Thursday, August 28, 2014

With Every Breath

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Miracle in Dry Season


Title:  Miracle in a Dry Season
Author:  Sarah Loudin Thomas
Pages:  304
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany
For me, the novel was hard to get caught up in at first, partly because I like to try and figure out where the author is leading a reader, especially a new author.  Part of the reason it seemed to take awhile for me to get lost in the story was having just buried my father earlier in the week.  Once I got further into the tale, it took hold of my heart and I stayed up all night reading till I finished the whole book.
The tale reminded me of many biblical teachings such as a prophet is told to marry a harlot to show Israel in a real way what God was working in the hearts of His people.  Later on in the book, I saw themes of complete forgiveness, discerning the real intentions of a person, and reconciliation.  Perla is a woman who sinned and as a result had a child out of wedlock.  Because the gossip was so hard on her family, she moved in with her aunt and uncle in another town to start fresh.  However, as time goes by it seems the judgment of people along with gossip is ruining any opportunity Perla has to serve and live in the town.
Caswell is a single man living in the town when Perla moves in the house with her relatives.  He hears the gossip and finds himself failing to withhold judgment.  Caswell and his father have a strained relationship, but both love woodworking and seeing the beauty of a finished product.  As Caswell seeks the Lord for direction through prayer, it seems to him as though the Lord is silent.  As the town is on the verge of starvation due to a prolonged drought, the same drought seems to be what is happening to people’s spiritual life.  What will it take for rain to fall from the skies to refresh their crops?  What is the answer to refreshing their parched souls?
Readers will get caught up in the activity such as the panting of the town’s souls for God, relationships that need reconciliation along with hearts that need mending.  Characters seem like ordinary everyday people, searching for the strength and reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when the temptation to quit is pulling the people of the town apart.  Please don’t miss reading a novel that will challenge your views, grab your heart and turning pages long after the sun goes down.
My rating is 4 stars.
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.”

 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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here to Stay

Title:  Here to Stay
Author:  Melissa Tagg
Pages:  368
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany
Readers are going to enjoy the contrasting lessons two main characters represent in this tale, one is Blake and the other is Autumn.  The place is Whisper Shores, Michigan, a small town that relies heavily on tourist seasons to run their respective lodging places.  Blake and Autumn’s families have had a long standing feud that only grew in intensity when tragedy struck, inflicting pain in both families.  Now Autumn is handed her families’ inn to run all on her own, but her heart yearns to travel to other countries and experience adventure.  Blake isn’t welcomed warmly when he returns after a long absence, but the man that returns is not the same man who left.  Blake was sure God led him to return home, but after a while he isn’t so certain.
I really enjoyed this novel that so eloquently shows the contrasting nature that really resides in the human race.  The characters, Autumn and Blake, are each dealing with issues of the heart that run deep and trying not to let the family feud dictate their actions.  Autumn is a caring, compassionate and at times a strong-headed woman who wants to get the inn on solid financial footing before she goes to fulfill her lifelong dream of working in France.  She believes God has brought a gentleman from France to buy her inn where she can leave the daily managing to others.  Blake is wrought with grief and guilt over losing his brother years earlier.  Once he relished the nickname Blaze for it accurately described his wild and daring adventures, now it only seems to hammer blame into his heart.
When I finished reading, I thought how well the author portrayed our nature to quickly judge, bringing further hurt to others.  There is also the way the characters in love are finding their way to love enough to let go and in the interim each finds that it isn’t the adventure that fulfills them, but the sharing of it with another.  The novel is filled with adventure, romance, laughter, faith and more than my mere words can convey!  So grab a copy, read it, enjoy the book and perhaps share it with a friend for a journey shared is so much more fun.
My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from the author via www.bookfun.org

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bess Crawford mystery: A Duty to the Dead

Title:  A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mystery #1)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  329
Year:  2009
Publisher:  William Morrow
Bess Crawford is a young nurse, serving the wounded British soldiers of WWI.  One soldier, upon realizing he was dying, has entrusted her with a message to be delivered in person to his brother after the soldier’s death.  Bess has been putting off this trip, but after her hospital ship is sunk and she abandons ship, she comes to terms with the fact that she is avoiding her duty and is honor-bound to deliver the soldier’s message.  She arrives at Owlhurst, delivers the message to the soldier’s brother, but soon discovers there is much more to the message than she was told.  She begins to delve into the past of the soldier’s family to see justice done.  While at Owlhurst, her nursing skills are put to use on more than one patient.  Bess is always ready to lend a hand with her practical skills, but runs into a brick wall when she tries to unearth the truth.
Time after time, she is told to leave the past in the past and not bring up painful memories.  Bess knows her duty and believes that the soldier wanted to set things right.  Bess now takes up that mantle.  She wants to make things right in his stead.  The more questions she asks, the more tangled the web of lies becomes.  Time begins to run out as Bess knows her ship-out orders will be arriving any day and the truth is still hampered in the past.  Will the real murderer get away with yet another murder like he/she has over the last 14 years?
I absolutely loved this novel!  I liked the characters, the plot and the tension-filled moments that led up to the revelation of the killer.  I couldn’t put the book down!  I don’t know much about WWI nurses, but I enjoyed learning some about their service lives.  I admire Bess’ sense of seeing justice done no matter the cost to her.  This is a great start to the series and will keep readers entertained throughout.  I can’t wait to dive into the second book in the series, An Impartial Witness.
My rating is 5 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