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?

Monday, March 23, 2015

After a Fashion Book Review

SUMMARY:  Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself.  Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself without an income.
     Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed.  When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiancee causing the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.
     Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable.  She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, with its fancy dinner and elegant balls, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

REVIEW:  Oliver, a member of one of the elite Knickerbocker families, lives the luxurious life in a very fashionable neighborhood.  Harriet lives in the Lower East Side of New York City, the heart of the slums, and had a very abnormal childhood.  While the story was fun and very entertaining, I found myself distracted by the timeline.  The first third of the book takes place all in one day.  After that, it was difficult to figure out the total passage of time for the rest of the book.  I wasn't sure if the rest occurred in two weeks or two months.  Knowing this would have helped me in completely understanding the decisions made by the main characters at the end of the book.
     Now, I loved the middle and end!!  At first, I wasn't sure if I trusted Abigail but after a little bit, I found her very likable and fun.  The ending was not what I was expecting but I was very pleasantly pleased with everything.  Another thing I found refreshing was that Harriet told Oliver about her past and her aunt's plans and how Oliver accepted it.  I was also satisfied with how Oliver stepped up and was very supportive of Harriet when some information about her past came to light.
     This is a good book with potential of sequels about Millie and Lucetta (two wonderful friends of Harriet's) to come. 

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

Jen Turano is the author of five books, including A Most Peculiar Circumstance, which was one of Booklist's Top 10 Romances of 2013.  She makes her home in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and son.  Visit her website at

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to Catch a Prince Book Review

The Royal Wedding Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  An American Heiress and a Crown Prince seem destined to be together.  Will the devastation of war keep them apart forever?
     American heiress Corina Del Rey caught her prince once.  But the tragedy of war kept her too long in a fog of grief.  Now she's shifting her life forward, reigniting her career as a journalist.  Still, nothing can relieve her of the secret and the love she carries in her soul.
     Prince Stephen of Brighton is one of the world's most eligible bachelors and a star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life.  But his days in Afghanistan with the Royal Air Command have marked him forever.  And he can't seem to shake their dark shadow.
     But when his brother, King Nathaniel, confronts him with a document the prince thought long buried and forgotten, Stephen is forced to face the pain of his past and the love he left behind.
     With a little heavenly help, Prince Stephen and Corina embark on a journey of truth.  But when the secrets are revealed, can they overcome and find love again?

REVIEW:  Rachel Hauck's story of lost love is shadowed with grief.  Corina's twin brother had been killed while serving in Afghanistan.  Her family is never given any details about what happened, and the tragic loss comes very close to tearing this very close-knit family apart at its seams. Prince Stephen's unit, including Carlos Del Ray, was attacked in Afghanistan.  He barely made it out alive but Carlos didn't.  Even though it has been about five years, Stephen still feels the weight of the tragedy. While the grief is ever present throughout the story, it does not overwhelm the reader but helps her understand why certain events happened.  
    I like how Corina doesn't try to rest on the laurels of her family's wealth and use the connections she and her family made to further her career as a journalist.  She is determined to do things on her own and not compromise her beliefs and acquaintances. Stephen has become a world-class rugby player who loves his fans and teammates.  He also doesn't let his princely status get in the way of competing and meeting his fans.  
      There are a few parts that are all fantasy but make the book that much more enjoyable.  I loved Adelaide and Brill and the Inn.  They help Corina in her search to love well and just add a special dimension to the story.
     This book is the last of the Royal Wedding Series.  Each book is a stand-alone.  But, if you read the first book, Once Upon A Prince, it will fill in a few gaps about King Nathaniel and Princess Susanna, Stephen's brother and sister-on-law, and Queen Campbell and Sir Henry, Stephen's mom and step-father.  
      This is a fun, enjoyable story that most girls/women wishes was theirs.  If you are looking for a fun read, check this series, and this book, out.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Zondervan for review without compensation.
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, bestselling author.  Her book, The Wedding Dress, was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times, and Once Upon A Prince was a Christy Award finalist.  Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower.  Visit her website at, on Twitter: RachelHauck or on Facebook: RachelHauck.

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe' Book Review

A Heavenly Novel

SUMMARY:  What if you could ask God anything?  What would you ask?  And how would He answer?
     Chelsea Chambers is on her own.  After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Cafe', an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention.  But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help.  Better yet, a miracle.
     Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea's door, and with him, an even more curious string of events.  Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Cafe', and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino.  They've come for the internet connection to the divine.  Now the cafe' has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life's biggest questions.
     When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own.  After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask God a question of her own.  Heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

REVIEW:  Max Lucado and company hit the ball out of the ballpark with this one.  The story grabbed me from the very beginning, held on tight through the twists and turns and didn't let go until the very end.  There were times I caught myself laughing out loud (even out in public) and a few times when tears came to my eyes.  There is so much I want to say about this book but to do so would give away some keys parts.  Suffice it to say, I loved Chelsea's story!!  If I had to pick a favorite character, it would definitely be Samuel/Manny.  He had me cracking up throughout the book with his view of life. 
     If you are looking for a fun read that will lift you up when you are at your lowest, this is the book for you.  To get a glimpse of Heaven and see how God works, open this book.  Neither God nor Max will disappoint!!

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers for review without compensation.

More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado.  He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sabotaged Book Review

Alaskan Courage Series
Book Five

SUMMARY:  Finally Returned Home, Reef McKenna Finds His Beloved Alaska Facing Its Greatest Threat
     Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and trouble-maker Reef McKenna were always at odds.  Now as they work search-and-rescue together for Alaska's arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments.  Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.
     Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared.  Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing:  Frank's daughter has been kidnapped.  Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life - but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

REVIEW:  The last book in Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series lives up to the reputation of the previous ones.  It is fast-paced with a plot that keeps you guessing how it will all work out.  Kirra is determined to find her cousin, but to do so, she has to face a very traumatic time in her life.  I love her strength and how she finally tells someone what happened and how supportive Reef was.  Even though the timeline for their relationship develops pretty quickly, I like how the author explained it and understood why.  The ending of the book, in the Epilogue, is a little cheesy, but I like cheesy.  
     If you are looking for a book and/or a series that will keep you on your toes as you try to guess the ending, this is one you will want to check out.  Now, this book would probably be okay as a stand-alone.  But, to fully understand the McKenna family and their significant others and all the family dynamics, I would suggest reading them in order.  My daughter and I love this series and hate that it is coming to an end.

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.
Dani Pettrey  is the acclaimed author of the Alaskan Courage series.  Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award, among others.  She and her family live in Maryland.  You can find her online at and on Facebook at

Monday, March 2, 2015

The A to Z Guide to Bible Signs & Symbols Book Review

Understanding Their Meaning and Significance

SUMMARY:  Uncover worlds of meaning behind the signs and symbols in Scripture.
     How might our understanding of God's Word be deepened if we recognized the significance of the signs and symbols found within its pages - signs that were clear to the original readers?  Throughout the Scriptures, signs and symbols weave a consistent message of God's presence, grace, and faithfulness.  This illustrated resource will help you appreciate key biblical images that reveal God's purposes and truth, such as 

  • Babylon
  • beast
  • candlestick
  • eye
  • fire
  • grapes
  • Jordan River
  • key
  • pigs 
  • sword
  • throne
  • and much more
Each of the more than one hundred entries includes multiple illustrations, explanations, and key Bible passages.  Sidebars, quotes, and photos make this guide approachable and engaging.

REVIEW:  Have you ever read the bible and wished you understood some of the imagery and references that were mentioned? A land of milk and honey - sounds kind of messy to me but the Israelites were very impressed with the description of the Promised land.  What is the difference between the tabernacle and the temple? Why is anointing with oil so important?  This book does an incredible job explaining the signs and symbols in easy to understand language.  Each entry has scripture showing where this imagery is used, pictures, a key verse and a quote from notable bible scholars and ministers.  The summaries are listed in alphabetical order and are very easy to find.  The layout of each is very easy to read.  I have been looking for something like this for a long time.  This is one tome that will stay on my shelves and will be referred to quite often as I read and try to understand scripture.  Anyone wanting to understand the bible better should get a copy of this book.

This book was provided by Baker Books for review without compensation.
Neil Wilson is the author of several books, including Were Your There? and The Handbook of Bible Application.  A graduate of Aurora College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Neil has ministered in Youth for Christ and as pastor of a local church.  He currently serves as a publishing project manager with Dr. James MacDonald's ministry Walk in the Word. 
Nancy Ryken Taylor is a freelance writer and editor who has worked behind the scenes on hundreds of books for many publishers, mainly in the areas of theology and Christian living.

Anna's Crossing Book Review

An Amish Beginnings Novel

SUMMARY:  Some endings are really beginnings . . .
     On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna Kรถnig reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life.  As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go.  But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home - assuming she survives.  She's heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World.  But fearfulness is something Anna has never known.
     Ship's carpenter Bairn resents the somber people - dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands - who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy.  All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him.  
     Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board.  When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation.  But has the revelation come too late?
     Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing - and the lives of two intrepid people who braved it.

REVIEW:  In her latest novel, Suzanne Woods Fisher explores the idea of when the Amish first came to America.  Persecuted in their native Germany and Switzerland, they hope to live peacefully, worshipping the way the want and raising their families in Penn's Woods in the New World.  This story is about what life may have been like on board the ships that carried them away from the familiar to the unknown.  
     This book was different from the author's usual stories as the setting is a ship.  She describes the difficulties on board for the passengers: overcrowding, the horrible smells, seasickness and other illnesses, storms, death, and running out of drinking water. The reader is pulled into the story by Anna's reluctant willingness to step out of her comfort zone to help her community and to stand up for them when difficulties arise.  She helps them when they get sick and champions for them to get out of the hold for fresh air at least once a day. The story of Bairn's life growing up is difficult which affects his outlook on life and fuels his desire to make money.  His admiration for Anna grows as he sees how she gives of herself and makes sacrifices, one of which could have caused her death.  I was drawn into their tale and the attraction they felt for each other, even though they came from two completely different worlds.  The ending was one I had not expected.  Even though I had part of it figured out, the author took some twists and turns that made ending even better.  This is a wonderful book worth checking out and reading.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.  She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp.  Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting.  She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines.  She lives in California.  Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.