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Showing posts from May, 2015

Vines of Entanglement

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Title:  Vines of Entanglement Author:  Lisa Carter Pages:  319 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Abingdon Press Jon Locklear has returned to his home stomping grounds after ten years in the Marines.  He now is a detective with the local police force, and his first case involves the former love of his life as the star witness.  He can’t believe his rotten timing as to be the lead investigator and have to deal with Laura Mabry.  Though he has never stopped loving her over the past ten years, he is sure he can’t trust her.  When she omits pertinent information on the case, though she has in her mind a good reason, the old issues of trust again plague their tenuous re-establishment of a relationship.  Jon bends his knees to the Lord he found while serving his country and begs for answers. Laura Mabry can’t believe Jon Locklear is back in town!  He broke her heart ten years ago then left to join the Marines without a backward look.  She now has a secret she can’t let him discover or her world will …

Where Secrets SLeep

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Title:  Where Secrets Sleep Author:  Marta Perry Website:  http://www.martaperry.com/ Pages:  384 Year:  2015 Publisher:  HQN My Rating:  5+ stars Browsing through a new books list on a website sometimes tends to draw me to a book that I might not have otherwise read.  Though Marta Perry is an established author, for me her works are new.  When I saw the title and description of this recent publication, I knew without a doubt I had to read and review it because the synopsis of the tale captured my imagination. A young woman learns of an inheritance from a grandmother she never met, so she travels to a little town and meets with the grandmother’s lawyer.  What she thought would be a quick matter to take care of actually becomes a more complex reality that calls for Allison to make a decision.  As Allison sets out to learn what she can of this grandmother and the inherited property, unknowingly she becomes entangled in a web of mystery, becoming the center of someone’s sinister intent. …

As Waters Gone By written Cynthia Ruchti

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Title:  As Waters Gone By Author:  Cynthia Ruchti Website: http://www.cynthiaruchti.com/ Pages:  304 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Abingdon Press My rating is 5 stars out of 5! What words can I use to describe a work of fiction filled with compelling characters and unexpected themes?  I read through the novel becoming emotionally involved in the scenes placed on the page which doesn’t happen all too often for me when opening a work of fiction.  However, As Waters Go By is definitely an exception! The one thread that continued to weave throughout each part of the novel is Hope.  Not a flyby night kind of a feeling and definitely not based on the situations involved in the plot.  I reminisce what a masterpiece Cynthia has crafted to together as how various parts of the characters lives come together to speak so powerfully of what only God can be or do.  One mother a drug addict, a father incarcerated, an island in Wisconsin and an Inn owner/operator who is eccentric to the extreme words of w…

The Long Fall (Hawk & Dove Series #3)by Penelope Wilcock

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Title:  The Long Fall (The Hawk and the Dove #3) Author:  Penelope Wilcock Pages:  224 Year:  1993 Publisher:  Lion Fiction This third book in the series follows the deepening friendship between Brother Tom and Father Peregrine as they continue their service in the monastic life to God under the St. Benedictine creed.  Even though the brothers are not to have friendships with particular brothers, this special friendship does develop.   Father Peregrine is under some stress as money is short and the list of repairs to their farm, which feeds them and provides revenue, is long.  Shortly thereafter, Father Peregrine suffers more physical tragedy, resulting in further disability on top of the injuries he sustained in book one of the series, The Hawk and the Dove. Now, the fiercely independent and sometimes prideful Father Peregrine must depend on someone else for all his needs.  Brother Tom has trouble reconciling the man Father Peregrine has become to the man he once was and refused to …

Water from My Heart by Charles Nartin

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Title:  Water from My Heart Author:  Charles Martin Website:  http://charlesmartinbooks.com/ Pages:  368 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Center Street My rating is 5+ stars out of 5. Charles Martin is a very gifted storyteller of the upper most class.  Before this new novel of his, I read another of his books titled, A Life Intercepted, which I really enjoyed.  Each book I have read has included an author’s note that shares his heart or reason for writing the book we readers hold in our hands.  Water from My Heart is no different in that aspect, except as I finished I was struck with how much this novel was so like a parable that it stole my breath away. When I started the book, I wasn’t really being grabbed by the storyline, and I kept wondering where the author was going with the story.  Then, I discovered a tale told in first person by a man named Charlie Finn who for a long time in his life did many things without being aware of the consequences to others such as delivering drugs or not …

Wounds of God (Hawk & Dove Series #2) by Penelope Wilcock

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Title:  The Wounds of God (The Hawk and the Dove #2) Author:  Penelope Wilcock Pages:  187 Year:  1991 Publisher:  Lion Fiction The second book in The Hawk and the Dove series also has the daughter, Melissa, asking her mother to tell her stories that have been handed down from generation to generation by the females in her family.  These stories center on a monastery in the early 1300s, featuring Abbot or Father Peregrine and the brothers who served with him in the monastery.  Young Melissa, who is now sixteen years old, is gaining much advice, knowledge and insight into how to live for God through these stories. In this series of tales, we learn more about Father Peregrine and his ability or lack thereof to handle his disability and the reliance it causes him to have on others for help.  We see others reactions to his disability and a protective bond that has formed between Peregrine and his fellow brothers at the monastery.  The love Peregrine feels for his brothers he expresses in…

Hillsong United Newest CD "Empires"

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Title:  Empires CD Author:  Hillsong United Website:  http://facebook.com/hillsongunited Twitter:  @HillsongUnited
Instagram:  @HillsongUnited
Year:  2015 My rating is 5+ stars out of 5. Music is a very powerful medium that can translate the soul of a person in any number of directions.  Prayer is also a powerful and perhaps under used weapon in a Christian’s arsenal for spiritual warfare that occurs whether we “see” it or not.  Recently I watched a video of Hillsong as they performed on a morning show with one of the songs on their newest album, which is titled “United”. Lyrics that speak truth and that resonate with a listener’s hearts with the truth can be easily remembered by the musical score.  Together, both lyrics and musical notes aid, encourage, remind, and more that as believers we need to look up, surrender or act upon the Spirits nudging.  What resonates within your soul?  What strikes your heart, causing you to move beyond the moment? The album “United” is rich beyond my m…

The Hawk & The Dove by Penelope Wilcock

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Title:  The Hawk and the Dove (The Hawk and the Dove #1) Author:  Penelope Wilcock Pages:  174 Year:  1990 Publisher:  Lion Hudson Melissa loves a good story and one day begs her mother to tell her one.  Soon one becomes several and the stories that follow create teachable moments between a mother and her daughter.  These stories are set in the early 1300s in a monastery in England.  The main character is Father Columba or Father Peregrine as he is known by his monks behind his back.  He arrives at the monastery to take the lead role as Abbot after the former Abbot dies a natural death of old age.  When he arrives he is 45 years old, tough, demanding, but fair.  He earns the respect of his monks, but not their affections.  He holds himself away from much personal interaction.  He appears somewhat aloof and standoffish. After a while, tragedy strikes Father Peregrine and he is forced to become more dependent on and vulnerable to his fellow monks.  This vulnerability and humility endea…

Lori Benton's latest historical novel: The Woods Edge

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Title:  The Wood’s Edge (The Pathfinders #1) Author:  Lori Benton Pages:  400 Year:  2015 Publisher:  WaterBrook This story takes a look at our nation beginning in the 1757 and continuing to the moment when the Revolutionary War begins.  It blends a great deal of historical research with a fictional story of one soldier and the decision he made that changed two families’ lives forever. Reginald Aubrey is fighting for his life and that of his wife as the French and Indians invade the British fort where he has been serving.  A truce was declared, but the Indians are uncontrollable and begin killing and looting.  Reginald has just checked on his wife, who has just given birth to their first son as the fort comes under attack.  He finds her asleep with their son, but makes a grim discovery.  He then is faced with a choice, one that is made rashly with consequences that will be felt for years to come. Good Voice is a young white woman who was taken captive by the Indians as a toddler.  Sh…

Tested by Fire by Pat Patterson

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Title:  Tested by Fire Author:  Pat Patterson                                                                                                                                                   Pages:  480 Year:  2012 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas My rating is 5+ stars out of 5. What an incredibly suspense-filled story full of action, danger and choices that have both here and now consequences along with eternal!  The characters are a mixture of those refusing Christ, coming to the end of themselves before seeing their need for Christ and others taking the gospel message into dangerous territory. The action shows the battle that takes place here on earth to save lives and those who take them without any thought afterwards.  Then, the broader picture shows readers the battle that wages over the soul of every human being.  Paramedics Jim and Sid were partners until Sid was killed by a gang member which ignites the war within Jim.  Jim was already struggling with alc…

The Covered Deep

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Title:  The Covered Deep Author:  Brandy Vallance Pages:  403 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Worthy Publishing She must win the contest.  Bianca Marshal has entered a writing contest with the winner receiving an all-expense paid trip to the Holy Land.  Bianca now lives in rural Ohio and the year is 1877.  She is 25 years old and her mother is hounding her to marry anyone, but make it soon!  Bianca is holding out for a love match, but in her small town her choices are limited.  She just knows that if she can win this contest, God is going to lead her to meet her future husband somewhere along the way.  She does win the contest along with three others.  She travels to England to meet her host.  She also meets the three winners.  She meets one man in particular who immediately garners her attention and affection.  As the trip progresses, she falls more and more in love with Paul.  He appears to be the perfect man for her and Paul feels the same for Bianca.  However, Paul has a devastating secr…

In Firefly Valley

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Title:  In Firefly Valley (Texas Crossroads Book #2) Author:  Amanda Cabot Website:  https://www.sff.net/people/amanda.cabot/ Pages:  368 Year:  2105 Publisher:  Revell My rating is 4 stars out of 5. When I started reading In Firefly Valley, I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not.  At first, it seemed to be uneventful with a lack of adventure or excitement.  I pressed through till the end and I am glad I did as the plot began to thicken along with some adventure and suspense.  While romantic novels aren’t usually my first choice, every now and again I look into one to discover what is behind the cover. Amanda Cabot’s series allows readers to peek inside the heart and lives of the fictional characters and town in the Texas Crossroads series.  When I started book two, I hadn’t read the first book in the series, which at times would handicap a reader’s appreciation for the story.  However, this book was an exception.  Amanda includes enough information about the prior events in the cha…

Shadow of the Mountain: Exodus

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Title:  Shadow of the Mountain (Exodus Book #1) Author:  Cliff Graham Website:  http://cliffgraham.com/ Pages:  304 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Bethany My rating is 5+ stars out of 5 Simply put the novel was thrilling, exhilarating and tantalizing!  Sometimes when reading a work of fiction based on a person referenced in the Bible the story comes up short of any semblance of reality.  Here though readers must dig in their heels and travel back to a time when a man named Caleb lived and fought for Yahweh. There is very little known about Caleb in the Bible, so the author’s book is purely fictionalized as far as how Caleb lived his life before the Exodus.  However, the ancient ways and living conditions come through as they should be very realistic, not masking over the brutality that was part of daily life and death in the ancient world. The one lesson or should I say challenge I came away with is to think less of retirement, awaiting death and more of being an active participant in God’s…

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible

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Title:  How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible Author:  Keith Ferrin Website:  http://keithferrin.com/ Pages:  160 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Bethany My rating is 4 stars out of 5 As I sat down one night to read this nonfiction book, I wondered what I was going to encounter because I needed some encouragement.  Well, in some of the book I felt encouraged and in other areas challenged, which is also something that helps me grow in Christ.  Some of what the author shared via his 10 tips I was actually already doing, but my journey to learning the tips was different. There are a total of 10 tips and then something I didn’t expect…an accompanying Bible study after each chapter to help guide readers in going deeper.  In other words, the book is not just reading the 10 tips but includes helpful questions to spur thinking as to how each of us can put whatever God highlights for us into practice. I thought the author made an excellent point of how we as Christians tend to not discuss or look forward t…

Donn Taylor's Novel: Rhapsody in Red

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Title:  Rhapsody in Red (A Preston Barclay Mystery #1) Author:  Donn Taylor Pages:  364 Year:  2008 Publisher:  Moody Publishers Professor Preston Barclay teaches history at a small Midwestern university.  His friends call him Press, but he has few of those.  Most faculty shun him as he is not afraid to say what he thinks and stand up for what he feels is right.  He is a widower in his mid-fifties with a college age daughter.  His wife died about three years ago and he has stopped going to church due to his overwhelming grief, which he still experiences sometimes more deeply than others.  He hasn’t lost his faith, but he isn’t practicing it either.  He becomes involved in a murder investigation when a fellow colleague, Mara Thorn, asks for his help confronting another teacher.  They go to confront this teacher and find her murdered. Press and Mara soon find themselves among the suspects and begin their own investigation to find the murderer.  The captain in charge of the investigatio…

A Stranger's Secret

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Title:  A Stranger’s Secret (Cliffs of Cornwall #2) Author:  Laurie Alice Eakes Pages:  327 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Zondervan David Chastain arrives in Cornwall in a most unconventional fashion…as the sole survivor of a ship wreck.  He is nursed back to health by Morwenna Penvenan.  David had set out from his home where he works as a boat builder to find out more information about his father’s sudden death a month ago after his father left secretly with all the money the family had been saving.  His father died in a place where he was not supposed to be and if David can’t find the answers he seeks, the family boat building business could very well go under.  Did his beautiful rescuer have anything to do with his father’s death? Morwenna Penvenan is a young widow with a small child, trying to hold on to his inheritance, but is losing the battle.  She has little money, no means to earn any and a surfeit of pride that refuses to allow her to ask her grandparents for help.  She is the ta…

Review of "Lake Surrender"

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Title:  Lake Surrender Author:  Carol Grace Stratton Website:  http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Stratton/e/B007N7NZ1O/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 Pages:  280 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas My rating is 5+ stars out of 5 In the story, we are introduced to a woman who is losing her job, has two children with one being autistic and a looming divorce.  The woman’s name is Ally and on top of all these changes, she must move as she is unable to keep her home with her diminishing income.  A single aunt invites Ally to come to Michigan until she can figure out where life is going. As I read this fictional story, I could easily imagine the stress of being a single parent on top of having a special needs child.  Ally’s daughter, Kylie, loves her brother and feels the responsibility to help with him, losing out on some of her own activities at the young age of 12.  I found it interesting that the family had no spiritual life whatsoever and didn’t at first even feel the need fo…

Under a Desert Sky

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Title:  Under a Desert Sky Author:  DiAnn Mills Pages:  316 Year:  316 Publisher:  Summerside Press Tahoma Benally is a Native American of the Navajo tribe.  He has recently returned to his Navajo community to practice as a doctor after spending ten years in Chicago training for this career.  While in Chicago, he discovered God and Christianity.  He has yet to tell his parents or community of his beliefs for fear they will shun him or that he will embarrass his parents.  He soon meets the new guest at Ghost Ranch, Eva Fortier and becomes instantly smitten, but what can he offer a wealthy, white woman?  He tries to keep his distance emotionally, but with his carrying out of his father’s vow to Eva’s father he is constantly near her, weakening his resolve. Eva Fortier is sent to Ghost Ranch to hide from the people who killed her grandfather.  She has been raised as a rich socialite with all the finest things money can buy.  On the ranch, she learns a new way of life that she never thou…

As Love Blooms (The Gregory Sisters #3)

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Title:  As Love Blooms (The Gregory Sisters Book #3) Author:  Lorna Seilstad Website:  http://www.lornaseilstad.com/ Pages:  320          Year:  2015 Publisher:  Revell My rating is 5 stars out of 5 Loran Seilstad is a new author to me and reading this novel was an introduction into her writing style and her love of telling a story.  The series revolves around three sisters who, after losing their parents, make a promise to always support each other’s dreams.  The novels in the series order are When Love Calls, followed by book two, While Love Stirs, and ending with As Love Blooms. I read a lot!  Just ask my family anytime of the day what I am doing and more than likely they let you know I have my nose in a book…again.  In As Love Blooms, women are marching for the suffrage movement and finding a balance between running a home, having a family and taking care of a home.  The youngest sister, Tessa, is fun-loving, thrill-seeking, and a living life on the edge kind of gal who wants he…

Maggie Bright

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Title:  Maggie Bright (A Novel of Dunkirk) Author:  Tracy Groot Website:  http://www.tracygroot.com/ Pages:  368 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Tyndale My rating is 5 stars out of 5 Tracy Groot’s novel is a deeply compelling work of fiction based on the historical record of the approaching Nazi troops at Dunkirk.  Yet, there is deeper story of the faith, humility and bravery shown by the civilians during a time when England faced her greatest challenges.  When youngsters hear about events, there is a certain amount of innocence still left as children often look at brighter moments in their world.  Now, as people age, those events take on a deeper meaning and spur us on to action doing whatever it takes to save our nation.  In Maggie Bright we see what the citizens of Britain did when facing demise some at the highest cost of their lives.  Yet, they continued on fighting to protect life, country and preserving it for those who are yet to be born. Knowing Tracy’s penchant for detail and thoro…

Atonement for Emily Adms

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Title:  Atonement for Emily Adams Author:  Susan R. Lawrence Website:  http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Lawrence/e/B00KLS7A6S/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 Pages:  264 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas My rating is 5 stars out of 5 Very few books in my life have caused me to sit back and really be speechless, but I am glad to say this is one story that is beyond incredible.  While this is a fictional tale, it is easy to imagine various scenarios described in the book as being somehow reality in many people’s lives.  A young married woman and her husband decide to start a family until one night an accident occurs that throws this couple for a loop along with other characters in the novel. Whether the characters were Christians or not, what made this tale so realistic was how the pain, grief and healing took time.  I think the author did a superb job of not rushing the time it takes for healing to occur in the characters’ hearts and lives.  I also thought it realist…

Interview of Susan R. Lawrence

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1.What am I working on? Most writers can’t leave an unpublished piece of writing be. They have to continually pick at it, like a chigger bite in an arm pit. My first novel, titled River Bend, had sat quietly on a shelf for five years. It was full of editing errors, POV violations, and happy people with no conflicts. Every so often it would nudge my mind and I’d think, “I ought to redo that.” So last winter I pulled it off the shelf, blew off the dust and began a rewrite. Once I started, I found I used almost nothing from the first write except for the basic storyline: a young man whose wife has been killed seeks healing by following her dream of establishing a restaurant along a bike trail. I am close to writing “the end,” but it needs as much polishing as an antique silver vase that has sat in an attic for years. I look forward to doing the polishing with the help of my fantastic critique group.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? My stories fall in the huge catego…

Guest Post by Author Susan R. Lawrence

Fiction with a Purpose I sat at the dinner table of my friend, Bert, with tears rolling down my cheeks. Bert’s son and daughter-in-law are missionaries in Swaziland, Africa, and they were sharing stories of babies and children they met while ministering there. The AIDs epidemic has devastated this area leaving thousands of orphans with no one to care for them. When Marcia shared how handicapped babies were wrapped in a blanket, turned to face the wall, and left to die in the hospital, my heart broke. I have a thirty-three year old son who was born with mild cerebral palsy. The thought of someone leaving him to die filled me with righteous anger. Marcia’s husband, Scott, laid out their vision for building a village of homes for these abandoned babies, to be staffed and directed by Swaziland people. The orphans would be raised in a Christian home-like atmosphere. They’d formed a corporation, Pour International, using Isaiah 44:3 for their theme verse: For I will pour water on the thirs…

Meet Author Susan R Lawrence

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Susan grew up on a small farm in the heart of Iowa. As a small child, she learned to love country life, writing stories, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.  She graduated from Kansas State Teacher’s College and taught special needs children for thirty-three years before retiring to devote more time to writing, speaking, and storytelling. She has published two family devotion books, contributed to three anthologies and written many articles for various Christian publications. Her novel, Atonement for Emily Adams, was released May 2014. Susan lives with her husband, Gary, the love of her life and her best friend of forty-five years, and their short-legged Lab, Molly. She is the mother of three and grandmother of seven beautiful and brilliant grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with family, biking, and traveling. But most of all, she loves to tell the story, the good news of Jesus Christ, in writing, in speaking, or in living. Contact Susan at: srlauthor@mchsi.com.

Mesu Andrews: The Pharoh's Daughter

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Title:  The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Treasures of the Nile #1) Author:  Mesu Andrews Pages:  367 Year:  2015 Publisher:  WaterBrook Press Anippe is the daughter of Pharaoh and sister of future King Tut, but at the age of five, her mother dies in childbirth, which Anippe witnesses.  This gives Anippe an extreme fear of childbirth that affects her choices later in life.  As a young girl, she is adopted by a trusted general of Pharaoh.  At age nine, her father dies, making Tut Pharaoh.  Her relationship with Tut changes as he is consumed with a new life as ruler of a nation.  At age 14, she is married to the Captain of Pharaoh’s Army.  She grows to love him, but fears having a baby.  She enlists the Hebrew midwives to help her maintain her deception.  After Tut’s wife miscarries a baby, he is encouraged by an advisor that the Hebrews have become too numerous and the male children should be killed to restore balance.  Tut in his grief agrees and so the very women Anippe enlists to help her ar…