Thursday, March 31, 2016

Playing the Part

Title:  Playing the Part
Author:  Jen Turano
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5 stars.
I would have to say this is one of the best reads of Jen’s novels for me in a long time.  There is a real underlying mysterious plot that runs through the book and in many places the situations are funny.  The main female character is an actress.  Believe me when I tell you the author puts many twists in the storyline.  Even in the epilogue there was a surprise that I never expected.  So well done Jen!
The main male character is a reclusive and eccentric man who lives in a castle with a really interesting staff.  Just when you think you understand the complex personalities of some of the characters, in comes a surprise that will keep a reader glued to the pages.  The male character lives in this castle with working cannons that some of his staff just love to set off; it’s funny!
There is an elderly woman in the story who loves to play matchmaker; she is a hoot!  Most of the background players are really fascinating and unique and they bring spice to the story for sure.  The nefarious character is Silas Ruff, and this guy is rough and very calculating!
There is much in the story for which I think many readers will enjoy and I hope to pass along the book for others to enjoy.  One theme I loved was how the main female character is very different from what is expected or shown when she is on stage.  The funniest part of the book is a goat named George.  Wait until you read what he likes to do when he sees a skirt!
I am not revealing much because it was so fun to just read and discover the way the plot ran and I want that for those of you who read it to discover too!  There are serious parts, some intense scenes and really Jen is just telling one of the best stories for this time frame that I have read in a long while!  So grab a copy and get set to be entertained to the hilt!
Watch out especially for the South meeting the North again in a very unique way!

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, March 30, 2016

A Daring Sacrifice


Title:  A Daring Sacrifice
Author:  Jody Hedlund
Pages:  224
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Zondervan
This is the second young adult novel from Jody Hedlund set in the time of knights and ladies.  The first novel is titled, An Uncertain Choice.  Both novels can stand alone, but there are some characters that appear in both novels briefly.  The two main characters in this story are Lady Juliana Wessex and Lord Collin Goodrich.
Juliana Wessex is living in the forest, supporting a large group of peasants with her hunting skills with her bow and arrows.  She and her father had been forced off their land and out of their home by her father’s step brother.  She and her father live some years in peace with her father becoming a blacksmith after having been lord of the manor.  Then, her father decided to lead a rebellion to retake what is rightly his with devastating results.  Her father was killed and Juliana and the peasants had to flee to the forest to live in perpetual hiding from her step uncle’s soldiers.  Juliana is forced into robbing the nobility to feed her people.
Collin Goodrich has returned home after serving time with the Noblest Knight.  His father has died so Collin is now Lord Goodrich.  His main goal is to find a husband for his sister.  He has no real interest in how the manor is run or the plight of the people that support him.  He isn’t cruel just indifferent.  Juliana tries to rob him and thus begins their interactions that show Collin how to be more compassionate, generous and caring toward the peasants.  Juliana learns to curb her impetuosity and to do things the way God would want her to and not to sink to the level of her evil uncle.
The example of sacrificial love in this story is very well done and heart-touching.  The romance that develops between these two is precious.  I just loved the sense of humor of both characters as well as their sense of duty and responsibility at such young ages.  I also thought the discussion questions after the story were timely and thought-provoking.  I think these are two stories set in the past that definitely have timely and important lessons to teach young people of today.
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.”

Dressed for Death (Drew Farthering Mystery #4)


Title:  Dressed for Death (Drew Farthering Mystery #4)
Author:  Julianna Deering
Pages:  320
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany House
Drew Farthering and his wife Madeline have been married for six months now and have been invited to attend a Regency gathering at one of his old school mate’s house, Tal Cummins.  They arrive with Drew’s best friend Nick and his love interest Carrie along with Carrie’s young brother Will to find Tal engaged to Alice.  As the week progresses with all dressed in Regency style and taking part in all sorts of activities.  The story moves along slowly and about one-third of the way through the first death occurs.  The authorities are called in, but Tal asks Drew to investigate on his own to try to find out the answers.  Drew feels the tug of friendship from the past and agrees, even though he really has no clues to pursue.
Soon another body is discovered and Drew faces guilt over this death, but Tal continues to press him to put his detective skills to use.  Drew asks some questions, but seems to make no headway.  However, there is an undercurrent Drew senses and knows there is something else going on.  He sees some interesting things that might be related, but can’t seem to get any definitive answers.  Yet another death occurs and Drew feels like giving up, but with Madeline’s encouragement he continues.
I have read the other mysteries in this series and enjoyed them, but this one left me sad and depressed.  There was so much death in the same family that it sidetracked the mystery element for me.  In a lot of mysteries, the criminal is discovered and justice is served and the reader is left with some satisfaction.  This ending did unveil the criminal, but left me feeling unsatisfied.  There was also too much time spent with the Regency party details with little action or investigation by Drew to find the culprit.  I did like when Drew shared his faith with Tal as well as Madeline’s reliance on God and encouraging Drew in his God-given calling.  I look forward to the next mystery in the series and hope the next one is more satisfying for this mystery lover.
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, March 28, 2016

Brush of Wings (Angels Walking #3)

Title:  Brush of Wings (Angels Walking #3)
Author:  Karen Kingsbury
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Howard
My rating is 5 stars.
Brush of Wings is the final book of the series; the previous novels are Angels Walking followed by Chasing Sunsets.    Through all three of the books the characters both human and angelic are the same.  The angels are sent on missions that have to do with the lives of Tyler, Marcus, Mary Catharine and Sami.  Here in the final story the steaks are the highest they have ever been for humanity and the warfare fierce!
The steaks are in regards to the humanity globally.  While what Karen writes is fictional it gives readers a unique view into the spiritual realm and warfare.  What is really neat is how the angels take on the form of humankind in order to aid humans in fulfilling a plan God has set forth.  I love how the humans prayed throughout the novels. Angels prayed and praised God at various point in the story which is interesting.
Tyler wanted to be a major baseball player and his friend Marcus actually signs on with the L. A. Dodgers; they have been best friends for years.  Mary Catharine is best friends with Sami and together they live life and work at a local ministry to reach women until Mary Catharine leaves for her trip. Mary Catharine was born with a heart condition her time is running out she has but one desire to and that is to return to Uganda and work in an orphanage. 
I loved the whole series which really makes spiritual warfare more real in a sense of how angels work at God’s budding.  They minister here and I remember that we can entertain angels without even knowing just how close they are to us.  I enjoyed how the author closes the series with hope and yet the ending doesn’t end with all loose ends tied up tight.  Karen leaves the future especially to the imagination to the readers I don’t know if the author plans a spin off series from Angels Walking or not.  However I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the each story. I wonder what will come next from Karen’s pen, so I look forward to where her novels will take us in the future!

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.” 

Silent Sting Author:Clair M. Paulson

Title:  Silent Sting
Author:  Clair M. Paulson
Pages:  188
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Covenant Communications
My rating is 4 stars.
Silent Sting is a very interesting and captivating mystery that draws a reader into a realm that appears to be about bees.  The massive killing of bees is detrimental to the local farmers in the novel and one honey business is losing millions from some unknown cause that is killing their bees.  A grant written and approved allows a professor at a university along with his assistant to investigate the cause of such destruction.  Then, out of the blue, the professor is murdered! 
The president of the college and the dean are interfering with the federal investigations, but that doesn’t stop what is becoming a race to locate the mastermind behind the murders.  What appears to be a bee turns out to be a deadly drone and whatever is in the stinger proves fatal within seconds!  The race intensifies to locate what is killing the bee population while keeping the assistant alive as the grant’s mission must be completed.
I stayed up all night till I finished this book!  At first, I thought I had figured out who the mastermind was behind the two-pronged problem of killing bees and killing people.  With twists and turns in the plot it got to be a quite an adventure to figure out who had done the terrible acts.  There were a few terms in the novel that I didn’t understand, but they didn’t detract from the story at all.
There is a spiritual aspect in the novel that is probably where the terms originate from, but I am not a follower of the spiritual church or people mentioned.  Yet, the story is solid and quickly engages the mind of readers and is very entertaining.  I love good stories, storytellers and think many would enjoy the mystery while ignoring the other stuff in the novel.  Entomology as presented in the novel sure looks like an interesting field of study, and I didn’t realize how connected pollination is to the growth farmers need for their crops.  Well done sir and thanks for the adventure!

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 Powerful Secret (The Worthington Destiny #2)


Title:  A Powerful Secret (The Worthington Destiny #2)
Author:  Kevin Leman & Jeff Nesbit
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
Sean Worthington is the main focus of this story, but his family plays a big part in the events as well as they are so close to one another.  Will has just removed himself from the senate race in New York because of some incriminating pictures involving Sean and a terrorist bomber as well as Will’s mother’s secret threatened to be made public.  This happened in book one of the series, A Perfect Ambition.
Now in this book Sean finds out his mother’s secret and drops off the grid for two weeks whereby his family thinks he is dead, but he is just taking time to process this information and form a plan on how to proceed with his family and his career.  He had thought about throwing his hat in the ring to run for governor of New York, but with this new information that won’t be possible.  He also thinks he might be ready to settle down with someone and he has the perfect girl in mind, but will she feel the same?  Meanwhile, Sean’s brother Will and his sister Sarah are fighting to take down the corporate bad guys and put them behind bars while trying to keep the family intact and avoid a media circus.
I loved the sense of family protectiveness displayed by all the Worthingtons.  They had each other’s backs no matter what.  I also liked seeing each of the Worthington brothers learning to trust that still small voice that is God.  They aren’t quite ready to admit that yet, but they are opening their eyes to the possibility of God as their sister Sarah is a Christian.  They have seen what can happen when they try to control their own lives…disaster.  Oh boy, can I relate to that!  This story has got political maneuvering, intrigue, tension, drama, and more.  I found the political aspect of this story very interesting as well as seeing the consequences of one action and its rippling effect on people.  Most chapters are three to four pages which keeps the story moving along at a quick clip.  I eagerly look forward to the next installment in the series, A Primary Decision, due out in the fall of 2016.
My rating is 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Fool & His Monet (A Serena Jones Mystery #1)

Title:  A Fool and His Monet (A Serena Jones Mystery #1)
Author:  Sandra Orchard
Pages:  336
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
Serena Jones is an FBI Agent working in the art crimes area.  She has been an agent for about a year and still works closely with her mentor, Tanner.  Her best friend is in charge of security at the local art museum in St. Louis and makes a startling discovery.  Two paintings have gone missing from inventory, but no one knows just when the paintings were stolen.  Serena takes on the case and begins questioning all the museum employees.  She sets her eyes on a particular suspect and soon thereafter events begin to get more personal and escalate.
As her investigation leads her to a John Doe in a local morgue, she also is dealing with her mother and aunt who are trying to get her married off.  Tanner and the superintendent in her apartment building, Nate, are two potential suitors that Serena kind of likes, but isn’t interested in getting married right now.  She is focused on her job.  She also has the ever-present task she has assigned herself of finding her grandfather’s missing painting and the person who murdered him to get it.  That is why she became an agent.
This was an interesting mystery that I couldn’t put down.  From the clever title to likeable characters to an intriguing plot, this story is a winner!  I just loved Aunt Martha!  She was a great addition to the story for comedy relief.  She was well intentioned and actually had some good thoughts on Serena’s case every once in a while.  I liked that Serena was tough, but willing to accept help.  She is a loving daughter and values her family.  There is potential romance in the air that I hope develops more in book two that will be released this fall, so look here for my review.  This is a great start to a new series!!
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.”

Bride of a Distant Isle

Title:  Bride of a Distant Isle (Daughters of Hampshire #2)
Author:  Sandra Byrd
Pages:  384
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Howard
Annabel Ashton is a 24-year-old teacher called home to take a trip to London with her cousin and his wife to view the World Exhibition put on by King Albert.  Well, it isn’t her home, but her cousin Edward’s as he never lets her forget.  He treats her as a servant sometimes or says harsh things to her, but Annabel tries to see the good in him as if he were a brother.  Annabel has been told all her life that she was born out of wedlock, her father was unknown and that her mother died in an insane asylum.  She has never felt she belonged anywhere as people looked down on her due to the circumstances of her birth as well as her mother’s insanity.  She is also Catholic when most everyone else in England isn’t, which causes some friction.  She thinks her trip is only for a couple of weeks and then she will return to school to teach, but she quickly learns that her cousin has other plans for her.  Annabel, however, has taken a liking to Marco Dell’Acqua, a sea captain from Malta who is visiting her cousin in the hopes of establishing some business arrangements with him.  These business dealings could save the family home as Edward will be forced to sell if things fall through with the captain.  Her cousin has someone else in mind for Annabel, one who would take Annabel to satisfy debts her cousin owed.
As she spends time at home, she begins to find various things that belonged to her mother among her own possessions that lead her to believe maybe her mother wasn’t so crazy and that a big secret is being hidden.  As she tries to find proof, she begins to have irrational thoughts and her greatest fear of her own sanity comes into play.  She soon is trapped into an untenable situation that could be her end.
I thought this story very intriguing with a bit of a gothic feel, but not too much.  There were definitely sinister characters as well as romance, deception, mystery and jealousy.  I applaud the ingenious method used to cause Annabel to have irrational thoughts.  I didn’t like how things were resolved with Clementine as I felt Annabel was too generous toward her.  Captain Dell’Acqua was a charmer for sure!  I look forward to the next offering from this author.
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, March 24, 2016

Talon: Combat Tracking Team (A Breed Apart #2)

Title:  Talon:  Combat Tracking Team (A Breed Apart #2)
Author:  Ronie Kendig
Pages:  352
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Barbour
Aspen Courtland is a former Air Force JAG assistant who wants nothing more than to find her missing twin brother, Austin.  He served in the military and went missing on a mission.  He has been missing so long he has been declared dead, but Aspen refuses to believe it.  She has brought his military war dog, Talon, home to heal as he suffered from the separation from Austin.  He is a beaten down dog and acts depressed.  Aspen has been working with him for months and he seems to be slowly recovering.  Enter Dane Markoski or Cardinal as his boss calls him.
Cardinal has been given the mission of finding Austin and protecting Aspen and Talon.  He is a trained spy, but doesn’t feel right manipulating Aspen and playing on her fears.  He tries his best to keep his distance from her emotionally as he feels he is unworthy of her affections and his past will scare her away if she finds out.  As sightings of Austin as well as other clues of his existence crop up, the danger mounts.  Why is Austin hiding from his only living relative, Aspen, a twin sister he was extremely close to?  Cardinal has always felt peaceful inside church buildings, but can he find that peace elsewhere?
This book will pull you in from beginning to end.  There is plenty of action, tension and romance for any reader.  I read book one, Trinity:  Military War Dog, and couldn’t put it down.  This second book in the series is no different, with something always happening.  The romance between Aspen and Cardinal was touching, and I loved his willingness to confront his greatest fear for her sake.  Aspen also encouraged Cardinal in finding his way to God after having a horrific childhood.  I eagerly look forward to the third and final book in the series, Beowulf:  Explosives Detection Dog, so look for my review here soon!
My rating is 5 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.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Calling (Seer Novel #2)

Title:  The Calling (Seer Novel #2)
Author:  Rachelle Dekker
Pages:  441
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5+ stars.
As I finished with book one titled, The Choosing, my heart was thumping and I thought if this is book one, what will book two be like?  I am not sure I have the words to really express the wonder of the spiritual truths woven in the story that will call you, even beg you to keep reading!  In this work of fiction, which is continued from book one, The Authority is still controlling a small segment of the remaining population in Washington D. C.  However, now there is a new leader of the group and he is a ruthless, demented man who will stop at nothing to capture whomever he views as a threat.
The further one progresses in the story, the higher the tension, suspense and wonder at thinking what more the author has in store for her readers.  The Seers keep trying to go and save those taken by force to be used for experimentation aimed at erasing memories.  More than that though is the hope to erase any memory a person has of Aaron and the hope of freedom he represents.
My heart at different parts of the story felt like it was coming out of my chest as danger was barreling down on a community that rebelled against The Authority who is seeking Aaron.  Just when I thought I knew how the plot was going to go, wham!  Rachelle Dekker throws a curve and definitely unexpected surprises that left me thinking, “I definitely didn’t see that coming!”
To anyone who reads The Seer series it is quite evident that Rachelle is answering her call as a writer.  While she is answering the call, I am sure she is depending on God to give her the story.  When Jesus spoke, he used everyday imagery to give a glimpse into the realm of heaven, into Who He is and His purpose for coming.  I guarantee you will love the books and appreciate the hard work put into crafting a story that speaks spiritual truth.  I won’t tell what truth for that is something each must discover for himself or herself as when you read it, you will know the Truth and be set free!

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, March 21, 2016

Tyndale's Q & A with Author Rachelle Dekker

Q&A with Rachelle Dekker Author of The Calling About the Author . . .



The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. The Choosing is her critically acclaimed debut novel. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com.


 1. The Calling is the second book in The Seer Series. Does it pick up right after The Choosing leaves off? No, a year and a half has passed when we rejoin the characters in The Calling

2. This book is written from Remko’s perspective. Did you face any challenges writing from a male point-of-view? There was definitely a looming pressure as I started to write the book. As a woman writer, I wanted to make sure Remko felt masculine and authentic, so I was constantly aware of how he sounded, and how he reacted. Once I got into a flow with his character though, it started to feel more familiar I didn’t have to think about it as much.

 3. Remko struggles with his anger often throughout the book. Is this expression of anger connected to his fears? If so, how? Anger is just a natural reaction to the circumstances Remko faces. Sometimes being afraid can stir up anger because it makes us feel weak or out of control. This is definitely true for Remko in The Calling.

 4. Do you think men and women express and handle fear differently? If so, how? I believe people handle fear differently, and that gender doesn’t always play a role. I believe more often than not we are all the same, and that we should be encouraged that we never really face anything alone.

 5. In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid? I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.

 6. Carrington struggles with the pain that comes from watching Remko miss the Truth that was so clear to her. What encouragement would you give to others that have loved ones who do not yet share their faith? Everyone needs to take the journey. For some, truth comes more easily, and others have to struggle to see it. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love miss the truth right in front of them, but don’t forget that the Father is still God, and He holds them in His hand. So love those that struggle restlessly and trust that the Father is ever-present, even in the darkness.

7. The theme of identity from The Choosing continues in The Calling. Carrington reminds herself, “When you know who you truly are, you realize there is no war left to fight at all.” How does this statement apply to our Christian faith? 8. Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so? For me this is simply a reminder that God is still God. Regardless of my circumstance or how I view the world, the Father is constant and hasn’t changed. He has already won the fight, already conquered death, already set me free. It’s only when I forget who He calls me and who He is that I feel the need to fight against life instead of surrendering to Him and letting Him be God.

 8. Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so? Of course, every character I write ends up having some reflections of things I’ve faced personally. You can only write what you know, as they say. I, very much like Remko, have the tendency to be in “my head” too much when faced with fear, and I struggle to let go of the need for control and simply surrender. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to write this story.

 9. What do you hope readers will take away from the story? I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

 10. What can readers expect in the final book of the series? Characters they know and some new ones I hope they’ll love! More questions of identity, and fear, but the characters will also be looking at forgiveness and letting go. I’m really happy with the way the final book played out, and I’m hoping readers will be as well. 

: The Choosing (Seer series #1)

Title:  The Choosing (Seer series #1)
Author:  Rachelle Dekker
Pages:  448
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5+ stars.
This is a story with punch that awakens the heart and soul of every reader!  Carrington is the female lead who believes she is unlovable, imperfect and worthless.  Of course, it doesn’t help that her mother has been having her recite the six rules that govern the community after a period called the Ruining.  In order to please God, people are forced to follow rules, live in what is basically a caste system and the worst is being separated forever from their family.
Remko is a city guard who Carrington recognizes early on as a man who has a tender heart and an unfulfilled need in his heart.  There is a lot going on in the story that will keep you up reading till the end; it is intense to the max!  What is portrayed is spiritual warfare that happens over each soul and how one must choose to be free in Him, loved by Him and cherished by Him.  The villain in the book readers will quickly spot from the opening of the tale.
I bought this book when it first came out, intending to read it as soon as I could.  When book two recently was released titled, The Calling, I had to delve into the constant action and high caliber intensity of book one that never lets up.  The story is powerful because it speaks powerful Biblical truths through various parts of the work of fiction.
When I looked in the back of book two, The Calling, I saw book three will be released in the fall of this year, I was ecstatic not to have to wait a whole year for the conclusion!  In the tale too I noticed just how important a family unit is and how it works best to the glory of God.  I enjoyed the name used to show us Jesus as our High Priest, who offered Himself to redeem us, to reconcile us and restore us.
So grab The Choosing and The Calling so you’re prepared for book three when it is released by Tyndale this year!  Open your heart and mind to the spiritual truths well woven within the novels!  See you again when I review The Calling as well as book three in the series!

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.”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Worthy Heart (Courage to Dream Series #2)

Title:  A Worthy Heart (Courage to Dream Series #2)
Author:  Susan Anne Mason
Pages:  400
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5+ stars.
 When Irish Meadows the first book in the series was released, I read it with a voracious appetite!  Now, having just completed A Worthy Heart, I am not exactly sure what to write.  You see it really is so good and entertaining with suspense, mystery, faith and romance it defies my ability to write a review, but I will make an attempt.
There are two families that are central to the novel’s suspense and romance:  One family lives in America and the other family lives in Ireland.  In America, the Montgomery family has various business ventures that have obtained success, but not all is happy in their home.  In Ireland, the O’Leary family has Ryland now joined by his brother Gabriel and their sister Maggie.  Some of the O’Leary family has chosen to remain in Ireland.  There are hints that a war may be brewing with Ireland being pulled into the fracas by Britain as they are under British rule.
I loved how the author wove several characters’ personalities and their own lives with the bigger picture.  Each person in the two families has their own story to tell along with where their personal faith is or where it isn’t and for some we get to know why.  The society era the story is placed in is during a time when people married within their own social class, and the father had much to say about who his daughter could or couldn’t marry.
In the novel, there are troubles that stretch some characters’ faith that I am sure some real people can identify with today.  One theme that seemed most prevalent throughout the book was redemption and how in the characters’ settings some needed a second chance to prove how God had changed them.
I sure hope the author is planning more novels in the future whether for this series or something new as she can tell a good story with such realism that people are bound to be drawn into this fictional world.  Last but not least to mention in the books is the telling theme of how much higher, brighter and different God’s love is from any human being’s love.  Terrific and touching themes, characters and more await those who open the Courage to Dream series!

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, March 18, 2016

Burning Proof (Cold Case Justice #2)

Title:  Burning Proof (Cold Case Justice #2)
Author:  Janice Cantore
Pages:  400
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5 stars.
The Cold Case Justice series begins with the novel, Drawing Fire where we are introduced to three main characters.  One is Detective Abby Hart who lost her parents in a fire that destroyed their restaurant.  Next meet a retired cop named Woody who is helping Abby get used to working at the level and intensity she does, along with teaching her his on-the-job wisdom.  Now meet Luke who is a private investigator, widower and a single father to a little girl named Maddie.
In the latest novel, we find all three characters working together at various times and for various reasons.  Like when Woody and Luke both sign up for the new federal task force dealing with cold cases.  Readers will also become engrossed in Abby’s conundrum as she is engaged to a missionary named Ethan, but finds her heart unsure whenever Luke is around.
Janice Cantore writes some of the best works of fiction because she expertly introduces a new twist in the plot that will keep readers guessing as they progress in the book!  There is more going on than what one might think as I learned when I read her stories.  She has a way of throwing uncertainty into a readers mind right when you thought you might figure out where the plot was going to end up.
A main theme is the series is learning to see how good God is when His answers aren’t as forthcoming to our prayers as we might want Him to be.  The author does a wonderful job of not giving “pat answers” to who God is or why He allows tough experiences to enter into someone’s life.  The characters that had to wrestle with these issues had to remember to draw near to God instead of pulling away.  The other lesson is remembering who He really is and firm up their understanding of Him by reading Hs Word.  Above all, the affected characters voiced their feelings, frustrations and questions. 
I cannot wait for the next installment as I feel like I am hanging on to a great cliff hanger!  Join me by reading this series and Janice’s other works of fiction that are great suspense and thriller 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.”

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Love at First Note

Title:  Love at First Note
Author:  Jenny Proctor
Pages: 
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.
Emma Hill is a concert violinist who has left a fairly prominent job in Cleveland to return home to help take care of her mother who has MS.  She now gives music lessons and plays part-time with the local symphony.  She has no prospects on the dating scene, but that doesn’t stop everyone from trying to set her up with nephews, grandsons, brothers, etc.  Then, a new neighbor moves in across the hall.  He happens to be a famous pianist, young and single.  Emma thinks he is gorgeous, but usually gets tongue tied when first meeting a man.  She holds true to form and embarrasses herself.  She vows to avoid this man at all costs to prevent further mortification on her part.
Elliott Hart has moved from L.A. to work on his upcoming album.  He has writer’s/composer’s block and needs to get away from the fast pace of a big city to concentrate.  He needs no distractions and his next door neighbor will not be one in his mind.  However, he hears her playing her violin through the wall of his apartment.  He spends more time with her and they share their love of music with each other.  Elliott realizes she might be just what he needs.  However, a relationship between them will not come without a cost.  Elliott is famous and newsworthy so the press invades his privacy.  Emma doesn’t like to be the center of attention.  Will Emma be able to handle Elliott’s fame?
I am not a musician, but I could definitely relate to the emotions evoked by certain types of music or certain songs.  That was one thing I really liked about this story.  The romance was great and I loved the sense of humor of the characters.  I laughed out loud a few times and said a few “that is so true!” phrases right along with a comment in the story.  I liked the thread of Emma dealing with her mother’s illness and her teenage sister’s attitude.  Just a side note to readers that this is published by a Mormon company and there is some Mormon terminology in the story, but nothing confusing or preachy in the least.  I am not Mormon and this didn’t decrease my enjoyment of the story at all.  I will definitely be reading more of this author’s fiction as this book was just fabulous!
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.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ravi Zacharias on the Christian View of Homosexuality #Apologetics

Risen (The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture)


Title:  Risen (The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture)
Author:  Angela Hunt
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5 stars.
My husband and sons went to see the movie Risen in the theatre; I will see it when it comes on DVD as theater seating is uncomfortable for me.  So when I saw the book being offered for review on Bookfun.org, I asked for a copy to read.  The joy of being able to converse with my guys about the movie scenes and scenes from the book was fun; it’s a great family activity we do.
In the novel, the chapters switch between the Roman Tribune Clavius and a young Jewish widow named Rachel.  When authors use this means of telling a story, it tends to enrich the reader’s understanding of what is occurring by using two points of view.  Here it helps to see the Roman activity, thoughts and life compared to a widowed Jewish woman making bread and selling it in the market place as a means to take care of her needs.  When these two lives meet and become involved in a relationship, knowing that neither the Romans nor the Jewish people would condone it, secrecy becomes paramount!
Also happening at the same time is the resurrection of Yeshua and the demand to locate his body by Pontius Pilate.  Clavius goes to extreme and ultimate measures in order to obey the order.  However, something more is occurring within the heart of this Roman Tribune.  Rachel is a lonely woman who has never felt real love or care from her own people or her dead husband.  The uproar in searching for the Nazarene’s body causes a stirring in her heart that no words can adequately express.
I couldn’t stop reading the novel because I wanted to see what was in the future for Clavius.  Plus I was wondering if he would see Yeshua with his own eyes and then what he would do with his Roman gods that he seemed disappointed and disgusted by.  Rachel drew my attention because of her unloving marriage and then being alone until she meets the Tribune.  What would her future be or would she encounter Yeshua?
I hope you read the novel and perhaps with Easter around the corner or anytime during the year give the novel to someone who is searching.  Maybe consider adding it to your personal library to enjoy again in the future.  It is worth reading and sharing!

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, March 15, 2016

The Jazz Files (Poppy Denby Investigates #1)


Title:  The Jazz Files (Poppy Denby Investigates #1)
Author:  Fiona Veitch Smith
Pages:  319
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Lion Fiction
Poppy Denby has received a letter from her disabled aunt, asking her to come live with her in London as a paid companion.  Upon her arrival, Poppy learns that her aunt has no need for a companion, but wrote that letter just to appease Poppy’s father.  Her real motive was to get Poppy to the big city of London to give her the opportunity for a career, which she knows her father would never agree to.  She has an interview at a newspaper, gets a job as an editorial assistant and is sent out to confirm some facts on a story after the untimely death of another reporter.
As Poppy follows up with her sources, she uncovers more and more information relating to her story as well as several other possible supporting stories.  However, her questions gain the attention of an unwanted assailant, putting Poppy’s life in danger.  Poppy refuses to give up on her story, continuing to dig deeper and deeper.  What she uncovers causes her to wonder if she really knows her aunt.
I just couldn’t believe that her first day on the job Poppy is sent out on a story.  She was hired as an editor’s assistant not a reporter.  This young woman from the British countryside with no training then proceeds to interview people, follow up on clues and go undercover to get a story.  It just wasn’t realistic to me.  How would she even know how to begin?  Poppy also is seduced by the world somewhat as she lies and breaks the law, going against her upbringing.  She learns to drink champagne, dress more provocatively and gets a bit of an attitude.  I just couldn’t see a naïve Methodist minister’s daughter acting the way she did during the course of her reporting or doing some of the things she did.  There were also two females in the story who are portrayed as having feelings of more than friendship for one another.  This is the second book in two weeks from this publisher that has had homosexuality in it, which I don’t want to read about.  I will not be reading any more books in this series.
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.”

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Goodbye Bride (A Summer Harbor Novel #2)


Title:  The Goodbye Bride (A Summer Harbor Novel #2)
Author:  Denise Hunter
Pages:  336
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
My rating is 5 stars.
The Callahan brothers are in a pickle with the ladies.  Mainly, it is Zach who is still in love with Lucy though she left seven months earlier.  Zac was really brokenhearted when out of the blue Lucy calls and asks him to come get her like it was just yesterday.  Lucy woke up in a wedding dress, with a lump on her skull in a totally different state than where Zac was living.  Problem was the last seven months she has no clue what happened and doesn’t even remember being engaged to a man named Brad.  Zac doesn’t want to go through that heartache again so he distances himself from her.  Beau, his older brother, was miffed that Zac went to rescue her.  When his brother serving overseas found out, he was beside himself with frustration as well.
The series begins in the first book, Falling Like Snowflakes.  For readers to truly appreciate the ongoing saga of the brothers it does help to read book one before book two.  I loved how the author shared with her readers some more of the various characters pasts to help us understand why they are the way they are.  Right now Lucy is on her own journey to try and live without remembering seven months of her life, starting over in a small town where everybody knows your business and she has no job or money.
There are a couple funny parts in the story that will cause you to chuckle I hope as it did me.  I love how going through healing from past hurts with God in prayer and a community of believers is represented.  I think one truth that could have been more prominent is the need to seek counsel from the Word of God, which wasn’t evident in the book.  However, the way God pursues us and loves us is a clear theme in the story.  Plus, the passion that can be real in a marriage is directly correlated to how open we are with God letting Him touch our hearts, minds and souls even when at times it is painful.  Even when it looks like it or feels like it, the truth is that God will never leave us or abandon us, which is a foundational truth portrayed in this series.
I hope you grab these enjoyable novels and allow the truths of God to soak your heart and soul, and enjoy the moments of laughter 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.”

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fire & Ice (Wild at Heart #3)

Title:  Fire & Ice (Wild at Heart #3)
Author:  Mary Connealy
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My Rating:  5+ stars.
There is a lot of emotion and tension throughout all three books of the series as the main storyline is how three sisters disguise themselves as men in order to fight in the Civil War.  In my opinion, the novels would be much more enjoyable if they were each read in order beginning with Tried & True, followed by Now & Forever before the series concludes with Fire & Ice.
Each novel is written by the same author who really has a way of bringing some surprises to readers somewhere in each book and sometimes more than one!  Here the story focuses on the eldest of three daughters of a widower who is less than a stellar father.  The daughter’s name is Bailey.  Her father, Cudgel, has the sole focus of building a dynasty though all three of his girls, though he masks it by saying it was for his son Jimmy who he lost in the war.
What is so enjoyable about the books is watching how God works in the heart of all three girls.  Though the sisters are very close to each other they are as different as day is from night.  Their personalities, likes, dislikes, lifestyles and more bring spice and sometimes laughter when all three are together.
During the winter months, these are the best kind of stories to curl up with underneath a warm blanket to read, share or give as a gift to someone you know.  It was fun seeing how each sister met her future husband and in such unique situations.  Please consider reading these books for yourself and maybe giving the books away so others can enjoy the stories too or keep them to pass on to the next generation in your family.

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

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams #1)

Title:  The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams #1)
Author:  Liz Johnson
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5+ stars.
The Red Door Inn is such a heart-grabbing, blood-pumping and attention-riveting tale set on Prince Edward Island.  A woman is running away from her father when she discovers he is using her tragedy for his own financial gain.  The woman’s name is Marie Carrington.  When down to her last few dollars, she meets an elderly gentleman at the ferry station named Jack who is building a B and B on the island.
Jack asked his nephew Seth to come and work on renovating the house, especially when his life is in bits and pieces after his fiancée leaves him high and dry.  Now Seth plans on protecting his heart as well as making sure no one takes advantage of Jack’s giving heart and nature.  Seth views all women as though they are like his ex-fiancée, which really upsets Marie.
The tension between Marie and Seth builds at times and other times there are tentative peace agreements.  Marie knows her father has all the means to locate his only child, but Marie wants nothing to do with him because of his treatment of her after a horrible experience at a New Year’s party.
I loved the reason mentioned in the story for the bed and breakfast so I cannot wait till you read that yourselves.  The characters interactions were the attraction for me that kept me reading for a long time.  I loved how Marie knew her colors and visited antique shops and auctions plus I enjoyed the various quilt designs in the book.
I hope you all will grab a book and enjoy this one before book two comes out in the fall of 2016 titled, Prince Edward Island Dreams.  Liz Johnson is one author I will be watching closely for future writings.

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, March 10, 2016

Does God Favor a Gender? What an encouraging and truthful answer....watch!

The Moses Chronicles: Deliverance, Volume 2


Title:  The Moses Chronicles:  Deliverance, Volume 2
Author:  H. B. Moore
Pages:  288
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.
This story picks up right where book one, The Moses Chronicles:  Bondage, left off.  Moses is trudging through the desert when he is captured by a nomadic tribe, becomes their slave for a while, wins their respect and after some time is sent on his way.  Then, he arrives in Midian where he meets Zipporah and her sisters while they are watering their sheep at a well.  Some men from another tribe try to intimidate the women, but Moses leaps to their defense.  He is taken to the Midianite camp to meet Jethro, the leader of the camp and lead priest.
Moses picks up the desert lifestyle, determines he likes it and will stay with the Midianites.  He offers to train the men in Egyptian warfare and fighting techniques so that they may defend themselves from raiding from other desert tribes.  He and Zipporah develop a friendship that blossoms into romance, marry and have children.  Moses proves himself to be a leader, but still has a temper to contend with.  He has his life planned out, but God intervenes with His plan for the life of Moses.  Moses gets a visit from God in the form of a burning bush and learns of God’s directives for Moses.  Moses obeys God, packs up his family and leaves for Egypt.
I enjoyed book one, but this second book seemed to allow too much poetic license, which decreased my enjoyment of the story.  I know this is a fictional book, but there are biblical facts to take into account that if not taken into account, skew the whole story.  According to the Bible, Moses was forty (Acts 7:23) when this story begins and he spent forty years there before he returns to Egypt (Acts 7:30), not the five years as depicted in the story.  Also, I don’t believe that the Midianites worshiped God as portrayed in the story.  They may have worshiped him along with other gods.  A statement I disagree with is Zipporah telling Moses that as a God follower she has to live a better life to earn her way to a higher world (pg.79 in the book).  Assuming the “higher world” refers to heaven or salvation, and I’m not sure that is what is being referenced here, I disagree.  We can’t earn our salvation; we accept it is a free gift from God.  I did like the way the author wrote the character of Zipporah for the most part.  I also liked the descriptions of the desert and the everyday life of desert dwellers.
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.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Moses Chronicles: Bondage, Volume 1

Title:  The Moses Chronicles:  Bondage, Volume 1
Author:  H.B. Moore
Pages:  256
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.
This is a story about Miriam, the sister of Moses, as she ekes out a living as a slave to the Egyptians.  She is twenty-five years old and is a weaver by trade.  She lives with her parents so she can take care of them as they age and has pretty much given on getting married.  There aren’t many available men her age and the ones that are smell bad, have a temper or want to change her.  Her brother Aaron and his wife live close by and he tries to keep tabs on her.  She sneaks away from the work place early some days so she can catch a glimpse of her brother Moses as he is raised by his Egyptian mother, Princess Bithiah.  As the story begins, Moses is eighteen.  The last contact Miriam had with him was when he was three years old.  She stays hidden on her forays so he doesn’t ever see her as no one outside her family knows the fate of Moses and as a slave she could be in big trouble if she is caught near the palace.  She realizes she is being followed on these trips by Caleb and figures her brother Aaron has put him up to this.  She finds out this is not the case and that Caleb just wants to keep her safe.
As the story progresses, Miriam and Caleb fall in love.  Readers see Moses become more aware of the Hebrew slaves and the injustices they suffer.  He wonders at their dedication to the One God and the worship and belief in Him alone.  More action and drama ensue through various trials for Miriam, Moses, Aaron and Caleb, making for a story sure to keep readers’ attentions focused on the pages.
I never thought of Miriam’s earlier years as a young woman, so this made for a story that drew me in from the start.  She is shown as being impulsive, sometimes reckless, loyal; passionate about what she thinks is right and merciful.  I was involved with the story and appreciated the short chapters as they kept the story moving at a quick clip as I eagerly turned the pages to see what happened next.  The portrayal of Moses as a young man I also thought was well done.  I liked the historical setting and the character of Bithiah was also interesting.  While this is a fictional account, readers should be aware that in the Bible Miriam is the oldest sibling, not Aaron as depicted in this story.  Also, Moses was forty years old when he fled Egypt for Midian after killing the Egyptian taskmaster (Acts 7:23) and not a teenager as in this story.
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, March 8, 2016

The Cairo Code


Title:  The Cairo Code
Author:  Glenn Meade
Pages:  592
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Howard
My rating is 3 stars.
Other novels by Glenn Meade that I have enjoyed were Brandenburg and The Romanov Conspiracy, so when I learned of The Cairo Code being released it piqued my interest.  The author has a very gifted way of writing historical fiction with suspense, tension, mystery with multiple plots occurring simultaneously.  While it might sound as if a reader might get lost in the maze of plots, the tale is crafted so well that the action moves at a brisk pace with returning frequently to other action so as to keep characters fresh in the reader’s mind.
The Cairo Code was originally published as The Sands of Sakkara published in 1999.  Originally, having owned The Sands of Sakkara, I was hoping that the author not only wrote more action and suspense into the book, but also removed the foul language.  In The Cairo Code, there are very few uses of foul language, and while there are no explicit sex scenes some descriptions of female northern body parts were mentioned.  The descriptions distracted from the story being told and frankly were embarrassing to read each time they appeared in the book.
I really enjoy fiction when written with historical settings, time frames and people.  I love suspense and the tension of all that occurs in catching spies, saving lives, action scenes and more.  While set during President Roosevelt’s term in office, most of the scenes occur overseas due to a conference planned with Winston Churchill.  Frankly, those two men would put any novel on my radar as with any historical novel.  I just wish the author would not have made so many references to female bodies.   It isn’t because I am unaware of what went on during war, but it did not need to be mentioned.
Personally, I am disappointed as I know the author is very talented and I would love nothing better than suggest you read the novel.  However, it is sad to say that I cannot on this novel.

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, March 7, 2016

Miriam by Mesu Andrews


Title:  Miriam
Author:  Mesu Andrews
Pages:  384
Year:  2016
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
My rating is 5 stars.
Miriam is Moses’s older sister mentioned in the Old Testament six times; she has been a Biblical figure of interest to me for years.  How would you envision Miriam feeling when Moses returns after four decades to lead the Israelites to freedom?  Mesu Andrews draws us in to ancient Biblical times to imagine the people who lived and suffered in Egypt prior to the ten plagues and the mass exodus.
As readers go further into the tale, it is easy to become enraptured with the action and scenes as they occur on the page.  For me, I often wondered how the Hebrews felt as they suffered right along with Egyptians for a couple of the plagues, but then God made a distinction between those He called His own and the Pharaoh’s nation.
Lest we think the Jewish people were ready and accepting of Moses, the fictional writing includes scenes that remind us of the man God called and how he was received when returning to Egypt.  Some of my curiosity was piqued when Moses would explain how he felt being called and how he struggled to obey.  I was captured by how Miriam was shown to be compassionate at times towards Moses and other times frustrated.
After enjoying the story, please read the Author’s Note as Mesu shares some insights along with the titles of a couple of sources for interested people.  Thanks Mesu for a wonderfully written work of fiction that speaks of how God introduced himself to the Jewish people and insights into the heart of humans who needed Him then, and need Him now!

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.”

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin


Title:  A Reluctant Melody
Author:  Sandra Ardoin
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Heritage Beacon Fiction
My rating is 5+ stars.
Sandra’s first novel, The Yuletide Angel, was my introduction to a new author and a wonderful work of fiction.  Now she has expanded her storytelling talents with this new novel, bringing back a character from her first novel named Kit and giving readers a redemptive story filled with hope.  Kit is now a man on a mission along with his ministry partner named Ben.  Both Kit and Ben have had their own personal struggles with alcohol and have been redeemed by the grace of God.
Starting in Pittsburgh by opening a home to minister to men seeking to be free from the pull of liquor, Kit is in North Carolina with the hopes of opening another home for men desiring a fresh start.  What Kit doesn’t expect to happen is to meet the woman he left years earlier or the amount of cruel gossip that flows from several peoples’ mouths.
Sandra Ardoin again has written a tale that draws readers in to the various characters’ lives with all their loves, lies, losses and more.  Portrayed in a way that helps readers realize the depth of human depravity as well as the infinite love of God Sandra shows us the unending means God uses to capture our hearts again.  What shines brightest is how God can change us so radically it takes time for some to realize the truth of that change.
Another brilliant point of the book is showing through a couple of characters how the battle between the flesh and spirit can be a real bear.  Through the characters we see wise choices and foolish ones along with where the choices lead to.  I loved how characters reflected the need for deep and honest friendships while learning to live life even when others try to discredit or drag down the redeemed person.  The other truth is how some present God in a twisted and untruthful way such as Sylvie’s father did which took her years to realize the true God when she finally read the Bible.  Questions she has she takes to a preacher she knows she can trust and he shares other verses with her as well.
I highly recommend both books written by Sandra:  The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody.  They are simply outstanding!

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, March 4, 2016

Saints & Sailors (The Dunbridge Chronicles #4)

Title:  Saints & Sailors (The Dunbridge Chronicles #4)
Author:  Pam Rhodes
Pages:  272
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Lion Fiction
Neil Fisher has the bright idea to take a Christian cruise, visiting landmarks of famous saints of the early church.  He has invited members from his current church family at Burntacre as well as members from his 3-year stint as curate at Dunbridge.  The all comes together for a nine day cruise.  While on board, a praise choir is assembled by none other than the author herself!  I thought that was a clever twist of the author, putting herself in as a character in the story.  As the cruise gets underway, readers are treated to lovely descriptions and faith-filled moments as we visit some of these historic sites.  The relationships between various people unfold, making for a book I couldn’t put down.
I liked everything about this story with the exception of the homosexual interaction between two minor characters in one brief scene.  There were no graphic details, but I didn’t see the need for this in the story.  Other than that aspect, the book was a tear-jerker in spots and had me applauding and laughing in other spots.  Neil and Claire try to keep the peace between Iris and Harry as well as their old and new church families.  Betty, Sheila and Marion were terrific!  I enjoyed catching up with some of the familiar characters from Dunbridge while being introduced to new characters from Neil’s current church family.  There were couples on the cruise with marriage troubles.  One person returned to the spot he had landed on D-Day more than seventy years earlier.  He had never returned because the memories were too painful, but now at the age of 91 he returns with his son and grandson at his side to share his memories of that day.  Another woman returns to see her family after a 24-year estrangement, but has no idea what the outcome of this meeting will be.  The subplots were woven together to form a nice, cohesive story and the writing was well done.
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, March 3, 2016

Annabel Lee (A Coffey & Hill Novel #1) written by Mike Nappa


Title:  Annabel Lee (A Coffey & Hill Novel #1)
Author:  Mike Nappa
Pages:  368
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
Trudi Coffey is a private detective, running her own agency after graduating college with an English Literature degree and a love for Edgar Allan Poe writings.  She used to be partners, running the business with her ex-husband, Samuel Hill.  Trudi is still struggling with forgiveness as she is a Christian; she also struggles with still loving Samuel even after he betrayed her so terribly.  Then, an older gentleman comes into the office looking for an old friend of Samuel’s, Leonard Truckson.  Trudi contacts Samuel and the mystery begins with Trudi and Samuel back together at least for the duration of this investigation, searching for two valuable emeralds Truck allegedly stole.  Their lives are at risk as they get closer and closer to the truth.
Annabel Truckson is eleven years old and lives with her uncle known as Uncle Truck.  They live on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Alabama.  There are guards around the property and a vicious German shepherd that scares the daylights out of Annabel.  Annabel doesn’t go to school, but is taught by Uncle Truck.  They are both fans of Edgar Allan Poe.  One early morning Uncle Truck comes into her room and tells her to get up and get dressed quickly.  They run to the dog pen where Uncle Truck pushes the dog house aside to reveal a metal door underneath.  The door leads to a tunnel that leads to a safe room.  He brings the dog and Annabel inside, instructing her not to open the door for anyone, including him, unless they say the safe phrase.  The dog is instructed to protect Annabel.  Over the next several days, she loses track of time and spends her time reading and translating a journal written in German.  She tries not to go crazy, being locked up with no other people or way to contact anyone.  She also wonders why Uncle Truck would leave her a Bible and when he is going to come and let her out.  She begins to think about God and if He is real or not.  She knows she will have to make a decision about that soon.
Annabel is a treasure!  I just loved that little girl!  She is so smart and funny.  She also has wisdom.  I also liked Trudi.  She is a strong woman, but is still hurting and vulnerable emotionally in regards to her ex-husband.  The characters where realistic and I could easily feel their emotions.  I was invested in the story and couldn’t put it down until I knew the fate of all involved.  There is plenty of action, tension and suspense in this story.  I’ve already got September 13, 2016 marked on my calendar so I can get book two in the series, The Raven.  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.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Mind of Her Own by Diana Leshire Brandmeyer


Title:  Mind of Her Own
Author:  Diana Leshire Brandmeyer
Pages:  352
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility
This is a mesmerizing tale of Louisa, who is a wife, mother and a very unhappy woman.  As the story begins, she is currently disengaged with family matters and her husband is on the couch.  The time to make dinner comes and as she is reaching to grab something from the top shelf, it falls and she awakens in the hospital.  Then the tale really takes off and concludes on a note of hope that deeply warms the heart of readers.
One of the qualities I liked about the book was never really seeing the twists and turns in the plot.  It has the flavor of a mystery with the characters lifelike in the way they think, act and interact in a family unit.  The husband, Collin, basically has lost his first love for God and left the responsibilities of the home to Louisa.  Collin believes that the highest goal he can attain is as a partner at the legal firm where he works many late nights.
When a trial comes to the family, readers will wonder if this will be a new start for the family or not.  We read about teenage angst, sibling rivalry and parental challenges that are so lifelike!  At the end of the book, there are three short introductions to authors and their work.  I have read a couple of these author’s books before this book so I know their work is solid, entertaining, and faith centered.
Who knows what will flow next from the pen of Diana?  I eagerly await to see the book and read the 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.”