Monday, June 29, 2015

Two Roads Home Chicory Inn Series Book #2)


 Title:  Two Roads Home (Chicory Inn Series Book #2)
Author:  Deborah Raney
Pages:  304
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Abingdon
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Two Roads Home continues the tale about the various Whitman family members.  This tale focuses on Corinne and her family’s trials.  Corinne’s husband is considering making a major life change that would turn their lives upside down.  Corinne is wrestling internally more than her husband Jess with the proposed change though she is trying with the Lord’s help to be supportive instead of whining about the fallout from what the changes could bring to her personally.

The one major theme in the book is that no marriage is without bumps along the way.  The elder parents, Audrey and Grant, lived their marriage before their kids as examples to prepare for the day they themselves would be married.  As a result, each grown child has a wealth of knowledge from watching how the parents celebrated life, worked through problems and lived out their faith.

In both books, the son lost in service is never forgotten and I bet that is very true of any parent who has lost a child for any number of reasons.  Plus, I like how when the trials or heartaches come to the Whitman family, each person chooses to allow the Lord to use it to draw them to Him instead of tearing them apart.  Home to Chicory Lane and Two Roads Home lift up the importance of family time as well as time for each family to live their grown up lives with little interference from Mom or Dad.

The closeness of the whole family really warms the heart as I read the tale.  While the author has placed before the audience fictitious characters and the Chicory Inn, the importance of family, faith and walking through life together are major themes thus far.  Without the ending being neatly wrapped up, it keeps the possibilities endless for the next installment coming in the future titled, Another Way Home.  These are stories that young teens can read and talk about as well as the older audiences or book clubs.
Remember to read Home to Chicory Lane before Two Roads Home so you are familiar with the foundation upon which forthcoming installments are built upon!
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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.”


Home to Chicory Lane (Chicory Inn Series #1)


 Title:  Home to Chicory Lane (Chicory Inn Series #1)
Author:  Deborah Raney
Pages:  272
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Abingdon
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.

The sequel to the novel named above was published, so to remind myself of the story I reread this first book in the series.  Most of it I remembered though there of course were parts I didn’t recall.  The tale centers around a couple who are now empty nesters with their youngest daughter recently married who is on her way home in reaction to a spat wither husband.  The parents took their empty home and remodeled it so it could become an inn, which was a lifelong dream of Audrey.  Audrey's husband Grant was able to complete most of the work and supported this change.
All the adult children were told that they were still always welcome anytime as family was the major focus for the Whitman’s.  When opening day comes for the inn, so too do the children with their spouses.  They have come to assist, encourage and support in any way required to help fulfill their parents' dream.  The only down side to the day was remembering the one son killed in action who couldn’t be a part of the celebration this day or for anything ever again.

In the novel, it is quite clear that choosing to open an inn was the easiest part as what lay ahead would bring both good experiences and not so bright ones.  As I was reading, I fell in love with the story, family and faith woven in each page.  In some ways, I thought I was reading instances written in a newspaper but alas it was all fictional.
Another aspect of the series I believe is a strong one is how the family works, prays, laughs, and cries, basically staying together through thick and thin.  The parents don’t have all the answers and the adult children aren’t perfect at all; they all resemble real human beings.  The story continues in the sequel, Two Roads Home, which I will review here as well with a promise of a third one to be released at some point down the road.

All I can really say is that these stories are lifelike, encouraging, filled with hope and enjoyable to get lost in for a couple of hours.  So grab a copy, enjoy it and then be prepared to read the sequel that continue to share the Whitman’s fictional experiences of running an inn, being a family and walking through life.
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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.”


A Worthy Pursuit



Title: A Worthy Pursuit
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Pages: 341
Year: 2015
Publisher: Bethany House
Stone Hammond is in pursuit of a child kidnapper. He finds his prey, but soon begins to be uncertain as to if his employer is on the up and up. He must be sure of his evidence before he makes a decision as the welfare of a young girl hangs in the balance. She seems well-cared for by the teacher who took her, but Stone can’t trust how things appear. He makes a deal with the teacher to stay around, help with chores and get to know the children under the tutor’s care until he receives the proof he needs. Just as proof arrives, so does trouble. Stone and the teacher must leave immediately with the children to find safety with a friend. Will trouble follow?
Charlotte Atherton has just lost her job due to her employer suddenly closing the school where she has worked for ten years. She is not about to lose the young girl who has been put in her care by the girl’s mother. Charlotte just knows that if the girl’s grandfather takes her away, she will suffer. Charlotte decides to take action before it is too late. Two months later her groundskeeper captures a man lurking about her property. She discovers he is after one of her former students and wants to return her to her grandfather. Charlotte knows she is in the right, but can she convince this man of her innocence? Soon she and the children are forced to flee again, but this time they have a strong protector. Will Charlotte allow him to become something more?
I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance by Karen Witemeyer! The character of Charlotte was so admirable in her treatment of the children under her authority/tutelage as well as Stone when he first arrived and was a known enemy. She exemplified some great Christian qualities with her advice/instructions as well as with her actions. Stone was also a good, strong, Christian man in the story as well, showing his love through his actions by protection, reassurance and steadfastness. This is a great book to read for a wonderful afternoon of entertainment.
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.”


Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Fold

Title:  The Fold
Author:  Peter Clines                                                                                   
Pages:  384
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Crown Publishing
My rating of 4.5.
Mike Erikson is not an ordinary high school English teacher.  He has an IQ of 180 and perfect recall memory of everything he has ever seen, an ability that his lifelong friend, who just happens to be with DARPA, would like to utilize to help provide further funding of a top secret project.  The project is a machine that allows people to travel to other locations with only a few steps—a doorway that folds space-time.  But the doorway is more than it seems, and it may lead to the destruction of the entire planet.  People on the project team change subtly after each walk through the gate, and Mike begins to notice the little changes that lead him to a discovery of magnificent proportions and unknown dangers.
Peter Clines writes in such a way that it was difficult to put the book down.  The Fold is a tale that combines mystery with science fiction and adventure.  Although the story keeps the reader on his or her toes from beginning to end with a decent pace throughout, it seemed to jump in to high gear during the last few chapters.  The action kicks into a higher gear as creatures from a parallel dimension begin to cross over into the project lab.  And they are not exactly friendly!                                                                 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Fold, and found it to be a story that was difficult to put down once I started reading.  Not many books have kept me that interested, but The Fold is now counted among them.  Perhaps Peter Clines’s experience as a screen writer is what makes the difference between an interesting story and a truly interesting story.  His writing style descriptively paints each scene to create the mental picture of what is happing in the characters’ lives and interactions with each other.  The basic premise of a device that opens a gateway to other places and, in this case, other dimensions are not totally original; however, this story brings freshness to the concept, and there are references to Star Trek® in various places.
What I did not care for in this novel was the somewhat excessive use of vulgar language by Sasha, one of the characters.  I understand that there are people who talk that way in the real world, but many still find the particular word offensive or at least a sign of poor manners and communication skills.  If this book was a movie, it would be rated R for language and one scene of somewhat descriptive sexual activity.
Overall, I would recommend The Fold for fans of true science fiction novels.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Taken by Dee Henderson





Title:  Taken
Author:  Dee Henderson
Website:  http://www.deehenderson.com/
Pages:  432
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5 stars out of 5!
Dee Henderson’s newest novel caught my attention some time back and I recently bought it.  Being as busy as I am reading and writing reviews, it is a rare moment for me to pick something for myself not related to a commitment of one sort or another.  I read other reviews sometimes and a lot of folks like her O’Malley series; others didn’t care for her writings after that series.  I think it depends upon more factors than I am aware of it or can state.  Regardless, I was in the mood for a mystery that intrigued, entertained, along with the plot of a woman showing up 11 years after her abduction.  Taken is such a novel!  Dee Henderson captivates readers with a story where a woman is waiting outside in the hallway for a particular man who spoke at a conference in Chicago.  Matthew was chosen specifically by Shannon because he knew what road to recovery Shannon would be traveling, considering his daughter Becky went through a similar experience years earlier.  There is more attention paid to the people Shannon would need in her life until she felt able to share her story.
During the time Shannon spends with Matthew, a budding friendship begins although a blossoming romance isn’t out of the question for Matthew or Shannon.  Matthew is the go between Shannon her friends, family and various law enforcement agencies.  Taken is unlike other similar novels in that there is not violence taking place or action.  The main focus is on what Shannon reveals, capturing the offenders and aiding Shannon into her future with as few bumps as possible now that she has regained her freedom to choose.
What I found amazing is how Shannon’s faith is what sustained her during those years of uncertainty and danger.  I loved her ability to never give up hope of gaining freedom and the way she acted to help others to escape the syndicate.  Shannon’s character is very intelligent, meticulous in observation and knowing what she does or doesn’t wish to rehash verbally with anyone.  The fact that Shannon kept journals throughout her captivity is a twist I hadn’t read before in other novels dealing with the subject matter of abduction.
If you like novels with the focal point being interpersonal relationships, this one is a great find!  If you like books with a ton of action, danger or adventure, you might or might not be disappointed.  I was captivated by how the respective law agencies worked together with Shannon playing her revelations close to her vest and the choices made by characters as various other situations came into play.  I would have enjoyed more danger lurking in the shadows or action, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book without it too.  The ending as well as some other threads in the book that weren’t resolved makes me wonder if a sequel will come or another story with these characters.  I did learn a character in this book along with her history was introduced in Unspoken by Dee Henderson released in 2013.  I haven’t read it yet so it doesn’t have to be read before reading Taken unless a reader so choose.  I really enjoyed the way the plot unfolded, the characters and the element of faith.  I hope you enjoy reading this during your summer break!
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, June 26, 2015

Old Fashioned Novel


Title:  Old Fashioned Novelization
Author:  Rene Gutteridge  & Rik Swartzwelder
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5 stars
The book was excellent!  It certainly opened my eyes on how a relationship with a woman should be by respecting her physically and emotionally, that it’s more than just the sex (as a lot of people nowadays think).  It’s about sharing love, not just a husband and wife love, but the kind of love God has for us all.  They start as two different people getting to know each other and their likes and dislikes, whether or not they believe in God.  If things work out, they marry and become one instead of two.
A former playboy named Clay Walsh meets a free-spirited woman named Amber.  They become attracted to one another, but it’s not easy.  Clay seems to be wrapped up in his own little world of trying to do the right thing and is suffering from the guilt of his previous lifestyle.  He now runs an antique shop and repairs furniture; he only has a few friends left who don’t understand him or understand his newfound faith in God.  Then Amber comes along with only a car, stuffed with all her belongings (including her cat Mr. Joe).  They become attracted to one another, but Clay wants to play it safe while Amber wants his attention, believing she has found the man of her dreams.  She rents the apartment above Clay’s shop and starts breaking the appliances like the refrigerator and stove to get him to come see her.  Clay finally relents and asks her out, but it’s hard for them to enjoy each other’s company because it seems neither can let go of their past and move on.  It’s not until after they seek God with their hearts that they admit how deeply they are in love with each other and how it was divine intervention that brought them together.  The story ends when Clay proposes to Amber and she accepts, beginning a new life together in a God-honoring way.
Many lessons can be drawn from this book such as love is not to build walls around ourselves, but to let people in.  If we worry about sinning and causing destruction in our relationships, then all we have to do is ask God for guidance and remember that we believe and follow His ways and not those of the world.  If things don’t work, then we should take heart and always remember that God has a plan for all of us.  If we remember that, then we can realize that maybe God has someone special in store for us.  If not, then we should know that maybe God is calling some of us to be single and fulfill the great plan that He has for us. Another lesson can be that men are called upon to be leaders and that their relationships with women should involve a lot more than physical needs and should include spiritual needs.  Clay was a playboy until God rescued him from his sinful life.  He struggled in his relationship with Amber, but remained steadfast in his newfound belief; this helps Amber to find God.
We may not always get what we want in this world, but we must always hope in the Lord for he will never forsake us and always has a plan for us. God has created men to be the spiritual leaders of the family.  It is up to them to lead their wives and children in their walk with God, because women are created to be weaker than men and children are innocent until they grow up.  As long as we pray and ask for God’s guidance then everything will work out alright in His time. Even as we stumble and fall, God will not abandon us nor forsake us. For love is patient, kind, hopeful, and old fashioned.


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.” 

Old Fashioned Devotional


Title:  The Old Fashioned Way (Reclaiming the Art of Romance)
Author:  Ginger Kolbaba & Rik Swartzwelder
Pages:  240
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 4 stars.
Over the years much has changed both in the body of believers that meet and society as a whole.  Sometimes it is hard to be able to see any difference when comparing one group with another, or even person to person.  Personalities, location, likes and dislikes make up part of what makes one person unlike another.  However, humanity shares some traits like sinful nature or pride, which knows no bounds;we are all affected.
So when Tyndale released a devotional titled, The Old Fashioned Way, I wanted to preview what was being presented.  I love the movie by the same title not for any other reason than it seeks to restore what tends to get lost in our relating to God and others.  The devotion has 40 days worth of topics that encourage audiences to journal and seek God’s wisdom from the Bible.  The focus is not on seeking a mate, but on seeking God for the sole reason of being loved by God and returning that affection.
We seek to have a mate or just someone to hang around with and do activities with usually because we don’t like being alone.  Frankly, we aren’t created to be alone.  But seeking to have a person fill the area that only God can fill in our hearts won’t work.  Using a devotional that encourages focusing on our one-to-one relationship with God first is a treasure.  It doesn’t matter what our marital status or financial status is as those are measurements that will pass away one day.  However, the one relationship that is eternal is our individual one with God.
He is the creator of romance and His Word reminds us repeatedly of His deep abiding love for each one of us.  Here is a devotional tool that you might find helpful in learning to hear, talk and relate with Your loving God regularly.  From that, all other relationships are touched.  The question now is are you willing to live a life where your focus is on your walk with God and allow Him to take care of the desire of your heart?
Let’s begin by putting the horse before the cart, which is reverse of how I have seen many people live life each day.  Spend time alone with the Lord; let Him teach you His version of love and romance.  Then, when and if He brings you someone to walk through life with, then together you can seek Him every day.  If you have been married awhile, don’t overlook this devotional as it just might rekindle what has been snuffed out by daily life in a broken world.
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Now & Forever (Wild at Heart Book #2)


 Title:  Now & Forever (Wild at Heart Book #2)
Author:  Mary Connealy
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5 stars!
Mary Connealy is a very talented storyteller who weaves various characters' personalities with reaction, adventure and a touch of mystery.  The series is introduced to audiences in this wonderful western story set right after the Civil War with the first book titled, Tried & True and will be wrapping up the series with Fire & Iceset to be released in October of 2015.  Now, if you haven’t read the books yet, they are fantastic tales about three women who served as men in the Civil War.  They were compelled to do so by their father after their brother was killed early in the War.
In each book, while focusing on one sister’s life, we also get to see the other sisters as they are very close to each other.  The names of the sisters are Kylie, Shannon and Bailey.  In Now & Forever, we get to be engrossed in Shannon’s life which starts with her trying to save a man from a grizzly bear by going into a dangerous set of waterfalls.  Tucker is a mountain man who was raised by a wonderful Christian Indian mother named Sunrise.  He rarely comes down from the mountains, except to trade the pelts he has collected and to get more supplies; however, this trip would prove to be vastly different than any other he has ever taken before.
I sure hope you spend time enjoying this book and its introduction to the series, Tried & True, because of the raw courage that is part of the storyline. The fact that these three women served in the Civil War as men isn’t unheard of.  If you read other books, you will understand many women served in disguise for many reasons. The other compelling factor in reading these tales is that women aren’t faint of heart, but strong-minded.  These sisters saw the atrocities of the war up close and personal and were changed by their individual experiences.  Now each is setting up a homestead that isn’t an exact duplicate of the other, but is individual and unique.
Women in these novels were sometimes tough, strong, and had to be in order to carve out a living at a time when danger was the order of the day.  They worked hard, struggled with living out their faith and healing from the soul wounds they incurred.  These are books you can sit down and devour in an afternoon and perhaps then share them with other family members or friends.  Take it from me I loved each book so far and anticipate an exciting conclusion when I read the third installment in the fall.  So come along to the Wild West and lose yourself in action, adventure and romance!
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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.”


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy


Title: The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy
Author: David E. Fessenden
Pages: 159
Year: 2013
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Thomas Watson has migrated to the United States to try his hand at becoming a successful reporter. He has been given the task of writing obituaries for a newspaper in Philadelphia and is barely making ends meet. He is the son of John Watson, the famous sidekick of Sherlock Holmes. He longs for his big break into reporting and is handed such a story when he stumbles upon the waiter/butler who was present when a local speakeasy exploded. Thomas just knows this is the story he has been waiting for. As more details emerge, Thomas begins to be more involved in investigating than writing. He meets some interesting people, but is pressured to make a deadline to keep his job.
Mycroft Holmes, the brother of Sherlock, arrives for an impromptu visit and announces his intention of staying in the states and living with Thomas. Thomas is stunned to say the least, but what can he do? Mycroft is like an elderly uncle to him, so Thomas agrees. Mycroft immediately takes over the story/case in the eyes of Thomas initially. Mycroft drops several hints or clues to help Thomas get the information he needs to solve the case and write his newspaper story, but Thomas seems to be wearing blinders and doesn’t take these clues to heart putting him in a dangerous situation.
I’m a big fan of British mysteries and have read some of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. This tale was not up to the test of Doyle’s work, but this is also a first attempt. I’d like to encourage the author to keep up the good work. I thought Thomas Watson was an original idea for the main character; however, he was really too dense to pick up the clues right under his nose. I thought the mystery of how the gangsters died was intriguing and that got me to read the story. I liked the Christian influence and hope that continues in future books. I would definitely be willing to read another of these mystery stories and hope the author will write more.
My rating is 4 out of 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.”


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Murder Stone


Title:  The Murder Stone
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  377
Year:  2003
Publisher:  Bantam Dell
This story is set in 1916 in the English countryside in a remote valley.  Francesca Hatton has just buried her grandfather after he suffered a stroke and weeks of being bedridden and unable or unwilling to communicate.  She grew up with her grandfather in the role of her father as her own parents were killed when she was just two years old.  She had no other relatives, so her grandfather took her in.  She was raised with her five male cousins who had also lost their parents.  As grown men, each of them had enlisted in the Great War and all of them had been killed.  Now Francesca is the only surviving member of her family and the vultures begin to descend, wanting things from her.  She has no idea what these people want or what they are talking about.  Her grandfather kept her very shielded.
As she asks more questions and gets no definite answers, she begins to think she never really knew her grandfather, the one she grew up adoring.  Richard Leighton shows up accusing her grandfather of killing his mother years ago.  He wants to find out for sure what happened, but makes no bones about it that he holds her grandfather responsible.  Francesca staunchly defends her grandfather and so the two quarrel often.  More information is unearthed, but is it the truth?  Who can Francesca trust?  Who will tell her the truth about her grandfather and about herself?
This story contains many turns of the plot with distractions to keep readers guessing as to the outcome.  I didn’t care for the ending of the story.  There was no real resolution of who was related to whom and if the captured soldier was indeed one of Francesca’s cousins.  I didn’t even like Francesca as she proved too capable at killing, even though she justified or rationalized the reasons to herself.  Although I could empathize with her searching for answers to the questions various people raised and constantly being met with lies or silence.  I have read the Inspector Rutledge series and the Bess Crawford series and enjoyed those stories very much, but this one just didn’t connect with me.
My rating is 3 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.” 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Ticket


 Title:  The Ticket
Author:  Debra Jeter
Pages:  210
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Firefly Southern Fiction
My rating is 4 stars out of 5.
The Ticket is told from the point of view of a young, budding, teenage girl whose home life is anything but normal.  When her Dad wins the lottery, it has a drastic affect on the girl and her mother, but even more so on complete strangers.  Readers will feel the tension building within the Dad who is moving slowly with any decisions regarding the spending of the lottery money.
Tray is the young girl who feels like her Dad isn’t understanding that her requests for clothes has more to do with her growing and less to do with spending money because they finally have extra.  In the home, along with the Tray, her mother and father, is the maternal grandmother who shares nuggets of wisdom when Tray seeks her out.  However, some of the words of wisdom seem like foolishness to Tray as she feels her grandmother cannot relate to her feelings or experiences.
In the novel, there is a scene that did throw me for a loop and I am still not sure why it was included in the book.  Perhaps as a way of warning young girls to be aware of anyone watching them and the ways those with evil intent try to take advantage of their ignorance.  A lot of subplots happen at the same time in the story that made it somewhat hard to discern how it all fit together, or what exactly the author was attempting to convey to her audience.
What happens toward the end of the book took me by surprise and the ending was a touch of genius.  As I read I could see how Tray’s body changes and not fitting into any group at school, especially the ones she viewed as cool, could hurt young girls.  I think that is why it is helpful for parents to talk with their children often and be willing to talk about any subject.  Tray’s mother definitely wasn’t an interactive mother which in some ways probably forced Tray to look for answers elsewhere.
So as readers go through the novel perhaps it will spark discussions between age groups that are beneficial to everyone.  The novel isn’t just about a financial windfall, but more about each character in the family’s response to the windfall and lack of closeness in the home.  The work of fiction highlights the misbelief that having money is what fixes everything, and readers will come to understand the fact that maybe it highlights more of what is broken in the family unit.
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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Anita Higman's New Novel: Summer's List


Title:  Summer’s List
Author:  Anita Higman
Pages:  288
Year:  2015
Publisher:  River North
My rating is 5 stars out of 5!
When I began the reading the tale of a very special bond between Granny and her granddaughter named Summer Snow, I sensed that it might have a hint of sadness to the novel.  However, over arching the whole book is the work God can do to mend broken lives, families and relationships.  The factor which tended to scare the main characters Summer and her childhood friend Martin was risk.  They knew they had a strong friendship so it was to grow into a deeper relationship it meant letting go of the friendship safety net to venture into the new territory of marriage.
One of the latest social buzzwords in our society is “bucket list” which I cannot stand but the author takes that word and turns it into something I believe is a better avenue.  Now if I were to tell you how I would think it would take away the joy of discovery which comes with reading.  What I can say is there are also raw emotions dealt with in novel between Martin’s brothers and himself.
The book is quick moving tale which captures the reader’s heart from the start until the very end.  The story is at times thought provoking as the Martin’s Langtree siblings are dealing with a past that has secrets.  A mystery if you will because the Langtree siblings want to know why their parents have left them, divorced each other and moved ½  way around the world.  Due to strained relationships between the grown sons and parents it tended to pour negative feelings, words and actions within the three young men’s lives.
The faith Martin has kept him from being unable to handle the truth and facing the short comings in his life.  Martin’s faith propelled him to pray, trust and risk seeking reconciliation with those he hurt and was hurt by.  For summer she held tight to her last living relative, granny.  Granny being away of her declining health and knowing how Summer would react, takes time to seek God and then write out the path Summer is to take in finding out who she is in Christ, and what she desires out of life.
I really give kudos to the author for writing a very heart and gut grabbing tale that is very realistic in many ways.  Anita Higman shows us that without Christ we are truly lost and without answers.  With Christ we can be changed and learn to walk in faith, love and hope daily.  Perhaps instead of writing a bucket list you might consider writing a list similar to what granny wrote bathed in prayer. A beautiful novel reader will be sure to adore for years to come, and share with others who might like to read a moving tale!



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.” 

A More Christlike God


Title:  A More Christlike God (A More Beautiful Gospel)
Author:  Bradley Jersak
Pages:  352
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Createspace
My rating is 2 stars
Sometimes when nonfiction books such as the one titled above are offered for review, I sense the Holy Spirit prodding me to sign up to read the book.  There are times when I come away with a treasure, which means that though there are some things I might disagree with in the book it contains some nuggets of gold that I might want to refer back to. Some of these nuggets of gold help expound Scripture and some speak deeply to my heart and are found in the Bible.  Other times I come across books that just aren’t Biblical in their stance or in the defense of what points it puts forth to readers.  So as I began reading the book to prepare writing a review it wasn’t long before I was confused or upset by some of the points made by the author.  First, in a discussion with a young girl looking for answers he dismisses the existence of Hell.  The girl is upset because relatives are crying saying that the relative who passed is in Hell as she never believed in Jesus as her Savior.  The author talks with this girl and basically dismisses the existence of Hell and has the girl put her grandmother into the hands of a loving God.  In doing so, he gives the girl untruth just to make her feel better.
There are some serious issues with this book.  First, it doesn’t take the whole counsel of God.  Second, it looks at what we have written in the Word about Jesus and applies it to God.  Yet, the writer of the Gospel of John forgets that we don’t have written accounts of all Jesus said and did, because if we did the world couldn’t contain the writings (see John 20:25).  People are looking for answers about or from God about some events, actions or happenings this side of heaven, so let’s remember a couple of things.  One, He is infinite we aren’t.  Two, there are some things we are not going to understand this side of heaven.  Third, God doesn’t owe us an explanation; however, we do owe Him our worship, our very lives.  Finally, what we have in the Scripture is God-breathed and therefore without error.  Anything written by any human is subject to errors; we aren’t perfect this side of heaven.
It breaks my heart that a book that takes what we do know about Jesus as God revealed in the Bible without remembering it isn’t everything Jesus said or did, and thus fails to be founded on solid ground.  Our place is to worship, adore, submit, and more.  He alone is God; He alone knows all, sees all, and understands all.  We are finite and we serve Him, not the other way around.  Frankly, instead of demanding God answer us or explain to us our why’s and wherefore’s, we need to kneel to His Sovereignty and be at peace with not knowing.  Why?  Simply, it’s the Truth!
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Desperate Measures


Title:  Desperate Measures (Port Aster Secrets #3)
Author:  Sandra Orchard
Pages:  356
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
As this third mystery begins, Kate and Tom have put their personal relationship on hold at Kate’s demand.  She feels betrayed because Tom knew her father was alive, after Kate thought him dead for twenty years, only to secrete him away in protective custody and refusing to tell Kate where he is.  Kate feels betrayed and deceived and hurt.  Tom understands, but felt he what he did was to protect Kate from the bad guys out to kill her father who could potentially harm Kate by association.
Kate has continued to grow and experiment with the miracle plant her father first brought to her town, although no one knows this not even Tom.  Kate won’t tell Tom because she is afraid he will make her turn the plants over to the authorities and they might get into the wrong hands.  However, the criminals who now believe her father is dead have turned their focus on Kate.  They somehow believe that the plants didn’t get destroyed or lost and that Kate has them.  They will stop at nothing to get them.  Kate, who is known for her faith in people and God, now becomes suspicious of everyone and their motives.  Who can she really trust?  She wants to experiment on the plant to discover their benefits for people and in the hopes that she will have a bargaining chip to be allowed to see her father.
With this third book wrapping up the Port Aster Secrets series, Sandra Orchard definitely delivers mystery, intrigue, action and romance.  I thought the plot wrap up at the end was a little confusing with so much time between each book and my not being able to remember all the details from the prior two books.  However, I did enjoy the winding plot and trying to figure out which characters were on Kate’s side right along with her.  The story was interesting and unique with the plant angle.  I will definitely keep my eye open for more books from this author and encourage mystery lovers to take in this series.
My rating is 4 stars out of 5.

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.” 

Heart's Made Whole by Jody Hedlund


Title:  Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope #2)
Author:  Jody Hedlund
Website: 
Pages:  384
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
The first novel in the Beacons of Hope series is titled, Love Unexpected, which can be read like this novel as a standalone.  There are one or two references to who the main male lead character is related to from the first book.  However, this tale centers on Ryan as he has returned from the Civil War and been assigned the responsibilities as keeper of a lighthouse.  Caroline Taylor has been the caretaker in order to provide for her siblings after the death of her father now, with Ryan’s return, the whole Taylor family looks at being uprooted.
Ryan returns from the war a broken man in both body and spirit and addicted to pain medication due to shrapnel still in his arm.  As he observes Caroline’s care and compassion for her siblings while shouldering heavy responsibilities with the lighthouse, he finds himself drawn to her romantically.
As pages are turned readers will become engrossed in a mystery as to who is doing some evil acts meant to scare Caroline into leaving the lighthouse.  The acts are done with such mischief that neither the family nor Ryan can pinpoint the culprit until it is almost too late.  Ryan carries guilt from an act or failure to act in the war when his regiment pilfered a southern family.  Caroline seems to be the only one who can help Ryan deal with his addictions and nightmares.  Caroline becomes the source Ryan looks to when he needs help.  Yet, within his heart, he is hearing the small voice leading him in a different direction than a relationship with Caroline for a very deep soul reason.
Like the first novel, the scenes describing the lighthouse and all the work that went into being a keeper is fascinating.  The author’s notes at the end help the audience to be able to separate fact from fiction in the novel.  There is tension between the Taylor siblings, between Caroline and some of the town’s citizens, and there is an internal conflict within a couple of the characters so that when noticing all these threads it is hard to figure out the real antagonist!
I stayed up one night to read as putting the story down in the middle of such heart tugging action was impossible.  When I completed the book, I just was thankful again for Jody Hedlund’s ability to write a brilliant tale about a period in history where women had restrictions on them that kept some from exploring the uses of their God given talents.  Lighthouses are a symbol to me of how God is my strong tower, light, refuge and hiding place.  I hope you are compelled to read the book and share with others Jody Hedlund’s latest masterpiece, Hearts Made Whole!  I cannot say enough about how enticing the story is to read and then to be shared with others who love reading as well!

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.” 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pirates Code (The Adventures of Mickey Matson #2)


Title: Pirates Code (The Adventures of Mickey Matson #2)
Studio: Pure Flix
Media: 1 Disc DVD
Year: 2014
My rating is 5+
The characters first introduced to us in Mickey Matson and The Copperhead Head Treasure are back again to help save the world from a device that would shut down all electronic devices. In Pirates Code, we meet new characters both those who fight for the Patriot team as well as those seeking to destroy devices needed in some cases to sustain life.
One of the themes taught is working as a team and not fighting solo or thinking it is easy to defeat an enemy. I was reminded of some movies recently out that show superheroes. In this adventure, we learn that character is of utmost importance. While some of the movie might seem silly, I believe it is done with purpose. The purpose being to make sure younger audiences aren’t frightened and also sometimes we all just need to laugh, which brings comic relief.
Of all the action and adventure, kids of all ages will enjoy seeing the gadgets and understanding what true courage looks like in the movie. Like the fist Mickey Matson movie, Mickey is reminded again of what his grandfather taught him that doing the right thing is not always the easy thing. In fact, there are times when doing the right action can be hard such as standing up for a friend or not returning an unkind word when one is delivered to us.
I know when you visit the website you will see as I did that a third movie will be coming soon. These movies are a great addition to family libraries to be viewed repeatedly and enjoyed. Today we rely on technology for a lot of living, but nothing can match the brain God has given us. We don’t have to stop thinking just because some device can think for us. In fact, as in the movie, we need to see that being able to analyze a problem and devise a solution independent of some gadget is a wise habit.
So grab both movies, pop some popcorn and enjoy good wholesome movies that entertain and teach at the same time! Have fun and invite some family or friends!

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.”

Mickey Matson & The Copperhead Treasure


Title:  The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure
Format:  DVD
Rating: PG
Website:  http://mickeymatson.com/
Year:  2013
Studio:  Screen Media  
My rating is 5 stars
Now before you watch the movie let me tell you that there is already a second movie titled “Prate’s Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson” with a third movie coming soon.  Information about the movies and more is available at the website address listed above.
When I first sat down to watch the movie I thought that the movie was going to be corny, or not worth my time.  I can attest to the fact that the movie is one which is perfect to instill in kids of all ages a sense of patriotism which is handed down from one generation to the next.  There is a young man who inherits what he considers worthless items after the passing of his grandfather, until Mickey begins to understand the mystery left for him to solve by his grandfather.  The grandfather has spent much time teaching Mickey and stoking the mind with the understanding that doing the right thing is not easy, if anything it can be very hard.
In this first adventure the groundwork is laid to understanding the characters, the history of a secret group and an adversary that desires to thwart the fabric in America.  What is so cool is how the movie introduces a time in our nation’s history with the flavor of mystery, family, and passing down truths to the next generation.  Here Mickey Matson develops a friendship with a young lady who becomes his side kick in aiding his desire to figure out what his grandfather left in his care, and to stop an evil conspiracy!
These Mickey Matson adventures are family and faith oriented as well as patriotic driven which the young generation will understand as well as over and over again.  Mickey Matson points to this generation being patriotic and actively seeking out any idea which seeks to destroy the great nation of America!  So pop the popcorn, gather family and friends!   Enjoy the movie!

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.” 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Midwife’s Tale (At Home in Trinity Book #1)


Title:  The Midwife’s Tale (At Home in Trinity Book #1)
Author:  Delia Parr
Website:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/52465.Delia_Parr
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 4 stars
The main character is woman named Martha Cade a midwife practicing in the town called Trinity.   Martha lives in a room attached to the tavern her brother owns and operated with his family which allows her to answer calls for help at all hours, while her brother watches her daughter Victoria.  Then one night she gets note that her daughter has run away, even though she is an adult Martha cannot help but feel shame and confusion in response to these turn of events.
The tension is very palpable in the small town for reasons like gossip which spreads like a fire, or those who call a physician when babies are coming sometimes whose actions are harmful.  Some of the tension is from the view of Doctors doing more harm than good while Midwifery is looked upon as ancient practices at best.  The way Martha is embroiled in the towns gossip mill, looked upon with distain by women whom she has befriended more so when she stands up for a man who is supposed to be a man of the faith.  As personal property is being stolen the town looks at the Reverend and his orphaned boys with suspicion without proof hardly anyone wants the boys to come into town.
The author does a splendid job of creating characters that are very life like with their actions that tells readers more about who they really are whether others are watching or listening to the gossip mill.  I loved learning about the practice of midwifery and using herbs to help with healing.  The story paints scene in the audiences mind with what appears to be such ease.  Faith is a thread woven throughout the tale from beginning to end as we read about characters internal thought or how the community of believers treats others.
I look forward to the next installment to come in the At Home in Trinity series and the various fictional inhabitants we are first introduced to in The Midwife’s Tale.  Hope you enjoy as much as I did the novel that shares history, faith, and romance in a wonderful mix that captures the heart of anyone who dares to travel to Trinity in their imagination!

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.” 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Justified (A Mended Heart Series #2)

 Title:  Justified (A Mended Heart Series #2)
Author:  Varina Denman
Pages:  416
Year:  2105
Publisher:  David C. Cook
My rating is 5+ out of 5 stars!

In the Mended Hearts Series, readers are introduced to a fictional town, characters and story.  Now, in the sequel, Justified, the story is even more captivating and wonderful to read!  In the novel, readers are focused on Fawn whom we met last time in the story of Jaded.  This story presents to the audience a tale of broken hearts, broken lives, wrestling with faith, as well as suspense, thrills, and many surprise twists in the plot.
The best part of the novel is that it is written as if these fictional people actually have flesh and bone.  The characters are perfect; they make a whole spectrum of mistakes and in the end a couple of them learn about redemption.  Justified is a continuation of the story begun in Jaded, and the issues that plague various characters can be found in the real world.  I traveled an emotional roller coaster as I followed the acts, thoughts and speech from Fawn, John Scott, and more.

Underlining the suspense is the question of how something that happened in the past has affected the present and maybe the future of a select few of the inhabitants of the small town.  Above all is the journey some take in learning to believe that God is Who He says He is, and His love is unlike any ever known.  In the pages you will read how the antagonists tend to ride herd on whomever they choose to focus on in the town.
Of course, there were a couple of surprises revealed that I never saw coming the further I delved into the book.  I grew up in a larger suburb of a big city while my husband grew up in a very small town, so I learned firsthand how news travelled or people were treated according to their actions or lack thereof.  When I came across some action scenes where small town life was described, I found it amazingly accurate.

I don’t know when the next book titled, Jilted, will be released, but I sure hope it is very soon as I am wrapped up in the story so deep, I just need to know what comes next for Fawn!  Fictional books like Jaded and Justified don’t come around all that often, so grab a copy and get comfy.  You’re about to embark on a journey that captures the heart and mind of all who are willing to travel to a small Texas town.


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

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