Friday, July 25, 2014

The Preachers Bride Claim

Title:  The Preacher’s Bride Claim (Bridegroom Brothers #1)
Author:  Laurie Kingery
Pages:  288  
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Love Inspired Historical
I love historical novels, whether based on actual events, places or people.  One of the best eras in this time is when people were taking risks to start new lives after the War Between the States.  In the first installment of Bridegroom Brothers, we have Elijah, the eldest of three brothers, set on claiming a homestead acreage in Oklahoma while his brothers attempt to claim their own land.  Elijah is a man who has experienced a past of heartache and trials, but chooses to look to the Lord even when it is hard to see how the Lord’s hand is at work.
Gideon and Clint adore their oldest brother, yet are currently at odds with the Lord due to their prayers not being answered as they desired.  Now, with mere weeks to pass before the land rush begins, hearts are changing and are being challenged to believe the Lord in addition to not believing lies that are spread about the three Thornton brothers by another family.  Though Elijah has made a vow never to fall in love again, that vow is challenged when he meets Alice Hawthorne who has come west to run away from an overbearing bully in the east.  With Elijah ministering to the spiritual needs and Alice to the physical, they each wonder if God has a different plan for them than the one they set their minds and hearts on.
Each of the three books in this series is written by a different author; however, the story line continues from this novel to the sequels, The Horseman’s Frontier Family and A Lawman’s Oklahoma Sweetheart. When I began reading this series, I was unaware there were other novels in the Bridegroom Brothers series and accidentally began with book three.  Other than knowing the outcome to a mystery that begins in this first book, it didn’t matter much that I read them out of orders as all three books were still very enjoyable.  No one who loves westerns, faith, history or romance will be able to pass up these three books that are as encouraging in faith as they are entertaining!  If you are one who likes to do things sequentially, then please read them in order. J
My rating is 5 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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pennywise

Title:  Penny Wise (Windy City Neighbors Book #3)
Author:  Neta & Dave Jackson
Pages:  316
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Castle Rock Creative, Inc.
The Windy City Neighbors series begins with Grounded followed by Derailed, both published in 2013.  A total of six novels are planned for this series and let me tell you each one keeps getting better and more involved with the neighbors on Beecham Street.  When I began the series, it was because I am originally from the Chicago suburbs and loved growing up in that area.  The people living on that street are a variety of ethnicities, backgrounds, careers, and more.  It makes the interactions quite interesting as what once began as neighbors just passing each other with minimal contact is now growing into deeper relationships.
The spiritual beliefs of some of the neighbors are Christian.  There is a Jewish family and others that the authors haven’t shared with the audience yet.  As readers progress through the novels, more of the character’s home life and past are revealed.  I enjoy the way real life and issues are dealt with by the authors.  It is a wonder if there is anywhere these types of relationship are actually real.
None of the characters are perfect which makes their thoughts, actions or reactions more believable.  It is easy to picture in my mind how various parts of the novel might play out in the real world or on a movie screen.  People who are Christians are shown as people that battle with their thoughts or hearts or how they relate to others in a church setting.
One other notable quality is the lack of marital relations being explained on the pages, but spoken of briefly as a God given gift in marriage.  For those in these books who have failed to wait, the message is one of hope through forgiveness found in Jesus.  Families learn to grow together, making time to be together when so many other opportunities tend to pull at the neighbors’ attention or time.  I recommend reading the books in order as each book shares more about various characters met in the first book, Grounded.  Readers will come away with encouraged hearts and perhaps a challenge to look at people as God sees them.  There is no one who is not in need of prayer support, friendship, love or compassion either within this series or in the real world.
My rating is 5 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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Through the Deep Waters

Title:  Through the Deep Waters
Author:  Kim Vogel Sawyer
Pages:  340
Year:  2014
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Amos Ackerman wants to be a prosperous chicken farmer.  He has left his family of wheat farmers to strike out on his own in this new venture.  Due to an accident when he was a boy, he has a bad hip and walks with a pronounced limp so crop growing isn’t an option.  He meets Dinah and is instantly smitten.  He begins to court her through exchanging letters, even though they live in the same city, and meeting twice a week for lunch at the hotel where Dinah works.  He thinks his plans are working well and his life on the right track when he discovers something about Dinah that causes him to break off their relationship.  He is angry with her, himself and God.  He feels compassion for her stirring, but ruthlessly stomps it out.  He wants to hold on to his bitterness.  Can he realize his dreams of prosperity in the midst of his upside down life?
Dinah Hubley is a young woman born to a prostitute, unable to attend school regularly so has only an 8th-grade education and another secret that haunts her.  She is initially nervous around Amos and other people, being afraid they might learn her secret.  She also knows nothing about God until her roommate Ruthie invites her to church.  Dinah wants so much to have someone love her unconditionally, but fears the discovery of her secret will banish her to a life of loneliness.  As she gets to know Amos better, she imagines a permanent future with him.  Then, a chance encounter with a hotel guest has a disastrous outcome for her Cinderella future she has imagined for herself.
This is a heart-warming romance that depicts the all too human consequences of trusting ourselves and avoiding God.  God’s love for us knows no limit and His forgiveness is complete, which is aptly demonstrated in this story.  Dinah had endured such an awful life.  I could feel how very painful her past was to her thanks to the character development and skilled writing from the author.  I also could identify with Amos’ sense of betrayal and anger over what he thought he had lost.  These very realistic human emotions are deftly penned.  Dinah’s healing transformation once she accepts God into her life was just wonderful to read, and her newfound strength, poise and confidence supplied by God very satisfying.  I look forward to reading more of these novels of hope and God-centered lives.
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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When I Fall in Love

Title: When I Fall in Love (A Christiansen Family Novel)
Author: Susan May Warren
Pages:  400
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
When I sat down and began reading the novel, I expected nothing short of a great story and I wasn’t disappointed.  At the end of the novel the author shares her experiences of how two different people react when suffering came into their lives and how it touched her heart.  Loosely based on seeing two different responses to suffering she included each into this tale of the Christiansen family sage.  Honestly it is a heart tugging tale because no one who has lived for any amount of time on earth has been unscathed by experiencing suffering or pain in some form.
The story includes the characters from the other two novels which are Take a Chance on Me followed by It Had to be You.  While readers can read the book without having read previous installments I think more will be gained by readers who do read the other books to understand the developing tale.  One characteristic I appreciated about the novel was the fact that no Christian family is without problems, trials, joys and more. The other thread which is evident is how wanting to know Him more means holding on less tightly to expecting others to fill whatever our hearts are longing.
Within the pages the audience will enjoy reading how God stretches Grace Christiansen out of her comfort zone along with a hockey player who keeps his heart protect from loving and really living.  Readers will learn about one brother Owen who is rebelling and still reacting out of a deep loss of his dreams, mad at God and continues to come in and out of his family’s lives without a thought to how it hurts them so.  Then there is a young single woman who has nowhere to go, no family to embrace her when she makes a decision that changes her future in ways she can’t even imagine.
Here is a story of redemption, learning to love and live life to its fullest no matter what may or may not happen in the future.  It is a story of trusting in God and living sacrificially for the benefit of others who need to know how much He loves them.  All of the characters have made or are making choices either to walk each day with faith in Him or by trying to handle their situation in their own strength.  A great fictional story which drives home to the heart truths to ponder long after the readers close the cover!
My rating is 5 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