Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chasing the Butterfly


Title:  Chasing the Butterfly
Author:  Jayme Mansfield
Website:  http://www.jaymemansfield.com/
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
One never knows exactly what lies within the pages of fiction, especially when coming to a new author.  For me, Chasing the Butterfly blossoms in a deeply moving tale that will captivate the hearts of readers when slipping into the past in France.  The author uses flashback along with varying points of view within a small circle of characters, basically one family.  Ella is a talented artist who grows up with both parents and three brothers.  The father returns to France to take over the winery that has been in the family for generations.
With many twists and turns in the plot, the audience will not be able to put down the book until the conclusion.  Each character compels the reader to an emotional reaction and consideration of finding worth in God and God alone.  Due to the war and brokenness in characters for different reasons, time seems to take on new meaning, enhancing the climactic ending that was anticipated with each turn of the page.
The tale revolves around one family in France before, during and after WWII.  I really enjoyed the novel and highly recommend reading it and sharing it with others who love reading.  If you know nonreaders, this may just be the work of fiction to draw them into books.  I cannot wait to see what comes forth from the pen of Jayme Mansfield, and I hope it is soon!
My rating is 5+ stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Trouble with Patience



Title:  The Trouble with Patience (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1)
Author:  Maggie Brendan
Pages:  330
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
Jedediah Jones is the marshal in Nevada City, Montana in the year 1866. There are a lot of miners in town due to the gold found nearby.  He has a big secret in his past that he hopes Patience never discovers, but he has made his peace with God about it and is trying to be a better man.  He is irritated with Patience when first they meet, but slowly realizes she is a very special woman and one he wants to get to know better.  She makes him want to be a more godly man and gives him insight or advice when he most needs it.  She also encourages him as their friendship deepens.
Patience Cavanaugh has recently moved to Nevada City to take over the run down boardinghouse left to her by her grandmother.  Patience will do just about anything to escape her controlling mother, so setting out by herself for a gold mining town seems like an adventure.  She has God at the center of her life, but that doesn’t mean she won’t have trials and troubles.  One of those trials initially is Jedediah Jones.  He is rude, brash and somewhat standoffish.  Patience has more run-ins with the marshal and discovers that she perhaps made a hasty judgment about him.  She begins to want to spend more and more time with him and thinks about him often.  Is this the man God wants for her?
This is a gentle romantic story that also has themes of betrayal, vengeance, forgiveness, love, mercy and compassion.  I really liked Patience’s focus on God throughout the entire story.  She reads her Bible every night and writes her thoughts down about what God is showing her or teaching her.  She guides some of those she comes in contact with toward God and His forgiveness.  Reading this heartwarming novel is a great way to spend an afternoon.  I look forward to the next novel in the series.
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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Donn Taylor's: Lightning on a Quiet Night



Title:  Lightning on a Quiet Night
Author:  Donn Taylor
Website: http://www.donntaylor.com/
Pages:  330
Year:  2014
Publisher:   Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Donn Taylor brings to his audience a captivating mystery set in a small town named Beneficent in the mid-1940s and early 50s.  A widower working for a chemical company moves into town with his grown daughter to oversee the building of plant.  Stephen and Lisa Kemper feel like outsiders who work hard to be accepted by the small town.  Lisa is still considering what she will choose for her graduate degree while living with her father as he adjusts to a different normal.
Lisa meets Jack who is a farmer and a former serviceman, but instantly forms a dislike for him due to his utopia view of the town.  Many other characters living in the town aren’t just unique; they have secrets.  While most in the town attend the local church, Lisa senses they aren’t really paying attention to the sermons.  The whole town tends is self-sufficient and above others until an unknown receipt is discovered that climactically brings clear and present danger to Jack, Lisa and the small town.
This is a small town whose main challenge is speeding and boot-legging.  Now, there is a murder, which everyone believes it is the work of an outsider.  Wait until you unearth the reason for such a deep rooted belief by the townspeople.  No matter which of the characters sticks out to you, the message for everyone becomes obvious along with the challenge to be authentic.  I also came away from Donn’s work of fiction seeing that no one is immune from pain and all have the capability to make choices.  The choice I saw was how people could live life on past accomplishments, heartaches and/or failure or they could look up to God who knows them best.  So, in a way, the fictional world in the book reaches the real world by reminding us that God loves, knows, forgives and restores anyone willing to draw near to Him.  Lightening on a Quiet Night is the second novel of Donn’s that I have read, and if you have not had the pleasure of perusing his work, may I suggest strongly you do!  You won’t regret the choice!
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

Meet Author Donn Taylor



Author Donn Taylor 2015

1.        What is the reason you write books?
           For whatever reason, I'm just driven to do it. Yes, I would like readers to find a message in my books, and I'd like them to read with pleasure. But if those considerations were inoperative, I would still have to write. It seems to be part of my DNA. Some of my poetry has never come out of my study, but it has served its purpose because I got the words onto the paper.
2.       Is there a vision or hope you have when people read your novels?
          To be honest, I'm kind of hard-nosed on this. If a reader wants a message with proofs, he should read scholarly nonfiction. Fiction proves nothing. Beyond entertaining, it can only illustrate or inspire. But in my novels I invite readers to see the world as I see it, a continuing conflict of good and evil in which the individual strives for the good, makes mistakes, fails, and keeps on striving, redeemed in the end not by his own efforts but by God's grace. I find that an inspiring vision. There is always hope, but the ultimate hope lies beyond this world.
3.       Where were the concept, characters and plot for Lightning on a Quiet Night birthed?
                Odd that setting came first. My parents moved to Northeast Mississippi when I was seventeen, and I quickly came to appreciate the region's forested hills and its small, fertile valleys. I also appreciated the people—the small-town storekeepers, bankers, and farmers. I began with the idea of bringing in an outsider who has to learn what makes the local people tick. A romance seemed the natural way to develop that kind of dialogue. I'd like to say the Lord took over then, but that would be presumptuous. What I'm sure of is that, as I wrote, the story deepened and broadened to become something I hadn't imagined when I began: It became more than a small town trying to justify itself. It became a town of nice people grappling with the problem of pride in a world that remains fallen in spite of all that humans can do.
4.       Are there some life experiences which influence your writing?
Yes. On a surface level, my Army experience governed the flight scenes in The Lazarus File and the ground combat scenes in that novel and Deadly Additive. My years as a professor are reflected, remotely, in the campus environment of Rhapsody in Red. (But I would never represent any place or person directly in fiction because that isn't playing fair.) At a deeper level, I write about the kind of people I admire, people who persevere for the greater good when the deck is stacked against them and (as in Lazarus) even when they are betrayed by their own government. And through all of this, the Christian worldview dominates because, ultimately, I've found that it's the only one that answers the basic questions about life.
5.       Congratulations on being married for 61 years!  Can you share some words of wisdom that may help others reach this outstanding moment?
Yes, Mildred and I made it through 61 years, seven months, and four days of marriage before the Lord called her home. (She fought an eight year battle with ovarian cancer.) The words of wisdom came from my parents. Mildred and I thought they made sense, so we adopted them as our practice. Regarding the inevitable disagreements, we agreed never to speak to each other in emotion, but to wait till the emotion subsided and talk out the disagreement in rational discussion. We never quarreled, both through the practice of that rule and because neither one of us could stand to hurt the other.
6.       Do you have children or grandchildren? Share anything about them you like.
              Four children, eight grandchildren. We have it all covered with the children and their spouses: We have an engineer to build it, a CPA to cost it, an Air force officer to defend it, three lawyers for the legal implications, and a liberal arts major to say what it means.
7.       First, thank you for your service to this nation.  Second, care to share what you did in the service and what you drew from those experiences?
              I led an Infantry rifle platoon in the last months of the Korean War. Later, I completed Army flight training and instructed in tactical flying at The Army Aviation School. My most pleasurable assignment was command of an Army aviation company in Europe. In Vietnam I worked with air reconnaissance and continued with that in Europe afterward. All of this was unspectacular but satisfying. The most important thing I drew from these experiences was that "The commander is responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen in his command." That is the rule I have adopted for my own life. I am responsible, regardless of the circumstances. Needless to say, I'm often disappointed with myself.
8.       For me this is the second novel of yours I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.  I also saw a strong message in Lightning on a Quiet Night, what is the overall message you're putting forth for readers to examine or consider?
              It is best summarized in the novel's two headnotes. From Ezekiel 33:12: "The righteousness of the righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression." No amount of prior virtuous conduct can justify us when we sin. (Only Christ's sacrifice can do that.) And from Shakespeare: "'Tis mad idolatry/ To make the service greater than the god." Although doing virtuous deeds is good, we can concentrate on those to the point that they become more important to us than the God who created virtue.
9.       Are you working on another project or something else?
              I've completed a sequel to Rhapsody in Red and begun a sequel to the sequel. There are a few other concepts bouncing around in my head like loose screws, but it's too early to try describing them.
        Do you have any hobbies or favorite things to do?
              In my younger years I loved competitive basketball and distance running. Later, Mildred and I enjoyed traveling, particularly in mountains. In recent years we settled for classic movies, though now I'm reduced mostly to reading. Studying Cold War history has been a favorite.
 Your novels aren’t just from one genre which I like and thought interesting.  Is there a particular way you brainstorm story ideas?  Does your wife assist in anyway?
              Regarding the three different genres, I just wrote what I felt compelled to write. Yes, Mildred and I talked extensively during the writing of my published novels. Actually, she came up with some of "my" best lines, particularly in Lazarus. She did much of the research behind Lightning. In absence, she still guides me, as I will not write anything that she would find offensive. (That doesn't mean I won't tackle tough subjects. It just means that I'll always be on The Side of the Angels.)
        Do you have a message on your heart to share with people?

              We live in a fallen world in which human perfection is not possible. Most of the world remains in the savagery that was world-wide in the time of Christ. But Christ said, "My Father is working until now, and I myself am working" (John 5:17). Through Their work, Christendom (and Christendom alone) has slowly, very slowly, risen above that state of savagery to the condition we now call civilized. This Christian civilization is always under attack from without and within. It is our duty as Christian warriors to engage in that constant spiritual warfare. As individuals, we may lose many of our tactical skirmishes. But through all of this we know without doubt Who wins the final battle. This gives us joy even in our darkest personal hours.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

By Your Side by Candace Clavert




Title:  By Your Side (Crisis Team #1)
Author:  Candace Calvert
Website:  http://www.candacecalvert.com/
Pages:  384
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale
A threat looms on the horizon.  Nobody can see him, but they know he is there.  Every time they stick their heads up they hear a shot.  A truck sideswipes a van.  When a nurse races to get there to help with any injured, there is a man with a BMW who thinks he is more important than the officer questioning him.  Add a compassionate ER nurse and a police officer who is taking care of his mother while his dad is in Alaska and what do you have?  A tale that keeps you turning pages long after the sun sets.
This was my first time reading Candace Calvert’s novels and this one is a thriller!  Romance blossoming along with lives constantly being threatened are just two of the ingredients that serve up a compelling story.  The characters that are searching to understand God when life throws some painful experiences seem all too real.  I love when characters are allowed to ask hard questions, face dangerous situations and finally come to the end of themselves and decide to consider God.
Plus I love how friendships are birthed and tested by fire.  The scenery described is amazing!  Throughout the novel, faith is a consistent and constant theme from the beginning till end.  How faith develops or grows is beautifully developed in the novel as well as how life’s trials can be handled with or without believing God.
Action, adventure, thrills and chills bring the heart to pounding when reading along with not knowing how the author is going to bring the action to a climax and eventual conclusion.  Candace Calvert is one author I am now going to be reading more and watching for her future books.  The sequel to By Your Side is titled, Step by Step and is due to be released in the spring of 2016.
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

Seek & Hide...an absolutely riveting novel!



Title:  Seek & Hide (Haven Seekers Book #1)
Author:  Amanda G. Stevens
Website:  http://amandagstevensbooks.weebly.com/
Pages:  418
Year:  2014
Publisher:  David C. Cook
Ever hear the phrase that “truth is stranger then fiction?” In the first installment of this series, Amanda Stevens invites readers into a world where Bibles are forbidden, Christianity practiced in any way is unlawful, and those who don’t turn in those who do the aforementioned are also guilty of a felony!  The tale introduces us to characters who are unashamed of being a Christian and to those who are.  In the fictional world, those guilty of Christianity go to a re-education place, jail or worse.
Enveloping the whole story is God’s involvement in the lives of the various characters and how sometimes we cannot understand the “why” of life.  There is a battle going on here in the book between those sharing Christ with others and those going to various lengths to squash or kill the message.  There are themes of frustration, hope, longing, seeking and returning.  The lives of most characters are lived under constant fear of what are call con-cops who show up with “warrants” to question, search or arrest.
Lost and Found is the next novel in the series and recently released by David C. Cook.  My copy is coming soon!  I am in awe of the writing ability of Amanda to tell a story that might be America’s future if people don’t stand up now, though I know it is happening in other nations around the globe.  When reading a novel such as Seek & Hide, I am thankful to God that I live where I can read, speak, pray and more without hiding or fear.
When you read it, see if you can spot what character portrays their beliefs or denies them, maybe even not acknowledging God, and then keep turning the suspense-filled pages!  At times I found myself emotionally reacting to the novel and knew beyond a doubt that telling stories is a powerful medium, and I appreciate the authors who tell them.  Keep writing Amanda!
My rating is 5+ stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Betting on Hope written by Debra Clopton



Title:  Betting on Hope (A Four of Hearts Romance Book #1)
Author:  Debra Clopton
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Cowboys, horses and romance…can there be any better of mix for a story?  Yep, and Debra Clopton found a way to bring other ingredients to the book.  The ingredients like a con artist run away, robbery, faith and whole lot more!  Readers will enjoy the slow unveiling of the tale between the two main characters, Hope and Tru.
Tru is part owner of the Four of Hearts Ranch with his older brother Jarrod and younger brother Bo.  They almost lost the ranch, but all three are working hard to pay off unknown debts discovered after losing both parents in a plane crash.  The brothers also are caring for their grandfather whom they lovingly refer to as “Pops”.  Hope is a columnist for a Houston paper where she doles out advice and hides in a cubicle until she is forced to take an assignment due to her reporter friend being sick.  During the interview, Hope is roped into facing her fears.
I didn’t have to read long before I was consumed with the fictional lives of the characters.  In the novel, hard topics are woven into the fabric which brings depth to the plot, drawing in the heart of the audience.  Here is the first installment of the series with another planned for later in 2015.  I am amazed at how brilliantly and encouraging the story is when dealing with some heavy issues, including the fact that the brothers are caring for Pops who has Alzheimer’s through both good days and bad days.  The bond the brothers share, the love of the ranch life and horses I felt strongly throughout the book.
I cannot wait to see what the next book has in store.  I hope it shares more of Tru, Hope, horses and other characters’ futures!  Great novel!
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, February 23, 2015

Laurel by Susan F. Craft



Title:  Laurel
Author:  Susan F. Craft
Pages:  260
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
This story takes place about three years after the first novel, The Chamomile.  Lilyan and Nicholas have started their vineyard and are now the parents of a 1-year-old daughter, Laurel.  Laurel is visiting one of the nearby Cherokee villages when it is attacked by slave traders who take all the women and children to sell as slaves.  Upon hearing this devastating news, Nicholas and Lilyan begin an intense search for their daughter, but only find the barest of clues to look for her.  The story continues with many ups and downs as the couple faces adversity.  They, however, are strong in their faith and in their commitment to do whatever it takes to find their daughter.  Can they remain faith-filled if their daughter is never returned to them?
The story drew me in from beginning and held my attention until the last page.  I enjoyed the historical notes of people, places or things mentioned in this story as well as its predecessor, The Chamomile.  I also liked reacquainting myself with some of the characters from the prior novel who appear in this book as well.  Nicholas and Lilyan’s faith, as well as that of many other characters, is really put into action in this novel.  They endure hardship after hardship as they search for their child.  Many mothers among the readers will be able to put themselves in Lilyan’s place and feel the frantic, desperate anxiety over the whereabouts of her child.  I thought the author did a very good job of building tension throughout the plot to keep me glued to the pages to see what would happen.  I look forward to reading this author’s next historical fictional offering.
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 Chamomile



Title:  The Chamomile
Author:  Susan F. Craft
Pages:  251
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Ingalls Publishing Group, Inc.
Lilyan Cameron is somewhat unique in that she runs her own business in South Carolina in 1780.  Her parents are deceased and she lives with her younger brother, Andrew.  Andrew has been fighting with the local militia against the British, but was wounded and took an oath to be a loyal subject to King George of England.  The penalty for breaking that oath is treason, which could lead to exile or death.  Lilyan has also taken the oath in order to save her business, which is her only means of support, but secretly supports the patriots.  She soon discovers her brother has taken up arms again against the British and fears for his life.
Captain Nicholas Xanthakos, a young Greek immigrant, is also active in secretly supporting the militia.  He takes an immediate liking to Lilyan.  With the risk of Andrew’s life, Lilyan feels she must do anything she can to ensure his safety and so asks to be involved in supporting the militia by spying.  When the unthinkable happens, she is forced to abandon her home, business and city to make a run for freedom.  The feelings between Nicholas and herself continue to grow, but is the time of war really a time for love?  Lilyan constantly worries for the safety of those she loves and faces the reality that she isn’t really trusting God to take care of her and her loves ones and provide for their future whatever that may be.
Readers can identify with the struggles of a young Christian woman, who professes her faith, but sometimes has a difficult time living it.  Lilyan experiences trials and difficulties any adult would cringe at let alone a 19-year-old orphaned female living in the 1780s.  I appreciated all the historical details in the story.  I thought the depth of the romance between Lilyan and Nicholas happened too quickly.  I would have liked a little more time for them to get to know one another.  There also wasn’t quite enough suspense for my taste.  However, the premise of the story is a good one, and I do look forward to reading the second book that follows Lilyan’s life a few years later.  This book is titled, Laurel, and I will be posting a review soon, so stay tuned!
My rating is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Good Book DVD Review






Title:  The Good Book Movie
Producers:  Fred & Sharon Wilharm
Website:  http://www.goodbookmovie.com/
Format:  1 Disc (DVD)
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Faith Flix Films
The whole point of the movie, I believe, is to show the power of God’s Word in many life situations along with ways to share Jesus with many different people.  Toward the end I was deeply touched by the smuggling of God’s Word into dark countries and reminded of the price paid by some who share or distribute Bibles.  Many books are written that testify to lives changed by reading His Word.
What made the hour-long movie interesting was the message portrayed without words but through actions.  I am sure some will find it helpful to draw ideas on ways to share the Bible or message of Jesus as well as ways to show God’s lovingkindness.  There are some depicted who refuse to even open the book, which is sadly true today.  However, the risk of not sharing the Word or giving Bibles to people seems to be too high a price to pay. 
Like those in this short film, it is worth the risk to reach out and share Jesus with whomever God places in your path.  Our responsibility is to share; the growth is the Lord’s and the individual’s.
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

Keys of Heaven Book #2 By Adina Senft


Title:  Keys of Heaven (A Healing Grace Novel #2)
Author:  Adina Senft
Website:  http://adinasenft.com/
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Faithwords
The story of the small community of Amish people and characters from Herb of Grace continue in Keys of Heaven, book two in the Healing Grace series.  The third novel is due out this summer sometime, and I plan on reading and enjoying a copy.  In both books, we learn about herbs that are used medicinally and easily obtained by Sarah Yoder on various farms or woods.  Henry is an artist who gains inspiration for his pottery works from the world he views and studies around him in the same community as Sarah.  However Sarah feels about Henry, she cannot have anything but a friendship because Henry is not Amish though he was raised in the faith and same community.
Readers will be able to identify with the mother’s heart as clearly shown in Sarah’s actions and other female characters in her family and community.  Now, she is studying alongside a well-grounded and long-practicing herbalist as the community is growing and needing a person close by to treat those in need.  Just as in Herbs of Grace readers will appreciate the issues all humans may have to deal with in their lives, making the characters easily believable in word and deed.
Sometimes I think many of us could learn how to come together and help others whether in normal day-to-day living or in times of trouble. I was glad to see a third book coming out in the summer titled, Balm of Gilead, as I want to continue reading to see how some of the unfinished threads in the series might be tied together.  Don’t miss the first book, Herb of Grace, followed by Keys of Heaven for fantastic and pleasurable reading!
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Herb of Grace by Adina Senft


Title:  Herb of Grace (A Healing Grace Novel #1)
Author:  Adina Senft
Website: http://adinasenft.com/
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Faithwords
Many Amish novels tend to skewer the Amish community, making them appear surrealistic instead of human beings.  However, Adina Senft writes very realistically, showing them as people who though live differently deal with issues common to mankind.  The author shows how faith might be lived out in various situations such as teenagers running away, working a job that is honest, and the support of family along with community.
For me, this work was a first for me and I enjoyed reading the story that centered on a small community widow, wondering if God is leading her to be an herbalist and waiting for God’s will to be revealed.  The moment I opened the book I was lost in another world that consumed my attention from start to finish.  A major theme in the book is faith lived by being still, listening for God’s voice, praying and choosing to forgive.
Audiences will be absolutely engaged in the story, enjoying the tension in some of the relationships that are prominent in the small community.   All will be reminded to talk to God no matter what action the body is doing, and at times, responding with tears or joy.  The sequel to Herb of Grace has been released and is titled, Keys of Heaven.  To understand the flow of the story, reading the books in order is highly recommended.
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

Red Zone....a heart stopping, riveting novel!



Title:  Red Zone-There is no overtime in the game of Murder
Author:  Kelli Hughett
Website:  http://www.kellihughett.com/
Pages:  350
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
The novel majorly ROCKS!  I am an avid football fan who watches games and scares the daylights out of the cat when I whoop real loud over a win!  Unfortunately, I tend to be quiet over a loss or upset at the call or the referee’s calls, but that doesn’t scare anyone.  So, when Red Zone came to my attention, it seemed like a perfect blending of two loves, football and reading!
Author Kelli Hughett certainly knows how to ratchet up the tension in this story of high stakes gambling, inflicting pain or murder for hire and so much more.  The main female character is a woman named Marcy whose faith has been rocked, and yet she still perseveres with teaching her children about the Lord.  Her quiet life is shattered when attending a high school state championship where her son is playing.
Jack Braggs is a former NFL player who after eleven years became sidelined permanently due to an injury in his knee.  One night he decides to go to a high school game, but he never thought his life would change so drastically that night.  Readers will enjoy following the road Jack and Marcy travel in romance, faith and attempting to discover what secrets Marcy’s husband had kept from her before he died.
Every page turned kept my heart racing and wondering who done it.  Then a body is discovered and someone is stalking Marcy, always pushing her to the edge of a breakdown.  It was hard not to race ahead!  The novel clearly shines light on what some players might truly wrestle with when their NFL career is over.  Unless they know the Lord, I am wondering if they don’t feel as lost and alone as the fictional players described.  I was hooked after a few pages, and I wonder what the author will present in her next work.  I can’t wait!
My rating is 5+ stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Crimson Cord


Title:  The Crimson Cord:  Rahab’s Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #1)
Author:  Jill Eileen Smith
Pages:  362
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
This is the first book in Jill Eileen Smith’s new fiction series titled, Daughters of the Promised Land.  The story is about Rahab, who is only mentioned briefly in Scripture.  The setting is Jericho in the Old Testament time period.  Rahab’s fictional story begins with her abusive marriage to a gambling husband.  Rahab’s husband gambles one too many times and is sold into slavery thereby leaving Rahab unprotected and forced into prostitution to pay part of her husband’s debt by the man who becomes her master.
As the story progress, albeit slowly, Rahab is passed from her master’s bed to the royal prince’s bed, then to several high level officials.  Because of what she is forced to do, her family also shares in her disgrace.  Then, the Israelites are on the scene and Jericho falls.  What will happen to Rahab now?  Will she continue to be shunned by this new group of people, the Israelites, because of her occupation?  Will she ever feel redeemed by this God of the Israelites?
This book had an interesting character to make a good story, but this one just couldn’t hold my attention.  I did think the author did a good job of fictionalizing Rahab’s background and how she became a prostitute.  I thought her feelings of despair and helplessness in that terrible situation were realistic.  Beyond that though there was just not enough tension or climactic situations to move the plot along for my taste.
My rating is 3 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, February 19, 2015

The Bargain Review



Title:  The Bargain
Author:  Aaron Gansky
Pages:  284
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Connor Reedly is a reporter for a news magazine, who has been sent to various parts of the world to report on the human condition.  His stories inspire hope in his readers.  Too bad he doesn’t have much hope of his own.  His wife is dying from ovarian cancer at a young age.  She has an incredibly strong faith in God, but Connor refuses to believe.  She longs for Connor to accept Jesus as his Savior, but knows that is something she can’t do for him; he must do so of his own choice.  She asks to make the trip from Denver, Colorado to Hailey, California to visit her sister who still lives in the small town where they grew up.  They arrive in Hailey and Connor is told by a town resident that if he writes ten articles about ten of the town’s residents in eight days, showing their goodness or righteousness, then his wife will be cured of her cancer.  If he doesn’t write the articles, his wife will die and the town will be destroyed.  Connor doesn’t believe this, but his wife encourages him to undertake the project.  All Connor wants to do is spend time with his wife during her last days, but he will do anything to please his wife.  He accepts the job and interviews his first subject.
This story was very interesting and kept me entertained from beginning to end.  The story is filled with tension, drama and great descriptions of the town and surrounding scenery.  The characters are real with real strengths and weaknesses.  Some of the characters are not what they first appear to be.  Each one has a story to tell.  I found this a fascinating study of the complexities of some of the small town’s residents.  The main character, Connor Reedly, a reporter, undertakes the assignment of his life though he won’t realize it at its inception.  My preference would have been to see more repentance verbalized by some of the characters in the story.  The premise of the story is very original and intriguing, and I look forward to reading more books from this author.
My rating is 4.5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Meet Aaron Gansky


1.      Where did you get the inspiration for your characters in The Bargain?
While I borrowed some story ideas from the news, most of the characters came from other short stories I’d written in college. I’m a discovery writer, so many of the characters revealed themselves to me over the course of the novel. I had a lot of fun figuring out who they were and what made them tick.
2.      Are you currently working on any new novels?
I’ve got several novels in the works. Currently, I’m polishing up the first book in a Young Adult Fantasy series I’m putting together called The Hand of Adonai. It’s quite a bit different than The Bargain, so the experience has been fun and unique. I’ve also started another novel more along the lines of The Bargain, but have some other contracts I have to honor before I can complete that project. 
3.      What is a typical day like in your life?
Depends on if we’re on summer break or not. I’m a high school teacher in addition to writing. On work days, I’m up at five (sometimes before), and at work by a quarter after 6. I use the morning for a quick devotional and last minute prep work for my classes. But once the final bell rings, I put on my writer hat and work diligently in a quiet classroom until my children are done at school. Then, I put on my “daddy” hat, and spend the evenings with my family.
4.      Does your wife help you in your writing process?
She serves as a sounding board. She’ll often help me work through sticky plot points and come up with ideas to deepen characters. Mostly, her contribution comes in the form of her unwavering confidence and support.
5.      Do you share any similarities with the main character of The Bargain, Connor Reedly?
Other than being writers and loving our respective wives? Not so much. I rarely travel. I like to stay home, and prefer fiction to non. But we both like our coffee.
6.      Have you traveled abroad to do research for your book?  If so, are these some of the experiences Connor relates in the book?
Hailey is loosely based on a small town I drive through each day, in landscape only. The people, of course, are not nearly as scary as those in Hailey. The history is strikingly similar. But, because the town is so close to me, I can’t say that I’ve traveled “abroad.” However, I have widely traveled the high desert of California.
7.      Is there any particular message that you would like to share with your readers?
Of course there are, but I’m a firm believer that the work speaks for itself. Anything I add to it at this point would be superfluous, I think. Does that make sense?
8.      How did you come to be a writer?  Was there a particular event in your life that led you down this path?
My father is a writer, and he’s always encouraged me to write. That, more than anything, is what kept me going, and made me realize I could do it, too. Seeing him realize his dream was a pretty formative moment in my young life, and it gave me the drive to continually pursue my passion, even when nothing was being published because of the economic downturn.

 In addition to being a loving father and husband, Aaron D. Gansky is a novelist, teacher, and editor of The Citron Review, an online literary journal. In 2009, he earned his M.F.A in Fiction at the prestigious Antioch University of Los Angeles, one of the top five low-residency writing schools in the nation.


He is the author of the novel The Bargain (2013, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) as well as Firsts in Fiction: First Lines and (along with Diane Sherlock) Write to Be Heard.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wisdom Tree by Mary Manners



Title:  The Wisdom Tree
Author:  Mary Manners
Pages:  228
Year:  2014
Publisher:  White Rose Publishing
This is a tale of love and loss, tears and joy, and of sorrow slowly moved aside by hope.  Mary Manners shares with readers a tale about Jake and Corey, with hearts filled with pain as well as Carin who is struggling to let the past not be her present or future.  That is not all there is in the tale; there is sadness, but take heart that isn’t the point at all.  The main point is how God wipes away our tears and renews our hearts when we spend time alone with Him.  One aspect of the writer’s novel I really appreciated was dealing with hard topics and heart topics in a way that stirs hope and lights a path for readers.
There is romance in the story too; one based on friendship which blossoms to love in time and on each person’s daring to draw near to God.  Carin’s character is an English teacher in an elementary school who moves lock, stock and barrel in order to leave painful reminders and start new in a town with no family members and a new job.  Jake is a young man who pastors a small church.  His biggest task though is taking care of his younger brother Corey since losing his parents.
I don’t want to spoil it for you why the novel is titled the way it is, but let’s just say I wish I had that view each morning or evening.  Following the epilogue is a 31-day devotional to encourage readers to be still and know He is God, including pages to write whatever is brought to your heart or mind.  As I read, I was reminded the Lord used different life experiences to teach me His wisdom and that wisdom is gained by not relying on me.  The Wisdom Tree is the first novel by Mary Manners I have read and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
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, February 16, 2015

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki





Title:  The Accidental Empress (A Novel)
Author:  Allison Pataki
Website: http://allisonpataki.com/
Pages:  512
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Howard Books
Absolutely stunning!  Breathtaking!  Riveting!  Allison Pataki’s latest novel, The Accidental Empress, is a glimpse behind closed doors into a world that holds royalty with both sorrow and triumph.  Allison shares with the audience the sources she read in order to gain understanding into the 1800s, across the ocean to Empress Elisabeth, affectionately known as Sisi.  Franz Joseph is Emperor in Austria and looking to wed and produce an heir.  For years his mother painstakingly brought those near to prepare him to assume his duties.  Now, a 15-year-old girl, Sisi, will learn much before the wedding and more so afterwards.
“A Conversation with the Author Allison Pataki” sheds much light into a foreign world ruled by a monarchy and what is fictional and what is factual about the real people we read about in her novel.  I read that part shortly after starting the novel and doing so richly enhanced my appreciation of setting, people and times encapsulated in the story.  Before entering this world, I knew nothing about the past in Hungary or Austria or about the real Empress and how she was loved by a people and a nation.
When confronted with her mother-in-law’s actions, I knew but a bit of the anger Sisi felt.  Franz Joseph though Emperor knew he loved Sisi the moment their eyes beheld each other; yet, it seemed he knew so little about the heart of his wife.  The demands placed upon his shoulders as Emperor, making decisions in agreement with his mother brings such palpable tension to the novel.
When Sisi goes through so many heartbreaks and protocol, it is amazing to me how she held her head high through it all.  Franz Joseph never seemed to be able to leave his mother’s grasp and cling to his wife.  He seemed more of a puppet than a ruler.  The descriptions of various nations, palaces, people, customs and such captivated my imagination and heart.  Some time ago when word of the author’s new novel was known, I looked forward to reading it expectantly and I wasn’t disappointed!
Make time to read, absorb and be enraptured by the times that real people lived in even though this offering is fiction.  Trust me, Allison Pataki shows us both the best and the worst of this era, especially those who lived in and through many changing seasons of life.
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 Babylon Contingency


Title:  The Babylon Contingency
Author:  Clifford Longley
Pages: 336
Year:  2014
Publisher:   Lion Fiction
Since beginning a couple of years ago in writing reviews and blogging, I have come across a wide variety of books, genres and authors.  Naturally, some novels and nonfiction were exceptional while others were just “run of the mill”, but enjoyable.  Very few have I become so exasperated with that I didn’t bother to finish reading past a certain point.  One director of a blogging group once said that a review could be written after reading three chapters, which was a new thought to me as I prefer to read the whole book.  Not all “objectionable” material becomes evident within such a short amount of time plus reviews are subjective, an opinion by the writer.
When a friend and I came across this novel, we read the synopsis which sounded promising and waited for an opportunity to read and review the book.  Shortly afterwards we began reading what other readers were saying about the novel.  Two people stated that this isn’t a Christian book due to too many offensive words or references to sexual preferences.  I cannot speak to those issues though what I can say is now I understand why people said it had promise and fell so short.
The story is written by a journalist who is also a broadcaster with knowledge learned from his study and reporting on religious affairs.  So the particular way of journalism or broadcasting shows up in a heavy way in the work of fiction bogging it down and making it hard to follow.  In the first couple of chapters, I had to look up words which I didn’t know and never heard of along with reading cuss words.
The author was attempting to cram too much into the book with abbreviations for various agencies.  Plus if one is not aware of basic British humor or references too many things, it gets hard to follow.  On top of that, the author brings in various personal lives of his characters which quickly complicate understanding the basic plot of the novel.  I believe if the author teamed up with someone used to writing fictional stories the tale would have a chance to capture the imagination of readers.  The knot just grew bigger when various people with so many specialties were brought to assist in the case, making enjoying reading at a leisurely pace undoable.  If someone doesn’t like reading British novels, all I can say is don’t pick this one to read.  Even if someone does like British novels, many facets brought into the plot will drive them crazy.
My rating is 2 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolzma



Title:  Remember the Lilies
Author:  Liz Tolsma
Pages:  373
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
This is a novel set during WWII in the Philippine Islands, specifically in Manila.  In 1941, the island has fallen to the Japanese and all the residents of the city have been confined on a former university’s small campus.  The campus is now a prison camp.  The two main characters are Rand Sterling and Irene Reynolds, and this is their fictional tale of a time of survival during captivity.
Rand Sterling lived a carefree life before the war.  He was the owner of two successful nightclubs, and he came from a wealthy family.  He drove a red convertible and enjoyed flirting with a different woman every evening at his nightclub.  Now that war has arrived, he is no longer in a position to control his life; the Japanese soldiers do that for him.  He wants nothing more than for the war to be over so he can get back to managing his nightclubs and has plans to expand his business by opening more nightclubs.  Then, he meets Irene and begins to seek her out as she is a calming influence on him.  He doesn’t share her faith, but over the course of time wants to share the rest of his life with her.  He longs to escape captivity and hates the Japanese soldiers and how they treat the captives.  Rand is given the opportunity to experience forgiveness, but can he extend the same to others? 
Irene Reynolds was orphaned at the age of thirteen and went to live with her missionary aunt.  Her Aunt Anita became both mother and father to her, teaching Irene about God.  They also experience the cruelty of their Japanese captors, but Aunt Anita shows her faith in God by finding some thing or some way that God has blessed her even in captivity.  Irene struggles with forgiveness toward her parents, who both abandoned her (although at a different age in her life).  There will be other people in the story who seek Irene’s forgiveness, but will she be able to give it?
I have read this author’s prior two novels and enjoyed them, but this one just didn’t fill the bill for me.  I found Rand rhymes to be annoying rather than silly or funny, and one of Irene’s British friends kept saying, “Bangers and mash” way too much.  I did really like the character of Aunt Anita and her example of living her faith every day was a great testimony.  She was an excellent teacher of faith to Irene and to all those with whom she came in contact.  I also liked Irene’s generous heart toward orphan children.  I plan to read the author’s next book when available and hope I can connect with it better.
My rating is 3 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden


Title:  Beyond All Dreams
Author:  Elizabeth Camden
Pages:  362
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers
This is another winning story from Elizabeth Camden!  It is set in the late 1890s in Washington, D.C. as new technology is appearing in the city.  Anna O’Brien is a librarian at the Library of Congress with a specialty in maps who likes to stay out of the limelight.  Luke Callahan is a congressman from Maine who is bold, loud and full of confidence.  They both have dreams for their lives, but can they be realized?
Luke’s temper gets the best of him in an argument with the Speaker of the House and he is demoted from an influential committee to a lesser known committee.  Luke needs some help with research as he sets out to dig up some dirt on the Speaker of the House.  Anna is assigned as Luke’s research assistant.  They spend more time together and Luke begins to admire Anna’s intellect, wit and courage.  Anna tries to keep Luke at a distance as he is her exact opposite in personality.
What do these two people have in common?  You’ll have to read this excellent story to find out!  This is a wonderful romantic story with a mystery involving Anna’s father also intertwined.  Readers will encounter Anna’s sage advice to forgive because God has forgiven us greatly.  I loved Anna’s character and could so readily relate to her love of books and maps and all things involving the library.  I liked Luke’s ability to bring Anna out of her shell and encourage her.  Anna’s relationship with her best friend Neville was also a joy to read about.  I also enjoyed reading about the political climate at the time the story takes place.  The research involved is to be appreciated as well.  I have liked many of this author’s previous novels, am a fan of her work and look forward to her next offering.
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Certain Jeopardy by Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky


Title:  Certain Jeopardy
Author:  Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky
Pages:  381
Year:  2009
Publisher:  B & H
Adrenaline pumping, heart thumping action and danger await the male characters entering a country to observe and identify a possible threat to the U.S.  A special operations unit goes from a level of observation to nonstop battles, attempting to stay one step ahead of certain death where they are on their own to carry out orders.  The wives at home are experiencing nightmares about their husbands and unable to communicate with them.  When a mother and unborn child of one man in the unit are facing peril, a decision is made that may end up costing lives.
Written with insider experience of how the military operates, Jeff Struecker keeps readers absolutely unable to set the novel down until the conclusion!  As I was reading, I kept thinking of how much our military families go through and made me appreciate even more the sacrifice they make for this nation.  Even though the novel was written in 2009, don’t let that deter you from reading it.  The enemy in the story is seeking nuclear knowledge, abducting a scientist and his family in preparation to ship them to Iran.  The scientist developed a way to reuse nuclear waste and extract plutonium that the enemy wants to use wreak death and destruction.
Though fictionalized it wasn’t hard to imagine the trials families go through when apart plus how the various branches become a family to those waiting for their loved ones at home.  The scenes of imminent danger and developing plans on the fly to keep the unit safe were amazing.  One of the team members is a believer who shows his faith in various ways to the other men in the unit, though not all welcome his quiet and evident faith.
I continue to discover and thoroughly enjoy the writing of Jeff Struecker with Alton Gansky; they make a formidable writing duo!  Order your copy of Certain Jeopardy then fasten your seat belt and enjoy the adventure!
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, February 12, 2015

In the Heart of The Dark Wood


Title:  In the Heart of the Dark Wood
Author:  Billy Coffey
Pages:  384
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Billy Coffey once again has written a brilliant masterpiece which captures both the heart and mind of readers everywhere.  One never knows exactly what mystery waits in the pages of his novels; yet, anticipation always runs high when first opening the book.  In other novels written by the author, I experienced mystery that is spiritual and yet palpable in the deepest part of my soul.  All of the author’s novels are set in the town of Mattingly where the woods have been the focus of many stories and adventures.
When opening the story with the character Allie Granderson and her fixation on the plastic figure of Mary in her nativity which she leaves on display year round, readers will soon get lost in the heart-gripping tale.  Allie’s father, Marshall, brings an all too true and realistic way some deal with life’s tragedies along with Allie’s response to Marshall.  The story is set five days before Christmas.  Allie along with her best friend Tommy set out to find the plastic figure Mary that was blown away in a storm.
The tale brings out the themes of unresolved grief, community support, faith, puberty and discovery.  The novel begins with the kids in school before break and then leads readers on a heart-tugging adventure all the way to Christmas.  As the two main characters, Tommy and Allie, set out for the woods to find the missing Mary, they discover along the way something heart-stopping.  The author takes readers to what is happening with the two kids to what is also occurring at the same time in the town of Mattingly.  The way the author wrote it was wonderful and reminds us of the multi-faceted way life happens which only God can see and we tend to forget is happening.
Grab a copy and then sit down and be prepared for an adventure in Billy Coffey’s novel, In the Heart of the Dark Wood!
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