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, August 22, 2014

A Bouquet of Love Book Review

Weddings by Design
Volume Four

SUMMARY:  She didn't expect to fall in love - but roses aren't the only thing blooming on Galveston Island.
     Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation.  She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations.  But her boisterous Greek family - especially her father - has other ideas.  They're all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant located on the Strand - directly across the street from iconic pizza place Parma John's - and they want Cassia's full participation.
     To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neely, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers.  Not exactly the best way to get into this former Rossi's good graces!
     Still, at last Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

REVIEW:  Janice Thompson's latest novel lives up to the expectations I've come to anticipate from this fabulous author.  This story kept me in stitches as I read Cassia's story and followed along in my mind's eye.  While it can be a little over top and corny at times, these are what make everything come alive.  The characters are real and deal with some of the same family situations we do, making them easy to relate to and enjoy.  There were many times I found myself laughing out loud.
     I really enjoyed Cassia and Alex's story and getting to see other characters I've come to know and love progress in their lives.  This book is good by itself but you would really benefit from reading the other stories.  The conflict between Uncle Laz and Niko, Cassia's father is hilarious.  You get the full effect of the difficulties if you've read the other books in this series.  There is even the potential for a future series set in Splendora. 
     If you are looking for something fun and light to read, this is a book and series you need to check out.  I don't think you will be disappointed. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author ad screen-writer.  An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner.  She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series, as well as Picture PerfectThe Icing on the Cake, and The Dream Dress.  She lives in Texas.  Learn more at www.janiceathompson.com.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In Perfect Time Book Review


Wings of the Nightingale Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Two hearts are about to learn the rhythm of love.
     Bold, sophisticated, and coy, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe.  So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms?  In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.
     Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer.  Can they overcome the fears and misunderstandings of the past in order to take hold of the future?
     Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

REVIEW: Sarah Sundin's finishes the Wings of the Nightingale series on a good note.  This book shows that Kay is more than a pretty face and heart-breaker.  When she finally gives her life to the LORD, I like how she tries to change how men (and women) perceive her by changing how she relates to each.  I also love how she really steps up to become a leader when she and some of her fellow servicemen and women face some very difficult obstacles. There were incidences when I would get frustrated with the timing between Roger and Kay but, like the title says, everything happens "in perfect time."
     While the ending could be considered a little cheesy, I thought it was a great ending to a wonderful series.  I love how each of the books overlap but doesn't lose it's individuality.  In Perfect Time is a delightful book.

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

Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and the Wings of Glory series.  In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.  Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.  Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

When I Fall In Love Book Review

A Christiansen Family Novel
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Come home to the Christiansens', where faith and family meet real life.
     Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love.  But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled - or maybe yanked - away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.
     Maxwell Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen.  Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii.  Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance.  But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.
     Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for.  And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires.  If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace's faith will face its toughest test yet.

REVIEW:  Susan May Warren's latest novel lives up to everything I have come to expect from her writings.  Grace and Maxwell's story is wonderful.  Grace is a girl after my own heart.  She feels more comfortable at home in Deep Haven, serving her family and friends.  Maxwell wants to live his life alone, afraid of the genetic disease that has claimed his father and other family members, afraid to trust God.  My heart went out to both Grace and Maxwell as they learned to step beyond their safety zones and learned to trust each other and God for the desires of their hearts.  I loved the descriptions of all the fun they had as they toured and enjoyed the island.  I also enjoyed, and envied, the cooking skills they both had and the cooking contest they entered.
     The side story of Raina, Owen and Casper sets up a future Christiansen Family story.  Raina's insecurity and desire to be accepted touched my heart.  I can't wait to see how her story develops.
     This book kept me turning pages to see if Grace and Maxwell could work things out to be together and how it would be accomplished.  Check out this book and series.  You won't be disappointed.

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

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike.  She spent eight years as a missionary in Russia with her husband and four children before returning to Minnesota's north shore to write full-time.  Visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com.  

Captured by Love Book Review


SUMMARY:  Michigan Territory, 1814
     A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom.
     The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land.  Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.
     Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother.  Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British - and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman.  She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.
     As tensions mount and the violence rages on.  Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love.

REVIEW:  Jody Hedlund's latest novel follows in step with all of her others.  From the first page to the end of the book, I had a difficult time putting it down until I was finished because it was so good.  I admired Angelique's determination as she struggles to survive the food shortage due to the harsh northern Michigan winter and the British absconding any surplus the villagers had, while helping Pierre's blind mother and avoiding punishment by her very strict step-father.  Given multiple opportunities to forget them, I like how commitments that had been made previously to people no longer in the picture, by both Angelique and her step-father Ebenezer, were honored. 
     This was an excellent story about love, commitment and doing what is right, even though it may be difficult.  Check out this book and any others written by this fantastic author.

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

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of Rebellious HeartA Noble Groom, and The Preacher's Bride, which won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award and the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers.  Jody loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at JodyHedlund.com.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn Book Review


SUMMARY:  Frontier dangers cannot compare to the risks one woman takes by falling in love.
     In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life of her harsh stepfather has forced upon her.  Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watagua settlement in western North Carolina.  But shedding her old life doesn't come without cost.  As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.
     Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather.  With trouble headed their way, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers.  The State of Franklin has been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina.  With chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared.  But could these challenges, this relationship, be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward?  As her pursuers draw ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all - loving a man who has risked everything for her?

REVIEW:  Lori Benton goes into great detail about the conflicts of this time period: the treatment of slaves, how American's were affected after the Revolutionary War, the creation of a new state, The State of Franklin., and the interactions of American citizens with Native Americans.  Even though at times I wish Jesse and Tamsen would have confessed their interest and, later love, to each other and would have gotten married sooner than they did, I was pleased to see how the author let the characters learn more about themselves and each other before committing themselves to each other.  I hated putting the book down to do chores, run errands and feed my family because it was so good.  I really enjoyed this book and really look forward to more novels from this author.

This book was provided by Blogging for Books (Waterbrook Multnomah) for review without compensation.

Lori Benton, author of the acclaimed Burning Sky, was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family 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, Lori enjoys exploring beautiful Oregon with her husband.

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.