Tag Archive | romance

The Broken Road by Amanda Johnston

I have read this novel three times now and still have no idea how to express how much I enjoyed reading it.  The first time I read The Broken Road in 2012, I was simply reading for pleasure and out of curiosity because I know the author.  After I started writing book reviews, I decided to read it again and write a review, but the draft sat there for months, maybe even a year.  I decided to read it again in June of this year and began another review as soon as I finished reading, but obviously I never finished that review either.  

The Broken Road is Amanda Johnston’s debut novel, but she has been writing stories for many years, so this beautiful work of historical fiction reads like the work of a seasoned author.  I am impressed with the amount of research she did to make sure she accurately portrayed life in Colorado in 1882.  Johnston included the correct kitchen items, tools, etc., but she also captured the language and manners of the area and time period.  Her fictional town and boarding school are the perfect backdrop for the story that unfolds.  

The information from the back cover offers a good summary, so I won’t attempt to write my own. 

In 1882 Colorado, Lydia Ghering has successfully kept her boarding school open during the year following her husband’s unexpected death. Self-reliant and determined, Lydia takes pride in her ability to carry on, but her resilience comes at a price. Ethan McKinley is journeying across the country to fulfill his life’s ambition of captaining a ship when he finds himself stranded in the Colorado foothills after a train wreck. His arrival at Lydia’s doorstep looking for temporary work kindles a friendship that causes him to question the destiny he has always pursued. As their friendship deepens, Lydia must confront secrets from her past, while Ethan must decide his future. Both must seek their answers from the one who offers all they need.

I don’t want to share any more of Lydia’s or Ethan’s stories because I want you to read it yourself.  The Broken Road is a moving novel of love and loss, devastation and determination.  While reading this inspirational romance, I was moved to tears, but I also laughed several times.  The dialogue between the characters is fascinating and made me smile frequently.  The characters are well-developed and relatable because their struggles are similar to ours today.  I know I haven’t done justice to Johnston’s grand tale, but believe me when I say it’s a wonderful story that will move you beyond words. 

I must warn you that The Broken Road ends in suspense.  Johnston has written a sequel to her epic debut novel, but it has not been published yet.  I am eagerly waiting to read more of Lydia’s and Ethan’s stories.  

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Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Have you ever not wanted to finish a book because you were enjoying it so much?  I seriously put off reading the last 25 pages of this emotionally-charged, romantic comedy because I did not want the story to end.  Fortunately, this novel is part of a series, so the characters will continue to make appearances in the remaining books. 

Like Never Before is Melissa Tagg’s second installment in her Walker Family series, which is set in a small town in her native Iowa.  Over two years ago, I read Tagg’s first Walker Family novel From the Start and the novella Three Little Words that serves as a prequel to the series.  The only reason I hadn’t read any of the other books in this series is my local public library has none of Tagg’s books.  (I read way too many books to buy them—75 already this year!)  I brought this to the attention of a librarian and requested that they order some of Tagg’s books.  The librarian wrote it down and offered to look into it, but she then suggested that I try an interlibrary loan, which I had never done before.  (Interestingly enough, an interlibrary loan is mentioned in the book.)  About a week later, I received an email that this book was ready for me to check out.  I was in the middle of another book, but I started reading Like Never Before as soon as I finished Persuasion.  I was somewhat disappointed with the ending of Jane Austen’s classic because I wanted more details, more emotions.  After the long, drawn out narrative leading up to the climax, the ending seemed rushed.  I felt Tagg provided just the right amount of details and emotional responses in closing Logan Walker’s story.  

If you haven’t read any of Melissa Tagg’s novels, I highly recommend them.  They are delightful, funny, and inspiring. 

Sarah Loudin Thomas

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a relatively new author.  Her first novel was released in 2014 shortly after her novella that serves as a prequel to her Appalachian Blessings series.  (The prequel is available for free on Kindle.)  Thomas followed her debut novel with an equally well-written novel the next year and ended the series in 2016 with A Tapestry of Secrets.  

Now Thomas has a new book set to be released next month, and I am looking forward to reading it.  You can read my reviews of her first three works by clicking on the links above.  I encourage you to try this new author.  You won’t be disappointed!

All Summer Long by Melody Carlson



All Summer Long is Melody Carlson’s second novel in her Follow Your Heart series and is perfect for summertime reading.  Tia D’Amico has grown up in her family’s restaurant, but she dreams of being a professional chef in a big city.   When her aunt from San Francisco calls her and asks her to help turn a boat into a restaurant and be its chef, Tia packs up and leaves her family behind for a new adventure.  

In San Francisco, Tia reunites quickly with a guy she had met years before at sailing camp, and he just happens to be the captain of her aunt’s boat.  Tia and Leo end up working together much more than either had planned as they ready the boat for their first guests.  The struggle Tia goes through is one that is familiar to many of us, and she handles it with grace.  I felt like Leo’s character could have been portrayed as stronger and more decisive when it came to his love life, but his confusion was evident as this was the only area where he appeared weak.  

All Summer Long is not classified as Christian fiction and does not contain many religious references, but it is a good, clean romance and a wonderful read for teen girls or women of any age.  I received this novel for free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  

Free Book: The Renovation by Terri Kraus

If you hurry over to David C. Cook eBooks, you can download The Renovation by Terri Kraus for free! I read this book a few months ago and just didn’t get around to posting a review. That was around the same time that I posted this review and read The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman. You would think I was on a home renovation kick, but it was just coincidence.

The-Renovation
This was a good read, especially if you are interested in older homes and/or restoration. This book is ultimately about forgiveness, and each chapter begins with a quote or proverb that shares a few words of wisdom on the topic. I found several of them very interesting and a couple enlightening. This book made me rethink whether or not I had forgiven someone for hurting me. The author was able to craft a story that touched on a deep subject while keeping the romance light and the characters real.

What have you got to lose? It’s a free eBook. Try it and let me know what you think.

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

For Such a Time
I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. While I love their blogger review program, I have been finding it difficult to post my review within a month of receiving the book, since our one-year-old twins demand so much of my attention. I knew I needed to start reading this book when I received another book to review about a week after receiving For Such a Time. One night, after putting all four kids to bed, I told myself I would try to read a chapter or two each night, even though all I wanted to do was fall into bed and sleep. Five hours later, I forced myself to close the book and go to sleep! My husband was out of town at the time, and I ended up reading well past midnight three out of four nights because there was never a lull in the action. (I wouldn’t even let myself pick up the book on the third night because I knew I needed some rest!)

For Such a Time is a retelling of the Biblical book of Esther set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. The main characters in the novel are remarkably similar to the actual characters in the book of Esther. Each chapter begins with a verse from the book of Esther, and the events that unfold in that chapter directly correlate to that verse. Even though you think you know how the story will end, For Such a Time is so suspenseful that it will keep you spellbound until the final chapter. The author has thoroughly researched the Holocaust, the time period, the languages, customs, etc. I was fascinated by this portrayal of life in a concentration camp, and I have continued to read all that I can find on Theresiendstadt, the Holocaust, and World War II. It has been awhile since a book has so intrigued me that I have willingly researched the subject matter myself. Kate Breslin has crafted realistic characters thrust into a horrific setting that was real.

I highly recommend For Such a Time, and I would like to know if you have as much trouble as I did in not trying to finish the book in one sitting!

Grave Consequences and Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren

51bvl01h8+L512PSzWdiQLI believe I found Grave Consequences free or cheap in an email from Inspired Reads. You can sign up here to receive daily emails with discounted or free books for Kindle. Later I had the opportunity to download Glittering Promises free via Net Galley, which I was able to join because I have a book review blog, and I agreed to post an honest review of the book. I would have gladly paid for either of these books because I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of them. I only wish I would have read Glamorous Illusions first, since it is the first book in the series. However, the author does a splendid job of explaining the characters’ histories without boring us with a retelling of the previous book(s).

The Grand Tour Series is set in the early 1900’s, and follows the lives of a group of young socialites on a grand tour of Europe with their guides. One of the young women did not grow up wealthy and privileged as the others in the group did, and so she finds herself unaccustomed to being waited upon and treats people and life differently than the others. Both books are love stories, but the last book became an intriguing mystery with a twist. I don’t want to write too much and spoil the ending for anyone who wishes to read this series, but you won’t be sorry you read them. In fact, Glittering Promises kept me up late into the night with the suspense. I wasn’t expecting that, or I would not have begun reading it again right before bed!

If you enjoy reading historical fiction, this book is a treat. The reader can learn much about the behind-the-scenes lives of wealthy socialites and be exposed to much history and art through the experiences of the young group. The story is often told from the point of view of the main character in first person, but some chapters switch to a different character in third person. It is a very interesting way to tell a story.

These books are well-written, interesting, and Christ-centered. I would recommend them to anyone.