Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey






















From the publisher:
FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.
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I read this book in one day. The book was amazing so I couldn't put it down. This is the third book in the Chesapeake Valor series and each book has been attention grabbing from the start.  I enjoy how Pettrey is bold in the way she talks about God through these books. It isn't an afterthought but instead strong, just as the characters are strong. 

Declan Grey is a character we have been getting to know and in this book we really get to spend more time with him and with Tanner. The development of Tanner and Declan's characters through the other books and into this one has only made the excitement for this book more intense! 

There is suspense, mystery, love, family, friendship--this series is amazing.  You won't want to miss it.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton





















From the publisher:

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.
When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son...especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

_________________________________

Many Sparrows is an intense trip into the western frontier with imperfect characters wrapped in God's grace.  Clare is waiting for her husband to return to their damaged wagon when her premature labor begins distracting her from watching her four year old son.  His disappearance begins a long journey of physically searching for her son Jacob as well as a spiritual search for a God that can make good out of any situation.  As Clare learns to truly wait on the Lord her heart is challenged in ways that sometimes feels unbearable.  She will look her child's kidnapper in the eyes and see evil there.  She will watch as another gains her child's trust and love.  She will learn not just tolerance of another people's ways but admiration.  This tale weaves back and forth between the settler's world and the Native American's way of life.  Told in stark, unfiltered descriptions the author shows "both sides of the story" as the saying goes.  She gives fair say to each and helps the reader see more clearly how the lines of absolute rightness are not often as they appear.  While trusting God to do the impossible Clare also learns to accept the impossible.  Through this transformation in her soul she finds a God bigger than any of her fears or even her dreams.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Start Where You Are Note Cards













This is a beautiful box with twelve cards and envelopes.  Each are different with inspirational sayings. I love the soft colors of each card.  I personally think it is better to buy this box and send out cards than buy each card individually at a store, the quality and beauty of each card will show the receiver how special you think they are.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker





















From the publisher:
In this highly anticipated new book, beloved author Jen Hatmaker parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere. Whether it’s the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip (“Why are we in San Antonio?”) or the way she learned to forgive (God was super clear: Pray for this person every day, which was the meanest thing He ever said to me. I was furious.), she offers a reminder to those of us who sometimes hide in the car eating crackers that we do have the moxie to get back up and get back out. We can choose to live undaunted “in the moment” no matter what the moments hold, and lead vibrant, courageous, grace-filled lives.
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This is my first Jen Hatmaker book. I heard/read so many good things about her previous book that I wanted to read her newest book.  Early in this book I felt like Jen was sitting with me and talking as a friend to a friend.  It wasn't heavy but laughter inducing, while at the same time it spoke to deep truths that my heart is struggling with and longs for. 

Jen Hatmaker has a beautiful writing skill that allows her to touch the hearts of the readers through humor and yet deep, deep truth without making it overwhelming or a book you have to slog through.

This book made me wish I could get together with Jen because she was so vulnerable and personable in this book.

I am so glad I go this book and look forward to getting more of her books in the future!

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Unseen by Sara Hagerty





















As I read this book I found myself hearing God whisper His love to me. He was showing Himself to me in all the moments I felt were wasted. Small, unnoticed. I found myself more in love with Jesus.

Sara's writing is easy to read and engage with. She writes as a friend writing to another friend. It is honest and in her honesty it gives the reader permission to be honest themselves and to hear God whisper to them.

I love the end scriptures that are for you to study. I love that there isn't a specific way that Sara directs you to use these, instead it allows personal freedom to study scripture as God leads you. I have been using them to do adoration and it has filled my soul in a way I have not had in a long time.

I have already ordered this book for friends and will keep sharing this beautiful message. It is a quiet message, yet one that will resonate and change the way your heart hears all the noise and silence in all you do.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
____________________________________________

From the publisher:

Every heart longs to be seen and understood. Yet most of our lives is unwitnessed. We spend our days working, driving, parenting. We sometimes spend whole seasons feeling unnoticed and unappreciated. So how do we find contentment when we feel so hidden?
In Unseen, Sara Hagerty suggests that this is exactly what God intended. He is the only One who truly knows us. He is the only One who understands the value of the unseen in our lives. When this truth seeps into our souls, we realize that only when we hide ourselves in God can we give ourselves to others in true freedom—and know the joy of a deeper relationship with the God who sees us.
Our culture applauds what we can produce, what we can show, what we can upload to social media. Only when we give all of ourselves to God—unedited, abandoned, apparently wasteful in its lack of productivity—can we live out who God created us to be. As Hagerty writes, “Maybe my seemingly unproductive, looking-up-at-Him life produces awe among the angels.”
Through an eloquent exploration of both personal and biblical story, Hagerty calls us to offer every unseen minute of our lives to God. God is in the secret places of our lives that no one else witnesses. But we’ve not been relegated to these places. We’ve been invited.
We may be “wasting” ourselves in a hidden corner today: The cubicle on the fourth floor. The hospital bedside of an elderly parent. The laundry room. But these are the places God uses to meet us with a radical love. These are the places that produce the kind of unhinged love in us that gives everything at His feet, whether or not anyone else ever proclaims our name, whether or not anyone else ever sees.
God’s invitation is not just for a season or a day. It is the question of our lives: “When no one else applauds you, when it makes no sense, when you see no results—will you waste your love on Me?”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander



From the publisher:
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. 
    
Seeking justice . . . 
   
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancĂ©--and has shattered her world. 
   
Struggling to restore honor . . . 
   
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
   
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 
   
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 
________________________________

I recently moved from near Nashville.  I was able to visit Belle Meade Plantation and I love how Tamera Alexander weaves the real life people into this novel.  The history of Nashville and Belle Meade Plantation is fascinating -- and if you have read her other books based in Belle Meade Plantation, each book shares a different part of history.

Nashville comes alive in this book and what is really amazing is the way she brings to life the education of freed slaves after the civil war.  The strength, determination of these brave warrior souls is beautiful.  It also shows how we c an easily forget all that our country has gone through. 

I love the history of the railroad in the book as well as the Jubilee Singers and Fisk University.  This was such a great historical lesson for me. 

I love the way Tamera Alexander writes. She writes a romantic love story but doesn't pretend that all things are perfect. She doesn't make everything turn our the way the characters want and that allows the reader to feel the the novel is more true to life. 

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 


Monday, August 7, 2017

High As the Heavens by Kate Breslin



From the publisher:
In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's cafĂ©. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service. 

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

___________________________

Kate Breslin is taking you into 1917 and teaching you about what it was like to live in German-occupied Brussels in a way that is captivating and will teach you history as you have never seen it.

Evelyn Marche is a strong and wounded character. Her strength and tenacity to survive gives glimpse into what many woman may have done.  They had to learn to be rise up and be who they should be.  Her backstory will cause you take a look at all that the survivors of that time period had to deal with. It is incredible to think about. And sobering.

The injured pilot and the danger of the undercover operations was fascinating. It is amazing how the people of Europe did all they could to change the horrific things that were happening, even if it was just a few brave people.

This book really helped me appreciate all that the different citizens did during this world war.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Night Night Train by Amy Parker Illustrated by Virginia Allyn



When I saw the cover of this book my three year old son pointed to it and said, "I want that train book!"

When I received the book I handed it right over to him and we read it together.  What a fun and bright book for toddlers!  I love the soft over and cardboard pages that will keep this book "safe" longer than regular pages.

The story goes through the bedtime routines that many children have and makes it into a fun routine on the train.  I love that prayer is included in the book and that bedtime can be seen as a fun thing.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vibrant India by Chitra Agrawal



I so looked forward to receiving this book, but since it never came in the mail I had to go and borrow someone else's book to do this review.  I love India food, and I am a vegetarian--so to have this beautiful hardcover book full of fresh vegetarian recipes is a dream.

Chitra Agrawal shares from her personal background and upbringing to Brooklyn.  Readers will enjoy the book for its beauty.  Cooks will enjoy it for the fresh vibrant tastes that are included in this book.

As a vegetarian I was drawn to this, but even if you aren't a vegetarian you can enjoy this book and either just it as a way to add vegetables to your diet, or you can simply add your favorite meat the recipe of your choice.

I was to receive this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickerson




From the publisher:
In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

_____________________________


This book has a great premise, and it is an interesting part of World War II that I haven't read about recently. I liked the idea of the book a great deal.

While the book was okay, I didn't find myself immersed in the story or really invested in the characters.  Nan and Dutch were good characters but I felt that there was too must focus on the sexual attraction.  Also, it seemed a bit redundant to always have the women using their bodies to get what they wanted to distract the men.  

I felt that the supporting characters in the book as well seemed a bit flat or characterized.  

It isn't a bad read, but just not what I was hoping for.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal



This is a beautiful book to hold and look through. There are 52 weeks, a whole year, of prayer projects.  The book goes through 7 different types of prayers: requests, gratitude, lament, intercession, faith, repentance, and awe.  I thought that was really great because it shows that not all prayer is the same and it is important to be able to seek and speak to God in different ways.

Another thing I loved was the each week is based in the Bible.  The Bible is what each week starts with. It shows where to start and then gives a brief paragraph of support before giving you a prompt an space to write out your prayers.  It is a simple exercise, yet one that can alter how you see scripture and how you pray.

Each two page spread, for each week, is beautiful and pleasing to look at. If you are a big writer you will want an additional journal to write in but this book is just beautiful and peaceful.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot



There is something about Tracy Groot's writing that is spellbinding.  Honestly, it always seems to take me a chapter or two to get into her novels, but once I am in I am IN.  Tracy Groot writing makes you feel the intensity of the situation, even though this happened long ago.  You feel as if you are living in those moments, desperate to know the outcome.  What is so impressive about her writing is that she doesn't use all sorts of words to make you feel the depth of emotions.  She doesn't describe the carnage or romantic love or loss.  Instead, somehow as she tells her stories you feel all these things with a depth unusual for a novel.  Her writing is so on-point that you are seeing and living the experience without all the "fluff language" of other authors.

When I had to put the book down to do other things I found myself thinking about it and thinking about the history.  She makes me want to learn more about Dunkirk and about WWII.  

This beautiful and gripping novel is for any reader.  I love that Tracy Groot is a Christian writer and wrote this book in a way that I could give it to a non-believer and I know it would be a seed-planter.  Clare's words to Williams arrest your heart and stay with you.

While there are multiple characters they weave together in such a way that you are not distracted by them but desire them all to be well at the novels end.  You won't want to miss this book or any of her other previous books.

I received this book free from the publishers. All opinions express are my own.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson



From the publisher:
Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results--and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.
___________________________

This is the second book in the Evie Blackwell cold case and I have to say that I missed some of the characters from the first book and was sad to not know more about them.  But the book quickly catches your attention and you become immersed in the stories.

As with the first book, what is interesting is how much tension and suspense Dee Henderson can create from a cold case. These are cases that didn't have an end and yet nothing more seems to have happened--but there is a lot of suspense and tension.  It's brilliant, really.

Evie is a wonderful and complex characters. I loved to read about her and how she navigates her professional and personal life.

This books are dark in a way that is hard to describe but Henderson handles it all well.

I received this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Words of Grace by Jackqui Grace and Dee Arrand





This is a unique and delightful 28 day devotional book unlike any I’ve ever seen before.  Each day has a daily scripture, a short devotional relative for today’s women, a challenge and a coloring page.  As you color the page it is the reader’s time to reflect on the scripture. You then  apply the devotional to your personal life.  As you accept the challenge you pray over how you will bring that challenge to light in your interactions with others.  The daily passage is soothing, calming and uplifting.  The exercise of coloring as you reflect on the passage is a fun and meaningful way to spend time with God.
















Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Glory of the Messiah – An adult coloring book by Susan Perlman and Shelly Skoropinski
























The story of the Messiah is told in the pages of this unique coloring book.  It starts with the perspective of the Hebrew writings foretelling the promised Messiah.  Hebrew symbols are combined with Old Testament prophecies.  Then the fulfillment in New Testament scripture is given to tell this story.  Illustrations depict the prophecy promise on each page.  This is a great way to share the story of the Messiah with a friend.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

True to You by Becky Wade





















From the publisher:
After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.
______________________

First of all, I want Nora's Historic Village to be real, I want to live there! (Visit this Pinterest link to look at Becky Wade's pinterest board for True to You)  I was totally enamored with the setting of Merryweather.  Everything about it fit the scenes and the people that lived there.  In this novel Becky creates characters that will lead you into the next two books and does it so seamlessly that you aren't distracted from Nora and John's story at all.  I love how Britt, Nora, and Willow's relationship is shared through conversation and also text/email shown in the book.  I loved how Wade wrote more than just standard dialogue but added emails, letters, texts, Facebook messages, into the story. It added a whole new dimension and anticipation. 

Nora and John are amazing characters.  I loved reading them in this novel.  They were perfect.  Nora's job as a genealogist was fascinating and I getting to know more about genealogical searching was fascinating.  I was surprised how the story took different spins and turns but each time Wade made the story better and more complete.

The story is romantic, interesting, deep, and profound.  The deep level that the characters came to understand the truths about their need for God and what that meant for them individually was beautifully done.

I highly recommend this book (and the prequel "Then Came You") and cannot wait to read the following books in the series!

I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinions express are my own.

Monday, May 29, 2017

What Hope Remebers




















From the publisher:
When Amy Somers loses her job as a lobbyist, she moves to Misty Willow, well aware that she's crossing bridges she'd burned years before. With all the mistakes she's made and the uncaring things she's done--even to her own family--she can hardly believe that happiness will find her, especially when Gabe Kendall, her first crush and her first kiss, rides back into her life atop a buckskin mare.

A former Marine, Gabe is at loose ends after serving a prison sentence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He sees beyond Amy's hard exterior to the girl he once knew and loved, and he longs to see her open her heart. Yet with his vision clouded by shame for his past and fears about the future, he finds it difficult to see the path ahead.

But the memory of that long-ago kiss just may have the power to reignite a romance that brings out the best in both of them
_______________________

This is the third book in the Misty Willow's series.  What I have really enjoyed about each book was the redemptive power.  So often in books, or series, the antagonist stay the antagonist.  But with this series it delves deeper.  Johnnie Alexander gives dimensions to her characters just like we have in real life.  We make good and bad decisions but that doesn't define us. It is our character that makes us who we are.

Gabe will capture your attention and heart as he grounds and balances Amy Somers. Amy will continue to develop and unfold as a character that you will be able to see much of yourself in and be hopeful for what come of her life.

I received this book from the publishers. All opinions expressed are my own.

Bible Trivia, Jokes, and Fun Facts for Kids by Troy Schmidt






















This is an excellent book to help your kids know that being a Christian can be fun.  With good, clean jokes that are truly funny your child can read and memorize these jokes to tell his friends.  The Bible trivia and fun facts can be used for family worship time or even in Bible classes at church.  This book can be read alone by an individual child.  This book can be used by a teacher at camp, church school or church children’s classes as a resource material.  The material can be used in connection with making games or challenging individual students or teams, etc.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson

The Noble Servant by [Dickerson, Melanie]




















From the publisher:
The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.
On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.
When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?
_____________________

What Melanie Dickerson does with classic fairytales is really a dream come true for many readers who have loved the classics.  This novel is loosely based off of The Goose Girl, which is a favorite of mine.  The storyline that Dickerson creates is engaging and will keep readers excited. 

This is a Young Adult book and so some of the time I felt that the dialogue was a bit stilted.  That being said, it was still an enjoyable read. 

It is fun to read this in conjunction with her other novels as some of the characters weave in and out.  It is fun to read about previous characters as they go on with their lives.  You do not have to read any previous books to enjoy this one though.

I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert



From the publisher:
Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.
 
A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest. 
 
Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.
_____________________

This book was deeper and richer than I had expected. And I had big expectations going into this book.  In a world where we give pat answers to really difficult and painful situations this book lets us wrestle in the midst of the turmoil and see all that is there to discover--both the pain and beauty and even sometimes, answers.  

Ganshert writes Autumn and Paul both with equal skill and character development.  I loved the secondary characters and how they added to the story's dimensions.  Sometimes in Christian fiction the story is all about the romance (and those are still fun to read!) but this book is so much more than a light read.  Autumn's journey and Paul's journey will probably not be exactly your story, but the questions they ask and the emotions they feel will resonate with you. 

 I found that after reading this book I had to process it.  To me, that's an excellent book.  To have to sit with a book and its story and meaning after the book has finished is what makes the difference between a good book and a great book.  

I highly recommend this book to others.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own. 

The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller





















From the publisher:
With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.

Luke Hughes shares Hope's love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. Still, the notes she sings resonate in his heart. When she begins to travel with a young mine manager to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn't until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be the mine manager's cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels justified in speaking up. But how can he discover the truth without hurting Hope or, worse, putting her in danger?


__________________________________


Hope Irvin's only dream is to work along-side her father in his ministry with the chapel car.  As the chapel car is pulled by train to various towns Hope works to win the trust of the women while her father preaches daily from the chapel car. Hope teaches Bible stories to the children and befriends the women.  Her father Pastor Irvine works to help build safer homes for the miners and their families.  As real friendship and acceptance is being built there is also something mysterious going on in the town.  When  unexplained wealth and unexpected accidents occur blame is cast in all directions.  Two young men in the town are vying for Hope's affections, Kirby the mine owner's son and Luke a miner supporting his family after his father's tragic death. Both seemingly want what is best for the miners and both are working towards better working conditions.  Or are they?  Hope must trust God to show her what is real and what path is the one God would have her follow.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon

30259146


From the Publisher:
Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities--including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either--but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different--and better--future planned for them than either could imagine.
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This is the third book in the Hope Harbor Novel series but each book can be read as a stand-alone, although they are fun to read together as you get more depth in the story.  But if just this one appeals to you, don't be afraid to pick it up because it is part of a series.

Irene Hannon has created characters with depth and light-heartedness.  Hannon has the right blend of a book that you want to curl up and enjoy your spring or summer afternoon with.  It is the kind of story you can enjoy and is captivating without being suspenseful in a way that some of her other books can be.

I think readers will enjoy this book as well as the series.

I received this book from the publishers. All opinions are my own.

Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl's Heart by Glenys Nellist Illustrated by Rachel Clowes

Cover Image

Glenys Nellist has done it again.  Her book are magnificent.  There are fourteen Bible stories, each two page spread has the original text in the Bible sited, as well as Nellist's own wording on that story to help the reader to see the story in a different light. To help the girls reading this to see God's love.  There is a Bible text (not linked to the Bible story itself but to the concept) and then a little lift the flap love letter that feels like it is written from God.

The lessons in this book that Glenys Nellist brings out can be for small girls all the way through mature women.  We all need to learn about women in the Bible who were brave, strong, hopeful, those who made mistakes and were forgiven.  This book is beautiful from the depths of the words to the beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes.

I highly recommend this book to others.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions express are my own.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

To The Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden





















From the publisher:
It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.
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Elizabeth Camden is an author that I look forward to each book that comes out.  I can't wait to see how she will create a story and characters that stay with me long past reading it. 

I think Elizabeth Camden is definitely an author to follow and continue to read.  That being said, I was disappointed with this particular book of hers.  I felt that the dialogue between the main characters was stilted and didn't seem real.  I also didn't feel they were developed.  Now I did LOVE  the secondary male characters and think that Elizabeth Camden should write his story! 

I do love how Elizabeth Camden takes history, and party I knew nothing about, and makes them come to light and alive.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Grandpa Hugs by Laura Neutzling Illustraged by Cee Biscoe


















This board book is a delightful book for young children to enjoy.  It is illustrated with different animals who are all supposed to be the grandchild and grandpa.  This could be for either gender of a grandchild.  I like that it shares different things about being a grandpa that can be fun.  It can be jokes, eating special treats, singing, learning new things, or praying. 

Laura Neutzling did a great job for children and grandpas to enjoy this book.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Harvest by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis






















This is a book that gardener enthusiast will definitely enjoy!  This book shows the reader way to not only use vegetable gardens, but ANY garden to produce amazing things!    The book shares ways to use petals, leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit in many ways.  You can create floral arrangements to enjoy on your table or you can create dyes to natural dye fabric. 

The book is divided into three sections: Early, Mid, and Late for the garden season. It will share specific plants and how to use them.  I love that I can see things for Lilacs as well as Asian Persimmons and know that this book will really share lots of fun and unique ways to utilize many plants.

And, but no least, this book has beautiful pictures in it.  The photography is bright, bold, and so enjoyable to look at.

I received this book free from the publish.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin





















From the publisher:

When fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont learns the Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, determined to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. No-nonsense and hoping to make admiral, Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills to fight German U-boats. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. For her part, Tess works hard to prove her worth in the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston--both to her commanding officers and to the man with whom she is smitten. When Dan is assigned to a new escort carrier at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he's torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help Tess root out a possible spy on shore. The Germans put up quite a fight, but he wages a deeper battle within his heart. Could Tess be the one for him?

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Sarah Sundin is a delightful author.  Not only does she write romance and suspense expertly but she has so much history and details in her story.  In reading the series of Waves of Freedom (this is the third book) I have learned and understood more about that time than I had before. 

Tess is a character that has grown through this series and I was a delight to really get to know her character more in depth.  Tess wants to prove her worth and this book shows how we each have things we want others to see.

Dan Avery is another character we can really get to know. His outer toughness is something we get to see below.  Both Tess and Dan are striving for things but have to continually lay down their plans at God's feet and let Him lead.

I highly recommend this series to anyone.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom Book #3) by [Sundin, Sarah]

Sunday, March 5, 2017

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner illustrated by David Catrow
















This beautiful book is a winner on so many levels.  The words are things that all children need to hear.  Over and over it is reiterated to the child that God made them exactly as they are, perfect, and a special representation of God's image. 

And I especially loved the illustrations by David Catrow.  We need more beautiful books showing children of different nationalities and races.  I so appreciate that this was done so beautifully.

I cannot wait to give this book to others.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
When God Made You by [Turner, Matthew Paul]

Monday, February 27, 2017

Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith





















From the publisher:

When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech's family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law's homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it.
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I found it fascinating that Jill Eileen Smith decided to take a different approach to the story of Ruth than is usually.  I think readers will be engaged in this story of redeeming grace. 

This book is well researched as the story shares traditions and rituals that believers of God and those of Chemosh.  The history here makes the book interesting on one level, but then Jill Eileen Smith creates characters that draw you in.  She creates a world where these people come to life and you find yourself thinking of them long after the book has ended.

I received this book free from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Redeeming Grace (Daughters of the Promised Land Book #3): Ruth's Story by [Smith, Jill Eileen]

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher





















From the publisher:

In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It's a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn's shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World--isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father--his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not--bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

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I really enjoy reading Suzanne Woods Fisher's novels about the beginning of Amish in America.  It creates different settings that most "bonnet" novels and I appreciate being able to see a different historical perspective and side to these stories.

This is book two, so you will definitely want to read book one to appreciate Anna and Bairn's story and how it relates to Henrik.

This book will make you analyze and think with the characters and they see what is real love and what a leader should be.  I was glad that Fisher didn't gloss over the changes Bairn had to face or what some of the problems and friction spots would have been for the early Amish pioneers.

I received this book free from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
The Newcomer (Amish Beginnings Book #2) by [Fisher, Suzanne Woods]

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

Still Life (Chesapeake Valor Book #2) by [Pettrey, Dani]




















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

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.
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Dani Pettrey is a master suspense writer.  She keeps you guessing and wondering from the beginning until the end.  Her Christian suspense-romance novels are all addicting to read.  This book is great, but start with the first book in the series, Cold Shot, because it will help you understand more about the characters. 

Avery and Parker were some of my favorite characters from the first book in this series so I was really excited to read this book that focused more on them.  I love how Avery had to deal with her past and the conversations she and Parker had.  Often we define ourselves by our past but that's not how Christ sees us, nor how we need to see ourselves as we are made new in Christ.

The plotline was great and I cannot wait to read more by Dani Pettrey.

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

The Mark of the King by [Green, Jocelyn]

From the publisher:
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
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I was totally fascinated and gripped by the premise of this book.  The beginning and history that Green begins this story with really amazed me and made me want to know more.  Julianne's character and life are compelling to read.  I found her a very interesting and fascinating character.

I felt that because of the time that was trying to be covered that there were time gaps or loss of momentum at certain times.  

Overall it is a very interesting story that will have you looking at New Orleans and the New World.

I received this book from the publisher.  All opinion expressed are my own.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Grace and the Preacher: A Novel by [Vogel Sawyer, Kim]

From the publisher:
At the age of twenty-four, postmistress Grace Cristler has all but given up hope of finding a husband among the narrowing group of eligible men in her town of Fairland, Kansas. But when her uncle decides to retire from the pulpit, Grace is responsible for corresponding with the new preacher set to take his place. She can’t deny the affection growing in her heart for Reverend Rufus Dille—a man she deeply admires, but has only met through his letters.

Theophil Garrison is on the run from a past and a label he’s desperate to escape. Ten years ago, his outlaw cousins convinced him to take part in a train robbery, but Theo fled the scene, leaving his cousins to face imprisonment. Now their sentence is complete, but the plan for vengeance has only just begun. Branded a coward and running for his life, a chance encounter could provide Theo with the escape he needs. 

But the young man’s desperate con might come at an enormous price for the tenderhearted Grace—and the entire town. Will Grace’s undeserved affection and God’s mercy make something beautiful from the ashes of Theo’s past?
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This book has an interesting premise and idea but I felt it was too slow.  It took forever to have Theo and Grace meet and when they did I just felt such a lack of connection to the story.  The side story with Bess, I felt was distracting from Grace and Theo.  I liked Earl's character development and saw how it was necessary to have his own point-of-view for the story.  

The setting is interesting and the story is fine I just felt a little lack of the draw I usually feel to a book.

I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

Rescue Me (Montana Rescue Book #2) by [Warren, Susan May]

From the publisher:
When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him--not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff's department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He's the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father's accidental death. And he's the one--perhaps the only one--who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she's nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on--namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.
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This is book 2 in the Montana Rescue series and I definitely think you should read book 1 before this one (although you can still enjoy this as a stand-alone) because you will enjoy this book so much more when you have more of the back stories. 

Susan May Warren is such an enjoyable storyteller!  I couldn't wait to begin reading this book and once I started I didn't want to put it down.  I love that the whole story was over a relatively short period of time, because I felt you could really get to know the characters.  Willow's character was so lively and lovely.  I just wanted to be her friend.

I recommend this book and series to others.

I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinion expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard by Jennie Allen



I read Jennie Allen's book Anything a few years ago.  And it was at a pivotal time for me and I felt that God used Jennie's words to speak to me.

That is almost identical to what happened when I read this book, Nothing to Prove.  Recently I feel that I have been striving to have God listen.  To be good enough to make Him hear me.  But it doesn't feel like it is working.  And then I read Nothing to Prove.

I don't know what you are going through right now, but somehow I can bet that you might be tired.  Tired of drama, work, kids, marriage, of trying and trying and trying. 

This book is for you.  Jennie writes with honesty and beauty but she also will challenge you as she loves you. Isn't that the kind of friend we all want?  One that loves us where we are but won't leave us there?

Are you ready to move beyond yourself but to do it in a way that isn't exhausting?  I am but I had no idea what that would look like.  My plate is already so full. 

This book is for you.  As you walk through the reflection questions that Jennie gives you she takes you to the feet of Jesus where you can hear His voice saying, "Abide in Me."  And then...page by page you find you are abiding and your heart and creativity have wings to see what God has for you to do.

I know my review isn't going to do justice to the profound beauty and impact of the book, but I hope it helps you want to read it. 

I've pre-ordered several copies for friends and I know this will be a book I keep stocked to hand out to others.  It's that powerful.

You should read it.  I am so thankful I did.

I received this book from the publishers. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Beyond Suffering Bible

Here is my opinion.  I do feel that so many of the topics were great for all type of suffering.  However, it did feel slanted toward physical suffering (which is a GREAT and huge need to help!) but for those suffering emotionally and not physically sometimes it came across as no enough just to suffer emotionally that you could only suffer emotionally if you also were suffering physically.  I think that this Bible is wonderful but I don't know if I would recommend it to a friend suffering from depression alone.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz



From the publisher:
On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

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Laura Frantz has a way of writing that makes things vivid and real.  I admire her writing and enjoy her style of storytelling.  

This novel doesn't hold back on the harsh and violent ways of those early frontier times.  So be aware of that before you read this book.  Also, I did feel it was one-sided about the violence of the Native Americans toward the White settlers--because as history has shown us both were cruel to each other.  So I was disappointed in that.

However, knowing that the story is told from white settlers view points you can see how she may have decided to focus on just that.  

Those who enjoy great story-telling and the early frontier time period will enjoy this book.

I received this book free from the publishers. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

For the Record by Regina Jennings



From the publisher:
Betsy Huckabee might be a small-town girl, but she has big-city dreams. Writing for her uncle's newspaper will never lead to independence, and the bigger newspapers don't seem interested in the Hart County news. Trying a new approach, Betsy pens a romanticized serial for the ladies' pages, and the new deputy provides the perfect inspiration for her submissions. She'd be horrified if he read her breathless descriptions of him, but these articles are for a newspaper far away. No one in Pine Gap will ever know.
 
Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but this job in tiny Pine Gap is his only shot at keeping his badge. With masked marauders riding every night, his skills and patience are tested, but even more challenging is the sassy journalist lady chasing him.
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Regina Jennings has written a book that is part of a series but definitely is a stand-alone book if one wants to read it that way.

Betsy is a lively character and is a funny character to read.  Joel is a strong and serious character.  It is interesting to read their banter and learn more about the town of Pine Gap.  

I had a hard time getting into the characters however.  The setting was interesting and the situation was different than any I had read before but I just couldn't get into it.  However, I am sure many readers will enjoy this book.

I received this book free from the publisher. I all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Where Does Love Hide by Mary Manz Simon Illustrated by Hannah Wood



I am so excited to share about this book.  When I picked it I had no idea how much I was going to love it.  Mary Manz Simon has such a creative idea.  The book shares different places that love "hides" or isn't really there until you do something.  On each page there are different ways that children can show or receive love.  It is hidden under a flap and then when the flap is lifted someone is shown doing the action of love. Each of these are ways that a child can understand and do these things.  And for each of the ways love can be shown, there is a Bible verse.

This book is child friendly and yet has deep purpose. I can't wait to share this more with others!

I received this book from the publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review, all opinions are my own.