Friday, May 24, 2019

Living Lies (Harbored Secrets #1)

Title:  Living Lies (Harbored Secrets #1)

Author:  Natalie Walters

Pages:  336

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Revell

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

Wow!  The title and cover give viewers looking for a good story just a glimpse into the meaning behind what is seen.  The tale is a real heart-grabber and I cannot wait for the second book titled, Deadly Deceit, slated to be published November of 2019!

The main character is Lane Kent.  She has secrets along with heart break.  One little boy named Noah brings her delight every day.  He is her son and together they do life since Lane lost her husband two years prior.  Lane lives in an apartment upstairs above a café she runs in a small town.  Readers will enjoy seeing how Lane and others care for the vets in that town each Friday night with a home cooked meal.  Lane though struggles with guilt, depression and more and wonders each day if life is worth living.

Charlie has returned from service as a Marine and now he is a deputy in the same town as Lane.  Their meeting is fortuitous.  As the story develops, audiences will find themselves trying to figure out the mystery imbedded in the pages as well as having their heart touched by the personal battle of depression Lane faces each new day.  The supporting characters are examples to Lane of love, acceptance and not allowing herself to be defined or hemmed in by depression.

I thought the author did a masterful job of blending elements of mental health, veterans’ issues, mystery, romance, faith and more in the book.  I don’t normally read books that deal so compassionately with those who suffer from depression or PTSD, so this was refreshing.  The mystery was well developed and brought some unforeseen twists to the novel; it kept me turning the pages!

Don’t think this book is a downer because it deals with real issues because it isn’t.  The book brings hope and light to some areas of life that aren’t easy but not necessarily confining either.  Readers will enjoy the tale, character and plot of this book.  I can’t wait for the second book to come out!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Blind Betrayal (Defenders of Justice #3)

Title:  Blind Betrayal (Defenders of Justice #3)

Author:  Nancy Mehl

Pages:  317

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Bethany House

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Casey Sloane has been in St. Louis as a federal marshal for two years.  Her new assignment is to escort a reporter to Washington, D.C. to testify to information she received from an environmentalist who has gone missing.  Someone from D.C. has been sent to accompany her and her partner on the transfer.  Unfortunately, it is someone she hoped to never see again, E.J. Queen.  They used to work together in D.C., but she hasn’t seen him for two years.  She left D.C. on bad terms with him.  But before they can talk about the past or leave town with their witness, the local federal marshals office is bombed with many casualties.  Casey’s boss tells her to leave town immediately and check in later.

E.J. Queen is sent to St. Louis to help in the transportation of a reporter to the D.C. office.  He used to work with Casey before she left suddenly for St. Louis.  He had romantic feelings for her but kept them to himself as she was dating his best friend.  Her sudden departure without explanation rankled.  Now, he must work with her, and they both would rather not be near each other.  Their attempts to keep their witness safe will have to crank up to their top performance ever as she is under attack.  They will have to use all of their skills and work together if they intend to get her to D.C. alive.

This third and final book in this series is filled with plenty of action and suspense.  The pages quickly turned as I delved into the story, waiting anxiously to see what happened next.  The tension between E.J. and Casey was palpable and believable.  The chase scenes were edge-of-your-seat action and there even was a bit of romance.  Nancy’s stories always have a faith element, and I like that she thanks God for giving her the talent to write at the end of the book.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Golden Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower #8)

Title:  The Golden Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower #8)

Author:  Kimberly Woodhouse

Pages:  256

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Barbour Books

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

Perhaps unlike other readers, I enjoy a historical novel more if I read the facts shared in the back of the book in the section titled, “Note from the Author”.  In this installment, Kimberley learned many new and exciting facts about San Francisco some of which she includes in the book.  The main characters in view are Olivia Brighton, Joseph Sawyer, and Daniel.

Daniel owns a restaurant and he is looking forward to reuniting with his sister Olivia whom he has not seen in years.  Now, Olivia is a grown woman who has experienced much within her young life, and its impact causes her to decide she will forever live alone.  Joseph came to the area along with hundreds of others to find gold.  Now, he has a manager to run the mine for him while he pursues other avenues.

The beauty in the story was not the budding romance for Olivia but how the three main characters bonded, prayed together and did Bible study as well.  The study wasn’t just for them; it was open to any who desired to join.  The novel is a glowing example of loving people where they are, letting God touch their hearts and transform them, and enduring heartache while allowing God to bring healing.

I have read the entire series and most of them I have thoroughly enjoyed, and this one is one of my favorites!  Coming soon are two new novels to the series:  The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse (July 2019) and The Rebel Bride (December 2019).  Here is a great way to follow a family legacy throughout history and see how the legacy of faith speaks to the next generation.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Alamo Bride (Daughters of Mayflower #7)


Title:  The Alamo Bride (Daughters of Mayflower #7)
Author:  Kathleen Y’Barbo
Pages:  256
Year:  2019
Publisher:  Barbour Books
My rating:  4 out of 5 stars
The series, for those who don’t know, is written by various authors, starting with Kimberley Woodlouse’s novel titled The Mayflower Bide.  Following that there are the five novels: The Pirate Bride, The Captured Bride, The Patriot Bride, The Cumberland Bride, The Liberty Bride, and coming in April 2019 is The Golden Bride.  Each novel is unique and filled with adventure, mystery, and romance along with faith of the characters. 
Every one of the previously listed stories I have read and enjoyed for different reasons.  The Alamo Bride took me a few chapters to become engaged but was still worth reading.  Here, the lead female character is known mainly by her shortened named Ellis.  Her personality is one of stubbornness, strength, knowledge of herbs and healing along with courage.
The story is not set when the battle of the Alamo is taking place.  Readers will be lured into the story by a man from New Orleans who is on a presidential mission.  However, harm comes to him and not only is his life in danger but so is concluding the mission.  Ellis and her family don’t know if they can trust this man, as he is having memory issues and they aren’t sure which side he stands with, Santa Anna or those loyal to Texas.
The book was for hard to get into but once I did, it was good.  I thought the story would take place at the Alamo and during the fighting.  There are individual skirmishes, but the tale focuses on Ellis and the man who has a mission.  It is worth reading and enjoying, and I look forward to the last book in the series to see how this is all going to conclude!

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Liberty Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower Series #6)


Title:  The Liberty Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower Series #6)
Author:  Marylu Tyndall
Pages:  256
Year:  2018
Publisher:  Barbour Books
My rating:  5 stars our of 5
All the books in the series are written by different authors who do a fantastic job of telling a tale set in a certain time period.  In the front of the book, a reader is reminded of the generations of a certain family that began with the Mayflower landing, and the name of the how the family has grown through the years regardless of the trials.
This book is set in 1814 on a boat off the coast of Virginia.  Emeline Barrett has been caring for many people including her mother until her passing.  Her father sends her to England to learn how to become a lady with an eccentric aunt.  Aboard her father’s boat of privateers, she is contemplating her future that is less than what her heart desires.  On top of this, she has a fledging and misguided faith and view of God when she meets Hannah whose husband works on the ship.
The tension climbs when the boat is attacked by the HMS Marauder and Emeline meets Lt. Owen Masters.  I don’t want to disclose anymore for fear I would ruin your enjoyment of discovery of what happens in the book for yourself.  All I can say is this story is engaging, tense at times, filled with characters of faith and those who aren’t, and romance that a reader is never sure whether it will become anything or not.
The Liberty Bride was thoroughly a fun read, filled with daring adventures and dangers.  I cannot wait until the next installment is released in 2019 titled. The Alamo Bride.  The whole series of books are worth reading again and again, along with gifting them and sharing with family and friends.  Have fun with history through fiction!

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Cumberland Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower Bride #5)


Title:  The Cumberland Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower Bride #5)

Author:  Shannon McNear

Pages:  256

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Barbour Books

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

What fun and exciting stories this series offers with another blockbuster added that is set in the late 1700s!  Families are gathered to travel on the Wilderness Road into a new area to settle down, one with room to grow.  Kate Gruener is a very interesting female character.  One of her favorite activities is to journal.  Kate loves writing out the stories she has heard her father share but because it isn’t looked on favorably by her parents she hides the papers.

When they decide to travel the Wilderness Road, Kate’s father hires a guide named Thomas Bledsoe.  Kate has been raised to be able to do the tasks the women of that era were expected to learn.  On this dangerous journey, Kate is about to experience so much that what she journaled before is about to grow exponentially!  Thomas tries to ignore Kate and put space between them.  Then, when Kate’s life and that of a younger sibling hang in the balance, he moves swiftly to save them.

Thomas’s past has negatively impacted his faith.  Kate’s faith is strong even when she has questions or doesn’t understand life.  Readers will enjoy the scenes described in the book, just imagining them takes one’s breath away.  Plus, the strong theme of faith and how it can sustain one through very hard trials if one opens their heart to Him.

It was a pleasure beyond words to read this story.  It was exciting with a touch of adventure, mystery, and unknown dangers lurking in the shadows on the trail.  Then, add some romance, and out comes a great tale to curl up and enjoy!  Look for this book and then sit down and escape into the past with this wonderful novel!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Patriot Bride


Title:  The Patriot Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower #4)

Author:  Kimberley Woodhouse

Pages:  256

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Barbour Books

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

The Daughters of the Mayflower series starts with The Mayflower Bride, The Pirate Bride and The Captured Bride before the story continues with this book.  While each book could be read as a stand- alone, reading the series makes it more enjoyable to see the various family members adventures in different eras.

Here the Revolutionary War hasn’t started, but the rumors of war are definitely in the wind and people know it!  Kimberley Woodhouse did a wonderful job putting together a very believable and lifelike tale!  When readers start the book, the author has a letter for readers and in Note From the Author, we get to learn about her research.

Faith is the main female character throughout the book and she is full of fight and fire!  Faith suffers through some hard times, but that is what shapes this woman’s heart and patriotism.  There are no lengths Faith won’t go to aid others, and I loved how the women got together to read and memorize the Scriptures prior to war breaking out.

There are real historical characters in the book with a little change here or there in reference to the time, if I remember right.  Reading about our forefathers and how they might have lived or spoke makes them so real to me.  One scene made me giggle, and I can’t wait for you to enjoy picturing it in your head!  It’s great!

The tale is also a sobering reminder of the cost many paid in many ways so that their descendants would have a much better and free life in a new country.  Here is an example of historical fiction at its best, so read one or read them all.  There are two more coming out soon!  Perhaps this would make a great gift for a reader you know be they family, friend or acquaintance!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Captured Bride


Title:  The Captured Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #3)

Author:  Michelle Griep

Pages:  256

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Barbour Books

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

The first two books in the series are written by other authors with book #1, The Mayflower Bride written by Kimberley Woodhouse followed by The Pirate Bride written by Kathleen Y’Barbo.  Each book is a stand-alone story, though they follow a particular family line.  Each is uniquely written in a way to capture the heart and imagination of the readers.  In this third book of the series from Michelle Griep, I found myself a bit more involved in the story whether it was because of the romance, danger, intense moments or the faith of some unusual characters I can’t say for sure.  I only know that I truly was lost in the story as it was also filled with a couple different mysterious scenes that I wasn’t sure how they were going to be played out in the book.

Many times, I felt as if I was there viewing the action, danger, conversations and more.  It captured my mind, heart and emotions, especially the main female character named Mercy Lytton.  She was a very unusual woman who had gifts and abilities that aided her as a scout.  Yet, as she was becoming more aware of being a woman, the emotional turmoil intensified.

Elias Dubois is one of the male characters Mercy is sent on a mission with, and she cannot figure out who the real man is or if he even allows the real reason why he is sent on this mission to be fully known to anyone.  So, Mercy intensely watches him while they are traveling with a couple of others.  Her feelings are confusing her as they begin to reveal to her the hidden part of her own heart.  Both Elias and Mercy have a past they dare not speak of or show, but as the danger intensifies so does the need to know the real person they are facing multiple dangers with along with being sure they stay alive.

At the end of the story, readers will get to read very interesting Historical Notes.  I cannot wait for the next book to be released!  These are fascinating, historical stories that are both entertaining to read and engaging tales.  If you haven’t read any of the book, please catch up before the fourth book is released titled, The Patriot Bride, by Kimberley Woodhouse in August of 2018.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Pirate Bride


Title:  The Pirate Bride (The Daughters of the Mayflower #2)

Author:  Kathleen Y’Barbo

Pages:  256

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Barbour

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

What a fun story to read!  I sat and read it in one night and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  There is mystery and danger, intrigue and drama; yet, there are some parts of the story that are just comical.  Maribel is a young girl who wants to be a privateer.  As she reads about these men in books, the sense of adventure just speaks to her heart.  Maribel is a character who bucks what is expected of her or even the mold others want to place her in.

Maribel experiences many different and dangerous moments she didn’t sign up for, but she is determined nonetheless.  She is raised in a convent and becomes a teacher, but there is still a part of her that longs to escape into a book without being bothered.  What I laughed about was the place she chooses to read her books and how others react to her choice!

Towards the end of the story the author throws a twist in the plot that really made my heart race and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!  Here is one book I know I will read again and enjoy at some time in the future.  Until then, I plan on telling others about the series as well as encouraging people to get the book for their own personal libraries!  So, ahoy mateys, grab a copy and come aboard for an adventure you won’t regret it!

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Mayflower Bride


Title:  The Mayflower Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #1)

Author:  Kimberley Woodhouse

Pages:  256

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Barbour Books

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

When I start a story, it sometimes takes me a minute or two to find myself engaged in the book.  It doesn’t matter what type of book I am reading.  After I finished this book, I took time to contemplate and consider my review before I began writing.  Kimberley Woodhouse is a favorite author of mine.  I have read most of her stories, including those with Traci Peterson.  One of the strongest points of Kim as an author is her attention to research and detail, which then carries over into her books.

I understand by reading other reviews that some didn’t care for the book or thought the hype of the book didn’t live up to the reality.  Each person has an opinion, but what I don’t get is how or why reviews are downgraded simply because of marketing techniques used or it didn’t live up to a person’s expectations.  Well, even if to you think the book was not worth a 5-star rating, it most certainly wasn’t worth a 3-star one.  Appreciate the hard work authors do in telling a story the next time you write a review.  They know not every book will be a blockbuster, but understand the work they do is time consuming and they give it their best.

For me, this book was a stark reminder of the price people paid for crossing an ocean to start a colony to worship freely.  The lack of medical knowledge at that time or even privacy for months on a ship was really a humbling picture to me.  I felt the heart of the main character, Mary Elizabeth, break every time she lost a loved one.  In a time when there were so many uncertainties and daily life was dangerous, it was simply inspiring as the characters faced their trials.  I loved seeing the holding onto God, prayer, and trusting in Him was a moment by moment choice at times.

This book and those that follow in the series will be well worth reading just to be reminded of the price people paid for religious freedom.  The history, fighting the elements, and clinging to their faith was so captivating to my heart!  Each day people faced was fraught with danger.  They never knew if they would see their dreams or hopes become a reality and that should cause us all to thank God that He brought them safely across the ocean.  Their faith, fighting to live, desire to bring glory to God in everything, gathering together to worship and pray are truths I won’t forget anytime soon!

So, thank you Kim for all your hard work in reminding the audience of the past so that we can be thankful for life today, and be actively living our faith for God’s glory!

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 9, 2019

The Refuge

Title:  The Refuge

Author:  Ann H. Gabhart

Pages:  400

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Revell

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

What a touching tale of love, loss, finding one’s place in the world and daring to hope again!

The Refuge tells the tale of two people who fled to a Shaker village in the hopes of outrunning the cholera epidemic.  Even though they wouldn’t be allowed to live together as man and wife, Darcie and Walter believe this is the only option they have to live.  However, what they hadn’t counted on was an accident that changed their lives on the cusp of learning a babe is on the way.

Darcie is frightened and feeling very alone while facing an unknown future.  The Shakers allow her to remain with them.  She is given what she needs as she works the various chores assigned.  However, Darcie isn’t planning on remaining in the Shaker village as she doesn’t want to be separated from her baby once it is born.

Flynn has been a widower for almost three years, raising his daughter without a mother, and now even a grandmother.  Leatrice is a precocious little girl but a dear child none the less.  However, Flynn knows she needs a woman to influence and guide her into her future, but can Flynn love again?

Ann H. Gabhart has written a very touching tale that includes themes of friendship, faith, community, loss, hope and love.  The way it is written seemed to draw me into the pages time and time again.  I loved seeing how Leatrice grew in personality and her interactions with others.  Reading how Darcie prayed and waited on the Lord even when she had to take a step of faith without knowing the outcome was beautifully depicted in the book.

I hope readers enjoy this story as much as I did and will share it with their friends and family!        

Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Tefillin (A Study on the Commandment of Tefillin)

Title:  Tefillin (A Study on the Commandment of Tefillin)

Author:  Toby Janicki

Pages:  67

Year:  2010

Publisher:  First Fruits of Zion Ministry


My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

I found this small book very interesting reading for me as this was an unknown topic prior to opening the book.  The contents are as follows:  Tefillin Tales, Torah Commandment, The Master and Tefillin, History, Symbolism, The Nature of Tefillin, Non-Jews and Tefillin and Conclusion.

While it is short and easy to read, the information was quite interesting.  My favorite section was the one on history as I learned material I never knew before.  One of the best ways to go through books such as this is with a friend or friends who are interested in learning too.  The discussion my friend and I had helped me better understand the material and brought insights I didn’t see simply reading on my own.

I hope you grab a copy and enjoy the material as learning anything should be a life long endevour!        

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The King's Mercy by Lori Benton!

Hallowed Be Your Name (Sanctifying God’s Sacred Name)

Title:  Hallowed Be Your Name (Sanctifying God’s Sacred Name)

Author:  Aaron Eby & Toby Janicki

Pages:  75

Year:  2008

Publisher:  First Fruits of Zion


My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

Hallowed Be Your Name is part of the Mayim Chayim Series published by First Fruits of Zion Ministry.  While this is a small book it is packed with powerful truths and life changing thoughts!  With Aaron Eby and Toby Janicki coauthoring the book, readers get a flavor of what Messianic Judaism is from a Messianic Jewish perspective and a Messianic Gentile one as well.                         

What makes it worth reading is learning the way Judaism understands, treats and reveres His name.  A friend and I took weeks to slowly unpack and discuss what is written in the book and found many ideas brand new.  Coming from a Christian perspective we found this book so helpful and challenging in how we speak and live our lives for His glory.

In society today, we can use this gentle yet powerful reminder of who He is and how we should reverence Him in all areas of our daily lives.  The chapter titles are as follows:  What is God’s Name?, Should We Use the Sacred Name?, Arguments and Answers, The Master’s Use of Evasive Synonyms, The Unpardonable Sin, How Do We Sanctify the Name?, and Practical Application. 

I am sure that I will reread this again in the future because it has gems I will need to remind myself of as I learn to live out the truths revealed.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Reunion Mission (Rangers Under Fire)

Title:  Reunion Mission (Rangers Under Fire)

Author:  Virginia Vaughan

Pages:  282 (larger print)

Year:  April 2016

Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Matthew Ross is an agent with the DEA.  He hasn’t returned to his hometown in ten years after he was involved in a car accident due to being under the influence of alcohol.  Also involved in the car accident and severely wounded was his girlfriend at the time, Claire Kendall.  Matt left right after the accident without staying to help Claire through many surgeries, or to renew their plans to marry.  Claire was left to struggle through rehab and life on her own as her parents were very cold and distant.

Claire has a student who has recently become a Christian due to Claire’s influence.  He has been dealing and selling drugs but wants out.  He is given Matt’s contact information and they speak on the phone.  Matt wants the head honcho in charge, but his informant won’t give him the name over the phone.  They agree to meet, but when Matt arrives he is surprised to find Claire there smack dab in the middle of his investigation after being attacked.  What does Claire know or what did she see?  She now has a target on her back and more attempts are made on her life.  Matt promises to keep her safe, but can she trust him?

These books are gems!  They fill the bill when I want to read something quick, action-filled and suspenseful.  There is always an element of faith and a romance without sex, which I appreciate.  These are my go-to books when I’m really not sure what I’m in the mood to read.  These stories always draw me in and capture my attention.  Thank you Love Inspired Suspense!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Riding Shotgun (Red Ryan Series #1)

Title:  Riding Shotgun (Red Ryan Series #1)
Author:  William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone
Pages:  352
Year:  2019
Publisher:  Pinnacle
My rating:  4 out of 5 stars.
The novel has many strengths that might entice readers to open the pages.  One is that the main male character, Red Ryan, is a tough man.  He has a strong work ethic and goes above and beyond what is necessary to do what is right.  Red doesn’t look for trouble, but it seems to follow him none the less.  Some of the predicaments he gets entangled in come upon him suddenly and others are by his choice and put him in a spot!  Red rides shotgun for a stage company, treats his passengers well and makes sure that any trouble hunting the stage is defeated.
Usually Johnstone stories may allude to what is known as the oldest profession in the world.  However, in this book I found there were too many references or scenes that especially referenced the act between a man and woman.  The scenes were at times overshadowed by this material and made reading the book, although one of the few Johnstone books, less than enjoyable.  So, be aware if you read the book, there are more references to sex and such.
I hope the next Red Ryan focuses more on action, adventure, mystery, etc. and leaves the other material out of the book.
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Have Brides Will Travel #1 (Hardback)

Title:  Have Brides Will Travel #1 (Hardback)

Author:  William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone

Pages:  299

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Kensington Pub Corp

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Romance?  Yes, it has some.  Adventure?  Oh, definitely!  These are just a few of the words that come to mind after reading the first book in the Have Brides Will Travel series by the Johnstones.  Action in the book was just outstanding and kept me reading until I finished the book!  If you aren’t a hardback book lover, the paperback will be released later this year.

Bo and Scratch are two men who roam the range.  They have been partners for a long time and that helps when confronting trouble!  Many times in the story these two men didn’t speak a word to the other but already knew what the other was mostly likely going to do.  They defend women and can measure up an opponent without much time necessary!

Now they are hired to take five young ladies to a boomtown to meet their potential mates.  Sounds easy right?  Well, it might sound easy but what happens in the tale will take your breath away and keep you wondering what can possibly happen next.  The nefarious characters are relentless in their pursuit of these ladies and it keeps Bo and Scratch on their toes constantly.

Readers will enjoy the surprising twists in the book and I hope, like me, cannot wait for the next installment to be released!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

Please pray for Israel and her people!
Shalom!  Thank you!

FFOZ will mark this significant day with a free preview of “Escape From Nazi Demons”, a powerful story of redemption and hope in the transformation of Werner Oder, the son of a Nazi war criminal. 

This free screening will be available beginning Wednesday, May 1 at 9:00 pm EDT until the end of the day May 2nd.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Becoming Us (Haven Maker #1)

Title:  Becoming Us (Haven Maker #1)

Author:  Robin Jones Gunn

Pages:  320

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Multnomah

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

Becoming Us is the most authentic or lifelike look into the hearts of various people who really do inhabit earth.  The characters in the story deal with loss, infertility, family issues, marital strife, and finding friendship to name a few.  Robin’s writing draws readers into the book and invites them to learn that what they are reading can be like a mirror.

Robin’s writing is truly unique.  She is telling a story but moreover she is reflecting the ails of society along with the hope that faith brings into lives.  There is no sugarcoating the real struggles that Emily and her husband Trevor deal with, along with how it affects their daughter Audra.  There are happy moments, memory making ones and a curve of learning how to be a family without the intrusive or controlling aspects of extended family.

Not all families are like this and Robin does as superb job of showing that in the book.  There are female characters in the book who, like Emily, have some struggles.  The focus of the novel revolves around Emily and her life, while also showing us how Emily must overcome the past and step into her future.  Emily meets some neat women, and it was exciting to see friendships develop even with the women being different.  Each of the women who befriend Emily have their own struggles, triumphs, fears and faith lessons that become the very bond that unites them.

Here is tale that shows society how friendships can be a very encouraging aspect in life even with the messiness around us.  I think the author did a great job of pointing to the strength women can gather as well as men when they fellowship and be real.  I think many will enjoy the heart touching scenes as well as tears that pooled in my eyes when the ladies come around Emily’s daughter as she grows and welcome her into womanhood. 

Here is a gem of a tale that I highly recommend and hope that the other stories in the Haven Maker series are just as touching!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ranch Refuge (Rangers Under Fire)

Title:  Ranch Refuge (Rangers Under Fire)

Author:  Virginia Vaughan

Pages:  285 (larger print)

Year:  August 2016

Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Laura Jackson knows what it is like to give up her dreams.  She has been doing that for most of her life due to her dad’s gambling addiction that started shortly after her mother’s death.  She now works as an ER nurse, but her coworkers have told her she is not cut out for the job; she cares too much for each and every patient who enters the ER.  She has also been dealing with a loan shark boss, who her father is indebted to, trying to make advances toward her.  His advances are unwelcome and have become more forceful.  While walking out to her car after work, she is almost kidnapped.  If it weren’t for the intervention of a stranger, she fears she would be in big trouble about now.  Laura wonders if there is any man out there she can trust.

Colton Blackwell has been asked to look out for Laura by her father.  Colton is a former Army Ranger who now works as a rancher while sometimes helping those in desperate need.  Laura is one of those people.  He saves her from kidnapping and takes her to his ranch for safety until he can figure out who is after her.  He thinks she will be safe as no one will know where she is.  However, he thinks wrong as another attempt is made to kidnap Laura.  Colton thwarts this attempt, but the kidnappers get away.  He knows it is just a matter of time before they try again.  Before the next attempt, he and Laura get to know one another, and he likes what he learns about her.  He fears that she would never give him a chance at romance due to his past.

Here is another good read from Love Inspired Suspense.  The story started with action from the beginning which drew me in right away.  I quickly flipped pages to find out what exciting thing would happen next!  For a quick adrenaline rush, grab this one!

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Silken Thread

Title:  A Silken Thread

Author:  Kim Vogel Sawyer


Year:  2019

Publisher:  Waterbrook

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Willie Sharp is busy working full-time and taking care of his father, who has suffered a stroke.  They don’t have much money, just enough to make do.  Willie’s best friend is Quincy, a young African American who has a hot temper when riled.  They both get jobs at the Atlanta exposition featuring cotton and other textiles.  Quincy encounters a great deal of racism, and Willie wonders why everyone is so concerned with the outside of a person instead of what’s on the inside.

Laurel Millard has gotten a job weaving silk at the new exposition.  She is the youngest of six children and her older siblings have told her it is her job to take care of their mother before starting a life of her own.  Laurel hopes that by being out amongst people she will meet a young bachelor, fall in love and marry as long as he is willing to take care of her mother, too.  Langford Rochester is the son of a wealthy businessman, who spends his days playing cards and wasting time.  His father wants to train him to take over the business and his mother wants him to marry.  Langford wants to keep living the life of a wastrel, but he figures he can pretend interest in both his parents’ objectives for a little while.  He wants a wife that is naïve and easily manipulated.  He sets his sights on Laurel to fill the bill, and Laurel thinks she has found a man to solve her situation.

I normally enjoy this author’s stories, but this one fell short for me.  I couldn’t connect to the characters, the romance between Willie and Laurel didn’t seem realistic in that it came out of nowhere, and the plot was predictable.  I did, however, adore Quincy’s mom.  She was the strong voice of wisdom and faith.  She is a character I would have liked to have heard from more often.  The historical setting was interesting too.  I had never heard of the exposition put on in Atlanta in 1895, so I learned something new.  All-in-all, the book was okay.  I look forward to reading this author’s next endeavor and hope for a better outcome.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Redemption (Memory Man #5)

Title:  Redemption (Memory Man #5)

Author:  David Baldacci

Pages:  432

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

If you haven’t yet delved into the world of Memory Man’s main character, Amos Decker, you’re missing out!  While each novel can be read as a standalone, for me it worked better to read from the first book to date.  I enjoyed seeing how Amos was growing as an FBI agent and as a man who suffered a head injury via the NFL.

The series introduces Amos when he returns home in book one titled, Memory Man, to learn of the murders of his wife and daughter.  From there, Amos spirals into a pit of darkness both professionally and in his personal life.  What was really gripping in the latest novel was the way the author wove a mystery.  Readers get a hint early as to who is the culprit only to learn…well, I won’t say so as not to ruin it for you who haven’t enjoyed it as of yet.

The author has written a very engaging and riveting tale that kept me turning pages for hours.  There were intricacies that made the story a surprise in the direction it takes and reveals a deeper plot than what is first apparent to the eye.  Amos is changing since his appearance in book one and in many ways, he is also the same.  There were a few heart touching-moments as I read parts that revealed Amos’s internal struggles and thoughts.  Amos Decker is definitely a deep thinker.  His personality quirks are at times frustrating to other characters but also endearing.

I think readers will enjoy watching Amos Decker as he solves crimes, bucks the system and learns to live with loss.  The series starts with Memory Man followed by The Last Mile, The Fix, The Fallen and now Redemption.  Suspense, mystery, intrigue, and more fill the pages and will keep your nose in the book all the while engaging your mind as you try and solve the puzzle presented in each installment.

I highly recommend starting at the beginning to really appreciate the character as he changes, grows and in some ways remains the Amos from the first book to the fifth.  I hope the author plans more exciting adventures for Amos!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Whispers in the Reading Room (A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery #3)

Title:  Whispers in the Reading Room (A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery #3)

Author:  Shelley Gray

Pages:  352

Year:  2015

Publisher:  Zondervan

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Sebastian Marks has remade himself from a poor, illiterate boy to a rich, well-read man.  No matter how much he thinks he has changed, he still feels his low status on the social scene.  The upper class claims he is just pretending to be a gentleman, and he doesn’t really belong in their class.  However, the upper class is more than happy to go to Sebastian’s gambling club for entertainment.  Sebastian enjoys his time away from the club at the local reading room to improve his knowledge and refinement as well as to secretly catch a glimpse of the lovely librarian, Lydia Bancroft.

Lydia is barely keeping her head above water.  Upon her father’s death, she and her mother learned he had put them deep debt.  They had to sell their house, their fancy clothes, jewelry and paintings that had adorned their home.  Living in reduced circumstances and surviving on Lydia’s meager salary has made her mother desperate for Lydia to marry well.  They spend what little money they can spare on keeping up Lydia’s wardrobe, so she can garner a proposal.  Her mother strongly encourages her to accept a proposal from a wealthy gentleman of an equal social status.  Lydia accepts the proposal but has no plans on giving up the job that she loves at the reading room.  She also has spent some time wondering about the handsome gentleman who frequently visits the reading room.  When they finally meet, their lives will take an unexpected turn.

This is my favorite series by this author.  All three books showcase her writing talent with mystery, romance, social class distinctions and the narrow views included therein to name just a few of the elements in the novels.  I found the setting very interesting and I learned about what life was like for a woman in this time era and the restrictions she had to live under.  I also found Lydia’s character so likeable and in her love of books a kindred spirit.  I sincerely hope Ms. Gray will write more historical mysteries as she has done an outstanding job with this series.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dig Your Own Grave (A Will Tanner U. S. Deputy Marshall Western #5)

Title:  Dig Your Own Grave (A Will Tanner U. S. Deputy Marshall Western #5)

Author:  William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone

Pages:  304

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Pinnacle

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Will Tanner is a young, bold, daring and at times still learning how to be a U.S. Deputy Marshall as he rides after some nefarious characters.  Will is also engaged to be married though his future mother-in-law is not at all in favor of his marrying her daughter.  When Will is ordered to leave town to apprehend the Beaudry gang who is robbing banks and killing indiscriminately, his fiancée Lyla is adamant he not leave again!

Out in the area where the gang is reported to be, Will is fighting to keep his thoughts on his job.  One mistake and Will Tanner knows that is the end of his career, or life without any possible future with Lyla.  When Lyla refuses to see him before he leaves, he wonders if there is even going to be a wedding.  Will puts all his mind on his job shortly after hearing two rifle shots and bullets whizzing past his head!

Through many trails and trials this young man must fulfill his duty as he becomes clearly intent on going the extra mile to get his man!  The story captures the imagination and at times leaves readers hanging in some scenes momentarily while attention is diverted to other action taking place in the story.  I personally enjoy the Will Tanner character with the way he plans to capture the people he is after, his treatment of prisoners, his romance with Lyla and more.

There is action, adventure and romance that readers will certainly enjoy.  Grab the book and read the series because either way you cannot help but enjoy the Old West action!

The order of the Will Tanner U. S. Deputy Marshall series:

#1 Will Tanner:  U. S. Deputy Marshall

#2 A Stanger in Town

#3 Powder Burn

#4 Evil Never Sleeps      

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hearts in Harmony (An Amish Journey #1)

Title:  Hearts in Harmony (An Amish Journey #1)

Author:  Beth Wiseman

Pages:  320

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Zondervan

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.                      

The novel brings to the forefront how God can use even the worst moments of our lives to provide rays of hope, faith and love. Within the page’s, readers will discover how one older woman’s journey in her twilight years brings together three unlikely people.  Together these young people discover a life well lived and loved, as well as how God may be bringing them the greatest of gifts.

The ending was somewhat hard to read having lost a loved one to cancer, so in that respect I didn’t enjoy it.  It makes me wonder why other diagnoses aren’t used when desired in a story in climatic moments.  This is not the first book I have read where this same disease is used to remove a character or brings climax to a plot.

Other than that, the story is a quick and enjoyable read.  The tale ends with hope and new beginnings, plus the cover of the second book in the series was shown and is titled Listening to Love.  I think readers will want to read the first book in order to really appreciate what is about to happen in the second installment.  I love how the author showed God’s faithfulness and eventually filling up the holes broken dreams can leave behind.

The book will also be a good way to have people remember to love on the previous generation whether related by blood or not.  This was the first full length novel of Beth Wiseman’s that I have read and plan on reading her future ones that have such faith filled themes.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Guest review of Beneath the Surface

Title:  Beneath the Surface (Dive Team Investigations #1)

Author:  Lynn H. Blackburn

Pages:  352

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Leigh Weston has moved home to North Carolina to feel safe.  She is a former oncology nurse who had a terrifying experience with a patient.  She now has taken a job at the local hospital in the emergency department.  When someone knocks on her door, she answers and sees the familiar face of Ryan Parker.  They went to high school together but haven’t seen each other in years.  Ryan now works as a homicide investigator and a volunteer as an underwater investigator for the county sheriff’s office.  Leigh lives on a home that has lakeside access.  The sheriff’s office needs access to the lake to recover a body that has been found secured underwater.  Leigh’s dock is that access.  She agrees to let them use her property.

Ryan has had feelings for Leigh ever since high school, but her brother made sure his friends knew that she was off limits as far as romance was concerned.  Now, that she is back in town his feelings resurface, but he knows she isn’t aware of how he feels.  Leigh has had a crush on Ryan since high school, but he never showed any signs of interest.   When an attempt is made on Leigh’s life, Ryan puts is investigator skills to use.  He and Leigh work together to keep her safe and discover who is out to kill her and why.

This is a great start to what I’m sure will be an exciting and entertaining series!  With plenty of suspense and tension, readers will be glued to their seats while their fingers quickly turn pages.  The relentless and dogged determination of the investigators pursuing every possible angle of the inquiry made me appreciate their dedication to their jobs and finding answers to keep people safe.  The mystery and character development were well done.  Readers will meet a likeable supporting cast, one of whom will be the main focus of book two in the series, In Too Deep.  I can’t wait to read Adam Campbell’s story!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Beauty in Battle (Beauty in Flight #3)

Title:  Beauty in Battle (Beauty in Flight #3)

Author:  Robin Patchen

Pages:  132

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Independent Publishing

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

The Beauty in Flight series is really a masterpiece of a story!  Before I go further let me tell you that a character from this series will be in a book by Robin coming out this year titled, Legacy Rejected.  I am thinking to enjoy that story to its fullest reading the Beauty in Flight series would be a good idea.

Beauty in Battle is one surprising conclusion to the epic series Beauty in Flight.  Of all the possible endings, Robin really threw in a surprise with style!  Red is in the hospital.  Harper is navigating a new relationship with legal issues and dangers.  Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend, is in serious trouble with loan sharks and now death is quite literally staring Harper in the face.

With her faith still new and her case not quite resolved, nor the threat extinguished, Harper either must trust God or try and handle it on her own.  I don’t want to give away the fun of enjoying the story by revealing too much, so just know that where the story starts with Harper just might be where it ends!

Simply a fun, thrilling and engaging tale of epic proportion!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Beauty in Hiding (Beauty in Flight #2)

Title:  Beauty in Hiding (Beauty in Flight #2)

Author:  Robin Patchen

Pages:  256

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Independent Publishing

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

For me, this installment in the series was just exceptional!  When Beauty in Flight ended with a cliffhanger, I was salivating to see what would happen next to the two main characters named “Red” and Harper.  Harper is Red’s caretaker, but she has become more than that.  They have developed a deep family love which is what prompts Harper to take drastic measures to ensure Red is not in danger.

Harper feels as if she can no longer trust any man to care for her without having ulterior motives.  However, Red is like the grandfather she never had who returns her equal love and devotion.  Red’s biological grandson, Derrick, is in deep debt to loan sharks but Red won’t give him more money which just enables Derrick’s gambling addiction.

Harper is drawing near to God, learning to trust Him even when life is throwing one hardship after another before she even recovers from the first one.  Now Harper’s landlord is showing her what true friends are for even when Harper is keeping the truth from him.  Before long they realize they have a blooming relationship when all the well-conceived plans to stay in hiding to protect her and Red’s life fall apart.

Robin’s writing is very well crafted as she brings readers deeper into the story, yet without a slip or hint she is keeping back a vital piece to the mystery.  Now, I am off to enjoy the exciting conclusion to the Beauty in Flight Series with the last book titled, Beauty in Battle.  I hope you will enjoy the series as much as I am!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Beauty in Flight

Title:  Beauty in Flight (Beauty in Flight #1)

Author:  Robin Patchen

Pages: 162

Year:  2019

Publisher:  JDO

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

The second and third books in the series are due out in March and April this year, and I cannot wait to see where the suspense takes me!  The author has a gift of weaving a thriller as if the reader is right there viewing the scenes in person.  There are excitement and adventure with every page!  In the story, a young woman who had been a former prison inmate is now working at a nursing home as she loves to care for the elderly.

Harper Cloud longs to be loved for who she is and though her dream of becoming an R. N. is no longer viable, she is grateful to work caring for the elderly while also taking classes at a college.  But no matter where Harper goes, there is a nagging feeling that she is being watched.  Is she being stalked?  When she takes a job and moves across country, Harper feels safe and with a new lease on life.  But is that real or an optical allusion?  Is her new life and promising future now being threatened?  Stay tuned!

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sanctuary (A Guardian Novel #3)

Title:  Sanctuary (A Guardian Novel #3)

Author:  Traci Hunter Abramson

Pages:  304

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Ace Samson is dreading his next job for the guardians.  He must recruit a new financial planner for this secret government organization that is off the books.  The potential employee is his former girlfriend from 20 years ago, one whom he left unexpectedly when he “died”.  His death was faked so that he could obtain a new identity and begin working undercover as an operative or ghost for the guardians.  He was not allowed to keep any ties from his old life.  It broke his heart to leave Kristi as they had been talking of marriage in the future.  She was the one for him.  How will she react to his reappearance?

Kristi Hartinger lives alone on an island that was deeded to her upon her grandfather’s death.  She is fighting a local businessman for control/ownership of the island as her grandfather didn’t pay taxes and the business man paid them.  He now claims ownership of the island and wants to build a resort there.  Kristi wants to keep the island in its pristine condition and to live there.  She has left the world of Wall Street and now works as an independent consultant online.  Her mother wants to see her daughter married and having children, but Kristi can’t forget Ace.  When she sees Ace for the first time in 20 years, shock numbs her initially, then comes anger when she hears his explanation.  Shortly after his arrival, an attempt is made on Kristi’s life.  Is it because of the dangerous life Ace leads that someone from his past has followed him?  Is there something else going on that he doesn’t know about that makes Kristi a target?  As the action and attempts on her life ramp up, so does the attraction between these two characters.  However, Ace will be leaving as soon as Kristi is safe.  He has made that clear.  He still has a job to do, but can he leave Kristi again?

Lots of action and suspense for readers to enjoy!  I loved the island setting with the beautiful views.  I haven’t read the other two books in the series, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  I liked Kristi’s tough stance in her battle to keep the island as her own and not give in to a big money offer and selling off her inheritance.  Ace’s protectiveness was a great quality I thought.  Get ready for a few hours of entertaining reading!

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.”