In 1911, Mabel MacGinnis is Europe’s strongest woman and has performed beside her father in the Manzo Brothers Circus her entire life. But at his unexpected death, she loses everything she’s ever known and sets off in the company of acrobat Jake Cunningham for America in hope of finding the mother she’s just discovered is still alive.
Isabella Moreau, the nation’s most feted aerialist, has given everything to the circus. But age and injury now threaten her security, and Isabella, stalked by old fears, makes a choice that risks everything. When her daughter Mabel appears alongside the man who never wanted to see Isabella again, Isabella is forced to face the truth of where, and in what, she derives her worth.
This was a lovely read! I enjoyed the glimpses of circus life and life in the early 1900s. Mabel was a great character! Her character growth was fantastic to watch, and I enjoyed reading Jake, too. I wasn’t quite as fond of Isabella, but she grew on me. I highly recommend this read!
Kimberly Duffy lives in Ohio. The Weight of Air is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.)
Title: Potiphar’s Wife Author: Mesu Andrews Genre: Christian fiction Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Before she is Potiphar’s wife, Zuleika is a king’s daughter on the isle of Crete, where the sisterhood of women rules in the absence of their seafaring husbands. Now that she’s come of age, Zuleika knows she will soon be betrothed. Her father believes his robust trade with Egypt will ensure Pharaoh’s obligation to marry his daughter.
But Pharaoh refuses and gives her instead to Potiphar, the captain of his bodyguards–a crusty bachelor twice her age, who would rather have a new horse than a Minoan wife.
Abandoned by her father, rejected by Pharaoh, and humiliated by Potiphar’s indifference, Zuleika years for affection. But when her obsession with Joseph, the Hebrew chamberlain with the face and body of the gods, goes terribly wrong, she discovers the truth: Only the God of Joseph can heal her wounded heart.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this for so long, and I finally had the time! I’ve loved all of Mesu Andrews’ books I’ve read, and I really enjoyed this one, too, although not quite as much as some of the others. I found Zully really difficult to like, frankly. She was so selfish and self-absorbed and couldn’t see past her own short-sighted ambitions to anyone else. I enjoyed the secondary characters like Joseph quite a bit, and I would have liked to see more from Potiphar’s point-of-view, but Zully annoyed me quite a bit. Still, a solid read that I enjoyed.
Mesu Andrews is an award-winning author. Potiphar’s Wife is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of WaterBrook & Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.)
The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene modeled after a children’s poem is enough to make FBI special agent Fiona Kelly’s blood turn to ice. Almost two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister’s body—and with every subsequent victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Now he’s back. Only this time, his latest gruesome murder is a message to the only one who ever got away: Fiona.
Finding “Rhyme” is an obsession that’s fueled Fiona’s career—and destroyed her marriage to fellow FBI agent Asa Kodiak. Now Fiona and Asa have to put their past tensions aside and work together one last time. But Rhyme is watching, and catching this killer may force Fiona to reveal her biggest, darkest secret…the one only he knows.
I enjoyed this so much! I never did figure out who the killer was—which rarely happens—and each new twist kept me on the edge of my seat. The team dynamics were very well done, and I’d love to read more about these characters, especially Fiona and Asa. I’ve read a few less than stellar Christian romantic suspense novels, but never a thriller like this, and I loved how the faith was integrated seamlessly into the storyline. I highly recommend this read!
Jessica R. Patch is a bestselling author. Her Darkest Secret is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)
Do you feel as if you are running on empty? Have you fallen asleep to the glory of God and his love being revealed to you each day?
Bestselling and award-winning author and popular YouTuber Emily Wilson Hussem has been there too. She invites you on a year-long transformational journey of practicing gratitude, becoming more closely aware of God’s presence in your every day and serving others in his name. These fifty-two reflections will help you cultivate a deeper prayer life, find freedom from the frenzy of tasks and the noise of the culture, and discover the lasting joy that can only blossom in a heart awakened to the beauty of God’s quiet, loving presence.
Awaken My Heart is an invitation to become aware of the presence of God in your life. Emily Wilson Hussem provides a roadmap for replacing busyness and distraction with intentional moments of noticing God’s abiding love and practicing gratitude for his many gifts—big and little blessings such as a visit from a friend, a call from your sister, the laughter of your children, a setting sun, or crumbs on the floor. These fleeting moments and everyday happenings can seem insignificant, but when you behold them with intention and thank God for making them possible, you’ll find yourself in regular conversation with Jesus, the lifeblood of your deep connection with God.
This fifty-two-week devotional blends spiritual insights, authentic vulnerability, and wise guidance for women of every age who want to have a heart fully awakened to God’s presence and the beautiful bouquet of blessings he’s put in your life. The reflection for each week includes a specific focus for the upcoming seven days. With stories, challenges, and insights into scripture, each reflection is designed to draw you deeper into awareness of Christ’s love and the love he is calling you to share with the world. Wilson Hussem also offers practical ways to choose to love—visiting the elderly, calling your mom, or pausing to pray for a special intention—that are simple enough for even the busiest lifestyle.
This is an excellent devotional! The illustrations the author uses are relatable and actionable. She’s not preaching, she’s just talking to you and telling you about things she’s experienced. There’s a reflection for the week, a soul exercise, and a prayer. This book invites you to deepen your relationship with Jesus while exploring what’s truly in your heart.
Emily Wilson Hussem lives in California. Awaken My Heart is her newest book.
(Galley courtesy of Ave Maria Press in exchange for an honest review.)
Detective Bradley McGregor and his K-9 partner, King, come to the rescue when journalist Sasha Eastman’s targeted by a shooter who looks just like her mother’s murderer. But that killer supposedly died years ago in a shootout with the police. Now it’s up to Bradley and King to protect Sasha…but how can they stop a killer who’s already dead?
I enjoyed this much more than the last True Blue K-9 Unit: Brooklyn book I read. Solid writing, believable characters, and it wasn’t insta-love thankfully. Faith was worked naturally into the story and felt right for the characters, instead of being like checking off a box.
Of course, the dog is a big part of the story, and I always enjoy reading about these working dogs. They’re so smart! Sasha has been through some stuff, and she does make some bad decisions in this book, but she’s tough and smart, so it works out. Bradley is also a great character, and I enjoyed reading his point-of-view. This is a sweet, quick read with a hint of danger.
Shirlee McCoy is a bestselling author. Delayed Justice is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)
Following the prides and passions of a group of Jews, Romans and Barbarians living at the time of the siege, the narrative is centered on an ill-fated romance between a steadfast slave girl, Hadassah, and Marcus, the brother of her owner and a handsome aristocrat. After surviving the massacre of her family and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Hadassah is captured and sold to a well-to-do merchant’s family.
Brought to Rome, she is pressed into service as a personal slave to hedonistic Julia Valerian. Hadassah struggles to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and to treat her masters in a manner in keeping with His teachings, but she is forced to keep her religious identity a secret in order to survive. Confused and alone, she has only her faith to cling to as she tries to subtly bring God into the lives of her captors. Reckless, impulsive, and villainous, Julia tries to undermine Hadassah at every turn. But Julia’s brother, Marcus, is a different sort altogether. Is it possible for a love between Hadassah and Marcus to flourish considering not only their differing stations in life, but also the gap between Hadassah’s unrelenting faith and Marcus’ lack of belief in anything?
Simultaneously, Atretes, a captured soldier from Germania, is forced to become a gladiator. This is the time of Rome’s decline and the decadence of a civilization on the verge of self-destruction serves as a powerful backdrop to the Barbarian’s struggle for survival in the arena.
I think I read the Mark of the Lion books years ago, but as I don’t really remember them, it was like reading this again for the first time. I enjoy historical-fiction, and I’m always on the lookout for well-done Christian fiction. This book is both.
Hadassah is such an inspiration. She considers herself a coward for most of the book, but her strength is astonishing, as is her ability to selflessly serve the Valerian family no matter what. Julia is a horrible person and I didn’t like her—or her manipulative friend—at all. She treats people horribly and then is astonished when they retaliate or walk away from her, and people like that drive me nuts. Marcus was also a frustrating character to read, but he has faint glimmers of redeeming qualities.
I highly recommend this—and I look forward to re-reading the rest of the series!
Francine Rivers is a bestselling and award-winning author.
Can a modern city girl ever become one of the Plain People?
She needed a safe place to hide. Instead, she found a place to call home.
Television journalist Leah Porte never imagined her career would end with her witnessing a murder. Now she’s temporarily living among the Amish in witness protection. Instead of feeling alone and adrift, Leah is warmly welcomed by the close-knit community—and Amish bachelor Isaac Sommer. But caught between two very different worlds, choosing love would mean leaving her big city life behind forever.
This was a sweet, uplifting read. The difference between Leah’s previous life and her life with the Amish made for an interesting premise, one I cannot imagine going through. Solid writing here and a lovely community made this a wonderful comfort read.
Patrice Lewis lives in North Idaho. The Amish Newcomer is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)
Following Jesus is not a safe course of action, it can upset your life and others. How does He do that? Through random acts of kindness, unexpected encounters, or a friendly stranger. Upsetting people can break down barriers and build relationships.
Pastor Ross teaches you how to:
Create a new ordinary of relating to others
Practice listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice
Learn how to do everyday evangelism
Love everybody (even people who disagree with you)
Change the way people think about Christianity
Upset the world with the message of hope and the love of Jesus Christ.
From the very first time I heard Pastor Tim speak—when he was still on staff at Gateway Church—I’ve loved his dynamic way of speaking. His presence is vivid and dramatic, and he dares to say what you’re thinking out loud.
This book is filled with stories and anecdotes of his experiences and he doesn’t urge his readers to take big leaps of faith—just the next small step forward in their everyday lives. His tone is conversational and relatable, and his love for Jesus and people shines through on every page.
Sometimes the truth comes at a cost. Can she forgive him when she learns his true identity? Posing as an Amish groundskeeper at Rose Allgyer’s lakeside cabin retreat, Englischer Caleb Miller is determined to clear his brother’s name of theft. But as he’s drawn to Rose’s good nature, the burden of his ruse gets heavier—especially after learning Rose was deceived by her ex-fiancé. Still guarded, will Rose trust Caleb with her heart when she discovers he isn’t who he claims to be?
I do love reading Amish fiction, and this was one I enjoyed a lot. It was interesting watching Caleb try to fit into the Amish community, mistakes and all. I was far more intrigued by the development of Caleb and Rose’s storyline than the mystery of the stolen coins, but there were also several other side intrigues to keep my attention as well. This was a sweet, uncomplicated read, perfect for a stressful day.
Carrie Lighte enjoys traveling to Amish communities across the United States and she hopes to visit a few in Canada soon, too. When she isn’t writing, reading or researching, she likes to hike, kayak and spend time at the beach.
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)
Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup and scandal, and she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina–the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide and wait for the tabloids to die down.
Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along with his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, and Levi confides in Mia about the financial state of the inn–a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters.
When Mia and Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia and Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk–or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead.
This is another wonderful read in the Bluebell Inn Romance series! I really like the setting, and the characters are so well-done I just want to hang out with them and chat. Poor Mia has been dealt a pretty raw hand, but she handles it with grace and aplomb, despite her frustrations. She demonstrates the good side of Hollywood.
Levi is kind of overbearing towards his sisters, but he’s able to learn from his mistakes and grow from them. It’s nice to see his self-awareness, as he and Mia learn to trust as they expand their horizons. This is a sweet and easy read.
Denise Hunter is a bestselling author. Carolina Breeze is her newest novel, the second Bluebell Inn Romance.
(Galley courtesy of Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)