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, August 15, 2017

Gathering the Threads Book Review

The Amish of Summer Grove Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, will Ariana's new perspectives draw her family closer together - or completely rip them apart?
     After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised.  Yet her excitement is mixed wit an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she's learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community.  Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana's Daed doesn't understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority.  Will she sow seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?
     Meanwhile, Skyler Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana's arrival threatens to unravel Skylar's new identity - and her sobriety.  Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities closer to His heart.  
     Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

REVIEW:  Cindy Woodsmall does a phenomenal job bringing an end to Ariana and Skylar's stories and all the intricacies involved with these families.  There were times when I wondered what choices Ariana would make and how it would play out.  When I thought I might have it figured out, the author would throw something else in play to change my thinking.  Skylar was a hard one to love all throughout the series.  Her animosity towards the parents that raised her, her biological parents and Ariana was exhausting.  But, I love how she grew as a woman, when she let God work in her heart and learned from those around her to become a better person.  Ariana also had some difficult choices to make.  The decisions she made were ones that causes her some pain but I love how they were perfect for her. 
     This is an amazing series. The books must be read in order as each one builds on the previous story.  The details that the author goes into were difficult to follow at times because there were so many moving parts but all were very important to the end game and makes for a fantastic read.  I highly recommend this series.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without any compensation.

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of early twenty works of fiction and non-fiction with more than a million copies sold.  Her connection with the Amish community has been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline, the Wall Street Journal, and a National Geographic documentary on Amish life.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Season to Dance Book Review

SUMMARY:  Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back.  Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.
     Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes every thing.
     Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement.  With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus.  But the ghost of his late wife, Ana's own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success.  Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

REVIEW:  I'll be honest.  There were many times while reading this book that I thought about putting it down and not reading any more.  It was not the story line. I found it engaging and captivating.  The problem I had was the actions of Ana.  This is not your typical clean Christian fiction.  While it doesn't go into details, Ana makes some bad decisions, which in turn leads to more bad decisions, and on and on.  But, as I continued to read, I realized this novel is a story of Ana's faith journey.  It is not neat, clean or quick.  It is messy, complicated and takes a long time for her to realize her need for a personal savior, Jesus.  God doesn't forget Ana while she is in the midst of her mess but sends people, events, and "coincidences" to let her know she is not far from His thoughts.  Even when life is looking its bleakest, God reminds her that He is right there with her. 
     This is a book that should be read by anyone who wants to see how Jesus loves us even when we don't deserve it and those who just want to experience God's grace again.

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

Patricia Beal has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States.  She graduated magna cum laude from the  University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English literature and worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S.Army for seven years.  Her feature story on a day in the life of "Bad Luck Squad" in Iraq won a Keith L. Ware award in print journalism.  She's an army wife for life, an army editor, and forever a ballerina.  Patricia writes from El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children.  A Season to Dance is her first novel.  Visit her website at

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Legacy Book Review

Secrets of the Shetlands series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  The dramatic conclusion to the Secrets of the Shetlands.
     Loni Ford's unexpected inheritance of substantial real estate - not to mention a title - in the Shetland Islands has caused more than a stir in the quiet fishing hamlet of Whales Reef.  How can life ever be the same with an outsider - and a woman at that - playing such a pivotal role in the life of this traditional community?  But it isn't just the locals who have deep misgivings about the current situation.  Loni herself never imagined this in her wildest dreams and wonders whether she's cut out for it.
     Loni would hardly let herself acknowledge that she's falling in love - with Whales Reef, with its hardy people, and with local chieftain David Tulloch, whose inheritance she has usurped, at least in the eyes of some.  Or has she merely been seduced by the simple, peaceful way of life that exists here?
     Yet life in Whales Reef is rarely without drama.  Deeps rifts exist between certain lifelong neighbors, and when a dead body is discovered, suspicion is cast in the direction of the Tulloch family.  How Loni and David face up to this challenge will profoundly shape their relationship, as well as the future of the island.

REVIEW:  This book was a satisfying conclusion to this Secrets of the Shetlands series.  I like how everything was wrapped up neatly, with quite a few surprises, by the end.  The author goes into great detail within Emily and Brogan's story, tying it together with Loni, David and their friends stories.  How he kept everything straight is amazing.  Now, I don't know if I would call it a dramatic conclusion to the series but this novel answered questions about Loni's family's past and solves a mystery.  Probably my favorite part is the change in Hardy.  I also like how each person's faith is subtly woven throughout their lives and actions.  Their faith is not flimsy but strong, vibrant, and growing.  You can see Christ and His teachings through the behaviors of the characters. 
     When you read this series, you need to read the books one after another.  Each book picks up where the one before left off and they refer to incidences and characters mentioned throughout the stories quite frequently.  A "Cast of Characters" was really needed since some characters are only mentioned a few times but become an important part the memories and saga.  

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

Michael Phillips is a bestselling author who has penned more than seventy books, both fiction and nonfiction.  Michael and his wife, Judy, spend time each year in Scotland but make their home near Sacramento, California.  Visit Michael's website at