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?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Accused Book Review

Pacific Coast Justice Series
Book #1

SUMMARY: An officer-involved shooting six months earlier takes Detective Carly Edwards off the street and sends her to a boring desk job in juvenile.  When a troubled youth is arrested for the murder of the mayor, Carly is summoned to the crime scene.  Homicide thinks it's a quick, open-and-shut case, and Carly hopes this will be her ticket back to patrol.
     Though her professional life seems to be on track, Carly still has unresolved issues in her personal life.  Nick, her ex-husband and fellow police officer, is determined to show Carly that he's a changed man, but she isn't convinced he won't betray her again.
      As the murder investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust.  But she soon realizes the case may put her directly in the killers' crosshairs. 

REVIEW:  If you are looking for a good suspense novel where you don't know which ones are the good guys and which are the bad, this is the book for you.  As Carly, the main character, tries to do the right thing when a juvenile is wrongly accused of murder, roadblocks are constantly being thrown in her way.  To add to her frustration, the teen wrongly accused had been helped by her mom to rehabilitate him from past indisgressions and claims to be a Christian (something she strongly objects to after the death of her father some years earlier).  Plus, her ex-husband, who has now become a Christian, is hoping for a second chance.  Intrigue, good cops supposedly turned bad, and murder surround Carly while she works to find the mayor's killer before he comes after her.  This is a great book!  The second book in this series, Abducted, is due out in the summer of 2012.  Can't wait to read it to see what happens to these characters.

This book was provided by Tyndale Publishers for review without compensation.

Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired.  Her years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories.  Accused is the first in a three-book Pacific Coast Justice series.  For more information on this series and her other books, visit her website at or connect with her on Facebook.

Every Woman's Battle Book Review

Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment

SUMMARY:  Your sexual needs are far different from your man's.  And they may be more dangerous.
     When does an affair begin?  Not with the first forbidden touch...but with the first forbidden thought.  Unexpectedly, you find yourself enjoying a powerful emotional bond with another man.  You feel like you matter to someone again.  And the door you thought was locked so firmly - the door to sexual infidelity - is suddenly ajar.
     The only way you as a woman can survive the intense struggle for sexual integrity is by guarding not just your body, but your mind and heart as well.  Every Woman's Battle can help you learn to do that.
     Using real-life stories and examples from her own struggle, Shannon Ethridge helps women like you - whether married, engaged, or planning to marry someday - to:
  • understand the four unique components of female sexuality
  • discern the common myths that keep women standing in the line of fire
  • design a new defense to protect every aspect of your life
  • cultivate an unimaginable level of intimacy with your husband or husband-to-be
  • develop an affair with the one and only Lover who will truly satisfy your innermost desires:  Jesus Christ
     Written in the honest style of the best-selling Every Man Series but with a uniquely female perspective, Every Woman's Battle will lead you on a lifelong path to true joy and fulfillment - sexually, emotionally, and spiritual.

REVIEW:  This book is a must-read for women getting married and those who are already married, no matter how long.  The author includes stories of women who have struggled with inappropriate sexual fulfillment, whether it was an emotional or physical affair, making bad choices in regards to the men in their lives or making decisions that they will later regret.  Shannon Ethridge points out areas women struggle with and gives ideas and ways to counteract them.  She shows you what the bible says about a woman's relationship with her husband and her relationship with God.  She also gives personal illustrations to show how she struggled in certain areas and, with the help of a counselor and her husband, she overcame them and hopes to help other women too.
     This is a great book and should be required reading for college-age women and anyone going through premarital counseling.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

Shannon Ethridge is a million-copy best-selling author and international conference speaker.  Since 1989 she has counseled thousands of students, women, and married couples on the subjects of sexual integrity and sexual intimacy, encouraging women to develop a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ and with their husbands (in that order) rather than "looking for love in all the wrong places."  She lives in east Texas with her biggest cheerleaders - her husband of 20 years, Greg, and their two teenage children, Erin and Matthew.  Visit her website at

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Summer of Promise Book Review

Westward Winds series

SUMMARY:  Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister.  Charlotte's letters have been uncharateristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming.  When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring.  Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.
     Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister.  As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay.  When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart's true home?

REVIEW:  The story is very intriguing.  Set in Wyoming in 1885, bandits (some are deserters from Fort Laramie) are robbing stagecoaches, guns are stolen from the fort, and Lt. Bowles is trying to figure out why some of the soldiers are deserting the Army and what he can do to keep them from leaving.  I like how Abigail and Ethan develop a friendship first and that it takes months for them to realize their true feelings for each other instead of a few days or a couple of weeks as in most books.  Also interesting is how Abigail faces her fears (snakes, guns, etc) instead of running from them. I also like how she reaches out to the many German-speaking soldiers by teaching them basic English and other skills. 
     There are a few minor stories weaved throughout the main one.  It would be interesting to see if they are developed more in the later stories.  There are also a few loose ends that the author mentions will be tied up in the future.  This is the first book of a three part series covering each of the sisters:  Abigail, Charlotte, and Elizabeth (briefly mentioned).  Charlotte's story is due next and should be available in the spring of 2013.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Amanda Cabot is a popular speaker and the author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, and Tomorrow's Garden as well as a number of novels under various pen names.  She's an avid traveler who finds inspiration for new stories in her travels and enjoys sharing new parts of the country with her readers.  A former Easterner, she now lives in Wyoming.  Sign up for her newsletter and learn fun facts about Amanda and her books at She can also be found on Facebook as Amanda Cabot.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Where Wildflowers Bloom Book Review

Sisters at Heart

SUMMARY:  How far will she go to follow her dreams?
     The Civil War stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg - as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry.  With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her.  But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family's mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.
     When Royal Baxter suddenly returns, Faith allows herself to hope that she and Royal will finally wed.  But does he truly love her?  Or will another man claim her heart?

REVIEW:  Faith is determined to pack up and move west to get away from the painful memories everywhere she looks in Noble Springs.  But she doesn't understand, even though her friends and grandfather try to tell her, the memories will follow her where ever she goes.  I like how Faith reaches out to Rosemary and stands up for her when townspeople try to reject Rosemary because she worked as a nurse during the war (a scandalous job for a woman to have at that time).  Faith and Rosemary also reach out to some families that are stranded when a train derails close to their town, remembering her grandfather's motto "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. (Proverbs 3:27)."  After the store is robbed a couple of times and she is held up by robbers, some of the "regulars" come to Faith's aid and protection.  I like how everyone looks out for each other, even when it may work against them.  This is a good book and an easy read.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Ann Shorey is the author of The Edge of Light, The Promise of Morning, and The Dawn of a Dream.  She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul.  Shorey lives with her husband, Richard, in Oregon.  Learn more about Ann, sign up for her newsletter, and catch the most recent news about her books at

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chasing Mona Lisa Book Review

SUMMARY:  One enigmatic smile.  Two passionate protectors.  And a relentlessly ticking clock.
     August 1944.  Paris is on the cusp of liberation.  As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country and steal countless pieces of irreplaceable art.  In fact, Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all - the Mona Lisa - as a postwar bargaining chip.
     But the woman with the mysterious smile has some very determined protectors.  Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece before it falls into German hands?
     With nonstop action and intrigue, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get your adrenaline pumping as you join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world.  From war-ravaged Paris to a posh Swiss chateau, the race is on - and the runners are playing for keeps.

REVIEW:  The story is set in German-Occupied Paris and after it's liberation during the Second World War.  It follows Gabi and Eric as they try to keep the priceless Mona Lisa out of German hands and bring her back to the Louvre where she belongs.  They befriend and work with Colette, a curator at the Louvre and Mona Lisa expert, and her boyfriend Bernard, a Socialist operative in the underground French Resistance, to find where this priceless work of art had been hidden before the Occupation began before Reichsmarschall Goring's assistant Colonel Heller and his hired henchmen get to her.
     This account is intriguing.  The length the curators went to keep most of their famous artwork out of danger and under their control was amazing.  The twists and turns in the storyline kept me guessing how it would end.  This is a good book, especially for those who are interested in art and World War II.
     This book is a follow-up to The Swiss Courier but stands very well on it's own.  This is a very interesting book which I highly recommend.

This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for review without compensation.

Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tricia Goyer is the coauthor of The Swiss Courier as well as the author of many other books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance.  Goyer lives with her family in Arkansas.  Visit Tricia's website at

Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including The Swiss Courier and the bestselling Every Man's Battle series.  Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for18 months.  He and his family currently reside in California.  Visit Mike's website at

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Shadow of Your Smile Book Review

A Deep Haven Novel

SUMMARY:  A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can't quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston's marriage. After twenty-five years, they're contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn't remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What's more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can't remember? Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future?

REVIEW:  This book was interesting.  The main characters, Noelle and Eli, are ready to give up on their marriage.  A few years earlier, the loss of their daughter sent them both into a tail spin, severely fracturing their relationship with each other and their two surviving sons.  As they are unknowingly seeking separate lives, Noelle witnesses a murder and robbery and loses her memory when she slips and falls while escaping the men.  I like the way Eli pursues Noelle, giving her time to adjust to a life she has no memory of, helping her when she needs it as she searches for something that will show her a part of her forgotten past.  I don't like it when Eli decides to withhold information about the death of their daughter Kelsey and some calls Noelle receives from an art institute.  I do like how they decide to overcome the past, forgive the recent hurts and wrongs, and hope to build a future together (again).
     I also like the secondary story of Kyle and Emma.  As their relationship develops, it is indirectly affected by the choices Noelle and Eli make, choices that almost tear the family apart a second time.  Kyle and Emma have to look past the hurts of others to find out what they have together.
     This is the sixth book in the Deep Haven series but you would never know it.  Each book stands on its own.  I liked this book very much and would love to go back and read the first four.

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

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of thirty novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press.  A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she's also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.  A seasoned women's events speaker, she's a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer's workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.  She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. 

Find out more at

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Keeper Book Review

SUMMARY:  A family. A farm. A heart. All in need of repair.
     Life on Windmill Farm hasn't been the same since Julia Lapp's father has had trouble with his heart.  But that doesn't stop Julia from hoping for a bright future.  She has planned on marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl.  Now twenty-one, she looks forward to their wedding with giddy anticipation. But when Paul tells her he wants to postpone the wedding - again - she is determined to change his mind.  She knows who is to blame for Paul's sudden reluctance to wed: the Bee Man.
     Roman Troyer, the Bee Man, travels through the Amish communities of Ohio and Pennsylvania with his hives full of bees, renting them out to farmers in need of pollinators.  A mysterious man who relishes his nomadic life, Roman especially enjoys bringing his bees to Stoney Ridge each year.  But with Julia seriously at odds with him, Windmill Farm is looking decidedly less appealing.
     Can Julia secure the future she's always dreamed of?  Or does God have something else in mind?

REVIEW:  Julia becomes the head of the house while her father is very ill with heart problems.  She has to look after and care for her two younger sisters and younger brother while running a household and working farm.  A life with Paul would mean help in the fields and taking care of the property like it should.  Plus, it doesn't hurt that Julia has been in love with him since childhood.  When Paul decides to postpone the wedding for a second time after talking to Rome, Julia is determined to get him back and to put Rome in his place for interfering.  With the help of a new housekeeper, Fran, and Rome, Windmill Farm is brought back to its former glory and the household is running smoother than ever.  Even though Fran is a stern taskmaster, she helps Amos, Julia's father, with his heart issues.
     I like how the author weaves Rome's past in with the Lapp's current situation.  There were a couple of times I was worried about the intentions of a minor character that kept popping up but they were laid to rest at the end of the story.  Even though the Lapps have to endure heartache (both literally and figuratively), Roman and Fran, along with others in their Amish community, come together to help them out.
     This is a great book which I highly recommend.

This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for review without compensation.

Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, and A Lancaster County Christmas, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine.  Suzanne is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program, and a columnist for Christian Post.  She lives in California.  For more information, check out her website at

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Naomi's Gift Book Review

SUMMARY:  If she reopens her heart, will she reopen her wounds?
     Naomi King has been unlucky in love.  Longing for marriage and children, she pursued love full tilt, disregarding traditional courtship.  Now, at the ripe old age of twenty-four, Naomi has been burned twice, certain she'll spend her life helping with her mother's quilt business and caring for her eight siblings.
     As Christmas approaches - a time of family, faith, and hope for many others - Naomi is resigned to what she believes is God's will for her, and she throws herself into tending the quilt booth at the farmer's market.  Even so, she longs for love.
     Enter Caleb Schmucker, a young widower with an eight-year-old daughter.  Visiting family for the holidays, Caleb is dealing with his own guilt, uncertainties, and longing.  As he and Naomi find themselves together at social gatherings and holiday events, both treasure their budding relationships.
     Caleb finds the friendship awakening feelings he's suppressed since his wife's death.  Naomi begins to experience emotions deeper than any she's ever felt.  Slowly, cautiously, Naomi finds the courage to open her heart to this thoughtful, faith-filled man.
    With her belief in love already shaken, Naomi must once again reconsider her hopes and dreams and reexamine her faith.

REVIEW:  Naomi and Caleb both struggle with family members who think they know what is best for them, whether or not they are right.  Naomi's mom thinks that Naomi tries too hard and chases men instead of letting them pursue her after making a few mistakes.  Caleb's sister is determined he meet and develop a relationship with Irene, instead of Naomi, because she believes the rumors about Naomi are true.  As they see each other again and again at social gatherings, Caleb and Naomi enjoy each other's company and realize they are developing feelings.  Encouraging them the whole time are his daughter Susie and Naomi's friend Lilly.
     This is a good story.  I like how the characters work through thinking they will never love again to caring deeply for someone despite what others close to them are saying.  It is a short novel but it is packed full of unexpected gifts:  physcial, emotional, and relational.  Check it out!

This book was provided by Zondervan Publishers for review without compensation.

Amy Clipston is the author of the bestselling Kaufmann Bakery novels.  She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and currently works for the city of Charolette, North Carolina.  Amy lives with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled-rotten cats.  Visit her on the web at

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wayward Son Book Review

This review has been revised and additional comments made. Please see the REVIEW section below for the revisions. 

SUMMARY:  A powerful tremor unearths an ancient secret.
     Buried near Italy's Mt. Vesuvius is a fortified observatory containing artifacts dating to the earliest record of human events. Only one person - the Getty Museum's Amanda James - can unlock the mysterious doors that guard the chamber.
     But once inside, Amanda is shocked to discover evidence left behind by a notorious Biblical killer - who long ago wandered off the pages of history.
     When a strange relic unveils the miraculous truth about this villian, Amanda must confront sinister forces intent on surpressing her stunning revelation - before it alters the destiny of millions.
     The first novel in a series, Wayward Son propels the reader back in time, where epic adventures in Egypt, Greece, China and Rome collide with modern-day intrigueand suspense.  Journey with Amanda and witness the extraordinary saga of the world's original Wayward Son!

REVIEW:  This review will be difficult for me to try to convey how wonderful, fabulous, remarkable, intriging, etc. this book is without giving away too much information regarding the main characters and the plot.  The summary above and hearing that the reviews for this book were raving about how good it is was enough for me to want to check it out.
     This is probably the best book I've read this year (and I've read a LOT of great books), if not ever.  The way the authors weave the story together is spell-binding.  It grabbed my attention within a few pages and has continued to keep me thinking about it.  It was difficult to put down and when I did, it was constantly in my thoughts.  My mind kept trying to figure out how the characters involved and the situations they were in were going to work out and how everything was related.  This book is the first in a series and I cannot wait until the the rest of the series is finished!!
     Now, it can be a little difficult to follow at times.  The story starts out in the present day and suddenly switches gears to the very ancient past where most of the book is set.  There are episodes where the reader is transported to the present day and sections to the recent past of a few characters. But, if you stick with the story, everything will make sense in the end and you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.
     GO GET THIS BOOK AND PUT IT ON YOUR MUST READ LIST!!!  You will not be disappointed (except for having to wait for the next book - hehe).

    **After I posted this review, it dawned on me that I never mentioned what drew me into the book and what made it so good.  So hopefully, this addition to my review will make my first sentence make more sense.  Sorry for the confusion.

     The authors have written an excellent piece of fiction.  The two main characters, even though they live in completely different moments in history, are bound by time itself.  The authors do take liberty with the story of Cain but I think they do it in an excellent way, since the writer of Genesis was vague about what the mark of Cain was.  In this story, the mark is three-fold: immortality, regeneration/healing, and a perfect memory.  Cain has to figure out again and again how to hide his "secret" from everyone, including his wives and children.  Throughout his lifetime, he is involved with projects like creating boats for river travel on the Nile, Ramses II tomb, developing the Phoenician and Greek alphabets, helping Homer put the Odyssey in writing, working with the Library of Alexandria, creating silk paper, and other very well-known products.  His perfect memory works in helping him in learning languages but he also remembers in vivid detail his brother's murder.  Again and again, Satan tries to entice Cain to follow and worship him, but Cain never does.  Even though he turns his back on God over and over, he never truly gives up on trying to develop a relationship with his father's Creator.

     Seriously, give this book a try.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

This book was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review without compensation.

Tom Pollack has a passion for sailing, which led him to a friendship with Roy Disney, and ultimately to the release of Walt Disney Pictures' critically acclaimed motion picture, Morning Light. The film is based on Tom's original idea of documenting the exploits of a group of college-aged sailors recruited to compete against seasoned pros in the Trans-Pacific race from Southern California to Hawaii.  Tom graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor's degree in political science. He resides in Dana Point with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children. Tom serves as President of the Mission Basilica School Foundation in San Juan Capistrano and the Chairman of ExplorOcean, Newport Beach's popular nautical museum.

Jim Alves recently completed a 25-year career in bond sales and trading. He graduated from The University of Massachusetts with a bachelor's degree in finance and economics. He currently is Chief Executive Officer of Prometheus Holdings, a financial consulting firm. Jim resides in San Clemente, California with his wife Jackie and their two young boys, having successfully launched two older sons from the nest.

John Loftus spent 23 years at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), where as a Managing Director he focused on new product development and marketing. A graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, his writings have been published in various financial journals and textbooks. Now President of Cascada Productions, John is also active in philanthropy and the non-profit sector. An Ohio native, John resides in Newport Beach, California, with his wife, Lori. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

You can learn more about Wayward Son, reviews, the authors' blog and author appearance dates at