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


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Where Two Hearts Meet Book Review

Prince Edward Island Dreams series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In her kitchen at Rose's Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent.  But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen - an a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.
     Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island.  He's also on assignment to uncover a story.  Instead, he's falling in love with the island's red shores and Caden's sweets.
     When Caden discovers Adam isn't who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he's writing could do more than ruin the inn's chances for survival - it might also break her heart.

REVIEW:  Where Two Hearts Meet is author Liz Johson's second novel in this series.  She ties this book together with the first perfectly, making me even more enamored with this inn and the people who work there. 
    Caden is a woman after my own heart.  She is funny, has a huge heart, is giving, loves show tunes and singing loudly in her kitchen as she prepares her treats for the inn.  She is beautiful but doesn't think so because she has a little meat on her bones.  Even though showing Adam around the island of her birth is WAY out of her comfort zone, she knows a lot is riding on it and steps out in faith.  There were so many times I saw myself in Caden and wanted to hug her neck and encourage her to keep trying. 
     Adam suffers from PTSD after working in a war zone and seeing a friend mortally wounded during a firefight.  His sabbatical at the Red Door Inn is supposed to be a working on, finding closure for himself and his friend's family.  In doing so, Adam ends up uncovering a connection between the owner of the inn and his friend.  I like how, between Caden's sweets and trips around the island, Adam starts to find a peace he didn't know he could ever have again.
     The ending is one I didn't not see but thought it fit with the story perfectly.  I love how Adam's story about his friend ended and how is desire to be with Caden works out.  The whole book was enjoyable and made me laugh and smile quite a bit.  This novel and series is fantastic and one I plan to keep on my shelves for a long time.

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

Liz Johnson fell in love with Prince Edward Island the firs time she set foot on it.  When she's not plotting her next trip to the island, she works as a full-time marketing manager.  She is the author of several novels including The Red Door Inn, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories.  She makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Catching Heat Book Review

Cold Case Justice Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Twenty-seven years after the deaths of Detective Abby Hart's parents, she's desperate to find the proof that will put the mastermind - the governor's wife - behind bars.  When she joins a newly formed task fore and teams u with PI Luke Murphy, Abby is sent to San Luis Obispo to work the cold case of a murdered college student.  Realizing their investigation will bring them near the town where California's first lady, Alyssa Rollins, grew up, Abby decided to do a little digging of her own into the Triple Seven fire.
     Luke is eager to help Abby close the books on a case they both have personal stakes in.  But as she uncovers long-held secrets, Abby stumbles into an explosive situation, and Luke fears that her obsession may prove deadly.

SUMMARY:  Catching Heat picks up where the second book, Burning Proof, leaves off.  There are two cold cases Abby's team is working on plus the side case of her parents' murder.  Between all the different suspects, locations, and details of each case, sometimes I got lost as to what belongs to which case.  Throw in all the details from the two previous books that are repeated referred to in regards to previous cases and the Triple Seven murders, sometimes it was hard to keep track of everything. That said, this book kept my attention along the whole roller coaster ride until the very end.  The ending was a surprise and fit the story line perfectly. 
     Abby's obsession with solving her parents' murder mirrored one of her cold cases.  I like how in solving the case, she finally realizes the problem she is having letting go and does what she can to stop.  The twists and turns of all three cases will keep you on your toes. You may even need a cheat sheet to keep track of everything. 
     All in all, this is a great book and the perfect ending to the series.  I really enjoyed this book and series and look forward to reading more by Janice Cantore.

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

Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired.  Her twenty-two year of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories.  She has penned eight novels: the Pacific Coast Justice series, Visible Threat, Critical Pursuit, Drawing Fire, and Burning ProofCatching Heat is the third book in the Cold Case Justice series.

Tangled Webs Book Review

 Men of Valor Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Finn has packed away his combat instincts - but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .
     After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime.  A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress.  But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own.  Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather.  As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone.  And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action - ready or not.
     Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon draws readers into a web of psychological suspense where danger lurks in dark corners. . . and keeps them captive until the very last page.

REVIEW:  Another wonderful book from Irene Hannon!!!  This story starts out with a bang and just keeps the readers attention to the end.  There are three different points of view, with sometimes a fourth thrown in, but I was never confused or turned around.  I love how the stories and points of each main character are woven together in a seamless stream of intrigue.  At times, I thought I had the ending figured out, but then the author would throw something else in and I would have to change my thinking.  The conclusion of the conflicts was exciting, although a little sad, with how everything worked out.  This book is another keeper for my ever-growing collection!!
     Being the third book in the series, you don't have to read the other books to follow the story, but they do add information and background to Finn's brothers.

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

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Buried Secrets, Thin Ice, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series.  In addition to many other honors, she is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America.  She is also a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame.  Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

The Courtship Basket Book Review

Amish Heirloom Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together.  For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.
     Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she's loved for years leaves her to date her best friend.  Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love.  Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.
     Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John.  When John joins Rachel's class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something s simple as a meal. 
     With her parents' old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family.  As the weeks go by, John's grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike.  They can't deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.
     The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones.  Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

REVIEW:  The story of Mike and Rachel full of encouragement when times are difficult.  I like how Mike steps up to take care of his family after his dad gets really sick and can no longer work.  John, Mike's much younger half-brother struggles with his dad's illness and it shows in his school work.  The way Mike encourages John when he is down and Rachel helps him overcome difficulties in his classwork is inspiring.  They don't embarrass him or make him feel bad because he is sad but encourage him along the way.  Rachel's offering of food was very sweet for a houseful of men who did not cook.  It also opened doors for Rachel to tutor John with his homework.
     In regards to Mike and Rachel's attraction and courtship, sometimes it was frustrating watching (or rather, reading) their assuming the wrong things without talking to the other.  Instead of discussing John's schoolwork, cousins that are helping out around the house or just things in general, they would get worked up over nothing and get mad at the other one. 
     All in all, this book was really enjoyable.  I look forward to reading more by this author.

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

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Kauffman Amish Bakery series and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series.  Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA.  Amy holds a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full time for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.  Visit her website: amyclipston.com; on Facebook: Amy Clipston; on Twitter: @AmyClipston or on Instagram: Amy_Clipston.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Devoted Book Review

The Bishop's Family Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  The Amish life is all she's ever known - but will it satisfy her soul?
     Restless and adventurous, Ruthie Stoltzfus is right on the cusp of leaving her Amish home.  Secretly, she's earned her GED, saved her money - but she can't quite set her journey into motion.  Just as everything falls into place, along comes Patrick Kelly.
     Patrick is a young man on a journey of his own.  He's come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to "everything Plain."  Time is of the essence and every moment is to be cherished - especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor. 
     Ruthie's next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame.  Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back - and Patrick Kelly is in his way.
     Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred - and the promise of hopes fulfilled.

REVIEW:  Everyone has struggles.  Some are know to others, but there are many we keep locked inside, afraid to let them be known for fear of repercussions.  Ruthie longs to further her education but is limited within the Amish community.  Patrick is sick but wants to live life to the fullest.  Luke is fighting demons from his past and doesn't know how to beat them, or if he wants to.  Each one is determined to do what they think is necessary to accomplish their dreams and desires, sometimes to the detriment of others.
     This is a good read.  While reading, there were many times I was aggravated at Luke's irresponsible actions and encouraged by Ruthie's stance on issues. I like how Dok (Ruthie's Aunt Ruth), Birdie, and David's stories are interwoven throughout, continuing from previous books.  As in my previous reviews, David and Birdie are two of my favorites.  The strength and wisdom David shows in response to David and Goliath problems within the community are encouraging for someone who may be facing the same situation.  Birdie's faith and outlook on life is a breath of fresh air.
     To completely understand the relationship of Ruthie and Luke, plus the problems David encounters within his little Amish community, you must read the other two books in this series.  For a complete understanding of the relationships of this community and how they intersect, you can read the author's Stoney Ridge series, or most of her previous novels.  They each overlap and crisscross the others, almost like a real small town.
     I look forward to other books by Suzanne Woods Fisher and the continuation of the lives of these characters.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Imposter, The Quieting, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish.  She lives in California.  Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher and Facebook at www.facebook.com/SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating Book Review

 
Truths your daughter needs to know to 
date smart, avoid disaster, and protect her future

SUMMARY:  Your daughter is ready to date.  You need help!
     There is no moment of greater panic in a parent's life than when his or her daughter begins to date.  But many parents feel ill equipped to guide their daughters through the minefield that is teen dating.   And by the same token, teenagers crave genuine information about dating and relationships.
     So how do you talk to your daughter about relationships and her future happiness?  Expert educator Daniel Anderson and his daughter Jacquelyn help you navigate the biggest dating myths, including: a boyfriend will make your daughter happy, she should trust her feelings, and sex will enhance her relationship.  Combining scientific research with poignant personal stories and practical application, this book will equip you to teach your daughter how to date smart for today . . . and tomorrow.

REVIEW:  While I was reading this book or anytime she would spot it laying on the kitchen counter, my teenage daughter would roll her eyes and just make a disgruntled noise.  Hannah was embarrassed because I received this book after she started dating her boyfriend.  Since I very rarely dated in high school, I want to help my beautiful daughter safely navigate her through the teenage dating years and beyond.  This book was very helpful in giving me insight to current teenage dating practices, thoughts and ideas.  The authors discuss ten common myths, such as "a boyfriend will make me happy," "love and sex are the same," "he will never hit me again," and "serial dating and living together will make my marriage better" and shows examples, along with data and research, on why these myths are false and tools to use to avoid falling in these traps.  At the end of each chapter, there are questions to reflect on and ones to discuss with your daughter.  These questions will give you a place to start discussions and help you when you talk to your daughter.  Some are difficult and may make you feel very uncomfortable but, unfortunately, are necessary in today's teen scene.  Even though some myths build on the previous one, they each provided information that is very helpful for both teenage boys and girls, along with adults finding themselves on the dating scene. 
     The authors are both teachers in the public schools in Oregon.  Daniel has been teaching for over twenty years and has learned from his students as well as helped them in difficult situations.  Jacquelyn is Daniel's daughter, also discusses her dating experiences as a teen, as well as those of friends and classmates she knew in school.
     This book has been very helpful and is a great tool to have during these crazy years.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and David C. Cook
for review without compensation.

Daniel Anderson is a former college All-American basketball player and a father of two grown daughters and one son.  As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships.  He and his daughter Jacquelyn Anderson, a twenty-something high school teacher, decided to address this need by equipping parents with The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, their first book together.  Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Raven Book Review

Coffey & Hill Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  As part of his street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience's pockets while they watch.  It's harmless fun - until he decided to keep the wallet of a prominent politician, hoping for a few extra bucks.  When he finds compromising photos of the councilman and his "personal assistants," The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man.  However, he quickly finds himself in over his heard with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life threatening plot code named "Nevermore."
     Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues to rescue The Raven from a wild card bent on revenge.

REVIEW:  This story kept me on my toes, trying to keep everyone straight and remember details about each character.  At times, it moves at a slow pace then will quickly escalate then slow back down.  There were times when scenes seemed to drag.  But, the author kept me trying to figure out if "Nevermore" was real or just a rumor that had been started.  The details involved in the story that leads up the the finale were many and, at times, hard for me to keep straight, but oh so worth it.  The twists, turns and switches kept me from guessing how everything would play out.  The ending fit everything so well.
     The only draw back was innuendos to events that occurred in the first book in the series, Annabel Lee.  It was confusing to me trying to understand the references made and how they impacted this novel since I had not read it.  Sometimes they were about characters and relationships pertinent to The Raven and others that were not as important.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at PopFam.com, as well as a bestselling and award winning author with more than one million books sold worldwide.  When he was a kid, the stories of Edgar Allen Poe scared him silly.  Today he owns everything Poe ever wrote.  A former fiction acquisitions editor, Mike earned his MA in English literature and now writes full time.  He is the author of Annabel Lee