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?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stranded Book Review

Alaskan Courage Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  When her friend goes missing, every minute counts!
     Darcy St. James returns to Alaska to join a journalist friend undercover on the trail of the big story.  But when Darcy arrives, she finds her friend has disappeared.  Troubled by the cruise ship's vague explanation, Darcy uses her cover as a travel reporter to investigate further.
     The last person Gage McKenna expects to see during his summer aboard a cruise ship leading adventure excursions is Darcy.  And in typical Darcy fashion, she's digging up more trouble.
     He'd love to just forget her - but something won't let him.  And he can't help but worry about her as they are heading into more remote regions of Alaska and eventually into foreign waters.  Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they push, the more Gage fears they've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

REVIEW:  This is the third book in the Alaskan Courage series and Dani Pettrey does not disappoint.  This book focuses on Gage and Darcy as they search for Darcy's friend who disappeared while working on a cruise ship.  I like how the storyline moves at just the right pace to keep it interesting without too much fluff.  The ending is great, eye opening, and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I also like how the ending deals with a topic that is not talked about often in our day and time - sex slave trade.
     Even thought this is the third book, it stands well on its own.  If you want more information on the other McKenna siblings and the background of how Gage and Darcy meet, the other books will provide it.  I've really enjoyed this series and can't wait for the next novel to come out.

This book was provided by Bethany House 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 her characters' faith, and plenty of romance.  She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. Visit her website at

Rebellious Heart Book Review

SUMMARY:  Massachusetts, 1763
     A Love That Would Shape History Forever
     Because she's a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith.  But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge.  And she's determined to marry well, so she'll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.
     Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better.  When introduced to the Smiths he's taken by Susanna's intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter.
     When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor.  But drawing closer to the man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous , secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.

REVIEW:  Set before the Revolutionary War, this story shows the struggles Colonists faced if they didn't agree with the policies, laws, and taxes out in place by the British; the limitations put on women whether they are aristocrats, poor, or slaves; and the limitations of those who did not have money or land of their own.  Susanna loved to learn but, because she was a woman, she was not allowed to further her education beyond the basics.  Ben wanted to make a difference in his community but, because he was not a landowner or came from money, his legal work for the disadvantaged or wrongly accused didn't garner him much other than admiration from the lower classes.  When Susanna helps an indentured servant who escaped a very abusive situation (which is highly illegal and involves the death penalty), she and Ben have to keep Lieutenant Wolfe, the commander of the local British troops, from finding out.  The story keeps you turning the page until the very end in anticipation of what will happen next. It is also loosely based on the courtship of John and Abigail Adams, which makes it even more fascinating.   This is a good one to put on your "Must Read" list.

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

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of A Noble Groom, Unending Devotion, and The Preacher's Bride, which won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award and the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers.  Jody loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on he blog at

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Love's Awakening Book Review

The Ballantyne Legacy Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  The path to true love lies somewhere between two feuding families.
     In the spring of 1822, Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school and returns to the family home in Pittsburgh only to find that her parents are away on a long journey and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay.  Determined to stand her ground and find her place in the world, Ellie fills her time by opening a day school for young ladies.
     But when one of her students turns out to be an incorrigible young member of the Turlock family, Ellie knows she must walk a fine line.  Slaveholders and whiskey magnates, the Turlocks are envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of the abolitionist leanings.  As Ellie becomes increasingly entangled with the rival clan - particularly the handsome Jack Turlock - she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future.  Will she betray her family and side with the enemy?
     Master storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love and loyalty.  This is the Ballantyne Legacy.

REVIEW:  This novel picks up about 20-25 years after the first book in this series, Love's Reckoning, ends and focuses on Silas and Eden's youngest daughter, Ellie.  To fully comprehend the rivalry between the Ballantynes and Turlocks, better understand the history of Silas and Eden's relationship, the conflicts with certain family members and how all this relates to this story, you really need to read Book One.  That said, this storyline was great, another Romeo and Juliet-type romance between Ellie Ballantyne and Jack Turlock.  Both Ellie and Jack know they cannot be together and try their hardest to fight any feelings they have for each other.
     This story is interesting and I liked how the author intertwined everything together.  You see how the conflict between the two families affects more than just them with their attitudes and decisions.  The Ballantynes help slaves escaping to freedom and the Turlocks try to expose their efforts, endangering both families and townspeople.
     This is a great book and I can't wait to read the third one, due sometime next year.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Laura Frantz is the author of several books, including The Colonel's Lady and Love's Reckoning.  A two-time Carol Award and INSPY Award finalist and a recent Christy Award finalist, she currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Invention of Sarah Cummings Book Review

Avenue of Dreams Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  In a world where everyone is putting on a show, there is a love that is genuine.
     Sarah Cummings has one goal in life - to break into Chicago's high society.  Desperate to stop serving dinner to members of the wealthy Banning family and to start eating at society tables, Sarah spends her meager free time altering cast-off gowns to create the perfect wardrobe for her future life.
     When opportunity knocks at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name.  But as she gets closer to her goal - and closer to Simon Tewell, director of St. Andrew's Orphanage - Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of.
     Can she piece together the perfect life from scraps?  Or will it all come unraveled in the face of true love?

REVIEW:   Sarah Cummings is tired of being a maid and wants something better in life.  She is an excellent seamstress and reworks the dresses given to her by Mrs. Banning, making them into completely different gowns.  She also wants to forget her time at the local orphanage, where she spent time after her parents were tragically killed, but she is asked to show the girls there some basics of sewing in hopes of expanding their futures.
     This book was good but I had a few problems with it.  The main problem was Sarah's faith, or lack thereof.  Throughout the second book (where she is a minor but important character) and in parts of this book, Sarah is resentful that she is forced to work as a maid instead of living in the middle class she was born and raised into.  She is resistant to God and recognizing His hand in her life and only goes to church when she needs to, not when she wants to.  Her lack of faith in God aids in her deception as Serena Cuthbert in that she may have some qualms in what she is doing but it does not stop her from continuing the charade.  At the end of the book, when Sarah's secret is found out by those who care about her, she does seem repentant but I still didn't see an obvious turn to faith in God.
     The other problem I had was all the lying and deceiving going on.  Since it was a major part of the story, I understand why it took place, but it still bothered me.  I guess I get too much into my characters and don't want to see them get hurt if they continue on the path they are taking.
     Overall, this is a good book and ties up the series in a nice way.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning and The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow.  Her husband and two twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books.  She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.  Find out more at

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sisterchicks On the Loose Book Review

SUMMARY:  Helsinki or Bust!
     Meet unlikely best friends Sharon, quiet mother of four, and Penny, former flower child/motorcycle mama.  For these young moms, a twenty-year friendship is about to take a surprising leap!  Penny hatches plans for a "post-kids" trip to seek out her only living relatives - somewhere in far-off Finland.
     The land of reindeer, Finnish saunas, and starry, starry nights holds infinite promise for the free-flying Sisterchicks who feel their hearts fill with a new zest for living...and a fresh view of the One who flung the galaxies across the heavens..

REVIEW:  Penny and Sharon have been best friends for many years even though they now live in different cities and states.  When Penny decides to visit her mother's homeland to see if she can connect with family, she drags Sharon along for the adventure.  And an adventure it is.
     I love how Penny stretches Sharon and helps her get out of her comfort zone and experience new things.  When her luggage is lost, Sharon learns to live simply and to roll with the flow. Penny learns a lot about her mother and her father, who have both been dead many years and the family Penny's mom left behind when she moved to America.
     The book was good but I'm not sure about some parts.  At times, Penny seems flighty, not wanting to stick around anywhere long.  She stays with her aunt she's never met but only heard about while she was growing up for just a few days then leaves again to meet and stay with a cousin in London she's never met.  In London, she and Penny impose on her cousin Elina who is under a lot of stress with her job, family and husband's job situation.  The very next day, Penny, Sharon and Elina go to Liverpool to meet up with someone Penny met on their flight to Helsinki and cause a ruckus in the hotel spa.  After a few bumps and awkward moments, everything all works out in the end but it just seemed awkward to me.

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

Robin Jones Gunn has written more than eighty-five books, including the well-loved Glenbrooke, Christy Miller, and Sierra Jensen series.  More than 4.5 million copies of her books have sold worldwide.  Robin and her husband live in Hawaii and have two grown children.

A Surprise for Lily Book Review

The Adventures of Lily Lapp Series
Book Four

SUMMARY:  Change is in the air!
     Eleven-year-old Lily Lapp wants her life to stay just the way it is.  Instead, it's constantly changing.  New jobs, new schoolmates, and new challenges sure keep life interesting.  It seems like the only thing Lily really wants to change - Effie Kauffman's mischief making - is the one thing that never does.  Effie is up to her old tricks, and Lily is her favorite target.
     With each chapter in Lily's life comes another ever-more exciting adventure.  But no one could have prepared Lily for the biggest surprise of all!

REVIEW:  Like the others that have come before, this book is fun to read.  Lily is so adorable and loveable!!  Just like the rest of us, Lily experiences changes in school, with her friends and in her family and learns how to adjust and keep moving forward.  When a friend loses her home in a fire, Lily and her family reach out and help them.  Aaron Yoder is still a pest but he shows Lily he can be a friend and helpful, too.  This is a wonderful book for kids (and adults) of all ages!!  I hope this is not the last we see of Lily, Aaron and their friends and families.  I would love to see what the future has in store for them.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation. 

Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  She is the coauthor of the Adventures of Lily Lapp series and lives in Pennsylvania. 

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County series and the Stone Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.  She lives in California.  For more information, please visit and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewoodsfisher. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Promise Book Review

The Restoration Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  One home, two hearts, and the power of a promise kept . . .
     For the last five months, Tom Anderson has been without a job, a fact he's been hiding from his wife Jean  - and everyone else.  He leaves each morning, pretending nothing has changed, and spends his disheartening day rotating through coffee shops and the library, using their WiFi to search job listings online.  The stress of keeping this secret is beginning to put serious strain on his marriage.
     But Tom's not the only one hiding something.  Jean Anderson has a secret of her own - one that will seriously complicate their situation.  Will the promises they made on their wedding day hold firm?

REVIEW:  This book shows what can happen when pride comes before family and how lies can destroy everything you hold dear.  Only when the truth finally comes out can healing take place. 
     This is the second book of The Restoration Series.  While reading the first book, The Dance, is helpful to completely understand everything going on, this book does a good job briefly explaining what has happened beforehand.  I like how the changes made in Marilyn and Jim's marriage are continued throughout this book as a beacon to Tom and Jean during their turmoil.  While Jean struggles with the lies Tom told and the changes in their life because of them, she is willing to forgive and work on repairing their marriage and life together. 
      This is a good book, reminding readers that marriage takes work from both husband and wife but that the rewards are endless. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance with Gary Smalley, 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 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 on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as OprahLarry King Live and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs.  He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury and The Dance with Dan Walsh.  Gary and his wife Norma have been married for 49 years and live in Missouri.

Trapped Book Review

Private Justice Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  A runaway teen.  A desperate sister.  And an intrepid PI determined to discover the truth.
     When Laura Griffith's sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen.  That includes recruiting ATF agent turned private investigator James Devlin to help.  Dev knows time is of the essence with runaways - just forty-eight hours can mean the difference between recovery and ruin.
     But the deeper he and Laura dig, the more Dev begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl's disappearance.  And in the icy winter weather, the trail is going cold . . .
     In her latest thrilling read, queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon outdoes herself with a fast-paced tale of fear, deception, and just the right dose of romance.

REVIEW:  Darcy, thinking her older half-sister is too strict and wanting to just get away, runs away for what she thinks will be greener pastures.  But, after a massive snowstorm hits the city, Darcy finds out quickly that living on the street is dangerous in more ways than one and someone she thinks she can trust turns out to be the devil in disguise.
     Irene Hannon does not disappoint her readers in her latest novel.  She has you sitting on the edge of your seat, anxious to turn the page, trying to guess what happens next.  This is a great book and, even though it is the second in the A Private Justice series, it does a fantastic job on its own.  So many times I thought about having my twelve-year-old daughter read it to see what Darcy goes through and seeing how much Laura cares for her, but, even though the intense scenes are absolutely necessary, it is a little too much for her right now.
     If you like suspense novels, this is one for you. Check it out.

This review was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty novels, including Vanished and the Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series.  Her books have garnered many honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award.  Booklist also included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011.  In addition, Irene is a Christy Award finalist.  For more information, visit