Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of reading the lovely novella Appalachian Serenade by Sarah Loudin Thomas in anticipation of reading her first full-length novel, Miracle in a Dry Seasonlater that summer.  I am pleased to announce that her next book has been released and is just as delightful as her first two stories.  Until the Harvest jumps ahead a generation, but there are appearances from many of the characters of the previous book.  I always enjoy reading about familiar characters and seeing how their story ends or continues.  I was disappointed at the early demise of a main character from the previous book, but his death served as the catalyst for much of the conflict in Until the Harvest. 

Henry Phillips is a college student who makes several foolish decisions following the death of his father.  He gets tangled up in a couple of serious situations before seeking wise council.  

Margaret enjoys working for Henry’s grandmother, but Margaret’s mother thinks the position is too menial for her daughter.  Margaret finds a way to leave home and take her little sister with her, away from her selfish, inattentive parents. 

Initially, Henry and Margaret dislike each other, but they have two common interests who continually draw them together:  Margaret’s sister Mayfair and Henry’s grandmother Emily.  Over time, Henry and Margaret find they have much more in common than family and friends.  

This story is set in the mid-1970’s, but some aspects seem further back in history due to the slower pace in Appalachia.  I enjoyed reading about life on the farm and women living independently.  I learned a few things while enjoying a good read.  

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Tyndale Rewards

When I submitted my last book review on the publisher’s website, I noticed they now have a rewards program called Tyndale Rewards.  Click the link to sign up and get started with 25 points.  I earned 70 points the first day I joined, and that was enough to earn a free book, which is being sent to me free of charge.  I love receiving free stuff, especially books.  Check it out!


The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren

The Wonder of You is Susan May Warren’s fifth book in the Christiansen family series, but this is the first time I have had the pleasure of reading anything by this award-winning author.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.  Now I need to see if my local library has the first four books in the series!

The Wonder of You opens with a dramatic rescue scene, and I immediately fell in love with the main characters.  Warren creates characters who have realistic attributes, flaws, and struggles, but they are also surprisingly charming.  The only complaint I have about this book is the main characters are in their early twenties, so they make me feel old (I am in my late thirties), but the leading lady is the youngest sibling in the Christiansen family, so the ages are appropriate and fit their characters’ struggles and lifestyles. 

I must confess that I was afraid the book had too many pages left after I had read the first five chapters.  I couldn’t help but wonder how Warren could possibly fill the rest of the novel with enough to keep me interested, but there were so many little surprises throughout the book that kept me not only interested but unable to put down the book.  I read this book in less than 48 hours, and I hated having to put it down for any length of time.

The Wonder of You is about Roark St. John trying to convince Amelia Christiansen that he loves her.  My favorite quote in the book is when Roark tells Amelia, “Extreme doesn’t begin to describe what I’d do to win you back.”  (That sounds a little creepy taken out of context, but it was completely sincere, even romantic, in the book.)  The rest of the book details Roark’s efforts to regain Amelia’s trust and win her heart.  

Warren also includes the continuation of Amelia’s siblings’ stories, which provides emotional depth and a touching side story along with a little mystery for the next book in the series.  

NFL Mom Interview and Mother’s Day Giveaway from Melissa Tagg

Author Melissa Tagg recently had the opportunity to interview Wilma “Char” McNabb, mother of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb.  It’s an interesting article and focuses on Mama McNabb’s dedication and efforts to support her son’s dream.  While her love for and devotion to her son are admirable, I finished reading the article wondering if Mama McNabb trusts in God or her son.  After I listened to the song she wrote, I was more troubled.  One line states, “He gives me strength when I am weak,” and another, “He’s my light when I can’t see.”  These lyrics would be perfect in a praise song to God, but these are describing her son.  Am I misinterpreting this?  Read Melissa’s post and let me know what you think.  While you are there, be sure to enter her giveaway for a “Dream” bracelet, two DVDs, and a Target gift card.  

From the Start by Melissa Tagg


Awhile back, I reviewed Made to Last by Melissa Tagg and jumped at the chance to review her latest novel.   She  has also written a novella that is the prequel to this first book in her Walker Family series, and the e-novella is available for free as a digital download from Bethany House Publishers or on Amazon.  It isn’t necessary to read the novella first, but it’s a great, short love story. 

From the Start is a delightful romantic comedy set mostly in Iowa.  Melissa Tagg knows how important good dialogue is between the characters, and she incorporates just the right amount of wit, history, humor, and truth.  The characters are realistic with flaws and insecurities, and they don’t always say and do the right things, but they trust God to direct their paths.

Colton Greene is a former NFL quarterback who is trying to figure out what he is supposed to do now that an injury has forced him to retire early.  Colton is under contract to write a book about his life, but he doesn’t remember the most devastating thing that happened to him and doesn’t want to discuss it with a writer.  In the process of helping his friend Logan Walker, he meets Logan’s sister Kate, who just happens to be a writer.

Kate Walker is tired of writing romance scripts and wants to do something meaningful with her writing.   She receives an offer but needs money to pay for her travel.  She agrees to write Colton’s book even though she knows nothing about football.  In the process, she learns a great deal about the game and the player.

From the Start is a great book, filled with romance, humor, mystery, and a little suspense.  I highly recommend it. 

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  These opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin


This is the second book in Austin’s Restoration Chronicles series, which vividly portrays the fictional lives of several Jews and Gentiles based on the Old Testament books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.  My father-in-law and I both read this book and were intrigued by the details and emotions that Austin captured in her retelling.  The fear and doubt, love and faith are evident throughout the book.  

Ezra is a scholar who is quickly thrust into a position of leadership for which he has no desire.  He learns many things about himself, about God, and about relating with others through his fervent studying of the Torah after Haman’s evil plan is set into motion.  The Jews pray for deliverance while the Gentiles torment them and plan their attack.  For several months, the Jews lived with anxious, heavy hearts because their future seemed hopeless.

Austin offers different perspectives by writing from several characters’ point of view.  She alternates between characters, so the reader must wait to find out what will happen next.  I was spellbound by the interwoven stories of the main characters.  This retelling of Old Testament information is rich and suspenseful.  Austin is a master story-teller, who is able to include romance and suspense in a book about God’s faithfulness to his people. 

This is a must-read for any Christian, but it would also appeal to those who love history and historical fiction.  I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. 

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

This is the fifth and final book in Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series, and she wraps up the stories of the McKenna family with plenty of drama and suspense.  I somehow missed book four but didn’t realize it until I was a few chapters into this book.  It has been too long since I read book three, and I thought I had simply forgotten a few details.  I will have to go back and read book four soon because I have to know how two characters fell in love!

Sabotaged centers around Reef McKenna and Kirra Jacobs and the Iditarod race.  Reef and Kirra are working search-and-rescue when something happens to her uncle, who is a participant in the race.   Their search for clues takes them all over Alaska as they race against time to find the men who have threatened them and her uncle and taken her cousin.

Kirra must deal with the pain of her past and reveal her darkest secrets with Reef, whom she detests.   Reef has changed his rebellious ways and now relies on God and prayer to lead him and help him make decisions.  He doesn’t understand why he is attracted to Kirra, who has always irritated him.  Their journey to friendship is interesting albeit rushed because of their dangerous search. 

The rest of the McKennas make appearances throughout the book based on their areas of expertise.  Pettrey beautifully wove all of her main characters into this final book for a wonderful reunion and conclusion. 

I enjoyed reading this book even though some parts seemed less plausible than others.  Pettrey is a good story-teller and keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page.  I love the Alaskan setting and hope she will write more books set in Alaska.  

I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.