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?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Scent of Lilacs Book Review

The Heart of Hollyhill
Book One

SUMMARY:  After the summer of 1964, life for Jocie Brooke will never be the same.
     Life-changing events rarely happen in quiet Hollyhill, Kentucky, and when they do, they are few and far between.  But for young Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once during the humid summer of 1964.  Though on the surface things are just fine, it seems like everyone in Jocie's life has something they're not saying, something they're hiding from her - and from themselves.  As Jocie digs into her family's past, she stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries.  Will she find the answers everyone so desperately needs?  Or will her questions lead to truths better left hidden?
     Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story from bestselling author Ann Gabhard explores the very essence of new life and love.

REVIEW:  Ann Gabhard does a great job in this book.  Jocie's enthusiasm for life and how much she loves her dad and is not afraid to show it is refreshing.  I also love how Jocie's faith in God never waivers when she faces some difficult questions and situations.  The author shows how, if you keep secrets, the truth will come out when you least expect it and in ways you never thought.  Even secrets that are 50 years old and only known to a few people will be found out.  God's grace and mercy is evident throughout this novel, shown by the congregation David leads, Tabitha's return home after being gone about seven years, and Wes, just being Wes.  This was an interesting story that kept my interest throughout.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Available March, 2013 in your favorite retailer or bookseller.
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Words Spoken TrueThe Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted.  She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.  Find out more at

Monday, March 18, 2013

Love in the Balance Book Review

SUMMARY:  Handsome Cowboy or Debonair Tycoon - How's a Girl to Choose?
     Molly Lovelace dreams of a life without cares in Lockhart, Texas.  She also dreams of handsome wrangler Bailey Garner, her ardent but inconsistent beau.  The problem is, with Bailey's poor prospects, she just can't fit the two dreams together.
     Then mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont sweeps into town - and her life - and for the first time Molly wonders if she's met the man who can give her everything.  But he won't be in Lockhart long, and while it certainly seems like he talks about their glorious future together, she can't quite get Bailey out of her mind.
     What's a girl to do with all these decisions when love is in the balance?

REVIEW:  This book was okay but I had some problems with the characters and story.  Molly and Bailey's relationship drove me crazy.  Up and down, back and forth, it was hard keeping track of it at times.  Molly's parents raised her to marry money and do not want her relationship with Bailey to develop more than just a casual acquaintance even though they've known each other since childhood.  Because of this, she starts "dating" a dear friend's beau (who happens to be a wealthy banker) to get her parents off her back.  When that doesn't work out, Molly starts seeing Edward, even though she cares deeply for Bailey.  Edward is a strange one and his character is mysterious and never fully explored.  I did like how both Bailey and Molly grew in their respected faiths as they faced different trials and were not afraid to right wrongs and wrong perceptions, even though it could have cost them.
     The story seemed to drag at times and perked up at others.  One part I liked was after Molly's "fall from grace." I liked how she started reaching out to those who fell between the cracks in that day's society.  But, I didn't like how the relationship developed between her and Edward, how she left Bailey after sending him a note saying she would marry him and the outcome of the court case against Edward.  There are also parts of the book that refer to the author's previous book that could have been explained a little better for those who have not read it.
     All in all, the book was not one of my favorites. 

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

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history.  She has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows.  She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love in a Broken Vessel Book Review

SUMMARY:  An Epic Journey of Intimacy, Rejection, Betrayal ... and Hope
     God gives Hosea a difficult command - marry a prostitute in order to show God's people the nature and depth of His love for Israel.  When Hosea goes to Israel to proclaim the Lord's message, the woman God directs him to marry turns out to be his childhood friend Gomer.  He finds her broken and abused, unwilling to trust Hosea or his God.  But when marrying Hosea becomes her only means of escape, Gomer does what she's good at - she survives.  Can Hosea's love for God and God's love for Israel restore Gomer's broken spirit?
      With her powerful combination of in-depth research and masterful storytelling, Mesu Andrews brings to life one of the most complex and fascinating stories of love and forgiveness in the face of utter betrayal.

REVIEW:  Mesu Andrews had a difficult task of portraying the depravity and hardness of hearts of the Israelites and the lengths God goes to showing them how much He loves them and wants them to turn back to Him but she did an outstanding job.  I loved Hosea's devotion to God, doing what seemed impossible and facing persecution and misunderstandings by others.  There were a few hard parts in the book.  It was difficult to see Hosea leave Gomer to preach to Israel, gone for months at a time, but especially the day after she gave birth to their first child.  It was painful to see Gomer reject Hosea and God's love more than once, turn her back on her children to go back into her old lifestyle, even though she hated it.
     The story the author weaved grabbed my heart, at times making me mad at Gomer and the other Israelites for being so close-minded but also making me sad because I could see the hurt and betrayal underneath their attitudes and actions.  So many times, I could see today's culture and could hear God speaking to us, calling us back to Him. I could see God's heart for His people and feel the hurt He feels when we turn our backs on Him.  So much so, my heart would hurt.  This is a fantastic book that everyone needs to read. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Mesu Andrews is the author of Love Amid the Ashes and Love's Sacred Song.  Winner of the 2012 ECPA award for Best New Author, she is an active speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture.  Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word, Andrews brings the biblical world vividly alive for her readers.  She lives in Washington with her husband.  For more information, check out her website

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home Book Review

Hope and Healing for Families Living with PTSD and TBI

Today's book review is a little different from my usual ones.  This book was read by my mother-in-love, Daphne Campbell Jinnette.  My father-in-love, Dick, served six tours in Vietnam as a Green Beret and is retired from the Army .  Unfortunately, he still deals with events that happened during his time in service to our country.  These are her thoughts about the information she read:

REVIEWThis book is not only important for understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), recognizing it in a loved one or family member, and dealing with its effects on the person who has it and their family, but contains a personal family story woven throughout the discourse.  This lends authenticity to the conclusions and draws the reader into the book right from the start!  The book reveals the invisible damage and it's effects upon the warrior and their family, who may also suffer their own version of PTSD from the abnormal behavior of the veteran that they love.  However, many warriors and/or their family members may be uncomfortable with admitting the PTSD is there and seeking treatment for it, because unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to the injury as though it is something a person could choose not to have.  The veteran may be in denial themselves. 

The premise of this book is to verify that the condition is real, it is not brought on by any weakness in the subject, and that it is treatable.  If not treated successfully, the toll it takes upon the warrior and the family can result in dissolution of the family relationships in fact if not legally!  There is much encouragement from the realization that humans are created in the image of God and thus are composed of body, soul and spirit.  Therefore, each of these components can and should be addressed and treated.  Counsel, medication and spiritual strengthening are all critical steps in recovery, relief and restoration of normalcy in the areas of restful and peaceful sleep, the healing of memories, and effective communication to strengthen relationships with both family and friends. 

Another important lesson in this book is the role that forgiveness plays in effectively treating the wounded warrior and the wounded family.  Both parties are urged to practice forgiveness for the wrong behaviors and choices of each other.  Scripture is used to support the tremendous benefit of forgiveness and prayer in restoring some sense of normalcy to the life of the veteran and the family.  Each family member is affected by war coming home with the warrior.  Thus each one is able to participate in the healing required for a successful life after war.

This work is a quick read and easy to understand and take instruction from.  I recommend it for everyone.  The ideas and instructions in this book would be an effective guide for dealing with PTSD from other sources than war, such as an accident, assault or other event causing trauma and shock.  You will want to pass this book on so that it's influence can go further than just your personal library.

Thank you, Daphne, for your insight and wonderful review!!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Return of Cassandra Todd Book Review

SUMMARY:  When the popular girl whose friends bullied him in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, Turner Caldwell must put the past behind him if they are to survive.
     Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time.  On his way to class one day, he is shocked to see Cassandra Todd and her young son in town.  The sight of her brings back powerful memories of being bullied in high school - she was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her friends' mean-spirited pranks.
     When Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works ad she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, he finds himself entangled in a dangerous drama that will require him to forgive and draw on every skill he has if they are to survive.

REVIEW:  Oh my goodness!!!  Darrel Nelson's sophomore project hits it out of the park!!  I love everything about this book!!  The story kept me on the edge of my seat and made it very hard to put it down and go to bed or do my housework!  I respect how both Cassandra and Turner honored Cassandra's wedding vows and did not act on any intimate situation they found themselves in while running from Brad, her abusive husband.  Also, I admire how Turner rose above the hurts of the past to come to Cassandra's aid when she needed help protecting her son and how he treated Justin like he was his own. Different from other stories you might read, both Cassandra and Turner listened to their counselor's advice and did not pursue a relationship after their harrowing ordeal was over but took time apart to heal, even though they both had strong feelings for each other.
     I would HIGHLY recommend this book and Mr. Nelson's first book, The Anniversary Waltz, to everyone.  Darrel Nelson is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.  Check it out!!

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

Darrel Nelson is the author of The Anniversary Waltz and a retired schoolteacher.  He writes novels, articles, plays, and music.  He has bachelor's degrees in English and education from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.  Visit his website at