Saturday, July 4, 2015

Always on My Mind


Title:  Always on My Mind
Author:  Susan May Warren
Pages:  400
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org
The Christianson family series tells about a growing family who runs a resort in upper Minnesota.  The family’s offspring were raised as Christians though not all that happens in the novels is gold at first glance until some come to the end of themselves and look up to God.  Each novel features one of the adult children though the whole clan is a part of the tale in one way or another.  The family is far from perfect with plenty of humanity leaking out, causing rippling affects.  Like real people who trust in the Lord with their whole being, He alone takes the leaking humanity and redeems it for His glory and the character’s blessing.
With the growing number of novels published and still being written, some people may want to know in what order the books fall, so I did some checking.  The family story starts with Take a Chance on Me, followed by It Had to Be You, and then a novella titled, “Evergreen”.  In 2015, the family tale begins again with Always on My Mind and coming soon The Wonder of You.
I was simply captivated by Always on My Mind from the first page to the very last.  The adventure, mystery, faith and handling a tough subject like abuse was simply brilliant on the author’s part.  The Christiansen family makes mistakes and they fight or misunderstand each other, but above all they deeply love each other.  Here, Casper, the middle son is learning to hear God’s voice and not allow his temper to lead him into trouble as it has in the past.  Raina, the woman he loves, is with a man who cares only for himself and knows nothing about how to love.  Casper is attempting to live and show her the difference.  Raina believes she isn’t worthy of anyone’s love including God’s because of her choices and their consequences.
As readers venture farther into the book, they will see how God’s love comes shining through all types of situations and various people.  So pull up a chair and get lost in the pages of a fantastic tale!  Then be ready for the soon to be available next installment of the Christianson family.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Swept Away

Title:  Swept Away (Quilts of Love Series)
Author:  Laura V. Hilton & Cindy Loven
Pages:  218 (including excerpt from next book in the series)
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Sara Jane Morgan is a young teacher at the local high school.  She has decided she is done with God when He took her parents in an accident when she was twelve.  She is a person who likes to be in control and values appearances.  She is the only relative left to care for her grandma, who took her in after the death of her parents.  Her grandma is beginning to forget things, misplace things and remembering conversations.  Sara Jane knows she needs to get her to the doctor, but dreads the diagnosis.  Her grandma loves to quilt, can’t understand why Sara Jane doesn’t and often criticizes Sara Jane’s lack of enthusiasm for quilting and/or creativity in designing a quilt.  Sara Jane takes her grandma to a craft show to look at quilts where her grandma hires a handyman to do some odd jobs around her house.  Sara Jane is less then enthused with her grandma’s choice and tries to get rid of him, but grandma has other ideas for her new handyman, Drew Stevenson.
Andrew Stevenson, or Drew to his friends, is a young man who enjoys making brooms and working with his hands.  He doesn’t much care for appearances, but what is inside a person.  He knows Sara Jane is out of his league and refuses to take a chance on a relationship with her due to a past in which he had a humiliating experience asking a woman out.  He is shy, but reminds me of the strong silent type.  He is strong in his faith and seeks to witness to those who buy his brooms.  He can’t stop thinking about Sara Jane and sometimes she seems to warm up to him, but is there really a future for them as she isn’t a Christian?  Can she open her heart to God and then maybe to Drew?
I thought the main male character was wonderful!  He was so caring and compassionate in dealing with Sara Jane and her grandma, even when they weren’t so nice to him.  He tried his best to show the love of Christ through his life and his witness.  I thought the character of Sara Jane was so-so.  She seemed selfish and pushy at times, but at others she was a victim of her grandmother’s harsh and/or selfish attitude.  Sara Jane always felt like she had to perform a certain way or do something better to gain her grandmother’s approval and love.  Grandma was not the most loving person as well even before Alzheimer’s began.  Sara Jane begins to realize through Drew’s example what a faith-filled life can be like, but can she release her anger and bitterness toward God?
My rating is 4 stars out of 5.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Yellow Packard By Ace Collins


Title:  The Yellow Packard
Author:  Ace Collins
Pages:  319
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Barbour Publishing
Abbi Watling loves her 1936 yellow Packard automobile.  It is her pride and joy.  It was a special order because of the bright, canary, yellow color and thus one of a kind.  The car will prove to have an impact on quite a few peoples’ lives throughout the story.  At Abbi’s death, her will stated that the car must be sold and not auctioned off like the rest of her belongings.  The car is bough by George Hall, who isn’t afraid of curses.  Most of the town thinks the car is cursed and stays away from it.  When the car was being built in the factory, it fell on a worker, killing him.  An auto mechanic was also killed a bit later while working on the car.  Then, Abbi dies.  Some think her death natural as she is an elderly lady, but others aren’t so sure.  George loves the car, but soon will experience a parent’s worst nightmare.  His young daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom.
The FBI becomes involved with the search for the kidnap victim as well as searching for a lot of missing money from Abbi’s estate.  Most of the story is centered on their tracking down clues and trying to find the little girl.  There are a few other off-shoots involving the car, but they eventually all are able to be traced back to the kidnapping.  The FBI is also giving a woman a trial at working a case.  The woman is Helen Meeker.  She works tirelessly on the case and it becomes very personal to her.
I really liked that in the midst of such heart break and grief, two of the women in the story cling to their faith.  When life dealt them a faith-crippling circumstance, they clung to God and refused to let go.  I also liked the strong female character of Helen Meeker, the FBI agent.  The ending was predictable for me, but I still very much enjoyed the ride to the end.  I liked how the author wrapped up all the details at the end as well.  I have not read many books by this author, but certainly plan to do so in the future!
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart



 Title:  The Innocent (A Harmony Hill Novel)
Author:  Ann H. Gabhart
Pages:  400
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5+ out of 5 stars!

I so thoroughly enjoy reading the tales woven by Ann Gabhart, and this one is no exception!  While the cover gives a hint of a Shaker story inside, it doesn’t reveal the depth of mystery or the faith themes inside.  The tale takes place after the War Between the States, right at the end in fact, when many women were waiting to see if their husbands, brothers, etc... would be coming home.  Life was precarious and dependent upon the men providing for the family or extended members who needed daily sustenance and protection.

Here is a woman named Carlyn who strove to stay true to her marriage vows until she knew for sure whether her husband was dead or not.  Many in the town already assumed she was a widow since it had been two years since her husband left.  The owner of a house was a man with few scruples and unless Carlyn gave him herself she was going to be homeless.  So Carlyn seeks the local Shaker village until she knows what happened with her husband so that she has food, protection and time to sort out what her next season in life would be.

However, there are things happening at the Shaker village that are being blamed on Carlyn.  The sheriff is taken with Carlyn, but knows he has to wait until she finds out what happened to her husband before pursuing her.  He agrees to care for her dog as she can’t keep him at the village. Throughout the story I learned things about the Shakers, which frankly were quite odd.  Some of the beliefs I learned some time ago through my husband’s aunt who once worked at a Shaker village as a guide.
The characters are colorful, the setting enticing and the story captivating from beginning to end.  I loved how truthful Carlyn was in what she was or was not willing to do while in the Shaker home.  Carlyn remembers a lot of what her mother taught her from the Scriptures, which encourages us all to teach the Word though we may never know when it will bear fruit in a person’s life.  The tale of a Shaker and sheriff having a budding romance is ingenious.  I loved too how though the war caused some rocky moments in the faith of a couple of characters they eventually returned to faith of their childhood, but it wasn’t without some work.

The novel is a stand alone for those wondering if it is part of a series.  I highly recommend the novel as it reminds us of a time when daily living was hard and work was a matter of survival.  Faith and prayer are lifelines for those who believe in Jesus and we would be remiss to so easily dismiss them.  Grab a copy and enjoy the tale that stirs the heart, grabs the soul and captures the imagination of the reader!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”