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?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scraps of Evidence Book Review

Quilts of Love
Every Quilt Has A Story

SUMMARY:  Could a quilt really hold the secrets of a serial killer?
     Tess struggles to balance her career as a police detective and caring for her Aunt Susan.  Her partner, Logan, wants to help but find it hard to believe the brisk professional officer he works with during the day has a softer side - and a love of quilts.  It's a love Tess shares with Aunt Susan, who cherishes a particular quilt she made when she was younger.
     When some of Susan's cryptic comments about the quilt and its origins spark Tess's curiosity, the detective in her leads Tess to unravel the story behind this heirloom.  As she discovers the origins of the quilt, Tess unexpectedly uncovers clues that may lead her to a serial killer . . . a killer who is quite willing to kill again to keep his secrets hidden.

REVIEW:   After reading the summary of the book, I was intrigued with the idea of a quilt holding the secrets of a serial killer.  The author did not disappoint.  She kept me guessing as to who the killer was, how the quilt was involved and how everything was going to turn out.  Now, while I figured out early on who the killer was, this story did not disappoint.  I liked the twists and turns the story took and how even the most remote item or insignificant event linked up to something bigger.  I also like how she wrapped everything up, even laughing at some of her methods.  It would be delightful to see Tess and Logan turn up in a few more novels of this sort.  This was a good book and look forward to reading more stories from this author. 

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

Barbara Cameron is the author of more than 35 fiction and nonfiction books and three nationally televised movies and is the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.  She currently resides in Edgewater, Florida.  Find out more about Barbara at and

Monday, February 24, 2014

Princess Ever After Book Review

The Royal Wedding Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Regina Beswick didn't know she was born a princess.
     She's content to be a small-town girl, running a classic auto restoration shop, unaware that a secret destiny awaits her.  One that will leap from the pages of her grandmother's hand-painted book of fairy tales.
     Tanner Burkhardt is the stoic Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg.  When he is tasked to retrieve the long-lost princess, he must overcome his fear of failure in order to secure his nation's future - and his own.
     Yet lurking in the political shadows is a fierce opponent with sinister plans to abolish the throne forever.
     Overwhelmed with opposition, Regina must decide whether she's destined to restore old cars or an ancient nation.  Together - with a little divine intervention - Regina and Tanner discover the truth of her heritage and the healing power of true love.

REVIEW:  I like this book!  Regina is so cool!!  Even though she has struggled with finding out she is a true princess, she has been preparing for this role all her life.  Regina relies on her faith in God more and more as she has to make tough decisions.  I like how, once she goes to Hessenberg, she starts to heal a split between factions - one side wanting to return as a duchy; the other, wanting the stay as a protectorate of the kingdom of Brighton - without even trying.
     The only thing that I found disappointing was that it left out the events of her coronation and the first year of her rule.  Even though it would have added more to the story, I would have loved to see how Regina continues to adjust to being a royal and how the people react and respond to her rule.
     I really enjoyed this book!!  Reading it makes me want to read the first one and any others this author writes.

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

Rachel Hauck, a RITA Finalist and Carol Award winner, was recently chosen by Family Fiction readers as one of the top five romance authors in CBA.  Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and writes from her ivory tower.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Dream Dress Book Review

Weddings by Design
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Big dreams take big leaps of faith ... but what if you trip on the way?
     A lowly seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides.  She wants to see her own original dress designs gracing the women of Texas.  But when Jordan Singer, reporter for Texas Bride magazine, visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is humbled in his influential - and unnervingly handsome - presence.
     Convinced she'll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement - especially from her friend Bella Neely - to take a chance and start her business.  And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well.

REVIEW:  Having read the first two books of this series, I was excited to read the last one to see how everything finished.  Now, it can stand alone to but fully understand what is going on, it helps to have read the others. 
     I enjoyed reading Gabi's story, her desire to design her own dresses and to make a name for herself, getting the recognition she deserves.  She has a strong support system of friends and family that encourage her and help her when things start looking down.  I like some of the twists and turns the author takes with the story.  A few times I found myself laughing out loud.  There were some things, though, that I would like to have been different.  The story, although very enjoyable, seemed too sweet, especially when it came to the love interests.  Don't get me wrong.  I liked how she developed the characters and their relationships but sometimes wondered if events were too perfect.
     I did like this book and recommend it, and the rest of the series, to any and everyone.  My 13-year-old daughter loves them and can't wait to get her hands on this one. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
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 and The Icing on the Cake.  She lives in Texas.  Visit or more.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Amish Boyfriend Book Review

SUMMARY:  Shannon's summer just got a whole lot more . . . Amish?
     Shannon McNamara has exciting plans for the summer - getting her driver's license, a job, and more - and she can't wait to dive in.  But her ill mother has plans of her own:  to relocate them both to the heart of Amish country in Ohio where she has relatives who can help her.
     Turns out a "simple" life is actually a lot of hard work.  But when a hot young Amish guy named Ezra enters the picture, Shannon's ready to get an Amish makeover and even consider making it a permanent change.  Will these plans come crashing down around her too?  Or can she really make the jump into a whole new way of life?
     Teen favorite Melody Carlson brings fan another surprising story of world - and families - colliding.

REVIEW:  Having read a few of Melody Carlson's young adult novels (along with quite a few of her ones written for adults) and my interest in Amish novels, I was curious about how this story would work out.  Shannon's care and concern for her very sick mother was touching.  She tries her best to take care of Anna even after they get to Ohio.  But once they moved in with Shannon's grandparents, some of the relationships starts moving too rapidly and some just seemed strange.  When Ezra comes over to return something, Shannon falls immediately head over heels in love with him.  They declare their love for each other the next time they meet, and then things start getting a little "too friendly" between them.  Very soon afterwards, Shannon considers becoming Amish.
     Also, even though Anna's parents love their daughter, they seem very distant towards her.  They don't want to give Anna her medicine and are resistant about taking her to the doctor when she takes a turn for the worse. 
     The time Shannon and Anna are in Ohio, to me, seems odd.  It's hard to describe.  I did like how Anna's health was a big concern for the new doctor and how she was able to help Anna get better.  The best parts seemed to be before they left for Ohio and while they were at the hospital.  The story in between just seems forced and strange.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books, including the Life at Kingston High series, the Dating Games series, Double Take, and A Simple Song.  She has received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice.  Melody and her husband live in Oregon.  Find out more at 

Hopeful Book Review

Return to Sugarcreek
Book One

SUMMARY:  In the Amish town of Sugarcreek, love comes in many forms.  But will it come at all for Miriam?
     Miriam Zehr has worked at the Sugarcreek Inn longer than she cares to admit.  The restaurant is a favorite of town residents as well as the many tourists who come to taste the famous Amish fare.  Though she always tries to have a smile for every customer, deep down Miriam knows something's missing: a family of her own.
     Miriam has never felt particularly beautiful, especially because she's always been a bit heavier than other girls her age.  When Junior, the man she's pined for all her life, suddenly seeks her out, she's thrilled to be noticed ... until she realizes he's only asking her to help get the attention of Mary Kathryn Hershberger, her pretty friend.
     If Miriam helps Junior court Mary Kathryn, she'll get to spend a lot of time with him, but she might lose him in the process.  Are these few stolen moments worth a lifetime of sacrifice?  Is Miriam right to even hope for the life she dreams of?

REVIEW:  This book shows life can be difficult, whether we see it or not.  Miriam wants to have her own family but hasn't had a suitor.  Mary Kathryn is trying to hide from an abusive and controlling boyfriend and anyone of the male persuasion who wants to get close.  On the outside, both women look to have it all together but inside, don't.  
     Sometimes I had a hard time keeping my attention on the story.  I liked how Mary Kathryn was trying to stay safe but questioned some of her decisions: working in a job she hated, telling her parents where she was living when she knew they would tell her former boyfriend and his family, and going out with Junior but being resistant the whole time they are out.  Also, there were a few other stories mixed in, I guess from her Seasons of Sugarcreek series, that I had some difficulty completely following because I was not familiar with their backgrounds.  
     I did like how Miriam stepped in as a reading tutor to help Junior's sister, who was having a difficult time understanding what she read.  I also like how Junior, after being turned away as Mary Kathryn's suitor, stepped up to defend her when Mary Kathryn's former boyfriend showed up and started harassing her.  They didn't let their hurts get in the way of helping a friend in need.  
     This book also has a lot of extra features in the PS section with discussion questions, information about the author, a recipe and a sneak peek at the next book in this series.
     While this book isn't at the top of my list, it is still a pleasant read.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group for review without compensation.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers' prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner.  She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.  More information can be found at

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rachel Book Review

Wives of the Patriarchs
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Can true love overcome a legacy of betrayal?
     Rachel wants nothing more than for her older half sister Leah to wed and move out of their household.  Leah wishes her father would find a good man who would love her alone.  Unbeknownst to either of them, Jacob is making his way to their home, trying to escape a past laced with deceit and find the future God has promised him.
     But the past comes back to haunt Jacob when he finds himself on the receiving end of treachery.  The man who wanted only one woman ends up with sisters who have never gotten along and now must spend the rest of their lives sharing a husband.  In the power struggles that follow, only one woman will triumph . . .  or will she?
     Combining meticulous research with her own imaginings, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith not only tells one of the most famous love stories of all time but will manage to surprise even those who think they know the story inside and out.

REVIEW:  After reading this book, I wondered if the title should have been Rachel and Leah.  While it did cover Rachel and her frustrations of having to share her husband with her sister and having difficulties getting pregnant, the thoughts and frustrations of Leah were also a main feature.  But, if you are familiar with their story in Genesis, their lives are forever intertwined together as sisters and as the wives of Jacob.  Now, the liberties (for lack of a better word) the author took with their stories gave me something to think about.  She chose to have the women share a father but have different mothers, creating a rift in their relationship early on.  Jacob isn't quite the trickster we think him to be when it comes to Laban and his dealings with his uncle.  We see the difficulties of a polygamous marriage, especially when the wives are hated rivals. 
     At times, I didn't like Rachel because she acted like a spoiled child.  My heart went out to Leah because of her unrequited love for Jacob.  The difficulties of having to share a husband and his wanting to stay away from the bickering and fighting just added to the problem.  I liked how Jacob came to appreciate Leah more towards the end of the book and how his love, while his heart still went to Rachel, grew more as time went on.  I also liked how the author had Rachel and Leah develop a friendship and closeness, eventually accepting each others role as mother and wife.  Lastly, sometimes the story seemed to drag.
     This was a good book and gives an interesting look at these three pivotal characters in the biblical story.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the bestselling Wives of King David series and of Sarai and Rebekah in the Wives of the Patriarchs series.  Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.  Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.  Learn more at

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love's Sweet Beginning Book Review

Sisters at Heart Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  What will it take for a once-privileged woman to make her way in the world?
     It isn't Cassie Haddon's fault that she has reached the age of twenty-five without possessing any useful skills.  Until the War Between the States, she always had servants.  Since then, she and her mother have been forced to rely on family to care for them.  But now the well of human kindness has run dry - and Cassie must find work to support them.
     Unfortunately, leaving the past behind is easier said than done, and Cassie must summon all of her courage and wits to convince local restauranteur and grocer Jacob West that she's exactly what his business needs.
     With her signature sweet romance, Ann Shorey weaves a tale of two people from different backgrounds finding common ground and the hope of a bright future together.

REVIEW:  This being the last book in the Sisters at Heart series, and having read the first two, I was very interested in reading this one.  Like the others, I was not disappointed.  I really liked Cassie.  Even though she grew up privileged, she was not afraid to get her hands dirty and did not give up when she felt overwhelmed or unappreciated.  There were a few times that I wondered if Callie could keep doing everything she had to do without just collapsing from pure exhaustion.  While working in the restaurant all day then trying to make a place for her mother and herself to live, Callie had to cater to her mother's whims while Eliza Bingham sent letter after letter looking for her brother.  She also was not afraid to speak up and loved to help others in need.  Callie is one heroine we all can learn from and model.
     I also liked how Callie and Jacob's feelings for each other and their relationship grew over time and didn't all happen all at once.  Some stories rush the love story too quickly. As Jacob saw Callie work and grow in her job, his feelings for her (and hers for him) had time to develop into something meaningful.
     This is a great book and a wonderful end to the series.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Ann Shorey is the author of the At Home in Beldon Grove series, Where Wildflowers Bloom, and When the Heart Heals.  She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul.  Ann and her husband make their home in southwestern Oregon.  Learn more at

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Miracle of Hope Book Review

An Amish Wonders Novel

SUMMARY: She's heard about forgiveness all her life, but how far does God's mercy truly reach?
     Lindie Wyse thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve a future for herself and her unborn child.  Josiah Plank is certain he'll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his deaf eight-year-old daughter, Hannah.  The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined.  After a short time, Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes the child's special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building - and the love that is growing between them.  Will their marriage survive their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?

REVIEW:  This book was good but, while reading it, I got frustrated with the main characters a few times.  But, as I read on, realizing what Lindie and Josiah each had gone through, my frustration eased and I became more sympathetic and understanding.  I liked how Lindie jumped right in and tried to help Hannah and Josiah, learning sign language and trying to make their house a home.  When she discovers Hannah love and talent for drawing, Lindie encourages Hannah to express herself through her art. I like how Lindie, after being hurt and shunned in her former community, accepts the love and friendships of her new community. 
     This was a good book, one I wouldn't mind reading again and may keep in my permanent collection.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group for review without compensation.
Ruth Reid is a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children.  When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms.  Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Headmistress of Rosemere Book Review

Whispers on the Moors
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Patience Creighton has devoted her life to running her father's boarding school.  But when the enigmatic master of the estate appears at her door, battered and unconscious, the young headmistress suddenly finds her livelihood - and her heart - in the hands of one dangerously handsome gentleman.
     At twenty-five, Patience Creighton is already a spinster.  The busy headmistress of Rosemere always expected a dashing man to sweep her off her feet and take her away ... but that man never came.  And since her father's death, keeping the school running and her mother happy has been plenty to keep her occupied.
     William Sterling dallied his way into financial trouble and mortal danger.  When he is assaulted by his creditors' henchmen on the road home from a tavern, he guides his horse to the doorstep of his tenant, the Rosemere School for Young Ladies.  After being tended to by Patience, the wounded William rides off into the dawn - but makes a point to learn more about the lovely headmistress.
     As he spends more time at Rosemere, something delicate begins to develop between William and Patience.  But that will not deter William's creditors. With little money to repay his debts, and less for the upkeep of his estate, it becomes clear that sacrificing Rosemere may be the only way to preserve his legacy.  But it may also cost him his happiness.

REVIEW:  This is a good book.  My heart went out to Patience and her situation.  Considered a spinster with no marriage prospects, running her father's school with no help from her brother or mother but without recognition, trying to keep her mother from falling completely into depression, all with a tight budget and limited resources.  When her brother returns to Rosemere after spending an extended time in London with little contact, Patience is forced to give up control and is deemed to be unimportant.   But, she does not let this stop her from caring for her charges and does everything she can to keep everything as normal as possible.  Patience doesn't let her situation get her down but rises above and does her best with what she has. 
     There are a few twists, turns and some unexpected events that make the story very interesting and a page turner.  I highly recommend this book.

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

Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood.  She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience.  Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Shadows of the Past Book Review

Logan Point
Book One

SUMMARY:  While she's stalking the truth ... someone is stalking her.
     Psychology professor and criminal profiler Taylor Martin prides herself on being able to solve any crime, except the one she wants most desperately to solve - the disappearance of her father twenty years ago.  When she finally has a lead on his whereabouts, Taylor returns home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to investigate.  But as she works to uncover the truth, someone else will do almost anything to keep her from it.
     Nick Sinclair pens mystery novels for a living, but the biggest mystery to him is how he can ever get over the death of his wife - a tragedy he believes he could have prevented.  Now that his estranged brother is the only family he has left, Nick sets out to find him.  But when he crosses paths with Taylor, all he seems to find is trouble.
     Join the chase as Taylor and Nick search the murky shadows of the past for the keys to unlocking the present - and moving into a future they never imagined.

REVIEW:  When I got the notice about this book, I was drawn to the Mississippi connection and looked forward to reading it.  Once I got it and started reading, I was thrilled to see there were also connections to the Seattle area and Memphis.  This book held my attention from the beginning and had it to the end.  As the story progressed, I tried to figure out all the connections, twists and turns which kept me on my toes.  About the time I thought I had everything figured out, the author would through a curve ball.  This was a great book, one I thoroughly enjoyed, especially with the connections to home.  I can't wait to read more from this author.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award and a 2012 Touched by Love award, and was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Corinth, Mississippi.  Learn more at