Friday, June 29, 2018

Our Father Abraham (Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith)

Title:  Our Father Abraham (Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith)

Author:  Marvin Wilson

Pages:  395

Year:  1990

Publisher:  Eerdmans

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars.

In the journey of discovering the Jewish roots of my Christian faith, I have read many books.  Some were very helpful and other books weren’t for various reasons.  However, Our Father Abraham is a gem because the author takes great pains to explain various topics in a way that can be easily comprehended while also leaving the reader wanting more.  At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions that give people an opportunity to cement the information learned while also exploring the topic in the Bible.  Other books may have a few discussion questions, but the author here gives each chapter over 20 questions.  Plus, at the end of the book, there are footnotes that point to other sources for further study and contemplation.

What makes reading the book enjoyable is, of course, the material and having an opportunity to discuss the material with a friend.  If you have never tried doing this with a nonfiction book, I hope you will as it helped me remember what I read and clarified some points of the material I had trouble digesting.

While the book is not a recent work, don’t let that put you off from reading it.  I am not sure how much Messianic Judaism has changed since the book was published, but I look at some of the material as being helpful to understand the subject at the time.  The most recent chapter I read helped me understand the way Hebrews view education and how other cultures do as well.  Plus, it helped me see how that influences the society I live in.

The book will remain on my shelf in the hopes that my progeny will read it and find the information helpful plus spur them on to seek more understanding and growth in their faith.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Rebel Heart

Title:  A Rebel Heart (The Daughtry House Series #1)

Author:  Beth White

Pages:  384

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

This story is set in the South in the year 1870.  The War Between the States has ended five years prior and Reconstruction underway.  Selah Daughtry is the eldest of three sisters and feels the weight of responsibility keenly.  Her father fought in the war, but was captured, taken to a Confederate prison, escaped and has not been heard from since.  She doesn’t know whether he is dead or alive, but either way life continues and she needs help keeping the family plantation from falling down around her.  Her youngest sister has been sent to life with her grandmother, but Selah and her other sister, Joelle, remain to try their best to make ends meet.  Selah travels by train to seek a loan from a bank, but is denied that avenue.  She doesn’t know what to do when Levi Riggins appears with a plan to save her home.

Levi Riggins is a Pinkerton Agent, working undercover to try to apprehend some men who have been robbing trains.  Levi needs to use Selah’s home for a base of operations and as cover while he is searching for the criminals.  He has no plans to become involved in the lives of this southern family, especially since he is a Yankee.  However, an event from the past links Selah and Levi together unbeknownst to Selah.  Levi feels awful keeping this secret, but what is he to do?  He continues his investigation, but events turn dangerous when explosives are discovered on the plantation land and shots are taken at Levi.  Who is responsible?  Levi is determined to protect Selah, so he redoubles his efforts now looking for trains robbers and the person responsible for the danger at the plantation.

This is a good start to the series.  The details of the land, buildings, food and clothing put me right in the scene.  I could see these things as if I was right there.  I could feel the awkwardness of the interaction between former slaves and their former owners.  The plight of the freed slaves in the South was in the forefront of my mind.  The compassion of Selah and her tireless working to save her home and protect her family were admirable traits.  I loved the interaction between Schuyler from the neighboring plantation and Joelle.  What a hoot!  I’m excited to read their story in book two of the series!

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Rumored Fortune

Title:  A Rumored Fortune
Author:  Joanna Davidson Politano
Pages:  416
Year:  2018
Publisher:  Revell
My rating:  5 out of 5 stars
Lady Jane Disappears is the first book and now we get the sequel titled, A Rumored Fortune.  These are just excellent books!  Plus, there is a teaser for another book I suspect that will come out in 2019!  The novels are a continuing tale focusing on Tressa, who is a daughter caught between her parents’ loveless marriage and fighting.  Tressa is a woman of unique character whose faith is an example of wrestling through tough issues of the heart, and the actions of others.
When Tressa meets the man her father hired to care for the vineyard, she is stunned by his looks, the way he tends the vine and how multi-faceted his character.  When Tressa returns to her home, she notices the various looks of the people in town, the many who show up on her doorstep to demand payment for bills along with others who are coming to her because they believe her father’s fortune is in her possession or still to be found.
Joanna’s writing is special, and this story’s ending was a surprise just as in the first novel, Lady Jane Disappears, turned out to be.  The depth of plot, mystery, many uniquely crafted players that seem almost real kept me turning pages for hours.  Reading her novels is bittersweet because I enjoy them so much and yet when I complete one, I am already salivating for her next work.  Read and enjoy her tales like you would eating your favorite food, slowly so you can enjoy the richness and flavor of the book.
Expect to be touched in the heart, mind and soul when you finish A Rumored Fortune! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Leaving Independence

Title:  Leaving Independence

Author:  Leanne W. Smith

Pages:  368

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Waterfall Press

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

The Oregon Trail was a means of expansion west after a time when the country had been torn in two and people were looking to start fresh.  Abigail Baldwyn thinks she is a widow with four children and no way to pay on her home as the death benefits she requested from the War Department were not coming.  Abigail was shocked to learn that perhaps her children weren’t fatherless, and she may not be a widow after all!  But, with few options before her, she sets out to meet up with her husband, even though he doesn’t want her to bring the children.

Abigail’s father wants nothing to do with her since she married a man who fought with the Union and he lost a son who fought in the Confederacy.  Her two brothers don’t feel the same, but there is little they can do to help her out.  Abigail gives Mimi her freedom papers as her maid is remaining in the area to help care for her sick sister.

The novel is rich in detail, grit and intrigue.  The letters Abigail is getting from her husband aren’t making much sense and she is falling in love with another man.  Abigail is a tough woman who hates to lean on others and prefers to do things for herself and her children.  Her memory of various passages of Scripture sustain her.  She loves to garden to see the beauty of the flowers.  The adjustments she must make on the long journey are many and at times beyond her ability to look at squarely.

However, the hint of a mystery involving Abigail’s future is what leads to a very climatic and surprise ending.  I couldn’t put the book down!  At the beginning, the author shares her notes on the history of the times, and what was fiction, along with what she knows was fact during this era.  I hope, if you haven’t had an opportunity to read the novel, you will grab a copy and enjoy the many adventures and dangers Abigail and the wagon train handle until they reach their final home in Oregon.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Called to Protect (Blue Justice #2)

Title:  Called to Protect (Blue Justice #2)

Author:  Lynette Eason

Pages:  320 (ARC)

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Blake MacCallum is a Deputy U.S. Marshal who has been assigned protective duty of a judge who is trying to get a bill passed to make jail time longer for those convicted of human trafficking.  The judge has received death threats, so until the bill is presented for a vote, which is in a week, the judge is guarded 24/7 by U.S. Marshals.  Blake has added tension to his duties as someone has kidnapped his teenage daughter, Rachel, and threatened to kill her if Blake doesn’t kill the judge before the bill is voted on.  Blake can’t just kill the judge, can he?  But if he doesn’t, he has no doubt Rachel will be killed.  What is he supposed to do?

Chloe and Hank are at the scene of a semi accident when a startling discovery is made.  There is a secret compartment in the trailer that is transporting women to their “buyers.”  One of the women is wearing a shirt that belongs to Chloe’s teenage cousin, Penny, who went missing six months ago.  As Chloe soon discovers, one of the girls is Blake’s daughter, but before he can come and get her, she leaves the hospital.  Chloe and Blake work as a team, along with Chloe’s brother Linc to find out where the girls are being held.  Can Chloe find her cousin Penny?  Why did Rachel leave the hospital?

I love the family interaction between the St. John siblings.  Their parents are both professionals, being a lawyer and the chief of police and they still make time to spend with all six of their adult children every week.  I also liked the K-9 element in this story as I find those dogs incredible at their jobs.  I applaud the author for her use of the heinous crime of human trafficking as the focus of the story.  The more people aware, the more people can spot someone in need of help.  My only negative to this novel is that there was hardly any time spent developing the romance between Blake and Chloe.  Readers know Chloe has had a crush on Blake for years and that is about all we read about a possible romance until the last few pages of the story.  That said, I am looking forward to seeing what challenge the next St. John sibling will encounter in the next installment of the series.

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Secrets of the Secret Service

Title:  Secrets of the Secret Service

Authors:  Gary J. Byrne with Grant M. Schmidt

Pages:  304

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Center Street

Book Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

This book gives insight into the Secret Service that is tasked with protecting the President of the United States; its history, successes and failures, and its uncertain future.  Author Gary Byrne (former member of the USSS) brings to light why the Secret Service is failing as an organization.  He provides a detailed account of incidents of unprofessional conduct such as verbal abuse, threats, sexual misconduct (including extramarital affairs), cover ups and so forth.  He explains why these are causing employees of the Secret Service to quit, leaving the Service understaffed.  Employees are not valued like they should be.  When an employee does wrong, they are not disciplined or even fired, but can keep their jobs and retire with full benefits.  The leadership is proven time and time again to be incompetent and fails to fix the internal problems of the organization.  Congress is failing to demand that the Service’s leadership fixes its problems.  There is a strong level of arrogance and incompetence among the Service’s leaders that if left unattended will place the lives of future presidents and other protectees at risk.  In the final chapter, the author states the internal problems of the Secret Service and provides possible solutions to fix the problems so that the Service can continue its mission.

I would recommend this book to others who want to know about the Secret Service and those who are unaware of the problems that it faces.  I think the problems that the author addresses should be seen by the public and help hold the Secret Service accountable because the Secret Service is tasked with protecting one of the most important leaders on the planet, our president.  If the Secret Service isn’t held accountable and transparent with the public, then it shouldn’t be trusted to continue its mission of protecting the president.  As the author explained it in his book, they would no longer be “worthy of trust and confidence”.  So, I would recommend this book to others who want to see this mission succeed and not fail, because if it does, then we as a nation will suffer.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter@lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Superheroes Can’t Save You

Title:  Superheroes Can’t Save You

Author:  Todd Miles                                                                                      

Pages:  196              

Year:  2018

Publisher:  B&H Academic

My rating is 4.5.

I like superheroes. Some people ask if I like Marvel or DC heroes, and my response is “Yes.” Some prefer Marvel, others prefer DC, but I like them both and try not to compare them. I look at the different universes and the heroes that inhabit them on their own merits; however, I understand that some people have different opinions, and that is okay. When it comes to comparisons of the heroes of both publishers, one thing that is true of each and every hero is that none of them can really save people, partially because they are fictional characters but also their abilities do not completely meet the qualifications required to bring salvation to the human race. This is the message of Todd Miles’s book.

Mr. Miles takes seven superheroes—three from DC and four from Marvel—to illustrate examples of seven historical heresies that have and continue to plague the Christian Church. In order to simplify and explain these heresies in a way that modern readers and moviegoers, especially those who are younger and/or fans of the superhero genre, can understand views that have threatened sound doctrine from true biblical Christianity for centuries. By showing how the DC and Marvel characters are viewed by writers and fans and relating those views to how people view Jesus, Miles brings a fresh understanding to who the biblical Jesus is in contrast to how he is sometimes viewed by those outside and, sadly, inside the Christian community. One heresy—Liberalism—equates Jesus with Batman. Essentially, like Batman, Jesus is just a man. He is a remarkable human being with wonderful ideas and strong convictions according to Liberal Theology just as Batman is a remarkable human with a strong sense of justice and convictions to be what others cannot or will not in order to save people. This heresy denies the deity of Jesus Christ. But if Jesus was just a man, remarkable as he may be, he could not save anyone from Sin any more than Batman could.

For those who, like me, enjoy the superhero genre of movies and graphic novels, and want to see Jesus not as many heretical teachings from past centuries that are still present in some churches but as who he is, then I recommend Todd Miles’s Superheroes Can’t Save You.

Guest review by Cleve Johnson

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter@lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Book #4 of Dani Pettrey's Valor Series! The finale!

         Read the whole series and enjoy the suspense and thrills!
Cold Shot
Still Life
Blind Spot

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A D 33


Title:  A. D. 33 (Book #2)
Author:  Ted Dekker
Pages:  384
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Center Street
My rating is 5 out of 5.
Ted Dekker is an author who never ceases to amaze me with the stories he shares with all of us!  A. D. 33 is the sequel to A. D. 30 where we meet again with Maviah and Saba who are learning what it really means to follow Yeshua.  They are also learning what His teachings mean and how He means for them to live out the truths compared to what they thought they meant.  We enjoy the action, battles, intrigue and how the disciples possibly acted or spoke around the Messiah.
I felt as I read how sand would feel when different characters were racing on camels to battle or to another city.  The scene of the arena really stole my breath as a person was chained to a pole, bathed in blood and the lion enters.  Whew!  It was like being a spectator and wanting to yell for a savior or to the king or queen to spare the life.  How Ted Dekker brings the various aspects of the Lord or Scripture or action was just mind boggling.
To be able to travel backwards to a time long past where Christ was living and facing the sacrifice of Himself for all mankind deeply touched the heart of this reader.  Both books, A. D. 30 & 33, are definitely novels to share with those who love to read or love history.  When anyone opens these books, be prepared to be challenged and changed as the words or actions of a character you might relate to responds to Yeshua’s offer.
With the holidays around the corner, please consider giving a set of these novels to people you know whether they are family, friends, neighbors or coworkers.  Be ready to share what you loved about the stories and hear what the recipients of the novels thought too.  Book clubs will really benefit from doing both novels and sharing how various parts of the stories spoke to their heart.  Unlike other Ted Dekker novels or other novels of this type, Christ is pointed to and at the end of A. D. 33 there is a link for readers to download a free e-book.
Enjoy the novels as well as what the author shares of his heart before delving into the world of fiction!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Final Installment in the Chesapeake Valor Series!

The other novels are:
Followed by: 
Then Book #3: 

A.D. 30

Title:  A.D. 30

Author:  Ted Dekker

Pages:  415

Year:  2014

Publisher:  Center Street

My rating is 4 stars.

Maviah is a young, middle eastern woman who has returned home to her father’s house in disgrace.  She was born as an illegitimate child to her father and a woman from the lowliest tribe.  She was sold into slavery as a baby to Egyptians.  While growing up as a slave, she was taught to read and knew several languages.  However, she fell in love with another slave and was discovered to be pregnant so she was returned to her father.  Her father never had concern for her or cared for her that is until he needed her.  One night her father, the king, had his tribe attacked by a rival tribe.  The odds were overwhelming and her father and his forces were going to lose.  He gives Maviah an impossible task from her viewpoint.  He asks her to go to King Herod and broker an agreement for Herod to get Rome to agree to an alliance with his tribe.  Maviah undertakes the task to gain her father’s love and approval as well as to restore his honor.

Maviah sets out quickly on her journey with two male slaves, one of which is a Bedouin Jew named Judah.  They must cross an unforgiving desert to reach Herod, gain an audience with him, get him to go to Rome and broker an alliance for them.  No problem for a lowly female salve, right?  She experiences many trials and falls in love with Judah, who is searching for Jesus.  They find Jesus and so much more than they expected.

Ted Dekker has the God-given gift of storytelling.  No matter the theme of his fictional stories, I know that there will be a good story involved.  This book is no exception.  The idea of telling about a middle eastern slave woman’s first encounter with Jesus was unique to me.  I learned a lot about the culture during the first century from Maviah’s point of view.  She had terrible things happen to her, but kept living to restore honor to her family and tribe, seek justice and perhaps get revenge.  Then, she met Jesus.  Her entire outlook on life changed in a moment.  She could feel his power and knew he saw her very soul when he looked at her.  She still had moments of reverting to her old self (don’t we all!), but the power of Jesus reminded her she was a beloved child of God.  This was a powerful transformation.  While this book is fictional, there is something for everyone to learn from its telling.  I look forward to Maviah’s continuing story in A.D. 33, so watch for my review!

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Heart of Thornewell

Title:  The Heart of Thornewell

Author:  Anita Stansfield

Pages:  264

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Enid Hawthorne is in shock from her grief.  She and her husband have traveled from England to Africa to fulfill her husband’s dream of being a missionary.  Now, he has died from a very short illness, leaving Enid alone in a foreign country, friendless and pregnant.  Enid does the only thing she can and that is to gather her belongings and leave on foot for the next village and slowly begins her journey back to England.  Upon arrival, she has no family or friends to take her in, so she arrives on the doorstep of her husband’s brother, the Earl of Thornewell, hoping he will take her in.  Upon arrival, she learns that her good friend, Marie, the earl’s wife, has died a week after giving birth and the newborn child has also died.  The earl, Sebastian, is in mourning and seclusion and wants nothing to do with Enid.  He blames her for taking his brother away and thus causing his death.  Enid is mortified, but the earl gives her no chance to explain.  However, he allows her to stay as long as they don’t see each other.

As her pregnancy progresses, Enid makes Thornewell her home.  She spends time with her two young nephews and quickly sees their grief and need for their father.  She is angry that the earl is allowing his sons and his household to be severely neglected.  She can hold her tongue no longer and sets about telling the earl just what she thinks of him and his treatment of this own children and staff of loyal employees.  Her words hit home and the earl emerges from his room and begins to live again.  While initially they don’t spend time together, that soon changes and romance is in the air.  However, Enid is keeping a secret that she fears will cause Sebastian to end their romance.  They both are still angry and hurt over the subject of Sebastian’s brother, but they don’t talk about it.  If they are to have a future together, then they must base their relationship on total truth.  Will Enid trust Sebastian enough to share her secret?

The author does a nice job conveying the anger, hurt, grief and angst of the two main characters.  The struggles each main character has with grief was realistic.  Through these difficult times, Enid shows her reliance upon God and leans on him to walk beside her.  She remembers His blessings on her and that is something that really hit home with me.  I have been blessed so much be God.  Thanks to Anita for that timely reminder!

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.”" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="0ae98b8a138" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_gbrb7t4d">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Gone (Special Crimes Unit)

Title:  Gone (Special Crimes Unit)

Author:  Shirlee McCoy

Pages:  224

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense

My rating:  5+ out of 5

Ella awakes tied up and in some container with no windows and not sure what all is happening outside or if someone will come back to take care of her for good.  Sam, who saves Ella, is working for the FBI undercover.  That is, he was, until now.  Together the next days are a mixture of constant threats on their lives, Ella working though her grief of losing her cousin and more people surrounding her to keep her safe.

There are people after both her and Sam.  While Sam is trained to face danger, what he isn’t prepared for is how Ella touches the deepest part of his heart.  Ella is afraid of opening her heart to Sam as a prior abusive relationship has soured her desire for any future romantic relationships.  Ella has been working from home and rarely going out, and now she has no family left.  The one bright spot is she is learning that Sam is someone she may be able to have a future with, but will they live long enough to explore a possible future?

I really was mesmerized by the tale the author slowly unveils in the book.  Plan to spend time reading this book as it was really hard to put down to take care of other things in my life.  Love Inspired Suspense really publishes some of the best stories, and because they are just a little over 200 pages, one can be read in a day if not a couple of days.

Grab a cold drink, the book and plan to get lost in the pages!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Fatal Mistake (White Knights #1)

Title:  Fatal Mistake (White Knights #1)

Author:  Susan Sleeman

Pages:  400

Year:  2017

Publisher:  FaithWords

My rating:  5 out of 5

I found a brand-new author who writes such tension filled suspense along with faith filled themes her books are easy to get lost in!  In Fatal Mistake, Tara had once worked a government job and had a relatively quiet life visiting her Aunt June’s farm where she grew up.  One afternoon Tara enters one of the buildings on the farm and what she finds changes her life forever!

After recovering from being shot and talking with Special Agent Cal Riggins, Tara has much to process about what she has been told about a friend she grew up alongside.  However, after what she found in the building, seeing his face filled with hated and his shooting her, she decides taking off without anyone knowing is her best option for staying alive.

Cal has found her, and she must return with him so his team can protect her until they find the man who is responsible for so much death and destruction.  As I turned pages, the plot grew along with the suspense, and the curiosity kept me reading for hours!  Susan Sleeman writes very well and knows how to deliver a story that is believable, full of twists and turns, making a reader’s heart beat faster with each page that is turned!

I found that the author writes many different series of novels.  I cannot wait to read them and let you all know how about them.  There is a second White Knights book called, Kill Shot that I plan to read soon.  In the meantime, look up the author’s website and pick one of her books to read.  I think you will be very glad you too found an author who can tell a riveting story you will want to share with your friends and family.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Loving Lieutenant Lancaster

Title:  Loving Lieutenant Lancaster

Author:  Sarah M. Eden

Pages:  256

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Linus Lancaster has retired from his naval service at the ripe old age of 24 years of age.  Now that he is back on land, he is bored and at loose ends as to how to fill his time.  So, when an invitation to a two-week long house party in the country is received, he quickly accepts.  He knows his duty will be to keep his brother-in-law, Adam, apart from the dandified Philip.  Once he arrives, his sisters who are also in attendance, begin scheming to find Linus a wife.  Linus is not interested in the women they thrust under his nose, but he does meet someone who quickly becomes very important to him.  The host of the house party is an older woman in the aristocracy who has employed a companion, Arabella Hampton.

Arabella Hampton is overjoyed with the opportunity to return to the estate of her favorite earl.  He has since passed away, but she remembers all the times he acted kind to her and treated her like a daughter.  She has been orphaned since the age of six and has been living with an aunt and uncle who made no qualms about making it obvious to her that she wasn’t wanted by them.  Now, Arabella has the chance to escape their harsh treatment of her and be near the Jonquil family whose children she grew up with, living close by.  Arabella longs to be loved and included in a family as she has always felt invisible.  The instant Linus and Arabella meet there is a spark of attraction, but she is barely above the social status of a servant and Linus is much higher up the scale.  He won’t even consider her as a romantic interest, will he?

First, the negatives of the story in my opinion were few, but the story dragged somewhat and there wasn’t enough interaction of the two main characters.  They took forever to finally declared their love for one another.  The ending of the story was just okay as there was no real tension or big build up.  Now, the positives were the hilarious interactions between Adam and Philip, two characters from prior books.  There were definitely some laugh out loud moments.  The snappy dialogue and witty comments were excellent.  The time period is also one of my favorites as well as the English countryside descriptions.  I also liked the interaction between family members and the interesting dynamics thereof.  These books are not labeled as a series, so I didn’t realize there were other prior books.  I plan to return to those to get caught up on the background/stories of the other Lancaster and Jonquil family members.

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.”

Fatal Recall (Love Inspired Suspense)

Title:  Fatal Recall (Love Inspired Suspense)

Author:  Carol J. Post

Pages:  224

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

The author is well equipped to write a tale that is engaging with tension filled pages.  Thrill seekers should enjoy her books.  I know I do!  Her novels include:  Shattered Haven, Hidden Identity, Mistletoe Justice, Buried Memories, Reunited by Danger and now Fatal Recall.  For me, this is the best of the best as a character named Tanner moves to a new home, in a new area and has a new job as a police officer.  While kayaking rapids, Tanner hears a scream.  When he leaves the water to investigate, his life is about to take a major detour from his original plans!

The lead female character, Tatem, is found unconscious by Tanner, and she has no memory when she awakens in the forest only fear.  Tanner won’t leave her side and then travels a unique road while attempting to help this woman regain her memories as well as protect her from constant attempts on her life.

I will definitely continue reading Carol J. Post’s Love Inspired Suspense as they are just gems of tales in a sea of books!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Room on the Porch Swing (An Amish Homestead Novel)

Title:  Room on the Porch Swing (An Amish Homestead Novel)

Author:  Amy Clipston

Pages:  336

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Zondervan

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

The first book in the series is titled, A Place at Our Table, and now the author has shared a good tale in the sequel, Room on the Porch Swing.  Readers return to Lancaster and the Riehl’s home when two tragedies strike and change the relationships in the community.  Even though these happen, the intriguing part is how hope springs forth after a time of grieving.  Plus, Laura and Allen have questions about what they feel, and the plans being considered for future.

While parts of the story were sad, I am glad the author didn’t shy away from what is part of real life.  The fact that real people experience such deep grief helps the audience know that they can also experience the hope that renews both the heart and spirit.  The themes brought forth are impacting such as family, faith, prayer, God and living out the reality of these in life situations.

It does help to read A Place at Our Table before beginning the latest novel as the story continues right where the first book ends.  I enjoyed how the book shows that while life continues for those left behind after a loss it also highlights that love can be experienced again as well with another person.  Some may find that the book lacks high tense scenes, dramatic flair or is even predictable and while it doesn’t have suspense, tension or such, I can say it was good to sit and read a story that had hope.

I hope you will give Amy Clipston’ s novels a chance and read her other books as well.  She is one of my favorite authors.  Amy’s Amish books are the only ones I read with any consistency for the depth of characters, plot and the wonderful themes of faith throughout her books.

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

Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter@lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

The Solace of Water

Title:  The Solace of Water

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Pages:  368

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars.

If you are unfamiliar with this author, it has been awhile since she has shared her imaginative and heart-gripping stories with audiences.  My introduction to her tales began with her books titled, A Promise to Cherish, Promise to Return, and Promise to Keep.  Now, after a hiatus, the author brings a new tale that will keep audiences turning pages for hours. 

The Solace of Water is a deep, riveting tale that encompasses friendships that are unique and during a very trying time of life for three women with diverse lives.  Like so much of reality in the world we live in today, the story reflects one of tragedy and yet the beauty that can be born out of the ashes left behind.    

What occurs in the book shows us what might happen when life can blindside people and the unlikely rebuilding of lives in such touching ways.  The tale takes place in the 1950s in the Deep South with all the nuances of the time and place.  The life journeys of Delilah, Sparrow, and Emma bring about the unlikelihood of their lives intersecting which then produces some expected reactions and prejudices and some surprises as well.

The beauty of the story is found in the truth that against the darkest of night, hope and faith shines the brightest.  When forgiveness is extended and received, it touches the heart and soul of the characters, which in turn can touch the heart of the audience that journeys through the story until the very end.

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

Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter@lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Where Shadows Meet (Previously Pub. as Anathema)

Title:  Where Shadows Meet (Previously Pub. as Anathema)

Author:  Collen Coble

Pages:  336

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Personally, I like the new title compared with the older one; yet, both have a central place in the book!  I love reading Colleen’s books because of the tension, climax, suspense and entertainment she threads in her tales.  In this tale, we read about a meeting of two worlds, the Amish and English in the heart of one young woman named Hannah who views freedom to be in the English world after she tragically loses both parents.  Hannah makes a rash decision that sets her life on a course that brings pain, heartache, and questions to her heart for years.

When she fled her husband’s abuse and started a new life with a new name, she hoped to be free from him.  Yet, in her heart of hearts, she knew he would always be looking for her and one day somehow, he would locate her and force her to return to him.  When Hannah’s Aunt Nora sends a picture to her with a letter from her husband Reese, who she is separated from, its contents cause her heart to go in her throat and life once again is about to go into a whirlwind.

I was very engrossed in this book for hours and highly recommend this to those who love to read a good story with such suspense they cannot put the book down!  Coming later this year, Colleen Coble is releasing a book titled, Freedom’s Light, and I can’t wait to read it.  But until I am able, I will read other books I have yet to read by this author and others who know how to keep a reader turning pages long into the late-night hours!

Will you join me?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Justice Betrayed (A Memphis Cold Case Novel)

Title:  Justice Betrayed (A Memphis Cold Case Novel)

Author:  Patricia Bradley

Pages:  352

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Revell

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

This is the author’s third novel in the series and it was outstanding!  The first two books are titled:  Justice Delayed and Justice Buried.  In the story, we read about Elvis tribute artists who meet for a competition that offers big prize money.  What happens is that one of the contestants becomes gravely ill and the assailant looks to be getting away with the crime.  Yet, readers will be taken back to the beginning of the story that starts in the past of a woman named Shirley.

Expertly written prose that kept me engaged trying to figure out who was the antagonist and how all the clues spread throughout the story fit together.  At first, the fact that two murders happening 17 years apart drew little attention until more clues revealed a bigger picture and the culprits were behind many negative and deadly actions.

A police detective, Rachel Sloane, has worked her way up to the homicide department even though her father wants her to return to practicing law.  When the judge speaks, people are supposed to jump and do his bidding, but Rachel has a reason to be in this department.  Every time she enters her office and meets with her lieutenant she is reminded of a past relationship they once had.

Now, detective Sloane’s life and the life of Gina are literally on the line.  When you read this thrilling book, be prepared to enjoy, be surprised and see if you can figure out who the person is behind the years of evil acts.  Then, maybe you too will enjoy Patricia Bradley’s stories so much you will read her first two novels in the series and tell others about them!

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

Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter@lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts #1)

Title:  The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts #1)

Author:  Mary Connealy

Pages:  304

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Bethany House

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

This author has a knack for writing that draws readers into her stories from the first page through the last.  This book is no exception.  It is set near Lake Tahoe in the year 1867.  Deb Harkness and her younger sister, Gwen, have joined a wagon train headed to California.  They have agreed to look after two young children of a couple traveling on the wagon train in exchange for their passage.  While out with the children early one morning, disaster strikes and they are left alone in the wilderness.

Trace Riley is on his way home from his first cattle drive as an owner.  He has sent his men on ahead as he travels when he comes upon a devastating scene.  He also seems to have gained two women and two young children to protect.  He must get them to his ranch before winter sets in or none of them will survive.  They make it to his ranch, and he gets them settled in while planning on hunting the men responsible for such evil.  He has seen their evil deeds up close and personal as his Pa met the same fate as those of this recent strike.  Trace is filled with the need for revenge and justice for the innocent.  He and Deb tell each other of their pasts.  Trace recounts how he has spent several winters snowed in with a Bible and a few other books as his companions.  He has read the Bible many times and phrase keeps coming to mind in his current situation…a voice crying in the wilderness.  He hasn’t been around many other people for a long time, especially women and children.  How is he going to handle being snowbound with two women and two young children?  His thoughts continue to stray to Deb and he wonders if she could feel the same about him.  However, he wants to continue to hunt these criminals who are responsible for so much grief.  Another wagon train is rumored to be headed his way, but can Trace catch the criminals before they strike again?

I am already looking forward to the second book in the series!  I was fully engaged in this story from the get-go and didn’t put it down until I was done.  The prose is easy to read, and the characters likeable.  Being alone in the wilderness helped God shape Trace into a God-fearing man, one who knows his Scripture.  Deb is a courageous young woman, who is thrust into a nightmare on the trail.  She adjusts to her situation admirably without complaint and truly appreciates the blessings God gives her.

Friday, June 1, 2018

How to be a Perfect Christian

Title:  How to be a Perfect Christian

Author:  Adam Ford and Kyle Mann (The Babylon Bee)                       

Pages:  200   Format:  book

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Multnomah

My rating is 5.

Guest review by Cleve Johnson

If you enjoy satire and clean humor, then How to be a Perfect Christian is the book for you. I have seen the humorous articles posted by the Babylon Bee on Facebook, and when I found out that the same brand of satirical writing was available in a book, I had to read it. I loved the wit displayed throughout each chapter as each one focused on different aspects of achieving Christian perfection. Of course, there is a point behind each point covered as the writers poke fun at some of the traditions and activities that Christians participate in as well as how many of us appear to those within and outside the Church. As I read, my mind rushed to memories of my earlier days trying to please God through talking the talk and walking the walk before I discovered the difference between religion and biblical Christianity.

Topics covered in How to be a Perfect Christian include joining the “right” church, worshipping like a pro, serving without lifting a finger, conforming to mainstream beliefs, looking spiritual through online media, and several other “essential” methods of attaining Christian perfection. Also, each chapter starts out with a quote (probably more of a loose—very loose—paraphrase) by famous people such as C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaefer, even the Apostle Paul among others. Just remember that this book is written in jest. It should not be considered a manual for true spiritual living just as Orwell’s 1984 was not meant to be a manual for the government’s policies, but Capitol Hill must not have received the memo.

I highly recommend this book as it made me laugh like I have not laughed in a long time. If you need to find something to take your mind off all the heartache and nastiness that permeates the news and want to take a look at the lighter side of Christianity, this book is for you. If you take life (and yourself) too seriously, you might not enjoy it, but give it a chance. You might just find out that people of faith can have a sense of humor without God striking them down.