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.

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?


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.

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.

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?

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.

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.