Tuesday, December 27, 2016

For the Record by Regina Jennings

This story takes place in Missouri in 1885. The town of Pine Gap has citizens taking the law into their own hands. They are calling themselves the BaldKnobbers. Betsy Huckabee is a reporter for her Uncle’s local paper and has dreams of writing for larger papers. Deputy Joel Puckett is the Texas lawman being sent to town by the Governor of Missouri to restore order in the community. Betsy sees an opportunity to get a foot in the door with the Kansas City Star by writing serial stories for women about the dashing new deputy but she doesn’t count on falling for him Deputy Puckett has something to hide and wants his anonymity.

This story was well thought out and had some surprising twists and turns. It did take a while to get captivating. It was always interesting but it didn’t make me want to keep reading in the first half of the book like it did in the last half of the book. The first half too a few days and the last half took one long evening. All in all I enjoyed it very much and look forward to what this author may write next.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Where Does Love Hide? by Mary Manz Simon

This little board book has a wonderful message and it is presented so simply that the little ones can grasp the lesson. The simple but very sweet illustrations make the book fun for the small fry. This is a lift-the-flap book and on the first page the little girl is playing with a stack of blocks and love is hiding at her house until she invites a friend to play. You pull down the flap (the stack of blocks) and there is her friend that she is offering a block to. There is a verse, Proverbs 17:17 -- "A friend is always a friend." Similarly, each page has a flap of some sort (i.e., door, stack of cookies, sand castle, bush) and another definition of love such as helping or sharing and each set of pages has a simplified verse to go with it. This is a great start to teaching your child to love the Word and get it in their hearts. I really enjoyed this simple little book with my grandkids and they loved it too. My only advice is put it away and don't leave it lying around for them because they tend to get a little too enthusiastic about lifting the flap and the flaps can get torn off way too soon.

I received this book from Tyndale for the purpose of an honest review. I would definitely purchase another copy in the future as a gift to a small child.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl

I love all of Nancy Mehl's books. This is no exception. This is the first book in her Defenders of Justice series.

Mercy Brennan is a U.S. Marshall whose father, a cop, has just been murdered. Her friend Tally (a cop) and her partner Mark (also a Marshall) are tasked with protecting her from the cartel who murdered her father. The cartel thinks Mercy has something they were trying to get from her father. They end up in a snow storm out in the boonies and most of the story takes place on the property where they are sheltering. It is full of suspense and I never figured out the whole story before it happened as sometimes happens when reading these types of books. Nancy Mehl is a clever crafter of suspense stories. I enjoyed this book so much I can't wait for the sequel.

Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have to say though that since I have all of her books this one would have wound up on my shelf sooner rather than later anyway. Bethany House has the best authors!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

This is the story of Geesje, who immigrates from Holland with her parents to escape religious persecution by the state church there and ends up in the wilderness that was then Michigan where their group founds the town of Holland, MI. Years later, as she looks back on her life while writing her story for the local Semi-Centennial committee, she meets Anna, who is also seeking some religious freedom and is staying at a nearby hotel while trying to figure out what to do about her fiancé who wants her to have nothing to do with the church where she has been seeking a closer walk with God. That’s the basic premise but the story is wildly more wonderful that than sounds.

Wow. I didn’t read this book all in one sitting like I do many books that I absolutely love because this one was so special I wanted to savor it. I wanted it to last forever. This book is set in Holland, Michigan. I remember visiting there as a child and still have the wooden shoes my parents had made for me. My ancestors were from a nearby town. I have also visited the Netherlands.

I first learned about Lynn Austin’s work from my daughter who loves WWII stories. Since I read that book that she recommended I have collected all the Lynn Austin books available. My daughter and my granddaughters and I enjoyed the OT Kings books together. This book, however, is, I think, the crème de la crème of Lynn Austin books.

I obtained this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers and the author in exchange for a review, but I can assure you that this book was on my wishlist on Amazon long before that came about and before the book was available for purchase.

If you want to read something really satisfying, grab this book and put your life on hold so you can wrap this story around you like a warm hug.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Answers to the Most Important Questions About the End Times by Dr. John Hart

In this book, Dr. Hart has taken common questions about End Times and answered them according to his understanding of the scriptures. Eschatology is on everyone’s mind these days as the signs seem to be coming thick and fast. I appreciated the way he broke this down so you could skip to the part you want the most immediate answer to or just read it cover to cover to get a feel for the entire subject. This is a deep subject and there is a lot to be learned about it. It is not always easy for the average person to dig this all out for themselves and many people rely on other peoples’ research and insight to supplement what they have gleaned from the scriptures. I found this book very helpful and a good addition to the other books on this subject that I have in my library. I highly recommend this book to anyone who might have questions and would like to be directed to where the answers can be found in the scriptures.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn

This is a timely and intriguing story. It involves Esther Larson, a risk analyst at one of the U.S.’s largest banking institutions. She is a genius and has an affinity for mathematics. She has analyzed the current financial system and the global effects of the methods the major players are using. She knows that the bubble is about to burst and she has figured out how it will happen and is watching for signs of it coming down. She turns away from loyalty to the crooked bankers and dedicates her time to warning the public and devising ways they can protect themselves. Danger is part of the process because obviously the major players don’t want to be exposed. I can’t say I understood all the financial / economy talk but I have heard for years that we are headed for a major crash globally and that makes this story timely.

I loved the characters in this book. They all had real problems, real feelings, real relationships with God and drew the reader into their lives.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review. I love this author!

Catching Heat by Janice Cantore

This is the third and final installment in the Cold Case Justice series. Abby Hart (Detective) and Luke Murphy (PI) and a couple of other professionals are part of the new Cold Case team. In this book they are looking for the murderer of a co-ed whose case was never solved. While they are in the area they are also looking for clues to solve the case closest to Luke and Abby’s hearts. Luke’s Uncle and both of Abby’s parents were murdered years earlier and Abby suspects that the governor’s wife may have had something to do with it. This book keeps you on your toes from cover to cover.

I really enjoy Janice Cantore’s characters and all of her criminal justice books. She has a lot of expertise in this area and her research is excellent. Add to that the fact that the characters are likable and walking their Christian convictions as an integral part of their life or searching for their worldview in the course of the story.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a fair and honest review. Quite frankly, I would have bought it at the first opportunity anyway since I have enjoyed every one of Janice Cantore’s books I’ve read and the fact that I was waiting for this conclusion to this series.

Gratitude -- A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal

Adult coloring! Fun! This coloring journal has a cover like a toddler’s board book but regular pages inside. Each page has a place for journaling and illustrations that you can color. It has prayers, Bible verses and journaling pages. For instance two facing pages say “never, never, never give up!”, followed by a prayer and a scripture. The facing page says “he never changes” and has lines for journaling. All around the two pages are black and white drawings for you to color any way you want to.

Once you finish this book it will be a keepsake. You will want to go back and look at it over and over and your kids and grandkids will think it’s a cool keepsake someday.

I received a free copy of this from Tyndale in exchange for a review.

365 Pocket Morning Prayers

This is a great devotional book with a page for each day of the year. I received this book from Tyndale House in exchange for a review. Here’s an example of one day: Day 103 – A prayer about overconfidence (Trusting My Leader) It’s all about trusting the Lord and not yourself. There is a short essay and then two related scriptures: Psalm 138:8 and Proverbs 20:24.

This is a nice little book and is a good size to tuck into your purse or briefcase and take along with you or you can leave it in your nightstand for easy reference during your quiet time. It gives you something to think about each day.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Jesus Talked to Me Today

This is a compilation of testimonies of people who experienced a miracle as a child and the memory is still vivid today. There are stories of protection, provision, seeing angels and seeing Jesus. As one of the writers said, “Ask a Christian friend if they have experienced a miracle and then sit back and hear their story.” Many, if not most, Christians have experienced a miracle of some sort at some time in their life. I, myself, have experienced a handful over the years and have stories passed down from my grandmother of other miracles that occurred for members of her family. All these stories are heartwarming and encouraging and I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys hearing what God does in individuals’ lives. There was nothing that was against scripture in here. Obviously the compiler is an evangelical Christian. I intend to read some of these to my granddaughter in our homeschool devotions because I feel they would be very informative for her.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review. This book is becoming a part of my permanent collection so I can read these stories again. I read the entire book in one day and look forward to revisiting it in the future.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Artisan's Wife by Judith Miller

This book is third in the Refined by Love series by Judith Miller. The first book is the older brother Ewan of the Irish family that came to America with big dreams. He marries into a brickmaking family. The second book is about his sister Rose whose dream is a pottery factory. This final book is about Ainsley who is running a tile factory in another town and Levi, the artisan who comes to work for her and designs some very beautiful tiles.

The book is a history rich story about labor in the late 1800s and about insane asylums during that time. Ainsley gets involved with making a library for the inmates, many of whom are there just because a family member (often husband) and had them committed.

I love the way Ms. Miller brought all the three books together and tied up loose ends without taking away from the integrity of the current story. I love the simple faith of the characters. It’s an unembellished, matter-of-fact trust in God and I am so glad that Bethany House’s authors have learned to make this just part of the character’s lives and not added preachy stuff that doesn’t ring true as in some earlier Christian fiction that I have read.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review. I would have come by my own copy one way or another anyway because I enjoyed the previous book so much this one just had to find its way into my bookshelf.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Deadly Encounter by Diann Mills


Veterinarian Stacy Broussard becomes unwillingly involved in a puzzling situation that leaves people ill and even dead. FBI Agent Alex LeBlanc is working the case and finds himself spending a lot of time worrying about Stacy’s safety.

This story has an intricate plot and it leaves you guessing to the end. The characters are very well developed and very likeable. I found myself cheering for Alex and Stacy as a couple, but also for each of them in their careers and life choices. The fact that both of them were of Cajun background made an interesting twist to the story.

Diann Mills never disappoints with her crime novels. I find myself skulking about Amazon trying to figure out when the next one will come out and how soon I can get a copy. Tyndale gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was thrilled to do it because it meant I got the book sooner but I would have gotten it by hook or by crook. I’m saving every one of Diann Mills books for a delicious rereading if I ever have a lull in all the new great fiction that comes out of Tyndale and other sources.

Author's Website

Thursday, July 7, 2016

No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy Book 1) By Mary Connealy

This is the first book of a new series by my favorite author, Mary Connealy. However, it brings in one of the characters from the previous series (The Kincaid Brides), Heath Kincaid. So much fun!

Chance Boden of the Cimarron ranch in New Mexico is injured in a rock slide and has to be taken by train to Denver to try to save his leg. His wife goes along, but their three grown children are left in charge of the ranch with a little extra incentive from Chance to stay put (he will give the ranch to someone else entirely if any of them leave). Heath Kincaid is one of their top cowhands and he and the two Boden sons and the daughter, Sadie, team together to try to figure out who was trying to hurt Chance after they discover that it was a set-up and not an accident.

I love this book and I love all the characters. I can’t wait for the next two installments. This is Mary Connealy at her best. Her books are always suspenseful but also funny and endearing. That is my most favorite aspect of her writing – it makes me laugh all the way through.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review but it was on my Amazon queue anyway so I would have had it on my shelf in a month or so anyway. I have all of Mary’s books and will continue to as long as she will write them.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty (A Dangerous Beauty Novel) by Angela Hunt

This is the story of Samson & Delilah told in Angela Hunt's own unique style. It remains true to the Biblical account, but is fleshed out with additional characters and lots of historical / cultural insight. Delilah is betrayed by a step-brother and begins her own personal journey for justice. Samson is the Judge in Israel that travels around where Delilah is living. The story of how they became involved and how it led to the conclusion that we see in the Bible account is relayed through Angela Hunt's wonderful, imaginative telling of this tale. Delilah doesn't look like quite as much of a villain as she is usually portrayed, and the reader has a little more kind feeling toward her in spite of the conclusion.

Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book for the purpose of an honest review.

See my review of another book in this series here: Esther: Royal Beauty

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Traces of Guilt (An Evie Blackwell Cold Case) by Dee Henderson

This was another great story by Dee Henderson. Evie Blackwell is an Illinois State Police detective who is joining a Task Force ordered by the Governor to take a fresh look at Cold Cases in each county. Her first pilot project is on two cold cases in Carin County where Gabe Thane is the local sheriff. Other friends and family are characters in the book, some of which we have met in other Dee Henderson books. The Cold Cases involve a local Sheriff’s Deputy and his family who went missing and a little girl who was kidnapped from a hotel when her family was passing through town.

I love the way Dee Henderson builds on the facts and events to the ending conclusion. These stories are fascinating and keep me wanting to read all day or all night until I find out what happened. She keeps me guessing throughout but satisfied with the conclusion.

If you like this genre, I highly recommend this author! If you are like me after you read one you won’t be satisfied till you own the whole collection and when you finish reading those you will be waiting anxiously for Ms. Henderson’s next book.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review. If they had not offered it to be reviewed, it would have been the first thing in my Amazon cart the minute it came out!

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Midwife’s Dilemma (At Home in Trinity #3) By Delia Parr

This book is the 3rd in a series about a midwife in a town called Trinity. It takes place in the early 1800s. Martha Cade is the midwife in question, and she is a widow with a grown son and daughter. She is following in the footsteps of her grandmother who was also a midwife. She is also keeping company with Thomas Dillon, a local businessman who was her childhood sweetheart. This books ties up some loose ends from the previous books and details a few midwifing situations, but mostly deals with Martha’s indecision on if and when to marry Thomas. I found it quite tedious and it was difficult to understand her line of reasoning in all these meandering indecisions. While I enjoyed reading it, I would have enjoyed it more without all the soul searching and silly excuses. Probably Thomas would have as well.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Faith (Book 3 in the Quaker Brides Series by Lyn Cote)

This book is last in the Quaker Brides trilogy by Lyn Cote. I have read the two previous : Honor (about Faith’s parents) and Blessing (about Faith’s sister). These books all explore the Quakers’ strong stance as abolitionists in the North and in this last book the Civil War is in full swing and Faith is a nurse that is helping as General Grant’s troops move through the South. She meets Colonel Devlin Knight who is a Northern officer but also a slave owner. Together they work through their thoughts and feelings while serving in the war and searching for Faith’s friend Shiloh, a free black that was kidnapped in the North and sold into slavery in New Orleans before the war.

The author did a lot of research to make this authentic and it shows. The characters are well thought out and the conflict between is real and insightful. I really enjoyed this series. I received my copy of Faith from Tyndale in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Author bio from Tyndale:

Lyn Cote, known for her "Strong Women, Brave Stories," is the award-winning, critically-acclaimed author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been RITA Award finalists and Holt Medallion and Carol Award winners. Lyn received her bachelor's degree in education and her master's degree in American history from Western Illinois University. She and her husband have two grown children and live on a small but beautiful lake in northern Wisconsin. Visit her online at Author's website

Book Synopsis from Tyndale:

The Civil War battlefield is the last place Quakeress Faith Cathwell thought she’d find herself. But with a gift for nursing, Faith seizes this opportunity to join the fight for abolition—and to search for Shiloh, a freeborn childhood friend who was kidnapped and sold south by unscrupulous slave catchers.

Knowing it’s much too dangerous for her to search enemy territory alone, Faith enlists the help of Colonel Devlin Knight, who is indebted to her for saving his cousin’s life. A career soldier, Dev is committed to the preservation of the Union but conflicted about freeing his own slave and confidant, who plans to enlist as soon as Dev gives him manumission papers.

Blazing a trail east with the rest of Grant’s army, Dev and Faith fight their personal battles—and a growing attraction to each other. When beliefs clash and passions flare, they quickly find that the only thing more dangerous than the war surrounding them is the battle within their hearts.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

This is a another fun mystery in the Drew Farthering series. This one takes place in 1932 in England but what makes it even more fun is that Drew and his wife Madeline are attending a week long Regency costume party at a friends estate. So not only do we get the early 1900s flavor, but we also get the Regency period flavor as well. Everything is going as planned until Drew's friend's fiance is murdered. Now our friend, Chief Inspector Birdsong and Scotland Yard are on the case but Drew continues to conduct his own investigation. There are many twists and turns and the book begs reading to the finish rather than laying it down to do mundane daily chores.

I always love Julianna Deering's books and wait anxiously for the next installment. Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my personal review, but I would have purchased this one anyway if I had chose one of the other selections this month.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Burning Proof by Janice Cantore

This book is the second in a series but I did not read the first one yet and this book can definitely stand alone. Abby Hart is a homicide detective in Long Beach, CA and Luke Murphy is a PI. They both had relatives murdered in a restaurant fire a decade earlier. They team up to try to find out what really happened and also tag-team on a cold case that Luke is working on.

The action never stops in this book and there are several threads going which make it very interesting. It’s not difficult to follow as is sometimes the case with this style of writing. It keeps you wanting to read “just a few more pages” so you can find out more. The end result of that is reading straight through to the end of the book and then thinking, “darn. Now I don’t have any more of the story to read.”

I really enjoy this author’s work and look forward to more in the future. I’m also planning on going back and reading everything she has written to date. I one of those gals who doesn’t want to miss anything!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Author Q&A

Thursday, February 11, 2016

RISEN by Angela Hunt

This is the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus but it is told from the point of view of Clavius, a Roman soldier, and Rachel, a Jewish widow. It is the novelization of a screenplay. Angela Hunt has done it again! She has taken a story from the Bible and fictionalized it but left it true to the scripture. I found it very interesting to see the perspective of the two very different people (one a Gentile) and to get the gist of what people at the time were thinking about the things that were occurring. I think Angela Hunt did a very good job of developing her characters and giving us a better idea of the setting and life at that time.

Many times novels based on scripture contain only the scripture basically and not a whole lot else and they tend to be boring. Not so with this book. I really enjoyed it and had trouble putting it down because although I was very familiar with the Bible passages, I had no idea where these characters would end up.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Play-Along Bible

This is the sweetest little book. The illustrations are so much fun. But what my wiggly preschoolers like the best is the fact that there are motions and things to say that go along with it! For instance in the chapter called "The Sneaky Snake," Adam and Eve are happy and then that pesky snake gets involved. They get to make snake motions and hiss, pantomine eating an apple, and then act out a little drama as they get thrown out of the garden. This is so much fun and they remember the story after taking an active part in it.

I highly recommend this be gifted to your small children and grandchildren and placed in your church preschool classes and library.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

With This Ring ?

This book contains four novellas by some best-selling authors. I chose it because I cannot stand to skip over anything that Mary Connealy writes. She's my favorite "old West" author. And she didn't disappoint with this one either. Her story, called Runaway Bride, brought me up to date on some characters from Mary's former series and also introduced some new ones. Can't wait to hear more about Big John and Carrie in a later book.

The Husband Maneuver, by Karen Witemeyer was fun too. I have heard of this author before but am not sure if I have read any of her other books. This story was about a ranch owner's daughter who loved the foreman and the foreman who was desperate to get his own place so he could finally propose.

Her Dearly Unintended, by Regina Jennings was interesting but a little strange. The circumstances and the characters seemed a little off.

Engaging the Competition by Melissa Jagears was a lot of fun. Harrison and Charlie seem to be exact opposites but their devotion to each other is fun to watch. I was delighted with this story. This author is in the same league with Mary Connealy and I can't wait to read more from her.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss by Susan Gregory

I started reading this book with great expectations. I tried a version of this years ago with good results.

Basically, this is 21-day (3 week) process in which only fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains are consumed and only water is drunk. There are no animal products (meat, eggs, dairy) or coffee. Along with this, the author provides devotional material and scripture to help you in the process. The expected outcome is a healthier body and a closer walk with our Savior.

I have no problem with the intent of this book but I do have some reservations about the recommended products. There has been a lot of information put out about the harmful effects of soy products (including tofu) and the use of soy in processed foods. The massive use of this in various forms in the U.S. is quite excessive in comparison to use in other countries and many detrimental health effects have been discovered with this excessive use. The other thing that I did not find consistent with a Daniel fast was the use of processed foods such as rice cakes. The one really good aspect of this regimen is weaning off of fats and sugars. That I heartily applaud.
With an adjustment of the food list, the rest of the program would be very beneficial and I intend to pursue it again very soon.

Tyndale gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.