Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

About the book:

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

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My review:

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep is a lovely, light read with three heavy messages of love, hope, and faith.

Each story is driven by romance, but there is also enough mystery or adventure to keep you turning pages and hoping that the characters open their hearts and their eyes to each other before something else goes wrong.

And I appreciated how each story’s character arc brought both the women and the men closer to God through their own stubbornness or willfulness or mistakes. It was a great reminder that God uses everything for the good of those who love Him. 🙂

If you’re looking for a read that is inspirational and charming, grab a copy of Ladies of Intrigue.

Many thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

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Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

About the book:

Mermaids. Murder. Mayhem.

A red tide is rising.

As the daughter of one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancé murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads. Jade learns too late that the choices she makes ripple further than she’d ever imagined. And as she fights against the tide of anger in a city that lives for scandal, she discovers danger lurking in every canal, imperiling her family and shattering the ocean’s fragile peace.

Can the city’s divisions be mended before the upwelling of hate rips apart everything Jade loves?

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My review:

I have to admit that I resisted reading this story for a long time. Many of my friends recommended it, but I’m not a fan of mermaid stories. I get frustrated with the rehashing of The Little Mermaid (mermaid sees human man, falls in love, wants to be a human, yada, yada), so I put it off as long as I could. I finally gave in the other day and was more than pleasantly surprised.

Breakwater is not your typical mermaid story. Yay! Instead of sappy romantic wishes, this story starts out with murder — much more to my taste (that wasn’t meant in a creepy way 😉 ). It’s a story about how greed and power corrupt and about the strength it takes to stand up to immorality in the face of losing everything you love.

And actually, Payne’s decision to have the story take place “under the sea” added depth (wink, wink) to the plot that I’ve never really enjoyed in a mermaid tale before. The details she chose to focus on regarding the mer-people and the naiads were rather fascinating.

In other words, this was a great read. I definitely recommend you read Breakwater, the first book in the Broken Tides trilogy, even if, like me, you’re not a big fan of mermaid stories. I enjoyed it so much that I’ll be reading book two, Crosscurrent, soon.

Happy reading! 🙂

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

About the book:

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

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My review:

This story sort of blew me away! It was so much more than I expected it to be, and it was wonderful. Not only was the story well-crafted, with the parallel lives of the two main characters kept easily separated, so as not to be confusing, while merging ever closer with each turn of the page; but also, this book opens a dialogue about generational mental health and all of its implications. Very relevant for today.

Beyond that, I am so impressed with Wright’s story craft. I love how she begins by showing you waves rolling in on the beach of each life involved. Then she follows the ripples back to the moment the stone was dropped, showing how one moment, one decision, can change the entire landscape along the shore of so many lives.

This is so much more than a ghost story, so much more than a historical fiction, so much more than literary fiction. It is a story that can touch your heart and change you for the better, if you’re willing to let it.

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishing and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz

About the book:

Centaurs, dragons, monster hunting, and time travel. The West has never been wilder.

Todd Crane is a centaur. (Part-time.) He’s also the direct descendant of the infamous monster hunter Ichabod Crane, who disgraced his entire bloodline by failing to capture the Headless Horseman.

Todd is determined to fix his family’s reputation. There’s just one problem–he deals in illegal magic potions. This puts him on the wrong side of U.S. Marshal Amy Crockett, who makes her living by locking up supernatural offenders.

When the Headless Horseman returns to menace the western frontier, Todd and Amy reluctantly join forces to hunt the monster. But the secrets of the Crane family are darker than Todd realizes…and no hunter is safe from the Horseman’s curse.

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My review:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kyle Robert Shultz has a knack for creating wonderful stories. I’ve enjoyed his Beaumont and Beasley series, so I thought I’d give his Crockett and Crane tales a go. With this first in the series, Horseman, I can definitely see that these Tales of the Neverican Frontier will be just as magical.

Stuffed with everything from mythological creatures to time travel, from beloved characters of folklore to potion-wielding criminals, Horseman has something for everyone. And, as always, the characters are fabulous: full of gumption and snark and just enough narcissism to keep things interesting. 😉

Horseman is light enough for a lazy day’s reading, but still has enough punch to keep you turning pages. I’d highly recommend you pick up your own copy to enjoy. 🙂

Kill the Beast by Michele Israel Harper

About the book:

Ro remembers the castle before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive–just like the rest of the kingdom plunged into despair never before known.

But a beast has overtaken the castle. A beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill.

Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him.

But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.

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My review:

Kill the Beast is not your ordinary retelling of the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. While you can find similarities, Kill the Beast is so much more than I ever expected.

Michele Israel Harper did a fantastic job of bringing a fresh twist to the story. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just tell you that I really appreciated the unexpected that she wove into the tale. The changes made for a wonderful read that make me want to read Ro’s next adventure…as soon as it is published! 🙂

If you like Beauty and the Beast, you’ll love Kill the Beast! Grab your own copy and settle in for a ride. 🙂

The Case for Christ Daily Moment of Truth by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg

About the book:

Why Do We Believe What We Believe?

Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg, leading apologists for Christianity, present 180 insightful readings that will give you daily infusions of spiritual truth while deepening your knowledge of the evidence for and the apologetics for Christian belief.

Each reading is based on scientific, historical, or biblical fact that will bolster your confidence in Christ. You will be inspired, encouraged, and equipped to “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Practical takeaways will allow you to put this confidence and knowledge into action.

You’ll emerge with a deeper understanding of why you believe what you believe. In the process, you’ll find your love of truth — and your passion to share it — growing each day.

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My review:

I have been looking for a new devotional and am so glad I picked up this one! It is so rich with information and inspiration that I want to read it again and again.

This devotional gives you tools to help you grow in your knowledge and faith, as well as tools to help you share your faith with others (scholars, seekers, and skeptics alike). And the layout is easy-to-read: written for the lay person, but so filled with details and insights on apologetics that it would make a great gift even for your pastor.

Though it may seem like a trivial detail, I really appreciate the table of contents in the front of the book. If you have someone ask you a question that this book addresses, thanks to that table of contents, it’s easy to look up the answer that Strobel and Mittelberg provide. And those answers provided are fascinating and faith-affirming.

If you are looking for a way to deepen your spiritual knowledge, or if you are looking for answers to questions you have about the Bible, or if you are just looking for a fascinating devotional to help you in your quiet time with God, I’d highly recommend The Case for Christ Daily Moment of Truth. It’s a wonderful resource and an enjoyable read.

Many thanks to BookLook Bloggers Readers’ Lounge, Zondervan, and HarperCollins Christian Publishing for the copy of this devotional for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Jerusalem’s Queen by Angela Hunt

About the book:

Born in the small village of Modein, a town made famous by the warrior Maccabees, Salome Alexandra knows better than to harbor grand dreams for her future. She pales in comparison to her beautiful older sister, and though she learns to read at an early age, girls are not valued for their intellectual ability. But when her father and sister are killed, John Hyrcanus, a distant relative, invites Salome and her mother to live with his family in Jerusalem, where her thirst for knowledge is noticed and indulged.

When her guardian betroths her to a pagan prince, she questions HaShem’s plan. When Hyrcanus finally marries her to a boy half her age, she questions her guardian’s sanity. But though Salome spends much of her life as a pawn ordered about by powerful men, she learns that a woman committed to HaShem can change the world.

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My review:

Jerusalem’s Queen is a fascinating look into the intertestamental period of history in Jerusalem. It brings to life a period of time that I’m sadly unfamiliar with, but Hunt’s well-spun tale has sparked an interest in me to know more.

I truly enjoyed how the author showed two simultaneous points of view: Salome Alexandra’s version of events interwoven with the story as told by her Egyptian maidservant, Kissa. What an intriguing way to bring so much more depth to the tale. It made for a very interesting read.

If you have ever wondered about what went on in the 400 years between the history recorded in the Old Testament and that of the New Testament, I’d highly recommend you read Angela Hunt’s Jerusalem’s Queen. It is an intriguing introduction to the people and events of the intertestamental period of history.

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂