Thursday, October 30, 2014

Secrets of Sloane House

Title:  Secrets of Sloane House (A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery #1)
Author:  Shelley Gray
Story Length:  316
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Zondervan
Reid Armstrong is trying to fit in to society as best he can.  His parents are middle class, but his father struck it rich with an investment in a silver mine, catapulting their wealth exponentially.  Now, after attending the best schools and learning all the intricacies of society, Reid is expected to put his training to good use as his parents want him to make a good match and marry a society belle.  Reid, however, is drawn to a maid at a friend’s house.  He learns of her mission to find her missing sister and offers to help.  He initially heeds his parents’ wishes as to his marital status, but the more time he spends with Rosalind, the more intrigued he is by her.
Rosalind Perry has arrived in Chicago to work as a maid at Sloane House where her sister used to work as well.  Her sister used to send letters and money home to their farm in Wisconsin, but then the letters suddenly stopped.  Her sister had hinted in her last couple of letters that she was afraid, but wasn’t specific as to what she was afraid of.  Rosalind’s father traveled to Chicago, trying to get some answers to his daughter’s disappearance, but was rebuffed by the Sloane family as well as the police.  Rosalind has arrived to find out the truth though she uses a different last name to sleuth undercover.  She is timid and in awe of the city and the many people there.  She doesn’t learn a whole lot about her sister, but when Reid defends her she tells him her plight.  He promises to help and gives her aid when she needs it most.  Will she ever find out what really happened to her sister?
I really wanted to like this book a lot, but the story just fell flat for me.  The two main characters didn’t come to life for me or make me care what happened to them or their relationship.  I read the summary on the back cover and thought the book would be exciting and looked forward to a good “whodunit”; however, the book didn’t live up to the synopsis.  There wasn’t much action and tension to lead up to the climax of the story.  The events didn’t seem to build on each other to ratchet up the tension, so when the mystery is solved, it just didn’t fulfill my expectations.  The setting of the Chicago World’s Fair was a great idea, and the depiction of the relationship between the wealthy and their servants in most wealthy households was accurate and well-researched.  The amount of work required of a maid was enormous and the expectations and sacrifice high, which the author showed well.  There is a brief excerpt from the next book in the series, Deception at Sable Hill, which features Eloisa Carstairs as the main character and is due to be released in the Spring of 2015 that sounds intriguing.  I look forward to the next book and hopefully that mystery will be more satisfying.
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

The Daughter of Highland Hall

Title:  The Daughter of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides #2)
Author:  Carrie Turansky
Story Length:  322 pages
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Multnomah Books
Kate Ramsey is 18 and about to be presented to the King and Queen of England prior to her debut for her season in London society.  Her aunt is her sponsor and will stop at nothing to see that Kate is matched favorably to a wealthy titled aristocrat before the season ends.  Her aunt constantly criticizes Kate and makes her feel she isn’t doing her duty to her family if she doesn’t succeed in catching a husband.  Kate wants to please her family and thinks these ought to be her goals as well.  She has grown up at Highland Hall and is used to a life of privilege.  Her father’s untimely death, leaving no male heir, causes Kate’s home to pass to a second cousin, whose story is told in book one of the Edwardian Bride Series, The Governess of Highland Hall.
Kate begins the rounds of balls, teas and suppers to be seen as an eligible bride.  She meets a wealthy aristocrat who seems interested in her at her first social outing.  The two seem to have a lot in common and Kate wonders if she could be so as to find a husband so quickly.  In the meantime, Kate’s guardian and second cousin, William Ramsey, has invited his fiancée’s brother to live with the family over the summer in order to complete his medical studies and attain his degree.  Jon Foster has spent half his life in India working alongside his father, doctoring the poor.  He thinks he will return to India after his studies are complete to continue his father’s work, but as he spends more and more time around Kate he is unsure if he can return to India and leave her.  He prays for guidance and direction as he faces several choices in regards to his career and his future with Kate.  Kate seems to have a compassionate heart, but is she his equal spiritually?  Has she turned her life over to Christ and allowed Him to be her focus?  Can he stay in London if Kate isn’t his future?
There isn’t a lot of action or suspense in this book, but I think readers will enjoy the descriptions of life in London in 1912.  Kate and Jon, both have a lot of decisions ahead of them that will impact their future.  I enjoyed reading this story because of the spiritual aspect deftly woven into the tale.  Jon and Julia (Jon’s sister and William’s fiancée) set a wonderful example in their dedication to living their lives for Christ and bringing Him into every detail of their lives.  They weren’t shy about sharing their beliefs, were willing to help those in need and willing to stand firm in their faith no matter what.  The next book in the series, A Refuge at Highland Hall, is due to be released in October 2015 for those interested.
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

Charles Todd novel "A Matter of Justice"

Title:  A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge #11)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  330
Year:  2009
Publisher:  William Morrow
The psychological aspect is ramped up in this novel.  Inspector Ian Rutledge is called from a friend’s wedding celebration to take over an investigation of the murder of a member of the local gentry that universally was disliked.  Ian has his hands full of suspects where normally his investigations take time to turn up a single suspect.  Several in the town have motives to kill the cruel man found dead, hanging from the ceiling in an old barn by a contraption used during the local Christmas pageant to make the angel fly.  Who would want to humiliate this man?  What is the meaning of having the victim trussed up with angel wings dangling from the ceiling?
As Ian’s investigation progresses, there are two attempted suicides, an act of vandalism at the town bakery and a policeman under suspicion as a possible suspect for the murder.  Ian is relentless in pursuing justice and leaves no stone unturned.  He pushes himself beyond his limit physically and is involved in a car accident, but as soon as his car is back on the road, he is off to London to continue asking questions and gathering information.  He also is always on guard lest someone suspect he is mentally unstable.  He must guard against anyone discovering the existence of Hamish.  He is often on his own, confronting suspects or reluctant witnesses.  He is also often seen as the “bad guy” as he keeps asking question after question until he gets an answer in his pursuit of justice.
This particular story brought to the fore the capacity of humans to show great greed, deception, anger, manipulation, lie, cruelty and spite.  Inspector Rutledge must sort through all these traits and emotions to find the truth in order to bring justice to the victim.  His constant companion guilt via the manifestation of Hamish sometimes helps and sometimes hinders.  The depravity of some people is depicted vividly.  While sometimes distressing, it made for a realistic and riveting story.  Just when I thought the mystery was over, there was another twist.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Pale Horse by Charles Todd

Title:  A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge #10)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  360
Year:  2008
Publisher:  William Morrow
Inspector Ian Rutledge barely has time to breathe between cases that his superior sends him out to solve.  Secretly, his boss hates Ian and is hoping he fails; then, he’ll have proof to have him removed from the force.  However, Ian isn’t cooperating and keeps coming up stellar with his sleuthing abilities.
This current case takes Ian back to a place he visited as a young boy with his father.  There is a giant pale horse carved in a hillside by long ago peoples.  Ian remembers fondly the time spent here with his father, but now he is sent to track down a missing scientist by order of the military.  This, after he just returned from investigating the finding of an unknown corpse in a church abbey, wearing an opera cloak and a gas mask.  No one has seen the dead man before and the local constable likes the school teacher for the murder, pursuing a personal vendetta against the school teacher.  Ian is able to clear the school teacher, but still needs to identify the body before burial.  Before he can accomplish this, he is sent on his quest to watch for the reappearance of this scientist.  The scientist lives in a set-apart area just below the pale horse in one of nine small cottages.  Each cottage is occupied by a person who wants to be left alone with their secrets.  Ian finds help with the blacksmith, but all the other cottage dwellers are terse with him.  No one seems to want to identify the body in his other case either.
Then, a cottager is found murdered soon followed by another.  Ian finally is able to link his two cases together, but still must find out who killed the man found in the abbey and who is killing off the cottagers one by one.  Ian patiently waits sometimes and sometimes purposely plants seeds of doubt when talking to suspects or potential witnesses.  All the while he is drawn to the pale horse and remembers his past.  Unfortunately, that past includes his time in France during WWI.  He still is transported at times back to the battlefield whether in nightmares or while awake.  His horror, grief, anger, shame and guilt are his constant companions in the voice of Hamish MacLeod, a corporal under Ian’s command during the war who Ian had executed.  Can he ever be rid of Hamish?  Can he discover the killer’s identity and proof before the killer strikes again?
This story was slow in some parts, but the psychological aspects of Ian and how he deals with his guilt among other emotions and how he interacts with others while trying to ferret out information is interesting to read and kept me tuned in to the story.  The ability to perform his job while still carrying around so much anguish is remarkable.  The depictions and descriptions by the authors about WWI bring it alive on the pages of the story.  I’ll be reading book eleven in the series soon and am very interested to see what case Ian will be investigating next.
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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Web of Lies by Brandilyn Collins


Title:  Web of Lies (Hidden Faces #4)
Author:  Brandilyn Collins
Story Length:  346
Year:  2005
Publisher:  Zondervan
Annie Kingston is now three months out from an attempt on her life by the Poison Killer (Dead of Night, book 3 in the Hidden Faces series).  She is called upon for her artistic skills again to help the police find a murderer.  Just as she finishes that sketch, she is contacted by a woman, Chelsea Adams, who says she receives visions from God and He has given her a new one.  She shares the terrifying vision with Annie and then asks Annie if she will draw the face of the only person Chelsea sees in the vision.  Annie is reluctant to get involved.  Visions from God, really?  She is unsure if she believes Chelsea, but God soon makes it clear that Annie and Chelsea need to meet for Annie to draw this picture.
As both sketches are circulated, Annie can’t help but wonder if the two cases are related.  Soon thereafter, a body is discovered nearby.  Is this also connected to the other two cases?  Annie is stymied and frustrated by the local policeman in charge of the case.  He doesn’t believe her or Chelsea when they see him to tell him about Chelsea’s vision.  The situation escalates with a kidnapping of someone close to Annie.  Chelsea firmly believes her future is in God’s hands no matter what, so she agrees to help Annie by confronting the kidnapper.  Can they perform their rescue before it is too late?  Who is the kidnapper and why is he out to hurt Annie?
This novel has got great suspense, tension and a nail-biter ending!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish there were more in the series.  I’ve grown to respect Annie now whereas in the first book I thought she whined too much and felt sorry for herself.  Now, what a woman of God she has become!  What spiritual growth!  She still has issue she has to work on, but don’t we all?  I’ll miss Annie and her children, her sister and Dave as well as detective Ralph Chetterling.  Chelsea Adams appeared in this book and really impressed me with her faith, resolve and dedication to doing what God has called her to do regardless of what other people think or how it might impact her.  I know Ms. Collins has written other books featuring this character, so I’m going to check those out.  I’ll let you know what I think of them.  Kudos, to the author for a great read!
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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jodie Bailey's "Quilted by Christmas"


Title:  Quilted by Christmas (Quilts of Love Series)
Author:  Jodie Bailey
Story Length:  211 pages
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Justin Callahan has returned to town after being in the Army for 12 years.  When he left at age 18, he left behind his girlfriend after a huge argument.  He now returns after leaving the military to help his father run the family construction business.  He sees Taryn and begins to wonder if they can rekindle what they once had.  He knows that he has returned a changed man, but will Taryn want anything to do with him after 12 years of absence?
Taryn McKenna has been keeping a secret for 12 years.  Her grandmother is the only one who knows about it.  Taryn loves her grandmother, who raised her after her mother died when she was a young teenager.  They are working on a quilt together for her cousin’s wedding on New Year’s Day, but events happen that threaten its completion on time.
Taryn and Justin grew up together and she has loved him forever, first as a friend and then as something more.  When he left, after saying some hurtful things to her, she was left with a choice as to how to proceed with her future.  She has lived with her decision for 12 years and now Justin has returned.  The truth weighs heavy on her heart, but will she have the strength to tell the truth?  She has learned to rely on God and His strength, so she prays for his guidance.
I really enjoyed this story with its look at real people who have choices to make and might make the right choice for the wrong reasons.  Both main characters have matured in life’s experiences and in their faith as they reconnect 12 years later.  There is hope, love and forgiveness depicted by more than one character in the story.  I just loved the feisty character of Taryn’s grandmother or Jemma.  She loves fiercely and protectively.  She has down what she thinks is best for her granddaughter, but she learns that with age comes wisdom and that perhaps she didn’t make the best choices.  The characters in the story were believable and I could connect with them emotionally, which made the story more enjoyable.
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, October 26, 2014

Mercy Killer by James Pence is Awesome!


Title:  Mercy Killer
Author:  James Pence
Pages:  400
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Mountainview Books
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Mercy-Killer-James-Pence/dp/1941291023/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413686928&sr=1-1&keywords=mercy+killer
Before I share my thoughts on this particular novel let me tell you that the author is donating the proceeds from the sales of the book to ALS research.
When I began reading this robust story, I wasn’t quite sure which direction the action or plot was going in, but am I glad to have read the book.  Part of the story is mystery, suspense, thriller along with faith and ethics.  One main character, Dr. Westlake, spoke loudly for helping patients end their lives until it came to a crossroads of putting her beliefs into action.  When a patient of hers is found dead in a hospital room in the wee hours of the morning before a scheduled surgery, the lead detective is all but convinced Dr. Westlake is the culprit.
Charles is a retired cop, living with ALS and living on the brink between giving up and fighting to live another day.  David is an old partner who realizes that while Charles’s body may not work right anymore that doesn’t mean he is useless.  In fact, his years of experience as a cop would be of great value, so he comes up with a way to keep Charles active.  Over the years the detectives have solved many cases and along the way they encountered a batch of unsolved cases that David fears may be tied together, all because the killer’s calling card is a little ceramic angel left by the body.
With each page the audience turns the deeper and more intriguing the mystery gets.  Trying to figure out who the antagonist of the story was proved to be a challenge for me.  There were times I thought I had figured out the bad guy or woman and thought all I was going to discover was how they got caught.  However, it proved to be much more diabolical with the twists of the plot the author adds.  I read another story written by James Pence called, Unseen, which I also highly recommend.  Now, I can also recommend Mercy Killer as a novel to add to your collection.  This is a top notch author with an extraordinary tale that will bring hours of enjoyment.
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

A Guest Review of James Pence's Novel "Mercy Killer"


Title:  Mercy Killer
Author:  James Pence
Pages:  333
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Mountainview
Dr. Lori Westlake is a divorced woman who practices medicine as a general practitioner.  She likes the variety of helping different patients with different health issues.  She doesn’t like having to give her patients bad news, but realizes that comes part and parcel with the job.  She just wishes there was a way to legally help her terminal patients to have control of their own lives or have their own choice when their lives are ending.  She is discreetly contacted by a group of other healthcare professionals about joining their secret society that helps patients end their own lives on their own terms.  This is just what she is looking for, right?  She should jump at this chance, but something causes her to waver.
Charles Hamisch has just retired from the police force where he worked as a detective.  He was forced to take early retirement due to his diagnosis of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.  His detective partner and his partner’s wife have agreed to be his caretakers for now.  His partner is the man who led Charles to Christ.  Charles begins to wonder to himself, ”Where is God now when I need him most?”  Charles seems to deteriorate quickly, but meets a man who will change his outlook on life.  Charles has also been recruited by his partner to be a consultant on some cases, one of which involves Dr. Westlake.  Another string of cases finds a small ceramic angel at the scene of some dead homeless victims, but is this linked to Dr. Westlake?  Is she a serial killer?
My favorite two characters in this story were Kate Bainbridge, Dr. Westlake’s sister, and Charles Hamisch.  I loved Kate’s cheerful disposition and dedication to her job as a hospice assistant.  Her treatment of patients with dignity was spot-on.  Reading about Charles’ battle with depression and suicidal thoughts, even though he was a Christian, was eye-opening.  His decision to live the rest of his life no matter his circumstances and to glorify God was inspiring and brave.  I would have liked to have seen Dr. Westlake’s personal life end on a happier note, and I thought the book dragged a little bit with the Jacoby storyline.  I have read this author’s other fictional offering titled, Blind Sight, which has been reissued under the title, Unseen.  This is a great suspense-filled thriller not to be missed.
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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Injustice for All




Title:  Injustice for All
Author:  Robin Caroll
Pages:  352
Year:  2012
Publisher:  B & H
What drew me to the novel was a YouTube book trailer I viewed on YouTube which is posted above for your convenience.  A woman, Remington Wyatt, is raised by her godfather after the death of her parents.  With Judge Tate’s last breath he tells his goddaughter to grab the files from the safe and run!  Remington has no idea what she is taking and throwing into her godfather’s briefcase…that would come later.  Now, she has to draw upon her knowledge of the ways to disappear before “they” could kill her.
Three years later an agent transfers to the Louisiana FBI office and is assigned to the cold cases files.  He could choose any one among the many.  What does he choose?  Where will it take him?  All you need do is open the pages and discover this brilliantly written tale.  Like a clock that ticks in the quiet of the night, with every turning page you will feel the tension build to an astounding climax!  I couldn’t put the book down until I read every last word.
Sometimes when I look over a bookstore listing on the internet I come across a book that isn’t new, but one I have yet to read.  So, after the book trailer, I located the book to see what others had to say about their experiences with Robin Caroll’s writing.  Afterwards it was just a matter of curling up to have my own journey to discovering this riveting fictional tale.  What a fun and exciting story to read!  There are elements of faith, mystery, murder, disappearance, and seeing if in the plot good would triumph over evil.  The author has written other books that I plan on perusing and reading as soon as I can decide what to choose next!
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, October 23, 2014

Playing Saint


Title:  Playing Saint
Author:  Zachary Bartels
Pages:  352
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Let me introduce to you a new author with a knockout work of fiction…Zachary Bartels!  Playing Saint is not just an outstanding piece of work, but the message really is relevant for today.  I was glued to the pages until the very end due to the ingenious placing of more twists and turns of the plot than expected.  With each twist and turn of the plot, the tension ramped up and before the end characters’ revelations kept me turning the pages with eagerness to read the finale.
The story is a mystery with spiritual overtones as the killer leaves a “calling card” that looks like an object, but is it really what it appears?  While trying to capture the person responsible for these murders another killer seems to be on the loose that draws figures on the bodies before leaving the scene.  To help solve the cases the police ask a pastor, who is on the rise to stardom with a growing flock, to join their team as a consultant.  Before too long the pastor’s life is endangered, but what really strikes Pastor Saint is what is revealed about his true spiritual life.
When I read the synopsis of the book, I was captivated and desired to read it as soon as possible.  What I read defies description.  The story is captivating and the plot truly brilliant.  I haven’t read anything of this nature in a long time.  There are spiritual themes, mystery, flashbacks and characters that may not be what they appear to be or are they?  After the audience is done reading, there is a note from the author that will truly drive home the main theme of Playing Saint.  All I can say is that I will be watching this author closely in hopes that in the near future he will write another outstanding piece of work that will be on my shelf to read again and again.
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


The Other Side of Darkness


Title:  The Other Side of Darkness
Author:  Linda Wood Rondeau
Pages:  323
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Harbourlight Books
Samantha Knowles is a prosecutor in the Special Victims Unit in Manhattan.  She has been working on one particular case for over three years and has finally succeeded in getting the criminal sentenced to jail for life.  However, her victory is short-lived.  Her boss forces her to take a vacation away from the case because he fears she has become obsessed with it.  On the way to her vacation destination, Sam has an accident that will change the course of her life.  She ends up in the small town of Haven where she is welcomed with open arms.  She still thinks about the case a lot, sleeps with the lights on, when she can get any sleep and eats very little.  She can’t wait to get back to work, but is continually put off by her boss.  She knows something is going on with the case, but trusts that her boss will do what is right as he is handling the case now.
Sam delves into the history of the town, specifically the Gladstone family.  She meets Jonathon Gladstone, a famous artist.  They snarl at one another one minute and then kiss the next.  She also has feelings for Zack, teacher at the local school.  She draws both men closer, but then pushes them away.  She is confused about what she feels for each man.  She is also faced with her broken relationship with God.  Her past abusive relationship with her father also plays a huge role in her life whether she admits it or not.  Something keeps drawing her to stay in Haven, but what about her big case?  Complications develop with it and the criminal has threatened Sam.  Will her life ever settle down?
I enjoyed the legal thriller/suspense aspect of this story and the way Sam’s relationship with God evolved throughout the story.  Her best friend Justine was too preachy and judgmental in my opinion.  I thought Zack and Jonathon were good romantic interests for Sam, although the ending left me a little unsatisfied.  All three of these characters are lost in their own way and struggling through life.  The faith aspect was well-woven into the story without being “in your face”.
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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Promise to Protect


Title:  A Promise to Protect (Logan Point #2)
Author:  Patricia Bradley
Pages:  331
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell
Ben Logan has been made acting sheriff after his father, the elected sheriff, is shot in the line of duty and then suffers a stroke, leaving him unable to perform his job.  Ben had wanted to be a U.S. Marshal, but has decided that he belongs in Logan Point and that he wants to be sheriff permanently.  He still suffers occasional panic attacks around some children sometimes when he has flashbacks of the day Tommy Ray drowned while Ben was in charge of the scout pack.  Ben hasn’t let go of the guilt of this tragedy even though it happened three years ago.  Most people tell him it was an accident and that he did everything he could to save the teen, but Ben runs into the boy’s father sometimes and he never lets Ben forget his culpability in Tommy Ray’s death.  Now, his old girlfriend from ten years ago has returned to town and he begins to wonder what happened to kill their romance.  He also watches as her brother dies in his arms after being shot by an unknown assailant.  He has distanced himself from God, using work as an excuse.  Can Ben get his life back on track with God and solve the case?
Leigh Somerall has returned to Logan Point to fulfill the terms of a loan agreement that allowed her to finish medical school.  She must stay for a year and then she is free to leave.  She has moved with her son during the summer and hopes she can avoid Ben Logan at all costs.  She lives with her brother until she receives notification of his murder.  Who would want to kill him?  She is forced to deal with Ben now on a daily basis as he promised her brother he would protect her.  After a series of increasingly dangerous attempts on Leigh’s life (or is it Ben’s life?), Leigh has a tough decision to make for her future as well as that of her son.  Can she trust Ben not to let her down like she thinks he did ten years ago?
There is action, humor, love, tension and drama in this suspenseful mystery.  I thought the plot easy to follows and the pages kept turning quickly as I wanted to find out who was responsible for all the difficulties happening to Leigh and Ben.  I was a little put off by Leigh’s character at the beginning as she had a chip on her shoulder, but as the story progressed I began to like her more and more.  I’m looking forward to the next book in this suspense series.  This is one you won’t want to miss!
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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Destiny by Don Brown


Title:  Destiny
Author:  Don Brown   http://donbrownbooks.com/
Pages:  462
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Mountainview Books
Three men, three countries and many readers will get to journey and discover what holds them all together.  As I read, I couldn’t imagine the many families who lived through the beginning of WWII.  For me, the novel brings to the forefront the many lives affected during the war, along with afterwards.  Walter is mailman in a small town and recently married when the war is brought to the shores of the United States on December 7th by the Japanese.  Heinrick is a married man with two young girls who works at a factory in Germany when he joins a group who seeks revenge for the assignation of a government official.  Darwin is a young man who longs to be an actor and wants to simply enjoy the pleasures of the stage and success.
The action takes place on several continents and readers get to follow the journey of these three young men.  Never did these three young men ever think their lives would take the course they have due to the war.  It also brings them to a place where they consider their eternal destination as battle rages around them along with seeing death constantly stare them in the face.
Now, on the eve of the Normandy Invasion, each character is very aware that death may truly await them, so they place their thoughts on paper.  Will these last words change the hearts or minds of not just their comrades, but more so the enemy they are fighting against?  Part of the tale focuses on their families they leave at home and how they try to deal with the fear they may never see their loved ones again.  How do the wives keep going while raising children without worrying constantly about their loved ones?
The audience will truly fall in love with each story these characters share.  At times, readers will get a glimpse of how a particular character is thinking or feeling, which brings a point of view to the story that otherwise wouldn’t be revealed.  I loved how Walter works through or talks through the issues of his heart or his thoughts.  I believe the author makes these characters leap off the page by the description of the scene set for the characters to act out.  I lost myself very easily in the fictional tale mainly because it seemed so real or at the very least a possible way of an outcome to a problem.
Don’t miss reading Destiny as it is the prequel to the Jag novel series written by Don Brown!  Very well done!
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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding Mercy



Title:  Finding Mercy (Mercy Medallion Series)
Author:  Michael Landon, Jr & Cindy Kelley
Pages:  416
Year:  2014
Publisher:  David C. Cook
The novel that introduces the audience to the characters and story line was released in 2013 and titled, Traces of Mercy.  Set during the Civil War, a young woman poses as a Confederate soldier until wounded and carried to a local doctor where her secret is discovered.  When she wakes up, her memory is completely wiped out and her life begins at the exact moment of waking up.  Nothing she does jiggles her memory and when she is staying in the care of nuns they name her Mercy.  Mercy’s adventures begin to expound in this second novel, Finding Mercy, picking up where Traces of Mercy ended.
It was hard to wait another full year to see how the authors were going to either wrap up the story or share another installment.  The tension begins to really climb when Mercy along with her companion Elijah find out her true home, name and family.  Since Mercy still cannot remember anything, what brings family problems to a boil is that Mercy’s heart has changed along with her viewpoints on slavery.
These kinds of novels are so enjoyable because they take historical events, people or places and set them in various situations.  Women disguising themselves as men in order to serve in the Civil War wasn’t new to me, but the fact women were in prison during the war was revealing.  After the novel, the authors include historical information that brings further clarity to those who lived at that particular time.
To see how far someone would go to help another is compelling more so when it is during a time in our history when slaves were viewed as less than human.  Using this backdrop, the authors show us how God reaches out to bring people close to His heart.  Once again I could read the desperation people lived with as food supplies diminished and how hard it was to bring comfort and hope even after the fighting was over.  Well-crafted, exciting, captivating and adventurous are words that make these novels a must read for one and all!
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
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Finding Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2014)
by
Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson. 
****
Cindy Kelley is the co-author of the novel The Silent Gift, and Traces of Mercy. Her career as a screenwriter with long-time writing partner, Michael Landon, Jr., began with the adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic story, The Velveteen Rabbit, which had a theatrical release. Several television movies followed, most notably Love Comes Softly, (based on Janette Oke’s novel) which won a CAMIE Award and the Epiphany Prize for Movie Guide’s most inspirational television movie of 2003. Cindy and her husband, Jim, make their home in the Southwest; have three adorable grandchildren and four big dogs who rule the house.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Mercy abandons Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity, he goes after her. With the threat that bounty hunters might be hot on her trail, Mercy does all she can to stay ahead of the danger, frustrating both the bad men who are after her—and Captain Hale who wants to find her and escort her safely home. But when she stumbles upon clues that help her learn who she is and where she's from, the danger escalates and she has to learn to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer—if she can determine which is which!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Finding Mercy, go HERE.


Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me Movie Review


Title:  Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
Link:  http://glencampbellmovie.com/faith/
Year:  2014
Leave a comment below with your email address for an opportunity to win a soundtrack of the movie!
Glen Campbell and his family share a very transparent journey that brings both laughter and tears as he declined with Alzheimer’s.  For a year, the family shares his final tour without covering up even the tough times.  Friends and fans share their memories of this man along with how Glen impacted their lives.
While it was amazing to see this man do his singing and playing as he always had, it was hard to watch Glen decline to a place where he had to stop.  There were pictures of family and friends along with videos that Glen would watch and then ask questions as to who the people were.  When he toured, he had to have a teleprompter because he couldn’t recall the lyrics, but he sure could play that guitar like nobody I have ever heard before.
The reason Glen along with his family did this was to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s, but also to show all who are impacted by watching their loved one’s journey.  For me, it helped to comfort me as I listened to the family share their joys and sorrows about times living with Glen because this last year it is become familiar territory for me.  Glen was also able to gain the attention of those in government to help attain funding to finding a cure so hopefully sometime in the future it will be a distant memory.
I know it may be hard for many to go and see the movie; it was bitter sweet for me as I just lost my Dad to this disease.  Yet, may we all show the same faith and courage as the Campbell family did to face it head on so at the end of the journey there aren’t any regrets.  Glen has impacted many lives by his songs and talent, maybe even his past troubles.  I think this film will be what many remember about him most because he laughed, joked, sang, traveled and said farewell with a heart of love.
Thanks Glen for all you shared.  God Bless you on your journey home to Him.
My rating is 5 stars.
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Guest Review of "Afloat" by Erin Healy


Title:  Afloat
Author:  Erin Healy
Pages:  352
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Vance Nolan is the project manager for Eagle’s Talon, a new condominium community for the wealthy.  The condos are built in a new construction technique and float on water.  Vance has had some difficulties in his teenage years, but as he matured physically, he also matured spiritually with the help of his good friend Zeke.  Vance will soon face the toughest challenge of his life when disaster strikes at the jobsite.
Danielle Clement is a young widow and executive assistant to Tony Dean, the money behind Eagle’s Talon.  Her relationship with Tony has become more than professional recently.  She likes the security his money brings for herself and her young son.  She feels the only way she can earn this money is by letting Tony into her bed.  She knows she doesn’t love him, but what does it hurt to pretend?  As catastrophe after catastrophe strikes her life, she begins to see what kind of man Tony and Vance really are, as well as what kind of woman she is.  She doesn’t like that picture, but what can she do about it?  She sees herself as always being dependent on a man.  Can she find the strength to speak up for herself and stand on her own?  What does Vance have that gives him strength that so draws Danielle to him?
I thought the author did a good job of giving her characters plausible personalities and emotions.  I could find something about each character that I could relate to, which made the story more real to me.  While I didn’t like some of the characters, it was mostly because I could see their negative aspects partially in myself.  I really liked the characters of Zeke and Vance.  Both were strong men of God with a love for God first, then a sacrificial love for others.  This was an interesting story and different from a lot of books I read in that there was a lot of action at the beginning, but then most of the focus was on how the characters interacted with each other.  I look forward to reading more books from this author and hope that readers will make time to enjoy her works.
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, October 18, 2014

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson


Title:  Buttermilk Sky
Author:  Jan Watson
Story Length:  330
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
Mazy Pelfrey is a young 19-year-old woman, attending secretarial school in Lexington, Kentucky in the year 1913.  Back home in the mountains of Kentucky where she was raised, she was kind of expected to marry Chanis Clay and have a family.  She likes Chanis, but she doesn’t like the pressure she thinks he puts on her.  Mazy isn’t so sure that is what she wants, so she heads off to learn how to be a secretary.  She has a group that she socializes with, but for the most part they don’t treat her very nicely.  She craves the approval of one of the group especially, a snobby uppity girl.  Otherwise, Mazy seems to make friends of everyone else she meets with her kind and compassionate nature.  While in Lexington, she meets Loyal Chambers, who turns her head by his nice manners and good looks.  What should she do about Chanis? 
Chanis Clay is the local sheriff, the youngest one in the town’s history.  He has been busy fixing up the house he bought about a year ago.  He sets his house up as he thinks Mazy would like it, assuming she will agree to be his wife when she is done with her secretarial training.  He sees Mazy as his girlfriend, but she has only promised friendship.  He comes to visit her in Lexington and all the girls she hangs out with think he is handsome and in love with Mazy.  Mazy and Chanis both come to the point where they each have to make a choice for the future path of their lives. 
This is a very easy to read story.  There isn’t a lot of action or suspense or much climax to the story.  The two main characters learn to wait on God’s timing for their lives through their individual experiences of trying to push forward their own agenda.  Some of the characters don’t stand out and are a bit flat/dull.  The two main characters do demonstrate their Christian values in their kind and compassionate actions towards others.  This isn’t a terrible book, but it isn’t a great one either.  Therefore, I rated it as average with three stars.
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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just Rise Up


Title:  Just Rise Up
Author:  Sarah Francis Martin
Pages:  208
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
The format for this study is quite ingenious.  First, participants read the author’s thoughts and challenges, then have five days in which to journal their own thoughts when answering various questions.  Sarah Martin wants people to once again regain perspective from one of self to one of making Jesus known to those around them.  What began this journey for Sarah was actually reading a book by Chuck Colson titled, How Now Shall We Live?  Personally, I know this is a helpful book as my family has read it, gleaning nuggets of truth that compel the reader’s heart to the Lord.
People are encouraged to seek the Lord and read His Word in order to understand to what purpose He has called them.  Some of the questions might best be shared in a one-on-one type of scenario instead of a large group.  While I can see why the subtitle of the study is “A Call to Make Jesus Famous” I don’t believe that is accurate of what He has called us to do.  However, the heart of the study is seeking God, hearing God and then doing what He leads you to do.  The challenge presented is not to keep living for Him one day of the week or one area of our lives, but across the board.  In order to do that we must submit ourselves to Him and obey where He leads.
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


Inseparable


Title:  Inseparable
Author:  Ashley Linne
Pages:  224
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Here is an excellent tool to equip the Body to feed the spirit and stretch our faith muscles!  For a long time now I have been a proponent of really saturating my life with the Word and have been blessed to have a travel companion on the same journey.  In this study, readers will be encouraged to read through the entire book of Romans.  As a help so as not to overwhelm us, a reading guide is included in the appendix.
The author uses The Voice translation throughout the book, but also suggests reading from any version that might be more preferable.  The study is not a verse by verse exposé on Romans, but principles shared with us are found in the book of Romans.  A question that people ask in various seasons of life is addressed in the book which is, “Who am I in Christ?”  Where we get our identity really tends to send us on a path in life that can be filled with adventure, revelations and hope.
The format is designed for participants to begin with prayer, followed by Big Picture, Context, Original Audience and Stand Out Moments.  I see where the design of the study teaches truths about who we are in Him along with how we can approach any book in the Bible so as to come away closer to Him than before.  The Come Together section that closes each chapter may or may not be of use to readers, depending on how one utilizes the study.
Grab a copy or two, ask God to see if He would have you study with someone or by yourself with Him alone.  Either way, you don’t want to forego drawing near to Him as He longs for us to!
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

Barren Among the Fruitful



Title:  Barren among the Fruitful
Author:  Amanda Hope Haley
Pages:  160
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Amanda shares with women not only her journey, but that of many others.  I know women who went through similar trials and heartache; it is never easy.  For those who haven’t traveled this path, you might want to read through the book to help you understand what is hard to explain to those who have had children.  One of the best characteristics of a study that I look for is whether an author has experienced drawing near to God for themselves before writing for others.  I’m glad to tell you that is indeed the case here.
One unique discovery I came across was that the introduction was written by Amanda’s mother who also experienced barrenness.  Society tends to place much pressure on whether a marriage produces children or not, and that pressure is hard to carry day after day.  What Amanda shares with readers is how God walks them through infertility and brings them to a place where they never thought they could be content.  Another aspect Amanda’s study brings forth is that a change of perspective isn’t something one can do for oneself, but when drawing near to God, He does the impossible.
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


Where Treetops Glisten


Title: Where Treetops Glisten
Author:  Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin
Pages:  368
Year:  2014
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Here is a truly unique story placed in the time of WWII and surrounds a special family that lives in Lafayette, Indiana.  The Turners lived in a house that sheltered the parents, grandmother and siblings from the winter of 1942 through 1945.  The three authors then developed characters that seemed very lifelike, though not perfect or all the same.  Each person in the Turner crew brings different gifts, personalities and life choices.  Each of the three stories including the Prologue and Epilogue will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face.
The tale, White Christmas, shares the story of Abigail Turner who planned to become a lawyer like her father until her life path crossed that of a young man named Jackson.  The middle story titled, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, focuses on Pete Turner who has furlough after becoming an ace fighter pilot.  The third and final installment is titled; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, which shares the tale of Meredith Turner as a nurse in Europe, working hard to make a difference in the war’s effects on soldiers.
I loved the book so much because the depth of truth revealed in each story will truly remind you of how one act of kindness can lift the broken hearted.  I think of how the many real people served during the holidays and how some never came home.  While grief is certainly a part of life and it seems to be difficult for some during the Christmas season, the novel points us to the Hope of Christmas…Jesus!
I really hope you read the novel and perhaps make a gift of a copy to someone who could use the renewal of hope.  Think of someone who might enjoy the book and when the time is right surprise them with their own copy of Where Treetops Glisten!
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, October 15, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant

Title:  Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles #2)
Author:  Lynn Austin
Pages:  477
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany House
This story takes place a generation or two after Return to Me, book one in the Restoration Chronicles.  The fictional account of Ezra begins in Babylon during the time of Queen Esther with the proclamation from the king allowing the execution of all Jews on the thirteenth day of Adar.  Ezra has been living with his brother, Jude, and his wife, Devorah while studying the Torah.  He is known as the man who knows more about the Torah than any other man.  He teaches other men the Torah as well.  With the proclamation, Ezra becomes the leader of all the Jews in Babylon, changing his life.
Amina is a young Edomite girl who lives in a village just outside of Bethlehem.  She has a crippled leg and is often rejected by those in her family and village.  With the proclamation, her father and brothers determine to kill as many Jews as they can and take their property and possessions.  Amina has been befriended by an old Jewish woman and doesn’t want to see her killed.  Soon the time approaches and in one day Amina’s life will change forever.
Reuben lives in a town north of Babylon with his family.  He works as a blacksmith along with his father in his father’s smithy.  His father is a strong man of God descended from the tribe of Levi and wishes his son to remain strong in the Jewish faith even when surrounded by Gentiles.  As the date draws nearer for their execution, Reuben is more and more afraid.  What will happen to him and his family?
These three threads of the story are woven together in a well-crafted tale that tells a fictional story of Ezra.  The story is well-written and the characters’ feelings and emotions easy to relate to.  The plot moves along at a good pace, and the chapters are usually fairly short so they’re easy to read.  Ezra at times was very legalistic and I liked how he was able to listen to the wise counsel of his wife as well as how he remained strong in his faith and courageous in standing up for what was right.
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

The Confirmation

Title: The Confirmation
Author:  Ralph Reed
Pages:  408
Year:  2010
Publisher:  Fidelis
While I was reading, there were times it almost felt like déjà vu because the action in the story almost reflected the current happenings we hear about on the news!  Ralph Reed draws readers into the suspense so well, I believe, because of his various work experience in the political realm.  What brings a higher sense of tension to the story is how those who believe in God are treated or spoken to, which so reminds me of today’s news.
As I read I learned to have a deeper appreciation for what presidents coming into office must have to wrestle with in terms of events needing a decision.  Throughout the novel Ralph Reed does an excellent job reminding us that the battle we face is a spiritual one not a human one.  So much happens behind the scenes in Washington today that Americans just aren’t aware of, but we can be thankful that God is in control.  The tale is very intriguing with action and tension building on many fronts of the story, but following the writing wasn’t hard for me.
The audience may find the book lacking in hope because of all the backbiting, infighting and blame-laying the characters tend to do.  However, I believe the author’s intent was to show us through fiction how much we need to pray for America and her leaders.  Our hope is in Christ and therefore we can read a political thriller like this and perhaps come away with new insight on how to pray.  I cannot fathom working in the political arena as a Christian without coming out disillusioned.  Therefore, I am all the more convinced our prayers are needed in this area.  We don’t have to lose hope, but we can help those called to fight the good fight!
Take some time to read this suspenseful, thrilling, behind-the-scenes look at government!
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, October 14, 2014

A Matter of the Heart (Lone Star Brides #3)


Title:  A Matter of the Heart (Lone Star Brides #3)
Author:  Tracie Peterson
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany
Tracie Peterson’s final installment in this series is simply heart touching along adventure, romance and faith.  The main characters in A Matter of the Heart are introduced to readers in the previous books A Sensible Arrangement and A Moment in Time.  Each book focuses on a budding relationship rich and diverse along with an overarching storyline that also brings the flavor of a mystery.  One of the reasons I love to read this author in particular is to learn how the title will be woven into the story.  Each time I open the books I am entertained and encouraged as I read of characters facing odds and overcoming them in faith.
Each book will hold you captive until the very end as pieces of a puzzle are being put together not just in the highlight of the characters’ lives, but the Texas community where the story is set.  Readers will travel to other parts of the country when in the final story Austin Todd is attempting to help friends unravel the sudden reappearance of an old nemesis.  Jessica is a woman who comes to a crossroad in her life, seeing who she is and wanting to become someone different.  I thought this character in particular interesting as many women want to change something in themselves.  Jessica’s actions show us that the transformation is done by the Lord.  As I read, Jessica seemed to reflect a reality that there are those who don’t want to be shallow or easily distracted from what is of true importance, which is the Lord.
It amazes me how Tracie can write so profusely with such passion along with the ability to entertain her audience and encourage faith.  I love the fact that while romance is a part of the novel it is the character’s individual walk with the Lord that is the focus.  Some of the characters’ pasts affected their time reading the Bible or praying in a negative way and then one of the minor players would encourage them to turn back to the Lord as it should be in reality.
For the best possible enjoyment I think readers should read all three books in order, though reading any one of them would be an enjoyable way to spend time.  So grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back and get lost in the Lone Star Bride Series!
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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun


Title:  Thunder (A Stone Braide Chronicles)
Author:  Bonnie S. Calhoun                                                                      
Pages:  432
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Novel-Stone-Braide-Chronicles/dp/0800723767/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1411521146&sr=1-6
Selah Rishon Chavez, the day before her eighteenth birth remembrance discovers a Lander, a stranger from an unknown country across the ocean.  Selah intends to capture the stranger because Landers are valuable in her world, but she discovers that her biologically father, whom she had never known about, was also a Lander.  As a child of a Lander, Selah starts to discover that she has abilities that start to awaken within her as well as certain feelings about Bodhi Locke, the stranger from across the ocean.  Selah’s brothers steal her captured stranger, which leads her to discover her own origins and the father she never knew.
Thunder is a futuristic dystopian novel that takes place 150 years after war and natural disasters have ravaged the east coast of what once was the United States of America.  Selah’s family—her brothers and her step-father—survive by capturing and selling the Landers to the descendents of the government officials that took refuge in a mountain one and a half centuries previously.  But what sinister plan does the leadership of the technologically superior mountain people have for the Landers and their special abilities?
Bonnie Calhoun brings a story of a future filled with corruption, unethical scientific experimentation, slavery, and extreme prejudicial elitism.  Yet there is hope as some characters are trying to make things right for Landers and for those normals living outside of the mountain.  In the midst of a dark future, there is still hope for a better life and a chance for people to build a new community where Landers and normals might one day live together in peace as equals.  For Selah, her world is just beginning as she finds her father, her emerging feelings for Bodhi, and the discovery of herself.  All in all, Thunder is a very good read filled with adventures, relationships, mysteries, and new hopes.  Those who read this novel will certainly look forward to book two of the Stone Braide ChroniclesLightning—coming fall 2015!

My rating is 4.5.

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