Monday, January 16, 2017

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klaassen (Tales from Ivy Hill Book #1)

I come back to Klaassen's books because they are good, and each time I take away something that moves me. This book is not an exception to that. I'm really happy with this new series. While it was a slower pace, I felt that Jane Bell paralleled some of what Ruth and Naomi in the Bible must have gone through. Oh, yes, the setting was different, but a bitter and hurting mother in law, and a daughter in law grieving her husband and having to go on anyway reminded me of that. It's still romantic, the story, and it still heart gripping to me. I like it and I look forward to the next book in the series. 

My copy came from Bethany House. I wasn't required to leave a review. I do so of my own free volition, and I'm glad I get to do so. 


Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. . . .
The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

Praise for Julie Klassen
"Christy Award-winning Klassen draws on Jane Austen's impeccably crafted novels in her . . . richly nuanced and superbly written inspirational Regency romance."--Booklist starred review

"Klassen blends her tale well; each ingredient--romance, friendship . . . mystery--is measured to produce a lively tale that will satisfy Regency aficionados and general readers, too." 
--Publishers Weekly

JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit

The Shattered Vigil by Patrick W. Carr

Where some books lag in the second book in a series, Carr gives us a very strong book instead! It's dark, and light, and strong and fascinating. I will be watching and waiting for the next book in this series. It's worth reading in so many ways! 

My copy came from Net Galley and Bethany House. I wasn't required to leave a review. 
I actually couldn't wait to! My thoughts and opinions are my own.


A Single Terrible Choice Faces the Vigil. Hide in Safety and Let Darkness Take Over the Land or Face the Growing Danger and Risk All of Their Lives.Their victory over the dark forces during the feast of Bas-solas should have guaranteed safety for the continent. Instead, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover they've been outsmarted by those seeking to unleash the evil that inhabits the Darkwater. One of the Vigil has gone missing, and new attacks have struck at the six kingdoms' ability to defend themselves.

Worse, a deadly new threat has emerged--assassins hunting the Vigil, men and women who cannot be seen until it's too late. To thwart the perilous new risk, the church makes the drastic decision to safeguard the Vigil by taking the surviving members into protective custody. But there are secrets only the Vigil can unearth, and so Pellin makes the heart-wrenching choice to oppose the church in a race to turn back the evil that threatens an entire continent. 

Acclaim for Patrick W Carr:Winner of the 2014 Carol Award for Speculative Fiction for A Cast of StonesWinner of the 2014 Clive Staples Award for A Cast of StonesWinner of the 2016 Inspy Award for Speculative Fiction for The Shock of Night

Patrick W. Carr is the author of the acclaimed fantasy series The Staff and the Sword. A Cast of Stones won the 2014 Carol Award for Speculative Fiction and the 2014 Clive Staples Award. A Cast of Stones and The Hero's Lotwere both finalists for 2014 Christy Awards. He teaches high school math and makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee, with his incredible wife, Mary, and their four sons. Learn more at

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Never Forget by Jody Hedlund (Beacons of Hope Series)

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I couldn't wait to write this review! I rather devoured this last book of this series. The entire series has been excellent, but this book probably touched me the most. 

Abbie is in a major jam. Her precious Grandfather is not doing ok, he is apparently losing it mentally. Together they run the lighthouse at Rose Island. Only nothing in life is that simple. Abbie married Nate, and Nate was addicted to alcohol. Not long after their marriage, he vanished, and it's been a horrific struggle to make it through each day. Now I have to tell you, by this point I was about in tears for Abbie. I could feel her pain and the desperation of her situation easily and I connected to her exceedingly well. When Abbie winds up rescuing someone, a man who has washed up on the beach, she knows he will either be their ruin, or the means to their "salvation". However, the man doesn't know who he is, other than Nathanial, and he makes a might nice Nate. 

It's a lovely plot, and it's a heart-moving one. It is filled with love, and loss, and hope. It has Grace and healing and well shown weakness of our human conditions. It has pride and falls, and hearts that yearn for change, and hearts that are hard and cold. 

It't a perfect final book in this series, and a story that stands alone and is well worth reading. 

About the Book
Book: Never Forget 
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: January 4, 2017
neverforgetfrontfinalRose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island
June 1880
Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?
Abbie Wilson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.
Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.
Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.
The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

About the Author

jody-hedlund-web-copyWinner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and Christy Award,  best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

Which Do You Prefer: Series or Standalones?
By Jody Hedlund
Readers usually have strong opinions about whether they like series or standalones.
Some readers refuse to read books that are inter-related. Others can’t get enough books about their favorite characters.
I see the pros and cons of both.
For series, I don’t like feeling lost as I try to wade through previous characters along with their backstory. I recently started a series by a well-known author and was disappointed to realize the first book was connected to a previous series she’d already published. From the get-go, I felt left out as though I didn’t quite know who all the characters were or their significance.
On the other hand, for standalones, I sometimes feel as though I would like the story to continue. I’ve invested in the setting and characters and so enjoy when I can return to that place and continue to glimpse the characters I’ve fallen in love with—even if from a distance.
My favorites are books that fall in the middle between standalone and series. I like to think of them as standalones within a series. Becky Wade’s Porter brother series is like that. Each of the books centers around one of the brothers (and a tomboy sister). While characters from other books make an appearance in the stories, each plot is separate and complete without any reliance upon another book.
My Beacons of Hope lighthouse series falls in the middle too. The books are related in that they all take place at lighthouses and share a symbolic “cross of hope” that is passed on from one book to the next. A minor character in a previous book becomes the hero or heroine in the next book. But each book can be read by itself without having read any of the others.
In other words, readers can pick up my newest release, Never Forget, which is the fifth and final book in the series, and they wouldn’t be confused about who the characters are or what their history is. The plot starts with a bang and ends with a satisfying sigh. It is complete story unto itself.
And yet, for those who’ve read other books in the series, they’ll get to see the happily-ever-after of a character from a previous book. And they’ll also get to find out where the cross of hope finally ends.
If you’re not a fan of series, I encourage you to give the Beacons of Hope series a try. It might satisfy the need for standalones and series all in one neat little package.
To that end, I’m giving away all FIVE books in the series as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour to one lucky winner!
Tell us: What is your preference: Standalones, Series, or Standalones within a Series?

Blog Stops

January 10: Karen Sue Hadley
January 10: Bookworm Mama
January 11: Faithfully Bookish
January 12: Smiling Book Reviews
January 12: Genesis 5020
January 13: The Scribbler 
January 13: Bibliophile Reviews 
January 14: Daysong Reflections
January 14: Blogging With Carol
January 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
January 16: A Greater Yes
January 16: Bigreadersite
January 17: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
January 18: Book by Book
January 19: Carpe Diem
January 19: A Bakers Perspective
January 19: Splashes of Joy
January 20: Christian Bookaholic
January 20: Stuff and Nonsense
January 21: Radiant Light
January 21: cherylbbookblog
January 22: Neverending Stories
January 22: A Path of Joy
January 23: Henry Happens
January 23: Onceuponatime


To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the entire Beacons of Hope series. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!