Thursday, August 27, 2015

'Til We Meet Again by Ray and Betty Whipps (Review)

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 18, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496405487

  • Ray and Betty Whipps both served in Europe during WWII: Ray as an infantryman under General Patton in the trenches of Normandy, Paris, and Belgium, and Betty as a field nurse in Cherbourg, France. The two met when Betty tended to Ray after he was injured in a mortar blast. Both strong Christians, the two bonded over their shared faith, and as Betty nursed Ray back to health, they fell in love and vowed to marry after the war. However, soon after Ray returned to his unit, he was captured by German forces and held captive in Stalag VII, Germany’s largest prisoner of war camp. It was there that Ray’s faith was put to the ultimate test as he endured the most horrific weeks of his life―weeks marked by brutality, malnutrition, back-breaking labor, and near-constant death. The only thing that kept him alive was the dream of someday reuniting with Betty.

    Told in first person from Ray’s perspective, with personal wartime letters from Betty interspersed throughout, ’Til We Meet Again is a sweeping love story set amid the backdrop of WWII. The perfect combination of “in the trenches” battlefield accounts and classic 1940s romance, this memoir reads almost like a novel. It is an epic story of faith, hope, and love, and a nostalgic look back at one of the most memorable periods in American history.

    My Review:

    This was a good Memoir set during WWII. Ray and Betty Whipps served in the US military. Betty was a nurse and Ray was in the army infantry. The majority of the book focuses on Ray's war experiences. Part of the love story came from the copies of Betty's letters home. The book is mainly told from Ray's perspective. The book was well written and easy to read. The story held my attention from beginning to end. My favorite part of the book is witnessing the Christian faith of Ray and Betty in action. I do wish the love story was a bigger part of the book. Overall this was an interesting memoir that I enjoyed reading. Recommended.

    Review copy provided by Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    "Anne of Green Gables," My Daughter, and Me: What My Favorite Book Taught Me about Grace, Belonging, and the Orphan in Us All by Lorilee Craker (Review)

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (August 20, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496403438

  • A charming and heartwarming true story for anyone who has ever longed for a place to belong.

    “Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me is a witty romp through the classic novel; a visit to the magical shores of Prince Edward Island; and a poignant personal tale of love, faith, and loss.

    And it all started with a simple question: “What’s an orphan?” The words from her adopted daughter, Phoebe, during a bedtime reading of Anne of Green Gables stopped Lorilee Craker in her tracks. How could Lorilee, who grew up not knowing her own birth parents, answer Phoebe’s question when she had wrestled all her life with feeling orphaned―and learned too well that not every story has a happy ending?

    So Lorilee set off on a quest to find answers in the pages of the very book that started it all, determined to discover―and teach her daughter―what home, family, and belonging really mean. If you loved the poignancy of Orphan Train and the humor of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, you will be captivated by “Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me. It’s a beautiful memoir that deftly braids three lost girls’ stories together, speaks straight to the heart of the orphan in us all, and shows us the way home at last.

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this book especially because Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite series ever. The author has a good writing style and the story flowed well. The only part I did not like is where she speculates on what the different birth parents were thinking at different times. The main theme of the book revolves around her adoption, Anne's adoption, and her daughter's adoption. The book is a memoir and she tells her life story along with the others seamlessly. Her humor is refreshing. The book held my attention from beginning to end. I loved the parts of Anne of Green Gables she works into the book. I am convinced I need to re read it now. I have a different perspective having read this book. God is our heavenly father which makes us not truly orphans is one the things I am taking from this book. Recommended.

    Lorilee Craker speaks for MOPS groups and at other events for mothers. She writes on entertainment for a major daily newspaper and is the author of several books including Loving Life with Your Preschooler. She lives in Michigan with her husband, Doyle, and their two sons.

    Review copy provided by Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin (Review)

  • Series: Waves of Freedom (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (August 4, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723422

  • It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

    Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

    My Review:

    Through Waters Deep starts a new series called Waves of Freedom. It is a Christian historical fiction book set right before World War Two in the US. The main characters in this book are Jim Avery and Mary Stirling. This is one of my favorite authors because she puts enough historical detail without weighing the book down. I enjoyed reading this book. It had romance, suspense, and mystery. The characters and plot were well developed and interesting. The book held my attention from the beginning to end. I felt like I was a part of the book. Mary and Jim were an unlikely team. Mary comes off as timid, quiet, and shy. Jim is a good looking navy officer. They went to high school together but Jim was enraptured with Mary's best friend. Then they meet up again unexpectedly in Boston and become friends. They have chemistry but Mary is convinced he would never want her. He does not speak up when he starts to like her and almost loses the chance forever. I liked how the characters matured over the course of the book. Great start to a new series. I have read and enjoyed all of this author's books. Recommended.

    Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, In Perfect Time, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2014, On Distant Shores was a finalist for the Golden Scroll Awards from both AWSA and the Christian Authors Network. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. Visit for more information.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    The Innocent by Ann Gabhart (Review)

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 7, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723415

  • Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. The war ends without further word. Now penniless, in debt, and forced from her home, Carlyn seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, only to discover that they will not allow her to keep her beloved dog, an animal that has been her faithful companion since her husband went off to war. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie has pity on the lovely young woman and agrees to take the dog. Carlyn is just settling into life as a sister in the Shaker village when she receives a devastating letter confirming her worst fears. As she wrestles with whether to commit herself fully to the Shaker life, mysterious deaths begin to occur, and Carlyn comes under suspicion. Can Sheriff Mitchell help her expose the true culprit?

    My Review:

    I think this is the first book I have read featuring the Shakers. All I really knew is that they were famous for their plain furniture. This is a Christian fiction book set right after the War between the states. Carlyn does not know if she is a widow since her husband did not come back from or send word.  The government also has no clue. She has no money and owes on her house. Unfortunately her landlord is a horrible evil man and is trying to put her out. Back then unmarried/widow women did not have very many options. She lives by a Shaker settlement and knows they take in almost anybody because it is their way. She meets Sheriff Mitchell Brodie for the first time when the landlord has him come with him to give her warning to vacate her house. He ends having to take her dog because the Shakers allow no pets. He is taken with the lovely widow and wants to help in anyway he can. Mysterious deaths start happening at the Shaker village where she is having trouble fitting in. He comes to investigate and check on her. I know without a shadow of doubt I do not want to be a Shaker now. The author does a great job with descriptions and background without bogging the book down. I loved the relationship between Carlyn and Mitch. The book had a great mysterious/suspense feeling to it too. It was not a completely traditional historical fiction book which I liked. The book held my attention from beginning to end. Recommended.

    Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. She's published over twenty-five books for both adults and young adults. Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as a Top Ten Christian Fiction Book by Booklist magazine. Her first Shaker book, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life. See more about her books at

       Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley (Review)

  • Series: Logan Point (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 7, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722821

  • It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds's cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts Livy concerning a missing senator's daughter who was last seen in Logan Point, she notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. But with self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of Jennings, Livy is finding this investigation an uphill battle. With her future in law enforcement on the line, can she find a way to work with a man who is her polar opposite?

    My Review:

    This was a good Christian mystery/suspense book. As this is a third book in a series with repeating characters I recommend reading them in order. The main focus of this book is on Livy and Alex. Her cousin Robyn disappeared more than two years ago and Livy is one of the only ones who did not buy she left voluntarily. Livy works as a Memphis Detective and Alex is a PI. Their paths cross when he is hired to find a Senator's daughter whose case has similarities to Robyn. Livy is still struggling with a decision she made in the line of duty and ends up on leave. A new clue appears on Robyn's case and Livy ends up working with Alex reluctantly. The plot and characters were well developed and interesting. I did not guess who the bad guy was until the end. The romance between Alex and Livy was good. I liked the Southern setting. The conclusion was satisfying. I recommend the whole series. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

    Patricia Bradley's manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award (1st place, Inspirational), and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love award (1st place, Contemporary). Also the author of A Promise to Protect, Bradley is a published short story writer and is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    Hope Harbour by Irene Hannon (Review)

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 7, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724528

  • Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life--and love--altered her plans. When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter's. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives--including their own.

    Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites readers to come home to Hope Harbor, where love and hope bloom--and hearts heal.

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this newest contemporary Christian romance book by Irene Hannon. It held my attention from the beginning even though it is a little slower pace. Michael and Tracy have both loved before and experienced loss. The romance developed between them naturally. There was a secondary plot involving Michael's landlady. She was estranged from her only son and as the book goes on warms up.  The author did a good job on developing the characters and plot. They are unique and interesting. By the end of the book I loved the characters and wanted to visit Hope Harbor, Oregon. The conclusion was satisfying and fit the book. Highly Recommended.

    Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five novels, including That Certain Summer, One Perfect Spring, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, three HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, a Booksellers' Best Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore (Review)

  • Series: Cold Case Justice (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 21, 2015) 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414396682

  • 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.

    My Review:

    This was a great Christian suspense/mystery book with a little romance. It is the start of a new series called Cold Case Justice. I have read and enjoyed the authors other series too. In this book the main characters are Abby Hart and Luke Murphy. Abby is a police officer and Luke a private investigator. They had good chemistry and became friends even though their professions are sometimes at odds. You can also tell the author was a police officer for a long time. The details in the book ring authentic. The plot and characters were interesting and well developed. The conclusion was good but definitely leaves you wanting to read the next book immediately. Recommended.

    A retired Long Beach California police officer of 22 years (16 in uniform and 6 as a non-career officer), Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, patrol, administration, juvenile investigations and training. During the course of her career in uniform Janice found that faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work, one for a quarterly newspaper called "Cop and Christ", and another for the monthly magazine "Today's Christian Woman".

    With retirement Janice began to write longer pieces and several novels were born. Janice is excited and honored to now be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family. Accused, the first installment in her new suspense offering, The Pacific Coast Justice Series, was released February 1, 2012 and kicked off a brand new chapter in her writing career. In addition to suspense and action, her books feature strong female leads. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep you engrossed and leave you inspired.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.