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Showing posts from October, 2016

A Daughter’s Dream Author: Shelley Shepherd Gray

Title:  A Daughter’s Dream Author:  Shelley Shepherd Gray Pages:  272 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Avon Inspire Series:  Charmed Amish Life #2 My rating is 5 stars. Rebecca Kinsinger is the focus on the second installment in the Charm Amish Life series.  Rebecca works at the family’s lumber mill in the front office.  Lukas is now married to Darla. Rebecca is one of the people Lukas relies on at the mill for her excellent way of handling the men and demands of the front office.  Plus, working with her brother she knows how best to help him without much being said, but her dream is to be a teacher.  When the local teacher who is married becomes pregnant, Rebecca is the one who is asked to fill in for her.  However, Rebecca has a revelation that will affect who will replace the teacher when she has the baby in the spring. Lilly has moved in with her uncle and grandparents after losing both her parents in an accident in Ohio.  Jacob is now thirty, has never been married or had children, and i…

A Son’s Vow Author: Shelley Shepherd Gray

Title:  A Son’s Vow Author:  Shelley Shepherd Gray Pages:  288 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Avon Inspire Series:  Charmed Amish Life #1 My rating is 5 stars. Lukas is the oldest of the Kinsinger siblings whose life, along with other families, has irrevocably changed due to a fire at the family’s mill.  Lukas lost his father and now he is the head of the mill and the family.  As a result of the tragedy another resident of Charm has lost her father; however, some of the town folks blame Darla Kurtz’s father for the fire. Darla and Lukas have been close friends since they were little children and now both have to assume responsibility while trying to deal with their own grief.  Darla works at the local post office to help care for her younger siblings; however, her brother Aaron, who works at the mill, has been different.  Aaron is now an angry young man who, though pledged to marry Hope, is taking his anger out on Darla. For me, I enjoy Shelley’s tales as they are written so lifelike, meani…

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The Peace Maker

Title:  The Peace Maker Author:  Michele Chynoweth Pages:  310 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Morgan James Publishing My rating is 5 stars. Michele Chynoweth has written a brilliant and quite believable modern day fictional story that is based on the Old Testament account of David and Abigail.  Readers will want to read 1 Samuel chapters 8 through 25 to acquaint themselves with the historical true account when they encounter the fictional characters in this novel that bring to life the encounters between an angry, self-centered commander in chief with a man who is after God’s own heart. Before reading the novel, the author reveals her list of fictional characters that are crafted to resemble the Biblical characters in the Bible.  We meet Chessa Reynolds whose heart of compassion and care for others represents Abigail in the Bible.  We meet Leif Mitchell who is a singer/songwriter and part owner of a horse ranch who is sought out to serve in public office by a wise elderly man. I found this …

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Christian's Hope (Northkill Series #3)

Title:  Christian’s Hope (Return to Northkill #3) Author:  Ervin R. Stutzman Pages:  339 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Herald Press My rating is 5 stars. Readers are introduced to the time period, historical events and people in the first two novels titled, Jacob’s Choice and Joseph’s Dilemma.  We meet the Hochstetler family who were real people who lived during the French and Indian War though not unscathed.  Jacob is the father who owns adjoining farmland with his older children while he still has a couple of younger ones at home.  When the home is attacked, there are a few fatalities in the family and Jacob, Joseph and Christian are taken as prisoners.  Readers will want to read the first two installments to help better understand the setting, family interactions and experiences of both Jacob and Joseph before concluding with Christian’s Hope. Christian was a young man when he was taken prisoner and remained with a tribe for some time before being forced to return to Northkill.  When Ch…

Joseph’s Dilemma (Return to Northkill #2)

Title:  Joseph’s Dilemma (Return to Northkill #2) Author:  Ervin R. Stutzman Pages:  338 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Herald Press My rating is 5 stars. Joseph is one of Jacob’s sons taken in captivity when the Indians attacked the Hochstetler family farm during the French and Indian War.  Based on true events and real people this second book focuses on how Joseph deals with his captivity while still with his father and then when he is separated from him.  Joseph is wrestling with his hurt and anger at his father for his not allowing either Joseph or Christian to use weapons to defend their home and lives.  As Joseph is tied up and led away from all he knows, he is a young man filled with sorrow, anger, hate towards his enemies and facing the unknown. When Joseph is adopted by a Delaware widow to replace her lost son, at first Joseph is deciding to not become adapted to their lifestyle or beliefs.  Joseph fights with all that is in him from not eating the food offered him to having to be …

Jacob’s Choice (Return to Northkill #1)

Title:  Jacob’s Choice (Return to Northkill #1) Author:  Ervin R. Stutzman Pages:  350 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Herald Press My rating is 5 stars. What a very interesting series!  I absolutely became engrossed first by the story being set during the French & Indian War.  Second, the novel is based on an actual person who lived during this time with the last name of Hochstetler.  In the first book, we read the narrative through the point of view of the father named Jacob and his daughter Barbara. Here is a story based on a man who is considered a hero among the Amish as he chose to stand firm on his nonresistant stance when facing danger, death and torture.  In the story, we see the family face death, separation from each other and the community, yet holding out hope, both eternal and perhaps a reunion of family members taken captive. It simply is stunning how Jacob stood firm in his stance even knowing that some if not all of the family would lose their lives.  Whether one agrees …

A Very Blessed Christmas Coloring Book

Title:  A Very Blessed Christmas Coloring Book Author:  Robin Mead Pages:  96 Year:  2016 Publisher:  FaithWords My rating is 5 stars. The pictures are a variety of drawings from simple to complex and single images to multiple ones.  For those looking for a coloring book to span many ages and talents, this is the one to choose!  The pictures themselves are inviting to look at and more so when filled in with color.  I loved to just look at them as it helped me look forward to the holidays that aren’t too far away which is hard to believe! Coloring can be a very relaxing way to enjoy an afternoon or soon to be cold evening in front of one’s favorite show or sports event.  The pictures can be removed to share or frame to put up on the wall in a home.  So, if you have someone who loves to color or needs a simple craft to help pass time and chase away the blues, this book is the one to give as a gift or just because you’re thinking of that person!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I rec…

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SHAKEN by TIm Tebow

Title:  Shaken (Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms) Author: Tim Tebow Pages:  224 Year:  2016 Publisher: WaterBrook My rating is 5 stars. Shaken is a really good book. The theme of the book is that no matter how tough our trials in life are, God has a plan.  Throughout the book, Tim Tebow has provided examples of how God has used him and others to impact and save lives.  Tebow talks of his own trials and what he has had to face when his career was spiraling down.  People criticized him, looked down on him, told him he couldn’t do jack by being a quarterback (because that was his biggest dream in the NFL).  Tebow felt disappointed, like he let down himself, his family, friends, and fans.  But amidst all that, Tebow turned to God, Scripture and loved ones for encouragement and support.  He has had to remind himself that no matter what happens in life, God has a plan to utilize his gifts for the benefits of other people.  God has done this, even though maybe not in th…

Targeted for Murder (Love Inspired Suspense)

Title:  Targeted for Murder (Love Inspired Suspense) Series:  Wilderness, Inc. Author:  Elizabeth Goddard Pages:  224 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense My rating is 5 stars. Hadley Mason lives in a studio apartment while painting her subjects, hoping to break into the art world. While taking care of a neighbor’s place, she comes home to find her door open.  Did she leave it that way?  As she enters, her name is called and in the darkness sits….well, better not tell you the good parts coming up!  Let me share with you, however, that this novel takes off quick in suspense and action without really letting up.  In fact, they only increase the further one reads into the book. Love Inspired suspense books are written extremely well, grabbing the attention of the reader from the picture on the front cover!  Once I pick up one of these to “quickly” read, it isn’t because I read fast, but the story grabs me as soon as I start.  Plus, I cannot wait to read where the tale is going…

Waves of Mercy

Title:  Waves of Mercy Author:  Lynn Austin Pages:  379 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Bethany House My rating is 5 stars. The story mostly takes place in Holland, Michigan in 1897. The audience will read about Anna Nicholson in 1897 as well as with flashbacks to the past the life of one of the city’s founders.  It is the city’s 50-year anniversary and the town council has asked all the “old-timers”, the people who originally settled in the area, to write about their memories of that time.  Geesje de Jonge is one of the old-timers.  She is at first reluctant to write her story as there are so many tragedies in her life, but receives encouragement and decides to write her story. Her story begins in the Netherlands in 1845.  She tells of her life in the Netherlands and how she fell in love with a soldier billeted in her home during a fight between Separatists and the government church.  Due to religious persecution, her parents decide to move to America when she is seventeen.  Geesje is heart…

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The Rector by Michael Hicks Thompson

Title:  The Rector:  A Christian Murder Mystery (The Solo Ladies Bible Study #1) Author:  Michael Hicks Thompson Pages:  370 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Shepherd King Publishing LLC My rating is 5 stars. The joy of reading a story by a new author at times defies description and here is such a case in point!  I love mysteries, especially those that have me thinking about clues and trying to deduce who the culprit or culprits may be.  Sometimes I just enjoy the adventure of the mystery along with the tension that builds at times subtly till the conclusion. Michael Thompson has written a wonderful mystery that really engaged my whole being and more so with each page I turned.  There were clues that weren’t clues, but were used to throw me off course and other times he would reveal something I never saw coming!  The author’s main character is a lady named Martha who writes and publishes her own local newspaper as well as running a local boardinghouse in her home. What seems like a really nea…

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Black Friday (A Johnstone Novel)

Title:  Black Friday Author:  William W.  Johnstone Pages:  384 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Pinnacle My rating is 5 stars. What a captivating and heart-pumping novel about a fictional terrorist attack in a mall in the USA.  While this was totally fictional it brings to the forefront why we must stay vigilant of America’s enemies.  The story takes readers into various characters’ lives that will soon become entangled while shopping at stores the day after Thanksgiving.  The action really seemed realistic and so did the cost of fighting those who were attempting to take out many lives. One of the reasons I love Johnstone novels is the American patriotism that is so clear and touching throughout the story.  The characters that unknowingly met and united against the terrorists ranged from a wheelchair bound vet from WWII to a young man who had no direction in life but trouble.  Another character was a vet who had served three tours overseas before being injured and having an honorary dischar…

Slender Reeds (Jochebed’s Hope) Author: Texie Susan Gregory

Title:  Slender Reeds (Jochebed’s Hope) Author:  Texie Susan Gregory Pages:  320 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Shiloh My rating is 5 stars. Jochebed lived during the time of the Hebrews’ captivity in Egypt under Pharaoh Ramses reign.  Married to Amram she gave him three children:  Miriam, Aaron and Moses as recorded in the Old Testament.   Read the actual account in the Bible in the book of Exodus, beginning in chapter 2 to learn the true historical account. What I found fascinating about this fictional novel was life viewed through Jochebed’s eyes.  While this is not a retelling of her life’s story, it is really intriguing to go back in time and consider how Jochebed may have felt, what she may have experienced and lived.  Much of what is presented I thought quite plausible as life was a day at a time existence and their lives were owned by a ruthless Pharaoh. As I read, my heart was tugged as to what Jochebed may have felt, especially in the way God led her to let go of Moses in the hope…

Finding Sarah, Finding Me (A Birth Mother’s Story)

Title:  Finding Sarah, Finding Me (A Birth Mother’s Story) Author:  Christine Lindsay Pages:  233 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Whitefire Publishing My rating is 5 stars. So far in 2016 I have read many books.  Most of them have been good and a few haven’t, but that doesn’t diminish my love of reading.  When the author asked me to read and review this book, having read her fictional stories, I jumped at the opportunity.  What I hadn’t counted on was such a transparent, heartfelt, true story about the many different roads traveled by Christine in her life.  In the heart-gripping hope-filled book, Christine shares her life over a couple of decades, looking for the daughter she gave up for adoption and coming face-to-face with her own heart.  It didn’t matter that I had never experienced this road; I was drawn in by the desire of a birth mother wanting to meet her daughter as an adult.  What I think Christine encountered was truly something she never expected on her journey and that was God’…

The Babylon Code

Title:  The Babylon Code (Solving the Bible’s Greatest End-Times Mystery) Author:  Paul McGuire & Troy Anderson Pages:  400 Year:  2016 Publisher:  FaithWords My rating is 4 stars. The Babylon Code by Paul McGuire and Troy Anderson is an interesting book filled with end-times data and discussion.  The book is very thorough, and it is quite obvious the authors did a lot of biblical and historical research in writing this book.  The book is a bit repetitive with some of its points, although I would say this is a problem with editing, but it doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the book.  The authors definitely have attempted to bring some scholarship to the realm of conspiracy theories and biblical prophecy.  Prophecy accounts for one third of the Bible, and McGuire and Anderson have done an excellent job putting together an interesting end-times narrative.  The authors have shown that the book of Revelation isn’t something that Christians need to fear; rather it is a bo…

The Candidate

Title:  The Candidate (The Newsmakers #2) Author:  Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart Pages:  335 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Thomas Nelson My rating is 4 stars. Erica Sparks is a tough, ambitious journalist who will stop at nothing to get to the truth.  She will risk offending people, stepping on toes, even her very life in her tireless efforts to bring the truth out in the open before the American public.  This dogged approach has led her to risk her life before as seen in book one of the series, The Newsmakers.  In this second book, her nose for news leads her to pursue a conspiracy plot to gain control of the White House.  Erica is also now dealing with her daughter living with her as she has gained custody of Jenny.  Jenny faces adjusting to having a celebrity mother, going to a private school with wealthy peers as well as her mom being gone a lot for her job. As Erica’s rating dip below #1 in viewership, her boss demands she get a lead story to catapult her to the top again.  The pres…

A Day and a Life

Title:  A Day and a Life (The Hawk & the Dove #9) Author:  Penelope Wilcock Pages:  221 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Lion Fiction My rating is 5 stars. Brother Cedd has gone missing.  He is a novitiate; therefore, he has not taken his final vows to become a monk.  One morning it is discovered that he has left without leaving word of where he is going or when or if he will return.  Brother Clement is devastated as his eyesight is failing and he has come to depend on Brother Cedd to eventually take over his position in the scriptorium.  Brother Theodore is worried that he has lost a novitiate from monastic life and that Brother Cedd has returned to the world.  Abbot John is concerned as well that he has lost one of his sheep so to speak.  Brother Thomas is sent by Abbot John to William de Bulmer’s home with supplies to help see him and his wife through the upcoming winter.  When Thomas arrives, he is surprised at what he finds. Brother Cedd has been struggling with feeling insignificant…

A thrilling novella for all ages!

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The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles #4)

Title:  The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles #4) Author:  Dawn Crandall Pages:  305 (ARC) Year:  2016 Publisher:  Whitaker House My rating is 5 stars. Violet Hawthorne is from a respectable family, but after the sudden death of her parents her brother turns the family inn into a brothel.  Violet gratefully accepts a job at the front desk at the Everston, a local vacation retreat/hotel for the wealthy.  She lives at the hotel as well and enjoys her job, but has no social life.  No one wants to associate with her because of her ne’er-do-well brother.  She meets Vance in her capacity as an employee at the hotel, which his father used to own.  Now Vance’s brother-in-law, Dexter, owns the hotel.  Violet thinks Vance attractive, but has heard the rumors about the love ‘em and leave ‘em Vance Everstone.  In her spare time, she writes and illustrates children’s books for her own pleasure; she shares them with no one. Vance Everstone is indeed the man his reputation claims him to be.…

The Captive Imposter (The Everstone Chronicles #3)

Title:  The Captive Imposter (The Everstone Chronicles #3) Author:  Dawn Crandall Pages:  280 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Whitaker House My rating is 4 stars. This is the third book in this series and tells Estella Everstone’s story.  The setting is the beautiful countryside of Maine in the year 1891.  Estella is the youngest of the Everstone children and often feels invisible.  Men court her for her social position and substantial inheritance, not for who she is as a person.  She has always kept to herself and been quiet.  She has no close friends. After a tragedy at her brother Will’s wedding, her other brother, Vance thinks it would be safer for her to go into hiding until things settle down.  Estella doesn’t want to be sent off all alone, but her brother insists.  She is hired as a lady’s companion and they travel to one of her father’s hotels, Everston.  This hotel is Estella’s favorite and she one day hopes to own it.  She meets the man who manages the hotel, Dexter Blakeley.  He i…

Home on the Range

Title:  Home on the Range Author:  Ruth Logan Herne Pages:  320 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Multnomah My rating is 5 stars. Home on the Range is the second book in the Double S series.  The first book is titled, Back in the Saddle. In the first novel, we are introduced to the Stafford family who own a ranch.  The elder Stafford is in ill health when we meet him and greatly aided by his housekeeper who has something in her past only she and Mr. Stafford know.  In the first novel, the story focuses on Colt who was at one time in the finance world of Wall Street and now returns to the farm dejected and demoralized. In Home on the Range, Nick is the main character.  He is a single father, raising two little girls who are quite a handful and have totally opposite personalities.  Nick has been the head honcho directing all the activity and responsibility on the ranch.  He finds his greatest challenge is balancing that of being a single Dad with taking care of duties that tend to intrude upon hi…

The Bound Heart (The Everstone Chronicles #2)

Title:  The Bound Heart (The Everstone Chronicles #2) Author:  Dawn Crandall Pages:  304 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Whitaker House My rating is 5 stars. Meredyth Summercourt has been waiting for six years for Vance Everstone to return home from Europe to marry her.  Her eighteenth summer she was smitten with Vance, who was a few years older than she.  They had known each other forever, but she decided she wanted more than friendship.  She thinks Vance returns her feelings, but when he doesn’t offer to marry her after an incident that could ruin Meredyth he leaves her wondering.  She clings to the promises she made to him that she would wait for him until he returned.  She has rejected every suitor since then.  Her good friend Lawrence or Lawry Hampton has returned from Washington.  He has been gone for two years and they fall back into friendship easily. Lawry has returned with one purpose…to court Meredyth.  She has no idea of his strong feelings for him, but he trusts God to set thing…

The Hesitant Heiress (The Everstone Chronicles #1)

Title:  The Hesitant Heiress (The Everstone Chronicles #1) Author:  Dawn Crandall Pages:  315 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Whitaker House My rating is 5 stars. Nathan Everstone is a wealthy bachelor who has just returned from a two-year adventure out West.  He left abruptly and everyone thought he would marry Nicholette Fairbanks upon his return.  She certainly thinks so.  However, Nathan has returned a changed man and has no intention of marrying Nicholette.  He has his eye on another heiress, but she wants nothing to do with him.  He can’t understand that as he usually has no problem charming women and gaining their attention.  He is determined to win her hand and she is just as determined that he won’t. Amaryllis Brigham is practically a spinster at the age of 25.  She has no desire to marry, but upon being kicked out of music school she arrives at her wealthy aunt’s home and soon discovers she is heir to lots of money.  There is only one catch…in order to gain the money she needs to m…

High Speed Holiday (Roads to Danger)

Title:  High Speed Holiday (Roads to Danger) Author:  Katy Lee Pages:  224 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense My rating is 5 stars. The setting is a small town where a single mom with her young son is attempting to become the Chief of Police.  The town council put her on a two-year probation period.  Now it’s winter and her son is in a racing league for young teens when she notices a man.  She approaches him.  She notices he goes down in the snow, which is turning red at the same time her son is in an accident during the race. What does she do?  Help the man who was shot or her son? The man is known as Ian and shortly thereafter his past is revealed.  One family is shocked to learn who he really turns out to be.  In the meantime, the Chief is constantly dodging danger and death while trying to protect her son or Ian.  Years back the Chief made a vow to never open her heart again to love, but is that about to change with Ian?
I so enjoy the Love Inspired Suspense stories a…

Mary,Chosen of God

Title:  Mary, Chosen of God Author:  Diana Wallis Taylor Pages:  320 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Whitaker House My rating is 4 stars. Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org As most readers can discern from the title, this book is a fictional account about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The story starts with Mary as a young girl and goes on to cover approximately fifty years of her life.  Readers will see Mary’s love of friendship with Joseph turn to the love of a man and woman.  She is soon betrothed to Joseph, but is visited by an angel of the Lord.  During this visit she learns of her cousin, Elizabeth’s pregnancy and is told to go visit her.  Mary is also told of her joyous task of bearing the long-awaited Messiah.  Mary is in wonder as to how this can happen, but obeys and thanks God for His giving her this responsibility. When it becomes obvious that Mary I pregnant and unmarried though betrothed, Joseph wants to break off their be…

Experiencing God Through His Names

Title:  Experiencing God Through His Names Author:  Sheryl Giesbrecht Pages:  112 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Bold Vision Books My rating is 4 stars. When I received the book and saw how short it was, along with the chapter titles, I decided I just wanted to sit and read to discover what was shared.  As I read each chapter, I would discover a nugget of truth that caused me to pause, meditate and consider how the name would affect my view of God.  Each chapter will help people learn how to take the name of God and use it in prayer.  The number of days in the book is 31 so people can use it repeatedly every month. Whether someone is new to prayer or knowing the various names of God that reveal various aspects of His character, the book can be a tool to aid in one’s spiritual walk with the Lord.  Perhaps, like me, you might want to read it and discover the nuggets of truth God has for you and allow those nuggets to draw you near to God.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or …

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Message of the Twelve

Title:  The Message of the Twelve (Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets) Author:  Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. & Gary E. Yates Pages:  384 Year:  2016 Publisher:  B & H My rating is 5 stars. A timely commentary if there ever was one!  Why?  So many focus on the New Testament to the exclusion of the Old Testament; some don’t understand the Old Testament and there are those who struggle through reading let alone studying it.  The reason I wanted to read this book was twofold:  one is because, “All Scripture is God- breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).  The second reason is that being curious I wanted to read, learn and hoped to use what the authors said as a means of growing in my walk with the Lord. Right from the Preface readers will be able to glean nuggets of truth in the easy manner of the presentation of the material.  I would recommend reading the sections that they are teaching from in the Bible bef…

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A Date with Danger (A Novel)

Title:  A Date with Danger (A Novel) Author:  Kari Iroz Pages:  256 Year:  2016 Publisher:  Covenant Communications My rating is 5 stars. What a gem of a novel!  Kari Iroz is a new author whose main female character is a 25-year-old, single, Mormon woman with a quick sense of humor.  Jacklyn Wyatt is a student at a college working a job at the mall when she is approached by the FBI!  Jacklyn or Jack as the character prefers to be called is asked to go undercover because a woman is missing.  The missing woman’s features are similar to Jack’s plus she belonged to the same cyber-dating site.  One of Jack’s sisters signed her up for this site so Jack has no working knowledge of who has contacted her for dates.  The FBI gives Jack some dossiers to review so she knows who she is meeting and so the adventure for Jack begins!  There is humor laced throughout the novel that made me burst out laughing many times, which enhanced the novel’s attraction even more. The story is filled with danger,…