Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Healing Heart



Title:  A Healing Heart (Quilts of Love Series)
Author:  Angela Breidenbach
Pages:  236
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Abingdon
Mara Keegan is a 39-year-old widow of three years with three teenage children.  She is singlehandedly running every aspect of the business she and her husband started.  She is burned out, but made a promise to her husband on his death bed that she would continue the company and make it successful as that was their dream together.  She has a love of art and teaching, but that has fallen by the wayside these last years as she has spent hours upon hours working.  She feels she has missed so much of her children’s lives, but doesn’t know what to do about it.  She also has kept her distance from church and God as she thinks he took her husband away from her.
Joel Ryan is a divorced businessman who hopes the Mara doesn’t remember him from a few years ago.  He had made an attempt to take over her business via a hostile takeover.  His attempt failed, and now he is here to help her as a business coach.  He has sold his business, become a Christian and enjoys helping others in the business world succeed.  He meets Mara for the first time face-to-face along with her children.  He is instantly smitten, but keeps that to himself.  Through a series of events, he begins to spend more and more time with Mara and her family.  He wants them to be his family permanently, but can they see past their grief of losing their father/husband to see who God has placed in their lives now?
There was a little too much information about sewing a quilt for my taste as I’m not a quilter.  One of the stories I read in this series, which I enjoyed very much, didn’t focus so much on the quilt aspect.  I did like how Joel took the lead in spiritual matters for Mara and her family and how he confessed his past mistakes and took responsibility for them.  He didn’t try to hide what he had done, but acknowledge his errors and sought forgiveness.  I thought it was great that he pitched right in to help wherever he saw a need without expectation of thanks or recognition.  I also enjoyed the closeness of the three Keegan siblings.  How I wish all siblings could share such closeness!  I will be reading other books in this series, so keep a look out here!
My rating is 4 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

Monday, September 29, 2014

An Unmarked Grave


Title:  An Unmarked Grave (A Bess Crawford Mystery #4)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  262
Year:  2012
Publisher:  William Morrow
This fourth book in the Bess Crawford mystery series has Bess still serving as a nurse in WWI.  It is now the spring of 1918, and the battle between the Germans and the British rages on with the wounded continually pouring in to the aid stations.  Bess also faces the Spanish Influenza epidemic that begins killing almost as many as the nearby guns.  With so many sick or dying, the pressure to help the wounded or sick mounts to astronomical proportions on to the backs of the surviving doctors and nurses.  An orderly approaches Bess and shows her that he has an extra body unaccounted for.  He shows Bess and she recognizes the dead body even though he is out of uniform and has no identification.  She also sees immediately that the man didn’t die of the flu or a war wound; he had been murdered.  This man as he is now is destined for an unmarked grave without any identification, but before Bess can report what she knows something happens to her that leaves her unable to complete this task.
This sets in motion a terrifying series of events for some familiar characters in the story:  Bess, Simon Brandon, Colonel Crawford and others.  The race to find the killer takes Bess back and forth between England and France all the while dodging bombs and bullets of German soldiers during the war.  Bess refuses to let the killer’s victims’ deaths be recorded as desertion for one and suicide for another when she knows they have been murdered.  She won’t let the surviving family members live with those dark clouds hanging over them.  Bess is stalked by the killer, too and must keep up her guard.  She finally discovers the killer’s identity, but will she be in time to stop him from committing yet another murder?
This story is jam-packed with action, intensity and tension.  The selflessness of Bess is truly commendable.  She doesn’t look at a man as German or British when treating a wound, but as a human being in need of care.  This time the mystery, wounding and killing hit closer to home than Bess could have imagined.  Through it all though Bess keeps a calm head, proceeds with her plan with strength and determination and never gives up.  She is such a strong woman for one so young!  The series is so realistically set within the WWI timeframe.  I have learned much about how soldiers and nurses lived and served their country selflessly.  I look forward to reading more of Bess’ adventures in future books.
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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Captured by Love


Title:  Captured by Love
Author:  Jody Hedlund
Pages:  364
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany House
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from the author via www.bookfun.org
This fictional historical story is set in 1814 on what we now call Mackinac Island during the British and Indian War.  Fur trading was at its height with the demand for animal pelts high in Europe, especially England.  Pierre Durant is a young fur trader who has followed in his father’s footsteps against his father’s wishes.  His father wanted Pierre to go to school in Detroit, but Pierre has longed to be in the wilderness and free.  His father was trying to protect Pierre from the lifestyle that accompanies the fur trade of drinking and carousing.  His father wanted him to learn from his mistakes and lead a Godly life.  Pierre leaves home without saying goodbye to anyone, including his young friend Angelique to be gone for five years never sending word of his whereabouts.  He returns to the island, finding many things have changed in his absence, including Angelique.  Can he do what is best for her and what God wants of him?  Can he play both sides of the war against each other and survive?
Angelique MacKenzie has been best friends with Pierre and his brother Jean all her growing up years.  With her father dying years ago, after her mother’s death, her care has been given to a guardian.  Her guardian treats her cruelly and mistreats her.  She longs for the freedom she had when she was younger, but keeps herself submissive so as not to end up acting like her philandering mother and rebellious sister.  She had her heart broken when Pierre left five years ago with no word, even though she was only thirteen.  Now, she is betrothed to Pierre’s brother, Jean, who is away fighting with the Americans against the British, who occupy Mackinac Island.  With Pierre’s return, she is faced with some difficult decisions.  Can she rely on God to be her rock and foundation or will she continue to rely on herself?
This is a nice romance set during a war.  The constant fight to stave off starvation during the long winter, the cruelty of Angelique’s guarding, the spying of Pierre and much more all come together to create an entertaining love story that readers will be sure to like.  I liked Angelique’s selfless, sacrificial love and Miriam’s steady and continuous response of prayer in good times and bad.  I also liked seeing Pierre’s character mature and grow into more of the man God desired him to be.
My rating is 4 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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

All Things New

Title:  All Things New
Author:  Lynn Austin
Pages:  413
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Bethany House
Josephine Weatherly has lost a lot to the Yankees.  Her father and brother were killed during the Civil War.  The Yankees invaded her home, forcing her and her mother and sister to flee to nearby relatives.  She lost her way of life.  Now the war is over.  Her mother, sister and her return home to find all their slaves gone with the exception of two and hardly anything remained in her home.  Her other brother survived the war physically, but is in deep depression when he returns home and unable to run the plantation.  Her mother longs for life to return to the way it was before the war and will do whatever she thinks she needs to do to accomplish this goal.  Josephine is tired of hearing the complaints about how life used to be and longs for everyone to stop fighting and accept the change and move on with their lives.  She has realized that the South’s views on slavery are wrong.  She comes to rely on the two remaining slaves, now servants after the war, and enjoys their company.  Her mother is scandalized.
As part of the restoration process for the South, a representative from the government, Alexander Chandler, has been sent to help the former slaves as well as southerners adjust to a new way of life.  He is a God-fearing man and regrets his part in the war, believing now that God wants to use him to help his former enemies.  He visits plantations to offer ways to get crops planted, animals procured and whatever else he can do to help people get back on their feet.  He faces fierce opposition, but he meets Jo and finds a friend.  Their friendship blossoms into more, but Jo knows her family will not approve and will view her as a traitor for befriending a Yankee.  She faces problem after problem in her home life, but is determined to persevere.  She seeks Alexander’s guidance in spiritual matters, but tries to keep their friendship a secret.  However, her secret gets out and lives are at risk.  What happens then?
This is a wonderful story of restoration on many levels.  There is the restoration of the South to the union after the end of the Civil War, the restoration of family separated by the war, and most importantly the restoration of faith and relationship with God.  There is also presented the truth that one cannot live in the past or return life to the way it was before a conflict or the only result will be bitterness.  We should always remember the past, but we cannot live in it.  Change is an inevitable part of life on earth.  There are some great examples of faith lived out in dire circumstances in this story.  There is much more to this story, and I hope this author writes more stories in this vein.  Kudos!!
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

Friday, September 26, 2014

Miranda Warning



Title:  Miranda Warning (A Murder in the Mountains Novel #1)
Author:  Heather Day Gilbert
Pages:  364
Year:  2014
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from the author via www.bookfun.org
Wow!  I cannot wait until the author publishes her next novel, Trial by Twelve, because this novel was absolutely superb!  The way the author wove the tendrils of the novel together kept me glued to the book for hours.  Just when I would think I was coming close to solving this mystery, the author threw out another tidbit and just like that I was reading further to figure out the mystery again.  The story is more than a mystery as it has tense-filled moments, suspense, action, compassion and more!
Tess is a young woman who had a rough childhood when she met Miranda who loved on her along with nurturing her like a mother.  When time passes and Miranda is in a fancy assisted care facility, Tess makes sure to visit quite often as she seeks to give back to the one woman who loved her and gave her so much.  Long before Tess came to live in the area a woman named Rose was married to Paul, now Paul wants to marry Miranda.  Tess has her reservations as she learns more about Rose, Paul and others along with reading the journal left by Rose so many years ago.
The mystery is how a woman who committed suicide years ago is now back in town, tracking down another woman by following Tess all over.  Thomas, Tess’s husband, is a young lawyer and a loving husband.  At times, I cracked up at the husband and wife interactions, and I hope you do too.  Miranda was Thomas’ Sunday School teacher decades ago and she still loves on him as if he were her son and loves on Tess like another daughter.
Audiences will love how the author uses flashback to set up Rose’s history as seen through her eyes.  Then readers are brought to the present some forty years later to see where some of the characters are now.  There is more that drew me back to the book than the mystery.  The themes of love, family, faith, and understanding of others that can come with time kept me engrossed in the tale.  Heather Day Gilbert is a woman who writes heart and soul into her characters.  The way they are written makes them seem more than mere fictional characters.  It is that type of writing that drew me into the pages until the very end.  Well done and I cannot wait to read the next installment!
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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Into the Canyon


Title:  Into the Canyon
Author:  Michael Neale
Pages:  304
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
As a very young man on an adventure with his father to a river, Gabriel develops a fear of water along with finding himself years later still coming to a place of acceptance that his father gave his life to save the life of two kayakers going over the falls.  Gabriel grew up away from water with his mother in Kansas, but finds himself back at the same river to conquer his fears as a young man.
At various points in the story I came across different characters that helped Gabriel come to terms with losing his dad along with conquering his fear of water.  Through outside characters, Gabriel learns that in letting go of his fear, he gains confidence, wisdom and friendships.  What was most intriguing was how Gabriel learns to enjoy life today along with the life experiences that end up changing him from the inside out.
While reading this I thought of the phrase “no man is an island”.  In other words, all of us need people to walk with us as we journey on earth.  I thought the novel points exceptionally well to the fact that in order to experience healing we must learn to walk through suffering.  The characters of the novel learned the reality of hope that their hearts gained as they faced their pasts honestly, and let the pain go, giving themselves over to a life that focused on others more than themselves.
The author shows us quite vividly how laying down our life for others touches more people than we ever thought possible.  Ultimately readers will gain the understanding that the sacrifice of Christ was for us and due to the deep love God has for us when we are perhaps in a place of not looking to Him.  The novel is a quick read and a thought-provoking story.  One aspect of the novel that touched me was how Gabriel and other characters remembered people in various ways because of the life they lived before others.  The book is an example of how fiction can touch our hearts, minds and lives, reminding us of what is important compared to what is not, and the cost of what we choose to do is to those we claim to love dearly.
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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

ABOUT THE BOOK

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.


Hidden in the Stars


Title:  Hidden in the Stars
Author: Robin Caroll
Pages:  224
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
When I began reading the book, I felt as if I had been dropped right into the middle of a scene that reached out and grabbed my full attention.  Here is a fictional story about a young woman who dedicates her life towards a solitary goal, being on the Olympic gymnastics team.  However, when she wakes up, she hears a beeping noise and finds she cannot speak or move.
Now for the detective to get her statement he brings in a professional lip reader who helps tell her experience of a horrible beating.  Julian Frazier is the one man who is deeply affected by this case he is assigned to solve with his partner.  The further he probes into what occurred, the more the walls around his heart come tumbling down.  Does Sophia, the young woman who miraculously survives her injuries, feel the same way about him as he does about her?
All I want to say is that to read this book is to experience a riveting story that seeks to untangle a web fashioned decades ago.  I was totally engrossed the further I got into the story.  The suspense was palpable and engaging!  Without telling you more of the tale, all I can say is that for those who love mystery, suspense, and family secrets hidden in the making of a quilt, this book is for you!  Don’t miss reading it, and perhaps you might consider sharing it with a friend or family member.
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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jupiter Winds is fantastic!


Title:  Jupiter Winds
Author:  C. J. Darlington
Pages:  300
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Mountainview Books
I find out about authors and novels in many ways.  My introduction to C. J. Darlington was through Mountainview Books.  They offer books that are filled with wonderful tales that weave in the essence of a personal faith in God alone.  When I read the synopsis of Jupiter Winds, I was intensely drawn to the book.  As I began reading, I quickly lost track of time and never wanted to stop reading!
The tale is about a family named Alexander whose faith grounded them and helped them discern the growing evil happening on planet earth.  The family had gotten separated by events outside their control that will thoroughly entertain the audience as they read about each family member’s adventure.
The evil pervading earth is by a group named Mazdaar that originally used drones to bring people under submission.  Their ambitions led to them making drones of humans shortly after their death and their evil plans knew no bounds.  Audiences will be entertained by the interaction between characters, twists and turns of the plot along with never ending action and revelations! 
Science fiction has never been one of my genres to read.  I liked some movies in that genre, but reading it was not on the top of my list.  Somehow C. J. Darlington penetrated my guard by writing a fascinating novel that reflects themes like faith, sacrificial living, family, and being alert to danger.  The danger of being complacent in life was another theme that shows the possible outcome of life not lived in one’s faith and obedience to the Lord.
I look forward to reading the other novels written by this author as they look like westerns, but Jupiter Winds just grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go until the very last sentence.  If her other novels are like this, all I can say is she has a new follower and people will really enjoy her books!  Don’t pass up reading this particular story, because if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself glued to it until the very end!
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

Introducing Author C. J. Darlington

Follow or connect the exciting writing of the author through:
http://www.pinterest.com/cjdarlington/
https://twitter.com/cjdarlington
https://www.facebook.com/cjdarlingtonbooks
http://www.cjdarlington.com/index.htm

1. How did you get inspired to write a novel from a genre so totally different from your first three books?

I have always loved a good speculative tale, and in recent years have especially enjoyed science fiction TV shows and movies. When it came time to write my fourth novel, I knew I wanted to do something fun and different. I've also enjoyed some of the popular YA dystopian books published recently, but I always find myself wishing for more hope in those stories. I knew if I wrote a book with dystopian leanings, I would have to weave in the hope I desperately wanted to read. I kind of threw a bunch of genres together, shook them up, and ended up with Jupiter Winds! It was a fresh step for me, and I hope it translates for readers. Because whether a story is set in the here and now or the future, people remain the same. And so does God. It was great to be able to write about both. 

2. Will there be other stories that either a continuation of Jupiter Winds or stand alone stories?

I would like to write more in the Jupiter series! I have Chapter 1 of Book 2 sitting on my computer already, so I would say yes. I'm not sure exactly when, but if enough people ask me, I bet it'll become a reality. I also have been thinking about writing a few shorter stories to tell the histories of some of the supporting characters like Mrs. March, Sue Alexander, Lee, etc. We shall see. 
3. The Scriptures used in this tale were well chosen they seemed like a natural part of the story. Do these verses have special meaning for you or how did you chose which ones to include with the characters and plot?

You know, I give credit to the Lord for what Scriptures make it into a story. Sometimes one will pop into my mind as I'm writing, other times I'll go searching for a verse to illustrate a particular idea. For Jupiter Winds, the verse I used a lot about traveling to the heavens and finding God seemed so apropos, and it fit to have it swirling around in Grey's mind through the tale. I really wanted to subtly share that no matter where we go, even to another planet, God is. But that message did come about slowly and organically as I wrote the book. 
4. I have to say that I am a new fan of yours, what can we expect to come next from your imagination?

Thank you, Lisa! That's very kind of you to say. Well, there's that second Jupiter book . . . but currently, I am working on a new contemporary story that ties into my Thicker than Blood series. I am still writing the rough draft, where I usually discover the story I most want to tell since I don't outline. But right now the book is about a desperate young woman who hears a knock on her door and discovers an eight-year-old girl claiming to be her half-sister. 
5. When did you become a Christian?

I've been a believer ever since I was a child. Mom said I accepted the Lord when I was three, but I have recommitted myself to Him many times since. 
6. Who influences or inspires you to write?

I have a few writers in my life I consider my mentors, and it's to them I turn when I need to be inspired. Whether it be picking up their wonderful novels or reading an email exchange we had in the past. The authors James Scott Bell and Sibella Giorello have been especially important to me. But any time I pick up a good novel or watch a good movie (love going to the movie theater!) I can be inspired. 

7. How do you keep your personal walk with the Lord growing and not crowded out by deadlines or life's daily pressures?

It's tough. I go through dry seasons like everyone else. But one thing that I am thinking a lot about lately is how much social media and internet time drain me. They are all good things in moderation, but I have to be especially careful not to get sucked into doing things that feel like writing but aren't. This is something I'm facing right now. I want my spiritual well to be full, and I think the best way I can do that is to turn things off and spend quiet time with Him.

A Guest Review of C. J. Darlington's: Jupiter Winds



Title:  Jupiter Winds
Author:  C.J. Darlington                                                                              
Pages:  300
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Mountainview Books, LLC
Two teenage sisters, Grey and Rin Alexander, have been on their own for five years since their parents’ apparent deaths.  The world they live in is controlled by a totalitarian regime that craves power over the part of Earth that is still free, over Mars, and now over Jupiter; however, there are some who have committed to fight to free the Jupiter settlements.  Grey has been targeted by the Mazdaar government to be used as a pawn to draw out her father—thought dead—from his hiding place.  The seventeen-year-old girl discovers her courage and fortitude under the merciless Mazdaar military leader’s sadistic treatment, and she finds the strength to endure as she is tortured and transported to a base on Jupiter in order to be “bait” to trap her father. 
C.J. Darlington’s book is reminiscent of the science fiction novels of the mid-Twentieth Century when much of science’s knowledge about the planets in the Solar System was based on speculation.  The idea that Jupiter could be habitable, at least in part, under the gaseous atmosphere goes against what is now known, but the uniqueness of the story was refreshing to read by keeping the action within a relatively short distance from Earth.  The overall story has similarities with the despair of living under a corrupt and power-hungry government as shown in The Hunger Games and 1984, but there is an originality portrayed in Jupiter Winds as it shows that there is hope for the future even though the road to restored freedom will not be an easy one.
This book is written with a Christian worldview without an overt need to be preachy or adhere to the typical apocalyptic interpretations of some Christian authors.  Yes, there are characters who express their faith in God and believe that prayer is effective.  However, Grey has struggled with the faith that her parents had taught her years before, but her doubts are not in the existence of God but in the idea that he cares what happens to Grey and her sister.  By the end of the story, Grey begins to regain some of the faith she had once had.
Jupiter Winds concludes with an ending that is not quite complete.  Those who fight for freedom from Mazdaar’s control have one a battle, but they know that more battles await them, which leaves the story ripe for a sequel.  I do not know if a sequel is in the works, but I surely hope that there is one coming.
My rating is 4.5.
Guest review by Cleve Johnson
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


Monday, September 22, 2014

Before Amen by Max Lucado


Title:  Before Amen (The Power of a Simple Prayer)
Author:  Max Lucado
Pages:  192
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
This is a book that reads quickly, which is good when one feels the pressure of much yet to accomplish.  The book Max Lucado writes and shares with us is filled with nuggets of wisdom learned and things he is still learning.  Many may look at the author as one who knows so much; yet, even Max would tell you he is still learning and that we all should be as well.
At the end of the book is a study guide for those who want to learn more, perhaps develop their prayer life more or for use in a small group.  However you are led to utilize it remember Max is pointing you to the Savior.  The book is not a step-by-step instructional book on how to pray, but more like understanding the heart of communicating with God.
The only part I didn’t like was the many different versions used to quote Scripture even using the Message.  Grab a good Bible version and dwell there, look up the verses the author shares and write what you hear God saying to you.  The book will remind you that prayer doesn’t have to be complicated, full of fancy words or done for long periods of time.  Prayer is a command we are given by God to bring ourselves to Him and all the weights we tend to carry around in this sinful world.  Until we go home to be with Him, we need to know what He wants us to do, where to go and more importantly how to please Him.
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


Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days


Title:  What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days
Author:  Kelly Gerth
Pages:  256
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell
Sometimes our daily life seems hard, and at times the word “hard” doesn’t even begin to describe our reality does it?  Perhaps, when going through those days, you aren’t sure where to turn in your Bible for a word to help calm your heart, remind you that God is right there or even that tomorrow is a new day.
Author Kelly Gerth shares 52 truths that are meant to encourage women either when life hits a rocky moment or the season goes on for days in which case the little book can be used as a devotional.  Each entry begins with a short story, followed by a prayer and a space for readers to write what they hear the Lord saying to them.  The author points to passages of Scripture to abide in and gain strength, perspective, healing or whatever need the heart yearns for.
We all look for someone to understand us as women, especially when we are struggling.  Here is a book to give to someone or keep for yourself to grab when your heart needs some encouragement to go on.  Abide in the Word that is shared, take time away from the noise of life to hear the Father speak and watch for Him to touch you where you are.
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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Table by the WIndow


Title:  A Table by the Window
Author:  Hilary Manton Lodge
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Juliette D’Alisa is a food writer for the local newspaper.  Her entire life has been steeped in food, cooking, restaurants and recipes.  Her parents own a restaurant and are of Italian and French cultures.  Her brother now wants Juliette’s help in opening a restaurant.  While going through her French grandmother’s things after her death, Juliette finds an old photograph, which leads her to begin asking questions.  What potential secrets will she uncover?
She enters the world of online dating as well and meets Neil, an immunologist living in Tennessee.  The dialogue between the two was engaging and entertaining.  As the story progresses, Juliette thinks she must make a choice between her career and her heart.  Will the past help her in her decision?
I’m not sure why this book has been marketed as a Christian book because there was very little reference to God, faith or anyone’s growing relationship with Him.  Divorce is mentioned almost in an off-hand or casual manner, which I don’t agree with.  The book had a slow start, and I didn’t like the main focus being on the food, cooking and restaurants.  I’m not interested in cooking, and some of the recipes given are far beyond my capabilities.  This made it difficult for me to connect with Juliette.  I was hoping the main emphasis would be on the mysterious photograph, providing readers with more of a mystery than a cooking lesson.  I love a good mystery!  I don’t travel in the society depicted so I couldn’t relate to that aspect.  I did actually enjoy the use of the French language as I was able to read that and for me that was one thing I enjoyed.  I also liked the budding romance between Juliette and Neil.  This is the first book in a trilogy, but I probably won’t read the other books due to the emphasis on cooking and lack of faith-driven themes.
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

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lone Star heiress

Title:  Lone Star Heiress (Texas Grooms #4)
Author:  Winnie Griggs
Pages:  277
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Love Inspired
In this fourth book in the series, the fourth groom, Mitch Parker, has his story told.  The story is still set in Turnabout, Texas, with Mitch having lived there about two years now.  Mitch has no intention of ever remarrying after the tragic death of his wife and unborn child.  He keeps people at a distance and prefers to spend his free time alone, sketching or reading.  He leads a quiet life and likes it that way.  He has kept God at a distance since the tragedy, and he has allowed guilt over his own actions for instigating the attack on him and his family to guide his relationships.
Ivy Feagan is on her way to Turnabout to claim a heretofore unknown inheritance.  She travels alone dressed like a boy.  She injures herself and Mitch happens to be close by to take care of her.  Ivy is a talkative sort and very open about her relationship with God.  As the two spend more time together, Ivy realizes she loves Mitch, but that he has vowed to never remarry so he mustn’t love her.  She decides that once the struggle over her inheritance is settled, she will return to Nettles Gap and continue to lead her lonely, quiet life.  After all, there is nothing keeping her from leaving Turnabout is there?  She makes friends quickly with the other members introduced in the other three Texas Grooms books and really doesn’t want to leave Turnabout, but Mitch doesn’t want her as a wife and her Nana Dovie is back in Nettles Gap and won’t leave there.  She has promised herself she will only marry for love, so where is God leading her?
I didn’t enjoy this book in the series nearly as much as the others.  I just couldn’t come to care what happened between these two very much.  While I liked their playful banter and Ivy’s reliance on God, I think both characters fell flat in the story.  This is the last book involving the four original men that began the series with Handpicked Husband.  The series will be continuing with some of the minor characters mentioned in other books, getting their stories told.  Hopefully, the series can get back on track from this mediocre offering.
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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Safe Haven

Title:  Safe Haven (The Peacemakers #3)
Author:  Anna Schmidt
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Barbour
Safe Haven has been the most enjoyable of all three stories in the Peacemakers Series, which also features All God’s Children as the first installment followed by Simple Faith.  While the others shared more of the Quaker faith during WW II in Germany mainly, this novel shows what FDR initiated before his death.  Fort Ontario held people who crossed the ocean from other nations that were ravaged by the war, with a limit of 1,000 people.  When the people landed, they had to sign an agreement that once the war was ended they would return to their respective places of residences overseas.
Suzanne is journalist who had hit rock bottom in her career, but now was being offered a window back into the field of journalism if she would go to the fort and write stories about the people living there till the war ended.  Theo is a character who is still trying to find out what place he is to fill while on this earth.  The only truth he comes to realize is his love for Suzanne.
Most of the novel’s focus is of the refugees’ daily lives and how the kindness of others impacts them.  After months of hoping the government would give them the choice to stay, there seemed to be a never ending postponement of the decision by various politicians.  A couple of the characters readers meet in the earlier books are attempting to locate family members they were separated from by Hitler’s men or trying to escape before being killed.
In this final book, not so much of the Quaker belief system is prominent.  The focus is more on the refugees, people waiting for family members to return from the war and a budding romance between Suzanne and Theo.  There is also a side story of why Suzanne struggled with her Quaker faith and had abandoned it for so long.
What I found most captivating was learning about the Fort Ontario Emergency Relief Shelter as well as those who gathered this past summer for the 70th reunion.  While we know some of those people have been gone awhile, I can imagine the children (now adults) and their children among many who gathered to celebrate and remember.  Amazing how fictional novels can tell us historical facts wrapped in made up stories, reminding us of the vast experiences many had during WW II.  Above all are the treasured friendships that developed while living together amongst people from many cultures, beliefs and languages.  May we be such a nation to remember and follow in the steps of those who have come before us for the sake of those who come after we are gone.
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, September 17, 2014

The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead


Title:  The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead (A Professor and Mrs. Middleton Mystery #1)
Author:  Diane Noble
Pages:  400
Year:  2014
Publisher:  David C. Cook
Oh, this book is fun to read!  Mrs. Elaine Littlefield or El is a mother, grandmother, caterer and sometime PI.  She wears sock monkey pajamas, dances country dances to classical music while baking cookies and drives bad enough to give her passengers white knuckles.  She has just landed the catering event of her career and its success will either make or break her catering company, The Butler Did It.  Her best friend since first grade, Hyacinth, helps her out part-time when she isn’t working her job at the local university’s library.  Hyacinth is the sister she never had and their friendship is very dear to El.
 Therefore, when it is discovered that Hyacinth is missing, El just knows she has been kidnapped.  El is also dealing with a catastrophe of giant proportions concerning her once in a lifetime catering job.  This job is for the retirement of Professor Maxwell Haverhill, a 60-year-old, renowned, treasure hunter of old artifacts in addition to teaching social studies at the local university.  Max and El quickly become entangled in the investigation of her catering problems as well as involved in their own search for Hyacinth.  Along the way, they fall in love with one another much to their mutual surprise.
At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this novel, but I stuck with it and am so glad I did!  I adored the romance between El and Max.  It couldn’t have been written better in my opinion.  El’s strong devotion to her daughter and granddaughter was great to read about as well as her never-give-up attitude.  Hyacinth was a hoot!  I just loved the part where she was singing to annoy her kidnappers!  All three main characters had a deep devotion to God and depended on Him no matter what, even when it was really difficult to see Him at work.  I sure hope there are more mysteries to come in this new humorous and romantic mystery series.  Great job Diane!
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, September 16, 2014

A Table by the Window

Title:  A Table by the Window
Author:  Hilary Manton Lodge
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Juliette D’Alisa is a food writer for the local newspaper.  Her entire life has been steeped in food, cooking, restaurants and recipes.  Her parents own a restaurant and are of Italian and French cultures.  Her brother now wants Juliette’s help in opening a restaurant.  While going through her French grandmother’s things after her death, Juliette finds an old photograph, which leads her to begin asking questions.  What potential secrets will she uncover?
She enters the world of online dating as well and meets Neil, an immunologist living in Tennessee.  The dialogue between the two was engaging and entertaining.  As the story progresses, Juliette thinks she must make a choice between her career and her heart.  Will the past help her in her decision?
I’m not sure why this book has been marketed as a Christian book because there was very little reference to God, faith or anyone’s growing relationship with Him.  Divorce is mentioned almost in an off-hand or casual manner, which I don’t agree with.  The book had a slow start, and I didn’t like the main focus being on the food, cooking and restaurants.  I’m not interested in cooking, and some of the recipes given are far beyond my capabilities.  This made it difficult for me to connect with Juliette.  I was hoping the main emphasis would be on the mysterious photograph, providing readers with more of a mystery than a cooking lesson.  I love a good mystery!  I don’t travel in the society depicted so I couldn’t relate to that aspect.  I did actually enjoy the use of the French language as I was able to read that and for me that was one thing I enjoyed.  I also liked the budding romance between Juliette and Neil.  This is the first book in a trilogy, but I probably won’t read the other books due to the emphasis on cooking and lack of faith-driven themes.
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

Tempest Course


Title:  Tempest’s Course (Quilts of Love Series)
Author:  Lynette Sowell
Pages:  207
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Kelly Frost is trying to regroup after making the disastrous decision to enter into a relationship with Peyton Greaves at the Boston Fine Arts Museum.  She works as a textile restorer, bringing back to life old textiles using the original design and vintage materials if possible.  Her relationship with Peyton is over, but at a high cost.  It damaged her reputation on a personal as well as professional note.  She knows God has forgiven her, but still feels ashamed of what she has done.  She has arrived at Gray House to repair an old quilt for an unknown benefactor.  She needs the money and hopes once the job is done it will generate more business for her.  She meets the groundskeeper, Tom Pereira, who has been instructed by his boss to keep an eye on Kelly due to certain character issues.
Tom Pereira is an ex-soldier who has been discharged from the military due to a head injury.  He still suffers occasionally from seizures, but is able to work when he can find a job.  His father wants him to go to college, but Tom’s dyslexia and being 10 years older than the other students keeps him out of the classroom.  He also discovers some of his family’s interesting lineage from a client interested in genealogy.  He has found that he actually enjoys taking care of the grounds at Gray House and likes the new textile restorer.  He asks her out, and they being to enjoy each other’s company.
I thought this was an average story.  There were some details left out that made the story not flow very well in some places.  I didn’t feel any tension or angst to build up to a high note in the story.  I did like Tom and Kelly’s faith and its prominent part in their lives.  The story is an easy read and while not as enjoyable as some of the other books in this series, wouldn’t be a waste of time to take in.
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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz

Title:  Love’s Fortune (The Ballantyne Legacy #3)
Author:  Laura Frantz
Pages:  400
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell
What a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful trilogy!  All the members of the Ballantyne family and their spouses or relations make an appearance in this final chapter of their lives.  The story is set mostly in Pittsburgh in 1850-1851.
Wren Ballantyne is 24 years old and lives in the Kentucky woods with her father, who makes a living creating wooden instruments like violins and dulcimers.  She doesn’t wear shoes all spring or summer, doesn’t care how her clothes or hair look and is content with her life, with the exception of the death of her mother a couple of years ago.  She misses her something fierce and knows her father, Ansel, still grieves for her.  Ansel receives a letter asking him to return to Pittsburgh.  Wren accompanies him for the visit, but soon learns this trip might only be one way.
Wren is thrust into society to have a season so she can do her duty to the family and snag a rich husband.  She is forced to endure weeks of etiquette lessons, dress fittings and dancing lessons.  She is told she must modulate her speech or she will be deemed unrefined.  Her only escape is when she gets to play her violin.  Then, she can temporarily forget her misery and soar with the music.  Wren longs for home, but her father is away on family business so she is stuck in a new lifestyle that stifles her.  Her escort for all social events will be the handsome James Sackett, a close family friend and employee of the Ballantyne family riverboat shipping business.  She wants to please her family, but at what cost?  James is an orphan with no famous name or wealth to make him a candidate for her hand, but he is the one she wants.  Dare she oppose her family?  Will she ever be able to go home?
I didn’t like how Ansel treated Wren regarding their future, not giving her any say or knowledge in how they were going to live their lives.  He then dumps her on his family, leaving her to learn an entire new way of life all on her own.  I did enjoy so much renewing my acquaintance with Silas and Eden, Ellie and Jack and even Elspeth.  I loved Wren’s character, trying so hard to please everyone and gain their approval.  She kept her faith in God through it all.  I loved the ending with the Ballantyne story ending right in the place where it all started.  I’m looking forward to what this talented author will write next.
My rating is 4 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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Bitter Truth


Title:  A Bitter Truth (A Bess Crawford Mystery #3)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  340
Year:  2011
Publisher:  William Morrow
Bess Crawford arrives home on Christmas leave from the Front to find a woman sitting out in the cold on the doorstep to her apartment.  The woman has obviously been struck by someone and lets out that she is running from her husband.  She knows no one in London and has no money.  Bess invites her in to warm up and have some tea.  Bess soon finds herself involved in another mystery.  She agrees to accompany the woman back to her country home, but only for a couple of days.  Well, that turns out to be several days, a murder and a missing man later.
Bess receives her orders to return to duty shortly after Christmas with the murder unsolved.  She, however, has another mission of searching for an orphaned girl when she has free time from her nursing schedule.  After a few weeks, she is summoned back to England for the inquest of the murdered victim.  When she arrives, another murder victim or two is discovered.  Bess is stymied as to whom is committing these murders and why.  Is it someone in the family she is staying with or is it maybe the homeless beggar in town?
While this had the great tension leading up to the reveal of the murderer at the end of the story, I disliked a few of the characters so much that it detracted from some of my enjoyment of the book.  I thought the characters of Lydia, Roger and Gran were all so selfish, mean, petty and sometimes cruel that I didn’t let myself weave them into my emotions, which I do to fully enjoy a story.  The mystery aspect of the story was the usual great Charles Todd caliber with plenty of information to lead readers astray or put them in the picture as to the killer.  The subjects of infidelity, deception, lying and multiple murders are featured in this third Bess Crawford mystery.  This story will entertain for sure and I’m looking forward to the fourth story as Bess Crawford progresses through WWI in service as a nurse.
My rating is 4 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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Confession by Robert Whitlow

Title:  The Confession
Author:  Robert Whitlow
Pages:  416
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Upon opening the book I read this quote, “Confession is a bridge everyone must cross.  This book is dedicated to the guides of grace who help us in the journey.”  How profound!  When I read it, I thought how truthful it is, and it piqued my interest.  The thrust of the story brings home to our hearts the need to both receive and to give forgiveness to others.  The author shows through the story’s characters how difficult it is to confess our sins when we would rather hide them and the challenges we face when extending forgiveness.
Holton is a district attorney who carries a secret from his youth.  His life’s work has been to honor his friend who died; yet, it is more than that.  When Holt was 18, he was driving and lost control of the car and his friend nicknamed Calico was killed.  What turns out to be difficult for Holt was laying the blame for the accident on his friend when in fact he was the driver.  Trish works for the sheriff’s office.  While her duties are manifold, she is trying to come to grips with forgiving the drunk driver who killed her father and put her mother in a wheelchair.  The character that I found captivating was Bishop Pennington, who is an example of a man available for prayer or just listening to those who need to share their burdens, keeping confidences.
When Holt is accidently given a cold case file of an apparent suicide of a prominent citizen, he begins to dig for the information not in the file.  Though he is told to immediately quit investigating, he is drawn into the case which unfolds into more than what he thought was an apparent cover up.  On top of all this, Holt begins his journey toward God while others learn the freedom forgiveness brings to them.  I highly recommend the novel.  It speaks spiritual truth along with a suspense-building climax and an ending that will steal your breath away.
As I was reading, I kept seeing how various characters struggled with letting go of anger or facing their sins due to the shame that overwhelmed them.  But what hope and joy the characters reflected once the truth was all out and there was no more hiding or fear of the truth being known by others.  The tale reflects, I believe, how we all at times fear confession, how we do feel shame, but if we confess, how free we become!  A very enlightening and captivating story awaits those who open the book and take the journey.  I did and it was well worth reading!
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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tried and True by Mary Connealy

Title:  Tried & True (Wild at heart Book #1)
Author:  Mary Connealy
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany
This is an extraordinary tale of three sisters who served in the civil war, cutting their hair short, wearing the uniform with no one the wiser that they weren’t men!  After the war, they go west to homestead new land.  Since they served time in the military they reduced the number of years before the land deed was in their own name until the land agent Aaron Masterson rode onto Kylie’s land one day and eventually discovered the family secret.
While the three sisters Bailey, Shannon and Kylie dressed and acted as men, it doesn’t take an undistracted man mere seconds before realizing he was looking at women.  Their Pa, torn with grief over losing his only son and widowed to boot, had to find a way to begin again and using his daughters was his plan.  What their Pa hadn’t counted on was Kylie getting married and giving up her homestead.  Since the Civil War ended, most people were working through their shattered lives.  One man was determined to find Aaron and take away anything he had and anyone he loved.
I so enjoyed the first installment in this new series by Mary Connealy!  There was action, adventure, romance, secrets, faith and family.  Each of the three main female was unique and though often at odds with how they viewed life, they were tightly knit together.  The choices the characters faced to love not hate, forgive instead of hold on to bitterness caused by the war were profoundly written in the story. 
The sequel to Tried & True comes out next year, focusing on one of the other two sisters while having some of the characters from book one continue on in book two, Now and Forever.  I look forward to that novel and the third one whenever it is released!  Don’t miss these heartfelt and heart-pounding tales!
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, September 11, 2014

Evergreen by Susan May Warren

Title:  Evergreen (A Christiansen Winter Novella)
Author:  Susan May Warren
Pages:  208
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
Each insightful tale allows readers to glean truths from the lessons the fictional Christiansen family is learning or has learned.  Here the audience gets a chance to read about the parents of the six adult children, John and Ingrid.  From the outside everything looks like their lives are rosy and wonderful; few know what pain lies hidden within the heart.  In fact, as I read the novella, it reminded me again that at times we aren’t even aware of the pain within our own hearts, no matter how many years later an issue might resurface though thought to have been dealt with and done.
I love how the author doesn’t allow readers to think that Christian marriages are without pain, mistakes, poor choices and work.  Yes, no matter how many years people have been married it takes work, prayerful obedience to the Lord and forgiveness, lots of forgiveness.  Like the characters, we aren’t born with all-knowing parents nor do we become all-knowing parents, grandparents or people at any time.  I love how the family painfully had to reveal truth and then allow the Lord to heal their hearts not magically or instantly but in time.
Finally, I love how the author through her characters shows us that some good-byes allow us to also say hello to new beginnings.  John and Ingrid became empty nesters and each held a different outlook on how that played into the coming days, especially the holidays.  Pick up the novella and enjoy the heartwarming tale filled with love, hope and forgiveness!
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, September 10, 2014

Thief of Glory

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thief of Glory
WaterBrook Press (August 19, 2014)
by
Sigmund Brouwer


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sigmund Brouwer is the best-selling author of nearly thirty novels, with close to 4 million books in print. Based on his inspiration for Thief of Glory, which Sigmund wrote as a way to learn and honor the his parent’s stories, especially of his father’s boyhood in a Japanese concentration camp, Sigmund leads The Chapters of Our Lives memoir seminars across the United States and Canada. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.



ABOUT THE BOOK

A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.


For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Thief of Glory, go HERE.