Monday, April 24, 2017

A Fragile Hope

Title:  A Fragile Hope

Author:  Cynthia Ruchti

Pages:  320

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Abingdon

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

There are times in my life when I start a book that I know is going to tug at my heart strings and I am going to “feel” the story.  Here is one of those stories that sure enough slowly and surely pulls a reader in and the reader cannot help but to continue even when the heart is feeling the emotions certain characters are created to feel or portray.

The author has been one of my favorites for a very long time, and this book just cements it for me.  It wasn’t an easy book to read in the sense I felt deeply about the scene(s) I was involved in, but I also wanted to know how it was going to end.  Not all stories real or otherwise have happy endings.  We all know that isn’t real life, so part of me tried to brace my heart for the ending I thought was coming.  However, what came was so much better than what I anticipated because it was filled with the best touch of heart mixed with wisdom and truth.

I won’t share the ending because while it’s true I don’t want to ruin it for others, it is more about experiencing the story being shared.  The author shares how people shared their life stories with her and some ended well, but others sadly didn’t.  What I loved about the book and really encourage people to read it is for the experience but also the rare glimpse we get into the world of trauma with its ripple effects.  Plus, we get inside the main character, Josiah, hearing his thoughts, emotions, questions, struggling with his faith and in many ways coming awake to the world he closed off, which had dire ramifications he was clueless about.

Absolutely the best novel from this author to date!  When readers are done, I hope they find her other books and enjoy those as well for each is as distinct as one person is from another.

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.”

Cynthia Ruchti's 'A Fragile Hope' Giveaway

When your life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages, what happens when your own marriage begins to fall apart? Find out what happens to Josiah Chamberlain in Cynthia Ruchti's new book, A Fragile Hope. Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

Celebrate the release of A Fragile Hope by entering to win Cynthia's Sign of Hope Giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 3. The winner will be announced May 4 on the Litfuse blog.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Without Warning (Elite Guardians #2)

Title:  Without Warning (Elite Guardians #2)
Author:  Lynette Eason
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating 5 out of 5 stars.
The author’s style of writing suspense and thrillers keeps me on the lookout for her books constantly!  In the first novel of the series, Always Watching, I had a feeling this series was going to be time well spent reading.  Now, in book two, the suspense is ever highly tuned and the mystery of who was after a man who shared so much with others while running a business was an excellent place to start the plot.  In the first book, we meet the four women who come together to build a business doing various tasks including being bodyguards.
In this book, we are looking at the second of the four women whose name is Katie and she has extensive training in multiple law enforcement avenues.  Katie is well versed in dismantling bombs if she can and handling the investigation of suspicions fires.  What makes it hard for Katie to get near a fire or investigate is due to a past experience that has left a scar on her heart and mind.  Now, she either has to learn to slowly walk through her PTSD experiences or allow her fears to keep her crippled.  With the help of a client named Daniel Matthews, Katie just might get to experience freedom.  During her job, her heart just might betray her when it comes to spending time with Daniel and his niece.
Each book in the series seems to just get better and better with the author’s stories being so well crafted in the area of various law enforcement and emergency workers and more.  I love how each woman has issues in life to handle that make them more realistic and easy to be captivated by.  I cannot wait to read the recent book out in the series titled, Moving Target.  So keep an eye out for another review on the author, series and stories!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sunset in Old Savannah (Secrets of the South Mysteries #4)

Title:  Sunset in Old Savannah (Secrets of the South Mysteries #4)

Author:  Mary Ellis

Pages:  347

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Harvest House Publishers

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Beth Kirby and Michael Preston have been sent by their boss to Savannah, Georgia for the agency’s latest case.  Beth has begun to respect Michael now that they have spent some time together and she can see he is willing to work hard to learn the skills necessary to be a private investigator.  They are sent to see if their client, Evelyn Doyle, has an adulterous husband.  Evelyn suspects her husband of forty years is having an affair.  Beth and Michael are given time to sight see while in Savannah as well as track down Evelyn’s spouse’s movements.  They quickly discover that Lamar Doyle is having an affair with a woman young enough to be his daughter.  When they inform their client, they do not get the reaction they were expecting.  Evelyn is upset, but she decides to forgive her husband as Christ has forgiven her of her sins.  Beth is a fairly new Christian and has some trouble understanding this reaction, but the case is solved and they have some free time to enjoy the city…until a dead body is discovered.

Michael has feelings for Beth that are more than friendship, but he knows she is gun shy so he has kept quiet.  He would rather spend the rest of his life with Beth as his friend that not have her in his life at all, which might happen if he reveals his feelings.  Meanwhile, the more time they spend working the murder case together and sightseeing together, the more Beth realizes what a great guy Michael is, but she is nervous to speak up as she thinks she is no good at relationships.  Then, another body is found.

I really enjoyed seeing the personal relationship between Michael and Beth develop.  Beth had a great sense of humor, which I liked, and Michael seems like such a sweetheart!  The mystery story was a little slow in some parts, but I liked the faith focus of Evelyn especially.  Beth’s impetuous nature gets her in trouble, but she has a compassionate heart that leads her sometimes instead of her head.  Michael is much more by the book and thinking things through.  These two make for a good investigative team as their skills complement each other.  So, get a copy and read about some of the sights of Savannah as well as a good mystery with some added romance!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison (legacy of Grace #1)

Title:  The Elusive Miss Ellison (legacy of Grace #1)

Author:  Carolyn Miller

Pages:  303

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Kregel Publications

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

This story takes placed mostly in a small town in England in the year 1813.  Lavinia Ellison is the daughter of the local reverend.  She is used to speaking her mind and is independent and intelligent.  She spends her days helping the poor in her town, playing on the pianoforte and helping around the house.  She lost her mother in an accident several years ago.  The accident involved one of the peerage in town.  Lord Nicholas Hawkesbury is new to his title after the death of his older brother.  He has come to his country home to put it in order.  After he arrives, he begins to realize the sad state of his estate’s affairs thanks to his brother’s spending on other things.  He entrusts his steward to see to the repair of tenant homes and planting of fields.  After too much time, he finds out his steward is robbing him and not spending the money as Lord Hawkesbury has directed.

Lord Hawkesbury meets Lavinia and they immediately clash.  She speaks her mind about his lack of keeping his word to help the tenants.  He thinks she is too forward for a lady.  Lavinia continues to champion the poor and time and again Lord Hawkesbury says he will do something and then doesn’t.  Lavinia jumps to conclusions as to the reasons why, which makes for more sparks.  Amidst the sparks of irritation are also sparks of attraction.  However, Lord Hawkesbury’s mother has a suitable woman of his station in society all picked out for him to marry.  Lavinia is a reverend’s daughter and not in the same class of society, so she is certainly not an option for a wife.  Nicholas longs for Lavinia, but supposes he should do what his mother wants and what society deems appropriate.  By spending time with Lavinia, see her compassion and have her speak Scripture to him, even while pointing out his faults, he begins to seek out God.

I could identify with the two main characters in that they were depicted as believable and I could relate to their emotions.  They made mistakes, were quick to find the faults in each other’s character while not seeing their own and speaking without thinking often hurting the other’s feelings.  Just like me sometimes!  However, the generosity Lavinia displayed, the compassion for the poor and the self-sacrifice were amazing.  Yes, she got caught up in prideful thinking, but once aware of this she tried to act as God would have her act.  I also thought her living her faith and not just talking about it was great as then she could stand firm in her beliefs when challenged.  The story has a wonderful romance and I can’t wait until book two in the series is released!  This was a great book that will be going on my “keeper” shelf.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from

The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sandpiper Cove (A Hope Harbor Novel)

Title:  Sandpiper Cove (A Hope Harbor Novel)
Author:  Irene Hannon
Pages:  352
Year:  2017
Publisher:  Revell
My rating 5 out of 5 stars.
Irene Hannon writes many different types of stories from mystery, suspense to ones with a more romantic focus.  The Hope Harbor series is of the more romantic type with some of the same characters we met in Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane and her newest, Sandpiper Cove.  Each book I so enjoyed as I could imagine the scenes painted in the novel via words, and some of the unique people who live in this fictitious town.  In her newest story, we meet a man who has come to the harbor hoping to start fresh after his prison experience.  While in prison, the town pastor visited Adam Stone and showed him God’s unconditional love for him.
One of the town residents employs him, but the one thing Adam finds ministers to him is an injured dog called Charley, and making various things with wood.  Now he has been the victim of vandals and in one case the dog was hurt as well.  When Lexi, the Chief of Police, shows up to question Adam about the occurrences, Adam tenses.  He doesn’t find trusting anyone an easy job though he loves serving the community and at his local congregation.
Lexi is a local resident who has returned after being overseas for a time and is now Chief of Police.  She is a single mom to Max who is the joy of her heart.  During her work hours, Lexi’s mother cares for Max and enjoys taking care of her daughter as well.  When she notices that Adam is interested in her, Lexi isn’t sure if she is willing to open her heart again to love for fear of being hurt; yet, she is tired of being lonely.
Hope Harbor is a heart-touching series, filled with love and faith as well as characters that in some way we can relate to.  My favorite of the series thus far is Charlie who is a sage, painter, runs a fish taco stand and yet seems to know what words of encouragement of advice people need to hear.  I hope the author plans on writing a story that sheds more light into this character.  If you read the books, you’ll see why he is such an interesting male figure in the books.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Romans 12 @ 7pm EST

Murder is No Accident (Hidden Springs Mystery #3)

Title:  Murder is No Accident (Hidden Springs Mystery #3)

Author:  A.H. Gabhart

Pages:  343

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 4 stars.

Deputy Michael Keane is called to the scene of an accidental fall down the stairs by a local realtor at an old Victorian style mansion.  The owner has been transferred to a senior care home and her executor’s son is trying to sell the house out from under her.  The realtor had come to appraise the house and ran into someone unexpected there.  What the surprise visitor doesn’t know is that a local teen is hiding up in the tower room of the house when the accident happens and hears everything.  The teen leaves the scene, but then receives an alarming telephone call.  Michael has his suspicions about the “accident”, but has no proof that it was anything other than just that…an accident.  This brings back memories for the owner of years ago when her sister died the same way in the same house.  This has always been ruled an accident, but the owner claims she knows who killed her sister.  Another body is soon found at the old house and this time there is no doubt that the person was murdered.  Michael has his hands full investigating these crimes as well as helping with the local church youth group.

Michael also receives news that his aunt’s neighbor and good friend to all in the community has had a stroke.  This is the local town’s attorney whose niece just happens to be the love of Michael’s life, but he hasn’t told her that.  Alexandria Sheridan arrives in town to help with the care of her uncle.  She has loved Michael all her life, but hasn’t been bold enough to let him know.  Besides she is an attorney for a big law firm in Washington, D.C. and likes her life there.  Michael has roots and likes his small-town life in Hidden Springs.  Michael, however, decides he wants more than a long-distance telephone relationship with Alex and wants to move things to a new level.  Can Michael solve the case and get the girl?

What a good mystery series!  I like the direction the relationship between Michael and Alex is taking and can’t wait to see where they stand in the next book!  I just loved Miss Fonnie and the gentle way Michael treated her.  He still respected her even though she didn’t know what was going on in the present most of the time.  I also liked the relationship between the teenagers Anthony and Maggie and how they both respected Maggie’s parents’ wishes in regards to dating.  Anthony treated Maggie with respect.  The pace of the story was a little slow in a couple of places, but I still would definitely recommend this book to readers.

Monday, April 17, 2017

When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3)

Title:  When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3)

Author:  Sarah Sundin

Pages:  391

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 4 stars.

When Tides Turn is the third and final installment of the Waves of Freedom series from author Sarah Sundin.  The other two books in the series are Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm.  This third story takes place beginning in July 1942 and ends August 1943.  The two main characters in the book are Dan Avery and Quintessa (Tess) Beaumont.  Dan is the older brother of Jim, one of the main characters in book one and Tess is the best friend of Mary, the other main character in book one.

Dan Avery has decided to be a career Navy man for as long as the Lord allows him.  He has also determined that women are a distraction from his firm resolve to work his way up the Navy ladder to become an Admiral one day.  He will not marry or take time away from his career, working seven days a week.  He is coerced to go on a few outings when his brother is home on leave and finds Tess a distraction because of her beauty.  He doesn’t encourage her to be interested in him and determines to stay away from her.  Then, he discovers she has joined the WAVES and will be working in the same office as he is working.  What will he do now?

Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face.  She wants to be liked for who she is on the inside.  She wants to have a purpose.  She decides to join the Navy WAVES and excels at her job.  She also has noticed her former roommate is acting a bit odd.  Her roommate is French and has been attending a group that supports French resistance against Germany.  With her odd behavior, Tess begins to wonder if she is a spy for the Germans.  Tess reports her suspicions to the local FBI office and they recruit Tess to continue to go to the meetings and report everything to them.  In the meantime, Tess fights against her attraction to Dan because she knows he wants to be married to the Navy.  She wants to do what is best for him, so she tries to foster a friendship instead.  Will this work?

This is a wonderful series for those interested in the WWII setting.  They mostly take place in Boston with occasional segments at sea.  The faith of the main characters’ shines through in each story.  Tess is a wonderful example of an encourager, which I admire, as that is not my forte.  I found the segments that took place on board ship very interesting and descriptive.  Stay tuned as a new series from this author will be launched in 2018!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Among Wolves (Disciple-Making in the City)

Title:  Among Wolves (Disciple-Making in the City)

Author:  Dhati Lewis

Pages:  192

Year:  2017

Publisher:  B & H Books

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

In all honesty, this is a challenging book to read and at times it might make some people uncomfortable; that isn’t bad.  In fact, in this context, it’s very good.  The author is very transparent about his life, experiences and more so his heart.  He shares how God taught him to see the world and those around him as He sees them.

The greatest challenge in any congregation is getting folks to participate in active disciple-making.  Why? Of course, there are a host of reasons and some of it we Christians need to own up to.  For instance, many times we make being a Christian seem like all fun and games perhaps easy without helping convey the cost of being a follower.

In the book, the author shares principles he has learned and some of them the hard way.  Dhati Lewis shares ideas of how local congregations can walk though some steps and help others come alongside to teach, listen, learn and more with other people from various backgrounds.  It’s a challenge not to remain comfortable in one place, but to go out into the city to reach others who need Christ.

The author uses the Gospel of Matthew, showing us Jesus as He made disciples, then released them to go out and call others to come into the fold.  Nothing can be accomplished simply by following principles, steps, etc.  We must be open to God though His Spirit to show us how He desires each of us to carry out the mission in sharing the gospel with others.

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, April 13, 2017

Jeanne Robertson | We Don't Sell Vanilla Milkshakes

Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart

Title:  Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart

Author:  Jennifer Moore

Pages:  209

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.

My rating is 4 stars.

Sarah Whitaker has lived in New South Wales penal colony for ten years now.  Her father first bought her homestead some twenty years ago.  He was a free man as are more and more of the people arriving in town.  He was killed ten years ago, leaving Sarah all his property and possessions.  Sarah has had to learn the hard way not to trust anyone or they will take advantage of you and hurt you.  She has trusted and been betrayed several times.  She has a deep fear and hatred of the aborigines as they killed her father.  She also trusts none of the convicts who work for her, serving out their sentences.  She meets her new neighbor, Daniel Burton, quite by accident and quickly learns he has bought the land she has repeatedly asked to buy right out from under her!  She isn’t surprised that the government sold it to a man, but she sure is angry.

Daniel Burton find his new neighbor a puzzle.  She lives alone and is her own boss.  She is knowledgeable about farming and sheep herding, but is wary of everyone.  She holds herself at a distance from everyone.  Daniel and Sarah spend more time together at Daniel’s initiation so he can learn about raising sheep as he has bought his own herd.  Sarah shares her knowledge and gradually allows a friendship to develop, then love between the two blooms.  However, Daniel is keeping a huge secret from Sarah.  Can she forgive him when he tells her?  If he doesn’t tell her, she will find out eventually from someone else.  She has given him her trust and he is deceiving her.  She holds his heart, but will she keep it once she knows his past?

I liked the setting of this story, which I thought was unique and interesting.  I knew nothing about New South Wales.  This is also a gentle romance that builds slowly, but deeply.  Sarah has faced so many disappointments in her young life, but she pulls herself up and keeps going.  She realizes she has closed herself off from people.  She has buried her emotions.  She takes a look at her life and doesn’t like certain aspects of it, so she begins to let herself feel again, but at what cost?  Daniel also learns much about himself in his second chance at life.  There are other themes present in the story that I’ll let readers discover for themselves.  So, pick up a copy for yourself and enjoy an entertaining romance.

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


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Beyond Justice

Title:  Beyond Justice

Author:  Cara Putman

Pages:  352

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

This is one of the most addicting and riveting novels I’ve read in 2017!  Cara Putman’s story has a plethora of various threads woven together to keep readers on the edge of their seats and turning pages.  The action is fast-paced; the quest for justice and fighting evil is paramount.  It isn’t easy to pinpoint the antagonist, but then again there might be more than one!

A lawyer named Hayden McCarthy works for a major law firm.  Hayden is given cases that seem impossible to win; yet, Hayden tends to do just what isn’t expect from the opposite side of the courtroom to win.  The case that will make or break Hayden’s career could also come at the cost of life.  When other get involved, more people turn up hurt or dead.  Andrew Wesley is a congressman’s only heir.  Andrew wants nothing to do with politics.  In fact, when readers learn what he likes to do it is unexpected.  Yet Andrew also works with a non-profit organization to help legal immigrants get acclimated to a new culture with all its nuances.  Neither Hayden nor Andrew have any time for relationships, however, that could change.

Cara brings into the story her vast knowledge of law, courtroom experience, and human nature along with faith to bring to life a most heart-gripping tale that I couldn’t put down!  There were twists and turns when I least expected them along with characters that seemed to have multi-faceted agendas.  As I went further and further into the tale, the more the author shared the heart and background of some of the players in her story.  Some of the office politics between partners were filled with animosity or secrets that kept me wondering who was for justice and who was hiding what.  I love how intense and focused Hayden could be and how Andrew honored his parents’ wishes, learning they did love him.

I hope the author plans on writing more tales that are in the legal thriller/suspense genre as it seems an awfully good fit for her talents.  Don’t miss this exciting, nail-biting, heart-pounding 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.”

If I’m Found (If I Run Series #2)

Title:  If I’m Found (If I Run Series #2)

Author:  Terri Blackstock

Pages:  384

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Zondervan

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

If I Run is the first novel in the series and was published in 2016.  Now, If I’m found is out this year with the exciting conclusion, If I Live, coming out March 2018.  So, if you haven’t read the books, you have time to catch up before the series concludes.

Casey Cox is a woman we meet in the first book who is running for her life after finding her friend dead. While trying to keep under the radar, Casey ends up getting involved in other peoples’ troubles and longs to help them out.  The hardest part for Casey is trusting someone with information she has about her own father’s past that will have ripple effects some people just don’t want to have happen.  Readers will follow Casey as she tries to stay a step or two ahead of the man who has been sent to capture her and bring her back to face justice.

What makes it even harder for Casey to stay under the radar is her passion to help others out of deep trouble even if it means she will be caught and probably punished for a crime she didn’t commit.  Casey is used to trusting herself and carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, but Dylan Roberts just might be the one to help her share her burden while getting justice.

Terri Blackstock has written some very engaging stories that audiences won’t soon forget no matter how many books they read in a short time.  While I hate to wait another year before the conclusion, I can say it is well worth it because the suspense never lets up!  While you’re waiting for the last book to come out, if you haven’t read some of this author’s other stories, plunge right in, pick a couple and enjoy!

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, April 11, 2017

Romans 11 @ 7pm EST

Long Time Gone (The Cimarron Legacy #2)

Title:  Long Time Gone (The Cimarron Legacy #2)
Author:  Mary Connealy
Pages:  304
Year:  2017
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating 5 out of 5 stars.
We are introduced to the Cimarron Ranch and the Bodin family in the first novel titled, No Way Up! Personally, I have been excitedly looking forward to this book as the story picks up right where the first book leaves off.  I assume the third book will bring to a conclusion the mystery behind who is attempting to take the ranch from the family and constantly attempting to kill the family.
In this book, the focus remains on solving the riddle of who is so focused on stealing the ranch and will get rid of whomever is in the way.  The author does a great job of mixing up tense moments of action, adventure and danger with a comical pause or a possible romance.  With the patriarch of the family in Denver healing from a serious broken leg with his wife beside him, the danger is ramping up and the siblings feel as if there isn’t anyone they can trust.  The man after them has hired many guns against the family and greed is pure motive for some of the hands to go against their bosses.
I love the female characters of Angie and Sadie along with Mel as they have true grit and are a determined force of females to be reckoned with should those intent on harming them cross their paths.  I enjoyed watching a budding romance and the family sticking together regardless of being separated by miles, especially because of the determined nature of whomever is on the warpath.
Read the first book and then this sequel to get caught up on the action, danger, romance, faith and family in the Cimarron Legacy series!  The stories will keep you turning pages for awhile!

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Trail of Crumbs (A Novel of the Great Depression)

Title:  A Trail of Crumbs (A Novel of the Great Depression)

Author:  Susie Finkbeiner

Pages:  320

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Kregel

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The first novel I read by Susie Finkbeiner was A Cup of Dust, which is a story of the dust bowl, and it was really good.  Now, she presents a story that brings some of the characters from the other book into a new story, which is set during the great depression.  Now don’t think that Susie focuses on the Great Depression; she leads us on a journey where her characters must leave the Dust Bowl to go to another state.  There is where the family, having recently lost a child and asked to raise another by a friend, must learn life in a new county while grieving and adjusting to life without dust everywhere.

There were many surprises in the book and I thought for sure the author was going to take the story in a certain direction that seemed like a good idea at least to me.  However, the author leads us to understand true family and what it can be based on and learning to put one foot in front of the other when unexpected choices are made that impact the heart of the main character, Pearl Spence.  At this time, she is just a young girl who has gone through so much abandonment and has questions galore while learning how reading can help her cope in daily life.

The church the Spencers go to is nothing like they are used to, but Pearl likes how this preacher speaks and the way he shares truth from the Bible.  Pearl’s aunt encourages her imagination and helps her explore the wonderful world of various stories.  I loved the aunt for her carefree, loving and accepting heart which Pearl needed desperately.

I sat down to read the book thinking it would take me days to get through when I found myself unable to put it down and completed it in one sitting.  I was pulled in by the heart, emotions and circumstances described in the tale and how Pearl’s grandmother had deposited so many nuggets of wisdom in Pearl’s heart when she was alive.  What a beautiful example of how our words and actions may not seem to make a difference at the moment, but later can blossom into hope in the heart of a listener!

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, April 8, 2017

Justice Delayed (A Memphis Cold Case Novel #1)

Title:  Justice Delayed (A Memphis Cold Case Novel #1)

Author:  Patricia Bradley

Pages:  352

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

A friend of mine has read and enjoyed Patricia’s novels for a long time now not until I read her newest story did I fully understand the reason.  In Justice Delayed, we meet a spunky woman named Andi whose sister was murdered many years ago.  Even with the age difference Andi was close to her sister and became a journalist due to the last words she heard her sister speak to her.

In the past, four women stewardesses lived together and may have become involved in illegally smuggling rough diamonds into the States.  While not technically a cold case, the man who is to be executed for murder in a matter of a few days receives a letter stating he didn’t do the deed.  Now, his cousin, who is a detective in the cold case unit, must try to find out the real perpetrator or the evidence that proves the man’s guilt.  The twist is they are related and Andi knows them as well, having grown up together in the same neighborhood.

Both Andi and her brother Brad and detective Will eventually come together to find out the truth about Stephanie even though their friendship is strained by the case.  Will has issues with his birth mother and her coming once again into his life uninvited along with trying to keep Andi from further harm as she digs into stories that are dangerous.  Add to that the growing feelings Will has towards her and vice versa and the story just keeps getting better and better.

I loved how well the author kept me guessing as to who committed what deed and how the various threads of different cases may come together to reveal a completed tapestry of truth.  There are familiar issues, addiction, danger, action and adventure all while on the road to uncover the truth that has been buried for over a decade.  I hope if you are not familiar with Patricia Bradley’s books that you too will grab a copy and enjoy the mystery and the tension as it builds throughout the story all the way to the conclusion!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Expert Witness

Title:  Expert Witness

Author:  Rachel Dylan

Pages:  219

Year:  2015

Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense

My rating is 4 stars.

My two favorite things about the Love Inspired Suspense stories is that they get the story going quickly and readers get to see faith in action not just in word.  This book is no exception.  It takes place in Atlanta, Georgia.  The two main characters are Max Preston, a U.S. Marshal and Sydney Berry, a forensic artist and expert witness.

Sydney has given part of her testimony on opening day in the trial of a prominent businessman’s murder trial.  She is set to give the bulk of her testimony tomorrow.  Due to suspected ties to a local drug gang by the defendant, Sydney is assigned a protective agent from the U.S. Marshal’s Office in the person of Max Preston.  Upon leaving the courthouse, she is in immediate need of his protection as she is the target of a drive-by shooting.  She is uninjured, but she has been put on notice that she is not safe to go home.  She and Max head to a safe house, but soon after arrival their lives are again threatened.

Hereafter, they can no longer be sure who they can trust and are on the run.  They are kept in the loop by a couple of co-workers as to the trial of the status as Sydney is determined to complete her testimony so she can give justice to the young murder victim.  Another threat from Sydney’s past also enters in to play, that of her abusive ex-boyfriend.  He has no idea of the strong woman she has become since their relationship ended when she ran away from him.  She ran from him and to a church where she found God and faith in Him.  She now lives her faith daily and with Max spending so much time around her, he has begun to renew his childhood faith that had previously been put by the wayside.  With constant threats and attempts on their lives, can there be time for a romantic relationship?  Can Sydney move beyond her mistrust of men?

This story get the heart pumping from beginning to end with lots of action and suspense.  There is little down time, so hold on to your hat!  Sydney’s strong faith will be put into action as she must run for her life.  Max revisits his past and why he veered from his faith after he sees Sydney’s dependence on God.  This is a good story for a rainy afternoon or anytime readers have a few hours.  It won’t take long to read as the pages will flip quickly!