Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

From the publisher:
Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.
When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.
Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage--the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?


Having never read anything by Lori Benton I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received this book in the mail.  But since reading it I have found my mind going back to the story and shifting through different elements and scenes the book brought forth.

Burning Sky is an artistic historical fiction piece.  Lori Benton’s Willa is a perfect character to tell the story because she is a woman who has grown up with Mohawk Indians after being abducted by them at fourteen.  Her unique view shares both sides of the story, and an understanding that will help the reader grasp both sides of that historical time.

Beautifully written the reader will be taken into the story and into the community and lives of the characters.  Lori Benton weaves a layered story of trust, prejudice, grief, forgiveness, and freedom.  I found myself wanting to hear each character’s point of view to better glimpse the story.

Willa or Burning Sky’s character will continue to move readers after the book has been closed.  Her pain and struggles will touch readers in their own grief and loss, and then not to leave the there in pain, but show the path of hope and freedom.

There is a verse that Lori Benton shares throughout the book and I believe that is the message that she was trying to tell us about God and His care for us.  Read it. You won’t regret it.

I received this book free of charge and give my honest review in exchange for it.

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

From the publisher:
In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.
To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.
Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.
Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.
But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?


This book was an enjoyable read.  I didn’t realize how much time was passing as I read this book because Denise Hunter creates a story that envelopes you from start to finish.  I easily finished this book in one day.
I have never read anything by Denise Hunter before, but I will definitely be looking for her other books from now on.  

Barefoot Summer is the perfect title for this book and really captures what Denise Hunter is trying to share with readers.  However, she reveals it so subtly and artistically that the reader will find themselves understanding the lesson of a barefoot summer intrinsically before Hunter explicitly shares. 

In this story readers will sympathize with both Madison and Beckett in their journeys.  Hunter shares faith in both of their stories but in different ways that will connect with different readers.  She shares hard questions that many of us have with God and gives some view into the reconnection with God that we all need.

My only hope for Denise Hunter is that I will see more of the same characters in her future books.
I recommend this book to others.
I receive this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gone South by Meg Moseley

From the publisher:
Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream— the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.

When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.

Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness.


This book was a pleasant read.  The story wasn't a page-turning book but it was interesting.  Moseley's strongest points in this book were developed in the character of Tish and Melanie as they experience and get denied acceptance.  Acceptance, prejudice, and forgiveness is still here in the 21st century and is something people need to be aware of.

The book was kind of slow and I felt that the ending was not as well ended as I would have hoped.  Melanie I think still needed to mature, but she is left still immature.  Tish's ancestors and their background story is not resolved for good or bad.  It just left me feeling like the author should have started ending the book sooner than she did.

It is a good light-hearted read and Moseley weaves some good thoughts about how we treat one another.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Read more from Meg Moseley here. Or visit her website

To read more reviews by me visit

Sunday, July 7, 2013

In Broken Places by Michele Phoenix

From the publisher: Shelby’s life isn’t glamorous, but it is predictable—and that’s the way she likes it. A survivor of her father’s violence, she has spent a lifetime creating a safe existence devoid of dependence. But her carefully managed world begins to break when, under staggering circumstances, she becomes a single mother to four-year-old Shayla. In a drastic attempt to escape her childhood’s influence, Shelby moves to Germany, but she quickly discovers how intimately linked memory and healing are—and how honestly she must scrutinize her past in order to aspire to a richer future. As she juggles a new job, a new culture, a new daughter, and the attention of an enterprising man, Shelby’s fresh start becomes a quest for the courage to be not only a survivor, but someone who prevails.


I am giving this book five stars for relationship that Michele Phoenix depicted between Shelby and her brother Trey.  Reading the flashback and reading their adult interactions was worth the whole book.  Phoenix has written the bond of siblings going through something horrific day in and day out--and yet their struggle to survive and even thrive.  I have not read a book that showed the bond of siblings as well as this book.  It moved my heart.  

The whole book was well done.  Michele Phoenix doesn't gloss over the difficulties that Shelby (or someone like her) would have to deal with her situation but she also moves the reader through Shelby's quest to move beyond her past circumstances into a better future.  

I also thought it was realistic that Scott is a flawed human being, he isn't there to rescue Shelby but to walk along beside her.  In Scott's flaws he doesn't come off at "the hero" but a real person who has strengths and weaknesses.  

I would recommend this book to others, especially if they have a past they feel is haunting their present and future.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Shadows & Scars Release Party


Product Description

“We wander through life, searching for belonging and validation. Here in this valley, we are pursued by the shadows of our regrets and haunted by the scars of our past. We are lost, but in seeking, we will find, and in finding, we will be found.”
Shadows & Scars is a messy book. Through poetry, T. Jason Vanderlaan tells a story, but not one that begins in the beginning, or ends at the end. This is about being in the middle, about wandering.  This is about loose ends and unresolved issues and the tension of living in the in-between. All the while, dreams of peace and rest float just out of reach – elusive invitations, like fireflies dancing in the summer night.
Within the framework of searching for belonging and validation, Vanderlaan explores a variety of topics – growing up in a divorced family, falling in love, giving and receiving broken hearts, losing the way and finding regret, the ache of letting go, wrestling with forgiveness and hope and trust. When the dust settles, these frayed ends of family, romance, and spirituality tangle together. The result is in an incomplete yet beautiful display, a portrait of the fearful desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, to seek and find and be found.
Pre-order by July 3 and receive an exclusive e-booklet featuring bonus poems selected from the outtakes of Shadows & Scars.


Shadows & Scars: Release Party!

We are super excited to be releasing Shadows & Scars on July 9, 2013! So excited, in fact, that we’re having arelease party online from 7:30 – 8:00 pm ET.
Join us and:
  • hear behind the scenes info from Jason Vanderlaan about Shadows & Scars
  • participate in a Q&A session about Shadows & Scars or any of his previous books
  • have a chance to win some snazzy prizes!
Here are the prizes we’ll be giving away:

Prize #1: Soundtrack Starter Pack

Two mp3s: Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, op. 11 and James Taylor’s Fire and Rain.
barber James_Taylor_-_Sweet_Baby_James

Prize #2: Chrysalis

A copy of Rising from Perdition by John Evans

Prize #3: Temporary Remedies

A mini first aid kit and flashlight. :-)

Prize #4: The Wanderer

A 7×5 print of “The Ward of the Sky” by Sarah Mills of Clouded Art.

Prize #5: Couting with Abraham and Moses

A bottle of sand.

Disclaimer: All information was taken from  

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

From the publisher: When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted--more interested in art than in oil--she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father's empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.
Bo's determined to resent the woman who's decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them--her wealth, his unworthiness, her family's outrage--and earn the right to love her.
But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their love--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?


Becky Wade is an author you will definitely want to remember.  Her writing style will make you laugh, giggle over the romance, sit on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what will happen next, and teach you about God. 

Meg Cole's character is filled with anxiety and stress but she tries to continue to trust God through the ups and downs.  Through out the story she continues to grow in God and trust Him despite what the circumstances say.  As Meg "grows up" and makes decisions you will applaude her efforts and find part of yourself in her--even if it's just her love for Oreos.

Bo Porter's character is fun to read and the reader will enjoy the depth of his honesty and love.  The supporting characters were not a distraction to the story and helped to aid in making the story into one that will have you thinking about what you will do with what God has given you.  

I really want to applaud Becky Wade for how much she incorporated faith into this book.  She has  Meg talking to God through out the book and having God show up in little and big ways.  Something I liked a lot that she brought out was that God often uses other people in our lives to be His hands and feet.  I was encouraged in reading this because it reminded me that God is there in all the details of our lives--and He often shows up by placing people in our lives.  

I highly recommend this book to others.

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.