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?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold Book Review

SUMMARY:  Adventure is never far away.
     After a whirlwind cross-country move, Harriet and her donut-loving basset house, Humphrey, have settled in to a new life in Grass Valley, California. When Harriet learns that she's going to be a grandma for the first time and gets a new suite with room for her salt-and-pepper shaker collection,
she can't wait for her best friend, Martha, to come visit so she can share her good news.
     But adventure is never far away when Harriet is around.  After listening to the pleas of a desperate teen whose daddy needs money right away - and happens to have a gold mine to lease - Harriet falls hook, line and sinker into the venture.  Although she's nervous about her investment, Harriet chooses to keep it a secret from her son, Henry, and his wife.  She can only imagine what she'll do if this turns out to be her ticket to a golden windfall.
     When suspicions arise, though, it becomes clear that Harriet may never see an ounce of gold.  But will she continue to trust and risk losing everything?  The fate of the young teen and a family emergency show Harriet where her true treasure lies.

REVIEW:  Harriet loves her family.  When she finds out she is going to be a grandma, she decides to invest in a gold mine in hopes of striking it rich so she can help her son and daughter-in-law.  With her best friend Martha in tow, she finds out the mine and the people she invested in are under FBI investigation.  Throw in the chaos of a new addition to the house, and you have yourselves a mess! 
     I love how Harriet still wanted to help Lily have a better life, even though she was a big part of the mine fiasco. Harriet and Martha believed the best in this young teen and their faith was proved right.  When Henry and Prudence finds out about the mine and the problems surrounding it, they didn't condemn Harriet but helped her figure out what she could/should do.  This family supports each other and is there for each other, no matter what.
     This is a good book and is perfect for some light reading.

This book was provided by Booksneeze for review without compensation.

Joyce Magnin is the author of five novels, including the popular and quirky Bright's Pond Series and the middle-grade novel Carrying Mason.  She is a frequent conference speaker and writing instructor.  Joyce lives in Pennsylvania with her son, Adam, and their crazy cat, Mango, who likes to eat nachos.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Distant Shores Book Review and Give Away

Wings of the Nightingale Series
Book Two
SUMMARY:  Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace - and a love that remains true.
     Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want.  A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse.  But in July 1943, Georgie's cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.
     Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancee'.  While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart.  Can they weather the hurt and betrayal?  Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they've made?
     With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin weaves an exciting tale of emotion, action, and romance that will leave you wanting more.

REVIEW:   Georgie's character is great.  I love how her character and strength grows and she becomes more confident in who she is and in her abilities.  She learns to stand up on her own two feet and stand up to her family and her fiance' when they try to make decisions for her instead of listening to what she wants.  After making a career-ending mistake, Georgie learns what she did wrong and does everything in her power to keep it from happening again.  She comes out stronger in her faith in her abilities, decision-making capabilities and in her faith in God.
      I like what happens with Hutch after he realizes his desire/obsession to become an officer is wrecking his life and the changes in his life that occur when he finally lets it go.  Also, I love how he takes care Lucia, a little Italian orphan who is run over by an Army jeep, and how he provides for her after she is put in an orphanage.
     A side note - I like how this book overlaps the first one in this series, With Every Letter, and gives you glimpses of Mellie and Tom's relationship from the night Tom discovers Mellie is his pen pal to where they are when this book ends. 
     This is a great book and I'm expecting great things from book three when it comes out.  If it is anything like the first two, it will be awesome!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter and the Wings of Glory series.  In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.  A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist.  During World War II, her grandfather serves as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US  Eighth Air Force in England.  Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.  Visit for more information.

I have a copy of On Distant Shores to give away.  To enter, leave a comment on my blog or Facebook post.  A winner will be drawn on Saturday, August 31st.  Good luck!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Icing on the Cake Book Review

Weddings by Design
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Scarlet isn't sure if she has just the right ingredients for true love - or utter disaster.
     Scarlet Lindsey is busy making her dreams come true.  She's moved her bakery to a prime spot on Galveston's most popular street, she's planning an extravagant cake for her best friend's wedding, and she has a great relationship with Bella Neeley, the island's most popular wedding coordinator.  Business is booming and Scarlet is enjoying the ride.
     But when Bella's dangerously handsome brother Armando breezes into her life, Scarlet is faces with a sticky situation.  Should she stay with the safe, sweet guy who's been a fixture in her life for years?  Or will this brash Italian hunk melt her guarded heart?
     Fan favorite Janice Thompson is back with more wit, more weddings, and more of what you love best - bridal-business laced with laughs.

REVIEW:  Scarlet is my type of girl.  She is a woman who unabashedly loves food but she excels in making cakes and other sweets.  She is a large woman who struggles with her weight and is insecure about her looks (don't we all?).  So when the brother of her friend Bella starts coming around and showing her attention, Scarlet wonders if all he sees is her size.
     This book made me laugh out loud and want to cry.  I love how Scarlet would look at things and try to solve problems like Lucille Ball in "I Love Lucy" reruns.  There were many times in this story where she had to step out of her comfort zone but Scarlet tried to do her best and make the most of things when problems arose.  Out of the two books in this series so far, this is hands-down my favorite.  Even though this is the second book in the Weddings by Design series, it does a great job of standing all on its own.  I highly recommend this book if you need some laughter and to help you realize God loves you just the way you are.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter.  An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner.  She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series as well as Picture Perfect.  She lives in Texas.  Visit for more.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Prayer Box Book Review

SUMMARY:  These things I do, this melody of an ordinary day, keep the hours in order . . . Strange to think of that.  The song of an ordinary life.  Mine would be in these letters to you.
     When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in Iola's rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.
     Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola's youth to her last days.  Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper - the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with lessons in faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything.

REVIEW:  For me, the book starts out kind of slow but by about half way through the book it became more interesting.   I like how Tandi works hard to restore her family after getting herself off an addiction to prescription painkillers.  I was irritated at her because of her reliance on deadbeat boyfriend Russ for her sense of self-worth but cheered when she stood up to him.  She does what she can to provide for her family, even by taking odd handywoman jobs repairing damage caused by a recent hurricane.  But, my favorite part of all is while she is going through Iola's prayer boxes, she realizes everything that Iola had done for the community and sets out to change public perception of this quiet and humble woman.
     This is a good book which will make you think about the legacy we are leaving for our children and the community we live in.  Are we doing just enough to get by or are we making a difference?

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

Lisa Wingate is a magazine columnist, inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty novels, including the national bestseller, Tending Roses, now in its eighteenth printing.  She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner.  Her novel Blue Moon Bay was a Booklist Top Ten of 2012 pick.  More information about Lisa's novels can be found at

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance Book Review

A Place to Call Home
Book One

SUMMARY:  She's learned you can't count on anyone - but she didn't count on landing in Last Chance.
     The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright warning lights.  These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life - especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.
     Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own.  Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town?  Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

REVIEW:   Last Chance seems like a wonderful place to live.  It's a very small town where everyone knows your name and looks out for each other, too.  If someone needs help, they are there quickly and for the long haul, if need be, without complaint.  They do have their problems and can be judgmental but they come together when needed. 
     Lainie is very independent.  She has been on her own since she was fourteen years old so she isn't very trusting.  When the locals help her find a place to stay after her car breaks down and a job when she starts to run out of money, Lainie is still a little suspicious but she eventually learns to trust them.  This sounds strange but one of my favorite parts is when she goes to the police to turn in something her ex-boyfriend hid in her backpack instead of trying to get rid of it on her own.  Most stories I've read in books or watched on television do not have the story go like this.  It gave me an opportunity to talk to my daughter about what she would do in that kind of situation.  I like how Lainie changes, trusting the townspeople more and trusting God when things look grim.
     When I first started reading the book, it seemed a little slow but I really got into it about half way through.  This is a good book and one to share with your daughters for an opportunity to discuss what Lainie did and find out what they would do. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, but her roots remain deep in New Mexico, where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. Her debut novel, Welcome to Last Chance, has already won the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for Women's Fiction.  For more information, check out her website at

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dark Road Home Book Review

Edge of Freedom Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  The nightmares of her past have found Ana Kavanagh an ocean away.
     Ana Kavanagh's memories of Ireland are mostly of fire and pain.  As a girl she survived a blaze that left her an orphan, left her scarred, and left her angry at God.  Now in New York, Ana finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who's struggling with his own anger.  His twin sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with his enemy.
     Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan hopes to rejoin the Fenians, an organization pushing for change back in Ireland, by securing information against Rourke, the man his sister married.  Ana, Cara's friend, may be his best source, and despite the attraction he feels, Eoghan determines to use the girl's sweet nature to his advantage.
     Adding to the danger is a specter from Eoghan's own past, one whose thirst for vengeance knows no bounds.   Eoghan must choose which road to follow - bitterness or forgiveness - and where to finally place his trust.

REVIEW:  This book picks up where No Safe Harbor leaves off.  Cara is married to Rourke and is still looking for her brother, Eoghan.  Ana, Cara's friend from the boardinghouse, discovers him at a local church when she goes to help feed the poor and homeless women staying in the church's shelter and tries to help Cara and Eoghan reconnect.
     Ana carries scars on her body from a house fire she survived as a young child.  I love how even though she was afraid of fire, she was quick to rush in to help Ellen, a young girl staying in the shelter, when a heavy pot of boiling water falls on her and burns her.  Ana often steps out of her comfort zone to help the people around her, especially when it comes to helping in the church and Eoghan.  In doing so, she finds God never left her and was with her as she recovered from her burns and made a new life for herself in America.  She also realizes outward beauty does not matter as much as the beauty that lies in our hearts.
     The underlying story of the Fenians and their quest for freedom from England's rule plays a crucial role in this book.  Eoghan will do almost anything to get back into this group then realizes it is not what he truly wants.  Cara's uncle Brion has major dealings with the Celt, the mysterious leader of the Fenians, and uses his standing in Ireland to find the whereabouts of Cara.  If you are not familiar with the struggle of Ireland and England then this book will be confusing at times.
     This is the second book in the Edge of Freedom series.   You will need to read the first book No Safe Harbor to understand the whole story and histories of Eoghan, Ana, Cara, and Rourke and the struggles they face.  This is a good book and I look forward to reading more in this set.

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

Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of No Safe Harbor, Book One in the EDGE OF FREEDOM series.  Her work has also been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Pulse.  Elizabeth's debut novel, Where the Truth Lies (coauthored with Janelle Mowery), earned her the IWA Writer of the Year Award.  Her first historical novel, Love Finds You in Calico, California, was given four stars from Romantic Times.  And her poplar literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership.  Along with her husband and two grown children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas.  To learn more, visit