Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Passionate Hope Book Review

Daughters of the Promised Land
Hannah's Story
Book Four

SUMMARY:  Can one woman's prayers change the world?
     Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love for each other, for their God, and for His tabernacle at Shiloh.  Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer.  But nothing changes as the years pass.  Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.
     Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children.  Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered.  Do her devotions and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing?  Will God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?
     Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

REVIEW:  Since Hannah has always been a favorite bible heroine of mine, I was excited to get Jill Eileen Smith's latest novel.  As I turned the pages, I was taken back to the time after the judges when the priests were corrupt and hope seems lost and God distant.  My heart cried with Hannah's struggles of infertility, disappointing her husband, and listening to the taunts of first her in-laws then her sister-wife.  While she puts on a happy face for the world, I could feel Hannah's struggles and the pain of her barrenness.  I like how the author expresses Hannah's turmoil, Peninnah's bitterness and Elkanah's struggle.  She also does a wonderful job showing how the corruption of the priests affects the nation of Israel and the people.  It was interesting to see how Hannah might have dealt with Samuel's birth and then giving him back to God with all the impropriety and turmoil at the tabernacle.  The strength she had and the trust in Yahweh was awe-inspiring!!  One of the most surprising, and enjoyable, parts was the end.
     As usual, Jill Eileen Smith does an excellent job.  If you like biblical fiction, you will love Hannah's story.  Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the Wives of King David, the Wives of the Patriarchs, the Loves of King Solomon, and the Daughters of the Promised Land series.  Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible of Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.  Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.  Learn more at

Judah's Wife Book Review

The Silent Years
A Novel of the Maccabees

SUMMARY:  To be silent would be to deny their God.  To defy would bring the wrath of the king.
     Seeking quiet and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she'll have peace.  But the very nation Judah was named for has been conquered by a cruel king, who decrees that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws or risk death for following the laws of Moses.
     Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life.  But before dying, he commands Judah to pick up his sword and continue the fight - or bear responsibility for the obliteration of Israel.  Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision - what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?
     The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.

REVIEW:  The author is upfront about this novel.  While some of it is based on writings of the time (battles, certain characters, some events), quite a bit of it is the author's imagination.  With that being said, Angela Hunt did an excellent job filling in what she imagines happened during the last part of what is referred to as The Silent Years - the 400 years between the last Old Testament prophet's writing and the start of the New Testament.  
     The Maccabees are known to biblical scholars as the family who fought for Jewish rights during a very difficult time.  As Judah's wife, Leah would have a front row seat to everything that happened in this family.  I struggled with Leah and her decisions and actions at times.  She comes from a very abusive household so, when gentle Judah comes calling and offers marriage, she sees it as her chance for a life of peace.  When Judah decides to take up the cause his father started, she tends to turn inward and doesn't share her thoughts and feelings with her husband.  But, as the story moves on, I understood her a little better. The example of what she thought a wife should be and what she should endure was not what her sisters- and mother-in-law showed.  As Leah learns to trust the Lord and Judah more, I like the changes I see in her character and actions.
     This is a great book.  I like how the author takes a little known part of history and develops characters and a complete story line that seems plausible.  If you are interested in bible history, and can keep a little bit of an open mind, I think you will be pleased with this novel.  Make sure you read the Epilogue and Author's Notes.  It just adds to the story.

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.

Angela Hunt has published more than one hundred books, with sales nearing five million copies worldwide.  She's the New York Times bestselling author of The Tale of Three Trees, The Note, and The Nativity Story.  Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the HOLT Medallion Award.  Romantic Times Book Club presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.  She holds both a doctorate in Biblical Studies and a Th.D. degree.  Angela and her husband live in Florida, along with their mastiffs.  For a complete list of the author's books, visit

Keturah Book Review

The Sugar Baron's Daughters
Book One

SUMMARY:  In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father's estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
     Although it flies against all the conventions, they're determined to make their own way in the world.  But, once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns.  On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined - and that's just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world. 
     Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation.  She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
     To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

REVIEW:  The summary of this book caught my eye: a young English lady and her sisters attempting to manage a sugar plantation all by themselves without any outside help thousands of miles from their home in the late 1700's.  The author does a wonderful job describing life on the island, the impressions of the women and the island itself.  The characters' reactions to the slave market, the ocean front near their home and working hard beside their staff make me feel like I was there experiencing everything first hand.  I like how Keturah fights for her sisters and tells them they do not have to marry for the sake of money, land or anything else, but only marry for love.  I also like how she stands up for her slaves, treating them like humans.  Even though she detests the slave markets, Keturah sees it is a necessary evil on Nevis but does what she can to make them feel like part of a family instead of cattle. 
     This book does not wrap everything about the Banning daughters lives or about trouble they have faced on the plantation.  The rest of the series should take care of this.  I can see how the next two stories will continue their progress as sugar baronesses and their lives on the island.
     This is a great book.  I am very interested in reading the other books in this series when they come out.  I'm sure they will be just as good if not better. 

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.

Lisa T. Bergren has published more than fifty books with combined sales exceeding three million copies.  A bestselling and award-winning author, she's also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award.  Lisa lives in Colorado with her husband and three teen-and-older children.  To learn more, visit

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Prophet Book Review

Book One

SUMMARY:  Platitude is a sleepy little town nestled in the mountains right in the middle of nowhere.  Lightning bugs tease the children on long summer nights, the sweet scent of lavender fills the spring air, and demons swarm the town, blocking out the sun.  Their goal is to ensure an entire generation is lost to the lies of darkness.
     Aegeus, a warrior of the King, has been assigned to lead a team of angels to Platitude.  But this mission is unlike any mission they have ever undertaken.  Each of the twelve humans carries burdens deep within their souls, and one of them is rumored to be a prophet.
     To help the twelve, discover who they really are, Aegeus must embark on his own journey of self-discovery.  Soon, it becomes clear that the humans are not the only ones being hunted and destroyed.  The fate of Aegeus himself may lie in the hands of the very human he was sent to protect.
REVIEW:  If you like Frank Peretti's novels Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness, you will enjoy reading The Prophet.  It is the first book by new author Dr. Ande Edwards.  The story is divided between the spiritual realm and the physical one.  Angels have been put in charge of twelve humans who are charged to help Christians fight against the dark forces of evil.  Only thing is: the humans don't know this is their job.  As they deal with difficulties on the college campus where they work and study, the twelve find strength in each other, their faith and, most importantly, prayer.  There were times when the story switched from the human realm to the angelic and back that made it a little harder to adjust.  But the longer I read, the more accustom I became to the switch.  Also, the humans are only referred to by a number (One, Three, Twelve, etc.) instead of their names.  It would have been nice to have a List of Characters to help me remember which person held which job and how they were connected to each other. There were a few times it would have been helpful when important events occurred to help keep the characters straight in my mind.
     I really enjoyed reading this book.  Ande Edwards did an excellent job.  I look forward to the second novel and the rest of the books in this series.  Hope it's not a long wait.

Dr. Ande Edwards is a bit of a mess.  She is an artist living in a cupcake-loving scientist's body.  Ande has always loved writing and photography.  But somehow, through the crazy sort of path only God can steer you down, she ended up studying the sciences.  The idea of writing a book was far from view.  She discovered Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker long after the rest of the world, but they inspired her to consider the spiritual realm in a different way.  She seeks to explore the spiritual battle that rages around us through the eyes of an artist and a woman of faith and science.  You can follow Ande on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Melody of the Soul Book Review

Music of Hope Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  Anna has one chance for survival - and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.
     It's 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything.  Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist.  Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she'll do anything to keep her safe - a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.
     Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin.  But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music.  When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.
     Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart.  But what he reveals might stop the music forever . . . 

REVIEW:  Having heard great things about this author and her previous book, I was interested in reading her latest novel.  Liz Tolsma makes you feel like you are there in Prague during the Nazi occupation.  The fear of being discovered or even doing something that might accidentally draw attention, dreading every knock on the door and even reading the mail, constantly looking over your shoulder in fear is felt throughout this story.  Her desire to protect her grandmother at all costs is admirable.  Even though she is leery of trusting Horst, she soon sees his true colors.
     Horst is a character I grew to admire.  He also lived in fear that his true feelings would be uncovered - that the German ideology of a pure race being completely wrong.  He enjoyed the job his father, a high ranking German officer, secured for him (logging and preserving the architecture of the old city) but knew one day he would be forced to kill innocent people to prove himself as a man and a worthy German.  The struggles Horst faces is heart-wrenching, especially when you find out his secret.
     This novel is a tale of the healing power of music, the struggles faced by man, and the deep desire God puts in each one of us to pursue Him at all cost.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Gilead Publishing 
for review without compensation.

Liz Tolsma's specialty is historical fiction - from WWII to prairie romance.  She resides in semi-rural Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters; her son currently serves as a U.S. Marine.  Liz spends her free time working in her large perennial garden,kayaking, and camping with her family.  Visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Troubled Waters Book Review

Montana Rescue Series
Book 4

SUMMARY:  With their past tearing them apart, it will take a storm to bring them together . . . 
     Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants - except a happy ending.  Or at least that's what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him.  Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved.  Sierra has solved it, but a promise to the girl to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.  
      When Sierra needs funds to repair the damaged PEAK chopper, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean.  But the leisurely excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and Ian and Sierra find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.
     It will take guts for the PEAK team to rescue the duo.  But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra's relationship.

REVIEW:  Susan May Warren's books are some of my favorite.  I love how she intertwines the characters, answers some tough questions and gets her characters in and out of very difficult situations.  This book is no different.  I like how Ian tries to look out for and protect Sierra even when it is difficult for him.  After a devastating fire destroys a town due to a fault in the software program Ian designed, he liquidates all his assets to help the town rebuild and to pay off the federal fines acquired.  With very little left to his name, Ian STILL tries to help Sierra raise money to replace a damaged PEAK helicopter.  All in the name of love.  Sierra is an encourager and doer.  She loves helping people in need, so when Ian offers to help raise money to replace the chopper, she jumps in and gets the job done.  
     One of the things that bothered me about this book is all the different story lines happening at the same time.  Four other stories are occurring and being discussed during Ian and Sierra's story.  While this idea is more like real life (other people's lives do not stop just because we are focused on one particular couple), it does make for a confusing read at times.  All of this author's books are like this and it's never really bothered me before, but for some reason, this time it was distracting.  I found it hard to keep track of every couple and the events surrounding them.  A list of characters and brief descriptions of each in the book would have been VERY helpful, especially since all of the story lines cross throughout the other books in this series, and future ones to come.  This said, I see the potential for a minor character in this book to get her own story sometime soon.
     All that being said, even though I found some things a little distracting, I liked this book and what I've read of this series.  Hope you pick it up and check it out.  DISCLAIMER: I read the first book and this one but missed books 2 and 3.  There were a few times I wished I had read the others and was glad I read the first one because it gave the background to Sierra and Ian's relationship and issues.  If you only read this one, you might be a little confused. The book does a good job of quickly explaining things but it doesn't rehash events discussed in the previous ones.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Susan May Warren is the USA Today, ECPA, and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than one million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me,and A Matter of Trust. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers' Choice Awards, Susan can be found online at, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Oath of Honor Book Review

Blue Justice Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  A murdered partner.  A missing brother.  Will Isabelle's silence protect those she loves . . . or delay justice?
     Police Officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family.  She knows they'll be there for her when things get tough.  Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.
     Izzy is determined to discover exactly what happened, and her investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll - including someone from her own family.  With her dead partner's brother Ryan, a handsome homicide detective, shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning.  How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison?  And how will she guard her heart when the man she' had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

REVIEW:  Do you like stories that keep you guessing, keep you turning the page to see what happens next with twists and turns that leaves you breathless? If you do, this might just be a novel you need to read.  Lynette Eason is a fabulous story teller who will wrap you up and keep you entwined until the end.  There were a few times I had to stop and think about what was happening and what had happened before moving on to keep everything straight.  The detail she gives made me feel like I was right there in the midst of the action.  I like how early on the author gives you glimpses into situations and events that play out in the end.  Probably the only complaint I have is she should have included a list of characters.  Izzy has quite a few brothers and sisters, along with friends, acquaintances and other characters who were important to the story.  Because of this, it was difficult for me at times to keep track of who was who.
     Lynette Eason has become one of my favorite suspense writers that gives you a touch of romance with the story.  Check out her latest novel.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as the Elite Guardians series.  She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award.  She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina.  Learn more at