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, September 15, 2014

Love's Fortune Book Review

Ballantyne Legacy
Book Three

SUMMARY:  With two very different horizons stretched out before her, one young woman stands n the cusp of an unknown future.
     Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena "Wren" Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania.  When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Wren makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world - family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew.
     As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line.  Even with his help, Wren feels she may never be comfortable in high society.  Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?
     With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty.

REVIEW:  This book is a fitting end of this series.  I felt for Wren: going from the backwoods of Kentucky to the large city of Pittsburgh; from wearing homespun dresses to wearing silk dresses and corsets; from handcrafting excellent violins and playing passionately what her heart desired to playing in the drawing rooms and having to keep a rein on her emotions; from working beside her father making musical instruments every day to him traveling long distances for months on end.  The Ballantynes come along side Wren and tries to help her adjust to this new world.  I like how this book seems to tie up the loose ends and ends on a wonderful note.  
     To get a complete picture of the struggles of all the Ballantynes and how they affect each family members' past, present and future, you need to read the other two books.  If you don't, you should still be able to understand most of the dynamics.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the author of several books, including The Frontiersman's Daughter, Love's Reckoning, and Love's Awakening.  She currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.  Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net

Nowhere to Turn Book Review

Hidden Identity Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  She thought her days of hiding were over.  But the danger has just begun.
     The day Danielle Harding takes her eleven-year-old son and flees from her abusive husband is the same day Kurt Harding dies.  A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe - but in reality, things are just heating up.  When Kurt was alive, he took something important from a mysterious individual - who wants the item back and believes Dani now has it.  As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long . . .
     From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold you in its iron grip as bestselling author Lynette Eason propels you along in a race to discover the truth.

REVIEW:  If you like suspense novels that will keep you on your toes, trying to figure out who this mysterious person is after Dani, how their location keeps getting compromised, and twists and turns like crazy, then this is the book for you.  Lynette Eason keeps you guessing about what will come next and who all is involved. Each time you think you have the story figured out, another facet is added to keep you speculating.  Just when the end is in sight, Lynette adds one more thing to keep your attention engaged.  Even though this is the second in the series, from what I can tell, you do not need to read the first story to follow along.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

 Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the WOMEN OF JUSTICE series and the DEADLY REUNIONS series, as well as No One to Trust.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina.  Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

The Desire Book Review

The Restoration Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  CAN FAITH BUILD A BRIDGE BETWEEN THEIR DREAMS?
     For two years, Allan and Michele have been trying to have a baby.  The emotional ride has been taking a toll on their hearts - and their relationship.  Michele is obsessed with researching fertility treatments while Allan seems content to spend his time - and their money - on supporting displaced children in Africa.  Something's got to give.  But they both hope it's not their marriage.
     Still, God has a plan for Allan and Michele that they could never have imagined. And all it takes to set it in motion is a change of heart.

REVIEW:  I had a little harder time relating to this book than the others in this series due to Michele's obsession with getting pregnant.  Never having this problem, I don't fully understand why it has to consume her thoughts and actions all the time.  Since the majority of the book shows how this affects Michele's everyday life, I found myself getting distracted easily and, to be honest, wishing she would just get over it and move on.  Now, I did like the sections on Allan's mission trip to Ethiopia and Marilyn and Christina, a young pregnant woman who Marilyn is counseling.  The descriptions of the sights, smells and sounds where the children were forced to find food outside Addis Ababa made my heart ache.  I wanted to grab all the children up and take them away from there.  I liked how Marilyn took Christina under her wing, found her a safe place to stay and supported her as Christina decided if she wanted to raise the baby on her own or give her up for adoption.  All in all, this is a good book.  I look forward to reading the final one about Doug.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of many books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, The Discovery and What Follows After.  He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year.  A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan serves as a pastor for 25 years.  He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs.   He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury and The Dance and The Promise with Dan Walsh.  Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 50 years and live in Missouri.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

$10 Great Dates Book Review

Connecting Love, Marriage, and Fun on a Budget

SUMMARY:  Create Big Romance on a $mall Budget
     Tired of the usual dinner-and-a-movie dates?  Looking for new ways to connect with your spouse?
     Energize your marriage by getting out of your normal routine with the help of these 52 creative date ideas.  From outdoor dates to out-on-the-town dates, you and your spouse will have no trouble finding the perfect date that fits your mood - all on a $10 budget!
     See for yourself how new experiences can help you bond together and nurture your relationship.  Which of these will be the first of your Great Dates?
  • TIME TRAVEL GREAT DATE
  • MOONLIGHT/SUNRISE GREAT DATE
  • BUCKET LIST GREAT DATE
  • SURPRISE ME! GREAT DATE
     Each date includes easy preparation suggestions, tips for the date, talking points to enhance our conversations, and a Great Date takeaway.  What are you waiting for?

REVIEW:  I have to make a disclaimer - as part of my review, I am supposed to go on one, if not more, dates using these suggestions.  But, not long after I received the book, the project my husband was working on went into major overdrive so he has spent long hours working, taking calls, and not able to spend much time away.  That said, this book has given us some great ideas to use on future dates that are cost effective and not the same old, same old.  Now, one day when he was working from home, I used a suggestion and picked up lunch for under $10 and ate it together at home. 
     This book has some fantastic suggestions to help couples get of the the same date rut we all get into.  There are dates for every season, indoors and out, along with talking points to help revive and maintain your relationship.  I found quite a few that I can't wait to use on future dates.  There are two I really look forward to doing.  One is eating dinner at home then going to a local restaurant for dessert.  Another is going out on a breakfast date.
     Whether you are dating or have been married a long time, this is a great book to check out.  There are plenty of ideas to help enhance your conversations and relationships.  

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.
 
Peter and Heather Larson and David and Claudia Arp help couples of all ages and stages build great marriages.  Peter is a licensed clinical psychologist and Heather is a Christian relationship coach.  David and Claudia, founders of Marriage Alive, created the many 10 Great Dates seminars and resources now popular across the U.S. and internationally.

With Every Breath Book Review



SUMMARY:  In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston's respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough the one man she'd hoped never to see again.  A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.
     Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis.  As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, his hidden depths fascinate her.  However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait, and Trevor's closely guarded secrets are darker than she suspected.
     As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation.  With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.

REVIEW:  There were a few things about this book that I found fascinating.  The heroine of this book is different from any other I've ever read.  She is very smart, especially in Mathematics, and uses her knowledge instead of hiding it.  Even her parent supported her endeavors and encouraged her to use her knowledge.  It was refreshing and enjoyable.  I also enjoyed learning about tuberculosis and the treatments that were used to help, and hopefully cure, this horrible disease.  Helping tuberculosis patients was a dangerous occupation because it was very contagious with little to no hope to be cured once you contracted it.  Kate's parents and their boarding house are a fun addition to the story.  I love how the boarders have become like family, willing to help each other out.  I also like how the adversaries are found out and how the story ends.
     There were also a few things I didn't like about the story.  Instead of being taken "on a breathless ride" as suggested on the back cover, to me, the story drug in quite a few places.  It seems to take a long time find out Trevor's story and why he does the things he does, like giving out his tuberculosis tonic to the poor and prostitutes.  While he does have some great ideas regarding treatment plans for his patients, Trevor is really rough around the edges and can be harsher than seems necessary.
     This is an interesting book that is worth checking out if you are interested in historical fiction and medical treatments of the day.

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

Elizabeth Camden is the award-winning author of five books, including Against the Tide, winner of a RITA Award, Christy Award, and Daphne du Maurier Award.  She lives with her husband in Florida and is a research librarian by day while scribbling away on her next novel by night.  Visit her website at www.elizabethcamden.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.