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


Friday, July 25, 2014

Veil of Secrets Book Review


SUMMARY:  Can a woman face - and forgive - her own painful past before her house of cards crumbles . . .  and before her own daughter makes the same mistakes?
     Melanie and Will Connors are the perfect power couple.  Will is the chief campaign strategist for a rising presidential candidate.  Melanie is a prominent advocate for protecting children in an over-sexualized culture.  Their devotion to one another is admired, even envied.

     But their marriage isn't what it appears to be.

     Will maintains an apartment n Washington, DC, and over the years his visits home have grown fewer and farther between.  The long-distance marriage has enabled Melanie to avoid intimacy - and has only increased her shame about her secretive past.  But then Will issues an ultimatum: We work on the marriage . . . or we work on the divorce.

The Connors commit to marriage counseling in the most brutal of environments - snowy New Hampshire, a tiny state that is first in the nation for presidential primaries and a prize to be won at any cost . . . and the price of victory keeps rising.

As Melanie sifts through the debris of her past, she obsesses over the fear that she hasn't done enough to protect her teenage daughter.  When Melanie sees her facing some of the same temptations, she knows she must intervene . . . but how can a woman with so many veiled secrets guide a daughter honestly?

While the country struggles with threats to its integrity and security, Melanie can no longer ignore the dangers looming in her own world.  She can never undo the mistakes of her youth, but perhaps she can still save her marriage and family - if she can surrender her guilt and learn to open herself to her husband once again.

REVIEW:  This book is a follow-up to To Know You.  While it stands well on its own, it helps to have read the first book to understand Melanie's relationship to Destiny and Dillon and some of the background of these characters.  I loved how Will was determined to fight for his marriage to Melanie, to weather through the tough counseling sessions and work through the problems they were having.  I love how Melanie worked on her marriage and stuck with the individual counseling sessions to help her figure out how her past was influencing her relationship with her husband and daughter, Sophie.  It is refreshing to read about a couple who faces the difficulties, who weather the storms that could tear them apart, and come out stronger on the other side.  Without giving away too much information, it was difficult to read about the situation Melanie and her daughter both found themselves in.  I was glad to see the counselor recognize the source of most of Melanie's problem regarding this incident, help Melanie see the potential danger her daughter was in and give her the tools to help Sophie.
     The book ended without tying up all the loose ends, I guess to make way for a few more books.  I don't want to say anything about the way it ended, afraid I will give something away but I will say this:  Melanie and Will's relationship is stronger and better than ever, still a work in progress but aren't all relationships?

This book was provided by BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishers for review without compensation.

Shannon Ethridge is a best-selling author, international speaker, and certified life coach with a master's degree in counsseling/human relations from Liberty University.  She has spoken to college students and adults since 1989 and is the author of twenty books, including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman's Battle series.  She is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs and host the Sexy Marriage Radio Show.  She also mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her online BLAST Program (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers & Teachers).

Kathy Mackel is the acclaimed author of Can of Worms and other novels for middle readers from Putnam, HarperCollins, and Dial.  Her latest book, Boost, tackles the thorny issue of steroids and girls' sports.  Writing as Kathryn Mackel, she is the author of the YA fantasy series the Birthright Books and of supernatural thrillers including the Christy finalist The Hidden.  She was the credited screenwriter for Disney's Can of Worms and for Hangman's Curse, and has worked for Disney, Fox, and Showtime.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Firewall Book Review

FBI: Houston

SUMMARY:  In a matter of minutes, Taryn Young's happily ever after turns into her waking nightmare.
     After a whirlwind romance, software developer Taryn Young is en route to a dream honeymoon when a bomb decimates the airport terminal, killing dozens.  Injured, she awakens in the hospital to discover her husband is missing, and they're both considered prime suspects in the attack.  Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn't who he appears to be.
     Agent Grayson Hall's first priority is to catch those responsible for the bombing.  Despite the evidence pointing to Taryn's guilt, Grayson's gut tells him she's innocent ... and in danger.  With a possible mole in the FBI office, Grayson and Taryn fight to stay ahead of her pursuers, especially when they learn what the bombers are really after:  Taryn's latest high-security software project.  In the wrong hands, it could leave the US vulnerable to massive attacks.
     With national security on the line, Taryn and Grayson must unravel the plot and find the architect before their firewall is breached.

SUMMARY:  This book was a sit on the edge of you seat, not able to put it down, reading until it is the middle of the night kind of book.  The book moves at a fast pace, happening within the space of five days.  Sometimes it is a little difficult to keep up with all different characters involved and their role in the story along with the aspects of the software project and what hackers are trying to accomplish but that wasn't a big problem.  Probably one of my favorite things about this book was the relationship (or lack of) between Taryn and Grayson.  I found it refreshing to see how Grayson did not try to pursue a relationship with Taryn even though he was attracted to her.  He gave her time to heal from her ordeal. 
     I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

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

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author whose novels have won Christy Awards and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, and Carol Award contests.  When she's not writing, DiAnn is busy teaching and doing research through the FBI Citizens Academy.  She and her husband live in Houston, Texas.  Visit her online at www.diannmills.com.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Death Takes A Ride Book Review

The Cate Kinkaid Files
Book Three

SUMMARY:  It's official.  This case is above her pay grade - and Cate's in over her head.
     Cate Kinkaid arrives at H&B Vintage Auto Restorations to give a friend a ride.  But, as usual, trouble finds Cate even there - this time in the form of one dead man, one wounded man, and what appears to be a pretty obvious case of self-defense.
     Despite having been mearly an unfortunate bystander, Cate finds herself sucked into the case.  And the deeper she gets, the more she begins to suspect that the shooting in the H&B office may not have been as cut-and-dried as it appeared.  
     Bestselling and award-winning author Lorena McCourtney takes  you on a wild ride in this clever cozy mystery that will keep you guessing.

REVIEW:  If you like humor with your mysteries, check out Lorena McCourtney's latest book.  Between guessing how the story was going to end and laughing at all the situations Cate found herself in, the book was finished before I knew it.  The author kept me guessing as to how everything would work out and the circumstances leading up to the event.  I love Cate's desire to do a good job, to do what was right even in the hardest of circumstances, and not being afraid to ask for help.  This is the third book in this series but does a good job standing on it's own.  But, I would recommend reading the other ones because they are good and fill in some of the blanks you may have.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Lorena McCourtney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible (which won a Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America), Dying to Read, and Dolled Up to Die.  She resides in Oregon.  Learn more at www.lorenamccourtney.com.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

90 Minutes in Heaven-10th Anniversary Edition Book Review

A True Story of Death and Life

SUMMARY:  In the ten years since 90 Minutes in Heaven was first published, millions of people worldwide have read the incredible true story of Don Piper's experience with death and life - and in reading have found their own lives changed.
     Now you can experience the continuing story of 90 Minutes in Heaven with this special anniversary edition.  Along with the story of his accident, death, return to life, and painful recovery, Don offers personal reflections on the impact the book has had on him, his family, and the millions who have heard his story.  Also included are true stories from readers about the effect 90 Minutes in Heaven has had on their own lives, favorite Scriptures and quotations on heaven from Don, a photo insert, and a publisher's note on the book that started the heaven publishing phenomenon.
     Discover for yourself the book that everyone has been talking about - and watch your life change for the better.

REVIEW:  I remember seeing this book everywhere ten years ago but had no desire to read it.  When it came across my radar again, I decided to see what all the hype was about.  Don Piper doesn't hold anything back about his accident, his recovery and life afterwards.  The accident was horrific and he was declared legally dead by four different people.  He was dead for ninety minutes before he awoke to the chaos of his situation.  His descriptions of what life was like for him while in the hospital, surgeries he had, and his very long recovery shows the miracle he is and how God answers our prayers.  He discusses his severe depression from wanting to be back in heaven and not wanting to talk about what he experienced.  While the story seemed to me to drag while he discussed his treatments and his severe depression, once Don started talking about how God used him to reach others: from helping people who had the Ilizarov device understand that they were not alone to comforting those whose loved ones had passed, the story really picked up.  I liked the personal stories from people who have been touched by Don's story.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Don Piper is a New York Times bestselling author and has been an ordained minister since 1985.  He has appeared on Today, The 700 Club, James Robinson's Life Today and many other television and radio programs, and teaches across the United States and around the world.  He and his wife, Eva, live in Texas.  Learn more at www.donpiperministries.com.

Cecil Murphey has written or cowritten more than one hundred books, including Gifted Hands The Ben Carson Story.  Cecil can be contacted at www.cecilmurphey.com.

Love Comes Home Book Review


SUMMARY:  When the flush of victory fades, there remains a winding road to an uncertain future.
     World War II is finally over and the people of Rosey Corner are joyfully welcoming the boys home.  The Merritt sisters in particular are looking toward the future.  Kate is eager to start a family and live out her dream of happily ever after with Jay.  Evangeline craves a beautiful house and encourages Mike to pastor a big-town church.  Victoria wants what can never be.  And Lorena is growing up and wondering more and more about her birth family.
     Each sister must learn to hold her plans with a loose hand, trusting that God will guide and strengthen them as they share the joys and sorrows of life in their little corner of the world.
     Award-winning and bestselling author Ann Gabhart invites you back to Rosey Corner for a heartfelt story that closes the distance between the things that were and things that can yet be.

REVIEW:  This latest look at the happenings in Rosey Corner does not disappoint. The author did a great job of making me feel like I was there with the characters as they struggled with the new normal: life after war.  I like how things work out for Lorena as she decides to search for her birth parents, though not all of it was what she wanted.  My heart went out to Kate and Jay but I LOVED how he bucks the rules to take care of his wife.  While I was happy with the way the book (and series) ended, I want to know the rest of their stories.  I think that shows what a wonderful novel this is. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Words Spoken True, The Ousider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted.  She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.  Find out more at www.annhgabhart.com.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Atlas Girl Book Review

 Finding Home in the Last Place 
I Thought to Look

SUMMARY:  Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning.
     Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents' rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else - anywhere else.  Her travels took her across three continents in buses, cars and planes, across mountains and over deep blue seas.
     What she hadn't realized was that her faith was waiting for her the whole time - in the place she least expected it.
      Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a deeply personal story of the yearning we all share to be truly known, entirely forgiven, and utterly loved.

REVIEW:  Emily's story is one every girl should read.  She has been in the shoes of  many of us: struggling with body image, feeling loved by her parents, and struggling with her faith.  She is quick to give God the glory and admit when she feels like God has left her alone.  She acknowledges when she sees Him at work throughout her life.  I thought it was admirable when she returns home to take care of her ailing mother, which helps strengthen her relationship with both her parents.  She also gets to watch as her parents' relationship is strengthen and grow in adversity.  
     Really, the only thing I had a problem with was how the story would jump around.  It would start out with the author at her parents' house taking care of her mother, the jump into stories of her youth or in the past.  After reading a few chapters, it all started to make better sense.  It could be confusing at times but I could see why she wrote it this way.  

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author and blogger at www.emilywierenga.com.  She speaks regularly about her journey with anorexia and lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband, Trenton, and their two sons.

The Revealing Book Review

The Inn at Eagle Hill Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Love does extraordinary things to people . . . .
     In a single, impulsive act, Naomi King chooses to follow her heart into unfamiliar territory, jeopardizing all that she holds dear.  If anyone finds out what she's up to, she's in for trouble.  But when it comes to Tobe Schrock, Naomi believes it's worth it.
     But it all comes crashing down when a young woman arrives at the Inn at Eagle Hill with an unexpected delivery for Tobe.  Add a guest at the in with a curious talent and a genealogist who is more interested in modern day Schrocks than in old family trees, and evidence starts to mount that points to something sinister at work.  Or someone.
     In this riveting conclusion to The Inn at Eagle Hill series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher pulls out all the stops with a fast-paced tale of deception, revelation, and romance.

REVIEW:  I will be honest here.  When I first started reading this book, there were so many characters that I had a hard time trying to figure out who was who and their relevance to the story.  There were a few times I was tempted to put it down and not pick it back up.  But as I plowed on, the characters, their stories and their relevance made more sense.  To fully understand Tobe's involvement with his father's company and why he was in prison, you really need to read the other two books and probably even the last book of the Stoney Ridge series.  
     I did like how the characters evolved and grew through adversity and change.  The way they reached out to Paisley, a friend of Tobe's, was admirable, even though she used them.  I really liked how everyone in the family stepped up to help take care of Sarah, a special child.  There were a few places I wondered how everything would work out and liked how it did in the end.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Letters, The Calling, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace, and an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp.  Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting.  She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines.  She lives in California.  Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.