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


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Kissed by a Cowboy Book Review

A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.
     Having lived through her parents' endless string of "matrimonial bliss gone wrong," Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor.  Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love.  She's been bucked off that horse far too many times.  Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she's inherited from her great aunt Roxie.  She's reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt's footsteps, remaining forever - independent, happy . . . and single.
     Rancher Jarrod Monahan's hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose.  He's pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities.  Besides, he was in love once before but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness.  But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that's a challenge that Jarrod can't pass up.
     Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy's stubborn heart.  How can he show her that a cowboy's kiss lasts forever?  For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

REVIEW:  This was a fun book to read.  While doubtful about the title, I liked the interaction of Cassidy and Jarrod throughout the story and everyone in Wishing Springs, TX. 
     After a bad marriage, Cassidy is determined to stand on her own two feet and not have to depend on anyone.  I like how she is able to do most of the work and understand why she didn't want Jarrod to help.  But, in reality, when you look at the size of all the projects she needed to complete, sometimes her rejection of Jarrod's help was questionable.  But I totally understand.
     Jarrod and his brothers take great care of their grandfather, who has Alzheimer's.  The love and concern for him, and the ranch that he started, is sweet and an example we all should follow.
     Even though this is the third book in the series, there is enough explanation given throughout the story to help the reader follow along if they have not read the others.  Now, that said, the side story of Pebble and Rand seemed out of place but it all made sense in the end. 
     This is a fun and lighthearted story about redemption after a big fall and the grace that abounds if you let God work in your life. 

This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers 
for review without compensation.

Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist first published in 2005 and has written more than 22 novels.  Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church.  Debra is the author of the acclaimed Mule Hollow Matchmaker Series, and her goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.  Visit her website at www.debraclopton.com.  She can also be found on Twitter at @debraclopton and on Facebook at debra.clopton.5www.facebook.com/debra.clopton.5.

If I Run Book Review


SUMMARY:  Casey knows the truth.  But it won't set her free.
     Casey Cox's DNA is all over the crime scene.  There's no use talking to police; they've failed her abysmally before.  She has to flee before she's arrested . . . or worse.  The truth doesn't matter anymore. 
     But what is the truth?  That's the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey,  PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him.  Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren't adding up.  Casey Cox doesn't fit the profile of a killer,  But are Dylan's skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective?  If she isn't guilty, why did she run?
     Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan's damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices:  the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero.  And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

REVIEW:  In the United States in regards to crimes, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  At least, that is the way it is SUPPOSED to work.  Unfortunately, more often than not, we are considered guilty UNLESS we are proven innocent. And, if someone powerful has it out for us, we may never find that release.  This is the case for Casey.  She is thought to have killed her best friend.  All the evidence is looking that way but it is not the truth.
     I really liked this story.  It is written in the first person from the perspective of  two different people - Casey, the accused murderer, and Dylan, the PI hired to find her.  Each has their own struggles and personal demons to overcome and you see the difficulties they face.  Casey's story reminds me of the movie The Fugitive, where the kind doctor is convicted of murdering his wife while he claims a one-armed man did.  As he goes along trying to prove his innocence and the other man's identity, he helps people in trouble along the way.  As Casey tries to hide from the authorities trying to arrest her (or even kill her), she helps a family who has a loved one disappear.  Plus, the longer Dylan searches for her and researches the evidence in the case, he is convinced more and more of Casey's innocence.
     If you like a good suspense story that will have you trying to figure out how the story will work out, you need to read this one.  Now, it is part of a series and Casey's story is not done.  I can't wait to see how everything works out and how Casey will finally find her freedom. 

This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Zondervan 
for review without compensation.

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author.  She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as the Moonlighters, Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, SunCoast Chronicles, and Restoration series.  Visit her online at www.terriblackstock.com, on Facebook: tblackstock, and on Twitter: @terriblackstock

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder Book Review

Herringford & Watts Mysteries Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  Beneath the facade of a wealthy aristocrat may beat the black heart of a killer . . .
     In 1910 Toronto, most bachelor girls are perfecting their domestic skills and finding husbands.
     But Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts have never been ordinary.  As the two detectives launch their business, the deaths of young Irish women lead them deep into the mire of the city's underbelly.
     While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest.  Merinda could well become Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever - if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

REVIEW:  Not very many books are written about the early 20th century, especially before The Great War.  I find this time period fascinating because women's roles are starting to branch out from just housewives and shop workers to students of higher learning, reporters, lawyers, doctors and in other areas.  Merinda and Jem take advantage of these opportunities and start to make a name for themselves as detectives.  They try to avoid the Morality Squad, a group of men selected by the mayor to uphold women's traditional roles, making sure they are not out after dark and that their skirts aren't too short, and making life difficult for women.
     The mystery solving was interesting but sometimes I got lost because the story would jump around and I sometimes had difficulty remembering what the original objective was.  Even though the novel was about Merinda and Jem, the main focus was Jem and her potential love interest Ray.  It would have been nice to have both girls as the focus instead of just one.  But, looking at the write up for next book coming out, I noticed Merinda will be the one in the limelight. 
     Merinda's zest for life and her one track mind to find the murder was captivating.  She didn't let anything or anyone stop her from achieving her goal.  Dressing up in men's clothes so she and Jem could investigate places normally off-limits to women of their stature was just par for the course to her.  I like how Jem tried to keep Merinda out of trouble with the Morality Squad and just in general.  They both had a heart for women and tried to give them a voice, even if it was just find something that was lost.
    This was an okay book but I do look forward to reading the others to see how their lives play out.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Harvest House Publishers
for review without compensation. 

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile.  When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries.  Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sit Stay Love Book Review


SUMMARY:  Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy.  When he inherits his deceased mother's elderly dog, Tippy, he's quick to call on a pet-sitting service.
     Gina isn't thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom.  Furthermore, she can't abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel.  But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.
     As Gina travels through Cal's world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light.  Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his live that have nothing to do with baseball or fame.  This pro athlete, along with an out-of-work teacher and an overweight, geriatric dog, is about to get a lesson in love . . . Tippy style.
(The author is committed to donating a portion of the proceeds to
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, a senior dog rescue.)  

REVIEW:  This book is a cute, lighthearted story about a professional baseball player who inherits his mother's elderly dog, Tippy, and Gina, the girl he hires to take care of Tippy.  It is a fairly quick read that kept my attention the whole time.  I like how Cal eventually comes to care for Tippy and how Tippy captivates the media with her cuteness. One of my favorite parts was the beep ball game.  Reading about how Cal had to use his other senses instead of his eyes to play a game of baseball with a team of blind and seeing-impaired kids made me laugh out loud. 
     If you are looking for a fun book that will make you laugh and, possibly cry a little bit, this is the book for you.  I think you might enjoy it.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Harvest House Publishers
for review without compensation.

Dana Mentink lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine.  She is a multi-published, award-winning writer.  When she's not clacking away on the keyboard, she busies herself teaching third grade.  Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet. Visit her on the web at www.danamentink.com.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake Book Review


SUMMARY:  When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.
     In the South, you always say "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am." You know everybody's business.  Football is a lifestyle not a pastime.  Food - especially dessert - is almost a religious experience.  And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family - even if the threat is something you cannot see.
     In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you'll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy.  And if you're lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

REVIEW:  The book is about three friends, Carrigan, Laine and Ella Rae, who have been by each others' sides through thick, thin and crazy since they were five.  They stood up for each other when things got tough and enjoyed each other when life was good. The story is told from Carrigan's viewpoint but you can feel the love each person has for the others.  Each friend is different - Carrigan is the reckless, rebellious, always in trouble sort; Ella Rae is the one who goes along with everything, whether it is good or bad, and supports Carrigan and Laine; and Laine, the one who's heart is bigger than the world's and who gives everything she has to those she loves.
     When I first started reading this book, Carrigan made me mad.  I did not like her at all.  Even though she was thirty years old and had been married thirteen years, she still had a lot of growing up to do.  She was rebellious as a teenager and didn't seem to change much.  She did things her way and would drag her friends Laine and Ella Rae along with her to justify her means.  But, as the story progressed, I began to see another side of Carrigan.  One who deeply cared about her friends, husband and family, who would do ANYTHING to keep them safe and protected and to make them feel loved, and who struggled with feeling inadequate and accepted.
     I won't give any spoilers away but suffice it to say, it is an awesome book that will have you in tears from laughter and heartbreak.  Keep your tissues close by, though, towards the end of the book. 
    This is a book I highly recommend.  Now, it does have some language and some questionable events, but it will really make you appreciate the ones you call friend.

This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers 
for review without compensation.

Celeste Fletcher McHale lives on her family farm in Central Louisiana, where she enjoys raising a variety of animals.  Her hobbies include writing, football, baseball, and spending much time with her grandchildren.

The Newsmakers Book Review


SUMMARY:  TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight.  Is it due to her hard work and talent, or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy?
     Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York.  And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting.  She can only hope her troubled past won't come back to sabotage her dreams.
     Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can't deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and empathic Greg Underwood.  But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now.
     On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses - and films - a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks.  Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes - again, right in front of Erica and her cameras.
     Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled.  Deeply.  This can't just be coincidence.  But what is it?
     Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.  But she has to make sure disaster - and her troubled past - don't catch up with her first.

REVIEW:  Erica is a character to admire.  She struggles to fit in but doesn't let it define her, like she did in college.  She admits her mistakes and tries to learn from them, even those that severely damaged her marriage and her relationship with her daughter.  Erica doesn't let her past define her but uses it to keep on the right path.  She doesn't back down from what she knows is the right thing to do.
     The story kept my attention as I tried to figure out who was behind the tragic events and why.  I like how Erica did not back down from the threats coming from the higher-ups and kept pursing leads trying to figure out who was behind everything.  This was an engaging book full of drama and intrigue and seemed to come right off today's newscasts.

This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers 
for review without compensation.

Lis Wiehl is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels.  She is a Harvard Law School graduate and has serves as a federal prosecutor i the state of Washington and as a tenured faculty member at The University of Washington School of Law.  She is currently a popular legal analyst and commentator for the Fox News Channel.  Find her on Twitter at @LisWiehl; Facebook at Facebook.com/LisWiehl and at liswiehlbooks.com.
Sebastian Stuart has published four novels under his own name, including The Hour Between, winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award and an NPR Season's Readings selection; The Mentor, a psychological thriller published in the U.S. and Great Britain; and To the Manor Dead, a mystery set in the Hudson Valley.  He co-wrote (with Dr. Judy Goldstein) the novel 24-Karat Kids, a national bestseller published in eight languages; and ghostwrote the novel Charm! by Kendall Hart, a New York Times bestseller.  As senior editor of e-book publisher New Word City, Stuart has written over two dozen original non-fiction e-books.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mermaid Moon Book Review

Sunset Cove Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Mallory's mother died fifteen years ago.  But her father's last words on the phone were unmistakable:  "Find . . . mother."
     Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn't have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.
     Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O'Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions.  But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search.  She broke his heart and left - without a word - years ago.
     When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life - and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie - their search intensifies.  There's a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.
     As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father's killer - it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin.  She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

REVIEW:  Colleen Coble's latest novel will keep you guessing right until the end.  The twists and turns had me rereading the last few chapters a second time to make sure I understood everything that had happened, who was behind it and why.  There were a few people who I thought might be involved that weren't crucial and a couple I considered minor characters ended up being a major part after all.  Sometimes, though, I wished I had a list of everyone in the story, what kind of work they did, and their relation to the characters.  There were times when I had to put the book down for a day or so and when I came back, I needed help sorting out who everyone was and their relevance.
     This was an enjoyable book that helped keep my deductive reasoning skills busy.  If you like suspense along with a little romance, this book might be for you.

This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers 
for review without compensation.
Colleen Coble is a RITA finalist and the the author of several bestselling romantic suspense novels, including Tidewater Inn, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com, on Twitter at @colleencoble and Facebook at colleencoblebooks.