Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Eve by Wm. Paul Young



Title:  Eve
Author:  William Paul Young
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Howard Books
My rating is 5+ stars.
When I started the novel, I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the novel was nor what direction the author would lead readers.  The novel to me is reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’ work Chronicles of Narnia with a touch of mystery, biblical people and ending with a finish that just steals the heart of the reader!
I don’t know about other people, but I read a lot of books in a year.  Most of them are enjoyable to read and then I share them with a girlfriend.  Eve is like a cinematic movie that calls to reader’s heart and imagination that defies description.  There is a touch of science fiction along with such creativity when describing scenes or the numerous characters.  I couldn’t put the novel down for long because I wanted to not just read the whole novel, but also experience the spiritual side that is a huge part of the work.
Not many authors can engage the reader from page one until the end, but God certainly gifted this author to share an amazingly well-crafted novel.  If you know people who don’t want to read the Bible or aren’t open to spiritual discussions, this is a novel they just might find themselves enjoying.  Some of the characters in the story aren’t real, but no less captivating.  I thought I even knew who the evil character was in the book, but I didn’t and towards the end of the book it became apparent there was more depth to the story than I thought.
Eve brings to the forefront the undying love of God for people, all people.  There is also the telling of the many choices we must make throughout our lives to draw near to God or walk away.  Yet God never has ceased to call to us, woo us or open His heart to us.  All we do is choose Him above all the other things we think will satisfy, but don’t even come close.  At the end of our lives, we will simply leave behind a broken world and empty shell to enter into the very Presence that we’ll never want to leave, ever!
Read Eve and share it with those to whom God leads you.  You will probably be surprised by the reactions of anyone with whom you share the novel.  Have a ball reading and entering a tale that will engage every part of your being.  You won’t soon forget this book!

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, September 29, 2015

The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick

Title:  The Memory Weaver
Author:  Jane Kirkpatrick
Pages:  349
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
Eliza Spalding is the survivor of an Indian attack that took place in 1847.  Her parents are missionaries to the Nez Perce Indians, bringing the gospel to them.  Then tragedy strikes when another Indian tribe launches an attack.  Many white people are killed, and Eliza and her family are forced by the missionary board to leave the Nez Perce.  Eliza struggles with depression and flashbacks to the moments of the massacre.  This trauma shapes her life.  She performs certain things in a certain order and imagines the worst thing that can happen because she thinks that will ensure it won’t happen.  She is also dealing with her mother’s death a couple of years ago, which placed her at the age of 13 as the woman of the house.  She cooks, cleans and raises her three younger siblings.  Her father also required her to travel with him as he distributed gospel tracts to other communities.
Her father leaves alone on a short trip and returns with a wife.  This surprises everyone.  His new wife knows nothing about living outside of a big city with no servants, so just when Eliza thinks she might get a reprieve from an abundance of work, her hopes are dashed.  Furthermore, her parents had originally promised her a return to school in the East, but with her new step-mother’s inability to care for the family; this promise is gone as well.  Her father plans on keeping Eliza at home until her youngest sister is married, which will be in another ten years.  Eliza makes plans to avoid this, and realizes the consequences of her decisions.
This story was just okay for me.  It started out slow and there isn’t a lot of action.  It is a fictional tale based on a real person from the past.  I can appreciate the research the author did and the writing flowed well throughout the story, but I just didn’t connect with Eliza.  I’m not found of most stories told in the first person, so maybe that is why I didn’t make the connection with her.  She did rely on her faith to see her through some difficult situations, which I found commendable.  She also realized that she didn’t remember some things from her past the way they actually happened via her mother’s diaries. 
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.” 

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Bones Will Speak (Gwen Marcey #2)

Title:  The Bones Will Speak (Gwen Marcey #2)
Author:  Carrie Stuart Parks
Pages:  327
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Gwen Marcey is back to stretching every dollar and looking for a job as the county law enforcement agency jobs have dried up.  She discovers another forensic artist has taken all the jobs and Gwen is hot under the collar over that!  She lets her dog out for a walk and he brings back a grisly trophy.  The next day, Gwen tries to find out where he made his find and he leads her to a nearby abandoned farmhouse where she has another surprise.  In the midst of working the scene, Gwen is forced to give over her work to her rival as his agency has jurisdiction.  Now, Gwen is out of a job again.  However, she has seen a pattern of two crime scenes and begins her own investigation.
In addition to trying to find a killer, her ex-husband makes a sudden announcement that catches Gwen off guard.  Gwen best friend, Beth, helps her research clues into a religious group that might be where the killer got his start.  With local law enforcement running in short supply due to a flu epidemic, Gwen is on her own as far as protection is concerned and boy does she get into some trouble!
I just loved the way the author wove in relevant scripture passages from the Bible in circumstances where they could be used effectively.  I also admire Gwen’s grit and determination and unwillingness to give up.  I also liked the very real feelings of anger and unwillingness to forgive her ex-husband.  She knows that in her heart she must forgive for her sake, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  I find it fascinating to read about the forensic artistic aspect of the story and how it provides clues and gives Gwen direction to investigate.  This is just a stellar series that is not to be missed.  Pick up the first book in the series, A Cry from the Dust to get the background of Gwen Marcey as well as a great suspense-filled mystery, and then you’ll be ready to sink your teeth into this second book.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series.  Excellent job Carrie and please keep writing!!
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.” 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Where Christ is Present

Title:  Where Christ is Present (A Theology for all Seasons on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation)
Author:  John Warwick Montgomery and others
Pages:  288
Year:  2015
Publisher:  NPR Books
My rating is 4 stars.
When I read the authors impressive lists of accomplishments I sure impressed as well as thinking how the author who also is the editor of these essays, will approach the various topics covered.  John Warwick Montgomery shares a short synopsis of his becoming a Christian and then his journey seeking a home church.  Each essay is written on a topic such as Salvation, Justification, Martin Luther and the Reformation and many more.
Each essay is written by a different author who lists both their primary as well as secondary sources when they wrote the essay.  I hope when approach the book it isn’t to find fault with the various authors standings, any denominations mentioned or conclusions drawn.  However, my hope is that you have your Bible beside you to look up Bible References sited reading g not just a verse or two but the context which surrounds the verses sited.
So you may ask. “Why read the book?”  My answer would be “Why not?”  One of the blessings of reading books written are very thought provoking.  Second, is to expand understanding of other denominations, Luther or even main theological tenets.  Another reason for reading nonfiction books that deal with history or a historical event/person might help bring understanding to the present by understanding the past.
Too often if something is told whether in a causal setting or a formal one no one usually questions or critiques anything.  Therefore when books come along which present information few bother to read, investigate the ideas or even come to their own conclusion.  We need to be challenged so that we can be prepared by the Holy Spirit to share the gospel with others.  We need to be shaken out of our apathy or laziness to go beyond the moment to unearth truth for ourselves.  There is a verse in the Word of God which speaks to what my heart feels more than anything: Love the Lord your God with all of Your Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength.  Frankly it takes work, and with all the electronic gadgets available today we can all become unwilling to put forth effort to grow.
The Bible is the primary and only source of truth, so whatever you read in other books if it doesn’t stand up to the Bible then let it go.  However, if it is in agreement with it then study some more and let the Spirit bring the truth deeper into your heart so it pours out in your life.  What better way is there to become more like Christ and be reflectors who point to the One and Only worthy of our all!

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, September 24, 2015

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn (The Pinecraft Brides#3)


Title:  A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn (The Pinecraft Brides#3)
Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray
Pages:  288
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Avon Inspire
My rating is 5 stars.
I’m now all caught up with the Pinecraft Bride series only to learn that the fourth and final book, A Christmas Bride at Pinecraft, will be released next month!  The books are very entertaining as well as spell-binding!  The author sets her novels in Pinecraft, Florida at the Orange Blossom Inn with the innkeeper Beverly as really the main and constant character throughout the books.
In this novel, a marriage is about to take place between two Amish people who are quite young.  The funny part is when the beagle of the neighborhood decides to be a guest and help himself to the abundance of food all to the surprise of his owner Emma!  Emma is a widow who is raising three girls and Jay is a widower who raised his three sons.  Now his oldest Ben is getting married, but it doesn’t come about without some trails.
Beverly came to Pinecraft to begin a new life, living with her aunt in the inn she owned and operated.  Later, after her aunt passes away, she learns she isn’t the owner but is asked to remain at the inn and run the daily operations of the place.  Beverly is only 34 years old, but having once been jilted she is beyond scared to death to risk loving another man.  Yet Eric continues to slowly woo her and help her become comfortable around him, trust him and know he would try really hard not to hurt her.
It would definitely be a shame if these books weren’t read and enjoyed by readers.  I for one really fell in love with the series and look forward to the fourth and final book.  I hope it concludes the series the way the other books have in humor, tension, faith, hope and romance!

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, September 23, 2015

The Proposal at Siesta Key (The Pinecraft Brides #2)



Title:  The Proposal at Siesta Key (The Pinecraft Brides #2)
Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray
Pages:  288
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Avon Inspire
My rating is 5 stars.
We are introduced to characters in the first book titled, The Promise of Palm Grove along with a wonderful B & B.  The setting is sunny Florida in the small town of Pinecraft that is close to the ocean along with a wonderful, close knit, Amish community.  The Orange Blossom B & B is operated daily by Beverly.  Recently she hired a young lady named Penny Troyer to care for Michael Know while he recoups after surgery.
Trouble begins to brew when Beverley’s unhealed heart is hurt when she thinks she views an improper moment between Michael and Rachael.  Now, after taking time to pray, she is confronted by the owner, Eric, as he learns about owning this business he inherited.  On top of this, Tricia comes to surprise her Aunt Beverly, running away from an embarrassing situation at home.
There is romance blooming with a new set of young people in the community and there really isn’t much reference to the characters readers met in book one.  I was a little disappointed by that as I came to enjoy them in the first story.  There is a third book that I will be reading titled, A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn by the same author.  Perhaps the characters not written into the second book will show up more in book three.  Either way I know I laughed a lot while reading this tale because of the way one guest of the inn was expressing how she viewed Florida.
Please consider reading the books written by Shelley Shepard Gray as they are highly entertaining, faith filled and have moments of climax with tension that make for an enjoyable afternoon of getting lost in the fictional town of Pinecraft!

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, September 22, 2015

The Promise of Palm Grove (Amish Brides of Pinecraft #1)

Title:  The Promise of Palm Grove (Amish Brides of Pinecraft #1)
Author:  Shelly Shepard Gray
Pages:  288
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Avon Publishers
My rating is 5 stars.
The story started a little slow for me as it was building the foundation, which I am sure builds into the next two sequels.  After a short time, the plot and climax took off as the women in this small B & B in Florida began having personal issues though not with each other per se.  One of the main characters is Beverly who was to have inherited the B & B from her aunt when an English man comes stating he has inherited the business that Beverly has built.
Three young, Amish, single girlfriends come from Ohio for a two-week stay.  One of them is engaged to be married to her friend’s brother.  There are Sara, Mattie and Lorena who stay at the B & B to have time together before Lorena is married.  However, Lorena is having second thoughts about being engaged because of the lack of any type of feelings she has for her future husband.  The author adds to the mix a man Lorena begins to develop really deep affection and feelings for.
It doesn’t take long to fall in love with the storyline and while not age specific they are perfectly suited for the YA group.  The budding romances, daring to leave the home nest, faith and truth are just some of the themes that come alive in the pages.  I look forward to reading the next book, The Proposal at Siesta Key followed by the third book, A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn.  I sure hope you will follow where all three lead characters Lorena, Sara and Mattie end their journeys.

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.” 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mistress of Tall Acre


Title:  The Mistress of Tall Acre
Author:  Laura Frantz
Pages:  400
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
This story begins during the Revolutionary War.  Seamus Ogilvy is a general under George Washington’s command.  He gives eight years of his life to the war, and when he returns home, he find he must take his young daughter, Lily Cate, from unwilling relatives in the middle of the night to bring her home.  During the war, his wife dies and is buried in Williamsburg not their home of Tall Acre.  His wife was unhappy with him being gone so long and with country life so had moved to Williamsburg to live with her sister.  Upon the war’s end, Seamus is faced with a mountain of work at Tall Acre that in eight years of absence has accumulated.  He is also facing a potential custody battle from his wife’s sister who wants his daughter for her own.  If he were to marry, which he has absolutely no desire to do, he could show that his daughter would grow up with a mother and deflect the lawsuit.
Sophie Menzies is a staunch American Patriot despite her Scottish roots and the Tory beliefs of her father, who abandoned her and her mother and brother.  Sophie is now living alone at the family home next door to Tall Acre.  She and her two remaining old servants are barely eating a meal a day.  No one will hire Sophie as they attribute her father’s Tory stance to her, even though she proudly proclaims her American beliefs.  She meets Lily Cate one day while foraging for nuts to eat.  They form a fast friendship and soon Sophie loves Lily Cate like a daughter.  Sophie soon discovers her home has been given to an American as a spoil of war since it belonged to her Tory father.  With no home, no job and no food, Sophie prays for a solution to her problems.
There is just something about this author’s writing that draws me in from page one, gets my mind and heart engaged to keep me reading steadfastly until the wonderful ending of the story.  Every book I’ve read by Laura Frantz is one I would recommend.  The romance between Seamus and Sophie is so engaging!  The faith of Sophie in this story is amazing.  Her faith reignites the lagging faith of Seamus, spurring him on to trust God beyond what was thought to be endurable.  The writing is great, and I was sorry the story ended.  There is also a wonderful plot twist that I didn’t see coming that just made the story so much more satisfying at its end!  I hope to have some time to read some of Laura’s other books I’ve not had a chance to read before.  Please don’t miss this one!
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.”


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Luther and Katharina

Title:  Luther and Katharina
Author:  Jody Hedlund
Pages:  387 (ARC)
Year:  2015
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
This is a fictionalized account of the love story between Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora.  It begins in the years 1523 and takes place in Germany.  There is much political unrest due to the spread of Martin Luther’s beliefs that go against a lot of the prominent Catholic teachings of the time.  He has been excommunicated as he is a former monk, been branded a heretic and has been threatened with assassination.  He is a wanted criminal, but in his home town he is safe.  The peasants revere him as he has given them hope in a new way of seeing God.  He encourages people to read the Bible and pray for themselves and not to depend on a priest to do that.  He has encouraged monks and nuns to marry.  He has said he will never marry as his work for God would suffer.  In the story, the Catholic Church uses corporal punishment on those monks and nuns who leave for the “world”, but are subsequently hunted and caught by men employed by the Catholic Church.
Katharina von Bora is one of those nuns.  She was given to the Catholic Church as a young 5-year-old girl and has been living as a nun for nineteen years.  She is from a noble family and very set in her views as far as class separation is concerned.  She and other nuns have secretly been given Martin Luther’s writings and believe them, so they make a daring attempt to escape the convent.  She meets Martin Luther and they are like oil and water, arguing a lot.  Over time, they develop a grudging respect for one another with perhaps something more.
This is a wonderful love story full of passion, disappointment, heartache, love, newly discovered faith and much more.  I have always liked this author’s writing and really enjoyed taking a look at someone in history that I know very little about.  Both main characters are engaging and lifelike.  The dedication of Martin Luther is astounding!  I liked thinking of him though as very human too, with his anger, fear, insecurities and the easy teasing between Katharina and him.  This author really makes history come alive via fiction.
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.” 

Falling Like Snowflakes ( A Summer Harbor Novel #1)

Title:  Falling Like Snowflakes ( A Summer Harbor Novel #1)
Author:  Denise Hunter
Pages:  352
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
My rating is 5 stars.
The cover surely doesn’t capture the really wonderful tale written inside.  I hope the sequel coming out in 2016 has a better cover that conveys the story more accurately.  Inside is a story that includes themes like overcoming fear, trusting, relying on the Lord and romance to name a few.  The main characters are a woman and her very young son who change their names and looks in order to stay safe and alive.  When her car breaks down, she walks into a small town looking for a job.  While she is eating, she decides to go to the restroom and while in the restroom her bag is stolen.  Now she has neither money nor any belongings, but she’s alive.  She is not sure how safe she is after witnessing a murder.
If I tell you her name that would give away a little of the book so I will wait for you readers to discover who she is when you open the book.  The other characters are a family named Callahan who have endured heartache and are running a couple of businesses, with one being a Christmas tree company started by the father, who the family lost a year ago.  Three brothers, who are all bachelors, have an aunt coming home from the hospital in a few days and needing a caretaker.  While she may have a rough side to her, she sure is a pistol making me laugh at times when reading.
Through various happenings the woman and her young son come to the Christmas tree place looking for a job exactly when the bachelors need someone to look after their spitfire of an aunt.  There is palpable tension I felt when reading the book as it becomes apparent that someone is out to eliminate the woman and her son as they can identify the men who committed murder.  The focus is on Beau, who is the oldest of the three brothers and who runs the tree farm.  Zac owns and runs a restaurant followed by Riley who is looking to mature outside the “little brother” box.  The location of the story is in Maine and the family loves Patriots football.  While I don’t care for the Pats, I didn’t hold that against the author. J
The love of Christ is really represented in the story as well as the hope He alone brings when our lives have been torn apart as well as having broken hearts.  I sat and read the story within a couple of hours. It really reaches into the reader’s imagination as well as leading readers like me to a more realistic conclusion instead of one that resembles a fairy tale.  I cannot wait for the next book to be released in 2016, A December Bride.  I hope you will join me for the next adventure for the Callahan family.

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, September 16, 2015

Winning the Teacher’s Heart (The Donnelly Brothers)

Title:  Winning the Teacher’s Heart (The Donnelly Brothers)
Author:  Jean C. Gordon
Pages:  219
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Harlequin Love Inspired
Jared Donnelly has returned to his home town after being away for fifteen years, riding the motocross circuit after some troubled and tough teenage years.  He has an idea for helping troubled youths as well as helping the local economy, but will his idea get shot down by the town council?  Upon his return, he runs into an old crush of his from high school, Becca Norton.  Once he spends some time with her, he realizes he still has feelings for her.
Becca Norton is a high school teacher and divorced mother of two children.  Her finances are not in the best shape so she is forced to work at the church day care over the summer to earn extra money.  The pastor’s wayward brother has returned home with plans to build a motocross school with a racetrack practically in Becca’s backyard.  Becca secretly had a crush on Jared in high school, but never told anyone.  Now, as she sees him so mature and wanting to give back to the community as well as follow God’s plan for his life, she wants to have a relationship with him.  As the newest member of the town council, will she vote against Jared’s plans to placate her ex-in-laws who are threatening her with a child custody battle?  Becca struggles with her decision, but relies on God to provide the answer.
These Love Inspired books are great for when readers have a little time, but not a lot.  They are short, usually around 200 pages, and easy to read.  The lessons evident in this particular story are forgiveness, taking our problems to the Lord first and not as a last resort and doing what is right in His sight to name a few.  I have several more of these enjoyable reads that I look forward to sharing with you soon.
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.” 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Captive (The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero)

Title:  Captive (The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero)
Author:  Ashley Smith with Stacy Mattingly
Pages:  272
Year:  2015
Publisher:  William Morrow
My rating is 5+ stars.
Before I even knew the book existed, I saw a clip of the movie Captive.  When I finished reading the book, I felt a few emotions deeply in my heart.  The first is that God is a redeemer, and while some people were killed by the assailant, there is hope that more will come to know Him.  The second is that our world today shows us the devastating results when a person or persons take a life of a loved one.  The third is that we all need to be prayer warriors for those who serve and are the front lines of defense so others can live peacefully.  Finally, my personal heartfelt thanks for the honesty with which this novel was written and the hope that families and friends of the four victims allow God to redeem their lives.
One impacting aspect of the book is that after many years of failing treatment centers and family members trying to help her, Ashley discovered through this experience that many of the truths she was taught became real.  Ashley will be the first one to tell readers she is taking it one day at a time and listening to what pleases God and doing it.  We all should be such servants of Christ.
Inspiring just doesn’t really cover what you’ll read or see in the movie, but it’s a start.  I hope readers take time to thank those who serve, pray for those who are hurting and in bondage as well as be thankful for their life.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some people found themselves asking God what He has for them to do, or where He wants them to serve.  God just waits to be asked and believe me He’ll answer the seeker.
Last of all remember to pray for the family and friends of those who commit crimes for they too are victims just in a different way.  They hurt, suffer, and go through all types of emotions just like those who were victimized by what someone did to their loved one.  Remember, above all, Jesus wants us to literally minister to those in prison.  While all may not be open to the gospel, our job is to obey Him and share the gospel, letting the individual be responsible for the result.  Our society needs us to reach out with the hope what no one or anything else can bring or give them.  Perhaps you might consider giving this book, a Bible or The Purpose Driven Life to a person(s) who you know or to a total stranger.
Like this story reminds us God does indeed redeem and has never stopped seeking the lost.

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, September 14, 2015

Mail Order Cowboy

Title:  Mail Order Cowboy
Author:  Laurie Kingery
Pages:  279
Year:  2010
Publisher:  Steeple Hill Books
Milly Mathews is a young woman who wants to get married, but has very few options in her hometown so she creates a group of other like-minded women.  They decide to place an ad in the newspaper, inviting men who are interested in marriage to begin corresponding with the group.  The ad meets with immediate success as the first man arrives in town without even answering the ad!  The man in question is Nicholas Brookfield and his curiosity is piqued by the ad.  He wants to meet the woman in charge of placing the ad.  He meets Milly, but before they can get beyond a brief introduction Milly is called out to her ranch due to an Indian attack.
Upon arriving home where Milly lives with her sister Sarah, they discover the barn has been burned down, their livestock stolen and their only experienced ranch hand injured.  The two women are at a loss as to what to do, but are determined not to sell out to their sneaky neighbor.  Nick volunteers to stay and help out until the foreman gets back on his feet.  A family of freed slaves agrees to work for Milly in exchange for room and board, but some in the town then begin to treat Milly differently.  Milly and Nick begin to develop a relationship, but will Nick’s past come back to haunt him?  Will the town accept these freed slaves or will Milly send them away?
One thing I consistently find enjoyable and satisfying about these stories is that faith is always in the forefront.  While this story wasn’t my favorite, it does have a good plot and two likeable main characters.  They pray in the good times and the bad for God’s guidance and protection.  The plot just wasn’t to my liking.  I will be reading more of these little books as they are a nice way to spend an afternoon and they bring faith to the focus.
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.” 

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Lost Heiress

Title:  The Lost Heiress (Ladies of the Manor #1)
Author:  Roseanna M. White
Pages:  448
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers
The time period for this story is 1910 and the place is Monaco to begin with and then moves to England.  There is a lengthy cast of characters to follow, but the author provides a helpful list.  The story takes place among the aristocracy of British society.
Justin Wildon, Lord Harlow is a young, handsome man in his mid-twenties with a future title of duke awaiting him.  He is best friends with Brook Eden and has been since she was five years old and he was twelve.  He has taught her how to shoot a gun, ride astride instead of sidesaddle, and many other activities most upper class English people would consider unladylike.  He has spent much of his time in Monaco as that is where his father has lived since leaving England years ago.  He has just returned from a trip home to England where he discovered Brook’s true identity.  As a baby she was found as a survivor of a carriage accident and taken by an actress to live in Monaco.  The woman who she thought was her real mother has died recently and Brook has discovered that her supposed mother wasn’t her biological mother.  She finds a letter that gives a clue as to the possible identity of her family and Justin agrees to investigate for her.  What follows is a story of secrets, intrigue, deception, love and faith.
I thought the first 75 pages or so were slow going, but after that the story picked up with more intrigue.  So stick with it as the rest of the book will make the book definitely worth reading.  There were also a lot of characters to try to keep track of who was related to whom.  I really liked the Christian faith element lived out by Brook and Justin.  I also liked the tone of their relationship to one another with one true to life aspect is their lack of or difficulty in communicating with each other.  This is a good, clean and easy book to read.  I look forward to the rest of 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.” 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

That the World May Know




Title:  That the World May Know
Teacher:  Ray Vander Laan
Pages:  256
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Zondervan
My rating is 5+ stars.
Here is a teacher who brings to the forefront a historical and a deeper understanding of the Bible; however, there is more.  Ray reminds us of how the ancient people were living and what God is calling us to become for the world.  When I searched for more of the DVDs, I was glad to know there are many more along with Ray Vander Laan ministries. 
When I viewed the first lesson, I was simply amazed at being taken back to the land and listening to the expounding of the Bible.  For me, it made it come alive and with deeper understanding.  Like any person we tend to approach the Bible from an American point of view, but when we do, we miss the real heart of God.  There is more than one lesson on the DVD and the Discovery Guide helps viewers understand more and makes this a very useful tool for any small group.
I wonder how I ever missed the ministry of Ray Vander Laan along with his teaching and way he shares from the land of the Bible.  Go with me to understand Scripture in more depth than before and see the heart of God for people.  The lessons are challenging and enjoyable.  There are questions and helpful insights with each lesson.  Any person who is willing to open their heart to the Lord cannot help but be touched.  Please consider joining me and many others in viewing the DVD and going through the discovery book that can be purchased separately.  Don’t pass up these excellent lessons for personal growth or to use with others in a group setting.

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, September 9, 2015

Undercover Bride (Undercover Ladies #2)


Title:  Undercover Bride (Undercover Ladies #2)
Author:  Margaret Brownley
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Shiloh Run Press
Maggie Cartwright is 26 years old and has just answered an ad for a mail-order bride.  Her husband-to-be is the number one suspect in a train robbery that happened two years ago.  The Pinkerton Agency never gives up on a case and has been working this case for two years.  Now, with Maggie on the scene, they hope to finally wrap this one up.  Maggie has created a fictional past in her letters to Garrett Thomas during their previous months of correspondence.  She has arrived in the Arizona Territory under the pretense of marrying Garrett, but what she is really been assigned to do is learn where he has hidden the money from the train robbery and who is partner in crime is.
She moves in with the family, searches the house and begins taking care of Garrett’s two young children.  As time progresses, she finds no evidence of the money anywhere and begins to care for the children and Garrett.  She tells herself to stay on task, to not get emotionally involved and finish her assignment, but the wedding date looms closer and closer.  She finally stumbles onto a clue, but will it be enough to prove who the criminal is to solve the case?
After reading the first book in the series and finding it just so-so, I wanted to give the series a second chance before writing it off.  I’m glad I did.  I enjoyed this second book in the series much more.  I thought the story flowed well with a good plot, the characters were likeable and the faith of Maggie very evident.  I loved the character of Aunt Hetty!  The mystery portion of the story was not much of a challenge, but the journey to discover the answers was entertaining.  I’m now looking forward to book three in the series to see what interesting situation the next Pinkerton lady detective finds herself in and how she will solve the case.
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.” 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Last Chance Hero


Title:  Last Chance Hero (A Place to Call Home #4)
Author:  Cathleen Armstrong
Pages:  288
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.
This series begins with a novel titled, Welcome to Last Chance, followed by One More Last Chance, then continues with At Home in Last Chance.  In each novel, there are down home characters who find what their heart is searching for through interaction with eclectic town’s people.  Each novel focuses on a main person who is usually new to the town and learning how vastly different a small town is compared to bigger towns or city life.  Some aspects of small town living are endearing and others can seem somewhat frustrating to the newbie’s in town.
Here we meet a man named Andy who came back home to coach the local high school football team he played on years ago.  Readers are also introduced to a new doctor, Dr. Jess, who will be practicing in Last Chance.  She is a very driven woman who has no clue what some home town quirks are nor does she know what to make of Andy when she first meets him.  Andy and Jess come from two totally different home life backgrounds and that brings sparks along with misunderstandings to the budding friendship.
I have read each of the novels in this series, thoroughly getting lost in the pages until the very end of the book.  The characters seem down home and at times like a reflection of real life and real people who deal with some real heart issues.  However, these players also want to rejoice in God, enjoy dinner together at a restaurant or a table and even when reunions occur during homecoming week they share fun and laughter.
I sure hope there are more stories to come in this series.  I plan on collecting the series and keeping them in my home library to read again in the near future or share with a friend.  It’s very enjoyable to sit down and read a book knowing the author has done a masterful job of creating an imaginary world where readers can lose themselves in for a short time.  There are also many references to faith and what living our faith before others might look like whether the times are good or bad.  So join me in reading A Place to Call Home series; you’ll simply love the books!

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, September 7, 2015

The Final Reville by Amanda Flowers


Title:  The Final Reveille (A Living History Museum Mystery #1)
Author:  Amanda Flower
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Midnight Ink
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5.
The Civil War is a time in our history that has been the setting of many tales shared though various mediums.  Amanda Flower weaves a mystery during a weekend filled with various activities from this time period along with those who reenact the battles.  During the weekend of this event on Barton Farms, a murder or two has been committed.  Now, the living history is in danger of possibly losing its benefactor and the director has become a suspect and a victim!  Plus, the director is a single mom with a 5-year-old son who unexpectedly meets her ex’s fiancĂ©e.  The chief of police is an intriguing character to me and at times I even thought he was a part of the problem and not doing his job.
Living history museums really aid the visitor in the feel of living in the timeframe and not in the present.  My husband and sons take great pleasure and have fun being in a group that is globally known as the S.C.A. with each one having a persona from an historical time period.  People can appreciate how many articles we take for granted that were made or used during the Civil War or before.  Amanda Flower did a superb job of drawing me into the activity and characters of her book, and I believe many would enjoy reading and sharing a copy with friends.
The sequel is due in 2016 so be ready for more action, adventure and a mystery or romance to boot!  Check out Amanda Flower’s other well written mysteries that know no bounds and keep you entertained all the way till the very last page.  Look for her books and then curl up for a few hours of fun that you’ll never regret it!

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, September 6, 2015

The Pursuit of God (Updated Edition)

Title:  The Pursuit of God (Updated Edition)
Author:  A. W. Tozer
Pages:  128
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Aneko Press
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.
When I read the title and author, I was drawn back in my mind to the day I married my husband in a church.  It was the very church where Tozer preached to people.  There are other writings of Tozer that are also rich in teaching and if possible read about Tozer’s life.  Tozer was a man who sought hard after God and in this book he challenges all to live a life fully and completely for God.
Some of the chapter themes were convicting as I read and realized God was speaking to my heart about where He is working.  Other times I was challenged in my thoughts or comforted emotionally.  There is always room for the believer to grow in becoming more Christ like and this book is one where words of exhortation are delivered without apology.  Prayers are given to aid the person in asking for the Lord’s help, hand or voice.
Nothing replaces the Bible; however, there are authors who have written what God has laid on their heart to share with others in the hopes of drawing them near to Him.  Tozer is one such author.  The book was originally published in 1948 and some of the problems that we see in the Body needing to be addressed are addressed by the author.  Draw near to the heart of the author as he points the reader to the heart and mind of our God!

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.” 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Secrets She Kept

Title:  Secrets She Kept
Author:  Cathy Gohlke
Pages:  416
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5+ stars.
Cathy Gohlke wrote an exceptional tension-filled novel with mystery, intrigue, courage and so very much more.  Cathy’s other novel I have read is Saving Amelie, which is another riveting tale set in the WWII historical timeframe.  In her newest endeavor, the author crafts a heart-ripping redemptive story as one woman in America longs to learn her true ancestry after her mother’s passing.
Hannah is invited to Berlin to visit a grandfather she has never met or known about and learning about his past just about breaks her heart.  Yet, in the end, we learn a bigger story that has happened and who is the true Savior of mankind.  I so enjoyed hearing about Cathy’s travels and her experiences when she was researching this tale, including in her trips with various family members.
Some stories reach out and keep your attention because of characters and the action described in the pages.  With Secrets She Kept, the attention of the reader doesn’t falter as the author uses flashbacks and returning to the current time to convey the tale from a couple different characters’ point of view.  The best use of this method helped me enjoy understanding how each point of view could add a different dimension to the story being shared.
We must never forget WWII or any other wars or tragedy because they are part of our nation’s history and we can glean many lessons from what was experienced.  What Cathy shares is fiction and well-crafted, but also easy to imagine events happening for real as set up in the book.  I hope you will read, enjoy and savor the flavor of the novel long after you finish it and then perhaps share it with another person.  Here is a book for every personal library for people to read for years to come!

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, September 2, 2015

Center of Gravity...very disappointing


Title:  Center of Gravity
Author:  Laura McNeill
Pages:  314
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Ava Carson has married the man of her dreams, but he has turned into the man of her nightmares.  They have been married for about three years and have one child together.  She has adopted Mitchell’s 8-year-old son from his previous marriage that ended with his first wife’s death approximately five years ago.  As the relationship has progressed, Mitchell has become more and more controlling.  Ava has been making excuses for him because his job is stressful or he is just a perfectionist.  She now is beginning to realize how controlling and manipulative he is.  If he can’t control her, then he will not be in a relationship with her.  As a child custody battle ensues, Ava never dreams how far Mitchell will go to get his way.  With the children’s lives at stake, Ava will do anything necessary to protect them.
Negatives:  First off, this is not a Christian book even though it is marketed by a Christian publisher and aimed toward a Christian reading market.  There is a lot of swearing in the book.  There is also a brief appearance of a gay couple.  There is a flashback scene from the honeymoon that is far more detailed than one would expect in a Christian book.  None of the characters have a relationship with God, who is never mentioned.  The 8-year-old boy in the story is too mature for the most part and seemed more like a 12- or 13-year-old a lot of the time.  This book could have been picked up in any secular location as there is nothing Christian or faith-focused about it.  I am disappointed in the publishing company.
Positives:  This is a talented author, who has written a good psychological thriller that could have been great without the negatives mentioned above.  I really liked her writing style.  There is a tension-filled and climactic ending, and the story as a whole will keep readers on pace with quick turning of the pages.  I also liked the changing points of view from Ava to Jack to Mitchell, etc…  I thought that worked very well in the story.
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.” 

Until the Harvest





Title:  Until the Harvest
Author:  Sarah Louden Thomas
Pages:  304
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
The story is set in West Virginia in the year 1975 on the eve of 1976 when a family is devastated by the sudden death of Henry Phillips’ father.  Now Henry, his sister Sadie and his mother Perla have to learn how to live without the man they loved.  Sadie is a librarian in Ohio where she returns to after the funeral.  Perla is trying to get Henry to return to college to finish his degree though Henry wants nothing to do with school.
Margaret and her younger sister Mayfair help Henry’s grandmother on the farm and with the house work.  However, Mayfair has a special gift that she shares with whoever is in need.  She is also a diabetic who suffers from hypoglycemia after she aids a person.  There are many more heart-touching characters and scenes the author crafts together to draw readers to a story that shows the love of God and family.  In the tale, there is also redemption along with prayer and sharing of one’s heart with others.
I enjoyed the relationships that reflected genuine love and care with various characters in the small town.  Some were family loving wayward family members and other relationships were friendships of a sort.  This was an era that saw the demise of moonshine and the beginning of drugs being transported and sold throughout the country.  Henry is the main male character who, after losing his father, is really lost and therefore makes some bad choices that put his life and future on a dangerous path.
Mayfair is a quiet character in the story yet she is the most in tune with how others are either in need of healing physically or emotionally.  Mayfair shares that people have to want to be better or to change because she cannot make that choice for them.  I love Sarah’s novels because the characters reflect both the positive and the shortfall of humanity.  Above all, they show how God longs to reach us with His love and care and how we sometimes struggle to understand the reality of His being.
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, September 1, 2015

Counting on a Cowboy (A Four Hearts Ranch Romance #2)


Title:  Counting on a Cowboy (A Four Hearts Ranch Romance #2)
Author:  Debra Clopton
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
My rating is 5 stars.
Betting on Hope is the first book in the series where we are introduced to the Monahan family and their ranch.  Since Maggie’s column brought Wishing Springs into focus by mentioning how there are several single cowboys, Abby decides her life needs to change as Maggie’s column suggests.  Now in Wishing Springs, Abby is starting to fall asleep behind the wheel when she slams on the brakes in order to avoid hitting a bull.  She then swerves to avoid hitting the cowboy standing off to the side.  Well that cowboy’s name is Bo and after Maggie ends up in a ditch, he runs over along with one of his brothers to see if she is hurt.  From there, the tension between the cowboy and Abby begins to climb!  Bo’s and Abby’s pasts collide on the ranch as well as their feelings for each other and then to complicate things a baby is just dropped off in Pop’s front yard.  Bo loves making special stirrups, being a volunteer fireman, and more.  Abby is a woman seeking to understand who she is after suffering a terrible tragedy two years prior.
What I liked most about the book was the characters had lifelike issues to face, to struggle with and choices to make for the path they were going to travel.  The characters are examples of what human nature looks like as well as how faith can play an important part of life.  The author crafts these characters as if they are so real that readers can identify with their triumphs or failures.  Monahan’s ranch is being pulled out of debt by the hardworking adult sons while they care for their grandfather who has Alzheimer’s.  Through each son’s special gift they are able to keep the ranch making money to pay off the gambling debts their father had by using the ranch as collateral.
Betting on Hope is Tru’s story and this sequel is about Bo.  I cannot wait to see what Debra Clopton shares with us next about the Four Hearts Ranch!  I enjoyed sitting back and reading, and I hope you join me in enjoying these stories too!

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.”