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?

www.biblegateway.com


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Buttermilk Sky Book Review






SUMMARY:  Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, nineteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey left her home in the Kentucky mountains to attend secretarial school in the genteel city of Lexington.  She was sure her life would change - and only for the better.  Everything was supposed to be clear skies from then on.
     But business school is harder than she thought it would be, and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers.  When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she'd ever wished to have is right before her eyes.  The ony hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she'd left firmly behind.
     Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy's cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.

REVIEW:  There was a lot of potential in this novel with all the different story lines but I felt like it came up short.  I did like how Chanis was determined to do his best as the youngest sheriff and how he tried to help a couple of citizens do better, one with health issues and one who had gotten into trouble.  Mazy has a big heart and I like they way she helps Cinnamon and the girls who live in her boarding house.  In my opinion, the author could have gone into more detail about the characters and their relationships with each other.  I like Mazy and Cinnamon, even Chanis but felt like they were missing something.  The relationship of Chanis and Mazy felt forced as well as Mazy and Loyal.  The characters and story felt too shallow, like something was missing. 

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

Jan Watson's first novel, Troublesome Creek, was the 2004 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.  Buttermilk Sky is Jan's eighth novel.  She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has three grown sons and a daughter-in-law.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Deceived Book Review

A Private Justice Novel
Book Three

SUMMARY: A grieving mother.  A mysterious child.  And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.
     For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year old son in a boating accident.  But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son.  With poice skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help.  As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious.  But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden - and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
     As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.

SUMMARY:  Everything I've come to expect in an Irene Hannon suspense novel is found in her latest book.  The story grabbed my attention right from the beginning and held it to the very end.  At first, I thought I had the story figured out regarding who took Kevin/Todd and why but I was quickly proven wrong.  The twists and turns, along with the emotional aspects of the story, kept me turning pages, anticipating what would happen next and if everything would work out positively.  Without trying to give anything away, I like how the kidnapper takes care of Kevin/Todd, how affectionate he was and that he wasn't abusive.  This is a wonderful book.  It is the third book in the Private Justice series but is also a stand-alone.  Check it out!!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished, Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailer's Choice Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award.  In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011.  Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hidden in the Stars Book Review

Quilts of Love

SUMMARY:  Could a quilt hold the secret to a serial killer?
     Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept help from her estranged grandmother.  Once an Olympic hopeful, Sophia's future is now uncertain, and her inability to share her eyewitness account frustrates police detectives looking for answers.  What were the criminals after?  Why did they attack Sophia and her mother?
     Detective Julian Frazier is determined to solve the case.  Distracted by the pull Sophia has on his heart and his own questions about why God could allow this senseless violence, Julian doesn't realize that an important clue could be right in front of him.  As he gets closer to solving the case, Julian wonders of his efforts will be enough to save Sophia.  Or will the murderer be back to silence her forever?

REVIEW:  I really liked everything about this book.  My heart went out to Sophia as she realizes her dreams of becoming an Olympian are over and that her mother lied to her about her past and her grandmother.  The idea of crime victim being unable to speak is original.  I loved how the author used it and how she uses a lip-reader to help both the police and victim.  The centerpiece of the quilt was a little disturbing to me when you understand its role and how it furthers the investigation but quite ingenious.  This is a great story that captured my attention from the very beginning and held it to the end.  This was my first book by this author and I look forward to reading more.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for review without compensation.
 
Robin Caroll is an award-winning author of more than twenty novels and writes to entertain.  Her books have been recognized by several award contests, including the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, and more.  She gives back to the writing community by serving as Executive Director for ACFW.  Find out more online at RobinCaroll.com.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Bride in Store Book Review


SUMMARY:  Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early.  But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry, and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn't even in town when she finally arrives.
     Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor.  When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store - where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he will ever be.
      The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school.  When Axel finally returns, their troubles are far from over, and soon Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams - or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

REVIEW:  There were a few things I liked about this book.  Some of the main characters are not your typical ones, which is refreshing.  Eliza is not know for her beauty, especially now that she has a scar on her face, courtesy of one of the robbers; Will is very humble when it comes to treating people and, most times, refuses to take money for his services; and Irena Lightfoot, Eliza's roommate and friend, was a bearded lady with a generous heart, who had previously worked in a circus sideshow.  I liked how Eliza went after what she wanted and wasn't afraid to step out of her comfort zone.  The storyline took some twists and turns I was not expecting and I loved how the book ended.
     There were quite a few things I didn't like though.  To me, the story dragged in too many places and I found my interest waning many times.  While I like what Ms. Jagears did with Axel, his first meeting with Eliza at the store came on a little strong for my taste. There were also times I wanted to shake Will, hoping he would stop beating himself up regarding some difficult medical decisions he was forced to make.

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

Melissa Jagears, author of A Bride for Keeps, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house.  She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly.  Find her online at www.melissajagears.com. 

Keepers of the Covenant Book Review

The Restoration Chronicles
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?
     In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman and child throughout the empire in less than one year.
     Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people.  Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future - of family and love - seem impossible.
     In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss.  Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

REVIEW:  I really enjoyed this book!!  It weaves together the Old Testament books of Esther and Ezra seamlessly.  This is the first time I've read a book that shows what the Jewish people went through and how they felt after Haman's decree went out across the Persian Empire.  While I know the events of this book are fiction, Ms. Austin made me feel like I was right there experiencing the devastation and loss, along with the joy and jubilation of being given the right to defend themselves and after the war was over.  She also shows how this event affected those living in Judah, both Jews and Gentile, and the return of Jews from Babylon under King Artaxerxes.  The parts of the returning Jews I found though-provoking were when Ezra informs the people of Judah they must now completely follow the law of Moses, given to them by God, and the consequences some had to face because they had married Gentiles who did not follow the Almighty One exclusively.  I also loved how Esther's story is woven in at the end and the discussion (by characters in the book) on why God's name is never mentioned.  Even if you find the book of Ezra boring and difficult to follow, this book will help you understand it and why Ezra made the decrees he did as governor.  Fascinating read!!
 
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for review without compensation.

Lynn Austin is a bestselling author and has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide.  She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions.  Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live in Michigan.  Learn more at www.lynnaustin.org.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tried & True Book Review

Wild at Heart
Book One

SUMMARY:  Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!
     Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister - and the most civilized.  Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets.  It's a risk - they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys" - but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.
     Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap.  But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government?  And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

REVIEW:  Mary Connealy's latest book is unique.  The storyline of women living as men to homestead property is one I've not encountered before.  I like how she answers the questions about how they keep the townspeople from finding out.  She doesn't do it all at one time but answers them little by little throughout the story.  I also liked how Aaron tries to work out the details of Kylie's unique situation so he doesn't have to lie to the U.S. government but where the Wilde sisters keep their lands.  I also loved Sunrise, the Indian woman who helps Kylie.  She is a woman to be reckoned with who teaches Kylie a thing or two or ten about men, living in the wild, living off the land, and protecting herself.
     While I didn't have all the details figured out, I guessed quite a bit of the storyline before the events happened.  I also see the potential for future romances and storylines for Kylie's sisters, Shannon and Bailey, and some local menfolk.
     All in all, this was an enjoyable book and I look forward to reading the rest of the Wilde sisters adventures.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for review without compensation.
 
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedies about cowboys.  She's the author of the acclaimed TROUBLE IN TEXAS and THE KINCAID BRIDES series, as well as several other series.  Mary has been nominated for a Christy Award, was a finalist for a RITA Award, and is a two-time winner of the Carol Award.  She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.  They have four grown daughters and a bevy of spectacular grandchildren.  Learn more about Mary and her books at maryconnealy.com, mcconnealy.blogspot.com, seekerville.blogspot.com, or petticoatsandpistols.com.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Before Amen Book Review

 The Power of a Simple Prayer

SUMMARY:  We all pray . . . some.
     We pray to stay sober centered, or solvent.  When the lump is deemed malignant.  When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart.  We pray.  
     But wouldn't we like to pray . . .
More?
Better?
Stronger?
With more fire, faith, and fervency?
     Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet.  The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit.  And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words.  Unmet expectations.  Unanswered requests.
     We aren't the first to struggle with prayer.  The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too.  In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.
     Jesus gave them a prayer.  Not a lecture on prayer.  Not the doctrine of prayer.  He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer.  Couldn't we use the same?
     Join Max Lucado on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer and the power unleashed with six simple lines:
         Father,
                   you are good.
                                     I need help.
                                                     They need help.
                                                                          Thank you.
                                                                                         In Jesus' name, amen.

REVIEW:  Max Lucado takes the Lord's Prayer, explains it in an easy to understand format and gives examples of ways to use the different parts.  As always, he explains things in ways everyone can understand it but doesn't dumb it down.  He uses personal examples along with illustrations from the bible to make this personal prayer relevant for today's Christian.  This is a superb book that can help Christians, whether they've been walking with the Lord a long time or if they are brand new.  

This Advance Reader's Copy was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers for review without compensation.

More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado.  He serves the people of Oak Hills Church in San Antonia, Texas where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.