Monday, December 22, 2014

A Lone Star Christmas


Title: A Lone Star Christmas
Author: William W. Johnstone
Pages: 336
Year: 2011
Publisher: Pinnacle
Since I was a little girl, westerns have been the one genre I knew I could best use to identify who I was. Whether it was watching westerns on TV, a movie, reading non-fiction as well as fiction, I always wanted to know more about the West with a passion. Recently, with my sons having become men, I joined the NRA, took a class, and bought my first firearm. I am also a member of SASS. Even though I don’t attend anything, I learn a lot from this group. I knew a few western writers growing up though because of my Nana I knew more about Louis L’Amour and his books. Growing up and watching my parents get her the latest novel or seeing her read those books are memories I will always remember. When Nana died, I was blessed with her entire collection of westerns that included a few Luke Short books and some others. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I came across the name of William W. Johnstone. You can go to his website to learn more about the author, books, and book club. (http://www.williamjohnstone.net/index...)
Every author of any genre has a unique way of telling a story. The western genre encompasses a whole lot of territory. What I like best in this author’s writings is the depth of the story and the painstaking time taken to place details in a scene. There is some cussing in the novels, but no sexual content whatsoever. There is romance though as well as gunfights. Deeper still is the portrayal of the cowboy’s code of being willing to place his life on the line for another, taking care of matters of law and justice, or even seeing to family matters. Yet, even what I have listed fails to encompass the western genre. I can only say the novels are worth the time to read.
A Lone Star Christmas was released in 2011, and this year A Rocky Mountain Christmas has been released. In the near future, I will be reading and reviewing this work of fiction as well. I have no doubt that it will be as excellent as its predecessor.
There is so much enjoyment in the pages of this novel. It would be hard to put words on paper to adequately describe everything, so here is a very short summary. Remember there are a few cuss words interspersed in the story. Rebecca is the daughter of a wealthy rancher in Texas. She doesn’t know her birth mother. Who was she? With love on the line and questions to be answered, Becca leaves the ranch without anyone’s knowledge. Tom is running from a memory he never wants to rehash in his heart or mind. Leaving his former life behind, he sets out on a train for the west, ending up in Texas. His knowledge and experience as a cowboy become apparent very quickly, but there is no turning back now.

Ranch hands’ lifestyles, forged friendships, and a cattle drive through the winter are just a few of the happenings that take place. With a make or break deal to try a different breed of cattle, Big Ben sends his team of seven people to meet the train and drive the 2,500 head of cattle home through sandstorms, a blizzard, attempted murder, and cattle rustling. Will the cattle make it to their new home? On top of that, Big Ben wants everyone home for Christmas. Maria just wants her baby safely delivered at the ranch. Exactly what does occur on the cattle drive, before the drive, and months later that changes the lives of the characters? Interested in reading this yet? I sure hope so. You will be missing a great adventure if you pass up this novel!
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 athttp://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspo... . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson...
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Friend Me by John Faubion (2014 Favorite)

Title:  Friend Me
Author:  John Faubion
Pages:  335
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Howard Books
Wow!  That is the first word that came to my mind as I finished reading this great suspense thriller by John Faubion.  The first chapter will grab readers’ attentions and the rest of the story will keep them captive until the action-packed conclusion.  The story is set in Indianapolis, Indiana, and could be taken right from our own newspaper.
Scott and Rachel Douglas are a young, 30-something couple with two small children.  Rachel is a stay-at-home mom, trying to lose the extra baby weight, keep the house up, look after her children and keep her man happy.  She misses her best friend who died of cancer two years previous.  She is skimming the Internet when she sees an advertisement for a company that offers a virtual friend.  She decides to check it out and soon has her new/old best friend in her life again via computer technology.  Scott sees how much this pleases Rachel and decides maybe he should have a virtual friend too.  He wants someone he can tell everything to.  However, he chooses a female virtual friend and from that point on things start spinning out of control.  He neglects his children, his wife, his church and his job as he focuses more and more on Alicia, his virtual friend.  He convinces himself that since she is not real, he is doing nothing wrong and nobody is getting hurt.  He soon finds out he couldn’t be more mistaken.
This story should also serve as a warning to those who have allowed technology to control their lives.  It shows how easy we can be deceived by others and ourselves.  We can rationalize our immoral behavior away, thinking we are keeping our secret.  However, we all know that sooner or later someone is going to find out and then disaster strikes.  I can so easily see this story happening in real life.  Even though this is a fictional account, the possibilities in this scenario are very realistic.  I just admired Rachel so much for her willingness to quickly forgive her husband because that was what Christ wanted her to do and how they stood strong as a united couple to battle the evil that had come into their lives.  I also liked how Scott finally realized he had to man up and be the man God created him to be, to protect his family and to see them safe.  I highly recommend getting this book.  I’m looking forward to see what exciting new book this author comes out with next!
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 http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, December 20, 2014

With Every Breath (Favorite of 2014)

Title:  With Every Breath
Author:  Elizabeth Camden
Pages:  360
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany House
Kate Livingston needs a better job.  The year is 1891 and her work at the census bureau has been outmoded, reducing her to clerical work where she can’t use her mathematical mind.  She sees an ad for a statistician applies for the job and heads off to the interview.  Little does she suspect that the man, who she will be working for, provided she gets the job, is her old nemesis from high school, Trevor McDonough.  He ruined her chance to go to college by winning a scholarship over her.  He challenged her intellectually in the past and with this new job will challenge her present.  Now, as she works with him every day, she finds she wants him to continue challenging her for the rest of her life.  However, she learns something about him that makes her wonder if they can ever be together as a married couple.
Trevor McDonough, who now goes by Trevor Kendall, has dedicated his life and career to finding a cure for tuberculosis.  He needs someone as an assistant who shares that same dedication and determination.  He believes Kate is that person.  As he works with her day-to-day, he realizes how much he enjoys just being with her, her witty remarks, her compassionate heart and intelligence.  He loves her, but knows he isn’t a good match for her so he keeps himself at a distance emotionally.  He has built a wall around himself to protect his heart from the continual defeat he suffers trying to find a cure for tuberculosis.  This makes him appear cool and detached and sometimes rude.  He knows God has called him to do what he does best.  Can he have both his career and Kate?
What a wonderful story of perseverance in the face of hardship!  I so enjoyed the romance between Trevor and Kate, with their strong personalities, feistiness and verbal sparring.  Readers get to see Kate journey from fear of the future to placing the present and future, whatever they may hold, in the hands of God.  Trevor’s recognition of his call into his specific career by God and sticking to that call no matter what was remarkable.  It would have been so much easier to give in.  Kate’s determination to not let her future with Trevor to slip away showed her mettle.  I thoroughly enjoyed these two characters and the plot was very interesting.  I also was intrigued by the side issue of who was trying to force Trevor to give up his research.  I didn’t know much about the disease of tuberculosis and the treatment, so I was gratified to learn some new things as well.  I encourage readers to pick up a copy of this great historical fictional tale.  This one is definitely going on my “keeper” shelf!
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 http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sons of God's Gnerals

Title:  Sons of God’s Generals
Author:  Joshua Frost
Pages:  152
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Destiny Image
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org
After I read the book, it seemed like a good idea to visit online stores to read feedback before writing my own.  What I find most interesting sometimes about others’ feedback is either statements without any thoughtful reasons why someone liked or disliked a book or what appears to be feedback without discernment.  Now feedback on any book or product is completely subjective as anyone who writes reviews knows and that people can agree or disagree with what is posted sometimes responding to the person.  I desired to read this book because I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do so, and when I do, I am prayerfully reading the book.  I constantly ask the Holy Spirit to show me what I can glean or need to ignore and if I feel conviction I stop reading to ask forgiveness.  The reason I share this with you is to encourage all readers to carefully read nonfiction or fiction books with discernment and prayerfully.
Each adult offspring of these people share transparently both the ups and downs of living with parents who ministered full time as pastors or missionaries.  One of the stories I appreciated most was written by Yana Banova Brink titled, Green Grass.  She shares how the Lord taught her to allow Him to teach her the difference between doing ministry and allowing her life to be the ministry.  She had traveled to many third world countries with her parents and now is a stay-at-home mom or referred to as SaHM.  These women who choose to stay at home and raise their children without a “job” outside the home need to know they are in ministry…their family.  I was gratified that at least one of the writers shared this understated and under recognized truth in these days.
Readers need to know that most of the authors have a charismatic viewpoint and experiences.  No matter what theological or congregational viewpoint a book comes from it is imperative to glean what the Lord wants you to and toss the rest.  Sometimes when I would read, I sensed a red flag moment and other times I could laugh at a comical moment experienced by the author.  Some of these adult children really went through rough times and heartache.  The Lord was so faithful to bring them to a place of reconciliation, healing of the heart and soul or gave them a balanced perspective of the past.
My rating is 3 stars.
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457