Monday, January 26, 2015

At Home in Last Chance


Title:  At Home in Last Chance
Author:  Cathleen Armstrong
Pages:  304
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
The story began in Welcome to Last Chance, continued in One More Last Chance, now continues with At Home in Last Chance.  The novels focus on a small town that closes up at night; people don’t lock their doors and know each other’s business.  The characters readers met in book one are continued to be enjoyed through all three novels.  In each book, one character is the center of the writing as each learns how to live again when they felt as if they were beyond one more chance.
In this latest installment, we are following Chris’s younger sister Kaitlyn who we met early in the books.  She has abandoned her daughter Olivia to her brother’s care so she can take off to live.  Kaitlyn is a single mom and a very young woman who feels as if she can’t enjoy living if she always has to take care of her daughter.  Now, she finds herself once again in Last Chance, working for her brother in his diner and trying to regain the trust of her daughter.  Kaitlyn is a hairdresser by trade, but without a salon in the small town she is waitressing and hating every minute of it.
During her work time, Olivia goes to school and Elizabeth’s after school hours until either Chris or Kaitlyn get off work.  Kaitlyn meets Steve who has grown up in the area, served in the military, but whose past mistakes are shared with Kaitlyn as a way to warn her to stay away from him.  However, as they begin to spend time together, Kaitlyn and Steve begin to see that no matter how others view them, learning the truth of their lives from each other opens hearts. 
There is a lot more to the novel than I am sharing with you; it is entertaining while reminding us not to take gossip as gospel!  The romance, adventure and faith of the story make for a quick reading, but not a story to forget anytime soon.  I don’t know if there will be more stories from the author centered in the town of Last Chance or not, but do enjoy all three books as they are outstanding!
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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stitch in Crime


Title:  A Stitch in Crime (Quilts of Love Series)
Author:  Cathy Elliott
Story Length:  215
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Thea James owns and operates an antique store in Larkindale.  She is also co-chairperson of the town’s first quilt show.  One of her close friends, Mary Alice Wentworth, has agreed to be one of the judges for the show.  The Wentworths have been a leading family in town for generations.  Mary Alice donated one of the family’s valuable quilts to the local museum.  The quilt will be on display for the show as well.  It has long been rumored that the quilt is the key to finding treasure.  At the soiree, an event held just days before the show opens, Mary Alice is injured and her diamond broach comes up missing.  Also, one of the pre-eminent experts in quilts and textiles in the state, who had agreed to attend the soiree, doesn’t show up.
Thea as co-chairperson is left to solve the squabbles and in-fighting among her committees as her other co-chairperson is no help at all.  She is left on her own to make everything run smoothly.  Her best friend also has been treating her in a petty and mean manner, so she is dealing with that relationship on top of her other stress-filled days leading up to the show.
I thought the premise for this story was a good one; however, the execution of the same fell short in my opinion as an avid mystery reader.  The sentences were choppy and disjointed and hard to follow sometimes.  The story was slow moving as well with not a lot of action or suspense.  There wasn’t enough background on the characters to develop any connection with them for me.  I have read other books in this series and enjoyed them, but for me this was not one of my favorites.  I did like some of the witty puns in the story, the Mary Alice’s strong faith and Thea’s relationship with her Uncle Nick, as well as her generosity.
My rating is 3 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, January 24, 2015

The Sinner's Garden


Title:  The Sinners’ Garden
Author:  William Sirls
Pages:  401
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
This is another fantastic book by William Sirls!  If you haven’t read his first book, The Reason, you’re missing out on one of the best books I’ve ever read.  This second fictional entry is also exceptional.  This book is set in Benning Township, Michigan.  A flashback begins the book as the prologue then, 11 years later, the story begins.  There is also an author’s note and reading group guide in the back of the book.
Gerald Ripley, or Rip, is an ex-con released from prison a couple of years ago.  He found God in prison and now tries to live as a God-fearing man.  He still has struggles with his temper, but he knows it and is “working on it” as he tells others.  He is extremely close to his nephew, Andy and spends a lot of time with him.  Andy’s father is out of the picture, so Rip is in every sense a father to Andy.  He teaches Andy about God and takes him to church, but Rip tries to model Christ for Andy.  While out by the canal one day they discover a beautiful garden right next to an old abandoned factory.  It is mesmerizing in its beauty and both want to see it up close, but something stops them from getting too close.
When Andy begins quoting Scripture via his iPod, this family’s lives take unexpected paths.  Judi, Andy’s mother and Rip’s sister, is mired in depression and self-pity and has been for several years.  Everything bad in her life and Andy’s is her fault in her mind.  Heather, Judi’s best friend, is a cop, but still struggles with her father’s murder.  Heather is a Christian, but doesn’t know if her father is in heaven.  She still wants to find the murderer as well.  Both women experience an Andy iPod moment where he speaks Scripture to them.  Heather is also on the trail of a masked man who instead of stealing from people is leaving behind gifts.  Who is that masked man?  Who ever heard of someone leaving a gift in the middle of the night?
This author has the God-given talent to write a story that will touch your heart, make you think and make you feel.  The story shows that God is real, that He does care about His children and never leaves them alone.  He wants desperately to have a relationship with each of them, but only if they choose Him.  He will never force the issue.  We must listen to hear His voice and not let the noise of the world keep our attention from Him.  The character of Rip was just great.  He had such a great sense of humor!  He knew he had made some poor choices in life, acknowledged his sins publically and then tried his best to live a life of service as God wanted him to live.  Rip really showed the transforming capability of God.  The characters of Andy, Heather, Judi and Pastor Whelan also were well-developed and easy to understand and get into their skin so to speak.  There is so much more to the story than can be written here, so please grab a copy to read for yourself.  You won’t regret it.  I am so looking forward to the next book to see what unique way God will be revealed.  Don’t miss this author’s fantastic books!
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, January 23, 2015

Love Gently Falling



Title:  Love Gently Falling
Author:  Melody Carlson
Pages:  160
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Center Street
Melody Carlson shares a tale with readers about a young woman who works hard and looks like she has achieved success, so why does Rita still feel empty?  Then Rita receives a call that her mother in Chicago is in the hospital.  With the help of a roommate, travel plans are made and by that evening Rita is back in the cold of Chicago from her warm California condo.  What starts as a hard couple of days concerning her mother actually starts Rita down memory lane when she assumes responsibility for her mother’s failing hair salon.
Now, let me assure you that I have not divulged much of the story.  It is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” as there is a lot more readers will discover!  I sat down one afternoon simply enjoying this story of a young woman who finds enjoyment in being back in Chicago helping her family.  The author writes in such a way that the interaction between characters is engrossing with easily believable situations and redemption.  It took me a couple of hours just to curl up, read and thoroughly enjoy the novel!  I hope you enjoy reading your own copy too!
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