Wednesday, March 22, 2017

English Lessons by Andrea Lucado (Review)





  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (May 2, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601428952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601428950
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches



  • Could She Come to Love the Questions Themselves?

    The church wasn’t just a part of Andrea Lucado’s childhood. It was her childhood. It provided more than happy moments. It provided an invitation to know Jesus.

    When Andrea arrived in Oxford the year after she graduated from college, she expected to meet God there. What she didn’t expect was that God would be much bigger than she’d believed.

    In this engaging memoir, Andrea speaks to all of us who wrestle with doubt and identity. “So many nights in Oxford,” Andrea writes, “I felt like the details of my faith were getting fuzzier. Nights turned restless with questions. I questioned God’s existence, and the doubt was getting into my bones."

    In English Lessons, Andrea takes us through the roads of England and, more importantly, the paths of the soul. Here she explores the journey of a changing faith and an unchanging God—and why growing up starts with realizing just how small we are.

    My Review:

    This was an interesting Christian non fiction book. I love England and that was a big reason why I picked the book. It was memoir of the author's time spent in England as a student but also featured some of her life back in the USA. The main point of the book are the spiritual questions she struggled with during this time period of her life. They are universal in nature. How to witness to non believers without pushing them away is a big one. How to fit in without compromising your beliefs is another. The author was not perfect in these areas and admits to it. I did not like all the alcohol consumption in the book. It is not necessary to mention getting drunk several times and drink copious amounts of wine throughout. I am not against all alcohol, its just not appropriate for this kind of book. She had two somewhat love interests while in England. She does find some answers to her questions by the end of the book. Overall the book is okay. I enjoyed the descriptions of England and living in Oxford the best.


    Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. The daughter of best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado, she inherited an obsession with words and their arrangement. She has a masters degree in English literature from Oxford-Brookes University and contributes regularly to online and print publications such as Relevant magazine and SheReadsTruth.com. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find her laughing with friends at a coffee shop or running in the Texas hill country.

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


    Monday, March 20, 2017

    Written in Love by Kathleen Fuller (review)



  • Series: An Amish Letters Novel
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718082524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718082529


  • When a postal error creates pen pals of two young Amish people, can they put behind their past mistakes to see the bright future God has written for them?

    Jalon Chupp has a past he isn’t proud to claim. He’s worked hard to overcome his youthful mistakes, and he has recommitted himself to his faith. When he receives a sweet note included in a piece of misdirected mail, he can’t help but write back. Soon, the letters he receives from Phoebe are the highlights of his days, and with a hopeful heart, he suggests they meet in person.

    Phoebe, too, looks forward to every single one of Jalon’s letters. Living with her overbearing aunt, Phoebe doesn’t have too much to look forward to. But when Jalon suggests they meet, she panics—although she has shared some of the deepest longings of her heart with him, she hasn’t been entirely truthful about her past. But when Jalon shows up at her aunt’s doorstep, everything is revealed. And she can only pray he’ll forgive her for holding back the truth.

    In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them could pen.

    My Review:

    Written in Love is the first book in a new series called An Amish Letters. The plot was interesting and different than most other Amish books. Phoebe and Jalon end up being pen pals after one of Jalon's letters was accidently delivered to Phoebe and she wrote him back. They both have big secrets they are keeping from each other. The characters were well developed. There are some minor characters I hope we see in the next book in the series. The romance between Phoebe and Jalon is sweet. They both have had it rough in life so they are not perfect. I guessed the big secrets before they were revealed. The author waits a little late to reveal them. I enjoyed reading this Amish Christian fiction book. Recommended.





    Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, and the Amish of Birch Creek series, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at www.kathleenfuller.com, Twitter: @TheKatJam, and Facebook: Kathleen Fuller.

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


    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    Murder is No Accident by A. H. Gabhart (Review)



  • Series: The Hidden Springs Mysteries (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (March 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080072710X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727109


  • Young Maggie Greene may be trespassing in the old, empty Victorian mansion on a quiet street in Hidden Springs, but all she wants is some private time in the magnificent tower room to write her stories. Certain she'll be in trouble if caught, she hides when a realtor shows up. But someone else is in the house too, someone even more worried about getting caught. When Maggie finds the realtor's body at the bottom of a flight of stairs and the other person gone, Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane is called in. He assumes the realtor's death is a tragic accident--until a second person is found dead in the house. When Maggie is threatened, Michael must catch the murderer before anyone else dies.

    Cozy mystery fans will love this third installment in The Hidden Springs Mysteries series from an author who knows how to make small-town America sweet, sentimental--and a little sinister.

    My Review:

    This was a good Christian cozy mystery book. It is book three in the Hidden Springs series but can stand alone. The author did a good job developing the small town feel. There were several interesting unique characters. The series revolves around Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane. He grew up in Hidden Springs and has roots there. His only living family member is his Aunt who is a high school math teacher even though she is elderly. He has a girlfriend named Alex who spent her summers in Hidden Springs visiting her Uncle Reese. She is a lawyer in the big city and is not a small town girl. They love each other but that always stands in the way. There were two murders in the book. I did not solve them before the end of the book. I was surprised at one of the killers. The ending was mostly satisfying. I would have liked more closure between Michael and Alex. Recommended to fans of the genre.

                         

    Biography

    Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she's published many 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 Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life and as A.H. Gabhart is the author of the Hidden Springs mysteries.

    Ann lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann loves hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dog, Oscar. See more about her books at www.annhgabhart.com or join the conversation on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart

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

    Saturday, March 11, 2017

    Still Life by Dani Pettrey (Review)



  • Series: Chesapeake Valor (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764212958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212956



  • Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

    Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

    My Review:

    This is book two in the Chesapeake Valor series. I have read book one and loved it. This book was just okay for me. It had a lot going on and many characters. I can understand needing to set up for the next book in the series though. The true main focus of this book is Avery and Parker. I thought some of the characters needed a little more developing. The plot was interesting and detailed. It had a couple plot twists. Avery and her friend Skylar have been friends for a long time. Avery has a bad past that Parker does not know about. Searching for Skylar has forced her to reveal some of it to him. After they confirm Skylar is dead, they realize Avery's life might be in danger. Parker shows he cares about her by wanting to keep her safe. She stopped working for Parker in the first book because she cared too much for him and he was still in love with his dead wife. Will they ever find true love together? Overall this was a good Christian mystery suspense romance book. I can't wait to read book three in the series. Read book one first.



    Dani Pettrey is the bestselling author of the Alaskan Courage series and winner of the 2014 Daphne du Maurier award for Inspirational Novel, the 2014 Christian Retailing's Best Award for Suspense, and the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel. She and her husband reside in the D.C. Metro area. She can be found online at www.danipettrey.com.

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

    Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould (Review)

  • Series: Neighbors of Lancaster County (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764216945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764216947



  • Gregarious Rose Lehman, who's always the life of the Amish youth singings, is determined to marry the bishop's son, Reuben Byler--until the handsome Army buddy of her future brother-in-law shows up in Lancaster County. In comparison to Trevor, Reuben seems downright boring. Trevor shares Rose's sense of fun and adventure, and her easygoing disposition.

    When her sister Lila's buggy is rear-ended and Lila is horribly injured, Rose finds herself with more freedom than she's ever experienced. Everyone is so concerned about Lila that no one realizes Rose is sneaking out with Trevor. Except for Reuben. But in his usual passive way, he doesn't confront her, nor does he address the situation with her Dat or anyone else in the district. Rose appreciates Reuben's discretion, but she also resents it. Part of her relishes the freedom she's found with Trevor, but the other part of her wishes Reuben would "fight" for her, as much as any Amish man would. Too late, she realizes the foolish choice she's made. Has she ruined her best chance at love, or is there another path to happiness she just hasn't seen yet?

    My Review:

    This is book three in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series. I have only read this book. I never liked the main character Rose in this book. I did end up liking Reuben, her Amish love interest. I did not like the Lila injured part. It did not work in the story for me. The character of Lila in this book is not developed enough. There was a plot twist toward the end that took me a little by surprise. Overall, it was just an okay Amish romance book. I have read and liked other books by this author.



    Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starnes Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels including two Lancaster Amish series. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Oregon. Learn more at www.lesliegould.com.

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

    Sunday, March 5, 2017

    Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert (Review)




  • Series: Crisis Team
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141439036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414390369



  • ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past―new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards.

    Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell.

    Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past.

    Can hope spring from crisis?

    My Review:

    I loved this book. I have been waiting for Sloan's book throughout the series. This is book three in the Crisis Team series. I recommend reading them in order because Sloan is featured in the previous book. Sloan is a good girl in this book but not in the last. She has worked hard to overcome her drinking and attends AA meetings after a bad car accident that injured a friend and co worker. She moved to a whole  new city for a fresh start including a name change. She is also in hiding because of her ex's issues and the people hunting him. She is doing good until she snags the attention of Micah Prescott. He is the hospital's assistant director of public relations. He wants her to be part of the public image for the hospital. She is not going for it. They form an unlikely friendship that grows into more. There are complications and twists. The characters and plot are well developed, unique, and interesting. This is my favorite of the series. Recommended.




    Often called the author of "medical hope opera," Candace Calvert is an ER nurse who landed on the other side of the stethoscope after the equestrian accident that broke her neck and convinced her love, laughter--and faith--are the very best medicines of all.

    Her popular medical drama series (Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical and Crisis Team) offer readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine, along with charismatic characters, pulse-pounding action, tender romance, humor, suspense--and an encouraging prescription for hope. Think "Grey's Anatomy finds its soul"!

    A native northern Californian, mother of two and proud grandmother to eight, Candace is a passionate "foodie," equally at home with a whisk in her hand as she is penning stories. Folks who follow her on Twitter and Facebook will find photo-embellished recipes,funny insights into the writing life, snippets of upcoming work, and a chance at book giveaways. Please visit her website at: www.candacecalvert.com

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

    The Classics Club Spin 15 My List

    The Classics Club Spin #15 My List

    Update And the winner is #12

    I need to have it read before May 1!


    1. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Burns
    2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    4. Brave New World by Adolphus Huxley
    5. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
    6. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
    7. Middlemarch by George Eliot
    8. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein
    9. Greenery Street by Denis Mackail
    10. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
    11. Mariana by Monica Dickens
    12. Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell
    13. Good Evening Mrs. Craven by Mollie Panter Downes
    14. Cold Comfort Farms by Stella Gibbons
    15. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    16. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    18. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
    19. Listening Valley by D. E. Stevenson
    20. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift