30 December 2013

Diana's 2013 Favorites!

 Here's a list of my favorite 2013 books in no particular order! It was very difficult to choose as you authors totally outdid yourselves this year!
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Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz 

A beautifully written novel laden with secrecy, deceit, betrayal, and hidden passions. Laura Frantz is a master storyteller!

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Return To Shirley Plantation by Carrie Fancett Pagels

 This is a riveting, historical read you won't want to miss. Truly a memorable story of hope and obedience!

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Captured By Moonlight By Christine Lindsay

Christine Lindsay sweeps us away to the exotic, hauntingly beautiful land of India in this exciting story of romance, faith, and intrigue!  

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Forsaken Dreams By MaryLu Tyndall

A riveting novel that sweeps us away on a riveting, seafaring journey -- beginning in the ravaged, post civil war torn South to the lush beauty of Brazil!

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The Governess Of Highland Hall By Carrie Turansky

A wonderful Edwardian era novel set in England; replete with dashing lords and ladies, secrets, pain, and hidden passions! A must read!

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Heaven Is Not Far By Marian Baay

An emotive, soul-stirring short story of a love that transcends time, distance, and even the Civil War! Heartwarming debut!

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Love At Any Cost By Julie Lessman

A passion-filled, heartwarming journey to beautiful San Francisco...with its lush lawns of the very wealthy on Nob Hill to the poverty stricken streets of the Barbary Coast! One not to miss!

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Beyond The Valley By Rita Gerlach

A powerful, heartrending historical read, full of excitement and romance! You simply must put this one at the top of your TBR stack!

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A powerful story of love and healing on the turbulent road to the bombing of Pearl Harbor!

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My Hope Is Found By Joanne Bischof

A lovely, heartrending tale of sin's consequences, redemption, and unrequited love, that will keep you flipping those pages well into the night! I loved this entire series!

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Burning Sky By Lori Benton

A hauntingly beautiful, heartrending tale of a kidnapped white woman caught not only between two very different worlds, but also two handsome men from diverse cultures!



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            Unforeseeable and Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

Exciting, suspense-filled sequels to Inescapable---set in the quaint, homey Mennonite town of Kingdom!  

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The Captive Maiden By Melanie Dickerson

An enchanting, captivating story of knights, castles, and romance; reminscent of the classic tale, Cinderella!

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The Painted Sky Volumes 1-8 by Murray Pura 

 An exciting story of adventure and romance on the sweltering, rugged plains of New Mexico! Will be released as a paperback soon and you may recognize some of the characters from OWG!
 
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A Highlander For Christmas by Jamie Carie
 
I loved this breathtaking Christmas novella set in the beautiful Scottish highlands...of castles set against the backdrop of misty, verdant hills---of kilts and colorful tartans, and the seemingly ill-fated romance between a brave clan chieftain and an English lady!


**Thank you to all of the wonderful Christian authors who provided me and so many others with hours of reading pleasure in 2013! See you next year!**

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Click on to book title to purchase any of these great novels!
 
Name a couple of your favorite books from 2013! Have you read any of the books on my list?




28 December 2013

Noela's Favorite Books of 2013


A HANDFUL OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS FROM 2013

There were so many amazing books released this year so it was impossible to list them all, so here are just a few of the many outstanding books that I've read and would love to recommend to everyone!
Click on the book title to be able to purchase any of these incredible books.

OUTSTANDING NOVELS

THE TUTOR'S DAUGHTER by Julie Klassen (Jan 1, 2013)
Julie Klassen has a true gift in delivering unforgettable stories.
Emma is the daughter of a tutor, but in a time when marrying within your own social class meant everything, could a simple tutor's daughter find love with a Baronet's son? Located on the wind-swept coast of Cornwall, The Tutor's Daughter is an enigmatic and captivating story with an intoxicating romance and a good dose of suspense. Including truly memorable characters and strikingly vivid images, this Regency era novel will be a lifetime favorite of mine!!


LOVE AT ANY COST by Julie Lessman (April 15, 2013) 
This is a romance that will take you to giddy heights and sorrowful depths. A journey of love and relationships that will spark hope and longing within you for the heroes of the story. And a tale of faith and the importance of integrity that will stir your heart as you become involved in the lives of the men and women of this charismatic and loving family. Cassidy McClare, a spunky 'cowgirl' arrives in San Francisco from Texas and is on the run from romeo's and heartache. Or has she just run right into it? Julie's stories will always seize you by the heart but leave you smiling!


BURNING SKY by Lori Benton (August 6, 2013)
Burning Sky takes you on a fascinating, yet heart-rendering journey to the New York frontier in 1784 during the aftermath of the Revolution. Now a beautiful young woman, Willa who spent nearly half her life with Indians after being abducted, is now a young woman caught between the white man's world and her Mohawk upbringing, and a man from either world. Charged with tension and danger, courage and love, 'Burning Sky' will abduct you as it did me with it's engaging story, allowing no escape until the final pages.


A PIONEER CHRISTMAS COLLECTION by Various Authors (September 1, 2013)
This is a compilation of nine original and inspiring historical romance novella's. These amazing authors all tell unique stories of breathtaking tales of pioneer life and love in untamed lands. And each story concludes with the new pioneer's celebrating Christmas in unconventional dwellings. I loved each and every story but I have to make special mention of one very talented author and close friend, Marcia Gruver, whose amazing novella 'A Badlands Christmas' included a character that happens to go by the name of Noela Nancarrow... and who spends Christmas in a soddie!

LOVE'S AWAKENING by Laura Frantz (September 15, 2013)
This is book 2 in the phenomenal Ballantyne Legacy series of Laura Frantz. In this sublime novel, we read of an exquisite love story within two powerful, feuding families of Pittsburgh. One family involved in whiskey dealing and slavery and the other secretly involved in the abolition movement... these are dangerous times and lives and love are at stake. As with all of Laura's novels, the historical detail is fascinating and flawless, a real treat for anyone who loves history AND a brilliant story!


REBELLIOUS HEART by Jody Hedlund (September 15, 2013)
Jody Hedlund consistently writes outstanding historical fiction stories - this here is yet another one! 'Rebellious Heart' is modeled after the inspiring true courtship of John and Abigail Adams. Pre-American Revolution, it's a volatile time in history, and the heroine Susanna struggles with her beliefs and values after Ben, the hero of the story, challenges her to consider God's higher laws of justice and mercy. This is a novel of love, courage, and faith. A fast-paced page-turner steeped in intrigue and danger, guaranteeing it'll keep you up late reading!! One of Jody's books will never disappoint!

TRACES OF MERCY by Michael Landon Jnr & Cindy Kelley (Oct 1, 2013)
'Traces of Mercy', the first in The Medallion Trilogy, is impossibly difficult to put down as you immerse yourself into this fascinating tale of a woman with amnesia and an enigmatic past. Set at the end of the civil war, 'Traces of Mercy' is a satisfying mixture of warmth and hope, of turmoil and drama, and of unabated intrigue. With the infusion of a charismatic and heart-rending romance, this is a unique story that will captivate you easily and swiftly! Highly recommended! I can hardly wait to dive into the next book of this series!!


GUNPOWDER TEA by Margaret Brownley (October 8, 2013)
Margaret Brownley brews a refreshing and stimulating historical romance with 'Gunpowder Tea', that's infused with clever wit, humor, a stirring romance, and is steeped in a baffling mystery! Join top Pinkerton detective Miranda Hunt and Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert as they both aim to hunt down the 'Phantom'. Only thing is, they both suspect each other as working for this elusive criminal. So what do they do when they come to like each other a little too much?! This book has everything in it - a brilliant story, delightful and unique characters, a great spiritual message and words of wisdom, fascinating history, and even author notes on gunpowder tea!


ELUSIVE HOPE by MaryLu Tyndall (November 1, 2013)
This novel is as bursting with intrigue and fascinating storylines as the jungle is with life! Expect to be swept up in the drama and romance that MaryLu writes with such a skillfully expressive brush of the pen, that you'll suddenly find yourself totally immersed in the jungle along with the amazingly realistic characters that MaryLu has created. Unique to many of MaryLu's books, including this one, is a thrilling supernatural thread running through the story, reminding us of the importance of spiritual warfare. Join Hayden and Magnolia and the rest of the New Hope colony in Brazil for an adventure unlike any other!


THE CAPTIVE MAIDEN by Melanie Dickerson (November 19, 2013)
The Captive Maiden is an enchanting and inspiring re-telling of the classic and classic fairy-tale, Cinderella. This is a story for the adult, young or old, that is a romantic at heart and loves chivalry, knights, and damsel's in distress. Even so, The Captive Maiden is so much more than that. It will hold you captive from the very first page onward with Melanie's engaging writing as we watch the delightful romance between Gisela and Valten develop from early on in the story. You also glean a glimpse into history with the exciting tournament scenes and jousting. And if that's not all, there is a terrific message about finding your own purpose in life. This book is refreshing, unique, and entertaining!


OUTSTANDING NOVELLA'S


THE PAINTED SKY - VOL 1 - 8 by Murray Pura (March 11 - Nov 13, 2013)

Brimming with adventure, romance, and faith, this exciting series is unparalleled to anything you've read!
These 8 volumes will be released in 2014 as a complete paperback. Be sure to look out for your friends from OWG starring as widows in this hot as the Mexican desert tale!



RETURN TO SHIRLEY PLANTATION by Carrie Fancett Pagels (March 26, 2013)

Return to Shirley Plantation is a charming historical romance that steps back in time in history to the Civil War, and the part that the still-standing Shirley Plantation played in it. This wonderful debut novella of Carrie's also carries the ever crucial message of listening to and obeying God. A sweet, interesting, and  thought-provoking story!


HEAVEN IS NOT FAR by Marian Baay (September 21, 2013)

This is a beautiful love story that embraces the heart that's called to serve God, and the strength of a deep and passionate devotion between a man and the love of his life while enduring the anguish of the Civil War. Including an inspiring message about following your calling, this debut novel of Marian's was an absolute pleasure to read!



A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS by Jamie Carie (Nov 3, 2013)

Last but certainly not least, is 'A Highlander for Christmas'. This was the first story I'd read of Jamie's, and honestly, after reading this small masterpiece, I'm now on a quest devouring every other book Jamie has written! Jamie writes her intriguing stories eloquently and descriptively, and the romance passionately. In 'A Highlander for Christmas', there are awe-inspiring images and if you listen close enough, I'm sure you'll hear the bagpipes as well! A wonderful story at any time of the year, but if you haven't read it yet, give yourself a treat this Christmas!

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Thank you to these and sooo many other authors that I've had the great pleasure of reading and reviewing their books this year. I look forward to spending time with you all in the New Year!!

GIVEAWAY: And for a belated little Christmas pressie, I'm giving away a Kindle copy of Jamie Carie's 'A Highlander for Christmas' to one person who leaves behind a comment. I'd love you to share which of the above books you would most like to read? And if you've read them all, which was your favorite? :)


27 December 2013

Marian's Favorites of 2013



Favorite Novels

Whispers from the Shadows
by Roseanna M. White

Murder, spies, secrets, war, love, grief, forgiveness, faith... There’s so much to enjoy in this story. The characters and plot were very well developed and the writing is clear and exciting. 



The Heiress of Winterwood
by Sarah E. Ladd

I immediately fell in love with Amelia and Graham. Both are strong characters with flaws—which they must overcome. The storyline is strong and believable. The characters are real and likable. There was never a good time to stop reading—I kept turning the pages and the ending was satisfactory. I’m looking forward to Sarah Ladd’s next book!
The Rose of Lancaster County
by Murray Pura

A fantastic story with great characters and…oh, the romance!! Mr. Pura knows what a woman wants in a romance story and he happily pens it down for us all to enjoy.




Under a Blackberry Moon
by Serena B. Miller

Awesome story about two characters from Serena Miller's The Measure of Katie CallowaySkypilot and Moon Song.
An interesting story with unexpected twists and turns that kept me glued to the pages.


When the Clouds Roll By
by Myra Johnson


The writing style is excellent! After having read the first pages, I was so drawn into the story that I knew this was going to be a great read…and I wasn’t disappointed! This book has an original storyline and kept me guessing till the end. Highly recommended!

Widow of Gettysburg 
by Jocelyn Green


A well written, heart wrenching story set during the Civil War. Very well done!

Promise to Return
by Elizabeth Byler Younts


This author knows how to keep the suspense high and keep the reader guessing. I have shed several tears while reading this fantastic book, so I advise keeping the tissues handy. I’m going to keep my eye on this author and I’m surely going to read the next book in this series.
Misery Loves Company
by Rene Gutteridge

As a blogger and reviewer I was drawn like a magnet to the storyline in this book. What more fun can there be than to read about the main character being a blogger and reviewer, and who is being kidnapped by her favorite author? :-)
Ashton Park 
by Murray Pura

A wonderful first book in a trilogy about the Danforths of Lancashire. I've read the complete series and loved all the books. If you like to read books with many characters and various plots, then this series is for you.

The Well
by Stephanie Landsem

I enjoyed this book immensely! The writing is excellent; the author has a pleasant voice, the plot is very well done, the characters are so real, easy to love, and easy to identify with. From the first till the last page this book is a pure delight. 
A Heart Deceived
by Michelle Griep

This author really can write!! She has an unique way with words that drew me into the story right away. The descriptions are so rich and full, I could almost feel, hear, smell, and touch them. The emotions splattered from the pages—fear, despair, unfairness, hope, love, romance! Extremely well written, excellent research, and a brilliant plot!! 
Stealing the Preacher
by Karen Witemeyer


Not only a lovely cover, but an enjoyable story as well. This was such a treat!
Forsaken Dreams
by MaryLu Tyndall


A wonderful first book in a new series—I enjoyed this book very much. I love the author's rich descriptions and she always creates the best characters!
Favorite novellas & short stories:

Return to Shirley Plantation
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Our very own Carrie surprised me with her wonderful debut novella. I loved reading about Angelina and Matthew—how they met at Shirley Plantation and how the first sparks of chemistry filled the air. But this is not only a love story—it is war and there are secrets and a mystery to unravel.
Bachelor Buttons
by Kathleen L. Maher

Another wonderful novella by a debut author. This is a sweet love story set during the Civil War. Bachelor Buttons is a lovely story about regular people's lives during the Civil War. Kathleen Maher has a fresh and pleasant writing-style which makes this story an enjoyable read.

All the Pretty Little Ponies
by Murray Pura

This is one of the sweetest short stories I have read in a long time. It tugged at my heartstrings and I sniffled through the whole story. It's so touching, so warm, so sweet, and awesome.
The Painted Sky
by Murray Pura

Make sure to check out this  wonderful series with great characters based on your OWG friends! :-) In this series Mr. Pura has given us an unforgettable adventure in the eight volumes of The Painted Sky!
A cup of Christmas Cheer
by various authors, including our own CARRIE!

I haven't read all the stories in this volume yet, but I enjoyed Carrie's story so much, that I can honestly say it is one of my favorite Christmas stories I've read this year!!—and I've read plenty!


Favorite devotional:

Majestic and Wild
by Murray Pura

Our friend Murray has published many books this year and I loved them all—fiction and non-fiction as well. All his books are among my favorites this year, but his devotional Majestic and Wild has blessed me the most of all the books I've read in 2013! 

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