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 30, 2015

Miracle Drug Book Review

SUMMARY:  Overcoming these odds would take more than a miracle drug - it would take a miracle.
     The infection wasn't supposed to happen, but it did.  The treatment was supposed to take care of it, but it didn't.  Dr. Josh Pearson believes an experimental drug not yet approved by the FDA may be the antidote.  But there's only one dose available for two patients:  the former president of the United States . . . and Josh's girlfriend.
     With the nation's eyes on him, Josh must pull off a miracle to save a man who holds a good deal of power and the woman who holds his heart.

REVIEW:  The summary of this book really intrigued me and the book lives up to most of the hype.  Trying to figure out who was behind the attack on David Madison, the former president, and Rachel Moore, the nurse who was accompanying him on a scouting trip in South America, was difficult.  About the time I thought I had narrowed down the suspects, new information would come out that threw a wrench in my thinking.  The attempts on Madison's life seemed to get lost in the other parts of the story at times, though. 
      It was interesting and eye-opening to read about experimental and new drugs and how the CDC operates in regards to these medicines.  It got me to wondering if there are any new medicines that have been developed that aren't being examined more thoroughly due to limited funds or limited usages.
     I liked the way the author weaved faith in throughout the novel and how prayer was very beneficial to all the characters.

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

Richard L. Mabry, M.D., is a retired physician who writes "medical suspense with heart."  His novels have won multiple awards.  He and his wife life in northern Texas.  You can follow Richard online at, as well as on Twitter (@RichardMabry) and on Facebook at RMabryBooks.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ties That Bind Book Review

The Amish of Summer Grove Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  Ariana's comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel.  Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together - or simply tear them apart?
     Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways.  She has two aspirations: open a cafe' in historic Summer Grove to help support her family's ever-expanding brood, and keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.
     Five years ago Quill and her dear friend Frieda ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal.  When she unexpectedly encounters him again, she realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.
     Despite how things look, Quill's goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that might hurt her, including the reasons he left.  After returning to Summer Grove, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of.  His loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust - because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.
     Ties That Bind is the first novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

REVIEW:  This story blew me out of the water!!  While there are a lot of events and people to keep straight, this composition kept my attention all the way through.  I found myself praying for Ariana, Skylar, their parents, etc as I read through difficult situations and massively tough decisions they faced.  Family can be those you were born into and those who come along side you for life's journey.  The struggles within this Amish community were difficult, as it seemed to be rules and regulations instead of grace and mercy.  While all are needed, some are needed more than others.  I hope I can get a copy of the next book when it comes out because I would LOVE to read more about Ariana and Skylar and their struggles as they adjust to the new "norm."  
    If you want a book that is full of intrigue and that will grab at your heart strings, this is one you want to pick up and read.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books
for review without compensation.

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written more than a dozen works of fiction and one of nonfiction.  Her connection with the Amish community has been widely featured in national media outlets.  She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.

A Chameleon, A Boy and A Quest Book Review

SUMMARY:  The Adventure of a Lifetime
     Journey through Africa with ten-year-old Mu and discover how one simple encounter can change everything.  J.A. Myhre's new adventure fiction series for kids and young adults blends magical realism, page-turning action, and subtle gospel themes.
     Orphaned ten-year-old Mu's drudgery-filled life changes forever when he meets a talking chameleon and the pair embark on an adventurous quest in the ever-changing landscape of Africa.

REVIEW:  This was an intriguing story of a boy trying to find out where he belongs.  Mu's companion is a chameleon who directs him where he needs to go, helps him communicate with other animals for help and food, and gives him advice about life.  The journey he takes is dangerous, fraught with men who want to kidnap him, animals that could kill or maim him, and paths across the savanna and up high mountain passes.  Along the way, Mu learns more about his birth parents, the uncle he lived with and what he is made of.  He makes some very difficult choices, the consequences of one he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
     This novel was written for families and young adults.  There were a couple of places I wouldn't want my younger child to read because it was difficult for me.  But, all in all, it was a great story of God's faithfulness and leading us along life's highways.  Check it out and see what you think.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and New Growth Press 
for review without compensation.

J.A. Myhre, MD
, serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades.  She is passionate about health care for the poor, training local doctors and nurses, promoting childhood nutrition and development, and being the hands of Jesus in the hardest places.  She is married to her best friend and colleague Scott, and together they have raised four children for whom these stories were written as Christmas presents.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Respectable Actress Book Review

SUMMARY:  When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.
     India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father's death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South.  Her first stop is Savannah's Southern Palace.  On the eve of the second night's performance, something goes horribly wrong.  Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.
     A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best - and handsomest - lawyer in Savannah to defend India.  A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simon's Island.  He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.
     Because India can't go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date.  India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip.  But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip's dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions.  Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom.  If only he will believe her.

REVIEW:  This is an interesting story.  India is accused of murdering her co-star after he is shot by her on stage in front of a packed theater.  But, appearances can be deceiving.  Philip is determined to find the real murderer while the public is determined India is the only one at fault. 
     Unfortunately, there are quite a few other mysteries that need to be solved within this story that get tangled up with the information about India.  About the time I thought the first story line was to be solved, I realized I was still in the first quarter of the book and another enigma made an appearance.  Between India's trial for murder, the disappearance of a former slave, the death of Philip's wife, the mystery woman at the theater before Arthur's murder, and the vanishing funds of the theater, trying to keep track of all the questions and problems was difficult.
     My favorite part of the novel was even though India and Philip were attracted to each other, they did not rush their affection for each other.  They both grieved the loss of someone they loved and wanted to pursue their relationship slowly. 
     A Respectable Actress is a good book.  It was an easy read and the ending was enjoyable.  Check it out for yourself.

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

Dorothy Love, a native of West Tennessee, makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever.  An accomplished author, Dorothy is known for her Hickory Ridge novels among others.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Imposter Book Review

The Bishop's Family Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  A heart once deceived should not be easily fooled again . . . 
     Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out:  she was going to marry John and live happily ever after.  But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future.  When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees.  She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose.
     What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed - and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time.  Is Andy for real or too good to be true?  She's been deceived once before, and she isn't planning on experiencing it again.
     Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a tale of love, uncertainty, and trusting God to write your story.

REVIEW:  This story is an easy read.  The characters, most of them, are lovable and will make you smile.  Some make you want to wring their necks at their immaturity or deceptiveness.  My favorite ones, besides Katrina, were Birdy, Thelma and David.  There were times I just wanted to hug them for their outlook on life and their compassion towards others.  Birdy's look at life and the things around her with heavenly eyes made me stop and think about how I viewed everything.  Thelma, although she came off as a gruff old lady at first, was sweet and thoughtful, especially when it came to Katrina.  David's heart for a pure fellowship with God instead of rules and regulations made some people angry but many in his community admired his stand and desired to have it too.  Katrina had some hard decisions to make.  I love how she stood by her decisions and how her family came along side her and supported her without question or condemnation.  
     This is a good book.  It does refer a lot to instances and people that are found in Ms. Fisher's other Amish novels set in Stoney Ridge.  People who have not read any other of her novels may wonder if they missed something at times.  I enjoyed this book and hope others do, too.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna's Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish.  She lives in California.  Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Girl from the Train Book Review

International Bestseller

SUMMARY:  Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz.  Jakob Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.
     As World War II draws to a close, Jakob fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia.  They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl's unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.
     Gretl is the only survivor.  Through spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people.  When Jakob discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home.  For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.
     But she can't stay with him forever.  Jakob sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families - so long as Gretl's Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered. 
     Separated by continents, politics, religion, language and years, Jakob and Gretl will likely never see each other again.  But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

REVIEW:  To be completely honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book.  After it arrived, I didn't open it for about a week, imagining it to be full of hurt, depravity, sadness and overwhelming grief.  But, when I did open its pages and started reading Gretl's story, I had a very difficult time putting it down.  Yes, Gretl's life was difficult and there was sadness and formidable times but the way the story was written, it was not overwhelming and was distributed throughout the story as to not grieve the reader too much at one time.  Gretl adapted to each change gracefully and without question, even though it may not have been what she wanted to do.  I loved how her new family in South Africa didn't try to make her forget her previous life but helped her adjust to all the newness, even commenting how they each had made major changes in their lives.  The weight of all the secrets Gretl keeps is very heavy.  The way her family reaches out to her to help her with her burdens is amazing.
     The whole book shows modern-day readers in America just how difficult life was during and after the war for both families and orphans.  It was not easy and their struggles should not be forgotten.
     This was an excellent piece of literature that will stay with me a very long time.  Check it out yourself.  You will not be disappointed.

This Advance Reader's Copy was provided by Fiction Guild and 
Thomas Nelson Publishers for review without compensation.
Irma Joubert, international bestselling author, was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing.  Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail.  She's the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.  Find her on Facebook at irmajourbertpage.

Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible & Christianity Book Review

SUMMARY:  Your biggest questions about God and faith - answered.

     This book provides short and to-the-point answers to pressing questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity, including
  • What will heaven be like?
  • Can a Christian be demon possessed?
  • Do science and faith conflict?
  • Is hell a real place?
  • Is it possible to prove God exists?
  • What is God like?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • and many more.
If you want a clear introduction to the essential teachings of Christianity, look no further.

REVIEW:  The title says it all.  The questions are big and difficult, at times, but the answers are short and concise.  The authors have nine sections with questions that people have who either don't understand Christianity or who maybe are Christians but don't fully understand God, the Christian faith and their Christian walk.  At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions and key scripture passages, when necessary.  As the authors state in the preface, this book cannot answer all the questions but it meant to be a tool to help you in your search and walk.  Volumes upon volumes have been written about each area; this book can help you find answers in one place with the tools you need to further your search, if need be. 
     This is a great resource book to have for Christians to have.  It reinforced some ideas I had and helped solidify others.  It's one I plan to keep in my library.

This book was provided by Baker Books for review without compensation.

Clinton E. Arnold is dean of Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California.  He is the author of many books, including 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare, and is the editor of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary.

Jeff Arnold is a high school English and logic teacher in Downey, California.  A former youth pastor, he is the creator of Unleashed, an intensive training camp that equips Christian teens to share their faith.  He also trains new believers in the basics of theology.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Methuselah Project Book Review

SUMMARY:  During World War II, German scientists started many experiments.  One never ended.
     Shot down over Nazi Germany in 1943, Roger Greene becomes both a prisoner and an unwilling guinea pig in a bizarre experiment.  Seventy years later, Roger still appears as youthful as the day he crash-landed - and he's still a prisoner.  Nearly insane from his long captivity, Roger finds his only hope in an old Bible.
     Not until our present time does Roger finally escape from the secret society running the Methuselah Project.  When he does, the modern world has become a fast-paced, perplexing place.  his only option is to accept the help of Katherine Mueller - crack shot, go-getter, and attractive to boot.  Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story?  And can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he's trying to flee?

REVIEW:  If you like the Marvel's Captain America movies and character, you will like this book.  Like Steve Rogers, Roger Green is as youthful as he was in 1943.  But, instead of volunteering for the experiment and being "asleep" for 70 years, Roger was kept prisoner by a Nazi scientist and his co-workers while they studied him. 
     This was a very interesting book.  The way the author handled the passage of seventy years was thought out and thought provoking.  It was intriguing how Roger found comfort and solace in reading the Bible, something he did not do before his capture.  I was a little jealous of the library he had, all the knowledge he gained from reading and how he retained everything he read.  I was impressed at how quickly he adapted to modern culture, even though it seems a little far-fetched at times.  There were a few places that his lack of modern-day knowledge and his interaction with people made me laugh.
     Katherine Mueller is determined to follow in her uncle and parents' footsteps and join the Heritage Organization.  Little does she know, this organization is not what she thinks it is and risks everything to help Roger.  I like how she sticks by Roger, helps him uncover his past, and provides great insight on everything Roger needs.
     This was a wonderful book.  I really enjoyed reading it and love how it is open-ended to allow for future additions to this marvelous story.

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

Rick Barry is the author of Gunner's Run, another World War II novel, Kiriath's Quest, and over 200 articles and fiction stories.  In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting ministries at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe.  He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times.  Rick lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Visit him at or on Twitter (@WriterRickBarry). 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hiding Places Book Review

SUMMARY:  The Harrison Lodge is full of hiding places where young Kate can discover all the secrets no one wants her to know.
     Eleven-year-old Kate keeps her knowledge to herself - one sister's stash of marijuana, the other's petty cash pilfering, her grandfather's contraband candy bars.  She protects her mother and Gran, too, screening out critical comments from the hotel suggestion box.  But suddenly the stakes are raised, her grandfather's best friend is murdered the day after Kate heard the two men arguing.
     At the same time, far from the quiet mountain resort, a homeless man flees a robbery gone wrong . . . a gang member seeks revenge for the death of his son . . . and a boy chooses the worst time to wield spray paint on a store window.  In a strange and spiraling sequence of events, their disparate worlds collide at Harrison Lodge.
     Kate offers shelter to one of them, unaware of the terrible consequences to the family she loves.  But people can hide in all kinds of ways, sometimes even in plain sight . . . and some secrets are just waiting to be exposed.

REVIEW:  This book was difficult for me to read at times.  There are four different viewpoints going on simultaneously throughout this novel: at times independent, others overlapping, then all of them converge into one big story.  All of the switching back and forth confused me at times.  When they converged, sometimes it was even difficult to figure what was going on where and who all were involved.
     Kate and Pearl were my two favorite characters.  Kate, with her need to protect those she loved, and Pearl, trying to make the ones she loved feel useful and needed, made this story.  It was interesting how Pearl, after faking dementia for many, many years, took charge when the lodge was hijacked and everyone was taken hostage, moving along secret passages and moving about like a specter.  Kate loved everyone and seemed to see the best in them.  She also brings out the protectiveness in those around her.
     The massive majority of the books I read are Christian-based fiction.  This book, while it is published by a Christian publishing company, is not overtly Christian fiction.  Church is mentioned only once and reading the bible or a walk with Christ is never portrayed.  But, if you think about things, Christ-likeness shows up in the characters.  Kate shows faint Christ-like qualities in that she sees the best in everyone, even if they don't deserve it.  Pearl's father, and Pearl, both love the unlovable and those who have been hurt or wronged by those around them.  Mr. Harrison reached out to the Japanese population in the US being shunned and distrusted during the second World War.  Pearl reaches out to Charlie, who has been shunned and distrusted by society.
    I commend the author for having all those involved in criminal behavior pay for their mistakes.  Often times, writers will let everyone off the hook except for the really bad characters.  This time, everyone paid for their crimes, but some are also shown mercy by the family.
      This book was okay, in my opinion.  There were too many things happening that made it difficult at times for me to follow along. 

This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers 
for review without compensation.

Erin Healy is the bestselling author of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning editor for numerous bestselling authors.  She has received wide acclaim for her novels Never Let You Go, The Promises She Keeps, The Baker's Wife, House of Mercy, Afloat, Stranger Things, and Motherless.  She and her family live in Colorado.