Spring reading list

Is there anything more delightful than getting a big box of books delivered to your doorstep?

Well, there are a few things, but since we’re all ardent readers and writers here, book deliveries rank pretty high on the list. I know fellow InskperKav lives for the days when the postman delivers multiple packages of books, and I can’t say I blame her. Say what you will about the convenience of e-readers, but there’s just something so satisfying about getting a physical book in the mail, versus an e-book delivered to your Kindle or Nook.

I am expecting a large delivery of books this week, thanks to the wonder of Amazon Prime and a gift card that had been burning a hole in my pocket. I was able to order eight books all for myself, all for the low, low price of $6 out of pocket (thank you, Christmas gift cards!). Since spring is just around the corner, I thought I’d share some of the books on my spring reading list, and books that I can hopefully recommend in just a few months. Enjoy!

A Note Yet UnsungA Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.
 
Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his father, who is dying. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream?

You can’t go wrong with anything by Tamera Alexander, whose stories are immersive, her research impeccable, and her writing sweeping. And since this story revolves around music and an orchestra? I can’t pass this one up! (Side note- isn’t that cover gorgeous? I’d pick this book up for the cover alone!)

DelugeDeluge by Lisa T. Bergren

It’s one thing to battle for life… WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN DEATH ITSELF COMES HUNTING? The Bettarinis and Forellis have found rich fulfillment, together in medieval Italia. But after fighting off countless enemies, they now must face the worst foe of all. As the Black Death closes in upon them, threatening everything and everyone they hold dear, Lia and Gabi–and the knights they love–must dig deep within to decide how they might remain safe…and if they need to risk it all in order to truly live as they’re called. DELUGE, the finale in the best-selling, award-winning River of Time Series: #1 WATERFALL #2 CASCADE #3 TORRENT #4 BOURNE & TRIBUTARY #5 DELUGE.

Yes, I know it’s weird to recommend Book Five in a series, but man, oh, man are these books addictive! The River of Time follows two sisters, Gabi and Lia, who fall back in time to the middle ages, fall in love with knights, and must decide whether to stay out of their own time. These YA books are fast-paced adventures, and I can’t wait to read what happens in the final book!

FirstbornFirstborn by Tosca Lee

Face-to-face with her past, Audra Ellison now knows the secret she gave up everything—including her memory—to protect. A secret made vulnerable by her rediscovery, and so powerful neither the Historian nor the traitor Prince Nikola will ever let her live to keep it.

With Luka in the Historian’s custody and the clock ticking down on his life, Audra only has one impossible chance: find and kill the Historian and end the centuries old war between the Progeny and Scions at last—all while running from the law and struggling to control her growing powers. Love, action, and stunning revelation reign in this thrilling conclusion to The Progeny.

The Progeny was another fast-paced thriller I couldn’t put down. Full of twists and turns and unforgettable characters, it tells the story of Audra, a girl with no memory of her past, who is being hunted by unknown forces as she scrambles to figure out why they want her dead. It ended on a cliffhanger, and Firstborn, out May 2, will conclude Audra’s story.

Caramel CrushCaramel Crush by Jenn McKinlay (A Cupcake Bakery Mystery)

Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.
 
When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts…

Book 9 in the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, these books are a lot of fun, with great characters, witty dialogue, intriguing mysteries, and cupcakes! This book comes out April 4.

So, what’s on your spring reading list?

Reading time!

As any book lover knows, there is an almost physical ache that occurs when you go for a significant amount of time without reading.

That’s been me for the past several weeks.

Since I started working for the symphony four and a half years ago, my Decembers have been consumed with one thing: the orchestra’s annual Christmas show. There were six performances when I started; we’re up to 10 now, over two weekends. My job as PR Manager is to promote the daylights out of this Broadway-caliber show, from getting our conductor on as many radio stations as possible and taking our performers to TV sets, to attending dress rehearsals for behind-the-scenes photos and posting it all to Instagram and Twitter. It’s a job I love, but it definitely takes its tole.

Which is why the two-week vacation I have that started yesterday is that much more precious!

That’s right, for the next two weeks, I can just sit around in my jammies, watch Netflix, and read to my heart’s content. Oh, I’ll probably do some housecleaning, more Christmas decorating (I finally got the tree up a week ago, but my Nativity set is still in its box next to the fireplace), and probably some last-minute Christmas shopping, but reading is going to be my number one priority.

Last year, I was very excited to read Kate Morton’s The Lake House, which I had received in early December, but put off reading until my “Christmas break.” I don’t have a particular book that I’m just dying to read these next two weeks, but there are a few that I’m excited to tackle:

12-cluesThe 12 Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Sixth in the Royal Spyness Mystery series, the books follow Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 34th in line to the English throne in the 1930s. Georgie is penniless, and must use her wits (and the occasional assignment from the Queen!) to survive.

While her true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending his feliz navidad tramping around South America and her mother is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with droll playwright Noel Coward, Georgie is quite literally stuck at Castle Rannoch thanks to a snowstorm.
 
It seems like a Christmas miracle when she manages to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village should be like something out of A Christmas Carol, but as soon as she arrives things take a deadly turn when a neighborhood nuisance falls out of a tree.  On her second day, another so-called accident results in a death—and there’s yet another on her third, making Georgie wonder if there’s something wicked happening in this winter wonderland…  

 

change-of-heartChange of Heart by Courtney Walsh

I read Walsh’s novel Paper Hearts last year, and this is set in the same town. I’m looking forward to visiting Loves Park again!

A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions―for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close―and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse―his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend―and his own mistakes―stole his chance. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?

 

poldarkPoldark: A Novel of Cornwall by Winston Graham

This one is actually on my Christmas list, so I hope it’s under the tree on Sunday! My husband and I discovered BBC’s recent TV adaptation of Winston Graham’s 12-book Poldark series this summer, and we literally binge-watched the entire first season in a weekend. We loved it! (And let’s be honest– Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark is pretty easy to binge watch!). The characters are layered and the story exciting, so I’d love to read the source material for a deeper appreciation of it.

In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth-believing Ross to be dead-is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.

Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

What about you? What books are you looking forward to reading?

 

A Library of Friends

When my husband and I moved into our house two years ago, we knew had a lot of books to box up. But after packing everything in our apartment up for weeks on end, we realized that we had at least 30 boxes full of books!

On moving day, our movers dutifully carried the couch, television, tables, chairs, and other furniture to the moving van, and then readied themselves for the mound of boxes. Wrinkling his nose when we told him that the large stack in the dining room contained our library, one of the movers asked us, “what do you do with so many books?”

“We read them, of course,” we replied.

He shook his head, then muttered something about having to carry all of those books down three flights of stairs.

Book artBut what else would you do with books than to read them? I’ll admit, my husband and I are somewhat book hoarders. If there’s a sale at a bookstore, you can bet we’re there. When we moved to the house, we also acquired four brand new, seven-foot tall bookshelves, to contain our growing library. We currently have 11 full bookshelves, two short shelves, and a cube unit. They aren’t all full, but there’s room to grow.

Guests often ask us if we’d read all of our books. I don’t know about my husband’s collection, but I’ve probably read about 60 percent of mine. But there’s always room for more!

Unless you’re a book lover, you don’t really understand the lure of library full of books. When I see my shelves full of books, it’s like walking into a room full of friends. Some of them are dear to my heart, because I’ve read them so often, such as my original copy of Anne of Green Gables, while others are casual acquaintances that I may glance at but probably only skim if I open their covers again. And as for the books I haven’t read, they are strangers that I can’t wait to get acquainted with!

One thing I DON’T have are books that I didn’t like. I have a rule: if I know I will not read a book again, I won’t keep it (Twilight, anyone?). I usually either donate them to the Goodwill, or trade them in at my local Half Price Books.

I may also be a harsh critic when it comes to books. I have a friend who will finish a book no matter what, but I refuse to continue reading a book I’m not enjoying. My motto is, “There are too many good books out there to waste on reading a bad one.” The comparison there is don’t waste time on people that bring you down.

So, what books do you consider good friends, or perhaps strangers you can’t wait to get acquainted with?

My Top Ten Must Reads (Part 2) + Giveaway!

Here is Part Two of my Top Ten Must Reads that I’ve read between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. If you missed the first five books in Part 1, you can read them here. Don’t forget to come on back and find out the rest of my picks for the year! You can find out more about each book by clicking on the title.

 

 

Lake House

The Lake House by Kate Morton

Sixteen year-old Alice Edevane’s baby brother Theo disappears on the night of her parents’ glittering Midsummer Party at their lake house in 1933, changing the family forever. Seventy years later, a police constable stumbles across the ruins of the Edevane lake house, and seeks the answers to secrets buried long ago. 

Kate Morton is one of the most gifted writers and storytellers I’ve ever read, and her latest, The Lake House, is no exception. I actually got this book in early December, and waited (very impatiently!) to read it until the end of the month when I had a week’s vacation, because a Kate Morton book is meant to be savored. Her beautiful prose and surrounding sense of mystery create an all-encompassing world that make it a tragedy to leave when the book ends.

Paper Hearts

Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh

To save her bookstore from a new landlord, Abigail strings paper hearts with love notes from a mysterious couple that quickly catch the town’s attention. But when the hearts hint at tragedy, can Abigail find out what happened to the couple and save her store and her own heart in the process?

This book took me a while to get into, but I really enjoyed it once I did. The Valentine Volunteers, a group of old ladies in the town, were humorous and their attempts at matchmaking Abigail were fun. Abigail’s journey felt genuine, and the paper hearts are a unique idea I’d love to try with my husband someday (see the book trailer here!). *Note- Courtney Walsh has a “sequel” to this story, Change of Heart, also set in Love’s Park, Colo., and featuring the Valentine Volunteers, that came out last year.

charlotte_big

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Plain governess Jane Eyre falls in love with her mysterious and brooding employer, Mr. Rochester, with tragic results. 

Yes, I know it’s a classic, but I finally read Jane Eyre for the first time this spring. It was literally one of those moments when I thought “how did I never read this until now?” The first few chapters of Jane’s cold childhood are hard to get through, but her romance with Mr. Rochester, and eventual finding of herself are masterfully done. Bronte’s Jane is a heroine for the ages. This one is a classic for a reason.

Buried in a Book

Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington

First in the Novel Idea Mysteries, Lila Wilkins accepts an internship at a thriving literary agency, but when a penniless aspiring author drops dead in the agency’s waiting room-and Lila discovers a series of threatening letters-she’s determined to find out who wrote him off.

Who doesn’t like learning more about the ins and outs of a literary agency? I really enjoyed the cast of quirky characters in this book, and any cozy that keeps me guessing whodunnit until the very end means they wrote a very good mystery indeed. Also, I feel many cozy mysteries tend to hit their stride in later subsequent books, but this one hit it out of the park as an establishing story.

Blue Castle

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

At 29, living with an overbearing mother and aunt, quiet Valancy Stirling decides to throw caution to the winds and live life on her own terms. Soon she discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures beyond her secret dreams. 

This is a re-read (that I’ve already re-read several times!), but it’s one of my favorite Montgomery novels, second only to the Anne series. While Montgomery excelled at stories about children, Valancy is decidedly not a child, and her journey from a repressed “old maid” to a woman in love and taking her life into her own hands is wonderful. Montgomery’s trademark purple prose is more evident in this story than many others, as it contains numerous beautiful expositions on nature that make me itch to explore the Canadian maritimes.  Also, only Montgomery could make the reader fall in love with a hero named Barney Snaith!

***BONUS GIVEAWAY!***

I’ve told you my top ten reads of the year, so what are some of yours? I started my reading list over on July 1, so I’d love to hear what your favorite books are! Leave a comment on either Part 1 or Part 2 (or both!) to win a copy of any of the 10 books on my list (reader’s choice). I’ll pull one winner on Friday, July 8.

 

My Top Ten Must Reads (Part 1)

You know those people in your life that recommend a book to you because they absolutely loved it, and you tell them politely that you’ll think about reading their pick, while secretly thinking, “there is no way on earth I’m going to read that book?”

Hopefully I’m not one of those people!

In the past, us Inkspers have written blogs on books we’re looking forward to reading in the coming months, but this time, I’m going to change it up. I want to tell you about my Top Ten Must Read books that I’ve encountered over the past 12 months. I actually keep a list of every book I read between July 1 and June 30 of each year, so these are books I’ve read since then that I highly recommend. Since I read a lot of cozy mystery series, I am only going to recommend the series that I began reading this year, instead of perhaps book 6 in an established series, to keep it simple. Also, I don’t often read brand new books, so some of these might be several years old already.

I selected a variety of genres, since I try to read widely, and I’m only listing the first five this week (in no particular order), so come back in two weeks to find out my next five! (Click on the titles for more info about each book.)

Top Ten (Five) Must Reads

Progeny

The Progeny by Tosca Lee. She’s the descendent of a serial killer. Now she’s the hunted.

I just finished this book last week, and this is one of the few books I can say truthfully that I couldn’t put down! I literally had to leave it at home one day because I knew if I took it to work to read over my lunch break, my lunch break would end up being three hours. A heart-racing thriller full of twists and turns, an intriguing mystery, and a cliff-hanger ending that left me eagerly anticipating the sequel next February.

To Whisper Her Name

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander. A love story of hope and healing between a Confederate widow and a southerner who fought for the North set at Tennessee’s Belle Meade Plantation. 

I read To Whisper Her Name on vacation last year, and though I was sitting in a log cabin in Oregon, every time I opened the pages I was transported to Belle Meade Plantation. Alexander perfectly captured the Reconstruction era, and her love story evolved so naturally over the course of the story that I’m in awe of her skill. I admit, I fell a little bit in love with her hero, Ridley Adam Cooper! I’ve loved all of her books I’ve read, but this one in particular stood out.

Technologists

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl. A series of mysterious attacks in Boston, 1868, send four brave students at the newly established Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a race against the clock to save their city, and their fledgling school. 

I picked this one up on a whim from Portland’s Powell’s City of Books (an amazing bookstore I highly recommend!) while on the same vacation I mentioned above. The twisty plot kept me turning the pages, and I really enjoyed learning about the early history of MIT, and people’s distrust of scientific principals that we take for granted today that Pearl’s fictional “terrorist” used to his advantage. Pearl likes to take real historical incidents and write his fictional stories around them.

State of Onion

State of the Onion by Julie Hazy. First in the White House Chef Mysteries, Ollie Paras is gunning for the Executive Chef position when she unwittingly stops a would-be assassin with her frying pan, but soon finds herself in the cross-hairs of a killer. 

I read a lot of cozy mystery series, and this one stood out to me for it’s exceptional writing, tight plot, great characters, interesting setting, and a mystery that kept me guessing. I just finished the second book, and will definitely keep reading this well-done series.

THere You'll Find Me

There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones. Finley Sinclair heads to Ireland to make peace with her brother’s death, and winds up meeting Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy. As her grief begins to wear her down, she wonders when God is going to show up for her in this Emerald paradise. 

This one was a re-read this year. I love Jones’ writing style, her humor, and her great characters. The book was funny, and yet dealt with real problems of grief, forgiveness, and healing. One of only three books I read this year that I literally broke down in tears while reading because I was so moved. I loved how the story didn’t end with everything wrapped up in a neat bow, but on a hopeful note.

Come back next Tuesday, July 5 for the rest of my list!

 

***BONUS GIVEAWAY!***

I’ve told you my top ten reads of the year, so what are some of yours? I start my reading list over on July 1, so I’d love to hear what your favorite books are! Leave a comment on either Part 1 or Part 2 (or both!) to win a copy of any of the 10 books on my list. I’ll pull one winner on Friday, July 8.

City of Books

My husband and I recently returned from a vacation to Portland, Oregon, which was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. We rented a cabin in the Mount Hood area, hiked to a waterfall, drove to the majestic Oregon coast, climbed a few boulders along the Sandy River, and just generally had a wonderful time reading and relaxing.

One of the highlights of our trip, though, was our visit to Portland’s Powell’s Books, or more commonly known as Powell’s City of Books.

“City of Books” is right.

Powells BookstorePowell’s claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, a claim I can fully get behind. Stretching a full city block and three stories tall with entire rooms devoted to one genre, it was a bibliophile’s paradise. My husband and I gleefully spent about three hours browsing the shelves, ending up with 32 titles that we shipped home to Nebraska (there was no way we would have been able to fit all those books in our luggage!).

It was a joyful day when the UPS truck delivered our vacation booty a week after we came home!

Now, I don’t really follow whatever the latest releases are unless it’s from an author I love or a series I’m devoted to. So, here are a few books I picked up that caught my interest that I’m looking forward to reading this autumn as the nights get cooler and snuggling under a blanket next to my fireplace. The first is non-fiction, but sounded as intriguing as any fictional novel, and the second is the first in a newer cozy mystery series that sounds fun.

Secret RoomsThe Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret

After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants’ quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: The Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records—but why? As Bailey uncovers the answers, she also provides an intimate portrait of the very top of British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I.

 

Snow White Red HandedSnow White, Red Handed

Miss Ophelia Flax is a Victorian actress who knows all about making quick changes and even quicker exits. But to solve a fairy-tale crime in the haunted Black Forest, she’ll need more than a bit of charm…
 
1867: After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position for a crass American millionaire. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, she begins to wonder if her fast-talking ways might have been too hasty. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. And when her millionaire boss turns up dead—poisoned by an apple—the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene.
 
To keep from rising to the top of the suspect list, Ophelia fights through a bramble of elegant lies, sinister folklore, and priceless treasure, with only a dashing but mysterious scholar as her ally. And as the clock ticks towards midnight, she’ll have to break a cunning killer’s spell before her own time runs out…

Whatchya Readin’?

Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by Judith P. Abrahamsen
Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com by Judith P. Abrahamsen

As I think about the books in my TBR pile, I am overwhelmed. So many books, so little time!! I enjoy an array of books. Everything from romance to self help. Some of the books I really am looking forward to reading are not new releases, but books that are in my TBP (to be purchased) pile as I have not purchased a fiction book in a really long time. I think I’m going through withdrawal! So here’s my TBP and TBR list:

 

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah Ladd -TBP

The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah Ladd -TBP

Mark of the Lion Series (3) by Francine Rivers -TBR

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers -TBP

Song of Acadia Series (5) by Janette Oke -TBR

Jaded by Varina Denman -TBP

Justified by Varina Denman -TBP

It’s not long but certainly gives me enough to get me through the rest of the summer! As you can see I’ve got a total of about 12 books and that’s just scratching the surface!

 

Question: What are you reading this summer?

I love to write, which means I love to read. I write inspirational books, and I read a handful of them as well. I believe it’s important to feed your soul and that’s just what these books do for me. But when it comes to fiction I love anything from fantasy to romance and I read Christian fiction and secular works. While some of the books I have chosen to read this year are not new releases, they are ones I’ve had in my TBR pile I’m finally getting to!

2015 Books 01-15-15

1. Restless by Jennie Allen: I can’t wait to dive into this one! This book encompasses all of my talents, gifts, struggles, passions and shows me how to turn them into purpose. I love a great book of encouragement when it comes to doing what God has called me to do. You can purchase it on amazon here.

2015 Books 01-15

2. Children of the Day by Beth Moore: Our Wednesday night Ladies Bible class is delving into this series. It’s a study of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians and how God used disagreements among friends to break up comfort zones so those spreading the word could be more effective. You can purchase this one at Amazon here.

2015 Books

3. The Whispers on the Moors Collection by Sarah Ladd: I love, love, LOVE Sarah Ladd’s regency series. These are three books. The Heiress of Winterwood, The Headmistress of Rosemere, and A Lady at Willowgrove Hall. When I read the Heiress of Winterwood, I finished it in two days. If you love a traditional Downton Abbey hierarchy in English society, these books are right up your alley. Regency all the way mixed with danger and adventure. Can’t wait to start Headmistress and Lady this year. You can find the collection on amazon here.

Question: What books are you reading this year?

There is no substitute for a good book

We’ve all heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store.” However, I think it would be safe to say that among us Inkspers, we’re more like “voracious readers in a book store.” That’s why I think we’re so excited to share the books we want to read this year with you!

(Stay tuned at the end for a giveaway of a book that just came out January 1 from one of our own Inkspers!)

Here are three books that I am looking forward to diving into this year. Two of them I received as Christmas gifts, while the third is one that I won on another writing blog from the author herself. All take place around World War II, one of my favorite eras to read about.

Butterfly violin JPGThe Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

The beautiful cover of this book caught my eye, while the description really captured my attention. I love stories that center around a present day protagonist searching for clues to a past mystery, and the fact that this has a musical element to it sealed the deal. And there’s a sequel coming out in April!

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire. As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

The Lost Wife by Alyson RichmanLost Wife JPG

I became interested in this story initially because the back cover blurb mentions the concentration camp Terezin. One of the lesser known camps, Terezin housed many of Europe’s musicians, composers, writers, and artists, who continued to create during their imprisonment there before being sent to their deaths at Auschwitz.

In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there’s an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers…

Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory.

Love Comes Home JPGLove Comes Home by Ann H. Gabhart

I was blessed to win a copy of this from Ann, and since it is the third in a series, I had to read the other two before tackling this one (Angel Sister and Small Town Girl). I am so glad I did, because the characters are just wonderful! I absolutely fell in love with Jay and Kate, and I can’t wait to read how they move on after the war.

World War II is finally over and the people of Rosey Corner are busy welcoming the boys home. The Merritt sisters in particular are looking toward the future. Kate is eager to start a family and live out her dream of happily ever after with Jay. Evangeline wants a beautiful house and encourages Mike to pastor a big-town church. Victoria wants what can never be–a life with a man who will never come back. And little Lorena is growing up and wondering more and more about her birth family.

Through heartfelt storytelling, readers join these endearing characters as they walk an uncertain road. Each sister must learn to hold her plans with a loose hand, trusting that God will guide and strengthen them as they share the joys and sorrows of life in their little corner of the world.

GIVEAWAY!

Our very own Rose Ross Zediker will be giving away a copy of her newest release, Dakota Love, which came out January 1. I’ll let Rose tell you a little more about it tomorrow, but please leave a comment on any of our Inksper blog posts in the next two weeks to be included in the drawing!