Ebook Specials from Bethany House | Baker Publishing Group

Bethany House has some great titles available for FREE this month.  And for today only, (07-24-14) you can get Elizabeth Ludwigs Tide and Tempest.  I have enjoyed her other books and I am looking forward to this one!

You have to go to a major retailer, like Amazon, put in the author’s name it the search menu or the book title, and it should be FREE.  You cannot get the books directly from the site.

So, a little work…but a FREE BOOK is a FREE BOOK!

Happy reading!

Ebook Specials from Bethany House | Baker Publishing Group.

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Review: Whispers in the Wind

I received Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling as part of my review gig for Bethany House Publishers.

I have never read any of Ms. Snelling’s works before and I was presently surprised.  Even though I have not read the first in this series, Wild West Wind, this second installment stands on its own.

Whispers in the Wind is the continuation of Cassie Lockwood’s story.  She grew up in a traveling Wild West Show and was one of the main attractions.  She is a trick rider, crack shot and owner of several buffalo that she’s raised since they were babes.  Along with Cassie are three Native Americans, Chief, Micah and Runs Like a Deer.  (I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the first book so I can read how they came upon her and what her story is!)

Cassie discovers that her father (deceased) owns half of a ranch in South Dakota.  This is where we find her at the beginning of this book.  There is another family already living on the ranch, the Engstrom’s.  The Engstrom’s consist of Mavis, the matriarch, and her children Ransom, Lucas, Jesse and Gretchen.

Ransom is the brooding hero.  You know, the still waters run deep sort of man.  He’s interested in keeping his ranch in his family…plus there’s a vein of gold running through the ranch that his father and Cassie’s panned out and almost died for.  Ransom is angry at his mother for not telling him that half the ranch belonged to someone else.  He’s also a man of deep faith and he’s trying to listen to his mother that God know’s best.

Lucas is the free spirit.  He falls in love every other day, but he is instantly smitten with Cassie.  This creates tension not just for the brother’s but also for some of the townsfolk since Lucas was stepping out with another girl from a prominent family.

Jesse is the unknown at this point for me.  He’s off at medical school and while he may have been a part of the former book…all I know of him is that he usually has his head in medical books.

Gretchen is a sweet girl who is a bit high-spirited but she has a very good heart and is the apple of her families eye.

Cassie is trying valiantly to get her “family” settled before winter comes.  They are logging, taking care of their neighbors, hunting and trying to survive off the land.  I love that sort of thing!  And, f you live in the Upper Midwest you can totally relate to getting everything ready for winter.  Winters, even with our modern conveniences, are tough!  She hardly has any money…and has the weight of the world on her shoulders.  The Engstrom’s are supportive and kind, helping her out and creating a home life for her that she never had with the Wild West Show.  But, not everyone in their community is so welcoming of Cassie and her “family”.  There is trouble brewing and it comes to a head at the end of the book.

Cassie is both sweet, gentle and strong.  She wants a deeper relationship with God, but with a few mishaps, that faith has been shaken.  It’s nice to see her question her status and relationship with Him.  It’s also nice to see that Cassie is not swayed by Lucas’ pursuit of her…in fact she is a bit oblivious to the whole thing until later on in the book.

Personally, I enjoyed this book.  The writing was excellent and well put together.  The character development, even though this is a second in a trilogy, is very defined and I did not have to question why this person does what they do.  It gets explained in a reasonable amount of time.  I appreciate that.  I simply cannot wait for the third segment so I can know how the story ends.  I hope Cassie and Ransom end up together!  🙂

Review: Touching the Sky

I recently finished Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson.  This is the second book in the “Land of the Lone Star Trilogy.”

I have to say, I have become something of a Tracie Peterson fan.  I love her stories and the characters.  I love their struggles and their relationships with God.  I love how faith is an integral part of every single story.

Touching the Sky is about Laura Marquardt of Corpus Christi, Texas.  Her family supported the Union through the Civil War and has seen both ups and downs.  As the war winds down, her family is trying to re-establish itself as one of the more prominent families in her town.  And lest it be thought of otherwise, they are not trying to throw their money or prowess around.  They are hard working people who are rebuilding their lives after the war.

Laura meets Captain Brandon Reid and there is a connection.  I won’t say it’s an instant connection because their first meeting is somewhat, shall I say, a bad encounter.  But after that, their camaraderie and easy time with one another make it clear that they are meant to be.  Brandon finishes out his military career in Corpus Christi but has other clandestine missions going on that involves Laura and her family.  This presents a problem for his relationship with Laura later on in the book.

Laura has a very childish and selfish (sometimes they go hand in hand) younger sister named Carissa.  Carissa has a Confederate suitor who is not quite what he seems.  But, against Laura’s better judgment and warnings, Carissa is determined to have her man and her wedding.  We soon find out that Carissa should have listened to Laura and hard times follow.

I really liked Brandon Reid’s character.  He is solid in his relationship with God and knows what he doing and where he is going.  There is a definite steadfastness about his character that is refreshing in a male character.  Sometimes, it is a bit disconcerting when the hero of a story broods too much.  I suppose for me that is a turn-off since in real life, if that was my fella, I would tell him to suck it up and quit being such a wuss.  Make a decision, already! (You feel sorry for my husband, now, don’tcha??)

Laura Marquardt was a very good heroine and her emotions were easy to understand.  She was a solid foil for Brandon…both are strong characters.  They are sure in their faith, understand one another and as the bible mentions they are “equally yoked”

The pace of the story is also very good.  It moves along at a quick clip but not so fast that you lose where you were or what happened before.

The one challenge I had with this story is that the main protagonist, Malcolm, seems a bit underdeveloped and almost had a cookie-cutter bad-guy stamp to him.  I would have appreciated more character development with him.  I guess I like my bad-guys down-and-dirty.  Or possibly…I would appreciate a more subtle and menacing bad-guy.  Too many British crime dramas for me!

All in all I really enjoyed Tracie Peterson’s Touching the Sky.  It was a great read and I cannot wait for the next installment!