“No Safe Harbor” by Elizabeth Ludwig

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If you enjoy suspense, history and a dash of romance, I’d suggest that you pick up Elizabeth Ludwig’s newest novel “No Safe Harbor”, Book One of the Edge of Freedom series.  This was the first novel of Ludwig’s that I have read and I promise that it won’t be the last.

Set in New York City in 1897, Irishwoman Cara Hamilton takes her first step on American soil with a determination to find her twin brother, whom she’d believed to be dead for the past two years.   Aside from the Ellis Island inspector, dashing and charming Rourke Walsh is the first person she meets.   He graciously volunteers to help Cara navigate her way through the city to find her boardinghouse, a fact that leaves an impression on Cara.

However, Rourke is not all that he seems.  As determined as Cara is to find her long lost twin, Rourke is just as equally determined to avenge the death of his father, who died at the hands of Eoghan Hamilton: Cara’s twin brother.  He knows that if he can gain the trust of Cara, she will eventually lead him to her brother.  But what he doesn’t expect is the feelings that start to harbor in his heart.  Can he look past the hatred for Eoghan to embrace Cara?

I’ll admit, I didn’t care for Rourke in the beginning.  I honestly thought he was just using to Cara to find her brother, which at first he was, but I was relieved that he was able to look past that.  A satisfying read, I look forward to Book Two and what I’m assuming will be more centered around Eoghan’s story.

I reviewed this novel for Bethany House Publishers and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

No Safe Harbor

Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)

by

Elizabeth Ludwig

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year honors. This book was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned Four Stars from the Romantic Times. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool (Barbour Publishing) and Inn Plain Sight (Spyglass Lane), respectively, released in 2011.

Coming in 2012 is Elizabeth’s newest historical series from Bethany House Publishers. No Safe Harbor, the first book in the Edge of Freedom Series, will release in October, with two more books following in 2013 and 2014.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first full year, with more than 17,000 visitors in 2011. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she’d thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend–Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother’s warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara’s desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke’s true intentions come to light.

If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Harbor, go HERE.

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“Against the Tide” by Elizabeth Camden

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I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Elizabeth Camden’s novels since their inception.  You could only image how excited I was to get the opportunity to review “Against the Tide”.  This is Camden’s third novel and it does not disappoint.

As an orphaned immigrant child stranded in Boston, Lydia Pallas’s life never had the consistent continuity and balance that any other nine year old child would naturally have.  Now, as an adult,  she seeks out order and control in everyday things from the arrangement of her ink bottles to the type of soup she dines on every evening.  (It would get a tad monotonous, don’t you think?)

Along comes charming Alexander Banefield, who has similar qualities to that of a wrecking ball when it comes to Lydia’s life.   He is in need of a master of many languages, that of which Lydia is a hired professional.   Lydia agrees to help him translate an array of documents, as mindless as they may be.  However, Lydia is thrown off kilter when she comes to realize that she starting to have feelings for this man that she calls “Bane”.  And call her crazy, but she’s beginning to think he’s just as smitten.

I love it when I’m able to find a novel that I can fully indulge in and “Against the Tide” is just that.  An irresistible read, I completed the novel over a span of two days.  I also loved that there were direct and indirect mentions of her two previous novels.  “The Rose of Winslow Street” gets a mention during a discussion about soap and perhaps the craziest twist is that Alexander Banefield was actually one of the villains in “The Lady of Bolton Hill”!  I didn’t realize this correlation until I saw the author’s note in the back of the book and I was SHOCKED!  Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t realize the connection until the end.  It made me appreciate even more the redemptive value of the Christian Fiction genre.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Against the Tide

Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)

by

Elizabeth Camden

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Elizabeth:

I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.

I married relatively late in life, which turned out to be an odd kind of blessing. I had gotten very good at leading a solo life, and although I was not particularly content being alone, I had become reconciled to it. Most importantly, it taught me never to take my husband for granted. I give daily thanks for the blessing of being able to share a life with my favorite person on the planet.

As for who I am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Love and Lives are Threatened in Camden’s Latest Offering

As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she’s finally carved out a perfect life for herself–a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or “Bane,” a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane’s charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia’s part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Against the Tide, go HERE.

“All Things New” by Lynn Austin

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Buy on Amazon.com!

Buy on Amazon.com!

Growing up in the “north”, the North’s victory in the Civil War over the South is generally studied as a turning point for the United States. However, what most history books forget to include is details of the shambles that the South was left in after General Lee had surrendered. What was once a genteel society brimming with wealth, industry and affluence is now a blistered graveyard of plantations and a disparaged people with a bleak future. In the South, the fourth month of 1865 is not seen as a time of celebration, but as a time of mourning. Fathers have succumbed to illness, their brothers are missing in action and the women are left to bury the dead. Their livelihood as they know it is no more. Somehow, someway, they must learn to carry on.

And they did.

I’ll admit “All Things New” started off somewhat depressing. Who wants to read about fathers dying and brothers missing? It’s not exactly the type of stuff that keeps you up late into the night, turning the pages. But stick with it. You’ll be glad that you did.

“All Things New” centers around three woman and their different plights in life: Josephine, a young woman who has lost her years in society to the war, along with her father and her brother; Eugenia, the mother of Josephine, who is learning what it takes to carry on after your life has been turned upside down; and Lizzie, a newly freed slave whose trust in the Lord carries her through.

I reviewed this novel for CFBA and Bethany House Publishers.  The novel was provided in exchange for my honest review.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

All Things New

Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)

by

Lynn Austin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband’s work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she’d earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn’s novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well.

Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival–and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine’s mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak…but a bitter hatred fuels her.

With skill and emotion, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of the Reconstruction era by interweaving the stories of three women–daughter, mother, and freed slave–in a riveting tale.

If you would like to read the first chapter of All Things New, go HERE.

“The Trouble With Cowboys” by Denise Hunter

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Buy on Amazon.com!

The third and final installment of The Big Sky Romance series, “The Trouble With Cowboys” by Denise Hunter, doesn’t disappoint.  While some authors are devoted to pumping out books like a bubble gum factory, Denise has a way of writing characters that leave an imprint on your heart that you won’t forget.    You don’t mind that you have to wait for months in between novels because you always know what you’re going to get in return: consistent story-lines with memorable characters and a lesson that will help grow your faith.

Forced to grow up too fast, Annie Wilkerson makes a promise to her dying grandfather and takes on the responsibility of caring for her unruly teenage sister.  Determined to put her sister through college, Annie is a horse trainer by day and moonlights as the writer for a column solely devoted to imparting her wisdom as a trainer.  However, as the world becomes more and more attached that wonderful invention called the ‘internet’ (thanks, Al Gore…) she learns from her editor that her column is being replaced by a topic that you can never have enough answers for: love, and they want Annie to write it.    Wholly unqualified to write a column for the local lovelorn, Annie seeks the advice of all-knowing and confident Dylan Taylor.  After all, he’s romanced just about every woman in Moose Creek… he has to know SOMETHING about love, right?

The budding friendship and firecracker chemistry that existed between Annie and Dylan will keep you turning the pages until the very last one.  Some of the one-liners that Dylan would throw at Annie even had me rolling my eyes at times, but Annie was just the girl to put him in his place.

Learn more about Denise!

Learn more about Denise!

While I LOVED this story, I am so disappointed that I won’t be returning to Moose Creek, Montana any time soon.  (But that’s why I keep the books I love – to revisit!)  Since we had the pleasure of a visit from Sawyer Smitten in this novel, perhaps we’ll get to read about Moose Creek’s best-loved residents in another story in the future. (Fingers crossed!)

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of “The Trouble With Cowboys” from the author in exchange for my honest opinion and review (thanks for signing it, Denise!).  A positive review was not required, only an honest one.  I am so honored that she chose to bless me with an advanced copy.  I can only hope that I have returned the favor of the blessing with my review.

“Unending Devotion” by Jody Hedlund

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Buy on Amazon.com!

Buy on Amazon.com!

One thing that I love about Jody Hedlund’s historical novels is that she incorporates real life events and people into her story lines.  And the best part?  It’s more than likely something that you’ve never read in a history textbook or Googled on the web.  You LEARN when you read a book by Hedlund and you’re better off for it when you’ve finished turning the last page.

Jody Hedlund’s newest release, “Unending Devotion” is different from her previous two in many ways.   First, it’s set in cold dreary Michigan in the 1880’s when lumbering was the way of life.  (Kudos to any author who can accurately portray not two, but THREE different time periods in three different novels.)  Second, while there are characters in the book that were real people in history, they are not the main characters, like in her previous two novels.  She also doesn’t rename them like she did in the first two.  Third, I felt like this novel had more romance than the others, which I personally think is a bonus.  There was as much emotion and suspense as the previous two but with just a tad more chemistry between the hero and the heroine.  (You’ll take a big sigh when you turn the last page.  Guaranteed.)

Headstrong, willful and somewhat ignorant Lily Young follows around her “foster dad” to various lumber camps throughout Michigan to help him with his photography business.  All the while Lily is continuously checking the taverns and saloons for her runaway sister.  Lily is determined to find her at all costs, even if she has to sacrifice her own life to do it.  Meanwhile, she’s captured the attention of “shanty boy” named Connell, who is secretly the son of a prominent lumber baron.  His mission is to increase revenue for his father, while turning a blind eye to the dark side of the business.  However, his newfound friendship with Lily forces him into opening his eyes and standing up for himself.

Two days and two days ONLY were spent reading this book.  The suspense of whether Lily would ever find her sister and heart-wrenching determination of Connell forced me to keep my book light on into the wee morning hours.  Out of Hedlund’s three novels, I would say this one is my favorite and it has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf among my other prized books.

I reviewed this novel for Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.  A novel was provided free for me to review.  A positive review was not required, only an honest one.  However, in this case, my positive recommendation of “Unending Devotion” is freely given.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Unending Devotion, go HERE.

About the Author:

Learn more about Jody!

Learn more about Jody!

Jody has written novels for the last 20 years (with a hiatus when her children were young). After many years of writing and honing her skills, she finally garnered national attention with her double final in the Genesis Contest, a fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

Her first published book, The Preacher’s Bride (2010 Bethany House Publishers), became a best seller and has won multiple awards.

Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady, released in September of 2011, and her third book, Unending Devotion, is out now. She’s currently busy researching and writing another book!

Jody has been married for twenty years to her college sweetheart. Jody has five children ranging in ages from 15 to 6, with a set of twin daughters in the mix to make things more lively.

WIN a copy of “Proof” by Jordyn Redwood!

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Win a copy of “Proof” by Jordyn Redwood!

Learn more about Redwood’s debut novel and how to win your own copy!

Buy on Amazon.com!

Buy on Amazon.com!

Jordyn Redwood’s debut novel is not your typical fluffy Christian fiction.   In its own unique way, it’s raw, suspenseful and so realistic it will make you double check your locks and windows at night.   While I don’t recommend it as a way to curb insomnia, I highly encourage fans of suspenseful crime novels with a Christian twist to give this book a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

As an ER doctor, Lilly Reeves finds herself constantly caught up in the whirl and madness of the emergency room.  After a late night shift, she’s forced to take on the ER’s newest arrival: a car accident victim who is 28 weeks pregnant and is failing fast.  To try to save the woman and her child, they are forced to take the baby from her mother’s womb.  A preemie struggling to hold on to life, her grandparents inform the doctor that this child is the product of a rape her mother had suffered seven months earlier.    Filled with desperate fortitude, Dr. Lilly Reeves realizes that she must take matters into her own hands and bring the serial rapist to justice herself.  How much is she willing to risk to see this monster put behind bars?

The idea that this is a debut novel is mind boggling to me.  Jordyn Redwood writes likes a seasoned pro that’s been at it for years.  Not only is she able to create a crime drama that is riddled with mystery and suspense, she’s also able to add distinct medical knowledge that gives her writing the credence that it deserves.  I’m ecstatic to see that this is the first of the Bloodline Trilogy, which only means that there is more to come.   I highly recommend this novel, especially to someone with any medical knowledge.  Some of the medical jargon was over my head, but that only gave me, the reader, a more intense and pulsating experience.

I reviewed this novel for Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, in association with its publisher, Kregel Publications.  A positive review was not required, but freely given up on the merit of the writing.

 

Endorsements for “Proof”:

“Jordyn Redwood makes quite a splash with her debut novel. PROOFis a hard-edged mix of medical thriller and crime chiller that grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let go until the end. This one will keep you up way past your bedtime.”
—Rick Acker, best-selling author of When the Devil Whistles

 

“From the very first chapter, the first page even, Jordyn Redwood pulls the reader into a story that won’t let go. PROOF is proof enough for me that Jordyn is the real deal: an author who knows how to weave a tight story, write descriptive, authentic prose, and deal with some pretty hefty issues. I’m a fan!”
—Mike Dellosso, author of Frantic and Rearview (a 7 Hours story)

 

“Debut novelist Jordyn Redwood has used her experience as an ER and ICU nurse to craft a blend of medical thriller and police procedural with twists and turns to keep fans of either genre turning pages.”
—Richard L. Mabry, MD, author of Lethal Remedy and the Prescription for Trouble series

 

“A rollercoaster of a story. Jordyn Redwood’s PROOF has everything you could want in a thriller—believable characters, a villain who makes your skin crawl, a touch of humor, and a twisting plot—all bound by fascinating medical and scientific details. What a fabulous debut!”
—Sarah Sundin, award-winning author of the Wings of Glory series

 

Learn more about the author: 

Learn more about Jordyn Redwood!

Learn more about Jordyn Redwood!

Jordyn Redwood has served patients and their families for nearly twenty years and currently works as a pediatric ER nurse. As a self-professed medical nerd and trauma junkie, she was drawn to the controlled chaotic environments of critical care and emergency nursing. Her love of teaching developed early and she was among the youngest CPR instructors for the American Red Cross at the age of seventeen. Since then, she has continued to teach advanced resuscitation classes to participants ranging from first responders to MD’s.

Her discovery that she also had a fondness for answering medical questions for authors led to the creation of Redwood’s Medical Edge at http://jordynredwood.com/. This blog is devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction.

Jordyn lives in Colorado with her husband, two daughters, and one crazy hound dog. In her spare time she also enjoys reading her favorite authors, quilting, and cross-stitching.

Want to win a copy of “Proof” by Jordyn Redwood?  

Follow these steps below and earn up to THREE entries!

1) Answer this question: What is your favorite suspenseful novel?  If you don’t have one, list your favorite genre and book belonging to that genre.

2) Follow my blog!  If you already follow, then you’ve got an automatic entry!

3) Share on Facebook!  I’m relying on your honesty here, so please be truthful.

Winner will be drawn Sunday evening, September 9th and notified via email.  The winner will then have three days to respond, otherwise they will forfeit their prize and another winner will be drawn. (Please add erinshepherd623@hotmail.com to your “safe” email list!)

WIN a copy of “Love’s Reckoning” by Laura Frantz!

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Want to win a copy of Laura Frantz’s newest novel “Love’s Reckoning”?  Read my blog to find out!

Buy on Amazon.com!

Buy on Amazon.com!

Usually when I give away a free copy of the book, it’s because I received the book for free, have two copies, or I have a paper copy and also a digital copy.  Sometimes my motivation for giving away a book is because I want more readers for my little blog.  Well, you can check “None of the above” with the next book I’m giving away.   Not only did I buy my own personal copy that will now sit prettily on my shelf, I also bought a copy for YOU!  I simply love this book, love everything this author writes and I want to share it with you.  Regardless of whether you win or lose, I hope you will pick up or download a copy of this fabulous book.

Laura Frantz has published three previous stand-alone novels that are all based in Kentucky (her former home-state and my current stomping ground) during the late eighteenth century.  Set during the same time in history “Love’s Reckoning” branches out and away from the others: It’s set in Pennsylvania and is Book One in the Ballantyne Legacy (meaning that Book Two will be centered on the same family that you will surely come to love in the first).  Just the idea that I get to enjoy a sequel to “Love’s Reckoning” makes me giddy with glee.

Eden Lee, an even tempered and slightly naïve daughter of a blacksmith, slowly and carefully befriends her father’s apprentice, Silas Ballantyne.  Her father, a brutal but aging man, is holding strong to the tradition that the apprentice marries one of the master’s daughters and continues the family business.  Eden’s older sister, selfish and spoiled Elspeth, is more than willing to offer herself up in the name of family, as long as Silas is the prize.  Silas, unaware of his master’s plan, is disenchanted by Elspeth’s antics and prefers to keep to himself. After all, after his apprenticeship in ten months, he’s moving on to bigger and better things in Pittsburgh.  Eden, who is taken with Silas’s compassion and steady faith, begins to see him in a different light and prays that when her father forces Silas to marry, that he will choose her.

Learn more about Laura!

Learn more about Laura!

Reading a well-written book is like indulging in your favorite dessert:  your mind tells you to slow down and savor it bit by bit, to make it last.  But your taste buds give in to the temptation and you devour it in two seconds flat.  “Love’s Reckoning” is one such book.   When I pick up any novel by Laura Frantz, I know that she has poured her heart and soul into the pages I’m turning.  Her attention to detail, from the type of dress they wore when and for what (I’m so glad I live in the day and age of sweat pants!) to the difference in their day to day speech (aye?), is unrivaled.  (Sometimes I wonder if Laura talks like her characters in real life?)  If you haven’t read a book by Laura Frantz yet, I urge you to.  Borrow one of my copies, check one out from the library or hole yourself up in a bookstore for 7 or 8 hours (just keep saying that you’re “browsing”).   No matter what, let one of her novels be your next indulgence.

Learn more about: 

The Frontiersman’s Daughter

Courting Morrow Little

The Colonel’s Lady

Want a chance to win your own copy?  Earn up to THREE entries!

1) Answer this question: Which of Laura’s Frantz’s novels have you read and which one do you plan to read next?  Which one is your favorite?  If you haven’t read any of her novels, which one do you most want to read?

2) Follow my blog and let me know about it!  If you already follow, you get an automatic entry!

3) Share my post on Facebook!  I’m relying on your honesty here, so let me know if you did share it.

Winner will be drawn Friday evening, September 7th and notified via email.  The winner will then have three days to respond, otherwise they will forfeit their prize and another winner will be drawn. (Please add erinshepherd623@hotmail.com to your “safe” email list!)