Saturday, August 31, 2013

On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin

From the publisher: 
Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A comfortable boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie's cozy life gets decidedly more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson. Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they've made?

With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin pens another exciting tale in her series featuring WWII flight nurses. Fans new and old will find in On Distant Shores the perfect combination of emotion, action, and romance.


This is the second book in Sarah Sundin's Wings of the Nightingale series.  You do not have to read the first book to enjoy this second book.

Sarah Sundin has done her homework about World War II.  As Sundin writes you are taken not only to meet characters but places and settings.  Readers will enjoy having the excitement of battles and daring situations without having to deal with "blood and gore" descriptions. 

I found it interesting to learn about the Wings of the Nightingale.  I know parts of World War II but learning about the nurses who did the nursing while in flight was new to me.  Readers who enjoy history will find Sundin's descriptions of flight runs, and training enlightening.  

Both Georgie and Hutch have weaknesses that can only be fixed by surrendering to God.  Even though it seems for a time that being together will fix the problems, both will come to realize that while love and friendship are gifts from God, the only thing someone can really rely on is God Himself.

While the story does focus on Georgie and Hutch, Sundin also begins to create more background stories for supporting characters that I assume will be the focus in books to come.  

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity and Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Meet Sarah: Sarah Sundin is the author of "With Every Letter" and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A "Memory Between Us" was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. 

Visit for more information.

Enter Today - 8/15 - 9/2! Sarah Sundin On Distant Shores

Monday, August 26, 2013

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

From the publisher:
Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together.

But as Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but an unlikely ally that cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob’s plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart?

This series of the Amish Vines and Orchards is probably the most interesting Amish books I have read.  Cindy Woodsmall doesn't write the typical Amish stories and yet her details for the Amish life is vivid and draws you in.

This book is 3 of 4 in the series and I believe that readers will be happy to know that there is a book four.  Woodsmall's development of her characters and introduction of new characters continues to build more complexity and depth to her novel.  I would highly recommend reading from book one before you read this book, otherwise you might feel lost (however she does add the back story notes in the beginning of the book).

I am still uncertain about how I feel about Rhonda's "intuition" but it is interesting to see her begin to accept it and it no longer is as haunting to her.  The further understanding of her seeing Emma was also interesting.

Matters of the heart are always trickier than business but in this story both are intertwined and at the end the love triangle of this story will begin to have some resolution   When I read this book, I felt that no matter how the love story played out, it would not be an easy thing---and I was right.  There is a line in the book that I strongly disagree with in regard to marriage and love, but I don't want to give away the story so I won't quote it here.

The story is complex but well written, reader will enjoy this book as well as the others in the series.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof

From the publisher: 
After finally finding love with his sweet bride Lonnie, Gideon’s heart was torn when a woman from his past claimed to be his true and rightful wife, forcing him away from his family. God’s merciful hand saw Gideon through the heartache, and with Cassie’s blessing, he is able to return home. Though his journey back through the Blue Ridge Mountains will hold a trial he never anticipated.

Meanwhile, Lonnie determines to seal off her heart from Gideon, convinced he is lost to her forever. Strengthening her resolve to move on is the fondness she has for the handsome Scotsman, Toby McKee—the young reverend she has come to care deeply for. His proposal of marriage offers a bright future for her and her young son. 

Yearning to allow joy back into her life, Lonnie must put aside the broken pieces of her heart that still love Gideon. When he returns to find her betrothed to another, he has to place his hope in God, trusting that the One who redeemed their love once can do it again.

This beautifully crafted book teaches what selfless love is.  Each and every character will wrestle with what selfless love is and will learn to offer it.  Cassie, Gideon, Toby, and Lonnie will all continue to struggle and grow in this book.

Joanne Bischof weaves a tale of relationships with others but most of all God.  She doesn't write in "preachy" way but lets the story speak for itself and the God who speaks to the hearts of the characters.  I like that each character has their own moments with God, whether it is what they want to do or not, they hear and heed His voice.  

When I finished with the book I felt as if I had walked the mountains with each of the characters and come to know them better.  Every reader has their favorite characters but Joanne Bischof writes the characters in such a way that you cannot help but root for each of them in their own way.  To me the ending was less of a rowdy cheer, but more of the sweet peace that hope was found in selfless love.

I highly recommend reading the whole series.  Each book builds on each other, not only the story, but also that of what God is teaching them.  Each book is appropriately titled and really speak to the message of the book.  

This series will be a spiritual blessing to those who read it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

From the publisher: 
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

I really liked that while romance was a lovely part of this book, that the character change was in someone else that both Joanna and Crockett cared out--Joanna's father.  The climax of the story is with the father and that I think will resonate with readers who have spent hours praying for loved ones who have not surrendered to God.  

Of course I loved reading more about the Archer family and Crockett and Joanna was sweet and fun to read.  Readers will enjoy the love they have that is based on mutual goals and depth of character rather than an unrealistic passionate desire from out of no where.  Witemeyer will help readers to see that real love is grown from serving God together and having a passion for the calling God has on you life.  Joanna and Crockett are drawn to each other for more than just physical attraction.

I would highly recommend this book to others.

I received this book free through and Bethany Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Renegade by Mel Odom

From the publisher:
Having grown up in the foster system, Private Pike Morgan’s rough exterior and problem with authority earn him few friends among his fellow Marines. When he’s not on missions for the Marine Reserve, Pike’s rebellious attitude and eagerness for vigilante justice have the local police regularly at his doorstep. Struggling to set down roots, and nervous of his desire to, Pike’s eager to answer the military’s call for another deployment.

On a peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan, Pike and his squad soon find themselves entrenched in a heated war zone. After an American journalist is kidnapped by known terrorist Zalmai Yaqub, the whereabouts of this al Qaeda leader become a top priority for the American military. But when Yaqub flees to Pakistan, will anyone aid Pike in his hunt, or will this strong Marine find himself without an ally?


I did not enjoy this book, but that doesn't mean that others would  not enjoy it.  For me this book was too violent.  I realize that this is a war book and part of a series but it was too violet for me in multiple areas.  From the beginning scenes until the very end there were descriptions that I definitely could have lived without reading.  I realize that many of these scenes are probably very mild to what actually happens in combat, so I can appreciate that the author wanted to make it realistic and probably tasteful.  I just did not enjoy the book.

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

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

From the publisher:
The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.
When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their  lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out. 
As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.
She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

This book is based on multiple true family events that the author has woven together into this book.  For that alone you should read the book.  But Liz Tolsma takes you on a journey that will teach you history that had to be filled with courage, faith, and love.  

Nazi occupation is not something that I find fun to read.  And each time I read a book I find myself reading faster and faster to make sure it ends well.  Liz Tolsma does a great job of telling the story, without making it a gruesome tale.  For those who want to read about the closing of the Nazi occupation in Holland without dealing with all the bloody details this is a great read.

I really appreciated how Liz Tolsma wove faith throughout the whole book.  Gerrit especially calls out to God continually and his influence is felt.  Most of us cannot imagine what it would b elike to live in that time of such uncertainty but Liz Tolsma brings us there and into the hearts of the characters living through that.

I highly recommend this book.

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

Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

From the publisher: 
As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox's future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago's finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city's most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he's accustomed to getting exactly what he wants--until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.

In the tumult as the people of Chicago race to rebuild a bigger and better city, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack's character and influence. Zack believes this may finally be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effect on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?


Elizabeth Camden is a gifted writer and I was eager to read her latest work.  Into the Whirlwind brought me to understand the Great Chicago Fire in a new way.  The detailed work of Chicago is a great historical read.  I was fascinated to learn about the water pumps going out, the other cities responding the crisis, the make-shift tents, and renting out property after the fire.  I ate up all the details and was again impressed with Camden's historical research.

I loved Zack's character.  He was strong and wasn't going to butter up Mollie in a weak gentlemanly way.  I liked that he was written differently than normal heroes in stories.

Mollie and her love for watches and the success of the 57th Illinois Watch Company was admirable and Camden writes about Mollie in such a way that you want her to succeed in her endeavors.

All of the history in this book was great.  I cannot wait to read more from Elizabeth Camden.

I did miss some of the spiritual depth that Against the Tide had, but this book was amazing in it's own way and I highly recommend it.

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