Deep

lanehillhouse, August 24, 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015
Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin, © 2015
Book 1 in the Waves of Freedom Series

Espionage and unrest within, Mary Stirling begins her search for the perpetrator. As an invisible stenographer, Mary is free to roam the Boston Navy Yard unsuspected as she collects the morning reports for her boss, Barton Pennington. Mary is doing a little collecting here and there, herself. Using shorthand, she makes notes of conversations within her notebook, compiling information that would not otherwise be overheard.

Mary Stirling:
It all began to be for certain as suspicions came clear at the christening of the new destroyer, the USS Ettinger. I called to my boss that the bottle of champagne had been tampered with ~ before he took it to launch the ship and he smiled and waved me off. I went to the edge of the crowd of viewers, hoping to be swallowed up in the proceedings so as not to be noticed. Sure enough, Mr. Pennington is calling my name to come to the platform. Thankfully, hidden among those gathering, I go undetected. I do not like to be called attention to before crowds of people. Being silent in my duties is more comfortable for me!

Ensign Jim Avery:
Mary Stirling. What a surprise, the best friend of Quintessa Beaumont, the girl I have had on my mind for a long time ~ one of those memories hard to put at rest. My friend, Archer Vandenberg, and I are new to Boston, assigned to the new destroyer, USS Atwood. Mary and I were school friends back in Ohio ~ well, I was a tagalong hoping to catch Quintessa eye. There is more to Mary than I remember of the quiet girl who stayed in the background. A deepness that resonates solidness and care.

FBI Agent Sheffield:
At first I dismissed Mary Stirling as a Nancy Drew wannabe, but as reports became obvious, I thought better about negating her. Mainly, her persistence in contacting me, and the urgency of having our office within the shipyard. She wasn't far off in her speculations, in fact, she was a valuable asset to the contacts needed to apprehend the person or persons responsible for the detriment against the USS destroyers. Agent Hayes and I began following up on her right-on clues.

Historical fiction is interesting to me because the research the authors do, placing their characters within the events/happenings of the time, is so much greater than what we may have learned in school. Through Waters Deep covers March 18, 1941 to December 7, 1941, a time in history of unrest preceding the attack at Pearl Harbor. I liked the depth of the characters as they unveil who they are and who they perceive themselves to be. So much more strength than they realize until tested. Mary was my favorite as she is selfless along with being unsure, she puts others before herself. Untried, she is uncertain of where her interest lies. She is sure that she wants country honor and right to prevail.

***Thank you to author Sarah Sundin for inviting me to review the first book in her Waves of Freedom series and to Revell for sending me a review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
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A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears
A Bride at Last

lanehillhouse, August 20, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015
A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears, © 2015

Silas Jonesy has become used to riding the train with his round trips between his Kansas farm and those he has left behind in Missouri ~ only... he didn't know the whereabouts until recently. Receiving the name of the town from his runaway wife, he arrives a day too late. She has passed on. Unknown to him, she has a child; a nine-year-old son named Anthony. Anthony has someone who cares for him and thought she would be his overseer until Silas shows up and Richard, who Anthony had known as "Pa." Only it is more complicated than that. Richard's wife is barren and he comes looking for his son. Which of the three will be awarded Anthony by the court?

A Bride at Last is a story of trust and letting the past go to be able to live in the now and future. It reveals the hearts and longings of those in the story, even those who are out for their own gain without regard for another. Miss Kate Dawson is the school teacher who had cared for Anthony and his mother, thinking she would continue to be his caregiver because of the closeness of her heart to him. Entanglement with Silas, although innocent, to the teachers' rules, becomes imminent that her future is unsecure. How can the welfare of a student become a search for more than she expected?

I liked how the protagonists find out who they truly are by their willingness to risk sharing their weaknesses; foibles hidden even from themselves until they are awakened to the liability of them? How much of what we try to hid, or avoid, becomes the very thing that will free us, once it is revealed and dealt with? Finding they could rely on God when their own decisions waiver, becomes the very stepping stone needed to move forward.

The Unexpected Brides series by Melissa Jagears:
Intimacy with God and man cannot be had without trusting them with your weakness, Love by the Letter, to accept you despite your past, A Bride for Keeps, to help you succeed in your present, A Bride in Store and stick with you in the future, A Bride at Last. The novella, Blinded by Love, in The Convenient Bride Collection is an unofficial part of the series, taking one of the characters from Love by the Letter and giving him a happily ever after.

Melissa Jagears is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance after everyone is asleep. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides Series with Bethany House. The prequel ebook novella, Love by the Letter is free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at her website.

***Thank you to author Melissa Jagears and to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a review copy of A Bride at Last. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
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Journey of the Heart #6: A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble
Journey of the Heart #6: A Heart's Home

lanehillhouse, August 19, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble, © 2015
Journey of the Heart series

Part 6 of 6 in the Journey of the Heart series ~
December 18, 1866, Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming Territory
With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart�"and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart? --author Colleen Coble

My review:
This six-part novella series is a reissue of the Wyoming series, earlier works by Colleen Coble ~ Where Leads the Heart and continuing Plains of Promise, to be enjoyed by new readers and renewed by those who read them when they were first published almost a decade ago. The story continues as Emmie Croftner makes a complete turn around from "It's All About Me" to a true cherishing and respect of friendship ~ so far that it leaves her thoughts of self and longings behind. Selfless.

What would you do if you kept information hidden and the longer it goes, the harder it is to relinquish because of not wanting to lose what you have? On top of revealing, being held emotionally captive by another because they know, and could tell before you got the chance? Many times, so close to say and miss the opportunity? There is more going on than meets the eye. A promise to a friend that could change everything.

I like the character building throughout the conclusion of this story. Sustaining heartache and uncertainty, personal hopes and desires are set aside in recognition of the needs of others. Once separated, Morning Song returns and to the joy of Sarah, they are again reunited in their continuing friendship. For such a time as this...

I would suggest, if you can, to read all novellas back-to-back. So hard to wait, but then... you had to until the next magazine issue came out... to be continued. Gladly, they are worth the wait but flow better to have then together so as some information is not rushed and others slacking, with you waiting for the climax of how it will turn out.

I did not read the first two original books, and did enjoy this reissue of the Wyoming series. I would like to see it expanded further, to find out what happens after Fort Phil Kearny. With new readers, would be a great finale. Thank you to author Colleen Coble for bringing these out-of-print stories back to life. These are the six serial parts published in short installments at regular intervals, as a novel appearing in successive issues of a magazine. The blog tour dates are monthly, March through August, 2015. Book One ~ A Heart's Disguise; Book Two ~ A Heart's Obsession; Book Three ~ A Heart's Danger; Book Four ~ A Heart's Betrayal; Book Five ~ A Heart's Promise; Book Six ~ A Heart's Home.

I loved the wrap up of this story and the building as each month's serial unfolded a different layer of the occupants of the heart ~ those that were trustworthy and those that were not. A good model for following Truth, trusting God's best for us. I liked how Emmie learned to rely instead of jumping to conclusions and going her own way. She believed and her actions reflected in others being able to think clearly in their decision-making choices. Very good story and this was my very favorite section. Well-written and not without suspense, as daily lives reveal daily.

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to join the blog tours for the Journey of the Heart series by Colleen Coble, and to Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a copy of Book Six, A Heart's Home for review. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
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Hartley-By-The-Sea Novel #1: Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-By-The-Sea Novel by Kate Hewitt
Hartley-By-The-Sea Novel #1: Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-By-The-Sea Novel

lanehillhouse, August 7, 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015
Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel by Kate Hewitt, © 2015

Rainy Day Sisters is set in the fictional village of Hartley-by-the-Sea. Come along as we explore this just released novel!

...beautiful places can be found just about anywhere, if you have the heart to look for them
--author Kate Hewitt, beautiful places

Kate Hewitt
I am newly discovering Kate's writings. Profusely beautiful in expression of what might be missed in a day. I like the descriptiveness as if you are a passenger able to take in the countryside.

A long journey to leave yourself behind? Four months could stretch out beyond expectations as unknown clues unravel.

What would it be like to finally reach your destination and pick up a new beginning? Lucy Bagshaw is about to find out as she joins her half sister, Juliet, and begins a new job, filling in for four months at a primary school. How hard could that be?

Alternating chapters give each of Lucy and Juliet's thoughts as they adjust to being "sisters-close-up." Lucy, the newcomer, learning the flow of Juliet's home with her two rescue dogs. Comical how with decisions to be made, diversions become time to walk the dogs. I like how they get to know each other.

“Because I’m living with you, and I realize I don’t even know you, not really. We’re sisters�"”
“Half sisters.” It popped out before Juliet could keep herself from it, and Lucy blinked, clearly stung.
“Half sisters,” she agreed, “but we’re the only siblings we’ve got�"”
“True enough, I suppose.”
--Rainy Day Sisters, 29

Juliet has a bed-and-breakfast ~ Tarn House ~ so a social place in the village as walkers or hikers stopover. Surrounded by farms and hillsides, Hartley-by-the-Sea, population fifteen hundred, is a quaint, quiet seaside village with passers-by enjoying the northern England countryside.

A lot of rainy tea-drinking days interfold these two sisters as they become acquainted as adult women. One with everything orderly and the other with self-expression floating about. They balance each other in a certain way, bringing out the characters of others in their vicinity. Juliet has been here ten years and finds Lucy able to bring others out within her few months ~ mainly because she asks them questions. I am hoping these families will continue in the following stories, and this is just an introduction to them.

I liked the openness in which the characters are eventually able to express themselves, after routine days, one after the other, mundane in themselves. Likely, because someone cared to ask and involve themselves in their lives. Especially with the gathering at the pub for the monthly quiz. That sounded like fun ~ sort of like a trivia contest.

***Thank you to author Kate Hewitt for inviting me to read and review the first book in her new series, Hartley-by-the-Sea, and to the publisher, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group, for sending me a review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
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Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

lanehillhouse, July 31, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson, © 2015

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. --2 Corinthians 12:9

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is a strong story of generations following each other in sequels with love so powerful it can break every obstacle in its path and past. Cycles that have not been broken except by God. Self-doubt and uncertainties brink exposure when we decide for another of what we think they would do. Time has been lost because of omitted observations that love could have healed, that acceptance would epoxy the breaks back together stronger than they were apart.

Libby Doyle is free to be who she is without hindrance until others try to encapsulate her into their mold. Walter Doyle sees who she is, perfect as she is, loved forever.

Melanie Dobson has brought to the forefront what can happen for families when seeing others as they are does not hinder but frees them to express all they are meant to be. Full, content, loved, accepted, and not hidden away. So reminiscent of Psalm 139, The Message ~

Shadows appear from intercepting light, reflected. Readiness to accept each other and not hide away. After the passing of her parents, Walter and Maggie Doyle, Heather Toulson and her newly married daughter, Ella, return from the States to their Willow Cottage in the village of Bibury, the Cotswolds, England, to ready it for sale.

"If the answers are still around, I have no doubt you'll find them." Instead of looking toward Ladenbrooke, Heather stared at the old stone cottage ahead of her�"�"the home for Ladenbrooke's gardeners, decades before Oliver died.
--Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, 44

I liked how the story was told in first person from each participant character, rather than about, so you could grasp their thoughts and resulting actions. Flowing between each generation's "now" broadened the story to encompass a backstory and a hope for the future.

Love is very powerful ~ for God is Love

A life left in collected memories of the past unraveled in the future as Heather and Ella attempt to sort through the stored boxes, some labeled, others not. Are our lives that way? Some parts available for all to see, transparent and open, while others are of no function but have made us who we are in their completeness? All is revealed but like a puzzle, piece-by-piece, until it all together becomes a tapestry. A similar clip has been told of a magazine page given to a young boy as a puzzle map of the United States. He was asked how he did it so fast. He said he put the pieces of the man together on the other side and it all came together.

Each generation interweaves with the other as the mystery unfolds, leaving them bare. What has each person selected to do with the information that has fallen into place? Forgiveness and exposure can bring peace and solidity to each member, putting to rest suppositions. I liked how it was all woven together, guessing what might happen, until the very end, revealing why previous parts fell away. Truth became alive bringing brilliance to lives! God's Truth and redemption remove shame and imperfections ~ walls His light shines on both sides, removing shadows that hinder, freeing us to love and live in His grace.

***Thank you to author Melanie Dobson for inviting me to review her newest novel, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. Thank you to the publisher, Howard Books, for this review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
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