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?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Over The Edge Book Review

The Kincaid Brides
Book 3

SUMMARY:  Seth Kincaid remembers almost everything . . . except getting married.
     Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he hasn't been the same since.  Then he fought in the Civil War and returned to Colorado crazier than ever.
     Somewhere along the line, it appears Seth got married.  Oh, he has a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't too happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her.  Callie isn't a long-suffering woman.  When Seth disappeared, she searched, prayed and worried.  Now she's come out west to wrangle her long-lost husband.
      Seth is willing to make amends.  Callie is more interested in shooting him.  Can they rekindle their love before one of them goes over the edge?

REVIEW:  Seth is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome due to fighting in the Civil War and when he was burned as a child.  Because of this, he doesn't remember some of the events of his life, like getting married.  Callie, his wife, is furious because Seth left her one night with no explanation and with no forwarding address.  When she found out she was pregnant, Callie returned to her home and was scorned by her father.  When Callie's dad dies, she packs up her son and heads to Seth's brothers in Colorado, hoping for a place to stay and information on Seth's whereabouts.
     This was an okay book.  I liked the storyline but felt like so much background information was missing in regards to Callie and her family.  It was also a little confusing with Seth's sisters-in-laws relationships to each other.  I couldn't tell if they were mother and daughter, sisters, or step-mother and step-daughter.  Since this is the third book in the series, the background information on the brothers and their lives were touched on but not important.  It may have been helpful for me to have read the others to straighten out some of my confusion.
     I like Callie.  She is a rough and tumble woman, able to hold off three would-be stagecoach robbers by herself while waiting for help to arrive.  She was determined to keep her relationship with Seth platonic until he remembered the details of their marriage and showed that he would not up and leave again, like before.  Seth is a great character too.  Once Callie lays down the boundaries of their relationship, Seth does what he can to show her he is dependable, to overcome some of the demons he is fighting (due to the PTSS), and to remember the details about Callie and their marriage.  Both of them have obstacles to overcome and they do it.
     I would recommend this book but would suggest you read the others in the series too to have a better understanding of all the characters.

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

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys.  She is the author of the acclaimed Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series.  Mary has been nominated for a Christy Award, was a finalist for a RITA Award, and is a two-time winner of the Carol Award.  She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero, Ivan.  They have four grown daughters and two grandchildren.  Readers can learn more about Mary and her upcoming books at:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Story Book Review

Our Journey of Heartache and Grace 
from Eden to Evermore

SUMMARY:  Recapture the mystery of God's story.
     With stunning imagery, powerful poetry, and real-life drama, Story is an inspiring journey from the creation of the world to eternity and everything in between.  Consummate storyteller Steven James threads together familiar scenes from Scripture that will awaken your faith and inspire you to live in the reality of Christ's sacrifice.  As he unveils the intricacies of the whole story of the Bible, you will rediscover the majesty and the mystery you've been missing.

REVIEW:  This book starts in Genesis with the creation story and ends with Christ showing Himself to His followers.  The author gives new life and insight to the Old Testament and the Gospels.  At first, a few of his observations caught my attention but it was lost quickly.  But, once I got to his take on the Gospels, my interest was peaked again.  I was really impressed with his view on Jesus and His crucifixion.
     Here is an example regarding Judas and Jesus:
For a while I used to wonder why Jesus didn't cast Satan out of Judas.  After all, he'd sent demons out of people before.  He could have saved Judas, right?  Set him free from the devil?  Why didn't he?  I thought I finally had a question that cornered God.
But then I remembered that everything Jesus did was guided by perfect love.  Judas had chosen his own path and priorities, just like that rich young man whom Jesus let walk away.  Judas didn't want to be saved.  Jesus had to let him go because Judas wasn't ready to be a follower.
Love has to let the beloved choose.  Judas had made his choice.  Jesus had to let Judas walk away because he wasn't ready to embrace the kingdom life.  He'd never been ready.  The lover gives the beloved a chance to say yes before stepping over the threshold.  For three years Judas had said no.
      If you are interested in a different look at the Bible, give this book a try.  Since I was impressed by his take on the New Testament, I am thinking of giving his view of the Old Testament another look.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation. 

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

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than thirty books, including Flirting with the Forbidden and the bestselling Patrick Bowers thriller series.  He has taught writing and creative storytelling on three continents and is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest. Steven lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Unbroken Book Review

A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

SUMMARY:  On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
     The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
     Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
     In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.

REVIEW:  Oh my goodness!!  Where do I even begin?  This is an awesome story!!  The things this man did and saw in one lifetime is unreal, but true.  As a child, Louie was a mother's nightmare, constantly testing the limits of everything and everyone.  As a teenager, he broke track record after track record in racing which eventually took him to Berlin Olympics to compete with the American team. While in the Pacific Theater with the Army Air Forces to fight the Japanese, he and his pilot broke the record for the longest time at sea in a life raft before they were found by the enemy.  Louie survived trial after trial when he is captured by the Japanese.  Daily beatings, starvation, dehydration, sickness, slavery, torture and the threat of death by his captors during the two plus years he was a POW were only a few of the things he faced as a POW.  
     This book is long (almost 400 pages with small print) but if you can stick with it, you will see all God accomplishes through, with and for this man.  Even though the author does go into detail about the things Louie faced in the POW camps, it is necessary to understand the story and his reactions once he returns home.  Ms. Hillenbrand goes into great detail to show you what life was like for Louie before, during, and immediately after the war but also what he accomplished afterwards too.  This is a great book that will stay with me long after I have put it down.

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

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, won the Book Sense Book of the Year Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, landed on more than fifteen best-of-the-year lists, and inspired the film Seabiscuit, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  Hillenbrand's New Yorker article, "A Sudden Illness," won the 2004 National Magazine Award, and she is a two-time winner of the Eclipse Award, the highest journalistic honor in thoroughbred racing.  She and actor Gary Sinise are the co-founders of Operation International Children, a charity that provides school supplies to children through American troops.  She lives in Washington, D.C.  More information about the author and this book can be found at and

The Deposit Slip Book Review

SUMMARY:  $10,000,000 IS MISSING.
     Erin Larson is running out of options.  In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper - a deposit slip - with an unbelievable amount on it.  Only the bank claims they have no record of the money, and trying to hire a lawyer has brought only intimidation and threats.  Erin's last chance is Jared Neaton.
When Jared wearied of the shady ethics of his big law firm and went out on his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly.  One big loss has pushed him to the brink, and it's all he can do to scrape by.
He's not sure if Erin's case is worth the risk, but if the money is real, all his problems could vanish.  When digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats, both Jared and Erin must decide the cost they're willing to pay to discover the truth.

REVIEW:  After Paul Larson dies in a car wreak, his daughter Erin stumbles onto a small slip of paper mixed in with his important papers.  The slip of paper is a deposit slip to the local bank for over $10 million.  Every lawyer she talks to about getting information from the bank about the money runs away from the case as quickly as possible.  
     Jared is up to his ears in unpaid bills since his one big windfall case was lost.  Desperate, he offers to take this case when it is referred to him by his mentor and former co-worker.   But, the more he investigates, the more road blocks are thrown up by the opposing lawyers, his former co-workers from the Paisley Law Firm.
     This is a good book, filled from the beginning with questions that need to be answered.  The author twists and turns, throwing road block after road block up, keeping you from coming up with the obvious answers.  I like how Jared sticks with the case even though it looks like he will never get the information he needs to win.  I love Jessie, Jared's legal assistant and dear friend.  Even though she disagrees with Jared about taking the case, and even going so far as to quit at one time, she never fully gives up on the case or Jared, and even find two key pieces of information needed.  This book provided a good change of pace.  I like how the author leaves the end with the anticipation of a sequel or the possibility of a series.

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

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over thirty years, specializing as a trial lawyer.  A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and serves as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.  He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife, his son, Ian, and his daughter Libby.  This is his debut novel.  Visit his website at

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dying to Read Book Review

SUMMARY:  All she wanted was a paycheck.  What she got was a murder.
     Cate Kinkaid's life is . . . well, frankly it's floundering.  Her social life, her career, her haircut - they're all a mess.  Unemployed, she jumps at the chance to work for her PI uncle, even though she has no experience and no instincts.  After all, she is just dabbling in the world of private investigating until she can find a "real" job.
     All she has to do for her first assignment is determine that a particular woman lives at a particular address.  Simple, right?  But when she reaches the dark Victorian house, she runs into a hungry horde of gray-headed mystery readers and a dead body.  This routine PI job is turning out to be anything but simple.  Is Cate in over her head?

REVIEW:  Cate does not plan to be a private investigator for long.  She is sending resumes out in hopes of finding something permanent.  But, since she isn't qualified for much and her uncle is laid up in the hospital with a broken hip, Cate is trying to do the best she can to help him out. 
     This is a good book.  I like how Cate is determined to wrap up this case and find Willow.  She digs in and, once Willow is found, she tries to find out who murdered Willow's last employer.  Cate sticks by her new friend and tries to see the best in everyone, even when it looks like everyone is lying.  She even takes in Amelia's deaf cat after Amelia is murdered.  Cate's faith is important to her and plays an important part when she has some big decisions to make and when she is in a couple of very sticky situations.  I would recommend it to anyone wanting a change of pace in their reading material.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

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

Lorena McCourtney is the award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible (which won a Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America), In Plain Sight, On the Run, and Stranded.  She resides in Oregon.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Haven Book Review

Stoney Ridge Seasons
Book 2

SUMMARY:  Spring brings new life, young love, and second chances to Stoney Ridge.
     On a warm spring day, Sadie Lapp returns home to her quiet, unassertive life in Stoney Ridge after spending the winter in Ohio.
     Gideon Smucker, an awkward schoolteacher, has been in love with Sadie since childhood and eagerly awaits her return.  But does Sadie feel the same about him?
     Will Stoltz, a charming and impetuous college student, has been banished for a semester and sent to babysit endangered peregrine falcons nesting at the Lapp farm.  He'd rather be anywhere else ... until he befriends Sadie.
     As the hopes and ambitions of these three young people converge, life in Stoney Ridge may never be the same.
     Once again, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher intrigues and delights with a story that explores the bonds of friendships, family and true love in the captivating series. 

REVIEW:  Sadie is a quiet person, content to be on the outside looking in and helping the members of her community with her healing skills.  But, when she returns from helping her sister and her new husband get settled in Ohio, Sadie is not alone.  While waiting at the bus terminal, a baby is left at her feet and Sadie takes responsibility for him. Rumors start flying about Sadie being the baby's mother, leaving her feeling ostracized from her community.  Gabriel decides to help Sadie by saying he's the child's father, when he isn't, and causes even more problems.
     Meanwhile, when Sadie is having trouble getting the baby to stop crying, Will is the only on that seems to be able to calm the child, much to her dismay.  Even though he is an outsider, Sadie is drawn more and more to Will and spends more and more time with him, much to Gabriel's dismay.
     This book was different in that it never came to a clear ending regarding Sadie and her relationships with both Gabriel and Will.  I like how it left me to imagine the direction a future storyline might take.  Even though this is the second book in the Stoney Ridge series, it stands well on it's own.  The first book, The Keeper, would give you a little more background on the characters but it is not needed.  This is a good book and I'm excited to read others in this series as well.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available August 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 The Keeper, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.   She is also the co-author of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp.  Suzanne is the host of internet radio show Amish Wisdom and a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines.  She lives in California.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Choice Book Review

SUMMARY:  One young woman.  Two very different roads.  The choice will change everything.
     Even as a pregant, unwed teen in 1974, Sandy Lincoln wanted to do the right thing.  But when an ageless woman approached her in a convenience store with a mysterious prophecy and a warning, doing the right thing became even more unclear.  She made the best choice she could . . . and has lived with the consequences.
     More than thirty years later, a pregnant teen has come into her life, and Sandy's long-ago decision has come back to haunt her.  The stakes rise quickly, leaving Sandy with split seconds to choose once more.  But will her choice bring life . . . or death?

REVIEW:  This is a hard review to write because I don't want to give anything away but it all seems important.  Sandy looked like she has it all:  perfect grades, head cheerleader, and dating the star of the football team. But after a one-night stand with her boyfriend, she now has to decide what to do with her unplanned pregnancy.  On her way to live with her aunt to finish school, finish her pregnancy and to give her baby up for adoption, Sandy is approached by an older lady who gives her a prophecy and warning about the future.  She makes some difficult choices and goes on with her life.
     About thirty years later, Sandy is approached by a student for some advice and finds out the young girl is pregnant.  As she give Maria advice and helps her in some difficult circumstances, Sandy is forced to make some difficult decisions and faces a lawsuit as she remembers what happened to her.
     This is a great book and was hard to put down.  Sandy had to make some grown-up decisions quickly that were hard and not acceptable to some but ones she knew she had to make.  It was interesting to watch her faith in God grow as her child grew, which helps her in her decision making and to stand firm when everything around her feels like it is crashing in.  Even though Sandy risks losing her job by helping Maria and faces a large lawsuit, she never waivers and is rewarded in ways she would have never imagined.  This story was very well written and brings the issue of abortion to the table without being overbearing and in-your-face.  This may be one all teenage girls (and their parents) need to read.

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

Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal dramas set in South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction.  A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review.  A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four adult children.  They make their home in North Carolina.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tidewater Inn Book Review

A Hope Beach Novel

SUMMARY:  Welcome to Hope Beach.  A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.
     Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby.  The inn cries out for her restorer's talent and love of history.  She's delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had.  And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she's met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.
     But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island.  The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she's there to steal their birthright.  Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby's under suspicion for the crime.
     Libby's dream come true is becoming a nightmare.  Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.

REVIEW:  Libby is being bombarded from all sides.  Her business partner and best friend Nicole is kidnapped before her eyes as she is talking to her on a video cam.  Just before she disappears, Nicole tells Libby the dad she thought died when she was five had died recently and left Libby a historic inn on Hope Island off the North Carolina coast.  Libby also has a brother and sister she didn't know about who thinks she is only there to rob them of the money they would get for selling the inn.  A developer interested in the property the inn sits on offers Libby $10 million dollars to sell it.   As an archaeological historian who works in historic preservation, the offer seems like the only possible answer to the question about the large cost of upkeep but she knows the buyer only wants to tear it down to build beachfront condos. And, to make matters worse, she is considered the chief suspect in Nicole's disappearance and possible death.  Oh, and yea, there is a hurricane headed towards Hope Island.
     This is the first in the Hope Beach series and is great.  I liked the twists and turns the author gave the story.  Libby is determined to find Nicole and never gives up the hope that she is out there somewhere alive even when everyone else thinks she is dead.  Before he died, Libby's father Ray left her a note asking her to show grace to her siblings, which expands her faith and Christian walk even more, especially when they make her mad and try to make her life more difficult.  The twists in the storyline about Libby's family (and the connection between Nicole and Tina, Ray's wife) towards the end is different and pleasing.

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

RITA finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense series, including the Mercy Falls series, the Lonestar series, and the Rock Harbor series.  She lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lethal Legacy Book Review

Guardians of Justice Series #3

SUMMARY:  A determined daughter ...  A skeptical detective ...  A deadly secret ...
     The police say her father's death was suicide.  Kelly Warren says it was murder - and she has new evidence to prove it.  Detective Cole Taylor doesn't put much credence in her claim, and nothing in his case review suggests foul play.  But when he digs deeper and discovers startling information linking her to a long-buried secret, the danger escalates.  Is history repeating itself?  And who wants Kelly silenced?

REVIEW:  In the last book of the Guardians of Justice series, Irene Hannon does not disappoint her readers.  Kelly is convinced her father did not commit suicide.  But getting the local police to reopen her father's case is difficult.  But, when a gift her father ordered the day before he died shows up, Kelly is determined to do what it takes to get someone to listen to her and to review the evidence again.  Cole Taylor was on duty when Kelly comes in and agrees to look through her father's file.  As Cole follows up different leads Kelly gives him, he discovers a deep secret that involves the Witness Security Program that could change Kelly's life forever.
     The twists and turns in this novel will keep the reader on his/her toes but are not too complicated that you get lost easily.  The ending of the story is sorrowful for two characters when you realize what could have happened for them had they made different choices, but it is fitting for the storyline.  I like how Cole tries hard to keep his developing feelings for Kelly separate from the investigation and he waits to pursues her when everything is over.
     This is the third book in the Guardians of Justice series but don't let it stop you from reading it.  The only reason you would need to read the other two books is to understand the relationships of Cole's brother and sister and their wife and fiance', respectively.  Even then, these characters are minor ones and their histories really don't impact this story.  This is a great book that I really enjoyed.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Available August 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Two-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico series, Fatal Judgment, and Deadly Pursuit.  Her books have also been honored with a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, a Daphne du Maurier award, and two Reviewers' Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine.  She lives in Missouri.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Stars Shine Bright Book Review

A Raleigh Harmon Novel

SUMMARY:  After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.
     Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who's fixing the races.  But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger - and more sinister - is ruining Emerald Meadows.  
     She's never felt more alone.
     Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day.  And she can't turn to her family for support.  They're off-limits while she's undercover, and her mother isn't speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown.  Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh's fiance' wants them to begin their life together - now - precisely when she's been ordered not to be herself.
     With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who's behind the track's trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiance' will make things better - or worse.
     Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she's faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright.

REVIEW:  Raleigh is having a tough time.  Her mom is in a mental hospital because of the lies Raleigh has had to tell her because of her job.  She is under intense scrutiny by the Bureau due to some decisions she made on a previous case that were not "by the book."  She is asked to go undercover to find out who is fixing the horse races at a racetrack in Seattle and has two weeks to solve the case.  Her fiance' is wanting to make their relationship permanent and doesn't understand why Raleigh want to continue working, especially as an FBI agent.  And these are just a few of the problems she has to deal with on top of all the opposition and frustrations she encounters on her job.
     This is a really good book.  The author goes into great detail describing the people, places and events that make you feel like you are right there in the scene.  There are times when I would try to rush through the story just to see what would happen next, and others when I dreaded what was going to happen because of what I imagined the outcome would be.  The author is not predictable in her writing and makes each of the different storylines and aspects of Raleigh's life come alive.  One of my favorite things is how Raleigh's faith is a major part of her character, both undercover and not.  She really struggles with having to lie to those she loves and those she works with while investigating the racetrack.  She also doesn't believe in coincidences when some different events seem random but eventually sees how God is guiding her in her quest for truth.
     The Stars Shine Bright is the fifth story in the Raleigh Harmon series.  It is beneficial to have read at least one of the other titles to fully comprehend the relationships and problems but it is not necessary. I really enjoyed this book (probably more than The Clouds Roll Away) because this time I was familiar with some of the secondary characters and events.  This made Raleigh's reactions, decisions, and outlook easier to understand and follow.

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

Sibella Giorello began writing as a features reporter for newspapers and magazines.  Her stories won numerous awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize.  She won a Christy award for her debut novel, Stones Cry Out.  She lives in Washington state with her husband and family.  Visit her website at