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, March 30, 2014

Summer of Joy Book Review

The Heart of Hollyhill Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  As summer draws to a close, Jocie's world seems serene - but is it just the calm before the storm?
     Unbeknownst to Jocie Brooks and her family, two people are making their way to the small town of Hollyhill, Kentucky.  One everyone thought was gone for good and the other no one's ever heard of.  Still, one thing is for sure - they promise trouble.  The past is coming to call, threatening to destroy strong relationships that everyone has simply taken for granted.
     The summer of 1964 may be winding down, but the controversy in this little community where nothing ever seems to change is just heating up.
     Bestselling author Ann Gabhart invites you to Hollyhill for a story both exciting and enduring that will stick with you a long time after you turn the last page.

REVIEW:  After reading this book and stewing on what I wanted to write, the only thing that kept coming to mind was that the summary of the book had more hype than the book did.  Now, granted, two visitors did come to town but only one really shook up the family while the other shook up two people.  The only character I thought that might be a danger to any relationships was Edwin Hammond trying to break up David and Leigh's with his stalking, but he was already in town, working as Jocie's teacher.  
     One of my favorites characters throughout the book was Leigh.  I loved how she didn't care that David was older than her, that he had a grandchild and that her life would be on display was the preacher's wife if and when they got married.  She just loved David and just wanted to be with him and be a part of all that his life encompassed. 
    Wes is also another favorite.  His stories about being from Jupiter made me chuckle but his love for Jocie as one of his own children/grandchildren just melted my heart. 
     This is a good stand-alone book.  Even though I read the first book in this series but not the second, I was able to follow along easily with only a few hiccups.  There were just a couple of places that I would have liked to have known the background information that was in book two, but it was very minute. 
    This is a refreshing look at life in the mid-1960s.  Though segregation was a part of life in this time period, the church that David was a part of didn't subscribe to that train of thought.  A person was a person, no matter the color of your skin.  We are all made in the image of God.
      This is a good book, showing that if we love others like God loves us, we can do great things.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Scent of Lilacs.  She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.  Find out more at

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Heart's Rebellion Book Review

SUMMARY:  In a world goverened by unspoken rules, one young woman is about to break them all ...
     Dutiful Jessamine Barry is tired of waiting patiently for a man to decide her future.  So even though Lancelot Marfleet, second son of an aristocrat, is taking an interest in her during the London season, she refuses to consider him as suitor.  Instead, she's ready to take fashionable society by storm - and finds a rakish young man all too willing to help her do it.
     Can Jessamine trust her heart to lead her to a love that proves true through thick and thin?  Or will her rash actions close the door on the life she really desires?
     Love yourself in Ruth Axtell's sumptuous story of discovering one's true self and finding true love.

REVIEW:  Ruth Axtell writes a wonderful book about the restrictions women face in the early nineteenth century, both those with money and those without, regarding how they dressed, how they acted and the accessories they could wear.  Jessamine is a wonderful character.  She is getting over a broken heart and is not ready to meet a potential spouse.  She speaks her mind and wears her glasses in public, a major no-no of that day.  When she meets the woman who married her former sweetheart and is put in many situations where they must spend time together, she rises above her feelings and ends up befriending her during a difficult time. 
     This is a good book, one I really enjoyed.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Ruth Axtell is the author of many novels, including Moonlight Masquerade and Wild Rose, one of Booklist's Top Ten in Christian Fiction.  Currently a resident of Downeast Maine, Axtell has lived in the Canary Islands, Miami, and the Netherlands.  Learn more at

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Sky without Stars Book Review

Quilts of Love Series

SUMMARY:  Can a quilt bridge the gap between two cultures?
     After her husband is killed, Frankie Chasing Bear wants a fresh start, a new way of life.  But in 1951, that's not easy, especially for a Lakota woman.  Frankie quickly learns that raising her son, Harold, to revere his Lakota heritage will be a challenge in the white man's world.
     Searching for a way for her son to respect his ancestors but also embrace a future of opportunity, she begins a Lakota Star-pattern quilt - something that will not let him forget where he came from.  As she tells him, "A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars."
     But Frankie's determination is not without trouble.  Federal Agent Nick Parker, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust.  He's not a true Lakota - and he's Christian.  Will Frankie learn that love is the most important for her son's quilt - and life itself?

REVIEW:  While I like the premise behind the book, to me it felt like the story was missing something.  I like Frankie and her determination to give her son a better life than one on the reservation. She rises above the prejudice she faces every day, struggles to make ends meet and put food on the table.  I  liked how a problem that plagued Harold worked out in the end. That said, there were times when I wondered where the author was going with some of the situations Frankie and Harold were in.  This was an okay book but it just did not capture my attention like I hoped it would.

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

Linda S. Clare is an award-winning author of books, essays, short stories and poems.  She edits and mentors writers and is a frequent conference speaker and church retreat leader.  She and her husband have four grown children.  They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their three wayward cats.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It Had to be You Book Review

A Christiansen Family Novel
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Come home to the Christiansens, where faith and family meet real life.
     Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen's cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life.   Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career.  She dreams to making a name for herself as a reporter but is stuck writing obits - and starting to fear she doesn't have the chops to land a major story.  If only someone would step up to mentor Owen ... but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran  and bad-boy enforcer Jack Jacobsen.
     Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior - on and off the ice.  Now, at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped.  And the guilt-trip he's getting from Eden Chrisitansen isn't making things any easier.  But when Owen's carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles onto a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together ... and begins to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

REVIEW:  As always, Susan May Warren does not disappoint with her latest novel. The Christiansen Family is awesome and I loved learning more about Eden.  One of my favorite things was when she starts looking for the friends and family members of a young man, John Doe, in a coma in the hospital.  Her dedication and determination to locate this man's family so that they could be there with him is remarkable.  I also like the direction Jace takes in deciding what life might be like after hockey and the decision Eden makes regarding her job, too. 
     Also included at the end of my copy is the prequel to the Christiansen Family series, I Really Do Miss Your Smile.  It tells the story of Ingrid and John Christiansen and the love that started it all.  It was a great addition and I loved reading their story!
     It Had to be You is a wonderful novel that everyone needs to check out.

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

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award-winning author of more than forty 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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Worth the Wait Book Review

Waltham Academy
Book One

SUMMARY:  If God really loves her, how can things go so wrong?
     Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend.  But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer.  Ellie doesn't get it.  She always does the right thing - doesn't God owe her a happy life?
     Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait.

REVIEW:  Worth the Wait is Laura Jackson's debut novel.  She does a great job making her reader feel like they are part of Ellie's story, showing you how Ellie deals with all the disappointment and changes that occur in her life without going overboard.  I like how Ellie doesn't just jump into another relationship after she and Dylan break up, especially when another young man makes his interest known, but learns to be her own person and not part of a couple.  Now, she doesn't always make the right decisions but she does learn from her mistakes and to trust the LORD to direct her path.  I can't wait to give this to my teenage daughter to read.  I'm looking forward to other books in this series and by this author.

This book was provided by the author for review without compensation.

Laura Jackson loves books - reading and writing them.  A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master's degree and becoming a school librarian.  Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and His plan for their lives.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In the Shadow of Jezebel Book Review

SUMMARY:  In a kingdom controlled by cruel and manipulative women, one princess will discover the power of truth and love.
     Trained as a priestess in the temple of Baal, Princess Jehosheba strives to please the demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel.  But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach far beyond the realm of early governments.
     Forced to marry Yahweh's high priest in order to further Athaliah and Jezebel's power plays, Jehosheba enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh's Temple.  Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves?  And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family - and the nation - she loves?
     With deft skill, Mesu Andrews brings the Old Testament to life, revealing a fascinating story of the power of unconditional love.

REVIEW:  Mesu Andrews has hit the ball out of the park again with this book!  There are so many things about this book I love that I couldn't begin to list them.  But, one of my favorites was Jehosheba.  When she marries Jehoiada, she has to give up worshipping Bael and focus solely on the worship of Yahweh.  Instead of trying to worship Baal in secret, she learns all she can about the worship of Yahweh and does her best to comply with all the requirements.  She doesn't understand but little by little, she is won over by Jehoiada, her husband and Yahweh's High Priest.  I love how she doesn't compromise her new faith when she is put in difficult circumstances by Queen Athaliah and her mother Queen Jezebel.  Jehosheba does what she can when it looks like worship in Yahweh will be very difficult and finds her strength in God with the love and support of her husband.
     Out of all the books I've read of this author's, this is probably my all-time favorite.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Mesu Andrews is the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes, Love's Sacred Song, and Love in a Broken Vessel.  Winner of the 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author, she has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture, bringing her biblical world vividly alive for her readers.  She lives in Washington.  Learn more at

Missing Molly Book Review

The Courtships of Lancaster County
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Molly Zook has everything planned just right.  Or so she thinks!
     Molly Zook's always liked being in control, so she's struggling with her mother's wish that, to save the family farm, she marry Mervin Mosier.  Especially after Molly meets Leon Fisher.  He's from Montana but is now training horses at a nearby ranch.  He's tall and muscular and confident - Molly has never met anyone like him and she's sure he feels the same about her.
     Determined to let nothing get between them, Molly tries to coax Mervin into falling back in love with Molly's best friend, Hannah.  A weekend camping trip in the Poconos could be just the place . . . but things quickly go awry, and it seems Leon and Hannah might be falling for each other instead!  Will Molly keep struggling to control everyone and everyone around here?  Or will she learn to let God handle the twists and turns of her life?

REVIEW:  Like the other books in this series, Minding Molly is patterned after one of Shakespeare's plays; this one being A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Having read it once before and vaguely familiar with the I had some idea of the basis of this book, but I would have liked to have been better acquainted with the storyline to follow the events of this book better. 
     While the story was good, at times I felt like it dragged in places.  The characters were interesting but at times there were too many people and stories to keep track of.  The ending and final matching of individuals was a bit surprising but totally made up for the areas I had trouble with.
     This is a book worth checking out.  Like I said earlier, I think if I had been more familiar with Midsummer Night's Dream, I would have enjoyed this novel much more.  This has been a very interesting series so this book deserves a chance.   

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

Leslie Gould is the author of THE COURTSHIPS OF LANCASTER COUNTY series and co-author of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife, winner of the 2012 Christy Award for Contemporary Series.  She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and resides in Portland, Oregon.  Visit her online on Facebook or at

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Thief Book Review

The Living Water Series
Book Two

     Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage.  Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied.
     Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province.  Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace.
     When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies.  But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
     Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus.  As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise.  How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even safe himself?

REVIEW:  The approach this author took with the story was very interesting and unique. Instead of Jesus being the main story, the author had his story running in the background but the focus was on Nissa, Cedron and Longinus.  This approach was interesting because the main characters only has contact with Jesus once but heard the stories of Jesus' teachings and miracles from those people around him.  
     Life was very hard for Nissa and Cedron.  Even after his sight is restored, Cedron doesn't find a job but instead hooks up with a band of Zealots ready to take action once Jesus leads his revolt against Rome.  Nissa is forced to find work the only way she knows how: robbing the visitors and patrons in the marketplace. 
     The changes Longinus goes through in regards to his thinking about the Jews and Jesus were interesting.  What the author had him do towards the end of the book was difficult to read but, as I read through it slowly, I understood why.
    The only complaint I have about the story is I thought it ended way to soon.  It stopped after Jesus' tomb is found to be empty and left me with a lot of unanswered questions.  Other than that, I enjoyed this book and look forward to reaching the next one when it come out.
     This is the second book in the Living Water series but stands on its own. I saw glimpses of what might have been from the first story but it flowed well with this one.

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

Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places.  In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world.  Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats.  When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page.