Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remember Me (The Hawk and the Dove #6)

Title:  Remember Me (The Hawk and the Dove #6)
Author:  Penelope Wilcock
Pages:  207
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Lion Hudson
My rating is 4 stars.
In this sixth installment of this wonderful series of life in a medieval monastery, the story focuses on the person of Father William de Bulmer.  In prior books, we have met this man and found him to be an arrogant, antagonistic and haughty man.  Since coming to live at St. Alcuin’s, however, he has really made strides in accepting his new role as not being in charge, more humble circumstances and humbling himself.  He has grown to accept his role as monk, working with the monastery’s financial accounts and he is good at his job.  On the other hand, Abbot John is finding his new position a bit daunting as he has gone from being in charge of the infirmary to being in charge of the entire monastery.  He has only held this position for about three months and has the personalities of over thirty-five people to deal with along with their jobs, emotions, the finances of the community and now Father William’s love life!
What Father William didn’t count on was falling in love at the age of fifty and after being a monk for thirty years.  He finally realizes he is in love with Abbot John’s sister, Madeleine.  The story recounts his struggles to maintain his professed vows, which are supposed to last all of his earthly life and he really wants to uphold them.  At the same time, he has tried to stay away from Madeleine, renounce to God his love for her, but is unsuccessful.  He is bitterly unhappy and his health begins to suffer.  The other monks know something is wrong, but only Abbot John knows the reason.  He has ordered Father William to stay away from Madeleine, but can see Father William withdrawing more and more from the community.  What can Abbot John do?
If you haven’t read any other books in this series, then please begin with book one, The Hawk and the Dove and read the books in order as this is a continuing story.  Throughout the series readers will see the many struggles these monks face in life, showing us real human emotions and faults.  They show us that they are not perfect.  Even though they have dedicated their lives to serving Christ, they still feel anger, jealousy, compassion, mercy, love, and a whole host of other feelings.  It is how they respond to these emotions and situations that is most interesting and sometimes inspiring to me.  I’m looking forward to book seven in the series to rejoin these monks to see what they are up to next!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The above is my opinion.  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.”

The Hour Before Dawn (The Hawk and the Dove #5)

Title:  The Hour Before Dawn (The Hawk and the Dove #5)
Author:  Penelope Wilcock
Pages:  208
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Lion Hudson
My rating is 5 stars.
Readers are once again returned to the 14th century monastery of St. Alcuin’s in Yorkshire, England in this fifth entry of The Hawk and the Dove series.  Most of the characters from the prior four books make return appearances, but the story centers around Abbot John and Father William.
Abbot John has just been in his position as head of St. Alcuin’s for about a month when he receives devastating news that his mother has been murdered and his sister gang-raped.  These women lived together and were thought by some to be witches, but they were really healers and midwives.  The abbot is devastated by this news and is numb with shock.  He travels to see his sister with Father William as a companion.  His sister blames what happened on Abbot John for not being home to protect her and their mother.  The abbot struggles with an all-consuming guilt, Father William consoles, cajoles and finally sternly counsels the abbot.
As readers we follow the developing relationship between Father William and Abbot John as well as the abbot’s sister toward both of these men.  Also, along the way one of Father William’s monks from his former priory is found horribly disfigured.  Again, Abbot John takes on more guilt at not helping this monk the first time they met (in book four of the series).  Father William again must pull him from the black hole of despair.  Readers will also see Abbot John begin to gain assurance in his role as leader of the monastery.  He returns the favor of counseling when William is struggling with an issue.
Just as an FYI, I think this series should be read in order as the story continues from one book to the next.  The spiritual insight and truths shared are wonderful.  The author writes with great insight into human emotions and how Christ would have us live our lives.  The relationship between the monks shows mercy, compassion, jealousy, sadness, love and many other emotions we all experience.  Above all, readers see the monks trying their best to live life as Christ like examples.  I can’t wait to read book six titled, Remember Me.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The above is my opinion.  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, May 30, 2016

Silence in the Dark (Logan Point #4)

Title:  Silence in the Dark (Logan Point #4)
Author:  Patricia Bradley
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 3 stars.
Danny Maxwell is in Mexico looking for clues to the identity of a man who bought stolen rifles from the former chief financial officer of Maxwell Industries.  What he didn’t expect was to run into his former fiancĂ©e, Bailey Adams, having breakfast with his main suspect.  Upon seeing her, he wonders how she knows this guy.  Moments after talking to the couple, gunshots ring out.  His first thought is for Bailey’s safety.  She escapes the gunfire and he soon realizes he is her only hope of escape.  Can he save her and regain her affections as well?
Bailey Adams has been in Mexico almost two years teaching at a missionary school.  She sees Danny and immediately remembers her rejection of his proposal.  She knows she is good at running away from conflict as that is why she is now escorting a young student back to America to visit her grandparents.  A local shaman has taken an instant dislike to Bailey and her work to bring Christ to his small village.  He has threatened her verbally as well as with “gifts” left in her car.  She has two months left on her teaching contract and doesn’t know what she will do when it is done.  As she takes her young charge, Maria, to the restroom, she hears gunshots and her running begins again.  She soon realizes that her only hope of getting herself and Maria to the U.S. and safety is Danny.  Can she trust him with their lives?  Who is out to hurt her and Maria and why?  Where is God when she needs him most?
Overall, this was an easy story to read, but it just didn’t hold my attention well.  The story jumps from four different characters’ points of view, so readers know what is going on and leaving little to the imagination.  It also made the characters less easy to get involved with.  Therefore, the romantic aspect of the story fell flat for me.  The identity of the antagonist is easy to figure out, and Joel just left me confused as to his real character.  I did like the faith element in the story, but Bailey’s and Danny’s faith struggles were not fully developed that were too abrupt or incomplete.  The plot was solid and there were some tense moments, but I like more action to my suspense stories.

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, May 28, 2016

Terminus Author: Catherine Leggitt

Title:  Terminus
Author:  Catherine Leggitt
Pages:  356
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Mountainview Books
My rating is 4 stars.
Sometimes I can tell whether a novel is one I want to read or perhaps not at the moment.  Yes, sometimes it is the cover that either draws or repels, especially if the author is new to me.  Other times it’s a feeling I get that the story may be happy or sad, delve into hard topics or any other sense.  With this particular novel, I knew it was going to be hard to read because of the suffering written regarding the child character.  Let’s face it none us of wants to see or hear about a child suffering because it makes us aware of what we cannot do.  However, it can also allow us to experience God and know God as He reveals Himself amidst suffering or tragedy.
If you recently lost someone, I would wait to read the book.  The story both drew me in and repelled me as I knew the ending was going to be something other than what I desired.  What the author does however is show a side to suffering few ever know about because it occurs in the heart of a person.  In the story, a man who has a less than stellar character meets up with Mabel an elderly lady who lovingly takes on the care of the sick child.
I think bringing forth the spiritual aspect of humans in the story along with Scripture is something rarely written into books.  However, the author does an exceptional job of showing how all mankind no matter age, social status, or anything else is in desperate need of a Savior, and there is only One, Jesus!  Should you desire to be touched in your heart, mind and soul you’ll read the book along with the note from the author as to why and how the story came into being.
Here is a book I won’t soon forget as it caused me to remember the seasons in my life where there was suffering, but more importantly there was a deeper revelation of God to me.  So because of those revelations I was and am and will be changing till I go to be with Him!  Want to be filled with peace, joy and new life?  Pick up a copy, read and see what occurs in your heart.

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, May 27, 2016

Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom #2)


Title:  Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom #2)
Author:  Sarah Sundin
Pages:  400
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5+ stars.
We met most of the characters in book one by the same author titled, Through Waters Deep.  Here, the story focuses on Lillian Avery who is pharmacist and Ensign Archer Vandenberg.  Lillian comes from a big family, though with normal sibling laughter and sometimes strife.  Archer is an only child and heir to a vast fortune, but joined the Navy so as not to be forced to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Lillian has taught herself to be independent and that includes not leaning on her Lord, after she had suffered losing a part of a leg in a childhood accident.  Lillian refuses to let her heart be loved or be soft because she sees it as weakness plus a former experience taught her how deep one can be hurt when a heart is risked in allowing someone to love them.
Archer too is a wounded man though he is seeking to allow the Lord to change him and to overcome the combat nightmares he has suffered since his first ship was torpedoed.  Archer knows how his past made him look to women and family too, but he longs to no longer be that man.  When he meets Lillian Archer, he feels as though a fresh breath of life and love may actually be a part of his life.  Until he receives a letter and reverts back to the way he has tested women before coming to Christ.
The author writes a captivating tale of two broken people who long to be loved for who they are and not pity or because of wealth.  For the Avery family, letting Lillian move so far away when she might need help because of her prosthesis is something Lilly wants to disprove.  I love the mystery Lillian and Archer want to solve as it directly affects how sailors are able to do their job on their ships.  I also was moved by how the men who are no longer able to serve on their ships because of nerves or physical injury have to once again return to civilian life even when they want to continue serving.
This is a very moving, climactic, suspense-filled with some romance that will entertain readers for hours! Read Through the Deep Waters before Anchor in the Storm so you can fully enjoy the developing tale!

Anchor in the Storm Sarah Sundin


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, May 26, 2016

The Reluctant Duchess (Ladies of the Manor #2)

Title:  The Reluctant Duchess (Ladies of the Manor #2)
Author:  Roseanna M. White
Pages:  400
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany House
My rating is 4 stars.
The Duke of Nottingham or Brice to his friends has always gotten by on his charm.  He does have a strong relationship with the Lord and seeks His counsel often.  However, now God has asked him to marry a stranger to protect her.  Brice wants to ignore God, but God is persistently telling him to marry her.  Brice goes through with the marriage to this Scottish woman, Rowena Kinnaird and finds a woman terrified of most everything.  His friends and relatives question his hasty marriage, but he tells them what God wanted him to do.  In addition to a new marriage to basically a stranger, Brice is still in possession of the Fire Eyes diamonds.  These diamonds and their story take place in book one in the series, The Lost Heiress.  Brice is sure Lady Pratt and her brother are still after the jewels and will do anything to get them, but there is another threat that Brice is completely unaware of on the horizon.
Rowena Kinnaird has survived a brutal assault of a man she thought loved her just two weeks before her unexpected marriage to an English duke.  She didn’t want to marry, but was given no choice by her abusive father.  She now has left Scotland and everything she has known her whole life.  She lives in fear and has nightmares.  She doesn’t trust her new husband and sees the dark side of most things instead of God’s light.  She believes in God; she just hasn’t talked to Him in a long time.  Over the course of the next few months, her life will change drastically.
Brice’s character was just great!  He had a sense of humor, wasn’t afraid to poke fun at himself, admitted his faults and sought out God at every turn.  He obeyed God even when he didn’t want to or it didn’t make sense to him.  I could feel the fear that saturated Rowena and her sense of unworthiness.  She had lived as a victim of abuse, which colored everything she experienced.  Her character seemed realistic to me.  I really liked the theme of faith woven into several of the characters as they lived their faith be deed and word.

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, May 25, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender


The Beautiful Pretender Melanie Dickerson



Title:  The Beautiful Pretender
Author:  Melanie Dickerson
Pages: 314
Year: 2016
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
My rating is 5 stars.  
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also, follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
Avelina is a servant to Lady Dorothea, daughter of the Earl of Plimwald, but when her lady runs away with one of her father’s knights, the Earl calls upon Avelina to pretend to be his daughter and go represent him at Thornbeck Castle.  Avelina agrees if the Earl will provide monthly provisions for her family and a dowry for her.  The purpose of her trip to Thornbeck is to be considered by Reinhart, the Margrave of Thornbeck, along with nine other ladies, for marriage.  Avelina must not only pretend to be Dorothea but also not marry the Margrave since it would be improper for a noble and servant to wed.  But the more Avelina tries to divert attention away from herself to one of the other ladies, the more the Margrave is drawn to her.  And there is a wolf among the sheep that tries to win the Margrave for herself no matter what the cost.
Melanie Dickerson has written a classic medieval fairy tale romance that ranks among the most well-known fairy tales of history.  The characters are believable, and the interactions between them are very realistic.  The growth of the relationships between various characters mirror real life in the historical period portrayed as well as in the modern world.  In a time when marriages were arranged for political alliances with love not considered in the equation, here is a story where love blossoms and grows even when it should be avoided.  As one who has an interest in medieval history and culture, I find the story to be plausible, yet it has the romantic feel of a Cinderella story.  Avelina is written as a strong leading lady that knows her place within her world but has her own ideas about how all people, including servants, should be treated respectfully, how people who marry should marry for love instead of duty, and those who have the means to do so should help and care for those who are less fortunate and need protection.  She is stubborn and very opinionated when she thinks she is right, but she knows how to show proper respect to others.  Even when insulted or threatened, she will do whatever she can to defend another even at great personal cost. 
Although there are many wonderful aspects of The Beautiful Pretender, what I most liked about this book is that two people from very different social worlds, in a time when those worlds must be separate from each other, could find love and join together to defeat those who wish to destroy them.  I look forward to reading Melanie Dickerson’s other books about the middle ages.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Progeny (Descendants of the House of Bathory #1)

Title:  The Progeny (Descendants of the House of Bathory #1)
Author:  Tosca Lee
Pages:  336
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Howard Books
My rating is 4 stars.
I read many books a year and for the first time in over the last 4 years I have been reviewing books of all kinds, this is the first review I wasn’t sure how to write.  The Progeny caused a lot of internal confusion for me as I read a book that included material I don’t agree should be in a Christian novel.  While the author never goes beyond a certain line when telling readers what the characters are doing, I got tired of it being repeated throughout the book.  What was the novel supposed to speak to the audience?  Was the book sci-fi, fantasy, or some other genre?
Emily Porter wakes up and can’t remember her name, but that’s okay as she eventually realizes that was the point of the procedure.  She has left herself a note to live a happy life and don’t search for answers as to why she chose to forget.  Her real name is Audra Ellison.  However, she soon discovers that even if she doesn’t want to remember, she needs her memory to survive because they have found her.  She really doesn’t know who they are other than that they want her out of the way…permanently.  Since she can’t remember why she chose to have her memory wiped clean, she also doesn’t know whom to trust.  This could get her into serious trouble; it could even get her killed.
As she is forced to go on the run, she needs help from someone who claims to be from her past.  She can’t run on her own so she is forced to trust Luka, but not completely.  Luka claims he used to know her before the procedure, but she of course doesn’t remember him.  Even though she doesn’t remember him, she is drawn to him.  She has left herself a few clues as a fail-safe, so she follows these clues to Croatia where she discovers more than she ever wanted to know.  She is a descendant of an alleged serial killer.  These descendants have been targeted by a group dedicated to wiping them all from the face of the earth. 
When I started reading I felt I had to wade through so much along with being confused about what the point of the tale was to get to a brilliant conclusion.  There was not a theme where readers see the main character come to know God and the journey to get there.  In this story, I was left wondering if Audra even believed in God.  This is the first book in the series, but I’m not sure if I will read the next book or not. 

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, May 23, 2016

Someone Like You Author: Victoria Bylin

Title:  Someone Like You              
Author:  Victoria Bylin
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5+ stars.
How does a person describe a novel that tugs at the heart and soul of a reader with such depth of emotion?  It’s very refreshing to see Christian authors write stories that have their characters work through some tough issues as well as ordinary life experiences.  One of the best qualities of the story is how it reflects the redemption possible for anyone who has done anything they are ashamed of in life.  Another quality is how it shows love of such an infinite God who can do what we most definitely can’t foresee happening or even imagine it becoming a reality.
Here are two people, Zeke and Julia, who were once a couple in college and now years later meet again accidentally.  You’ll read about Julia who is a single mom, a young Christian, and an entrepreneur.  Zeke who Julia believes is still the strong and unshakeable Christian is now someone who looks like Zeke, but no longer seems himself.  In fact, his faith is fractured just like his heart.
As I read the book, there were times I had a lump in my throat as I would come across a scene where being able to be transparent with someone can be really hard or when someone is carrying a burden, just feeling like a total and complete failure and thinks that God feels the same way about them.  There is one antagonist in the book who really could have used a 2 x 4 upside the heart as he was awfully arrogant and self-centered as I am sure the author intended.
I anticipate many will be touched and drawn to the book at least that is my hope.  Be prepared to be pointed to God whose love never fails and who wants us regardless of what we think will keep Him from wanting us.  What a truth to treasure!









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, May 21, 2016

Double Header Author: Clarice G. James

Title:  Double Header
Author:  Clarice G. James
Pages:  312
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Mountainview Books
My rating is 5+ stars.
The more I read the more I begin to appreciate the ability authors have to share a good story with their audience.  One characteristic that can easily be observed in real life happening in families with more than one child is how various attitudes as well as behaviors are exhibited.  Sometimes when the offspring exhibit one or the other parental traits most can laugh and say that it was just like Dad or just like Mom.  For instance, our firstborn tends to be like me in that he has learned to overcome personal obstacles and instead allows them to strengthen him.  Our second born son shows he is like his Dad in that he is more of a homebody and loves movies.
In the book, those types of things and more characterize the two siblings both now grown and married.  After their father died a couple of years later, their mother remarried.  As their life was going along, one day Casey receives a letter that changes everything.  Both her and her brother Griffin must face something they never knew about their father.  What throws Casey’s emotions, thoughts and heart is learning to face the reality of the truth while Griffin doesn’t go through such turmoil.
Both siblings grew up loving the Boston Red Sox and still do some side work they started that keeps them close to the baseball organization.  Now Casey is looking for the peace it seems many of her family members have except for her and she needs it as she works through the broken pieces of her heart.
I really enjoyed the novel and voraciously ate up the tale in one sitting!  It wasn’t that the characters were sports fan, though I do like sports.  It was more watching the growing of Casey as she learns what is really important in life and how God makes Himself real to her when she needs Him most.  Plus I enjoy the way the couples are written as examples of how to work out marital seasons as well as how much work marriage really takes and that sacrifice of self is a top priority.
I hope the author has something to offer again soon as I really enjoyed this work of art!

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, May 20, 2016

Through the Shadows (The Golden Gate Chronicles #3)

Title:  Through the Shadows (The Golden Gate Chronicles #3)
Author:  Karen Barnett
Pages:  320
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
My rating is 5 stars.



This third and final book in The Golden Gate Chronicles series is a winner!  The setting is San Francisco approximately two years after the great earthquake about 1909.  Charles McKinley is a new graduate from law school and has been given a job in his uncle’s law firm.  He, however, soon discovers his uncle’s law firm focuses on whatever and whoever can make his uncle money with the thought of defending those less fortunate definitely looked down on.  Charles secretly longs to help those seeking justice regardless of their social status of which Elizabeth King and her family are among, but his uncle makes it clear his job is to increase the wealth and social position of the firm.
Elizabeth King thought her life would be on stage performing piano concerts.  She has taken lessons for years and has a God-given talent.  However, due to a past secret, her life has taken a different turn.  She now has volunteered to teach at a mission school for Chinese girls rescued from slavery.  Her father’s lawyer had advised him on some investments that went sour so after his death, his estate has left herself and her mother in reduced circumstances.  The new lawyer handling their case is Charles McKinley, who is taking over the case from his uncle.  Sparks fly on their first meeting and they both can’t seem to stop thinking about they other.
I really enjoyed getting to know Charles and Elizabeth.  Their struggles with worthlessness due to how they think others will view them rang so familiar to me and I’m sure to other readers as well.  I liked the aspect of the mission working to save girls of Chinatown from a life of slavery.  I thought it interesting that the home of Miss Cameron still exists today and is still involved in serving the community.  What a legacy!  I have been entertained by each of the three books in this series.  The theme of trusting God in adversity and relying on Him through our life struggles runs through each book is just one of the many themes of faith depicted.  Great job Karen!

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, May 19, 2016

Bearing Witness (Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship)

Title:  Bearing Witness (Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship)
Author:  Charles E. Moore & Timothy Keiderling
Pages:  242
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Plough Publishing
My rating is 4 stars.
Let’s start with understanding a basic definition of the word martyr, which is “a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.”  The next step I took was reading the Introduction written by John D. Roth and Elizabeth Miller.  I highly recommend readers do read the Introduction as it gives a framework for the stories included in the publication.
As I read, I noticed that authors included many who died for their faith from various religious institutions or faiths.  The authors started with those who are known martyrs in the Bible and continued to the present day.  The book is a result of a project titled, Bearing Witness Stories and more information can be found at www.martyrstories.org
The goal of the project “invites Anabaptist communities worldwide to share their stories of costly discipleship, in hopes of inspiring greater faithfulness to Jesus Christ and strengthen the church’s unity.” (pg. 226).  The book desires to collect stories of martyrdom from as many individuals and groups who desire to have their stories published.  I can appreciate those who took a stand for their faith and paid with their lives in many cases.  Some of the stories included in the book Bearing Witness should shake us out of our “self-focused” worldview and challenge us to live a life that reflects the gospel to a lost world.
I would caution readers to remember that in this day and age to slap a Christian label on something regardless of what it is whether music, books, magazines, etc. doesn’t make it so.  It would be wise to appreciate the stories included here, but to also do further research into what one believes to see if it is centered on the Bible or elsewhere.  I realize it is no easy matter to lay one’s life down for their faith.  I just hope readers make sure they know why they believe what they believe so it is not in vain if the ultimate sacrifice ever faces them.

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, May 18, 2016

Traces of Guilt (An Evie Blackwell Cold Case)

Title:  Traces of Guilt (An Evie Blackwell Cold Case)
Author:  Dee Henderson
Pages:  400
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5+ stars.
In Carin, Illinois there lurks in the past secrets that cost people their lives that no one ever found about till now.  In comes Evie Blackwell who is tasked with solving two cold cases:  one of a child abducted and never found the other, the other the disappearance of a family of three.  What is about to be uncovered will surprise the local town folk, but none more than the Thane family.  Their father was the sheriff and now the older brother holds that position.  The middle son is a recently returned soldier and the youngest son owns some local businesses.
I looked forward to reading Dee’s newest novel since I spotted it coming soon some time back on a bookstore site.  The novel for me was well worth the wait as it was filled with suspense along with hope-filled romance.  Each of the three brothers is a bachelor, and the family is a tight faith-filled family which I really thought was inspiring.  I would guess that few could understand what men or woman deal with whether they have been in the service or are local sheriff’s, etc.  The author does a great job of showing how a family comes together to shoulder burdens, pray, get together for fun and more.
I enjoyed how they knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and didn’t try to change each other.  The family lived close to each other to be of help yet far enough away to have privacy.  The tale of suspense was heightened throughout the book, and the feelings of sadness could almost be felt coming off the pages at different times of the tale.  Dee Henderson kept me guessing till the very end of the book as to how one of the cases would come to conclusion; it was brilliant!
I hope the author plans to bring the character Evie Blackwell back in a future novel perhaps even in the same place as Carin, Illinois.  The ending sure was left open in each of the Thane brother’s personal lives to be able to revisit this family in the future.  However, if the author has some other suspense-filled story to share with readers, I will be reading it for sure!  I hope you enjoy the novel as much as I did as it truly is a story to get glued to for hours!

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, May 17, 2016

Murder Comes by Mail (A Hidden Springs Mystery #2)

Title:  Murder Comes by Mail (A Hidden Springs Mystery #2)
Author:  A.H. Gabhart
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars.
Michael Keane is a deputy sheriff in the small town of Hidden Springs.  He likes the small town life and was happy to return home after a few years serving on a big city police force.  Not much happens in Hidden Springs and that is why the love of his life, Alexandria Sheridan, has moved on to bigger things like being a power attorney for a law firm in Washington, D.C.  She can’t understand why Michael doesn’t push himself to climb the ladder of success.  While Michael longs for a life with Alexandria or Alex, he is afraid to pursue a relationship with her because he can’t see either of them giving up their current lifestyles.
However, Michael’s life is changed the day he drives the church bus onto a bridge and sees a man about to jump to his death.  Michael is driving his aunt’s Sunday School class to see a play in a nearby town.  Michael saves the man and is proclaimed a hero.  He doesn’t like all the hero worship.  The man he rescues tells Michael he will wished he had pushed him to his death, which continues to bother Michael.  There is something just not right about this man.  Then, pictures and a note arrive at the police station addressed to Michael of a murdered girl.  A killer begins a killing spree that Michael is desperate to stop.
I read the first book in the series, Murder at the Courthouse, and found it to be okay.  I always try to give authors/series at least two books to engage me.  I’m so glad I did as this second book in the series I found to be much better.  I was in the thick of things from beginning to end.  I got to know the characters better and felt an affinity for them.  While I did figure out the culprit, I still liked the story and was sorry to see it end.  I now am greatly looking forward to book three in the series and a chapter is included at the end of the book as a teaser to whet readers’ appetites.  If you are a mystery lover, then you will want to read this story.  I would recommend beginning with book one as it gives the background history on several of the characters that also appear in book two.

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, May 16, 2016

Unintended Target (The Unintended Series #1)

Title: Unintended Target (The Unintended Series #1)
Author:  D. L. Woods
Pages:  270
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Create Space
My rating is 5+ stars.
If you’re like me and really like reading a story with suspense, high tension and more, here is a brand new author with a brand new series!  I must say this novel of suspense was a story on steroids as it never lets up with more twists and turns than I can remember.  I found this treasure as I was surfing Amazon looking for books to read, new authors or something that was outside the normal box in writing style.  D. L. Woods does a phenomenal job of grabbing the reader’s attention and interest right from the start all the way to the epilogue!  There is a sequel to come out this year titled Unintended Witness that will continue with the main characters we meet in book one.  Normally one would have to drink caffeine to stay alert, but this book does it for you!
A young woman loses her twin brother in a car accident and what he has done will cause upheaval and danger to his twin sister, but to him it was to make sure she was taken care of by living in style.  What couldn’t be foreseen by her twin brother were the other characters that would lose their lives in this high stakes gamble to siphon millions from a company and leave without being caught!
The story is a Christian one, clean, engaging and really whets my appetite for when the next book comes out!  I hope it is soon, and I will be watching for D. L. Woods future works as she definitely has a fan for her style of stories with heart-stopping, blood-pumping thrills!

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.”

Every Bride Has Her Day (Brides with Style #3)

Title:  Every Bride Has Her Day (Brides with Style #3)
Author:  Janice Thompson
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars.
Janice Thompson’s Brides with Styles novels will definitely touch your heart with romance, faith and laughter.  Some of the ladies in the small town named Fairfield with their antics will definitely make you laugh!  Janice Thompson knows how to write a tale that is balanced with romance, a sprinkle of heart-touching moments topped with older ladies who are just a hoot!
I have enjoyed a couple of Janice’s wedding series and have never been left with anything other than a feeling of joy.  The characters are lifelike to be sure and like small towns everyone is aware of what is happening in their neighbor’s life.  When the wedding draws closer for Katie Sue to Brady James, the bride’s nerves are stretched far when the small town of Fairfield is in the middle of a split!
Thankfully all things work out and Katie’s wedding is a dream and special as family and friends unite to surprise her in ways she never sees coming!  Throughout the series many women are finding their soul mate though at various ages and stages of life.  The point is well made in the novel how Christ is Who we place our hearts in and to trust Him for a lifetime.  I liked the various weddings and themes of weddings that were portrayed in the book that were quite ingenious.
In this series, it is probably best to read the first book Every Bride Needs a Groom followed by Every Girl Gets Confused before concluding with book three.  All I can say is get ready to have moments of laughter when you picture some of the more funny moments in the story in your imagination!  Janice shows us some really unique ladies in her novels and each chapter has a quote by Audrey Hepburn.  So enjoy the stories along with laughter; I certainly did!

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.”

Hunting Hope (Dig through the Darkness to Find the Light)

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Hunting Hope Nika Maples



Title:  Hunting Hope (Dig through the Darkness to Find the Light)
Author:  Nika Maples
Pages:  240
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Worthy
My rating is 4 stars.
In Hebrews, we are reminded in chapter twelve that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Perhaps those witnesses are from the present as well as the past.  We can reflect to the world around us the glory of God in ways we cannot even fathom.  The life experience of Nika really is beyond words though she does a great job sharing very transparently what she experienced in her life.
People will read of a testament to what God can do as well as what goes on inside of a person when there is no way to express it to others outwardly.  When Nika couldn’t talk or motion to other people her desires, she learned that one can always seek and talk with God.  Plus, as her title suggests when we are very low and no human power can touch the area of our hearts that is for God alone, we seek hope.  We don’t seek hope as a feeling, but hope embodied in a Person named Jesus.
All humans need hope to lift them up when trials knock them down.  I hope you sense the truth of Him as the only hope capable of doing above and beyond what we ask or think!

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, May 14, 2016

Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom #2)

Title:  Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom #2)
Author:  Sarah Sundin
Pages:  400
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars.
Lillian Avery has finally got the job of her dreams…a pharmacist in Boston.  She has gone to college and trained for this job.  She is a hard worker and wants to do her best.  Her employer is less than enthusiastic that he has hired a female let along a “cripple” as he calls her.  Lillian determines to earn her place and refuses to give up.  She notices some irregularities in the supply of a certain drug.  Why does the pharmacy need so much of this particular drug?  This is a mystery Lillian is determined to solve.  She also has gained the attention of her brother’s best friend much to her annoyance.  She thinks Arch Vandenberg can’t really be interested in her.  He must just feel sorry for her, right?  Can she trust Arch after her former boyfriend hurt her so badly?
Arch Vandenberg is an Ensign in the Navy who has been assigned Boston as his port.  He is happy about that as it will give him a chance to get to know Lillian Avery better.  He is drawn to her like no other.  She isn’t interested in him for his money, his family connections or his social standing.  She really isn’t interested in him at all!  He plans to pursue her though and show her what kind of man he is.  He is still struggling with anxiety after surviving an attack on his ship at sea, seeing men killed and watching his ship sink.  He notices other men struggling too, but they get some medicine to help them.  However, the medicine’s side effects seem to hamper their senses; they appear almost drunk.  Is Lillian’s pharmacy giving his men too much medicine or the wrong kind of medicine or what exactly is going on?
Once again Sarah Sundin entertains with this great WWII romance.  What I also liked about this one was the mystery element added to keep the plot interesting.  It is obvious that the author has done her research because it shows in the detailed descriptions of life during this time period, which I really like as it kept me engaged in the plot and characters.  I liked Lillian’s spunkiness and persistence.  I enjoyed reading about Arch and Lillian learning that Christ is their anchor in the storms of life.  He is the one we must cling to as the storms rage.  Only He will hold us firm and fast.  This is another wonderful story from the pen of Sarah Sundin.  I can’t wait for book three due to be released in the spring of 2017 in the series when readers get Quintessa’s story!

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, May 13, 2016

The Earl’s Betrothal Author: Karen Tuft

Title:  The Earl’s Betrothal
Author:  Karen Tuft
Pages:  264
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.
My rating is 4 stars.
Anthony Harvgreaves has returned from the dead or so his family thinks.  He was a captain, serving in the Peninsular War in 1812.  He was wounded, taken by his best friend to a private home for treatment and no body was found so he was presumed dead.  His family was notified, bringing further devastation to them as Anthony’s older brother had been killed a few short months prior in a riding accident.  Anthony arrives home to the astonishment of his household, but with great relief and joy.  He is hailed as a hero, but his emotional trauma from war continues to haunt him.  He only finds some peace when he is with Amelia Clarke his mother’s companion.  However, now that he is the heir and an earl he must marry quickly from someone of his same station and fill his nursery to appease his ailing father.
Amelia Clarke is resigned to be a spinster, but enjoys her position at Ashworth Park as Lady Ashworth’s companion.  She was raised as a vicar’s daughter and has an education.  Not all nobility respect that about her and see her as trying to reach above her station.  She finds an ally in Anthony as well as a kindred heart as they both take on more responsibility than is theirs to take on.  Both have a tremendous sense of honor.  However, Amelia discovers something about her past that might affect her future and that of Anthony.  Their romance is forbidden by society, but their hearts disregard that boundary.  As each character wrestles with their ghosts from the past they turn to one another for the future, but can their relationship survive the sometimes cruel beau monde?
Although the story was predictable, I enjoyed the journey from beginning to end.  Amelia was such a woman of character and respectability and decorum.  She repeatedly put the wants or needs of other people ahead of what she wanted.  What a role model for girls today!  She stood her ground to face off against some mean and hateful people.  The roles and prejudices of society were so rigid in this time period, although some of that has carried over into our own time period.  There was some talk of God in the story, but not a lot.  I like to have that aspect more evident in the stories I read.

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, May 12, 2016

The League & the Lantern

Title:  The League & the Lantern
Author:  Brian Wells
Pages:  282
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Republic Ink
My rating is 5 stars.
The League and the Lantern is a really fun book to read for the middle school crowd.  It’s about a young boy named Jake Herndon who is ready for seventh grade, but things aren’t working out for him.  After an embarrassing disaster with sixth grade, he hopes this new school he is going to will provide him with new opportunities and a fresh start.  When he arrives at the Museum of Science and Industry for the school sleep-over, Jake makes two new friends, TJ and Lucy.  During a game of finding clues, the museum comes under attack and the trio immediately find themselves thrust into danger.  The children are forced to run and hide from the mysterious attackers and soon discover that they are after the gloves that belonged to Abraham Lincoln himself!  The children take the gloves with them and are unsure of whom they can trust as they find danger waiting for them at every turn.  

While on the run, they are rescued by a secret agency known as the League and learn of a secret war that has been going on since the end of the Civil War.  The evil organization known as the Lantern has been trying take over the world since after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and will stop at nothing to achieve their ultimate goal.  The children continue to go on the run and are surprised to learn of new secrets, one of which concerns Jake’s family, as they attempt to evade the Lantern.
Taking history and integrating it into a work of fiction made the story all the more interesting.  What also made it a good work of fiction was the continual plot twists and nonstop action.  Right from the first few pages it sets the pace for good story development that just leaves readers wanting more, and by the end of the book you are already waiting for book two (like me).  I would recommend this book to others for the mystery, nonstop action, loveable characters, and the unique story-telling.  As a reminder to readers, this book is a work of fiction and should bear in mind that the historical material in the story may not all be accurate.  It still was enjoyable to read, and I hope others enjoy reading it 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.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Quieting (The Bishop’s Family #2)

Title:  The Quieting (The Bishop’s Family #2)
Author:  Suzanne Woods Fisher
Pages:  352
Year: 2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars.
Book #1 of the series is titled The Imposter written by the same author.  In book two the characters are continued as well as the story line introduced in The Imposter.  For example the current bishop who switched the pieces of paper for the next bishop to be chosen did so to make sure he was “chosen”. Freeman Glick continues to throw accusations against the minister David and others without repenting of what he did which puts the congregation on a path of possibly choosing to use church discipline.
David who is the minister and owns a store is a widower raising his younger children by himself along with help from the oldest child still living at home.  His daughter Katrina is still living with an older woman caring for her and recently became her heir of her land when she passes on.  Jesse is now handling the repair of buggies by himself and living above his work shop away from home.
With occurrences of mischief in the small community, the church in a precarious position David’s mother and two nieces come from Ohio to “help”.  I rather enjoyed how Abigail was created to be someone who loved ancestry and helping others with their family tree.  Her father is suffering from depression and is sent to her Uncle David’s in order to forge her own path for the future which at first is not something Abigail care to do.
There is some normal family tension and other happenings that to me seem very real in the minister’s home.  I enjoyed reading how David try to help others understand that while they are leaders they are still men who fail at times.  It was refreshing to see how David loved to read and study the Scripture and how his world became bigger when he begins to realize he is falling in love with a local woman who brings a refreshing perspective to his home.
I hope the third novel comes out this fall or shortly in the winter of next year as I want to see how the author brings some plot lines to conclusion or continues 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.” 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

None Like Him (10 Ways God is Different Us & Why That’s a Good Thing)

Title:  None Like Him (10 Ways God is Different Us & Why That’s a Good Thing)
Author:  Jen Wilkin
Pages:  176
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Crossway
My rating is 5 stars.
As I read the book it quickly became apparent that the author was going to be transparent in what she learned as she encourages us to learn.  Jen Wilkin shares ten characteristics about God, one per chapter, with space for response after reading each chapter.  First, she gives more Scripture references to read and reflect upon.  The verses are for us to meditate on, in other words think about them over and over again.  Second, there are questions that help facilitate reflection.  As people who seek after God we want to reflect upon what He has taught us in the chapter and through His Word.  Third, there is a suggestion for prayer.  I find that when using books such as these it is best to write in a notebook so that there is no limit to writing what is on my heart because of space.  Plus, if I use a notebook, I can pick up the book later and read through it again seeing it afresh without having prior notes in there.  If I don’t write in it, I can lend the book out to a friend or give it away to whomever the Lord might bring to mind.
When I was done, I felt encouraged and my mind was contemplating the truths I had seen.  I was thankful for the author taking time to write the book and for what the Lord revealed to me.  If I hide His Word in my heart, He will use it to change me more into the image of Christ.  What better goal is there than for me to diminish and Him to increase?

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, May 9, 2016

The End of Law

Title:  The End of Law
Author:  Therese Down
Pages:  320
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Lion Publications
My rating is 4 stars.
Hitler was a lost person in more ways than one along with the many men who followed his orders without question or conviction.  The author points though to the youth who at the cost of their own lives spoke truth to their countrymen, reminding them of who the German people really were and  should rise up to be again.
Many novels and nonfiction books remind us, teach us and make us aware of what happened when evil went unchecked in a nation.  The author really writes a heart-gripping tale of how life changed for one German family when the husband, father and man chose to seek accolades from a mad man in power.  In the book, you will also read of the way it affected the character to do Hitler’s selective killing.  There is some detail in the book, but mainly it is a tale of the people who decided to stand up and then kneel down before God, making others aware of the atrocities being committed against the defenseless.
Included in the book is what the cost was to the wife, daughter and son of a man who sought to have more power and higher rank in the SS.  While he could live his life the way he chose, this made the character want to exert abusive power in his own home.  While one SS man sought power from Hitler another SS officer turned to God.  He cannot live with the nightmares he suffers or the work he has done with the destruction of life and ultimately his soul.
The foul language in the book is used by the one male character who believes there is no God, only the Reich.  However, it wasn’t necessary to use God’s name in vain in the novel as readers are aware of how the godless speak to and of God.  Those who resisted and called on others to resist Hitler and the Reich were killed in the early 20s.  I am humbled by their courage even decades after their sacrifice.
As soon as one starts reading, the reader will quickly lose themselves in a period of history that defies description.  However one aspect I learned about was of those who died courageously because they stood up to stop the spread of evil in the day.  What a reminder to be courageous and instead of ignoring evil, speak up, out and against that which God calls evil even when the cost is life!

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, May 7, 2016

The Preacher’s Lady

Title:  The Preacher’s Lady
Author:  Lori Copeland
Pages:  224
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Harvest House Publishers
My rating is 4 stars.
Bo Garrett and Elly Sullivan are in love and don’t care who knows it.  They are young teenagers and can’t wait to start their married lives together when Bo turns seventeen.  When Bo turns seventeen, however, he tells Elly he feels restless and wants to see a little of the country before settling down and farming cranberries.  Elly understands and lets Bo go after he assures her that he will be back in about a month.  Seven years later Bo arrives home, but only because his father’s health is failing and he needs Bo’s help harvesting the cranberry crop.
Elly tells herself she has moved on and accepts a proposal from another, but can’t make herself set a wedding date.  She is angry and hurt with how Bo has treated her and wants nothing to do with him.  Bo has returned a changed man, dedicating his life to serving God.  What has happened over the last seven years?  Elly has railed against God in her hurt while Bo embraced Him at his lowest point.  As the story progresses, Elly and Bo can’t help but spend some time together as they are next door neighbors and their families have been close for over twenty years.  Elly sees that Bo truly is changed, but can she truly forgive him in her heart instead of just saying the words after all Bo has put her through?
This is a sweet love story that showcases the very real human reactions to fear, loneliness, love, death, grace, compassion and more.  I always know Lori will produce a book worth reading and this is no exception.  There isn’t much action or suspense, but there are examples of how to not become bitter by holding on to the past, helping others and showing mercy.  The book is short, easy to read and uplifting.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The above represents my opinion only.  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, May 6, 2016

The Inheritance (Secrets of the Shetlands #1)

Title:  The Inheritance (Secrets of the Shetlands #1)
Author:  Michael Phillips
Pages:  432
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5+ stars.
Many undertake to share stories with people through writing novels with various points of view, themes, and different genres.  Few books are able to touch the soul of a reader deeply; perhaps a few will still be remembered for a long time.  Books take the audience to all sorts of places, on adventures and beg the reader to release the mind’s ability to “imagine”.
In a way that I haven’t come across in many books, both fiction and nonfiction, Michael Phillips shares a very heart-gripping tale.  At first I wrestled with some of the language spoken by characters on Shetland Island, even though the author wrote it with more of an English dialect.  I am not gifted in languages, even English, so it is a blessing to have a friend who edits my reviews!  Part of the story takes place on the island or the mainland; other parts take place in America.
What struck me hardest was the more I read, the deeper the story went to encompass more themes and characteristics.  At first it seemed there was a hint of something special in the story with the Prologue, then the sense of mystery came out of nowhere as an added pull to keep reading.  It is a rich, historical piece of fiction to be sure; yet, don’t be surprised to see aspects and themes such as ancestors, treasures, love, tension and more.
Faith is one of the themes that shows up later in the book, and I am sure you will understand why when you sit to enjoy the novel.  Personally, I eagerly await the sequel to book one as the story continues and perhaps to a third installment.  The chapters are very short which moves the story along at an engaging pace without losing readers.  The plot is complex, the characters intriguing and there are a multitude of themes.  However, there is a richness to the novel that will definitely leave an imprint on the heart and mind of readers for a long time as there is a message that can be understood and practiced in anyone’s life if they so choose to do so.
To me this is the best of Michael Phillips that I have read and thoroughly loved in a long time, and I hope you will enjoy the book 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.”

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Deception (Mountain Cove) Author: Elizabeth Goddard

Title:  Deception (Mountain Cove)
Author:  Elizabeth Goddard
Pages:  224
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My rating is 5 stars.
One of the best things I love about these novels is that they capture the attention of the reader from page one and keep it till the end!  Another is that these books are entertaining, adventurous, filled with suspense and not overly focused on romance.  I like romance, but with it in the background and a great tale wrapped around it.
Deception is a gripping novel that begins with a woman being pushed to the rampaging falls below.  The main female character is a widow who is in her mid-40s, which I like, plus how she faces her trials which seems to run concurrent.  Now it appears the author leads us to know pretty quickly who the person was who attempts to murder Jewel Caraway.  However, don’t be fooled too easily as you will enjoy reading and discovering there is more to the mystery than meets the eye!
If you’re the type of reader who loves suspense and adventure with a smidgen of romance, then these types of books are for you.  I don’t tell you much about the story because of the brevity of the book and I don’t want to ruin the enjoyment in reading it for yourself.  I signed up to get books from Love Inspired Suspense every month and I am never disappointed in the selections I receive.
These are faith-centered, clean and enjoyable books that can be shared with family and friends.  Plus one can build up a nice personal library from which to be able to grab a book at a moment’s notice while never being disappointed.  I think at times the only disappointment is in not being able to finish a section before life calls!
Elizabeth Goddard writes really captivating stories in the Mountain Cove series as well as stands alone, so there is plenty to choose from. Plus one Mountain Cove book is dependent on the other, each story can be enjoyed without reading the others.  But then again why miss the fun?

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, May 4, 2016

The Magnolia Duchess (Gulf Coast Chronicles #3)

Title:  The Magnolia Duchess (Gulf Coast Chronicles #3)
Author:  Beth White
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 4 stars.
Charlie Kincaid and Fiona Lanier are reunited in a most unusual manner.  Charlie washed up on the shore near Mobile with his memory gone.  Fiona immediately recognizes Charlie, but he doesn’t remember her at first.  Fiona had a crush on Charlie when they first met years ago at his grandfather’s estate in Britain.  She soon realizes that Charlie holds a position in the British Navy, but is he a spy sent to Mobile to gain information about America’s armed forces?  Fiona is impulsive, loyal, beautiful and driving Charlie crazy!  He loses his heart to her almost immediately, even as his memory returns and his mission comes back into focus.  Fiona thinks Charlie has always had a little piece of her heart since meeting him and now he has all of her heart, but how can there be a future for them when they are on opposing sides of a war?  Along with Fiona’s romance, her cousins Maddy and Sehoy also have matters of the heart to settle during this difficult time of war.
For me, there were too many couples and romances to keep track of in the story.  There were three couples, and the story switched back and forth between the relationships.  I also thought the chapters were too long and kind of bogged down the story.  I really liked the setting of the story and found this aspect of the war with Britain very interesting.  I also liked the reliance on God Fiona and Charlie found when they faced difficult situations.  It was evident the author had done her research on this topic and wove a good fictional story from factual information.

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