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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Monday, July 27, 2015

Hope Harbor Book Review


SUMMARY:  COME HOME TO HOPE HARBOR -  Where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.
     Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up.  But life - and love - altered her plans.  Now she's home again - with a floundering farm to run . . . a tragic secret . . . and a wounded heart.  Romance is not on her agenda.  Nor is it on Michael Hunter's.  The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own.  But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives - including their own.

REVIEW:  Irene Hannon steps away from her usual suspense genre to pen her latest novel and does a wonderful job.  While it doesn't have the edge-of-your-seat content like her other stories do, this one shows you if you face the hurts and pain of past mistakes, it can and will bring healing to your present and change your future.  I like how the actions of one person touches and changes the lives of  more than ten people.  When one person steps out of their comfort zone, the ripple effects are never ending.  I like how Anna went from being the town recluse, shut away from everyone, to helping so many people all over town.  Michael and Tracy have to face the hurts of their pasts to figure out their future.  I like how they don't give up but support each other through their healing. 
     This is one book you need to check out, along with all of her other novels.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women's fiction novels, including the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series, along with That Certain Summer and One Perfect Spring.  Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America.  She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist.   

Friday, July 24, 2015

In Good Company Book Review


SUMMARY:  After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen.  Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren't always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position.
     Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he's desperate for competent childcare.
     At wit's end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance - with each other.  As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons.  But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children's parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?

REVIEW:  This book is really good!!  Millie's unorthodox nannying methods grabbed my attention and made me admire and respect her even more.  She doesn't let the restrictions of the day interfere with her methods of taking care of her charges.  She brings out the best in the children by listening to them and tries to understand their wants and needs.  While sometimes it seems like she is being thoughtless, there is a method to her madness.  
     At times, Everett made me irritated and mad, the way he put his demanding fiancee' Caroline ahead of the kids.  But, once he realized his actions were only damaging his relationship with them, I like how he stepped up and became the dad these children needed.  
     The mystery surrounding the children's parents' deaths had me guessing until the end.  Just when I thought I had the problem solved and figured out what happened, the author had me guessing again.  
     This is a wonderful and fun read!!  Now, this book is not marketed as part of a series, but you can read After A Fashion to better understand how Everett and Millie first meet and their feelings towards each other.  It also helps you understand Millie's relationship with Mrs. Abigail Hart, Lucetta, Harriet and Oliver and Reverend Gilmore and how they all met.

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.
 
Jen Turano is the author of six books, including the Ladies of Distinction series.  She makes her home in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and son.  Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Beyond the Ashes Book Review

The Golden Gate Chronicles Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  The man flashed a disarming smile, his Bristol-blue eyes causing Ruby's breath to leak from her chest.  Fine lines around his mouth spoke of a life filled with either worry or laughter, Ruby glanced down.  She wasn't going to swoon over a man . . . 
     Young widow Ruby Marshall is certain she'll discover new purpose assisting her brother, Robert, with his cancer research.  And where better to rebuild than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes?  Ruby arrives in the city with great hope and determination for a new beginning.
      But she doesn't anticipate finding new love.
      Dr. Gerald Larkspur has dreamed of filling his empty home, but he'd always hoped it would be with a wife and children.  In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with family and friends left homeless by the disaster.  As he attends to every need of his patients and friends, Gerald doubts he will ever find true love, especially when he develops symptoms of the very disease he's striving to cure.
     She's had her love and lost it.  He is still missing his heart's desire.  Is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

REVIEW:  Ruby is an interesting character.  I like how she was very compassionate towards Robert and Gerald's patients who were getting treatments for and dying from cancer.  She comes off as standoffish towards Robert's fiance' Abby at first but steps out of her comfort zone to get to know Abby better, then makes her wedding dress.  She encourages Abby to continue a friendship that Robert disapproves of and encourages Robert to get to know Abby's friends better.  Her work with the families living in the tent cities helps her overcome the grief of her husband's death and helps encourage her feelings for Gerald.
     I love how Gerald grieves when he loses a patient and will stand up and fight hospital administration to keep funding for his research.  He struggles with the idea that maybe his research using x-rays to cure cancer is for naught but feels he and Robert and on the cusp of discovery.  I like how Gerald goes into the tent cities to help the families that are sick, even risking his life when an outbreak of diphtheria occurs.
     This is a good book, a wonderful continuation of the first story.  Even though the ideas and themes are intertwined, this book lays out everything in an easy to understand format so you don't have to read the first novel.  This is a great series.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for review without compensation.
 
Karen Barnett is the author of Out of the Ruin and Mistaken, and she was named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers.  Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband and their two children.  When she's not writing novels, Karen loves speaking at women's events, libraries, and book clubs.  You can learn more about her at KarenBarnettBooks.com.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

To Capture Her Heart Book Review

The Southold Chronicles
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In an uncertain time, she faces a choice that will change her life forever.
     It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montaukett tribe, is celebrating her wedding feast when a rival tribe attacks, killing the groom and kidnapping her.  Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is bound by her captors and left to die - until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren.
     Still tender from her loss, Heather Flower begins to heal in the home of the Hortons, English friends of her people.  Torn between her affection for Dirk and her longtime friendship with Ben Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice - stay true to her friend or follow her heart.
     Exploring a unique slice of history, Rebecca DeMarino transports you to the wild land that would eventually become Long Island, New York.

REVIEW:  Having read the description of this novel, my curiosity was peaked by the storyline and time period.  I loved how Heather Flower mourned the loss of her husband for at least six months, even though they had only just gotten married.  They were childhood sweethearts and it was welcoming to see her honor that relationship and what could have been instead of just throwing it aside and moving on.  I also liked how the author explained events that had occurred in the previous book so that I did not feel like something was missing as I read.
     Now, I did have trouble with quite a few things.  The feelings Dirk had for Heather Flower came developed way too quickly.  The first time they met was when he rescued her from the woods after being left behind by her captors.  Within no time, he is in love.  I know it can happen quickly, but that was just too fast.  Plus, Dirk is only mentioned a handful of times in the whole book before showing up at the very end hoping to marry Heather Flower.  The novel seemed to focus more on Mary and Barney Horton and their family than it did Heather Flower and her love interests.  Also, the ending seemed like the author was trying to hurry up and finish the story.  It just didn't feel right to me.  Plus, there really wasn't a climax in the story.  A section of the story involving Dirk and Heather Flower's captors could have been a good one but was not taken advantage of.
      All in all, this story was okay.  There was so much possibility that could have been utilized but wasn't.  

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Rebecca DeMarino is the author of A Place in His Heart, book one of The Southold Chronicles, a series inspired by her ninth great-grandparents, Barnabas and Mary Horton.  She inherited her love of baking and gardening from her mother; a love of horses, reading and writing from her dad; and the wanderlust gene from both parents.  Rebecca lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Tom.  Learn more at www.rebeccademarino.com.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gone Without A Trace Book Review

Logan Point series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  The past is repeating itself - and time is running out.
     It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynold's cousin disappeared from Logan Point.  Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily.  When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts her concerning a senator's missing granddaughter who was last seen in Logan Point, Livy notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances.  With self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of the self-assured PI, she's finding this investigation an uphill battle.  But with the prospect of finding her cousin on the horizon, she'll have to find a way to work with Alex - before it's too late.
     Award-winning author Patricia Bradley keeps you n the edge of your seat with a case - and a relationship - that is anything but certain.

REVIEW:  I was intrigued by the story of a possible serial kidnapper in small-town Mississippi and wasn't disappointed.  Patricia Bradley's latest novel comes out of the starting gate with a bang and will keep you on the edge of your seat, quickly turning pages to see what happens next.  The ending was supberb!!  She kept me guessing about what would happen next and who the kidnapper is.  I liked Livy's ability to face her fears and do what was needed to accomplish her goals.   One of my favorites things about this book and series is that the setting is in North Mississippi, not far from my hometown, and mentions places that I am familiar with in Memphis and the surrounding area.  
     This book and series is one to check out.  Even though it is the third book, you don't need to read the others to understand everything in this one.  They are helpful for backgrounds on some characters and a few other situations that are mentioned.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love Award and was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award.  The author of Shadows of the Past and A Promise to Protect, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.  Bradley makes her home in Mississippi.  Learn more at www.ptbradley.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Innocent Book Review


SUMMARY:  She longs for peace - for her land and her heart - but can it truly be found at Harmony Hill?
      Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years bot knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing.  When the war ends without further word, Carlyn finds herself penniless, in debt, and forced from her home.  With nowhere else to go, she seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill.
     The Shakers profess peace through simple living, but to Carlyn, the Shaker life seems anything but simple.  When mysterious deaths disturb the peace of the village, Carlyn falls under intense scrutiny.  Can a kind sheriff help her expose the true culprit?

REVIEW:  One of my favorite things about this book was Carlyn's dedication to her marriage.  Her husband was missing in action, which means she did not know if he was dead or alive.  So, when she feels an attraction to the new sheriff, she stays true to her vows, even if she never gets an answer.  Her commitment to her husband and her wedding vows was admiring and honorable. I also love Carlyn's dog, Asher.  The way he protects and comforts her is sweet.
     The parts set in the Shaker community seemed like an oxymoron.  They are supposed to be known for their charity to those in need, but, they seem almost rude and difficult when someone comes to them for help. When Carlyn is forced to leave her house and has nowhere else to go, she decides to join the Shaker village.  Even though they provide her shelter, food and clothing, the residents often seem harsh and distant, almost like they only wanted the land she donated when she joined.  The love you would think they would bestow, being a "Christian" community was not to be found.  
     This was an interesting book but, unfortunately, not one of my favorites like some of her others.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels - The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted - as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series.  She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.  Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles for Boys Book Review



SUMMARY:  Q:  What's the worst thing to leave home without?
                        A:  This book!

     Stuck in the car on a long trip?  Bored out of your mind in a waiting room?  Have a few minutes before bedtime?  Then you have enough time to let your imagination run wild!
     Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles for Boys lets you
  • tell jokes that will have people laughing out loud
  • complete hilarious doodles
  • entertain everyone around you!
More than one million copies of the Laugh-Out-Loud joke books have been sold.  Grab your pens, pencils, crayons, or markers and see what all the fuss is about!

REVIEW:  We were asked to have our kids to help review this book.  Since my boys were in the target age range, I thought they would enjoy it.  Unfortunately, no matter how much I tried to entice them to check it out, they refused.  They loved the jokes and tongue twisters, but did not want to draw.  Since we spend a lot of time at the softball fields, I brought it with me to some practices, hoping they would try it out.  They still were not interested but, when asked, another little boy looked at it.  He had fun drawing the pictures and loved the jokes.  The suggestions about what could be drawn on the bottom of the page helped his mom and me give him ideas.  He even asked if he could play with it at a couple of practices. 
     Even though my kids were not interested in it, I think this book is a wonderful idea.  It's size is perfect to drop in a purse, diaper bag or toy bag.  I'm always looking for something to help drive away the boredom when we go places and this is one I plan to keep with me, if not for my kids, maybe some of the others we are around. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Rob Elliott is the author of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, More Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out-Loud Animal Jokes for Kids, Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids, and Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids. He lives in West Michigan, where in his spare time he enjoys laughing out loud with his wife and five children.  Learn more at www.laughoutloudjokesforkids.com.

Jonny Hawkins is a cartoonist whose work has appeared in over six hundred publications, including Reader's Digest, Parade, The Saturday Evening Post, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, many page-a-day cartoon calendars, and Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids.  He lives in Michigan with his wife, their three children, four cats, and a dog.