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


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Rescued Hearts Book Review


SUMMARY:  Children's clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball's soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in from of an abandoned house.  Beaten, bound and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.
     Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis.  Weighing the difference of ruining his three months' investigation against the woman's safety.  Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.
     When Mary Wade's safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again.  This time, her personal safety isn't the only thing in jeopardy.  Her heart is endangered as well.

REVIEW:  Something I really liked about this book was how the author did not give everything away in regards to the suspense in the book.  Reading through the story, when I thought I had everything somewhat figured out, a new twist was added.  The characters are likeable and relateable, except for the kidnappers.  One of my favorites was Brett's grandma.  She is someone I want to be like when I am much older. The ending was great.  I like how everything Mary Wade was worried about works out because she stood up for what she believed, even though it was not what her parents wanted.  This was a good book that keeps you turning pages.  Check it out.

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

Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master's degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College.  Her publications include two novels, Irish Encounter and Mars . . . With Venus Rising, as well as nonfiction articles.  A member of ACFW, RWA, and SinC, she writes for SeriousWriter.com.  She and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons.  Visit her at hopetolerdoughterty.com.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past Book Review


SUMMARY:  At twenty-seven, Hadley is still trying to get free of the weight she's carried all her life - entering foster care at age five, getting arrested at seventeen for arson, and losing her boyfriend, Monroe, when she needed him most.
     Monroe never wanted to walk out on Hadley.  He'd understood her, from her desire to help children with speech issues to her intense temper.  But when she was arrested, he became haunted by what he knew and convinced his only choice was to end their relationship.
     Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialist in the field of speech therapy.  They meet again...thrown together to help a four-year-old girl who's been rendered mute after being rescued from an apartment fire.
     Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized young girl and her family.
     Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

 REVIEW:  Some people never get a break in life.  It seems like everything is against them and everyone judges them for things they didn't do, just by how they are perceived.  Hadley is one of those people.  Facing struggle after struggle, Hadley uses the experiences to make herself a stronger person who is more attuned to those hurting around her and those not given a fair chance.  Her faith in God is what gets her through the most difficult circumstances.  I like how Hadley is determined to give others the benefit of the doubt no matter how many others disagree.  She also is determined to help Chloe overcome her speech difficulties and to give her her voice back, even if it means she has to work with Monroe to accomplish it.  I also like how resourceful Hadley and Elliott, her best friend, are.  They stretch the little bit they have (food, clothes, housing, etc) and are very creative.  This and their amazing work ethics are something we all should aspire to do.  These things help Hadley and Monroe navigate the troubled waters of their past and give them strategies for the future.
     This book shows second chances are possible, if you just give them the opportunity.  This is a fabulous story with a wonderful ending.

This book was provided by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall 
for review without compensation.

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction.  She's been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline and the Wall Street Journal.  Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.  She can be found online at cindywoodsmall.com.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife and mom of three.  She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade.  She is very excited about their first coauthored book.  How could a Southern gal not enjoy research time in Asheville, North Carolina, as part of the job?

Many Sparrows Book Review


SUMMARY:  Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would ........
     In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories.  The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife, Clare, and their four-year-old son, Jacob, on a remote mountain trail.
     When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare finds herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can recover her son ... especially when her second child is moments away from being born.
 
REVIEW:  This book was amazing, as all of Lori Benton's books are.  She delves into emotions, situations and events that make you think long and hard about the characters and how you might act if you were put in the same position.
     This story is not an easy one.  I can't even being to imagine how I would have reacted if I was in Clare's position: pregnant, and in labor, with only her small son to keep her company.  Then, at the apex of her precarious situation, her son disappears into the wilderness.  After Jeremiah and Clare locate Jacob, they cannot simply walk into the Shawnee camp and take him home.  The time it takes and the way Jeremiah and Clare maneuver around the obstacles they face is mind boggling.  It is a development of patience, love, endurance, and understanding.  I love how the author weaves Clare's faith and the struggles she has with God into the story.
     This is a wonderful novel that everyone should read.

This book was provided by the author for review without any compensation.

Lori Benton was raised eat of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years.  Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history.  When she isn't writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband.  She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, Christy nominee The Wood's Edge, and A Flight of Arrows.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Pretender Book Review

A Blackguard in Disguise
Caselli Family Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  South Dakota: 1975
     Eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beers in a bar and loaded guns were kept under the counter.  Frankie Valli sang My Eyes Adored You and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
     It's within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again.  Their lives were mysteriously intertwined - and had been for many years - yet they had no idea.
     From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart – and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

REVIEW:  I've been thinking about this book and review for a while now.  It's one of those stories that stays with you a long time after reading.  There were some things I really liked and some that were just different - not bad, just different.
     I like the concept of the book and the characters.  Sometimes it felt like I was right there in the room with the characters.  Quite often I wanted to grab a few of them by the back of their neck and ask them what they thought they were doing, that they were being really stupid and presumptuous.   Other times, I cheered them on when they showed their mettle.  The story reminds me of the movie The Notebook in, after they were separated, how there were near misses and misunderstandings.  I liked how Tillie's life and Noah's life run parallel to each others in so many different ways and getting to see how each other lives without the other perosn in their life.
     The story line, and the possibilities of what could happen in future books, is intriguing.  I like how the author gives you a taste of events to come.  I also like how some people aren't always who you think they are, good or bad. 
     One thing that was different was how the story and characters flowed.  Okay, sometimes when I am reading, I wonder what the other characters are thinking during a particular scene.  For example, if the family is all in the room when a boy comes to pick up the daughter for a date, I have wondered what everyone (Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, boy, daughter) is thinking at the time.  This author shows you what everyone's thoughts and conversations are during scenes.  At first, I couldn't figure out why suddenly the parents are having a conversation with the brother when the scene had been focused on the daughter talking to her sister-in-law.  But after reading a while, I began to see what the author was trying to do and it became a little easier.
     Another thing that was different was how the author focused on other family members and their spouses, showing scenes of their lives that didn't seem related to the main characters' stories.  Yeah, it's interesting to hear their conversations about events in their lives but the book is not about them. 
     This was an intriguing book.  My interest has been piqued about the rest of the series.

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

Ta'mara Hanscom lives with her husband Jim in Northwest Iowa where they enjoy watching the Detroit Tigers, BBQs and taking care of their rescues - two cats and one Pomeranian.  For more information about the author, visit www.tamarahanscombooks.com.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Christmas Blessing Book Review


SUMMARY:  She's determined to give her baby a better life.  Could a Christmas miracle make it possible?
     Not long after she receives the news in 1944 that her baby's father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope.  Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant's paternal grandparents.  The only problem is, they don't know that she - or their grandson - exists.
     When Amelia discovers the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son?  Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

REVIEW:  Amelia has not had an easy life, and early on, she faced her challenges head on.  When she receives news of her fiance's plane crash, I like how she faces her circumstances and does the best thing for her son.  Even though she is scared and faced with a VERY difficult choice, she still puts her son and his needs above her own.  I admire Amelia in that she is willing to do whatever it takes to give Jimmy the best in life, even if it means making major sacrifices.
     At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like Helene, James' mom.  She comes off as the stereotypical woman born into money with everything just right.  But, as the story unfolds, you see she hides her true feelings behind a mask, afraid to let the world she how she really feels.  I came to appreciate her love for her family, which eventually includes Amelia.
     The ending of the book is the best by far.  I loved how the author brought reconciliation not only between Amelia and James' parents but between Helene and her son-in-law and also with James' decision to become a pilot.  This is a great book to read, especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It is a fairly quick read and enjoyable.  I really liked it and hope you do, too.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sale of more than six million.  She is the author of several Christmas books.  She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice.  She and her husband live in central Oregon.  Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Return Book Review

Amish Beginnings Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear.
     Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans - but then she never had to.  Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid.  Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
     Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort.  She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Han's hunger for revenge.  But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?
     Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of pre-revolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

SUMMARY:  Sometimes God works in ways we don't understand to take us to places spiritually, physically and emotionally we would never go on our own.  Betsy soon finds out how God uses her time as an Indian captive to help bring her to an understanding of Himself and others around her that she wouldn't have otherwise had.  It also makes her stronger than she ever thought she could be and helps her when she needs to make difficult decisions.
     Tessa is like most of us; we want what we can't have.  When we finally get a taste of it, we want more, even if it isn't God's best.  Tessa makes decisions that come back to haunt her and influences others to make bad choices.  I like how she owns up to her mistakes and does what she can to make restitution.  
     The ending was different in that one character's story was left open ended while others were tied up neatly.  I liked how this novel closed with all kinds of possibilities that only God knows the ending.  This book is set about twenty-five years after the first and second ones.  Even though I read the first one but not the second, I was able to follow along without any trouble, especially since there was a Cast of Characters to help fill in any blanks.  This is a good book and a good series.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.
 
Susanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna's Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series.  The Bishop's Family series, 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 @susannewfisher.

A Name Unknown Book Review

Shadows Over England Series
 Book One

SUMMARY:  She's out to steal his name.  Will he steal her heart instead?
     Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets - instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime - determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany.  After all how does one steal a family's history, their very name?
     As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein.  Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence.  But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown - so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels.  When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.
     When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth - about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

REVIEW: The summary of this book drew my attention.  There were so many questions floating around  - how does someone prove they are a loyal citizen?  How does someone steal a name? Why did Peter keep his office locked up and why was no one allowed entry without his permission, not even his loyal housekeeper?  What did he do with the typewriter on his desk all day?  Where did Peter's father and grandfather put all the important paperwork about their immigration to England from Germany?  How was the Holstein family connected to the British royal family so that the men were advisors to the present and past rulers of England?  As I read, little by little these questions were answered, albeit, some quite slowly.  I liked the mysterious air attached to this story with the secretive Mr. V and the details Rosemary slowly discovers about the Holstein family.  Sometimes it was hard to keep the information together because each piece of the puzzle was very slowly revealed.  As I read, I wondered what Rosemary would do with the information she was gathering for Mr. V and about how was behind the attacks on Peter's house.  I like how the book ended because it was not what I expected and the way it sets up for another book in the series.
     This book was different from others I read in that it was slower in revealing the details need to absolve the problems Peter was facing but, not everything is answered quickly in real life either.  This is a good book and recommend it to someone wanting a little mystery.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House 
for review without any compensation.

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her.  When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself.  Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her series set in Britain.  She makes her home in the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia.  You can learn more about her and her stories at www.roseannawhite.com.