Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wonder by Travis Thrasher (Review)

  • Series: The Books of Marvella (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: TH1NK (December 18, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612916248

As the town of Appleton is rocked by the death of a teenager, the high school year begins under a dark shadow. Brandon continues to pursue Marvel while trying to discover what she believes will happen to her. It’s easy to fall more in love with her. It’s easy to forget she thinks God told her she will have to sacrifice herself to save others. But Brandon can’t forget about the shapeless evil that seems to watch him around corners and seep through the streets of his town. Strange things start to occur to Brandon. He starts looking for clues about the dead student, thinking this might be related to whatever evil Marvel is talking about. He also continues to battle against the guys picking on a nerdy senior named Seth Belcher. Marvel falls in love with Brandon, and he truly accepts her faith even though he doesn’t understand what to make of it. Something is growing in the darkness. Something is coming. Will Brandon be able to stand up against the malice that draws ever closer? Will he be able to save Marvel from the horrors to come?

My Review:

This was a great second book in the Books of Marvella series by Travis Thrasher. It picks up right where Marvelous ended. This series has to be read in order to make complete sense.  It held my attention from beginning to end. I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next. The author does a great job creating an interesting and different plot with memorable characters. I love Brandon and Marvel. Neither one of them has an easy good life but they have each other. Marvel is convinced that she is going to die saving someone soon and that she is not meant to be more than friends with Brandon. They both want to be more than friends though and struggle even more with it in this book. The book is not preachy. Marvel is spiritual but Brandon does not get it. There are several mysteries throughout this book and series. His friend Devon saw glowing lights, the deaths of local teenage boys, Brandon's strange dreams, Phil from the record store, and a local drug ring are the main ones. This book is a little edgier than most Christian books and deals with some serious topics including drug/alcohol abuse, familial abuse, and normal teen struggles. I recommend it to teens and up in age group. Highly Recommend the whole series. I can't wait to read the next book and find out what happens to Brandon and Marvel.    

Critically acclaimed author Travis Thrasher has made a career out of defying expectations. He's written over twenty-five books that have crossed the spectrum between love stories and supernatural thrillers. His variety of inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, and pastors. He's also helped write memoirs and self-help books. He lives with his wife and three daughters in a suburb of Chicago.

For more information on Travis, visit www.travisthrasher.com

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

Answers to your questions about Heaven by Dr. David Jeremiah (Review)

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 1, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496402127

Is heaven a literal place?

What does it look like?

What will we do all day?

Will there be angels there?

We all have questions about what heaven will be like. Fortunately, Scripture is filled with helpful information about our future home—we just have to know where to look.

Dr. David Jeremiah has spent a lifetime studying what the Bible has to say about heaven, and now in Answers to Your Questions about Heaven, he has done just that—provided answers to your most pressing questions about heaven, angels, and eternity in a straightforward, easy-to-understand, Biblical based book. A perfect gift for friends and family and a handy resource to keep on your own shelf, this handsome little book will ignite your imagination and whet your appetite for all the amazing experiences that await!

My Review:

 This was a short question and answer book about Heaven. Dr. David Jeremiah is a well known pastor and writer. I trust his interpretations based off scripture. The book was easy to understand and laid out well. Age group wise I think middle school and up would be able to understand this book. Recommended to those looking for an uncomplicated simple book with answers to questions about Heaven.  

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

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn (Review)

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (August 14, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670015443

A family history with recipes, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good offers a flavorful tale spanning three generations as Flinn returns to the mix of food and memoir readers loved in her New York Times best-seller The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. From a Route 66 trek to San Francisco to their Michigan farm to the shores of Florida, humor and adventure defines her family even in the worst of times. (Think Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle meets the works of Ruth Reichl topped with a dollop of Julia Child.) You'll savor Uncle Clarence's divine corn flake-crusted fried chicken, Grandpa Charles' spicy San Antonio chili and her grandmother's birthday-only cinnamon rolls. Through these flavors, Flinn came to understand how meals can be memories and cooking can be communication. Brimming with warmth and wit, fans of Luisa Weiss' My Berlin Kitchen, Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones and Butter and especially Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will delight in this revealing look at a family that just might resemble your own.

 My Review:

I enjoyed reading this latest memoir from author Kathleen Flinn. She incorporated stories from her family's past with the food they ate. The recipes are included in the book for anyone that wants to try them. There were many funny moments along with some more serious ones. Things were not always easy for them but they always had their family. Recommended. :) 

Kathleen Flinn has been featured in media outlets worldwide, including People, Elle, Bon Appetit, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio and CBS Morning News. Her acclaimed second book, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, was named a 2012 Book of the Year by the American Society of Journalists & Authors. She divides her time between Seattle and Anna Maria Island, Florida, with her husband, Mike Klozar, and their trusty rescue dog, Maddy. kathleenflinn.com

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

Hearing His Voice Devotional by Chris Tiegreen (Review)

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (September 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414366852

This year, learn to listen for the voice of the One who loves you most. We know for sure that God speaks to His people. Throughout the pages of Scripture, time after time, He guides, instructs, corrects, inspires, encourages, and reveals. Inspired writers even call Him “the Word.” He has always been vocal, and He always will be.

But what does He say to you? How does He say it? How can you know when you’ve heard Him? In The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional, Chris Tiegreen will help you discover patterns and practices you can adopt to hear God better. Listening to God is a process, a journey, and an adventure. He promises that those who seek Him will be rewarded with His presence and His voice. And the words of the living God are powerful and life-changing.

My Review:

The premise for this devotional was interesting to me. I just did not connect with the book .Each devotional consisted of a bible verse, words from the author, and a prayer. The passages from the author were confusing and did not shed any light for me on how to listen for God. I passed this book along so hopefully someone else might be enlightened.   

 Chris Tiegreen is an award-winning writer and editor at Walk Thru the Bible in Atlanta, Georgia. He has also been a missionary, pastor, journalist, photographer, and university instructor. He has helped plant churches in several states and countries and still enjoys travel and mission work. Most of his books are either devotionals or inspirational commentaries on Christian themes, and he especially enjoys challenging readers to break out of their traditional assumptions and really get to know God. He and his family live in the Atlanta area.

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

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pound Foolish by Dave and Neta Jackson (Review)

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Castle Rock Creative, Inc. (September 25, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982054499

Greg Singer coordinates consumer sports shows for powerboats, four wheelers, snowmobiles, and jet skis-macho toys for outdoor men like himself. But the job puts tremendous stress on his marriage with Nicole, who for the first time notices the handsome lawyer at the end of the block. "Greener pastures?" When the recession hits Greg's industry, he thinks the crisis is merely an opportunity for God to bless him with unmatched prosperity, a promise he hears preached each Sunday, and he steps out in bold faith . . . But is he being "pound foolish"? The fourth in the Windy City Neighbors series, POUND FOOLISH explores the economic upheaval and uncertainties challenging every family. Intersecting with PENNY WISE (book three), the Jacksons employ the innovating storytelling technique of "parallel novels." Though each book follows its own drama and story arc, the characters' lives become intertwined and affect one another. Pound Foolish returns us to Beecham Street-a typical American neighborhood . . . where a growing friendship brings new meaning to prosperity.

My Review:

This is the fourth book in the Windy City Neighbors series. I have enjoyed reading the series this far. That said this was not my favorite book. I have not liked Greg Singer from the beginning. That may have been on purpose by the authors, I'm not sure. I still like the way the story is written using the technique of "parallel novels" and the characters staying the same throughout. Characters from previous books make an appearance in each book after. I enjoy learning more of their stories in the background. The main plot line in this book is the relationship between Greg and Nicole Singer. Greg is all about money and it starts to consume him. When he loses his job instead of finding another regular one he explores the crazy ones that pop up on the computer like selling a new energy drink. I found interesting the sermons being preached at their church and the way Greg was able to twist them to fit his money ideas. Nicole was the only one that realized the preaching was not sound. Greg and Nicole have communication issues anyway. Greg learned the hard way that get rich quick schemes do not work. He almost lost everything. Many couples will be able to relate to the struggles Greg and Nicole experience. The ending felt a little unreal but otherwise good. I look forward to reading book five in the series.

Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.
As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.
Find out more about Dave and Neta at http://www.daveneta.com/

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

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Review)

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 2, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800721930

Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy.

When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.

As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy--and Amos, too--that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

Join bestselling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, this story will charm readers into the holiday spirit.

 My Review:

I enjoyed reading this Amish Christmas Love story. The characters and plot were well developed and interesting. The love triangle was Bess, Billy, and Amos. Bess is a sweet Amish girl who is in love with Billy. He left the Amish years ago due to a misunderstanding and family issues.She never forgot him or stopped loving him. He became a rose rustler and lived among the English. Amos is Billy's cousin and loves Bess too. After Billy disappeared Amos started courting Bess. He finally got Bess to commit to a wedding date. Enter Billy right before the wedding. He came back because Bess found a possible "lost rose" on her grandmother's rose farm. Bess realized she still loved him but he was like a porcupine. The romance between Bess and Billy was great. I felt so bad for Amos but the chemistry between Bess and Billy was undeniable. The author uses flashbacks to tell part of the story. They were necessary but not always welcome.  The main theme of forgiveness came through nicely. I highly recommend all of this author's Amish stories.

 Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.

Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson (Review)

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 9, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800719661

After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends--plus a sizable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison's job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay.

Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

My Review: 

I enjoyed reading this sweet contemporary Christmas novella. We have three cats at my house that are spoiled rotten so I was interested in this plot line. I was not disappointed. The book held my attention from beginning to end. The author did a good job on telling the story from Garrison, a male, point of view. The story centers on Garrison inheriting his grandmother's six cats. She left very specific instructions on how to find them new homes. At first he plans on just giving them away easy but as the book goes on he finds himself getting very attached to them. He follows his grandmother's wishes and made friends along the way. One of which might end up being the love of his life. This was a touching Christmas story. The ending was satisfying and fit the book. Recommended.

 Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, as well as The Christmas Pony and A Simple Christmas Wish. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com

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

Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson (Review)

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 21, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722272

The truth may set you free--but it might also land you in some uncomfortably hot water.

Over the years, Micah Knight has exchanged many letters--and many secrets--with her longtime Amish pen pal, Zach. But Micah's kept quiet on the biggest secret of all--the fact that despite her name, she's a girl.

Now Micah finally has the chance to meet her pen pal face-to-face. She wants nothing more than to experience life on Zach's Amish farm, but she's more than a little anxious. Will he be angry at her for deceiving him all these years? And will she risk losing his friendship to find something more?

My Review:

I thought this was a light book with an interesting concept. It is an young adult book with an Amish twist. Micah is English and her pen pal Zach is Amish. They have exchanged letters for years. She never came out and told him she was a girl. Now they are teenagers and Zach invites her to come to the farm. He did not know she deceived him until she got there. He did not react in a good way. Things did not get any better either for a while. I thought his actions went on for too long and were unbelievable. His Amish family also did not behave like the ones I am used too in this kind of book.One of his sisters helped her when she could. In the whole book his parents never warmed up to her.  Micah was the best developed character in the book. I was a little surprised at the ending but happy. Recommended for fans of the genre.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books, including the Dating Games series, the Life at Kingston High series, Double Take, A Simple Song, and My Amish Boyfriend. She has received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot (Review)

  • Series: Texas Crossroads (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 21, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800734343

Marketing maven Kate Sherwood's world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is slow down to a crawl at Rainbow's End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. But she cannot deny her ailing grandmother's request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week (albeit fifty years ago). There Kate meets Greg Vange, the resort's handyman. But there's more to Greg than meets the eye--billions more, in fact, as he recently sold his successful software company and is at the resort in search of what's next for his life.

Kate isn't looking for romance, but she can't deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. She even starts to see potential in the rundown resort. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate's long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

 My Review:

This was an okay Contemporary Christian romance book. I was doubtful in the beginning that I would like it because the plot is predictable and done before. The characters were well developed though. I enjoyed the relationship between Kate and Greg. There was a secondary romance between Kate's grandmother, Sally, and Roy, a local. Rainbow's End was an interesting location. It reminded me of camp movies. I wanted to see more done with it in the book. This is the first book in the series so hopefully the next book in the series will start a revitalization of it. I look forward to reading the next book.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley (Review)

  • Series: Logan Point (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 7, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722814

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. When Tony dies just days later, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh and her nine-year-old son, TJ, from the killers. But how can Ben keep an eye on Leigh if she's doing everything in her power to avoid him? And could the secret that Leigh is keeping change Ben's life forever?

Suspense, intrigue, and a touch of romance make A Promise to Protect perfect for readers who like their stories with a hearty dose of mystery.

 My Review:

This was a good Christian romantic suspense book. It is second in the Point Logan series and can stand alone. The characters and plot were well developed and interesting.  I felt like I was experiencing the events with them.The sparks flew between Ben and Leigh. It kept my attention from beginning to end. My mind felt blown away at the end. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.  Recommended especially to fans of Dee Henderson, Irene Hannon, etc.

 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). She 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 www.ptbradley.com

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

Available September 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering (Review)

  • Series: A Drew Farthering Mystery
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764210976

When a celebrated ACTOR IS FOUND MURDERED IN HIS DRESSING ROOM, all signs point to Drew's old flame. But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and this quickly becomes his MOST puzzling case YET.
Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She's married now, no longer an actress--but the lead actor in her former troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur and her family in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.

Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline's relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?

 My Review:

I did not enjoy this book as much as the previous books in the series. This book can stand alone but reading the first two adds background history to the characters. The pace for this book was really slow. The plot definitely meandered along. There was more dialogue than mystery/suspense. The ending was explosive though. The author did a good job creating the feel of England. The faith element was a little awkward and seemed like it was an afterthought. Overall it was nice to revisit Drew, Madeline, and Nick. I hope there is another book in the series.

Julianna Deering is the creator of the acclaimed Drew Farthering Mystery series. She has always loved British history and is a particular fan of the writings of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in business administration and spent several years as a certified public accountant. She lives outside Dallas, Texas. Learn more at www.juliannadeering.com

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

Deceived by Irene Hannon (Review)

  • Series: Private Justice (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 7, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800721251

 A grieving mother. A mysterious child. And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.
For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.

 My Review:

I enjoyed reading this Christian suspense/mystery book. It is book three in the Private Justice series but can stand alone. It also  had a touch of romance in it between Kate and Connor.  The bad guy did not seem really bad though. Greg Sanders and his son Todd just moved to St. Louis. He is a widower and seems like a very devoted dad. But his son Todd is very similar to Kate's dead son. Kate goes to Connor and asks him to investigate after seeing them together at the mall. The plot and characters were well written and interesting. It held my attention from start to finish. This is one of my favorite authors in this genre. Recommended.

 Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished, Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award. In addition, she is a 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 www.irenehannon.com

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

Friday, October 3, 2014

Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Sarah Sundin, and Cara Putman (Review)

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601426488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601426482

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime

Three siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In White Christmas by Cara Putman, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theatre in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and God’s plan for a future?

My Review:

I enjoyed reading this book of three Christmas novellas. They are all about the Turner family. Each story focuses on a different sibling during WWII. They flow seamlessly between stories. The rest of the family is in the background but I especially liked Grandma. The book begins with her while she is trying to get some Christmas spirit back for everyone. The authors did a good job with the characters. You cannot tell three different authors wrote the novellas. The characters and plot are consistent and well written. I felt a range of emotions while reading these books. They covered sad, funny, and sweet. Highly Recommended.

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray (Review)

  • Series: Return to Sugarcreek
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Inspire; Original edition (September 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062204505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062204509

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Joyful includes a P.S. section with a letter from the author, discussion questions, and a teaser from her next book.

 My Review:

I enjoyed reading this latest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series.The main focus in this book is the relationship between Elizabeth and Randall. Two other couples have stories featured along side. Judith and Ben Graeber are still struggling with childlessness. They have their foster baby boy,James, but they might be losing him back to his real family. Pippa Reyes from the Amish restaurant is asked out by ex husband's friend and is exploring a relationship with him. Elizabeth and Randall were courting then he broke up with her unexpectedly because he thought he needed too in order to take care of his younger siblings. His brother Levi decides to hire Elizabeth to come cook and clean for them because Randall stinks at it. They all love Elizabeth and are waiting for Randall to get his act together. I liked Elizabeth but never liked Randall. Overall this was a good conclusion to the Sugarcreek series.

Shelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Her two dogs keep her company when she writes in her basement.

Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities in Adams and Holmes counties several times a year. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church.

She also bakes a lot, loves coconut cream pie, and will hardly ever pull weeds, mow the yard, or drive in the snow.

Shelley also spends a lot of time on line! Please visit her website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com to find out her latest news...or become her friend on FaceBook.

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
Robin Caroll


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?


Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead by Diane Noble

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead
David C. Cook (September 1, 2014)
Diane Noble


Award-winning novelist Diane Noble writes stories that tap into the secrets of the heart.

With more than a quarter million books in print, Diane feels incredibly blessed to be doing what she loves best—writing the stories of her heart.

For the last three years Diane has been honored to be lead author for the popular Guideposts series, Mystery and the Minister’s Wife (Through the Fire, Angels Undercover), and has recently returned to writing historical fiction. She recently finished writing book two of her new historical series, The Brides of Gabriel. Book one, The Sister Wife, and book 2, The Betrayal, which are published by Harper Collins/Avon Inspire, are now in bookstores.

Now empty nesters, Diane and her husband live in the Southern California low desert, near a place known for the lush and beautiful gated communities of the rich and famous.


She’s Passionate about Solving the Case ... with the Town’s Life-Long Bachelor

El Littllefield runs The Butler Did It catering. It’s the perfect cover for her to solve “who-done-its” (nothing too dangerous, please!) in this small university town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While catering her most important event yet—a fancy retirement dinner for Dr. Max Haverhill, life-long bachelor and history dean—countless guests fall ill, a 200 year-old relic is stolen, and her best friend vanishes. All in the first hour.

As El and Max race to solve the mystery, they discover there’s more to their relationship than simply solving the case. Welcome to Eden’s Bridge—the perfect small town setting for big intrigue, romance, and humor.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead, go HERE

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason (Review)

  • Series: Hidden Identity (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800722094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722098

The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe--but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long . . .

From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold readers in its iron grip. Bestselling author Lynette Eason propels readers along at a breakneck pace in a race to discover the truth and a better future.

 My Review:

This is book two in the Hidden Identity series. It can stand alone although Summer and her husband make an appearance from book one. I did not like this one as much. It started off good but got repetitive on the action toward the middle. They kept going to a safe house and then being found many times. And I never bonded with the main characters, Danielle and Adam. I did like Simon, Dani's son who is deaf because of his father's abuse. The relationship between Danielle and Adam was not super sparky. There was a twist in the plot I did not see coming that surprised me. The other part of the mystery was easy to solve. So overall a decent Christian romantic suspense book. Not my favorite Lynette Eason but I am still looking forward to the next book in the series.

 Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com

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

A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson (Review)

  • Series: Weddings by Design (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (August 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800721551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800721558

Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family--especially her father--has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand--directly across the street from the Rossis' popular pizza place--and they want Cassia's full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella's good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers one more romp with Bella, Galveston, and the bustling wedding biz in the final installment of her popular series. Anyone who loves quirky families, loads of laughter, and tender romance will find themselves hooked.

 My Review:

This was a cute funny Christian chick lit book. It was a little reminiscent of the movie my big fat Greek wedding. Cassia is a grown woman but in her Greek culture traditionally she belongs at home with her father until marriage. Her father is very strict and expects all his children to help out in the family business, a Greek restaurant. He is a tyrant almost with his wife and children and obsessed with the business doing good. He has a vision that God wants them to move from California to Galveston, Texas so they do. It is a culture shock. When her father realized their new business is across from an island favorite pizza place he declares war. The only problem is the Rossi family is all over the place and the other members of his family do not agree with the war. Slowly all the family but him becomes friends with at least one of them. Cassia gets a job as florist which is her dream job but her boss is a Rossi by marriage. While working at the florist shop Cassia gets close to Alex the delivery guy. The sparks fly in an innocent way between them. It was a romance sweetly done. Everything comes to head and the ending is explosive. Highly Recommended. 

 Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series, as well as Picture Perfect, The Icing on the Cake, and The Dream Dress. She lives in Texas. Learn more at www.janiceathompson.com

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

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thief of Glory
WaterBrook Press (August 19, 2014)
Sigmund Brouwer


Sigmund Brouwer is the best-selling author of nearly thirty novels, with close to 4 million books in print. Based on his inspiration for Thief of Glory, which Sigmund wrote as a way to learn and honor the his parent’s stories, especially of his father’s boyhood in a Japanese concentration camp, Sigmund leads The Chapters of Our Lives memoir seminars across the United States and Canada. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.


A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.

For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Thief of Glory, go HERE.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Driftwood Tides
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
Gina Holmes


Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.


He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore. When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Driftwood Tides, go HERE.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Overwhelmed by Perry Noble (Review)

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414368860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414368863

Stressed out? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Good news—you’re not alone!

No one ever said life was going to be easy. Between financial struggles, marital issues, health scares, and the regular, run-of-the-mill problems of everyday life, it’s easy to feel weighed down and trapped by your circumstances. In times like these, it’s tempting to just throw in the towel and quit. Well, don’t do it!

Perry Noble has stood at the edge of the abyss himself, and in Overwhelmed, he shares the keys to unlocking the chains of anxiety and despair once and for all. Building on the premise that when we shift our focus from our circumstances to Christ, everything changes, Perry walks readers through a life-altering plan for overcoming stress, worry, depression, and anxiety so we can be free to enjoy the abundant, joy-filled lives we were created for.

God knows we’re frustrated. He knows we’re tired. He knows we’re struggling. But He also knows how things are going to turn out. He is greater than anything you are going through . . . so don’t give up on God. After all, He’s never given up on you.

 My Review:

This was a quick easy to read book. The author has a good conversational writing style. I was not as happy with all of the content. I thought this book was going to be more of how to deal with stress and being overwhelmed. Instead the book focused more on depression which I know goes hand in hand with the other two. In the book about a fourth of the way through the author divides the book up into sections on reminders, sin struggles, and trust struggles. He shares his personal experience on dealing with severe depression issues. The book does not address the fact he takes medicine for it. It is not a spiritual problem but a chemical imbalance. I am not sure this would be the best book to give to someone battling these issues.

Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church and the author of Unleash!: Breaking Free from Normalcy. While his primary responsibilities are being a servant to Jesus Christ, a husband to Lucretia, and a father to Charisse, Perry is also passionate about seeing people meet Jesus, leading his church staff, and pouring into other church leaders on a local and global level. You can find him online at www.perrynoble.com.

Raw Faith by Kasey Van Norman (Review)

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414364784
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414364780

As a respected Bible teacher, Kasey Van Norman had dedicated her life to sharing God’s Word and encouraging women to trust in God during times of crisis. Then, just as her ministry was poised to explode, Kasey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that shattered her spirit and rocked her faith to its core. Sick, frightened, and in pain, Kasey suddenly found herself facing the greatest challenge of her life—believing her own message.

In Raw Faith, Kasey chronicles her courageous battle with cancer, taking readers on a candid and poignant journey of faith and discovery, from the depths of despair through triumphant victory.

Drawing on a variety of Bible stories and characters, Kasey discovers and distills the singular truth that has existed since time began: while change and uncertainty are inevitable, God is always unchanging, and He is always faithful—even when our circumstances might tempt us to think otherwise.

 My Review:

This book was supposed to be a memoir about her struggle with cancer. It ended up being more of a bible study. Addressed are what she calls the toxic ds; depression, denial, and discouragement. She explains that the awful nausea she had from chemotherapy had nothing on these. She references a lot of bible stories and verses. Overall the book was okay.

Kasey makes her home on a US mission field. Along with husband Justin and their two children, Kasey works and lives each day on the largest working rescue ranch in the United States. As a child rescue agent for Still Creek Ranch in Bryan, TX, Kasey helps rescue minors from abuse, neglect, and human trafficking.

Kasey is a licensed professional counselor with earned degrees in psychology, public speaking, counseling, and biblical studies. Kasey founded KVM (Kasey Van Norman Ministries) in 2010.

If I Had Lunch With C. S. Lewis by Alister McGrath (Review)

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414383789
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414383781

What if you could ask C. S. Lewis his thoughts on some of the most difficult questions of life? If you could, the result would be Dr. Alister McGrath’s provocative and perceptive book, If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis. Best-selling author, prominent academic, and sought-after speaker, Dr. McGrath sees C. S. Lewis as the perfect conversation companion for the persistent meaning-of-life questions everyone asks.

What makes Lewis a good dialogue partner is that his mind traveled through a wide and varied terrain: from atheism of his early life to his conversion later in life; from his rational skepticism to his appreciation of value of human desires and imagination; from his role as a Christian apologist during World War II to his growth as a celebrated author of classic children’s literature. The questions Lewis pondered persist today: Does life have meaning? Does God exist? Can reason and imagination be reconciled? Why does God allow suffering?

Let McGrath be your insightful guide to an intriguing conversation with Lewis about the ultimate questions.

 My Review:

This book was hard to read and did not keep my attention. It was not what I expected. There was no dialogue between C. S. Lewis and the author. The whole lunch thing was mentioned at the very beginning and end of each chapter. It was if we were at lunch with C. S. Lewis and asked him this question, this is what he might say. It felt tedious reading it and I barely made it through the whole book. The questions addressed subjects like death, the meaning of life, friendship, faith, learning, and suffering. It also explored some of the Chronicles of Narnia series and what certain things meant in them. I think I would rather read C. S. Lewis's actual books. I have read a few of them. I read this book because I really enjoyed the biography this author wrote last summer on C. S. Lewis. I recommend that book over this one. Also I recommend reading C. S. Lewis's books.

 Alister McGrath, one of the world’s leading Christian theologians, is Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King’s College London, and head of its Center for Theology, Religion, and Culture. Before moving to King’s College, he was Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University and is currently Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester at Oxford. Author of C. S. Lewis—A Life, McGrath has a deep knowledge of Christian theology, history, and literature that allows him to interpret Lewis against a broad backdrop, presenting a fascinating portrait of the development of Lewis’s mind and his impact on Western culture.

Still Lolo by Lauren Scruggs and the Scruggs Family with Marcus Brotherton (Review)

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum; First Edition edition (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414376693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414376691

In December 2011, Lauren (“LoLo”) Scruggs, a 23-year-old fashion journalist, suffered a sudden injury that made headlines around the world. She had been on a short flight to look at Christmas lights and, upon exiting the small plane, was hit by the still-moving propeller blade. A frantic 911 call, several major surgeries, and thousands of prayers later: Lauren lived. But she lost her left hand and left eye. And she had to face some incredibly difficult questions: What kind of future will I have? Where is God in all this pain? Will anyone ever be able to love me now? In Still LoLo, Lauren speaks out for the first time since her accident. She and her family reveal what really happened that night, what Lauren’s life is like today, what got them through their journey toward healing, and how they conquered all odds to persevere as a family. It’s a compelling and fiercely beautiful story of faith, determination, and staying true to who you are—no matter what.

 My Review:

I did not particularly enjoy reading this book. Lauren does not come off as very likeable. She seems like a spoiled, privileged, rich girl.She did suffer a horrific accident. I am not  denying that. There is  nothing special surrounding the circumstances. Parts of it seemed overly dramatized like her father's reaction when he found out. The book stated he wailed and curled up in a fetal position several times. There was also unnecessary family drama pre incident shared. I think there are more inspiring stories out there to read.

Marcus Brotherton is a journalist and professional writer, known internationally for his collaborations with high-profile public figures, humanitarians, inspirational leaders, and military personnel.
Visit his blog at: www.marcusbrotherton.com

Echoes of an Angel by Aquanetta Gordon with Chris Macias (Review)

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414386222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414386225

When Ben Underwood became blind at the age of two, anyone would have thought he faced a life full of hardship and uphill challenges—a world full of things he’d never be able to see and activities he’d never be able to enjoy. But as far as his mom, Aquanetta Gordon, was concerned, nothing was impossible for Ben . . . and so he accomplished the incredible. Known as “the boy who could see with sound,” Ben mastered human echolocation—the ability to detect the size, shape and location of objects through the reflection of sound waves. By clicking his tongue and “seeing” the waves, Ben could ride his bike, shoot baskets, identify objects, and even play video games. Some called it a miracle, but to Ben and Aqua, the real miracles were the otherworldly experiences God gave Ben—physical and spiritual—that others couldn’t explain. Echoes of an Angel is the remarkable true story of how a child who seemed destined for darkness brought light to the world. It’s the story of a single mom who encouraged her son to push beyond his limits, even as her heart clenched with protective love and fear. And it’s the story of a family’s unshakable faith . . . in God and each other.

My Review:

This was the story of Ben Underwood but also his mother, Aquanetta. It was told from her perspective. It seems she was honest in admitting her mistakes including drugs and bad relationship choices. She does not regret any of her children though. Ben was her fourth child and at age two found out he had bad cancer. He ended up having both of his eye balls removed. Aquanetta refused to hinder him by babying him. He developed a remarkable skill called echolocation. This allowed him to do most of the things seeing boys could do. He still had obstacles to overcome which he did with an excellent attitude. Unfortunately his cancer came back when he was a teen. I was so upset when I reached the ending and found out he passed away. I do not remember hearing this story in the news even though it was there. I was inspired by this story, he lived so much life in his 17 years. The only thing I was uncomfortable with was some of the spiritual aspect including him appearing to people after his death.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

In the Secret Service by Jerry Parr with Carolyn Parr (Review)

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 20, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414378718

Meet Jerry Parr. In 1981, he was the agent standing next to Ronald Reagan when John Hinckley, Jr., stepped out of the crowd, intent on killing the president. In the Secret Service is an adrenaline-filled ride through the life of the agent who saved Ronald Reagan’s life. Jerry spent much of his life as a silent eyewitness to history, with a gun at his fingertips. What motivates a man who is ready at a moment’s notice to step into the path of a bullet? In In the Secret Service, you’ll also follow Jerry’s inner journey. That journey led him from the halls of the powerful to the streets of the poor in Washington, D.C., to the mountain passes of war-torn El Salvador to help orphans.

You won’t want to miss this insider’s perspective on the Secret Service and a look into the heart of a man who was—and is—ready to sacrifice himself for another. At times heart-pounding, at times heartrending, this richly textured memoir of a Secret Service Agent will first move you to the edge of your seat, then to the depths of your soul.

 My Review:

This was an interesting look at the life of a Secret Service Agent, Jerry Parr. He is the one credited with saving the life of President Ronald Regan. That incident is not the main focus of the book though. The book details his life and career. This was a behind the scenes look at being secret service agent. I had no idea how much time they have to spend away from their families. Mr. Parr shares funny stories and sad ones. The end of the book ended abruptly after telling what he started doing after he got out of the secret service. Other than that I enjoyed reading the book.

 Jerry and Carolyn Parr have built their life together on faith, family, and service. Jerry served as a special agent in the United States Secret Service for twenty-three years. Carolyn worked for the Justice Department and later as a federal tax judge. Both Jerry and Carolyn are ordained ministers. They have three daughters and four brilliant and beautiful granddaughters.

The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow with Cindy Coloma (Review)

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414391900
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414391908

An unforgettable true story that will touch your heart and make you believe in love’s enduring legacy, and in the power of prayer.

In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets.

My Review:

This was a non fiction book that read like a fiction book. My attention was captured in the beginning and I could not wait to find out what happened. I felt so bad for Minka when she was raped at the picnic at the age of sixteen. Then she gave her baby up for adoption so it would have a better life. But she never gave up on her, writing letters to the adoption place for decades. The book also details each of their lives throughout the years. Minka gets married and has other children. Her baby girl grows up, gets married, and has children. The end of the book was amazing. The two separate lives come together. Minka was in her 90s and said a prayer asking to see her Betty Jane before she dies. One of Betty Jane's family members wanted to find her birth mother for her. Betty Jane always knew she was adopted but did not hold it against Minka. So in her 70s she meets her birth mother who is in her 90s. I felt like crying several times reading this book. The writing was good and the story touching. Highly Recommended.   

The Advocate by Randy Singer (Review)

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414391304

At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young assessore raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, “Offer to release Barabbas.” The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deaths—Roman crucifixion.

Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He has survived the insane rule of Caligula and has weathered the cruel tyrant’s quest to control the woman he loves. He has endured the mindless violence of the gladiator games and the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials.

Now he must face another evil Caesar, defending the man Paul in Nero’s deranged court. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution?

The advocate’s first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.

My Review:

This is a hard book for me to review. I am not familiar enough with the historical period and details to give an opinion on whether its accurate. I am going to address it as a fully fictional book without analyzing the historical details. It was interesting and kept my attention. One thing that bothered me was the way time was handled. I would finish one chapter and the next would start years later. To me it seemed like the book centered around Theophilus's life more than one trial. The trial of Paul was one little part. Overall it was well written and the characters were mostly well developed. The ending was not nice and sweet. I was reminded that life is like that. I have read some of the author's legal thrillers and enjoyed them. This is his first historical book. I think although this could have been a shorter book it was a good first.

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned nine legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel "Directed Verdict." In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"--part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school's Board of Visitors. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his Web site at www.randysinger.net. 

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

Tattler's Branch by Jan Watson (Review)

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414339151
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414339153

Lilly Corbett Still has grown to love her life as the small-town doctor of Skip Rock, a tiny coal community in the Kentucky mountains. Though her husband, Tern, is away for a few months at a mining job, Lilly has her hands full with her patients and her younger sister visiting for the summer.

Lilly turns to her good friend and neighbor, Armina, to help keep things in order—until a mysterious chain of events leaves Armina bedridden and an abandoned baby on her doorstep. Lilly works to uncover the truth, unaware of what a mess she’s found herself in until a break-in at her clinic puts her on high alert. As she struggles between what is right and what is safe, Lilly must discover the strength of her resilient country neighbors, her God, and herself.

 My Review:

This was an okay Christian historical fiction book. It is the second book in the series. I was definitely missing some background throughout the book. I have not read the first book in the series but I think readers who have will enjoy this book more. The plot and characters were interesting although some of the characters fell a little flat. Lily's husband Tern is absent on a business trip the whole book. Armenia's husband is away at school. The found baby's father, the sheriff, and a local kid are all portrayed negative. Lily, Mazy, and Armenia are the best developed characters. Mazy is Lily's little sister who comes to stay with her for awhile. She is spoiled rotten and hard to like most of the book. The next book in the series will focus on her. I look forward to seeing her story developed more. I may go back and read the first book in the series, Skip Rock Shallows, first. This book I recommend to those who have read book one.

Former registered nurse and peri-natal loss counselor, Jan Watson won the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild First Novel Contest in 2004 with Troublesome Creek. Written with a dollop of romance and a smidgen of suspense, Jan's award winning historical novels, are uniquely set in the Appalachian Mountains.
Jan lives in Lexington, Kentucky and spends her days writing and entertaining her Jack Russell terrier, Maggie. Her favorite hobby is reading antique medical books.

Classics Club Spin 18

My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...