Review: A Note Yet Unsung – Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander. A Note Yet Unsung. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2017.

The last time that I featured one of Tamera Alexander’s magnificent books was back in 2015!  I am absolutely delighted to see that she will be releasing two books during 2017, with A Note Yet Unsung completing her Belmont Mansion series this winter.

In A Note Yet Unsung, Rebekah Carrington returns to her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, after spending years training as an instrumental musician in Europe.  However, only two orchestras in the United States have begun accepting women as members, with Nashville holding firm to the opinion that women do not belong among its male instrumentalists.  The city’s new conductor, Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb, has grander projects to complete than prove that women belong in his orchestra.  Instead, he must finish his symphony before the opera hall’s inaugural performance.  With time running out, he turns to the one musician in the city that has ever truly impressed him, Rebekah.  Together, Tate and Rebekah must create a musical masterpiece before time runs out and the city discovers the master violinist playing backstage is actually a woman.

Ms. Alexander brings her own level of brilliance to this fascinating tale of musical genius at work.  Rebekah and Tate will capture readers’ imaginations, as their struggle to fulfill their dreams meets with inevitable challenges.

Overall, I was absolutely thrilled with A Note Yet Unsung!  As a trained musician, I felt that Ms. Alexander remained true to the nature of musicians’ temperaments and approach to their art.  Simultaneously, she creates a compelling historical story that will reach the hearts of readers who enjoy great Christian fiction.  As the final novel in Ms. Alexander’s Belmont Mansion series, A Note Yet Unsung offers a fascinating conclusion to an overarching storyline including Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, the ever-memorable owner of the Belmont Mansion and famed Nashville-area philanthropist.  Altogether, the novel offers a fascinating plot with well-developed characters who face enormous challenges to their dreams.  Ms. Alexander remains true to the period, while writing a satisfying conclusion to the story and the series.

Fans of Ms. Alexander’s previous historical novels, especially those in the Belmont Mansion series, will definitely want to read A Note Yet Unsung!  Readers who enjoy great historical Christian fiction, especially those set in the American South and those that take place during the mid- to late-nineteenth century.  Additionally, I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy stories that focus on characters who are highly-trained classical musicians, particularly in a historical setting.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for the advanced copy of A Note Yet Unsung!

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Review: Rescue Me – Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren. Rescue Me. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2017.

Fan-favorite author, Susan May Warren returns to her Montana Rescue series with her newest release, Rescue Me!  After the events of Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me follows the lives of several characters from the Peak Rescue Squad, based in Mercy Falls, Montana.  Willow Rose supports her sister, Sierra, in all of her ambitions.  However, Willow has had to hide her feelings during her sister’s relationship with Deputy Sam Brooks.  When Willow leads a local youth group hike through Glacier National Park with Sam and Sierra, everything seems to go incredibly awry.  Sierra has a last-minute conflict, leaving Sam and Willow to lead the group by themselves.  When the group encounters a surprise storm, the group is left with injuries and no way to return home under their own power.  In order to survive, Sam and Willow must inspire a disparate group of teenagers long enough to be found by the Peak Rescue team.

Fans of Ms. Warren’s Montana Rescue series will be thrilled with Rescue Me.  She masterfully brings together adventure, romance, and Christian elements to create a highly-entertaining story filled with a compelling cast of characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Rescue Me.  Sam and Willow’s story builds upon the events found earlier in the series, while also developing a gripping secondary storyline around Sam’s brother and his emerging relationship with a fellow Peak Rescue team member and friend.  Ms. Warren continues to consistently write fascinating stories that include strong Christian elements and realistic characters that draw readers into the novel.  Rescue Me felt consistent with the style, length, and formatting of the previous Montana Rescue books, even as it delved deeper into the characters’ experiences and perspectives.  The series will continue to follow the Peak Rescue team in A Matter of Trust, which will be released by Revell in July 2017!

Fans of Ms. Warren’s contemporary series, including the Montana Rescue series, will definitely want to read Rescue Me.  The Montana Rescue series, starting with If Ever I Would Leave You (e-novella) and Wild Montana Skies, includes many elements reminiscent of Ms. Warren’s Team Hope, Deep Haven, Christiansen Family, and Noble Legacy series.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Revell for the advanced copy of Rescue Me!

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Review: Because You’re Mine – Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble. Because You’re Mine. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2017.

With a new year upon us, I have been busy researching and planning out future blog posts and book reviews for the next few months.  With an extra week in January, I am excited to have an opportunity to feature Colleen Coble’s latest Christian suspense release!

Ms. Coble steps away from her previous series in her most recent novel, Because You’re Mine.   Alanna and her Irish band have started to make a name for themselves internationally, travelling to America for a sold-out tour.  After their show in Charleston, tragedy strikes as Alanna’s husband and fellow musician is killed.  With a baby on the way, Alanna first turns to her husband’s family for help.  However, they are determined to take away the baby by force in the face of their grief over the loss of their son.  Instead, Alanna turns to a new-found acquaintance, who offers marriage and U.S. citizenship, the ideal solution to her current problems.  When strange events become an increasingly-common part of Alanna’s life, she must choose between trusting the members of her band or her new husband.

Because You’re Mine offers an intense suspense story filled with Ms. Coble’s notable characters and excellent writing.  Fans of the genre will appreciate the riveting setting and unexpected plot twists found in this story.

Overall, I found Because You’re Mine to be an interesting read, somewhat different from my typical reading material.  While I have read quite a few of Ms. Coble’s previous novels, Because You’re Mine seemed to be significantly darker than her other writing.  As a result, I was less eager to keep reading the book, which made it feel slower in pace than her other stories.  Generally, the story relied upon character and plotline development consistent with Ms. Coble’s previous work, which will make it popular with many of her fans.  Personally, I would have been interested to see more focus on Alanna’s Irish band and related secondary characters, as they seemed more interesting than some of her primary characters.  However, fans of intense Christian suspense will likely love this example of the genre.

Fans of Ms. Coble’s previous novels will want to try reading Because You’re Mine.  Additionally, those who enjoy psychological thriller-type novels found within the Christian suspense genre may also find this novel worth reading.

Special thanks to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson for an advanced copy of Because You’re Mine!

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Review: At Your Request – Jen Turano

Jen Turano. At Your Request: An Apart from the Crowd Novella. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2017. Ebook.

 Books covers are always meant to catch readers’ attention.  With the recent wintry weather, the beautiful cover of Jen Turano’s e-novella, At Your Request, definitely seems appropriate to the season!

Ms. Turano begins her new Apart from the Crowd series with a free e-novella, At Your Request.  The novella follows Wilhelmina Radcliff as she navigates the world of society’s wallflowers, those young ladies who have been generally ignored by the fashionable members of society at balls and events.  Facing their own set of social rules and expectations, a chance encounter soon leads to chaos among these women, as well as a much-needed second chance.  Without her father’s previous fortune, Wilhelmina accepts her role as a social secretary, in order to help provide for her family.  When her childhood best friend, Edgar Wanamaker, returns to town with his own fortune in hand, Wilhelmina may have a chance at an entirely different future.  In spite of the shame inherent to Wilhelmina’s position as a wallflower, Edgar is determined to reverse her answer to his long-rejected marriage proposal.

Filled with Ms. Turano’s signature humor and wit, At Your Request offers a great introduction to a quirky set of characters.  The series offers a very different perspective on late nineteenth century society, even while remaining true to its roots as a compelling piece of historical Christian fiction.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading At Your Request!  In general, the novella felt quite short, even in comparison to the length of similarly-formatted stories released by Bethany House.  However, it offered a fascinating introduction to the characters and situations that will make up the Apart from the Crowd series.  Additionally, the e-novella offers an extensive sneak peak at Ms. Turano’s forthcoming novel, Behind the Scenes, which will be released in April 2017!  Altogether, the novella and excerpt offer a compelling sampling of Ms. Turano’s writing style and pacing, which are incredibly approachable to a wide and varied audience of readers.  Likewise, she showcases her humorous style and firm grasp of historical details that have made her previous works an absolute delight.

Fans of Ms. Turano’s previous historical Christian novels and novellas will definitely want to read At Your Request.  Likewise, readers who enjoy historical Christian fiction with a relatively light and humorous style will also want to try out this new series.

P.S. At Your Request is currently available for free on Amazon.  Just click on the link below!

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Review: An Uncommon Courtship – Kristi Ann Hunter

Kristi Ann Hunter. An Uncommon Courtship. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2017.

Happy New Year!  I’m already eagerly anticipating another great year of spectacular Christian fiction.  The upcoming months look to be packed with exciting releases and more great writing from the genre’s incredible authors!

Ms. Hunter continues her Hawthorne House series with An Uncommon Courtship.  Lord Trent Hawthorne grew up as the younger brother of a powerful and capable duke.  Without the responsibilities of a title, Trent excels as a sportsman, while managing his relatively small estate.  However, the conniving efforts of a noblewoman results in his being married to an unassuming young woman, Lady Adelaide Bell.  Adelaide grew up in the shadow of her ever-ambitious mother and older sister.  To save her reputation, Trent and Adelaide are forced to marry, even without knowing each other beyond a few hours of conversation.  Together, they must learn how to make a successful marriage works, even if it means having a courtship after the wedding.

Ms. Hunter writes an intriguing tale set in Regency-era England, while continuing to develop the storylines of the Hawthorne family members.  An Uncommon Courtship makes for a heart-warming read during the blustery winter months.

Overall, I quite enjoyed reading An Uncommon Courtship.  Ms. Hunter expertly develops her main characters, as she utilizes a different take on a Regency-era situation to diversify the storylines of the Hawthorne House series.  Unlike An Elegant Façade, An Uncommon Courtship takes place entirely after the events of Ms. Hunter’s previous novels.  As a result, I found the storyline to be much stronger as a stand-alone novel, even while it presents an exciting continuation to the series.  After reading the entire set of novels so far, I am very interested to see where Ms. Hunter takes the story next, as she must finally provide a satisfying conclusion centered around the eldest brother of the Hawthorne family.

Readers who enjoy Regency-era fiction will definitely want to read Ms. Hunter’s stories, including An Uncommon Courtship.  Fans of Julie Klassen and Lori Wick will also find Ms. Hunter’s novels to be a worthwhile read.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for the advanced copy of An Uncommon Courtship!

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