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, October 25, 2013

Sisterchicks Do the Hula Book Review

SUMMARY:  Watch out, Waikiki!
     Wherever there's chocolate, there's sure to be a Sisterchick celebrating, and this trip to Hawaii is no exception.  Best friends Hope and Laurie are on an audacious mission to commemorate their fortieth birthdays in style.  Surfing and sailing, sushi and snorkeling - these two macadamia nuts from the mainland sample it all, unhindered by a surprise little stowaway.
     Luaus are only the beginning.  The island experience binds Hope and Laurie's souls together, gently restoring their unfinished dreams.  Garlanded with leis or swimming with sea turtles, they join the dance of delight in their Maker, entering the next season of their lives filled with the unforced rhythm of grace.

REVIEW:  Look out, Hawaii!  Sisterchicks are coming!
     Laurie and Hope have been friends since college.   After losing touch for many years, they reconnect and pick up where they left off.  Since their previous plan to visit Hawaii did not happen, Laurie and Hope decide to go and celebrate their 40th birthdays in the Aloha state.  They meet native Hawaiians who give them insight into the native culture and the meanings (even spiritual meanings) behind some of the traditions, like leis, hula and more.  These sections are my favorite parts.  I also like everyone's reaction to Hope's pregnancy, even though her kids are getting ready to finish high school.  They are all genuinely excited about this coming bundle of joy.
     This novel is a great read if you are looking for something fun and enjoyable.

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.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Church Builder Book Review

SUMMARY:  One group focused on destroying all religion.  One group struggling to preserve the church.  One woman searching for the truth.
     For two months, small-town lawyer Bethany Barclay has been mourning the hit-and-run death of her enigmatic best friend, Annabelle Seaver.  Then the son of her wealthiest client is found murdered in her kitchen.  When Bethany herself becomes the leading suspect, she must flee both the authorities and a mysteriously killer.
     But there is more at stake than she knows.
     Bethany is caught in the web of a shadowy organization determined to destroy Christianity.  The final outcome rests on her ability to piece together the last three months of her best friend's life.

REVIEW:  This is a book that will keep you turning pages and sitting on the edge of your seat all the way to the end.  At times, trying to keep straight all the different characters and their roles was difficult for me.  I do not read many suspense novels so when shadowy characters are introduced and not fully explained to keep the intensity going, I had some problem keeping everyone straight.  But I was able to follow the story pretty easily and keep up.  The story was intriguing and unique.  As I read, I could see the novel being played out in movie form.  While the drama was not brought to a close at the end of the book, I can't wait for the next book to be released to finish Bethany's search for answers.
     If you are a fan of suspense novels, this is a book you will want to check out.

This book was provided by Booksneeze, Harper-Collins and Zondervan for review without compensation.

A.L. Shields is a pseudonym for Stephen L. Carter, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, where he has taught for almost thirty years.  He is the author of seven acclaimed works on nonfiction, and five best-selling novels, including The Emperor of Ocean Park, which spent eleven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Perfectly Matched Book Review

The Blue Willow Brides Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  His life runs like clockwork.  Hers is a spontaneous adventure.  But God's timing is always perfect.
     Anna Olsen knows it's time to leave her sister's increasingly crowded house and start a life of her own.  Following both of her sisters' examples, she becomes a mail-order bride, and after a short correspondence with clock maker and jeweler Edward Parker, she moves to Denver to become  his wife.
     Almost immediately it's painfully apparent that Anna and Edward are very different.  Anna is a free spirit who would rather be painting and enjoying the company of friends than cleaning house.  Edward is a consummate perfectionist who, on their wedding day, hands Anna a list of chores that need to be down around the house daily.
     Can this mismatched couple see past their difference to a harmonious future?  Or will their disparate passions create obstacles neither is willing to surmount?

REVIEW:  Opposites attract in this book.  Edward loves for everything to be in its place and to closely follow a set schedule.  Anna loves to be free and loves all kinds of animals.  Both have to make concessions but are determined to make their marriage work.  When Anna hears about Edward's difficult life as a child of an alcoholic, she tries even harder to keep things right about their relationship.  The changes Edward goes through in this book is neat.  Even though he is not fond of animals, especially in his house, he understand Anna longing to help hurt and injured pets.  He helps her start an animal shelter and becomes her biggest supporter.  When Edward is wrongly accused of stealing, even though she has doubts, Anna doesn't let them get in her way and supports him in proving his innocence.
     This is a good book and a wonderful ending to this series.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Maggie Brendan is the author of the Heart of the West and the Blue Willow Brides series.  Twice nominated for a RITA Award, she is a member of the Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers, and American Christian Fiction Writers.  She lives in Georgia.  Visit her at

A Reluctant Courtship Book Review

The Daughters of Bainbridge House Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  A woman without a prospect.  A man without a homeland.  Can love give them a future?
     Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor, the other a murderer.  Banished to her family's country estate, where she will hopefully stay out of trouble, she finally meets the man she is sure is exactly right for her:  Lord Ashmoor.  Tall, dark, and handsome - what more could a girl ask for?
     But he too is under suspicion because of his American upbringing and accusations that he has helped French prisoners escape from Dartmoor Prison.  If he's to keep out of a British prison himself and secure his place in British society, Lord Ashmoor needs a wife beyond reproach - something the vexingly beautiful Honore certainly is not.  Though they find themselves drawn to each other, family obligations may conspire to keep them apart forever.
     For the sake of her heart, Honore determines to prove Ashmoor's innocence - even if doing so risks her own life.
     From the first sentence, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes thrusts you into high drama amid the rocky cliffs of Devonshire, England, and keeps you suspended there until the final page.
REVIEW:   This book did grab my attention from the very beginning, as stated above, and the ending is good, though my attention did waiver from time to time throughout the story.  I love Honore's character.  Even though she is basically shunned by royal society, the servants she grew up with and their families treated her well and respectfully.  She was determined to not let her banishment get her down but she was hurt when she was left out of many socials and gatherings.  Honore is a strong character and very well written. 
     Lord Ashmoor is another favorite.  He is determined to help his family and support them, even if that means he spends the rest of his life away from his homeland and in a society so foreign to his poor upbringing.  Ashmoor reaches out to Honore when others turn their back on her and treats her with respect, even after hearing about her poor choices in suitors. 
     Out of the three books in this series, this is my favorite.  Honore is determined to not let her circumstances get her down and rises above all the scrutiny.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, Heart's Safe Passage, Choices of the Heart, A Necessary Deception, and A Flight of Fancy which won the October 2012 Clash of the Titles Award, voted on by readers.  she won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian.  Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.  Visit for more information.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Return to Me Book Review

The Restoration Chronicles
Book One

SUMMARY:  After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true - King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem.  Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God's renewed favor.  For too long they've remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo's sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart.  And so only a few choose to leave everything to return - return to their home and their God.
     Nothing about thier journey to the Promised land is easy.  As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo's beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God's leading.  Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the family they left behind.  But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah - and history - forever.
     Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

REVIEW:  I don't know about you but I am interested in reading fictional stories about people, places and time in the bible.  Even though the stories are made up by the author, they give me a better sense of what life may have been like and more insight into that particular place and time in history.  This novel fits that bill.  Set the time of the return of some of the Jews to Jerusalem from Babylon, the author shows us how difficult life was.  They had to build houses out of the rubble; there were no walls around the city to protect them; and they faced latent hostility from the people who were left behind.  Memories of what Jerusalem had been, the horrors that took place during the Babylonian siege and what is left behind in Babylon assail them at every turn.  Everyone also struggles with doubts as to whether or not it was God's leading to return and about the situations they currently face.  But, time and time again, God shows Himself to this little band of people who listened to Him and are doing what He asks.  He does this through his prophets Zechariah and Haggai and in the temple when God accepts their sacrifices and follows through with His promises.
     While, the book seemed to drag a bit in places, the details provided are necessary to cover all the details involved and to understand everything going on.  This is a great book and I'm looking forward to reading the next ones in this series.

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

Lynn Austin has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We're Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film. For more information, visit her website at

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beloved Book Review

Where the Heart Lives Series
Book Three

 SUMMARY:  A most unwelcome guest surprises Diana at her engagement party - the husband she thought was dead!
     Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her.  At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner.  After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba.  Receiving no word of him in years, Diana is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.
     But when Tyson returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate.  While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom.  
     He agrees with one condition - she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

REVIEW:  Beloved is written with two time lines going on at the same time.  You read about Diana and her struggles with Tyson after he returns but, sprinkled throughout the story, you also read Tyson's story before he met Diana, their meeting and courtship, their brief time together as a married couple and what happens to Tyson when he leaves Diana and after he "disappears."  At first, I couldn't quite figure out what was going on, but the more I read, the back story (mainly Tyson's) came through and I was able to follow along quite nicely and see that Tyson's spiritual relationship and his feelings for Diana were genuine.
     There were a few times I felt Brook Calhoun's character was stilted and unnecessary, like the author was needing an adversary and he was an afterthought.  It also would have been nice for Diana to meet her siblings earlier in the novel instead of in the Epilogue.  I did like how Tyson's father, Jeremiah Applegate, had changed over the years and was more accepting of Tyson and Diana's relationship and how he found one he wasn't looking for.
     All in all, this was a good book, one I enjoyed.  The series was interesting and one I wouldn't mind reading again.

This book was provided by Lituse Publicity Group, Booksneeze, and Zondervan for review without compensation.

Robin Lee Hatcher is the bestselling author of seventy books.  Her numerous awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award.  Robin and her husband reside in Idaho.  For more information, visit

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Under a Blackberry Moon Book Review

SUMMARY:  Which wilderness is more treacherous - the one she must cross to find her home . . . or the one she must traverse to find love?
     Just a few days after she gave birth alone in the northwoods, a recently widowed young Chippewa woman stumbled into a nearby lumber camp in search of refuge from the winter snows.  Come summer, it is clear that Moon Song cannot stay among the rough-and-tumble world of white lumbermen, and so the camp owner sends Skypilot, his most trusted friend, to accompany her on the long and treacherous journey back to her people.
     But when tragedy strikes off the shores of Lake Superior, Moon Song and Skypilot must depend on each other for survival.  With every step they take into the forbidding woods, they are drawn closer together, until it seems the unanswerable questions must be asked.   Can she leave her culture to enter his?  Can he leave his world to enter hers?  Or will they simply walk away from a love that seems too complicated to last?
     Get swept into a wild realm where beauty masks danger and only the truly courageous survive in a story that will grip your heart and your imagination.

REVIEW:  Serena Miller has outdone herself.  Her most recent novel quickly grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept it all the way to the end.  At times when I thought I had the storyline figured out, the author would throw a curve ball.  Moon Song has become one of my favorite heroines; she can stand up for herself and doesn't back down from a fight.  She loves with everything she has but doesn't trust everything she hears.  I like how her story plays out and Skypilot's role in it.
     Though not marketed as such, this book is a follow-up to The Measure of Katie Calloway.  While it does reference characters mentioned in the other book, they are brief. You don't need to read the first one but it will give you a little better understanding of Moon Song's time in the lumber camp and a little more information on Skypilot.  
     This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Serena B. Miller is the RITA Award-winning author of The Measure of Katie Calloway and A Promise to Love, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman's World, Guidepost, Reader's Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and more.  She lives on a farm in southern Ohio.  Please visit for more.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Plain Disappearance Book Review

An Appleseed Creek Mystery
Book Three

SUMMARY:  It's Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek.  She's especially excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead.  Unfortunately, it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date.
     Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy's friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime.  The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias.  Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice or prove his innocence.

REVIEW:  This is a different type of suspense book.  Instead of the story centering in the Amish community, the main characters are an Englischer and a former Amishman who still have some contact with Amish family members.  The storyline is interesting, suspenseful, and kept my attention.  While the actual story occurs over about about a two week period, it moves along at the right pace and doesn't get bogged down in details or move too fast.  Also, even though this is the third book in this series, I did not feel like I was missing anything by not reading the others and followed the characters pretty easily.
     If you are looking for a suspense novel with a different twist, check this one out.  I think you will be pleased.

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

Amanda Flower is an academic librarian for a small college in Ohio and grew up visiting the state's Amish Country with her family.  Her 2010 debut, Maid of Murder, received an Agatha Award nominations for Best First Novel.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall Book Review

SUMMARY:  Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall.  Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?
     Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India.  But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents' financial support.  Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly find that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging that expected, and she isn't sure what to make of the estate's preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.
     Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph's two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin.  The last thing he needs is the distraction of a kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.
     While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families - common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings  But will William choose Julia's steadfast heart over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall's future?

REVIEW:  Set in 1911, this story captured my attention from the start.  I like how Julia wasn't afraid to speak up for something she believed in and, if she thought she had misspoken, she was quick to apologize.  Her strong faith was another item that caught my eye.  In any difficult situation, whether it was when she was giving William advice or trying to tutor William's difficult nieces, she always prayed about what she should do and say.  She wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed was right - even if it went against societal norms. 
     I also like how William lead his staff and family in Scripture reading and prayer every morning.  Not many characters (or real people) do that and it was refreshing and inspiring. 
     At first, I thought the three different relationship storylines would bog the reader down.  But, seeing how each one was woven together seamlessly with each attachment focusing on different ideals and their different outcomes help make the narrative flow.
     This is a good book I think any reader would enjoy.

This Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of nearly a dozen novels and novellas, including Snowflake Sweethearts, and Along Came Love.  She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award.  She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, counselor, and the author of several parenting books. Visit her website at