Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dead of Night

Title:  Dead of Night (Hidden Faces #3)
Author:  Brandilyn Collins
Pages:  457 (large type edition)
Year:  2005
Publisher:  Thorndike Press (large type)
Annie Kingston is back in this third installment of the Hidden Faces series.  This time she is tasked with drawing lifelike images of the murdered victims of a serial killer.  She also is still dealing with her son’s poor choices and behavior as he gets involved with drug dealers.  Her sister has also moved in with her to help her “babysit” her son.  She has a great deal of stress in her life and realizes the only way she can cope is with prayer.  She has dedicated at least ½ hour every day to reading her Bible and prayer so she can face the day and its challenges.  She also begins to realize her next door neighbor, Dave, is interested in more the friendship.  Is she ready for a relationship when her life has so much chaos?  As the murders become more frequent, Annie learns she knows one of the victims.  The killer is becoming more and more brazen.  Who will be next?  Can Annie do anything to stop this killer?
I couldn’t put this book down.  There was so much suspense, action and mystery in the plot I was hooked from the first page.  Having read the first two books in the series, coming in contact with the same characters again was like meeting old friends.  Annie is now such a strong woman of faith, so much more than she realizes.  I loved the emphasis on the power of prayer, especially as a weapon against evil and in the maturation of the relationship between God and His children.  I would recommend reading the first two books in the series before this one as they serve to introduce the characters in book one and then further develop them in book two.  This was a great book!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In the Field of Grace

Title:  In the Field of Grace
Author:  Tessa Afshar
Pages:  290
Year:  2014
Publisher:  River North
I have read some of Tessa Afshar’s prior books and enjoyed them very much so when the chance came for me to get a copy of her latest book, I jumped at it!  This is a fictional account of the story of Ruth and Boaz from the Old Testament.
The story begins with Ruth meeting Naomi in Moab.  Readers see Ruth before her marriage to Mahlon and what her home life was like.  Ruth desperately wants someone to love her and finds this with her new husband and his family.  Then, disaster strikes and Ruth has a choice to make.  Her mother-in-law, Naomi, is going to return to her homeland.  She encourages Ruth to stay in Moab, her own homeland, but Ruth has nothing to keep her in Moab.  She has been a part of Naomi’s family, experienced love there and has gotten to know about their God.  She declares that Naomi’s God will now be her God and where Naomi goes, Ruth will go.  They set off for Bethlehem.
Once in Bethlehem, Ruth is treated as an outcast as she is a Gentile.  Boaz shows her kindness by allowing her to glean in his fields.  Without Ruth’s hard work she and Naomi will starve.  Ruth’s hard work, kindness and caretaking of Naomi are noticed.  Ruth and Boaz spend more time together and a romance begins.  There are trials to overcome and surrendering to the Lord’s will and timing.
I thought that the characters were just spot-on and could easily relate to their emotions and reactions.  I loved the side story of Dinah and Adin, and thought it wonderful to see Ruth given another chance to show her mercy, compassion, love and service toward others.  The love story of Ruth and Boaz was heart-warming.  The love shared between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi was also gratifying to witness.  Ruth had such a servant’s heart for the Lord and other people.  She always thought of others first before herself.  She won over the women in the village by her actions.  She truly had a heart for God.  Boaz was also very compassionate and generous.  He was blessed by God and he shared his blessings with others.  This is an easy story to get lost in and has a wonderful journey toward a life given to service of God while having a happy ending!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Murder Simply Brewed

Title:  Murder Simply Brewed (An Amish Village Mystery #1)
Author:  Vannetta Chapman
Pages:  352
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Zondervan
Amber Wright is the manager of an Amish artisan village of shops, inn and restaurant.  One of the shops is a coffee shop where visitors often go for their caffeine fix.  One morning the manager of the coffee shop, Ethan Gray, is found dead.  Amber must see to finding a replacement and feels responsible for the employee’s death while on her watch so to speak.  Then, there are some acts of vandalism that leave quotes from the Bible’s book of Daniel.  Do these incidents have anything to do with Ethan’s death?   Even though the death is ruled natural, there are nagging inconsistencies in some people’s behavior and actions that cause Amber, Hannah and Tate to think maybe the death as not so natural after all.
Amber hires Hannah, a young Amish woman, to take over managing the coffee shop.  Hannah hears some rumors among other workers and shares what she learns with Amber.  A friendship develops between the two women as they share clues they uncover.  Hannah also begins to notice her best friend Jesse has become a man while she wasn’t looking, and the two may have more than friendship in their future.  Amber shares her beliefs with local law enforcement, but without proof they don’t believe her.  She and Tate spend a lot of time together hashing over the clues they’ve gathered.  As the case comes to a head, Amber realizes she loves Tate and wants a future with him, but will she survive the culprit’s next attempt?
I really liked the romance that developed between Tate and Amber.  It was nice to see romance budding between two middle-aged people.  I also liked the mystery element of the story, although I think it got bogged down a little bit with many details about the village and its workings.  Maybe those with a love of all things Amish will find those details more interesting.  The advice dispensed by Hannah’s mother also was wise and biblical, which I really appreciated.  I look forward to the next mystery due to be released in December, titled, Murder Tightly Knit.
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Monday, July 28, 2014


Title:  Sidetracked
Author:  Brandilyn Collins
Pages:  301
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Challow Press in partnership with Christian Writers Guild Publishing
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from the author via
Brandilyn Collins does it again!  She has mastered the suspense genre and shows her expertise in Sidetracked.  With the clever use of flashback, readers get the history and background of Delanie Miller, the main character in the book.  She has settled in the small town of Redbud, Kentucky.  She longs for a man to love, marry and have a family with and seems to have found that man.  She is going home from a good friend’s wedding shower, when she discovers a dead body.  From this point on, she agonizes over whether to get involved in solving the crime or not.  If she becomes known to more than the people of her small town, the chances of her past being exposed increase exponentially.  Is she ready to give up the life she has carved out for herself?  Will her boyfriend understand her lying about her past?  Can she face getting involved with the police again?  Can she let an innocent person suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?
As the investigation and plot progress, Delanie’s past is put before readers as well as her present.  Readers relive the frustration, anger, unbelief at the lack of justice and bitterness she has experienced as well as deep depression.  Now, forced to face her past instead of burying it deep within puts extreme strain on Delanie’s mind and heart.  She reaches for the only One who can see her through this seemingly impossible situation.  She had turned away from God in bitterness in her past, but her soul eventually cried out for Him.  She began praying and trusting Him again and her life slowly improved.  Can she continue to trust Him with her life or will she again succumb to bitterness at the injustices she has suffered?
This is another great suspense-filled mystery by Brandilyn Collins.  The characters are easy to relate to and their life situations believable.  I loved the eccentric people Delanie collected to be the family she missed out on in the past.  I didn’t give too many details about the story because it would ruin the impact of reading it for yourself.  Don’t miss this great, attention-keeping novel!  I can’t wait for the next one!
My rating is 5 stars.
Amazon Link:
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at