Monday, December 29, 2014

The Song by Chris Fabry

Jed King is a rising Christian music artist who is following in the footsteps of his famous father. He is determined to miss the pitfalls that marred his father's life and when he meets Rose and they get married he thinks he is on the road to his dreams. Like many artists that get caught up in the fast pace of stardom with all the touring and fan culture, he inevitably makes some missteps along the way.

This story is about redemption and forgiveness and the love of God that surpasses all our sins and shortcomings.

This book was well written and the main characters were likable and believable. I was drawn into the story almost immediately and didn't want to put it down. I noticed that there had been a screenplay and since I almost always like the book better than the movie, I'm glad I saw the book first. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good read.

Tyndale provided me with a copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

Carey arrives in Greece to find out the position she is reporting for is no more because the Institute has been closed. She is an expert in antiquities and forensic archaeology and a hometown friend, now an investigative reporter, Nick hires her to help him on his quest to find out who is stealing antiquities from Museums and Monasteries in Greece.

This book kept me engaged throughout and the mix of history and Greek culture was fascinating. Davis Bunn is a new author for me but I will definitely seek out his books again. Especially when a sequel to this one comes out since he left us hanging at the end. I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense / mystery / Biblical history.

Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles) by Lynn Austin

This story begins with the wicked Haman's decree in Babylon for all Jews to be killed. It has the King's seal so every Jew in Babylon is terrified about the approaching day. Ezra, a teacher of the Torah, delves deep into the scripture and into prayer and fasting to help find a solution. Jews (and Gentiles) all over the realm are preparing for the day.

Lynn Austin has made the story of Queen Esther and the subsequent opportunity for the Jews that so desire to return to Jerusalem come to life. The Bible story is compelling but putting actual every day people and their dreams and hopes and feelings into it make it even more compelling. Lynn Austin is a master storyteller and all her historicals have this ability to bring it all home but this one is one of her best yet! I literally could not put this down until I finished the story. What a wonderful resource this book is as well as being a great book to just enjoy reading. My granddaughter has read everything she has found on Esther over the last few years and she is waiting (impatiently) for me to finish this book so she can read it. This takes the story on beyond the Esther story and I know she will devour it just as I did.

This is a book to savor and then be kept on the shelf to savor again in the future. This entire series is a wonderful addition to any collection.

Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I love Bethany House and all their authors!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Abraham by Charles R. Swindoll

Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of a great nation. He wasn't a righteous man. He wasn't even a God-follower when he was chosen. But God typically takes who he wants not who looks, acts or does the best. The story of Abraham is vastly different than the sweet little Bible stories we were taught as children. The story of Abraham is the story of a man who was very much flesh and blood, very much subject to his own fears and inhibitions and not above stretching the truth for his own purposes. But he did what God told him, for the most part, and fulfilled the purpose God had for him. This is an in depth study of the story of Abraham.

I have taken several studies about Abraham so I was familiar with the topic but each author has their own twist on it and gives food for thought. The best way to begin to learn about Abraham is to read his story straight from your Bible. But it is also helpful to have the insight of Bible teachers who have studied it in depth already. There are many cultural and geographical facts from the period that need to be addressed to fully understand the story. That is the reason books like this are valuable to us as seekers of truth.

Charles Swindoll has done an excellent job of presenting all the facts and making this study interesting and informative. This would be an excellent book for Bible Study or Book Club groups but is also good for personal studies. This book will stay on my shelf and be a resource in homeschooling and personal study.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This book is a Kim Vogel Sawyer masterpiece. She just keeps reaching deeper and deeper. I've made it my business to read everything that comes out by this author for several years now and this one is just beyond wonderful. I could not put this book down to get anything done today and I finally finished it this evening and was relieved to see that the sequel is in the works already. There is definitely some unfinished business at the end of this book and I am anxious to see the next installment.

This is the story of Suzy (an old order Mennonite girl), who gets pregnant when she and her boyfriend have sex. Her mother sends her away to have the baby and have it adopted by a cousin and then return and resume her life. Instead of coming back to Kansas, she stayed in Indiana and went to nursing school. Nineteen years later, her siblings ask her to come back and take care of her mother who has been injured in an accident and she returns with her daughter to help. No one knew about her daughter and it was all a surprise. Complicating matters was the fact that her former boyfriend, now a widower with a young son, was the contractor working on adapting her mother's house to her disabilities.

All the characters in this story were interesting and their various means of dealing with emotions was interesting. So many surprising things happened in this story and the setting was so compelling that I just wanted to keep reading about it even after the last page was read. I'm counting on the sequel to be full of more fascinating people and settings. Being a native Kansan, I am always excited to read about Kansas anyway but this book make it even more special.

I received this book from the author for the purpose of writing a review, but if I hadn't been chosen for the task I would have purchased it anyway because I can't pass up anything new from Kim Vogel Sawyer's pen.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson

Mazy Pelfrey has gone to Lexington to go to business school on the advise of her sister, Lilly (a doctor). Her beau back home is Chanis Clay who is the local sheriff. While in Lexington she becomes interested in Loyal Chambers, the son of a local doctor and part of Lexington's upper class. She soon finds out that all that glitters is not gold as the saying goes.

I found this story interesting because my grandmother went away to business school in about this time frame and it gave me a little feel for what her life may have been like while she was away from home taking this course.

I also found Chanis Clay very interesting and like the way he treated people he came across in his work and in his social life. He might not be the dashing, exciting hero of a lot of romance novels, but he is a true blue hero all the same.

This story was well told and kept me interested throughout so as a result I finished this book fairly quickly.

Tyndale gave me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tried & True by Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy just keeps perfecting her craft! This book is a clear indication that she is learning and growing as an author with every new book she writes.

This is the start of a new trilogy called 'Wild At Heart." The youngest of three sisters that posed as boys and fought in the Civil War, Kylie is the least competent at manly pursuits and the one most desiring to live in her feminine guise. Trying to hold down a homesteaders claim to please her father is no easy task, especially when the land agent, Aaron Masterson, spends no time at all figuring out that she's a female and when other sinister characters are trying to run her off her claim.

I have only one complaint about this book. It was so good that I am having a horrible time waiting till the other two in the series are released and #2 is slated for almost a year from now so #3 will be even farther away. I keep saying I won't read any piece of a trilogy again until all installments are available but I love Mary Connealy's books so much that I just can't resist when one hits the shelves. She is at the top of my list of favorite authors because she keeps me amused through the whole impossible story each time.

Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I love Bethany House and all their authors!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Heaven Touching Earth: True Stories of Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters by James Stuart Bell

This book is a wonderful collection of stories by individuals that have been touched by God in a special way. Some are stories of miraculous healing, some are tales of provision and some are about protection. I have experienced some of these God moments in my life as have many people I know. But I always enjoy reading about other peoples' experiences like this. I am especially encouraged by healing stories because there is so much sickness out there. I was especially interested in a story about a woman who was cured of incurable cancer because I have a childhood friend who is battling cancer right now and I pray constantly for his healing. I read this book straight through like a novel because it was so compelling. Each chapter is an individual story by a different person but they are like potato chips -- you can't eat just one.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, longs for a relationship with God and these are stories of relationship.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and comments are my own. Thank you Bethany House for publishing such inspiring books!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Everyone Needs Forgiveness and Love

Everyone wants forgiveness. Not grudging words. Not “I forgive you but I cannot forget so stay far away from me.” What is desired is “I forgive you. You are special to me. Let’s move on.”

Everyone wants love --warm, fuzzy, huggy, feel good love that is completely unconditional but still holds you accountable for your part of the relationship. Not love that says I will love you only as long as you don’t disappoint me or only as long as I find you interesting or beautiful, but love that says, “I love you even when you’re crabby, even when you’re not looking your best, even when you’ve hit rock bottom and the only way left is up.”

Everyone has an empty spot in their innermost self that they are constantly trying to fill with something. No matter how hard you try to fill it with stuff or people or ideas, it never feels filled until you choose to fill it with an eternal love, acceptance and forgiveness that only comes from Jesus Christ. It is a relationship with Him, accepting His forgiveness and desiring to please Him above all else that fills that empty spot and fulfills all our innermost desires.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Jen Gibbs, an editor at a publishing house in New York City, goes on the hunt for the elusive author of a story that mysteriously appears on her desk. The hunt takes her to within a few miles of her hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There she finds the author, Evan and meets up with the past she has been avoiding ever since she left home. The manuscript is the story of Rand and Sarra who traveled in these same mountains in the 1800s. Both stories, similar in theme, keep the reader enthralled enough to not want to put this book down until the last delicious paragraph is finished and then there is still the desire for more.

This is by far the best book I've read of Lisa Wingate's. She keeps getting better and better. This story seems like her masterpiece so if the next one is even better -- WOW! I loved both story lines in this book and the characters are rich in the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I feel like I know a little more about this part of our country now and some of the issues the people there are dealing with (poverty, isolation, etc.) This is arguably the best book I've read all summer if not all year and I read a LOT of books. I truly cannot wait to see what comes next from this author.

I was provided a copy of this book by Tyndale for the purpose of reviewing it and I am thrilled to have the opportunity!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

This story is set in the early 1950s in West Virginia farm country. It is the story of Casewell Phillips, a local man who is a woodworker and musician and devout Christian and Perla Long and her little daughter Sadie, who come to stay with relatives and forge a new life for themselves. It is a story of long-held bitterness and forgiveness. It is a story of drought and renewing rain. It is a story of religious zeal and Christian charity. It is a story of redemption. Many of the other characters in the story have a story of their own and this adds to the richness of the story telling here.

The book is well written and keeps the reader captivated throughout. I read it in less than a day because I wanted to know what happened next. This author needs to be heard from again! I was a bit dubious about a couple of points of doctrine but overall the book told a tale that was consistent with the period and setting.

For a refreshing new voice in Christian fiction and a cozy read I recommend this book to all. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Awakening by Traci Higley

Kallie is an ancient history buff and works at a large museum doing research into the lives and language of the Ancient Minoans. She is totally absorbed in this because she has no memory of her life before 7 years previous. She teams up with Dimitri Andreas, a rich philanthropist whose interest in her research is as strong as hers and they go on a world search for an artifact that will crack the code of the language.

Tracy Higley takes us through a whirlwind tour of Egypt, Venice (Italy) and the Greek island of Santorini. She has traveled to these places and has first hand knowledge of the tourist haunts in all these places which makes it real and fun. I have been to two of the three locations and enjoyed visiting again via this book.

I read this book pretty much straight through with a few brief stops when life got in the way. I was fascinating, mesmerizing and different from any book I've read recently. It is even different from most or all of Tracy Higley's other books, all of which I have devoured as soon as they came out. I am still reeling from the twist the storyline took and trying to process it but I would definitely give 5 stars to this book and recommend it to all of my friends. It's fresh and exciting and unique.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering

Drew Farthering and Madeline Parker, amateur sleuths, are making plans for their wedding when they get embroiled in a murder mystery at the local theater. The acting crew at the theater specialize in Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas and the Mikado is on the marquee when the owner and lead actor is murdered. The wife of one of Drew's employees and a former friend is implicated in the murder so they are determined to figure out who the culprit might be.

This book is set in the 1930s in England. I was skeptical at first as to whether I would like reading about this time frame but I was very soon caught up in the story and enjoying every second. Lines from Gilbert & Sullivan's shows ran throughout the story and that was fun. Apparently this is the 3rd in a series about Drew Farthering and Madeline and the ending hints at more to come. I am now on a mission to buy the two previous books and watch for number four to come out. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing more from this author.

This book was given to me by Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for the review, other than the pleasure of reading this book. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, July 4, 2014


If God is not real, why do so many spend so much time and effort trying to discredit Him? Why is the whole world united in trying to destroy Christians and Jews? Who has been able to refute all the natural evidence and historical evidence of His existence? I am tired of all the ugliness that abounds. If we are just poor, uninformed mortals then why persecute us. Just feel sorry for us and move on. But the saddest things is the so-called "Christians" who don't understand what it's all about. Either they aren't reading their Bible thoroughly or they do not have a relationship with the Father. They do even more damage than non-believers. The Bible tells us that as we come closer to the end this kind of situation will become more and more prevalent. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Taryn Young, a brilliant programmer for a software company is on her way to her honeymoon and in the airport with her new husband when there is an explosion. She is injured, her husband is missing and soon she finds she's a person of interest in the terrorist plot to blow up the terminal. Enter the FBI and Taryn finds herself anxious to help solve the mystery and clear her name.

I have a new favorite author! I love this type of book, especially when it showcases the FBI. This one has more twists and turns and excitement and surprises than any other I've read lately. It kept me on pins and needles wondering what would happen next. The characters were endearing (except for the bad guys, of course) and the plot and action were phenomenal. Ms. Mills blends faith in God seamlessly into the story and I really admire that. Hopefully there are more books out there from this author or soon to be because I can't get enough!

This book was given to me by Tyndale House to review (thank you so much Tyndale!). I did not receive any compensation for the review, other than the sheer enjoyment of this read. All opinions expressed here are my own. Love it!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

Vince Yates, the unsalaried sheriff of Broken Wheel, TX has a lot of things going on in his life. His friend Jonas’ sister Tina is catching his eye but he also has his mother and his sister to watch out for and his mother isn’t tracking most of the time so she needs a lot of care. Tina is busy picketing the local saloon, cooking for the local cafĂ© and helping with Vince’s mother. Throw in some outlaws and all Vince’s friends and there is some excitement going on.

Let me qualify what I am about to say about this book with the statement that I love ANYTHING Mary Connealy writes. She is one of my favorite authors because of the humor she puts into all her historical romances. She keeps me laughing. But this book maybe not quite so much. In the cartoons, you know how you just keep wondering how Wylie Coyote and Elmer Fudd can be so dumb 100% of the time? Well both Vince and Tina’s thought processes strained my credulity to the max – Tina more than Vince, but both were a tad illogical most of the time. I like the smart women heroines, the tough-as-nails women heroines and the hard-working women heroines, but I’m not much for the clueless and I felt that way about Tina throughout this whole book. There didn’t seem to be much to her except faulty logic and blonde curls.

Having said all that, I was happy to have the next installment in the series and I can’t wait to see what Mary Connealy will come up with next.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House for review. I am not receiving any compensation and this review is solely my own opinions.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Silenced by Dani Pettrey

Kayden McKenna, whom we have met in previous stories in this series, is a rock climber. She finds a body on a climb and it becomes quickly obvious that it was not an accident. Kayden's friend, Jake, is made a deputy by the local sheriff and together Jake and Kayden take on the case.

This is a book full of suspense but also full of Kayden's delightful family whom we have met in books 1-3. The family and the location on a small island in Alaska make this all the more interesting.

I am totally a fan but I didn't find this book as well put together as some of the previous ones. For instance, the author puts some suspicion on some of the suspects and never really explains why they were acting suspicious later when the case is solved (especially the female owner of one of the climbing supply stores). Also, I thought that the climbing death and the threats to Kayden would somehow be tied together at some point and they weren't. About 3/4 was through the book, the climbing death was solved and pretty much dropped. So there are two totally separate mysteries going on in the book.

I received this book from Bethany for purposes of reviewing it. All opinions expressed here are my own and I have not been compensated for reviewing the book.

Looking forward to the next book in the series! These books are wonderful!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

All Right Here by Carre Armstrong Gardner

What a wonderful story! I was immediately pulled in by the fact that this childless couple took in a sibling group from a different race and became a family. But the story is much deeper than that. It explores foster care and the plight of "throwaway children," it explores marital relationships and some of the pitfalls, it explores extended family relationships, it explores extra-marital choices and addictions. And the part I found most endearing was that it explores the heart of a mother of grown children and grandchildren that prays for her progeny and loves them extravagantly. This is to become a whole series of "Darling Family novels." I can't wait for the next installment!

I enjoyed this book so much that I sacrificed half a night's sleep to finish it. I enjoy stories where faith in God is a seamless part of the story. And I especially like the interracial family here because the household I live in is multicultural and we are exploring some of these same issues. I love the way the author handled the "sore points" of the issue.

This book was given to me by Tyndale for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Queen's Handmaiden by Tracy Higley

This is the best historical Christian fiction book by Tracy Higley to date! What a lot of historical research went into this. I couldn't put this book down until I read the last precious page.

Lydia is a servant to Cleopatra in Alexandria when the story begins. She soon is passed on to the visiting Herod who wants to take her back to be the personal servant to his bride-to-be. On the way to Jerusalem, they stop in Rome where for a brief time she is the personal servant of Octavia, wife of Marc Antony. This story takes place in the decades immediately before Jesus' birth. An old Jewish man who has been Lydia's mentor entrusts her with some scrolls from the Prophet Daniel that need to be delivered to a certain person in Jerusalem on a certain date. This story has many twists and turns and it makes all the historical figures included much more real than the history books. But the most compelling part of it is Lydia's growing faith, her quest to find out who her parents were and the faith of the followers of the One True God that she meets along the way. I was especially interested in getting a better picture of all the machinations and political intrigue that went on in the Sanhedrin and between the Pharisees and the Saducees, as well as all the manipulations done by the leaders of Egypt, Rome and Judea.

Tracy gives us a little teaser in her remarks at the end that the next book will follow this one chronologically. I can't wait!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Shining Light by Judith Miller

This book is the third in the Home to Amana series. This one is about a woman who grew up on a farm next to one of the Amana colonies. She returns as a widow with a small child to live with her father on his farm and finds that the farm was sold to the Amana Colonies and her father is dead. The colonists take her in and she finds a place for herself and her son in the fabric of life there. Her past comes back to haunt her for a while but all eventually works itself out as in all good stories.

The author obviously did a lot of research and I think it is interesting to see what life in these colonies was like in the late 1800s and get a glimpse of their religious beliefs and day to day ways. I like the idea of every individual working for the good of the whole much like in the early church when all put their assets into the group and everyone worked to that end and widows and children were provided for.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House for the purpose of reviewing it. All comments and ideas are my own.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Echoes of an Angel by Aquanetta Gordon and Chris Macias

Aquanetta Gordon is a lady who has overcome a lot of obstacles in her own life and then had a son, Ben Underwood, who had his own trials to face. Ben developed tumors as a toddler that led to losing his eyes. And then as a teenager, they returned and ultimately took his life. But the story of his life is the subject of this book and it was a joyful, triumphant life. Ben taught himself to navigate by sound (echolocation) and miraculously seemed to actually see even though he had prosthetic eyes. He "saw" so well by sound and his other senses that many people did not immediately realize he was blind. He was a video game whiz and he taught himself to know what the action would be of the character by the sounds he heard. Ben also loved the Lord with all his heart and perhaps was able to be even more spiritually inclined due to his supersensitive senses.

This book was co-written by Chris Macias, who helped Aquanetta put her life and Ben's life down into a very enjoyable story. I read late into the night to continue reading this fascinating tale. Ben left a legacy for his family and friends and for disabled people in the world to strive for the very best for themselves and not be satisfied with the status quo or the low expectations of others. His mother still lives as a testimony to the ability of humans to overcome obstacles and forge ahead.I loved this book!

This book was given to me by Tyndale for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

For Such A Time by Kate Breslin

What a wonderful book! I don't normally enjoy WWII novels all that much because they are sad and depressing but I was intrigued by the parallels to the Book of Esther in the Bible. That is my granddaughter's favorite story and she has read all the novels and watched all the movies made on the subject. I will now pass this book on to her and also to my daughter whose favorite thing is WWII stories. The best of both worlds. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It would be a great book for a homeschool reading list about WWII and the Nazis' death camps. I learned a lot more about some of the things I saw in Germany and Poland and more than I remembered from my history books. The author's notes at the end are most helpful too.

The story is about Hadassah Benjamin aka Stella who is rescued from a concentration camp and taken to another camp by the new commandant to be his secretary. As it turns out, her Uncle Morty is in that camp. The story unfolds as Stella does everything she can to make the prisoners' lives easier and to protect a young boy in the commandant's household. As she spends time with the commandant, she is drawn more and more to him as she sees the things that haunt him and the Christian qualities he has. As he draws closer to her, he questions what he is doing as the commandant of this camp. It is a story you won't be able to put down. You will want to continue reading to see what will happen next. Although it is just fiction, it is a gripping and compelling story that will make you want to know more.

I highly recommend this book to young and old alike. It is a history lesson we don't want to lose sight of. We need to remember that this happened and pray that it never happens again.

This book was given to me by Bethany House for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

This is the essence of who I am

I decided a long time ago that either the Bible is 100% true or it is a waste of time. After much study, it is my considered opinion that it is 100% true. Therefore, I am bound by its precepts and commissions. The entire book is the story of God seeking relationship with the people He created and providing redemption to make it possible after those people failed miserably right out of the starting gate. The one commission given to us as Christians is to witness to everyone else and try to bring as many others along with us as we can.

My impetuosity and Type A personality make me want to just purchase copious amounts of duct tape and drag my family and friends kicking and screaming into eternity with me but unfortunately, God doesn't operate that way and it's not legal for me to use those methods either. So I'm left with persuasion, cajoling and a host of other relatively ineffective methods of bringing them along. Through God's providence, however, I am not required to devise those plans on my own. I just have to be the willing conduit for the Holy Spirit to use. And He loves these people even more than I do.

Even as a very young child my main focus was digging up any and all truth. I wanted to know who, when, where, how etc. And my other focus was soaking up love wherever it was offered. I have pretty much devoted my entire life to both pursuits. Love was pretty hard to find in the human realm but once I tasted the Love of my Heavenly Father, I was in the everlasting arms of El Shaddai -- the God that is more than enough.

Truth is elusive too with so many different voices trying to indoctrinate us into their pet beliefs and ideologies. I don't take anything on face value. I won't build my worldview on 20 minutes of some professor's rant or even some preacher's rant. I want the fact, the truth behind what is being said. I will dig until I find it. Science is much touted but a closer study will find that much of it is theories and ideas, not proven fact. History is purported to tell us all sorts of things, but does that history stand up to scrutiny? I have to know. Even as a very small child it needed to make sense. Some things still don't and I'm still searching. But the one thing that makes perfect sense is that I know Jesus personally and He is my best friend. I have a personal relationship with Him. I am an eyewitness to the extravagant love, protection, provision and peace He has provided to me day in and day out since that relationship was established. Just as the disciples were willing to die rather than say His resurrection wasn't real because they knew, that they knew, that they knew that He had risen from the dead, I am willing to go the distance and not forsake my relationship with Him for any kind of expediency or due to any type of coercion. He is mine and I am His. And that is the sum total of it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Heart Wide Open by Shellie Rushing Thomlinson

This book is a little treasure trove of helpful advice about deepening your relationship with Jesus. Through stories and anecdotes, the author chronicles her own journey into a deeper relationship with her Lord and Savior. She has the same struggles most of us have as we strive to draw closer: feelings of inadequacy, frustration that we aren't doing enough, etc. And she mentions spending more time in the Word and prayer. These are things that are difficult for many but crucial to the process. All in all, a very thoughtful book that will be of value to many.

This book is well written and keeps the reader engaged which providing helpful tips. Highly recommend!

The author has a contest you can enter. Just fill out this FORM. The giftbasket contains:

A beautiful wallboard inscribed with these words from the Song of Solomon, "Come and awaken love and when I find him I won't let him go."
A beautiful coffee mug bearing this sentiment, "Heart you to the moon and back."
A Bird of Paradise heart shaped candle
A Heart Shaped Keepsake Box
A Red and White Chevron Design Scarf
A Heart Wide Open T-Shirt (winner to designate size)
A $50 Amazon Gift Certificate
And, of course, a copy of Heart Wide Open

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould

Molly Zook has recently lost her father and her mother and she are struggling to save the farm where they raise flowers, trees, shrubs and herbs. Her mother thinks she can best make this happen by getting Molly to marry their neighbor Mervin Mosier. Molly, however, has falled in love with an Amish man who is working in the neighborhood but whose family home is in Montana. Complicating the issue is that her best friend, Hannah, has eyes only for Mervin Mosier but thinks Molly is sabotaging her future with him. A camping trip of Molly and her friends in the Poconos only complicates the situation.

This book is #3 in The Courtships of Lancaster County series. I read the first two when they came out and was eagerly awaiting this one. Leslie Gould always keeps you wanting more. I really enjoy these books and they are full of interesting observations about the Amish but more than that, they are just a really good story! There are several more couples that need to get together in this group so I am hoping this is not the end or near the end of the series, but it's OK with me if she starts a new series as long as she keeps writing these great stories that I love to read!

This book was given to me by Bethany House for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

This is a sort of Victorian / Gothic / Jane Austin / Bronte type of story. It is very complicated with lots of twists and turns and you spend most of the book wondering what is really going on. It is the story of Julia who has been appointed a guardian after her parents' deaths only the man is remaining anonymous. She is supposed to go to Scotland to attend an elderly lady but ends up with her mother's friend and her daughter that Julia spent much time with as a child. Her friend Elizabeth is in love with the local gentry's oldest son Henry and Julia is in love with the younger son Edwards -- all fast friends from childhood. When she arrives she finds that Edward has become a vicar since she last saw him and since her father was an avowed atheist and she had taken much abuse from clergy during her childhood, this was a deal-breaker for her. The plot thickens and thickens and yet again thickens after this. All I can say is you need to read it yourself and plan on saving a big block of time for this because you aren't going to want to put it down until you find out what happens next.

Although this is a Christian book that aspect is woven in rather sparingly in my opinion. I would have like to see at least one or two of the characters' faith in action but what was most evident was Edward's embrace of social causes.

The book was well-written but almost too suspenseful for me. I like a good mystery but it seems like the author was very miserly with her clues and information and it took a very long time to get any tidbits and then you were off in search of another tidbit to make that one make sense. And the author left the end of this one hanging so now we must wait for the next one to come out which is due later on this year. I will definitely be watching for it to arrive so I can get the next part of this story!

This book was given to me by Tyndale for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

All Heaven Will Break Loose by Joy Dawson

In this book Joy Dawson teaches how to operate the same way the triune God / Trinity operates. She talks about getting along with each other and working as a team. She emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. All this is substantiated by scripture references and anecdotal stories. She talks about the importance of maintaining Trinity Unity even when hard times hit and life gets difficult.

The book is well written and informative and I think very helpful for groups and individuals to study.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Match Made in Texas, A Novella Collection by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Carol Cox.

This set of stories was so much fun. Each one starts out at least in Dry Gulch, TX. In the first story, a very pregnant widow is sent a handyman by an anonymous friend. In the second one, the first couple has moved on and the widow's former homestead is now occupied by a former schoolteacher who is going blind. Again, the anonymous friend sends a handyman her way and another match is made. In number three, the M.O. changes a little and the anonymous friend arranges to send a homeless friend to a ranch to be a companion to an elderly aunt of a gentlemen at that location. And finally in number three that anonymous friend finds herself set up with someone she has had her eye on for a long time and hilarity ensues.

These were all well written and kept me reading way past when I should have gone to bed! I love stories by Christian authors because they don't have a lot of unnecessary stuff in them that I don't want to read. And everyone relies on God as their source. Love it!

This book was given to me by Bethany House for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman

Mariah Malone finds herself solely in charge of the family ranch after her father dies and caretaker for her grandmother and blind sister. Slade Donovan and his brother arrive and claim ownership of the ranch. Mariah, believing the evidence presented, signs the ranch over to Slade. As they wait for Slade's mother and sisters to arrive, Mariah and Slade get to know each other and many secrets about the past and about the management of the ranch are revealed.

This book was so well written that I did not want to stop reading to get on with my life. I enjoyed this book so much and was surprised to find out it is only the second book by this author. I'm now in pursuit of book one and anxiously awaiting book three (please tell me there will be more from this author)! I love reading about this time period and this book will stay on my shelf in my "favorites" section.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale for review.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Prepared for a Purpose by Antoinette Tuff

When I got this book I thought, how can they make a whole book out of an incident in the news that only took a few hours and how did they get it out there so fast after the fact? This is the story of Antoinette Tuff who was sitting at the reception desk of the school where she worked in Atlanta while the regular receptionist went to lunch. While she was sitting there, a gunman entered the room and threatened everyone in the school. Ms. Tuff spent a very long time alone with the gunman. In an unusual state of calm which she says was totally from God, she managed to talk him down. No one was injured in the standoff.

I found this book difficult to put down. I read it rather quickly. Not only does she take us through the events of the day, she gives us the testimony of her life that led her up to this point. She was dealing with some very difficult life situations on that day, but she still managed to hear God's voice and do and say all the right things to calm the gunman down. She is a true hero and a wonderful person. I am praying that all the situations she was dealing with get resolved for her.

This book was very well written. I know she had a co-author, Alex Tresniowski, but the story is her own and she was very brave to put it all out there for the world to see.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House for review. I did not received any compensation for the review and the opinions expressed here are my own.