ISBN-13: 9780764230240 Publisher: Bethany House

Lisa Bergren’s latest release Keturah is an intriguing, historical novel that I enjoyed more than I thought possible. The story takes place in the late 1700s and centers around Keturah and her two sisters. When the three learn their father has met an untimely demise, they know someone must tend to his affairs to help save their home. Ket decides she will operate the plantation their father started in the Caribbean and sets out on an adventure. When Ket’s old friend Gray appears to be doing the same, he becomes her ally. But will she be able to run the plantation and keep her family from losing all they love? Will her heart get in the way?

Colonial history is typically not one of my favorite subjects, but when I heard Lisa Bergren was going to be writing a novel set in the period, I thought I would give the time period another go. I was not disappointed! Keturah was not the typical colonial tale, and that is why I believe I liked it so much.

First, it was set in the Caribbean, which is a historical area I have very little knowledge about—unless one counts The Pirates of the Caribbean. So, it was fun to explore this land with the characters. The rich descriptions of the islands made the setting come alive.

Second, Keturah deals with the very harsh realities of slavery and the limits placed on women in this time. I became so enthralled with the story that the unfairness of many situations made me physically sad and angry—that’s how one knows she is reading a good book, though.

Third, and one of my favorite parts of the book, Bergren incorporates so many aspects of this historical period, including grand balls and pirates, that I felt as if I were in the period every time I opened the book.

Most of all the tale of a young woman doing everything in her power to overcome the stereotypes and limits put on her and finding her faith make all the other parts of this book come to life. Between the men of the island and the new environment, Ket and her sisters find new challenges around every corner—including love.

I enjoyed Keturah very much and cannot wait to read the next books in the series!

My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray

Tammy L. Gray’s latest novel, My Hope Next Door, is a phenomenal read!

When Katie Stone returns to the small hometown she left years ago, she’s reminded of all the trouble she caused. But, she’s determined to right her wrongs and help her parents handle her mother’s recent illness. Asher Powell, her next door neighbor, becomes Katie’s greatest friend and biggest support. He has his own inner battles raging, but he recognizes the sincerity in Katie’s faith and her attempts at forgiveness. The unlikely friendship that forms between these neighbors may help to bring them both the peace and hope they long for, as well as second chances they never dreamed possible before.

Having read and enjoyed all of Miss Tammy’s books, I had high expectations for this new novel. And I was not disappointed! The characters of this book, like all of her novels, were caught in very real scenarios: sins and drama that anybody could fall into in the real world. It made the characters more lovable and believable. The way she tackled the messages of forgiveness and love was well-thought out. She wove truth into this fictional tale, and she did it well.

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. I was constantly pulling it out every chance I got to see what else Katie would try and how it would end up. If romance, forgiveness, and friendship are elements one appreciates in a novel, My Hope Next Door will not be a letdown! If I had to give this book a rating, I would give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Sell Out by Tammy L. Gray

I have read almost every single book written by Tammy L. Gray, and none have had the impact on me that Sell Out did. Cody James is a guy who just wants to fly by. After being a victim of bullying at Madison High, all he wants to do is finish his time in school and get out without being cast from the social inner circle. However, with the addition of a beautiful, new student in class, Cody begins to question his role. All Skylar Wylde wants is normal. Being rock legend Donnie Wylde’s daughter does not leave much room for normalcy, but she hopes that Madison High can offer her some kind. When she catches the eye of the elite circle’s “king,” things become strange in both her life and Cody’s.

I really enjoyed this book! I never realized that stories about bullying could be so intense. Once I started reading the story, I could not put it down! Cody’s story on its own was interesting, but with the addition of Skylar’s story and general high school drama, Sell Out was just awesome! Every spare moment of my time was spent reading this story. There were so many elements of the plot that I had to have answers to that I could just not stop reading. Miss Tammy has woven together a wonderful story that all should read. She includes not only the social impacts of bullying, but also the psychological impacts. Words and actions cut a lot deeper than most realize, and Tammy L. Gray has shown that in her novel. I highly encourage that you read this book, whatever your age; there is a lesson for everyone in Sell Out.

**I was provided an advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review.**