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


Monday, January 26, 2015

Worth the Time Book Review

Waltham Academy Book Two

SUMMARY:  Lindsey always wondered why her Dad never felt she was Worth the Time.
     Doesn't anyone feel she's worth their time?
     Routinely ignored by her single mother, high school senior Lindsey Hamilton hides her loneliness behind a mask of flirtatious self-confidence that has many boys wrapped around her finger.  However, during community service required for graduation, she meets a shy guy with a haunted past who barely gives her the time of day.
     Why doesn't he like her?
     Then the father she thought had abandoned her before birth wants to meet, and she discovers everything she believed about him is a lie.
     How will Lindsey learn to trust so she can realize that she has been loved all along?

REVIEW:  Ever heard the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover?"  This book is a perfect example when applied to Lindsey.  She comes across as a girl with everything you could ever want, a flirt who's out to get every guy she can to like her then dump them, and someone who is not so nice to people who aren't her friends.  But, when you look behind the scenes, you see someone who is lonely, hurt, and looking for something meaningful in her life after being hurt horribly in Ninth grade, even though she won't admit it to herself.  My heart broke for her when I read how she was humiliated and used in Ninth grade by a boy at her old school.  I love how, once the truth comes out about Lindsey's dad, the author has him wanting to become very active in her life, flying her to visit him and his family every few weeks, keeping in touch with her on social media, and doing what he can to make up for all the years he missed.  I love how her grandmother, one who was so instrumental in the lie about what Lindsey knew and didn't know, makes things right with Lindsey and her father.  Most of all, I loved how Lindsey started changing from a self-centered brat to a young woman with a heart for others.
     This is my favorite of the two books in this series, so far.  You don't necessarily need to read the first one to comprehend everything in this book, but it does help fill in the blanks when it comes to Ellie and Dylan. 

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

Laura Jackson loves books - reading and writing them.  A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master's degree and becoming a school librarian.  Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and his plan for their lives.

At Home in Last Chance Book Review

A Place to Call Home
Book Three

SUMMARY:  What happens when the life you're running from won't let go of your heart?
     Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden have always had a similar philosophy of life:  when the going gets tough, they get going - out of town and away from the problem.  Now they are both back in Last Chance, New Mexico and trying to start over.
     Kaitlyn is working to reestablish a relationship with the seven-year-old daughter she left behind six months earlier.  Steven is trying to prove to his family that he is not the irresponsible charmer they have always known him to be.  As Kaitlyn and Steven find themselves drawn to one another, one big question keeps getting in the way:  How will they learn to trust each other when they don't even trust themselves?
     With emotional depth and characters who leap off the page and into your heart, Cathleen Armstrong invites you to return once more to the dusty and delightful town of Last Chance.

REVIEW:  Like the other two books, I really enjoyed reading this one.  Kaitlyn is really trying to get her life back on track, and I commend her for it. She sticks with a job she hates to prove to herself and everyone else that she is here to stay and will do whatever it takes to be a good mom to Olivia.  I like how Steven is determined to prove to his family that he is not irresponsible and takes on the job of getting his grandmother's house ready for her after an accidental fall.  There were a few times I wanted to hurry the story along (especially when it came to Kaitlyn's job decision). Other than that, I loved this book.
     This is the third book in the series.  You need to read the second one to fully understand Kaitlyn's past, Chris' custody of Olivia, and how it affects this story.  The first book comes in handy to fully understand Steven's history with Last Chance.  This book neatly ties up all the loose ends of the first two books.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Ed, and their corgi.  Though she has been in California for many years now, her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives.  She is the author of Welcome to Last Chance, winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for Women's Fiction, and One More Last Chance.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Esther - Royal Beauty Book Review

A Dangerous Beauty Novel
Book One

SUMMARY:  When an ambitious tyrant threatens genocide against the Jews, an inexperienced young queen must take a stand for her people.
     When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler.  After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king's heart and a queen's crown.  But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king's permission to exterminate all Jews - young and old, powerful and helpless.  Purposely violating an ancient Persian law, she risks her life in order to save her people . . . and bind her husband's heart.

REVIEW:  When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  Hadassah was very superficial, seemingly only concerned with herself and how she could get Mordecai and his wife Miriam to be more lenient.  It's seem that a lot of her focus was on her looks (or the lack thereof, in her opinion) and wanting to be queen because then she would be known as the most beautiful woman in the world.  It was also written from two viewpoints - Hadassah/Esther's and Harbonah, the chief eunuch in King Xerxes' palace. The switch up took some getting used to, especially if I set the book down for a few hours.  But, once I remembered the author was writing from the viewpoint of a teenaged girl, I understand the preoccupation and the story started making more sense.  
     Some of the incidences and timelines in this book do not follow what most people consider common knowledge about Esther's story.  I like the author's explanation given at the end of the book.  She looked at historical records and biblical records, and tried to keep the story as historically accurate as possible.  While the timeline was different from other stories I've read, I found the information to flow easily.  This book is interesting and one I recommend to check out.

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

Angela Hunt has published more than one hundred books.  She's the New York Times-bestselling author of The Tale of Three Trees, The Note, and The Nativity Story.  Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the HOLT Medallion Award.  Romantic Times Book Club presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.  In 2008, she completed her doctorate in Biblical Studies and is currently completing her Th.D.  Angela and her husband live in Florida, along with their mastiffs.  For a complete list of the author's books, visit angelahuntbooks.com.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hidden Agenda Book Review

Southern Crimes Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  His cover is blown.  Now his enemies are on his heels and closing in.
     Presumed dead by friends and family, Michael Hunt is alive - and on the run.  The undercover assignment he's been working for the past eight months has just been blown.  With a hit out on his life and corruption inside the Atlanta police department, Michael finds himself hunted by both the cartel and the law.  His only hope is Olivia Hamilton - the daughter of the man who wants him dead.
      This nonstop chase from Christy Award-winning Lisa Harris will leave you breathless.

REVIEW:  This book starts with a heart-pounding scene and barely lets up all the way through to the end.  Sometimes it's hard to get a handle on the timeline (only a week) because so much happens to the characters.  My heart goes out to Olivia and her brother Ivan as they discover everything they thought they knew to be a lie and people they trusted weren't who they thought they were.  All throughout the story, I kept guessing how everything would end and never had it figured out.  This is a good book that will keep you in suspense until the end.
     Even though this is the last in the series, you don't have to read the other two books.  If you do read them, you will fully understand Michael's undercover job and how his "death" affected his family and their jobs.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Lisa Harris is the award-winning author of more than twenty books, including the Christy Award winner Dangerous Passage and Fatal Exchange.  Winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times, Harris has spent over ten years living with her family as missionaries in Mozambique, where she leads a women's group and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry.  Visit www.lisaharriswrites.com for more.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Home for Christmas Book Review

Stories for Young and Old

SUMMARY:  They are some of the warmest childhood memories, those unhurried evenings around the fireplace, Christmas tree, or dinner table, when there was time for a story . . . Now, with this collection, you can keep the story-telling tradition alive in your family, and pass it on to your children or grandchildren.
     Home for Christmas includes twenty time-honored favorites.  Several are by world-famous children's authors; others are little-known European tales not available in English anywhere else.  Selected for their literary quality and their spiritual integrity, they will resonate with readers of all ages, year after year.

REVIEW:  I'm sorry to say I did not like this book.  Most of the stories were sad and depressing.  There was one story where the main character was very selfish and thoughtless. When he had a change of heart, the story ended abruptly.  Some stories just drug on and on.  Since they were written by different authors and were set in completely different time periods and places, I had a hard time switching thought processes to follow along.  I hope others will find this book more appealing than I did.

This book was provided by Handlebar for review without compensation.

Love Unexpected Book Review

Beacons of Hope Series
Book One


SUMMARY:  1859, Presque Isle, Michigan - What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?
     All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.
     An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town.  He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child.  So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma.  After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.  Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.
     Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death.  It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

REVIEW:  From the very beginning, I was drawn to Emma and her story.  My heart went out to Patrick with his job in the lighthouse at night, taking care of a very busy two-year-old and trying to keep up with the housework.  At first, I wasn't sure if I agreed with their hasty marriage, but as I read on, I saw how practical it was and how everything played out. Patrick is a character that I admired, especially towards the end of the book.  Emma's determination to make her marriage and house one of love and contentment was praiseworthy.  This is a great book.  I always look forward to this author's books and especially to more of this series.

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

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of Captured by Love, 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.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Love Without End Book Review

A Kings Meadows Romance
Book One

SUMMARY:  For two single parents with bruised hearts, it'll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.
     Kimberly Welch lost her husband to a heart attack in the blink of an eye.  But she's losing her daughter slowly, in the day-to-day tension.   In three difficult years, Kimberly has gone from Seattle socialite to Kings Meadow charity case, and her daughter is not responding well to the changes.  She's becoming a sullen, cantankerous teen.
     Chet Leonard lost his teenage son in a car accident.  Then his wife abandoned him and their two remaining boys.  He tries to keep his mind on the family ranch, but if the last two years have taught him anything, it's that sometimes you just have to let the memories hurt.  Let the memories hurt, and leave well enough alone.
     But when Chet volunteers to help tame Kimberly's daughter's horse, everyone gets more than they bargained for . . . especially when eighty-four-year-old Anna McKenna shows up.
     Nana Anna has reappeared in Kings Meadows after decades away, bringing with her the magnetism and transformative joy that come from a life well lived . . . just the kind of magic that a couple of unlucky-in-love single parents need to conjure up a little courage and raise a new family from the ashes of tragedy.

REVIEW:  Robin Lee Hatcher's latest book captured my attention from the beginning and held it to the very end.  I like how Chet stays engaged in his teenage sons lives and the relationship they have.  Kimberly is a good mom who struggles to keep it together after losing everything.  Even though her relationship with her daughter, Tara, was difficult, Kimberly never gives up hope that they will be close again.  My favorite character of all is Anna.  I love her spunk and energy!!  She is someone I would love to have in my life, to challenge me to continue pursuing Christ and everything that goes with it.  I like how Anna's story is woven in between the pages of Chet's and Kimberly's.
     This is a good book that I think everyone will enjoy.

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

Robin Lee Hatcher is a best-selling author known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love.  The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 60 novels.