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?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Darkness Before Dawn Book Review

SUMMARY:  Will Grief Push Meg Over The Edge?
     On the same night she discovers she is pregnant, twenty-eight-year-old nurse Meg Richards' husband is killed in an auto accident caused by a drunken teen.  James Thomas comes from one of the most influential families in the community.  He's a star athlete and glamour boy at the local high school.  But the accident he caused will change his life - and Meg's future - forever.
     Angered by her senseless loss and facing life as a single mother, Meg blames God for what has happened and considers a decision that could change her life even further.  Enraged by the brutal trial and court's decision, Meg starts down a frightening path of retribution.  When the opportunity for revenge comes unexpectedly, will Meg follow through?  Or will the remnants of her faith lead her in a different direction?

REVIEWLet me start off by saying this book is not light reading.  Seeing the dangerous paths Meg chooses to take, the hardening of her heart and completely pulling away from her long-held faith in God and those around her that want to help her was really hard.  The author did an excellent job showing the slippery path of anger and grief a person can take; how one bad choice can lead you down wrong paths and have you considering things you never would have thought about before.  Meg's decisions not only affect her but her friends when she gives advice flippantly on a serious subject.  Even though the subject matter and watching Meg slowly disintegrate was very hard, seeing Meg come through the other side a better person is worth it. 
      A problem I had with part the story was after the trial when Meg started stalking Jim.  She abused the privilege of being a nurse to gain access to his school and just how she was dogging his every move.  She would show up everywhere he went, calling his cell phone so much that he stopped answer and, basically, ruining his life.  I understand WHY she did it but Jim, his friends or his family never reported her harassment to the police department (Jim knew she was stalking him because she did it openly and let him see her).  The author does explain why Jim did not call the police on her but it still just doesn't seem right.
     This is an eye-opening book well worth reading.

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

Ace Collins is a bestselling author that has written more than fifty books including novels The Christmas Star and Swope's Ridge, as well as the nonfiction Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas and Lassie: A Dog's Life.  His books have become movies and network television specials.  Ace Collins has sold more than 1.5 million books during his career and makes his home in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Unrivaled Book Review

SUMMARY:  Falling in love could be a recipe for disaster.
     Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration.  After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes.  But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager - a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy's skin.
     Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime.  He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known.  The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall.  She's making his work life miserable ... and making herself impossible for him to forget.

REVIEW:  This book was good.  I loved Charlie's character and how, once he realized Lucy was his competitor's daughter and a woman he was really attracted to, he became the better man and tried to dissuade his father from hurting her company.  The ending was a little anti-climatic for me.  I had a difficult time with how accepting Lucy was regarding her mother's role in helping Charlie's father take down her father's business.  But, I did like how the two companies worked out their differences and the sacrifices Lucy makes to accomplish it.

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

Siri Mitchell's novel She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Three of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door, and She Walks in Beauty were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.  For more information about Siri and her books, visit her website at

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer Book Review

SUMMARY:  Lydia Eldredge longs to provide sanctuary for her young son, Nicky.  But a constant threat comes from Nicky's drug-addicted father, who wants the boy and seems willing to do whatever it takes to get him.
     Dr. Micah Hatcher faithfully serves the immigrant population of Queens, New York.  But under cover of darkness, he has a secret mission that challenges everything he thought he wanted out of life.
     When Lydia and Micah's path's cross, they are suddenly wrapped up in each other's callings.  Together, they seek a refuge of safety - for Nicky, for themselves, and for the needy people God puts into their lives.  Amid turmoil and discord, can hope and love prevail?

REVIEW:  This is a book full of reminders that we need to step out in faith and trust that God will guide and help you.  Over and over again, Lydia and Micah are put into situations where they need to trust God for answers to very hard questions and in very difficult circumstances.  When they do, each time they are rewarded for their faith and see God work some amazing miracles. 
     One of my favorite parts is when Lydia is forced to trust God when Nicky's dad takes him.  Things look grim but God works miracles of faith and trust in more than one person's life and make all things new.  Lydia finds out that God's plans are greater than anything she could ever hope and imagine.  Another part is when Micah decides to adopt a little Jewish girl from Poland when the local rabbi is not able to adopt her out because of her light coloring.  He becomes a single dad and works hard to provide for her.
     This is an interesting read with some difficult parts but full of laughter and the miracles only God can accomplish, if we let Him. 

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

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a bestselling, award-winning author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope.  She has more than one million copies of her books in print.  Kim lives in central Kansas, where she and her husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast and enjoy spending time with their three daughters and nine grandchildren.  To find out more about Kim and her books, please visit the sites listed below.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Love at Any Cost Book Review

The Heart of San Fransisco Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  He's looking to take care of his family.  She's looking to take care of her heart.  Trouble is ... love's looking to take care of them both.
     Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him.  Jilted by a fortune hunter, Cassidy travels west hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Fransisco will help her forget her heartache.  But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking o marry well, captures her heart.  Can love prevail when Jamie discovers that Cassidy is poorer than he is? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?
      Bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the delectable Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series.  Join your favorite romantic storyteller as she moves to the hills of San Fransisco for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations.
REVIEW:   Cassidy is a refreshing heroine.  I love how she does not like to conform to society's norms and is not afraid to speak her mind.  She attends a formal dance and doesn't wear a corset (an important article of clothing for a respectable lady) and prefers jeans and cowboy boots.  She can best any man at billiards, poker and pinochle without blinking an eye.  Most importantly, she doesn't let the events of her recent break-up and the difficulties she has with Jamie interfere or affect her relationship with God.  In fact, it helps her grow stronger.  She prays for Mark, her former beau, and for Jamie when it looks like he is only after her supposed fortune too.
     Jamie is a different hero.  He admits right out of the starting gate that he is only interested in women who can advance his career, help him get into politics and who has a fortune.  When you find out why he is doing it, you understand even more about his character, which isn't all bad.  Instead of trusting God to help in in his pursuit to help his crippled sister and his family get out of the slums, he is trusting in himself and his potential mate to get him what he wants. 
     One of my favorite parts of the book is when Jamie FINALLY gives his heart and desires over to God and gets to watch God do amazingly more than he ever hoped or imagined for his sister and himself.
      This is an intriguing book that I think anyone would enjoy, especially if you like heroines who like to show what she is made of and then some.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series and was ACFW's 2009 Debut Author of the Year. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine's 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also on Booklist's 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction list and is the recipient of fourteen RWA awards.  You can contact Julie at

Thursday, April 11, 2013

When Jesus Wept Book Review

Jerusalem Chronicles
Book One

SUMMARY:  Lazarus - the man Jesus raised from the dead in one of the most extraordinary encounters with The Living Savior in all of Scripture.  But the life of Lazarus holds interest well beyond this miraculous event.  Living in Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus witnessed many of the most important events of Jesus' life and ministry.
     Lazarus owned a vineyard and devoted his life to caring for its vines and fruit.  But he encountered another man - Jesus - whose vineyard was the world, its fruit the eternal souls of men.  When Lazarus' story and the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection touch in When Jesus Wept, we are offered a unique vision into the power and comfort of Christ's love.
     Brock and Bodie Thoene's most powerful and climatic writing project to date, When Jesus Wept, captures the power and the passion of the men and women who lived through the most important days in the history of the world.

REVIEW:  When I read books that are centered around stories of the Bible, I tend to read them with a critical eye and find it difficult to read it just as it is meant - as a work of fiction where some liberties may be taken when needed.  The authors do take liberties in linking characters together.  The adulterous woman the Pharisees brought before Jesus to be condemned and stone was portrayed as Mary, Lazarus' half-sister.  Mary was also said to be the one who anointed Jesus' head with oil, washed His feet and helped support His ministry.  The girl who had died and Jesus brought back to life was portrayed as Lazarus' cousin, as was the wedding couple where Jesus performed his first miracle.  Lazarus also shows up in many key events in Jesus' life and ministry: the feeding of the 5000, Jesus walking on water (but Peter never left the boat), turning water into wine, Jesus' baptism, and the healing of the blind, leprous, crippled and paralyzed. 
     This book is about Lazarus' life as John the Baptist begins his ministry and ends at Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  Lazarus' life and his work as a keeper of the vines and winemaker show the different ways the Jewish lifestyle and style of worship reflected God and the sacrifice that needed to be made by the Perfect Lamb.  I enjoyed reading how the vines were planted, tended and harvested and seeing how it reflects God's care for his people.  The section describing what happened when Lazarus died was fascinating and I liked their explanations of most things.
      It was also interesting to see how the authors' portrayed Jesus' interaction with those around him: the Pharisees and those condemning him to those seeking the truth and those who acknowledged the truth of who Jesus really was and chose to follow him.  He is portrayed as loving, kind, forgiving, and a faithful friend who struggled with the hardness and depravity of the hearts of men.
     This was an interesting book.  I will be open to seeing how the rest of this series unfolds and advances.

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

Bodie & Brock Thoene are best-selling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction.  Their timeless classics have sold more than thirty-five million copies and have won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards.

Take a Chance on Me Book Review

A Christiansen Family Novel

SUMMARY:  Come home to the Christiansens', where faith and family meet real life.
     Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor - oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake resort, and doting father.  But he's also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity.  No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.
      New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn't know any better when she bids on Darek at a charity bachelor auction.  Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity's death.  All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she's always longed for.  And once she gets past Darek's tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with ... which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife's case.
     Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy - a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

REVIEW:  In typical style, Susan May Warren brings to live the fictional town of Deep Haven and its residents in a way that makes it all seem real.  So many times I wanted to throttle both Darek and Jensen for their stubbornness and inability to forgive.  As I read, I thought of friends that live in Minnesota and caught myself wondering if they ever visited this place.  :-)
     The theme of the book was trust and forgiveness - trusting God in the changes that have occurred, that He knows what is best, and that even when things look like they are going the wrong way and all you see is disaster, God is in control and will work everything out according to His will in your life.  The forgiveness part can be found in many different relationships:  Darek and Jensen, Darek and Felicity, Darek and Felicity's parents, Jensen and Felicity, Claire and Felicity, Claire and Jensen, Darek and Ivy.  Even though Felicity had been gone about three years, her life and death affects many people.
     This is a wonderful book.  If you are familiar with the Deep Haven series of books, you will see some familiar faces and places.  If you have not read any of them, you will not be lost.  Each book is separate but does use other characters in very minor roles.  Check out Take a Chance on Me if you are looking for some great summer or vacation reading.

This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review without compensation.
Susan May Warren is the RITA Award-winning author of more than thirty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She spent eight years as a missionary in Russia with her husband and four children before returning to Minnesota's north shore to write full-time.  Visit her website at

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Dance Book Review

The Restoration Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  Love's recovery starts with a single step ...
     After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn Anderson is tired of playing the role of perfect wife.  Her husband Jim is a successful businessman who gives her everything she needs - a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood, the financial freedom to be a stay-at-home mom, an enviable collection of stuff.  Everything that is, except what really matters: love.
     After years of trying to connect with Jim, Marilyn has had enough.  She longs to experience some measure of happiness before she's too old to enjoy it.  Needing some time to herself to sort things out, Marilyn leaves to start a new job and take dancing lessons - something she has wanted to do for as long as she can remember.
     Shocked to find his wife gone, Jim Anderson must sort through the past to save his marriage.  With a little help from an unexpected ally, he begins a campaign to win Marilyn back.  What he doesn't anticipate is how his actions will affect everyone around him - starting with himself.

REVIEW:  I was excited to hear Dan Walsh had a new book out that he had written with Gary Smalley.  Dan has become on of my favorite authors.  This book is the first in a four-book series on relationships and learning to be dependent on God.  Jim and Marilyn look like they have a perfect marriage (even Jim thinks so).  But, in reality, their marriage is falling apart from the inside out affecting every part of their lives.  Marilyn's courage to step-out and to make changes makes Jim finally realize he has a part in the break-up and, hopefully, their reconciliation.  Jim steps WAY OUT of his comfort zone by taking dance lessons and, in the process, draws closer to God and starts proving it to his wife. 
    This is a book all married couples should read. We all need to evaluate what we want out of our marriage but we must not be afraid to voice our concerns and to step out and make any necessary changes.
This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 Available April 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Discovery and The Reunion.  he has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Reviews inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012.  A member of American Christian Fiction Writers.  Dan served 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 of family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programsHe is the bestselling and award-winning author or co-author of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury.  Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 40 years and live in Missouri. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Shattered Book Review

Alaskan Courage
Book Two

SUMMARY:  With all the evidence against him, only a sister's trust can save him now.
     When her prodigal brother's return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.
     Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth.  And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursing the truth puts Landon's career in jeopardy.
     When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself - and from whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada's rugged backcountry.  Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

REVIEW:  Shattered picks up where Submerged leaves off.  Dani Pattrey does a wonderful job with all the twists and turns Landon and Piper follow in the investigation into whether or not Piper's brother Reef murdered Freerider competitor Karli Davis.  The search takes them to the remote parts of Canada, coastal California and snowy Oregon while making slow headway.  As they continue to search for the truth, both Landon and Piper continually rely on their faith in God to direct and guide them in the right direction and to help them when they face very difficult situations.  The final outcome surprised me and kept me turning page after page.  This is a fabulous book; one I think you will enjoy.  Check it out!

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

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author.  She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves - the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of the character's faith, and plenty of romance.  She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Invisible Book Review

SUMMARY:  What happens when we turn our health - physical and emotional - over to God?
     Ellyn - chef, cafe' owner, and lover of butter - is hiding something behind her extra weight.  While she sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself.  So when a handsome widower claims he's attracted to Ellyn, she's certain there's something wrong with him.
     Sabina - tall, slender, and exotic - left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she's come to heal.  But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina's doing more hiding than healing.  Why?
     Twila has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear.  When her eating disorder is triggered again, thought she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival.
     As these women's lives intertwine, their eyes will open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created in God's image.

REVIEW:  This book is phenomenal!!!  The way Ellyn, Sabina, and Twila interact, lift each other up and challenge each other is fresh and enjoyable.  Ellyn and Sabina argue with each other and move each other out of their comfort zones but do it with love and respect and not out of anger.  Twila, even though she is much younger than Sabina and Ellyn, is full of God-given wisdom and understanding.  I love how all three women encourage each other and help each other through rough spots and in hard times.
      Even though the story deals with weigh issues (both overeating and anorexia) and weight loss, the author is quick to point out that it is a story about freedom from the bondage of shame, which is found through believing the truth in God's Word.  I can relate to Ellyn's struggles of weight, love of food and not seeing herself as others do - beautiful, loving, fun, and amazing, but Twila's insight on seeing yourself in God's image has stuck with me the longest.
     We all struggle with how we see ourselves and how we perceive others see us, even if we would never admit to it.  When we see ourselves made in God's image, no matter our size, coloring, or abilities, we have great freedom.  
    While this review does not do this book the justice it deserves, you will not be disappointed when you take the time and read it yourself.

This book was provided by Handlebar for review without compensation.

Ginny L. Yttrup won a Christy Award and ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award for her award-winning debut novel, Words.  Also a speaker and life coach, she ministers to women wounded by sexual trauma.  Yttrup has two grown sons and lives in California.  For more information, visit her website at