Christian fiction, Christian historical, Christian romance, cover design, Historical, historical christian fiction, Historical Fiction, historical romance, inspirational fiction

Book & Cover Review of "Full Steam Ahead" by Karen Witemayer

Back Cover of book "Full Steam Ahead"Front Cover of "Full Steam Ahead"
 5 Star Rating

Book Review

“Full Steam Ahead” is the perfect book for those who love heroes and heroines that don’t necessarily fit the mold. Nicole Renard is deeply devoted to her father, but their relationship is strained due to one problem totally out of her control – she’s not male. Smart as a whip, and full of spunk, this heroine will capture your heart from the first page.

At the beginning of this story, Nicole has returned home because her father is deathly ill … and his business competitors know it. Attempts are made by his competitors to end her father’s business legacy, and Nicole is desperate to find a husband to give her father a male heir, and help hide what she thinks is her father’s greatest treasure – the Lafitte Dagger. (Yes, there is pirate lore in here too; a unique twist!)

During her adventurous journey to find a spouse among her father’s business partners, she bumps into a very unlikely spousal candidate – Darius Thornton. Darius is a man whose life has become totally obsessed with one thing – improving steamship boiler safety. His explosive experiments, and driven focus, have the entire town talking. Everyone avoids even being near his home except for a couple of loyal house staff members.

These two characters, on the surface, do not seem made for one another at all.  However, once Nicole begins applying her keen mind to Darius’s boiler experiments … he can’t help noticing Nicole is more than a pretty exterior; something her father has failed to do.

I would say that this story is written more with female readers in mind, but anyone interested in the history of US steamboats would enjoy this journey back to that era of travel.

5 Star Rating

Cover Review

I will state for the record, that Bethany House covers tend to be among my favorites. Their design and photography teams manage to capture the buyer’s attention, as well as the heart of the author’s story on a very consistent basis.

The expression of the female model, her body-language of arms folded about her mid-drift, her fly-away hair, and the blast of steam coming from the boiler the male model appears to be working on, all combine into one intriguing and rather fun cover. You know from the moment you look at this cover model, that this young woman is determined, and more than a little spunky.

On the front cover, we only catch a glimpse of the chin of our hero’s face, but he does look rather hunky. You already wonder what he’s up to with all of that steam?

The beautiful embellishment around the title is enhanced by a subtle embossing over both the title and the author name on this cover. I also love that they used the same steamy look behind the title and embellishment to help the title stand out from the background of the model’s vibrant green dress.

The spine features the same photo as the cover, only we do get to see the hero’s entire face (still hunky). The spunky theme is also cleverly carried into the back cover design, where our heroine model appears to be giving her hero an “I told you that wouldn’t work” speech, with one hand on her hip and the other pointing a finger in a commanding way. The hero has his arms slouched, palms up, as though conceding she is correct, or admitting he didn’t know something. I love that I can guess what their conversation is, and what they personalities are like by their body language. So often a cover is only a face staring into the distance.

This cover definitely draws you into the characters and into the story from first glance. Well done!

*This book was provided by the publisher for review under no guarantee of a positive review.

 

 

 

Christian fiction, Christian historical, Christian romance, Historical, historical christian fiction, Historical Fiction

Book & Cover Review of "Moonlight Masquerade" by Ruth Axtell

MoonlightMasqueradeBookCover Back Cover of Moonlight MasqueradeBook Review

The author does a great job of leaving the reader guessing from page one. Though I will admit that at first I found it to be a problem. It took me a little while before I was completely sucked into this novel (though I eventually was). I feel this happened because I wasn’t sure which character I should be rooting for? I didn’t know if I wanted Reese — the butler who is really an English spy — to discover Lady Wexham was a French spy … or not.

Once I knew the two characters better (a few chapters in) I was more solidly into the story … and I truly began to enjoy the historical Regency era backdrop. I’m glad I stuck with it and read to the end. It was a wonderfully written story, full of misdirect and intrigue. I had not previously read a spy novel from the Regency-era and thoroughly enjoyed this one. Though there is a strong male character in this story, I do feel female readers would enjoy “Moonlight Masquerade” more then men. There are too many details about dresses and socialite expectations of the era for me to feel it is written to appeal to both sexes equally.

This book was provided by the Publisher for review, with no guarantee of a positive review.

Book Cover Review

Wealth. Beauty. Power. These three elements are all present in the story, and also reflected well in this cover. The cover model looks down at the hem of her dress in a semblance of demurity. However, the elegance of her surroundings, and her dress, betray that she is a woman of great means. This woman knows how to direct your attention where she wants it. If she wants you to notice how well she is dressed, she knows all the moves. The blue color of her dress are the perfect compliment to the golden tones of her surroundings. She knew exactly which dress to where to this event to make herself appear as though she belongs here … yet still have her beauty stand out. A perfect spy? You’ll have to read the book to know!

Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Moonlight Masquerade

By Ruth Axtell

In this new Regency Romance, Ruth Axtell deftly creates a world where black and white burst into a confusion of colors and no one is who they seem.  Axtell’s expert storytelling and attention to historical detail bring the Regency era alive with  intrigue and romance.

Lady Celine Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need–or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess’s butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London’s West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham’s spell.

Ruth Axtell is the author of thirteen novels, including Wild Rose, one of Booklist‘s Top Ten in Christian Fiction. Currently a resident of Downeast Maine, Axtell has lived in the Canary Islands, Miami, and the Netherlands.

Endorsements for Moonlight Masquerade

 

 “Intrigue, romance, a clandestine kiss . . . all cast in a Regency setting so magnificently detailed I could see the fabrics and feel the glow of another era. Secrets and past disappointments keep Céline and Rees apart, not to mention the largest chasm of all—class. A wonderfully romantic and memorable read!”—Maureen Lang, author of Bees in the Butterfly Garden

“The first paragraph drew me into the story, and the next twist held me there to the end.”—Laurie Alice Eakes, author of A Flight of Fancy

Moonlight Masquerade is a wonderful romance, graced with expert detail of the Regency period, as well as with Ruth Axtell’s usual flair for intensely romantic situations between characters so real I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Moonlight Masquerade is an exciting romantic adventure of spies, forbidden love, and happily-ever-after that I thoroughly enjoyed.”—Melanie Dickerson, two-time Christy Award finalist and author of The Healer’s Apprentice and The Merchant’s Daughter

Christian fiction, Christian historical, cover design, Historical, historical christian fiction, Historical Fiction, inspirational fiction

Book & Cover Review of "All for a Song" by Allison Pittman

366807oBook Review

“All For a Song” was a story about options. What if you dare to take the road less traveled? To take the unsafe road; the one where you can’t predict what will happen two steps ahead. Dorothy Lynn Dunbar is a small-town girl with a lot of talent. Her talent takes her on a wild journey — one which will help her discover if her current path of security and predictability, is the one she really wants to be on. It was also a story about family. How far will we go out of our comfort zone when our love of a family member is involved?

I won’t spoil all of the fun, but it was entertaining to get an insider’s glimpse of what life was like during the roaring twenties, both in rural areas and urban ones. I was also not very aware of the history of early female evangelists. Unfortunately for our heroine, she finds out all too easily how many temptations are present when you are living life on the road away from your family. You’ll have to read the story to see how she handles it!

* This book was received for review by the publisher with no promise of a positive review.

Book Cover Review

I like this cover, except for the very limited color palate. Because all of the tones are muted I don’t think it will stand out as well on the shelf and attract unfamiliar purchasers. I do feel that, if it does get noticed, it will appeal to the right reader. The style of dress and hat on the model is appropriate for a 1920s historical. I do wish they could have worked the musician or singer part of the story into the front cover a little more though. The tiny hint of a musical instrument at the top of the back cover is our only clue that this story is about an early female worship leader.

Book Description from the Publisher

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and plans to marry the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life—movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?

Link to discussion guides and further information.

Christian fiction, Christian historical, Christian romance, cover design, Historical, historical christian fiction, Historical Fiction, historical romance, Uncategorized

Book & Cover Review of "Waiting for Spring" by Amanda Cabot

Back Cover of Waiting for Spring by Amanda CabotFront Cover of Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot

Book Review

Amanda Cabot’s second book in the Westward Winds series, “Waiting for Spring”, can be read as a wonderfully engaging stand-alone novel. I have not read the first book of this series and felt neither lost, nor unsatisfied.

Both the male and female leads are well-developed and unique characters I was both rooting for, and frustrated with for much of the book. (Will these two ever figure out they are meant for each other?)

Amanda has also brilliantly developed a bad guy you slowly love to hate. He starts off seeming only slightly untrustworthy … and eventually his true nature leaves you squirming with displeasure — earnestly turning pages to learn how his bad intentions will affect the hero and heroine.

A wonderful story — based in the early years of Cheyenne, Wyoming. It definitely makes it onto my favorites list for the year.

Book Cover Review

May I say that the dress steals the show on this cover? But … since the story is about a dress maker it totally works! The vibrant blue color draws attention, and the style of the dress establishes it is a historical set in the late 19th century. This cover will appeal more to women, but since that is the same target as the story, it is a great match.

One small factoid that I thought was fun about this cover design, is the fact that the title grouping is actually partially hidden behind the cover model’s shoulder. The designer was obviously aware the model and the dress ‘steal the show’ — they are purposely letting it, by giving the title grouping a secondary status in this design (though they did add a touch of gloss to balance it a little).

* This book was provided by the publisher with no guarantee of a positive review. Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Waiting for Spring By Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot explores themes of love, courage and sacrifice in the second book of the Westward Winds series.   With an authentic backdrop of 1880s Wyoming, Cabot creates characters whose struggle to forge a life in the old West ultimately win your heart.

After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But when a notorious robber believes she knows the location of a long-lost treasure, she flees to Cheyenne and opens a dressmaker’s shop to lie low and make a living. When wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry enters the shop to visit her best customer Miriam, Charlotte feels drawn to him.

If Barrett is to be a senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming, he must make a sensible match, and Miriam has all the right connections. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Soon the past comes to call, and Barrett’s plans crumble around him. Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow’s Garden, and Summer of Promise, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming.

Endorsements for Amanda Cabot and Waiting for Spring:

“One thing I know to expect when I open an Amanda Cabot novel is heart. She creates characters that tug at my heartstrings, storylines that make my heart smile, and a spiritual lesson that does my heart good. Her stories are like the first sweet scents of spring—pure pleasure.”—Kim Vogel Sawyer, bestselling author of My Heart Remembers

“From the first page I found myself rooting for the young widow, Charlotte, who’s trying to forge a life for herself in Cheyenne while also caring for a disabled son. My heart beat with worry as trouble from the past found her. And it pattered with hope as sweet Charlotte caught the eye of handsome Barrett. Amanda Cabot offers a delightful read, and as I turned the pages I was swept away with a story of love, courage, and sacrifice. Recommended!”—Tricia Goyer, bestselling author of 32 books, including Beyond Hope’s Valley

Christian fiction, Christian historical, Christian romance, cover design, Historical, historical christian fiction, Historical Fiction, historical romance, inspirational fiction

Book & Cover Review of "Flight of Fancy" by Laurie Alice Eakes

Book Cover for "a Flight of Fancy" by Laurie Alice EakesBack Cover for "a Flight of Fancy" by Laurie Alice EakesBook Review

Cassandra Bainbridge is a heroine afraid of her own passions. Well, her emotional passions for a certain handsome fiancé anyway. A terrible injury leaves her feeling less than desirable and fearful that God is punishing her. Having not read book one , the leap to her feeling judged by God for a moment of passion seemed a little fast … and the mention that she had put her wedded bliss on hold once before (even though she really did love her fiancé) made her seem ‘flighty’ in more ways than one!

However, the fascination with independent balloon flight was very interesting. I enjoyed her exploits, and that the author made her a very curios and capable young woman, despite her injury. The trial and error of the early balloonist was something I had never read about before. Spoiler alert: Her fiance’s believable fear of heights helped to explain how this fascination was drawing them apart. The fact that it eventually saves his life and draws them together, was a very nice touch!

The writing was done well, and drew me in. I feel I enjoyed it as a stand alone once I’d read only a couple of chapters. I might have enjoyed it sooner if I’d read book one. Women readers will especially enjoy this independent and curios heroine.

Book Cover Review

By the cover alone I was able to determine not only that it was a historical, but that it was a Regency, that it was likely about a heroine of wealth, and that hot-air balloons were somehow involved. Since all three are a big part of the story I think this will be a successful cover – drawing exactly the readers that will enjoy it. I also love the font used for the title. Very elegant and befitting for this English lady of privilege. The area surrounding the author’s name is my least favorite part of the design, but that is being picky. I think it’s the mint green color that bothers me about it. It just seems to clash with the richer greens in the photo background. If the designer had color picked another color directly from the photo, either dark or light, I think it would have felt slightly more harmonious as a whole. I would have used this same color on the back cover as well. But as I said, overall I really like this cover, and that is being extremely picky. The artist has done a great job overall!

*Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The additional information below was provided by the publisher:

A Flight of Fancy
The Daughters of Bainbridge House Series- #2
By Laurie Alice Eakes

Filled with the mystique of London society and the charming beauty of the English countryside, A Flight of Fancy explores what it means to find the true source of happiness and love amid the distractions of life. Readers will love the next installment in this rousing Regency series from accomplished author Laurie Alice Eakes.
Cassandra Bainbridge has twice set aside her scholarly pursuits–once for the London Season and once for her wedding preparations. Love seems a wonderful alternative to study, until disaster strikes. When an accident brings an end to her betrothal, she heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. There she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when her former fiancé slips back into her life, what course will she choose?
Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, A Necessary Deception, Heart’s Safe Passage, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.

Praise for Laurie Alice Eakes’s A Necessary Deception- #1 in The Daughters of Bainbridge House Series:

A marvelously well told adventure detailing the difficulties of British life for a woman during 1812 – and the faith that can be found in the trying times. – CBA Retailers & Resources

4 stars
The first in Eakes’ Daughters of Bainbridge House series, this is a great Regency-era novel with characters who may not be who people think they are. These characters are lovable, caring and willing to let their tender sides show. – RT Reviews

Laurie Eakes whisks the reader into 1812 – London Society – into the Regency Era. It’s a world filled with drawing rooms, masquerade balls and a time when women were entréed into society in hopes of a marriage proposal.  This author knows her stuff and brings historical richness to the story I adored. This was an intriguing story filled with mystery.  I recommend this book to the historical minded and those who like a good mystery! – Nora St Laurent