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, June 30, 2015

Summer's List Book Review

SUMMARY:  A dying wish alters the course of a young woman's life.
     Life hasn't been easy for Summer Snow.  In acts of selflessness - caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore - she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others.  And the only shots she had at love . . . didn't work out.  She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something - or someone.
     Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind and quirky young man from Summer's past.  With Laney the Chihuahua along for the ride, a childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer.  Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

REVIEW:  Starting out, I really enjoyed this book.  The idea of Grandma giving Summer a chance to do something fun with her life and catch up on some of the fun she missed out on while taking care of others was enticing.  But, when the story got to Martin's brothers, I'm not sure what happened but the feel of the story changed for me.  It felt oppressive and weird.  This feeling followed me as I read but did lift towards the end of the book.  The ending was good and I liked the way everything tied up.

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

Anita Higman is a bestselling and award-winning author who has 40 books published (several coauthored) and has been a Barnes  Noble "Author of the Month."  Anita has a BA in the combined fields of speech communications, psychology, and art.  She loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.  Visit her online at

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Now & Forever Book Review

Wild at Heart Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Saddle up for romance and adventure with the Wilde sisters!
     Shannon Wilde is the middle sister - and the one who loves animals.  She's established her own homestead and is raising sheep for their wool.  Things are going fine . . . until Shannon gets swept over a cliff by Matthew Tucker!
     Tucker seizes every opportunity to get away from civilization, but one particular walk in the woods ends with him sprinting away from an angry grizzly and plunging into a raging river, accidentally taking Shannon Wilde with him.  Their adventure in the wilderness results in the solitary mountain man finding himself hitched to a young woman with a passel of relatives, a homestead, and a flock of sheep to care for.
     As Tucker and Shannon learns to live with each other, strange things begin to happen on Shannon's land.  Someone clearly wants to drive her off, but whoever it is apparently didn't count on Tucker.  Trying to scare Matthew Tucker just makes him mad - and trying to hurt the woman he's falling in love with sets off something even he never expected.

REVIEW:  Mary Connealy's latest novel starts off at a dead run and doesn't let up until the end.  Shannon is a fun, determined, but loving heroine.  I love how she and Tucker balance each other out but also stretch each other beyond their comfort zones. Even though Shannon and Tucker are put in a compromising situation at the beginning of the book, I like how they did not take advantage of it and do something they would regret.  After they are forced to get married, I like how they do not rush their relationship but take time to get to know each other first.  There were a few things I had figured out pretty quickly regarding the plot but I like how the author doesn't make it obvious and makes you think.
     This is the second book in the Wild at Heart series.  You will need to read the first one to understand this one completely.  It piggybacks onto the first and continues the story.  This is one of my favorite novels out this year!

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

Mary Connealy is the author of the acclaimed Trouble in Texas and The Kincaid Brides series, as well as several other series.  She has been nominated for a Christy Award, was a finalist for a RITA Award, and is a two-time winner of the Carol Award.  She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband.  Learn more about Mary and her books at:

Drawing Fire Book Review

Cold Case Justice
Book One

SUMMARY:  With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, homicide detective Abby Hart's best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide.  But as she works with the handsome PI to unravel the serial killer case, she must also confront the spark between them.  When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she's anxious to talk to him about a cold case that's personal to her, one Luke is interested in as well.
     As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents' lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible.  With everyone else telling her to walk away from this case, Abby and Luke search for evidence buried beneath years of deceit . . . and soon realize that someone will do anything to make sure this case remains cold.

REVIEW:  Janice Cantore's latest novel is wonderful.  She really knows how to grab the reader's attention at the beginning of her books and hold it to the end.  I found myself wanting to continue reading when I didn't need to, trying to figure out what would happen next. 
     Abby works hard at her job, but finds that solving the mystery surrounding her parents' death is slowing taking over.  Luke, who is also interested in getting answers, works hard to find missing children and teens.  Working together causes friction in their personal and professional lives, but they get answers to some of their questions.
     I can't wait for the next book to come out and see how the rest of the story goes.

This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review without compensation.
Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired.  Her twenty-two years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories.  She has penned six novels: the Pacific Coast Justice series, Visible Threat, Critical Pursuit, and Drawing Fire, the first book in the Cold Case justice series.

Hearts Made Whole Book Review

Beacons of Hope Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  1865  Windmill Point, Michigan
     Can she forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?
     After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse.  But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper - even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
     Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle.  He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation - the chance to hide from his past is appealing.  He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light.  When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help.  Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope . . and possibly love?

REVIEW:  Jody Hedlund's latest novel does not disappoint!!  She uses subjects such drug and alcohol addiction, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, misperception, abuse (animal and child) in a very eye opening and captivating way.  Caroline is a strong woman who has been taking care of her siblings and the lighthouse since her father died.  I love how even though she is strongly disappointed that her job as lighthouse keeper has been given to someone who does not know how to do the job, she steps up and tries to teach Ryan and, in the process, helps him overcome his addiction to opium and alcohol.  Many times Caroline is dealt a raw hand and is not given the opportunity to prove herself worthy, but she doesn't let that stop her from doing the best that she can.  
     This is a wonderful book!  Though it is the second in the Beacons of Hope series, you don't need to read the first book to understand this one.  I can't wait until the third one comes out next year!

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

Jody Hedlund is the author of over ten novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher's Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance.  She makes her home in Michigan, not far from the lighthouses she writes about, and loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Simple Prayer Book Review

Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel
Book Four

SUMMARY:  Linda is no stranger to hardship.  Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.
     As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben.  She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth.  When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she's finally able to realize some confidence.
     Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father.  Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he's put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother's stroke.  Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decided to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast.  Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.
     As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.
     Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them?  And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?

REVIEW:  This book is about forgiveness and loving those who have hurt you.  It is a wonderful picture of Christ welcoming us home after we've made mistakes and asked for forgiveness.  Aaron made LOTS to mistakes as a teenager and hurt his family and community.  But, when he returned to his family, most everyone had forgiven him, even those in the community he had wronged accepted him back.  Linda has been hurt by family whose dreams were shattered so they took their hurt out on her.  As she forgives them, the lives of both Linda and those she has forgiven change for the better.
     Even though this is the fourth book in this series, I was not lost at all, even though I've only read one other.  The books are self-contained and, when something from another book is mentioned, it is explained briefly.  This is a wonderful book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

This book was provided by BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for review without compensation.

Amy Clipston is the author of A Gift of Grace and four additional novels in the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series.  She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled-rotten cats.

Once Upon a Summertime Book Review

A New York City Romance
Follow Your Heart Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  She's looking for her big break.  She never imagined it would depend on a blast from her past. 
     Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry.  But it's a safe choice for a young woman starting out her career.
     Then, out of the blue, she gets the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to reinvent herself and reinvigorate her career by moving to New York City. She applies for a management position at a stylish new hotel, The Rothsberg.  But the city is full of surprises - not the least of which is discovering that Sean O'Neil, a once-upon-a-time crush, has applied for the very same position.
     This sweetly romantic tale of dreams come true takes you through the storied streets of New York City - and into the depth of the human heart.

REVIEW: Melody Carlson's latest novel is light-hearted with really likeable and admirable characters.  Even though Anna wanted a big, important job after school, she went back home to work in the local motel to help her grandmother.  Sean has a big heart.  I like how, even though they were interested in each other, they knew it was against company policy to date so they tried to temper their feelings.  Even though Anna didn't get the job she initially wanted, she is determined to make the best of the one she was given and gives it her all.
     I was surprised at how little the characters' faith came into play.  If it was mentioned, it was an afterthought.  It seemed as though their faith in God wasn't a big deal to them.  Also, I wasn't sure how to take Anna's friend Marley.  She wants to room with Anna but travels a lot for her job as a flight attendant.  When Anna decorates their new place while Marley is working, Marley gets mad because the decorating is already done.  She also gets jealous of Anna and Sean spending time together, even though all three have been friends for years.  The ending also left me with quite a few unanswered questions. 
     All in all, it was a good, lighthearted, fun read.  This is a good one to take on vacation.  It was a pretty quick read.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than 6.5 million.  She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice.  She and her husband live in central Oregon.  Learn more at

Monday, June 1, 2015

Love's Rescue Book Review

Keys of Promise Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  Can a girl enamored with the adventurous seas ever be content with the tame life of a Southern belle?
     When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be.  But nothing goes according to plan.  Her brother resents her, the servants do no obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart.  Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the man he appears to be.
     As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to perform her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.
     From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws you into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy South.

REVIEW:  There are a few things that this author does in this story that I found interesting.  The main love interests admit to being attracted and in love right from the beginning.  Now, it takes a little longer for them to tell each other but they do not deny their feelings.  Elizabeth's maid, Annabelle, is a lot more of a risk taker than others I've read about. I like her relationship with John and how she would risk anything to spend time with him.  Charlie is not your typical supporting character and I found him to be refreshing.  I would love for the author to use him as a hero in a future novel.
     There were also a lot more that could have been done with the story, in my opinion.  The relationship between Elizabeth and Annabelle was mercurial.  Elizabeth wanted Annabelle to be her close friend one minute and then, the next, would treat her like a slave.  Elizabeth's aunt went from being a tyrant throughout most of the book to being loving and understanding at the end.  The story was anti-climatic for me.  I like how the story ended with Elizabeth's father but I guessed it pretty quickly.
     All in all, this was a good book.  I look forward to reading others in this series and by this author.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Christine Johnson is the author of several books for Steeple Hill and Love Inspired and has been twice named a finalist forRomance Writers of America's Golden Heart award. When not writing, she loves to hike and explore God's majestic creation.  She and her husband, a Great Lakes ship pilot, split their time between northern Michigan and the Florida Keys.  Learn more at