Category Archives: Bethany House Publishers

Review: After She Falls by Carmen Schober

Title: After She Falls by Carmen Schober
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


She’s always had that fire in her. She just needs to find it again.

Strong-willed Adri Rivera nearly achieved her goal of being a professional mixed martial artist, but then she fell in love with a man who knocked all the fight out of her. When their abusive, tumultuous relationship finally comes to a head, Adri flees with their young daughter to her small hometown in the mountains of Pennsylvania. There, she must face the people she left behind and put her broken life back together again.

A hardened Max Lyons can’t believe Adri is back in town after abruptly cutting him and everyone else off years ago. Despite the distance that grew between them, he feels compelled to help her regain her independence and offers her a job at his gym. But regaining each other’s trust is another matter, made even more complicated by the lingering spark between them. As Adri dares to pursue her dream again, she trains for a big tournament with Max’s help, but they’ll both have to confront their own doubts in order to rise victorious.


After She Falls by Carmen Schober is a heartwarming Christian novel of new beginnings, healing and love.

After years of abuse, Adri Rivera finally realizes her husband, Owen Anders, is not going to change. She seizes the opportunity to leave with her young daughter Eva and returns to her small hometown in rural Pennsylvania. Her beloved Uncle Roman welcomes them with open arms and gives her the space and time she needs to begin to recover. Jobs are scarce so Adri reluctantly works for her former best friend Max Lyons who has yet to forgive her for breaking his heart. With plenty of encouragement from her new co-workers and her uncle, Adri decides to give her dream of becoming an MMA fighter another shot. With Max agreeing to temporarily coach her, will she achieve her goal? And can Max finally forgive Adri for hurting him so deeply years earlier?

Adri grew up in an abusive household and her mother abandoned her when she was a little girl. Her aunt and uncle were thrilled to raise her but Adri always closely guarded her heart. With Roman’s encouragement, she put in many hours working toward becoming an MMA fighter. Growing up, Max was her best friend and their relationship gradually turned into romance. But when Adri meets Owen, she seizes the chance to leave her small-town roots behind her. Unfortunately, she soon realizes she made a terrible mistake, but for the sake of her daughter Adri decides to stay with him.

Max never planned to become an MMA fighter. But with his heart broken by Adri, he throws himself into fighting. He eventually turns to coaching, but he soon moves back to Sparta to open a gym. Max is restless when Adri shows up with Eva and he reluctantly hires her to work for him. He is not at all enthusiastic about coaching her, but he is willing to put aside his reservations until she can find a new coach.

After She Falls is a captivating novel of faith, family and starting over. Adri holds her emotions in her check and finds it difficult to talk about her problems. Her newfound faith is a large part of her healing process and this leads to a few issues with Max who is not religious. Their relationship is precarious and it does not take much to put them at odds. With a charming cast of characters and a unique storyline, Carmen Schober’s debut novel is well-written, engaging and quite engrossing. Readers are sure to fall in love with this heartfelt romance.

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Filed under After She Falls, Bethany House Publishers, Carmen Schober, Christian, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: Love and the Silver Lining by Tammy L. Gray

Title: Love and the Silver Lining by Tammy L. Gray
State of Grace Series Book Two
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


This disaster may be just what she needed.

Darcy Malone’s dreams of mission work are dashed on the eve of fulfilling them: The Guatemalan school she was going to teach at has closed, and she’s already quit her job and given up her apartment. Stuck in her worst-case scenario, Darcy accepts an unexpected offer to move in with Bryson Katsaros’s little sister, despite the years of distrust between her and Bryson, the lead singer in her best friend Cameron’s band. But as she meets those close to Bryson, Darcy quickly discovers there is more to him than just his bad-boy persona.

Needing to find a purpose for all her sudden free time, Darcy jumps at the chance to care for and train a group of unruly dogs, with the aim of finding each a home before their bereaved owner returns them to animal control. But it’s Darcy herself who will encounter a surprising rescue in the form of love, forgiveness, and learning to let go.


Love and the Silver Lining by Tammy L. Gray is a multi-layered inspirational romance. This second installment in the State of Grace series can be read as a standalone.

Darcy Malone’s disappointments have been piling up and this latest blow almost levels her. Instead of heading off on her long-awaited mission, she is instead packing up her apartment and looking for a temporary place to stay. Her best friend Cameron Lee offers to let her stay with him and his former bandmates. Although far from ideal, this solution is better than moving in with her mom. Darcy is still reeling from her parents’ unexpected divorce and she would rather not live with her mother. When Bryson Kataro learns of her dilemma, he arranges for Darcy to stay with his half-sister Zoe.

At loose ends, Darcy accompanies Bryson to his friend Charlie’s place in the country. Charlie is grieving the loss of his wife and with him ready to give up on his late wife’s shelter dogs, Darcy volunteers to train them for adoption. Thrown into Bryson’s company, Darcy  is finally seeing beneath his hardened surface layers. She surprises herself when she seeks out his company and he provides a much needed ear as she tries to come to terms with the changes in her life.  How will Darcy react when she discovers Bryson returns her attraction? And if they decide to act on it, what effect will dating Bryson have on her lifelong friendship with Cameron?

In her late twenties, Darcy has put so much effort into raising money for her mission that she is rudderless when her plans fall through. She is also still trying to come to terms with the effects of her parents’ shocking divorce. Darcy has also always had a strong faith and after this newest disappointment, she struggles with her inability to hear God speak to her. She ordinarily turns to Cameron but he is not happy she accepted Bryson’s help instead of his. When her path continues to cross with Bryson, she begins to realize there is much she does not know about him. Darcy begins to seek him out when she needs a sounding board and she suddenly begins to view him in a whole new light.

Due to events from his childhood, Bryson is guarded and does not allow very many people to get close to him. He has working hard to finally get a big break for his band. Although he and Darcy have known each other since they were children, they were never all that close. Bryson is stunned when he starts to open up to Darcy, but he still clings tightly to his secrets.  He is a little frustrated that she tends to view him in a negative light.  With a lot of disappointment and pain in his past, will Bryson be open to the possibility of a future with Darcy?

Love and the Silver Lining is a charming novel of self-discovery, forgiveness and love. Darcy is a bit naïve and sheltered and she does not weather adversity well. She can be annoying and amazingly clueless about what is going on around her. But Darcy is kind-hearted, compassionate and struggling to understand herself. Bryson is a bit of a bad boy but it is easy to see he is so much more than the image he portrays. He has not had an easy life and he is multi-faceted with hidden depths. A possible romance between Darcy and Bryson simmers on the back burner for much of the story. With conflict brewing and a decision looming, Tammy L. Gray brings this captivating novel to a heartfelt conclusion. Old and new readers are going to love this latest addition to the State of Grace series.

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Filed under Bethany House Publishers, Contemporary, Inspirational, Love and the Silver Lining, Rated B+, Review, Romance, State of Grace Series, Tammy L Gray

Review: The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson

Title: The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Women’s Fiction
Length: 351 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly and completely intertwined again. Eve’s troubled lifestyle causes the state to take custody of her two children and contact Zara and her husband, asking them to consider foster care. Newlywed Zara thought she’d finally been given a fresh start and feels wholly unprepared to care for a niece and nephew whose existence she wasn’t even aware of.

Meanwhile, Eve may have a real chance to start over this time with the help of Tiff Bradley, who’s dedicated to helping women everyone else has given up on after facing a heartbreaking tragedy in her own family.

Over the course of one summer, all three women’s hearts and lives hang in the balance as Eve desperately works toward a new life. Can they redefine their expectations of how life should be to find the hope they–and those they love–so desperately need?


The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson is an emotionally compelling Christian novel of healing and grace.

Zara and Chad Mahoney are newlyweds who have just settled into their new home. The farm and house need some TLC but Zara is absolutely delighted with her new life. She is eager to begin planting the herbs, flowers and plants that she uses to make soaps, lotions and loofahs. However, they have barely finished unpacking when she receives a letter from  DHS. Zara’s estranged twin sister, Eve, is in the hospital and social services needs a temporary home for her young children, five-year-old Charlotte and eighteen-month-old Sammy. Zara is uncertain about taking in the kids but Chad has no qualms about bringing them into their home. After agonizing over the decision, Zara agrees and with the help of her mother-in-law, Sharon, and their church, Charlotte and Sammy are now in their care.

Eve is addicted to heroin and living with a man whose beating puts her in the hospital. Devastated over losing her children, she is determined to kick her habit and make the necessary changes to get her kids back. With the help of her unlikely friend, Tiff Bradley, Eve has the support she needs but giving up heroin is so much harder than she believed it would be. Luckily, Tiff is not giving up on her and she gets her into detox and finds her a place to begin her recovery. Eve is well on her way to turning her life around but will her ex-boyfriend, Joey, let her go?

Tiff is an unlikely savior since she and her husband Bruce are wealthy.  But the couple learned the hard way that addiction does not care what about your socio-economic status. They lost their daughter Lindsay to drugs and Tiff works through her grief by helping women on the outer edges of society. Unfortunately, her desire to assist these women is a source of contention between her and Bruce.

With a gentle undercurrent of faith, The Way It Should Be is a moving novel with a realistic storyline. Zara’s struggles with guilt ring true as does her wariness at opening her heart to temporary custody. Chad is a charming and outgoing with a huge heart. Charlotte’s reactions to her new situation are heartbreaking but understandable. Eve’s struggles with addiction and extremely low self-worth are heartrending. Tiff’s grief and self-recriminations over not doing more for her daughter are natural and her desire to help others comes from her heart and her strong faith. With a surprising plot twist, Christina Suzann Nelson brings this poignant yet redemptive novel to an uplifting conclusion. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this emotional and well-researched novel.

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Filed under Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Christina Suzann Nelson, Contemporary, Rated A, Review, The Way It Should Be, Women's Fiction

Review: Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman

Title: Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Women’s Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A Tale of Unexpected Friendship and Old Hollywood Glamour

Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging–a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she’s surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingénue who lives in the nearby mansion.

Kendall Joiner wants Lauren’s help uncovering the old woman’s secrets. In return, she’ll prove the red carpet accident was a publicity stunt so Lauren can regain her former job. With all her dreams in front of her, Lauren’s tempted by the offer, but as she and the old woman get to know each other, Lauren realizes nothing is quite as it seems.


Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman is a beautiful story of faith, new beginnings and unexpected friendship for lead protagonist Lauren Summers.

Lauren is an aspiring fashion designer whose career comes to screeching halt after an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction occurs with one of her creations.  After landing a job as a costume designer for a school production, she moves into an exclusive neighborhood whose residents expect complete privacy and discretion from their neighbors.  Next door neighbor Charlotte Montgomery is reclusive and deeply suspicious of Lauren’s random acts of kindness. Hoping the seclusion will provide her the chance to reflect on and grow in her faith, Lauren struggles not to lash out in anger when faced with Charlotte’s accusations and rejection.  When Lauren is offered a deal from  reporter Kendall Joiner that could restore her career, she is faced with an ethical dilemma as Joiner pressures her to betray Charlotte in exchange for the information she has uncovered.

Lauren is a rather naive young woman who is very kindhearted and caring.  Knowing her incredibly public humiliation could very well be the end of her fledgling career, she is grateful for the job that will allow her to do the work she loves-creating period costumes.  Although busy with new her new career, she always makes time for her daily devotions as she tries to understand God’s plan for her.  Although Lauren is disappointed at Charlotte’s continued animosity towards her, she is convinced there is a reason the two women’s paths crossed at this juncture in her life.  Trying to maintain a positive attitude, Lauren remains undeterred as she continues her selfless acts of kindness for her irascible neighbor.

Charlotte has not had an easy life and in an effort to shield herself from further heartache, she retreated from the public eye.  Her experiences have caused her doubt everyone’s motives and she cannot fathom what Lauren hopes to achieve by her friendly overtures.  Eagerly waiting for her suspicions to be proven correct, Charlotte tries to manipulate Lauren into betraying her.  Confused when her plan appears to have failed, she is quite harsh and unkind when Lauren faces another setback.  Yet even in the face of Charlotte’s callous  treatment of her, Lauren maintains her equanimity and continues treating her with respect and kindness.

Fading Starlight has a strong religious element and Kathryn Cushman effortlessly weaves pertinent scripture into the storyline that aids Lauren on both her professional and spiritual journeys.  The issues and troubles she is facing are quite relevant in today’s world and her struggles are realistic and easy to relate to.  Lauren’s ethical quandary is believable and it is one that any one of us could face at some point in our lives. Readers of contemporary Christian fiction are sure to enjoy this well-written and heartwarming novel.

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Filed under Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Contemporary, Kathryn Cushman, Rated B, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: The Atonement by Beverly Lewis

Title: The Atonement by Beverly Lewis
Publisher: Bethany House Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A Must-Have Novel from the #1 Name in Amish Fiction

The mistakes of the past haunt Lucy Flaud, who years ago stopped attending the activities for courting-age young people in her hometown of Bird-in-Hand. Now twenty-five and solidly past the age of Amish courtship, Lucy has given up any hope of marriage, instead focusing her efforts on volunteering in both the Plain and fancy communities of Lancaster County. Yet no matter how hard Lucy strives, she feels uncertain that she’ll ever find redemption.

Dale Wyeth has a deep mistrust of modern-day “advances” and the dependency they create. The young Englisher’s interest in living off the grid is fueled further when he meets Christian Flaud, Lucy’s father. Dale appreciates the self-sufficient ways of the Old Order Amish, and Christian invites him to learn more about them by staying at the family farm.

As Christian and Dale grow closer, developing a father-son rapport, Lucy begins to question what Dale’s being there might mean for her. Could God be testing her? Or is it possible that even the most unworthy heart–and two people from very different walks of life–can somehow find a new beginning?


A beautifully written Amish novel, The Atonement is a thought-provoking journey of healing, forgiveness and atonement by Beverly Lewis.

Lucy Flaud is dedicated to helping others.  In between volunteering at a local hospice center, serving food to the homeless and organizing donations, she helps her older sister Martie with chores around her house.  She keeps up with her work at home but her twin sisters Lettie and Faye feel a little neglected since Lucy spends most of her days away from the house.  When her father Christian befriends Englisher Dale Wyeth, her longheld anger and guilt over a dreadful mistake from her past can no longer be ignored.  As she and Dale form their own friendship, her parents grow concerned that history is repeating itself.  A surprise request from Lucy’s good friend Tobe Glick adds yet another complication to her life but this might just be the impetus she needs to finally make peace with her past.

Lucy has never forgiven herself for a misguided choice she made three years earlier.   Her once close relationship with her father has also never recovered and she remains quite angry with him for the way he handled the incident. In an effort to keep her guilt and shame at bay, she throws herself into her charitable works and while she has made a difference in other people’s lives, she still has a huge hole in her heart. Meeting Dale brings back all of the painful memories she has avoided dealing with but, as he helps her with a homeless girl she has befriended, Lucy begins to repair her fractured relationship with God.

While Lucy is making strides in regaining her floundering faith, her relationship with her dad remains troubled.  She never dealt with her grief over a tragic loss and because she does not want anyone, including the rest of her family, to know about her ill-fated decision, no one ever discusses what happened.  When Christian invites her to join a grief support group, Lucy is at first reluctant to join him but she eventually agrees to go to one meeting.  Although she still cannot bring herself to talk about her pain, she is pleasantly surprised by how comforted she feels by the support of other people in the group.  As her bitterness and resentment begin to fade, Lucy finally opens to her father about her feelings despite his reluctance to revisit old wounds.

The Atonement is a heartfelt and moving novel of faith, love, family and redemption.  Beverly Lewis skillfully handles difficult subjects in a realistic and sensitive manner.  Lucy’s journey is gradual and occurs naturally as a result of her new friendships and an unexpected decision by a longtime friend. Watching her make peace with her past and regain her lost faith is gratifying and uplifting.  All in all, a very heartwarming faith-based story that fans of Amish fiction are sure to love.

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Filed under Amish, Bethany House Publishers, Beverly Lewis, Contemporary, Rated B, Review, The Atonement

Review: A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

love likeTitle: A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade
Porter Family Series Book Three
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 369 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?


A Love Like Ours is another heartwarming addition to Becky Wade’s delightfully charming Porter Family series. In this latest release, taciturn brother Jake is not at all happy when his childhood friend Lyndie James begins working at Whispering Creek ranch.

The glimpses of Jake in previous novels have been quite intriguing and it is incredibly gratifying to finally learn more information about this battle scarred man. He is haunted by the IED attack that killed the men he served with and he is wracked by survivor’s guilt. He is also suffering from PTSD and he relives the attack during horrific nightmares. Jake is extremely closed off from family and friends but even worse, he has lost his faith and turned his back on God.

Lyndie is bubbly, cheerful and unfailingly optimistic. Her life has not been all sunshine and rainbows but her unwavering faith has sustained her through some very trying times. She is very devoted to her family and although she lives on her own, she spends a lot of time helping her parents care for her disabled younger sister, Mollie. Lyndie is a bit stubborn but in Jake’s case, this works to her advantage because she refuses to let his standoffishness deter her from going after what she wants.

The relationship between Jake and Lyndie is very uneasy and fraught with tension. Jake is extremely reluctant to hire Lyndie, not because she is not qualified, but because of his irrational fear that she will be injured. Once she settles into her new job, Jake’s fears eventually lessen to some degree. Lyndie cleverly devises a plan for them to spend more time together in hopes that they will regain their easy friendship. Her patience pays off when Jake pursues a romantic relationship with her but Lyndie’s happiness is tempered by her reservations over Jake’s lack of faith.

A Love Like Ours is a wonderful novel of faith, forgiveness and grace. The characters are endearing and while they are flawed, they are very sympathetic. The storyline is realistic and the PTSD aspect of the plot is well researched and handled with sensitivity. Family plays a big role in the unfolding story and their support for one another is very uplifting. The romance between Lyndie and Jake is slow growing and very sweet. There is a strong spiritual element that adds another layer of complexity to the both the characters and the overall storyline. It is a lovely faith based romance that old and new fans of Becky Wade’s Porter Family series are going to love.

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Filed under A Love Like Ours, Becky Wade, Bethany House Publishers, Contemporary, Porter Family Series, Rated B, Review, Romance