Friday, September 21, 2018

The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy

Cam is a former army officer who finds himself in a situation where he is snowed in with the folks who rescued his daughter and nephew from a wagon train massacre which killed his brother.  He and his sister came to claim the children and ended up snowed in for the winter with Gwen and her sister Deb and Deb's husband Travis. Deb and Travis met up in the first book of this series.  This is the second book.  In true Mary Connealy style, there is a crooked varmit that is trying to make everyone's life miserable and they have to end up tracking him down. Gwen and Cam are attracted to each other and repelled by each other at the same time because they both want the two children. 

I read this book in about 24 hours (not straight through but I started and finished the book in the same 24 hour period.  It was that good!  I couldn't put it down.  Mary Connealy is one of my favorite authors and I don't think she has written anything that I haven't read just as soon as it came out.  The only drawback to that is that I have to wait a few months for the next installment in a series like this.  I am eagerly anticipating the third book in this series!

I did receive a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

This story takes us back and forth between the present and a bookstore owner who gets an antique book with some intriguing notes in it and starts to research the origin and the people whose lives were affected by the circumstances surrounding the book.  The second part takes place in Austria leading up to WWII. 

I can’t say enough good things about this book.  The story was intriguing and solving the mystery was not a simple task.  This book kept me wondering throughout.  I am normally not a fan of WWII books, mostly because my daughter is a big fan and I’ve read way too many of them already, but this one was a cut above the rest.  The research this author must have done was phenomenal and her story-crafting was exceptional. I would definitely read another book by this author in a heartbeat.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review and I am so glad I did!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

This story is set in Corinth and Athens in the time of Paul the Apostle.  Ariadne is a young girl with a difficult life.  She runs away from her mother and grandfather’s house in Athens to return to her father in Corinth. When she has been there for a while she discovers her father’s secret and begins to get involved in his activities.

The detail of the everyday life of the people in these two cities is exquisite. The reader feels like they are a part of this culture and daily life.  At some point in the story some of the characters convert to Christianity under Paul’s ministry and begin to turn their lives around. The theology is sound, if a stated more in modern terms to help the reader understand.  I love it when the stories in the Bible come to life and the early Christians become so much more real to us.

I have found a new favorite author and now I will pursue all the books she has written and will write in the future because I don’t want to miss any of the delicious detail.

This book was provided to me by Tyndale in exchange for a review. I am so grateful for this opportunity because it helps me discover new favorite authors and also keep up with my other favorite authors. 

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

This is the story of three orphans that struck out on their own in Texas after the Orphan Train they were riding on was in a terrible wreck and they were facing being sent back to the East coast since they had not been selected by any interested people along the route.  Seth, Zach and Evangeline are all grown up and established in a house / farm of their own when Logan Fowler comes looking for Zach because he believes that his family was cheated out of the farm when he was a child and his father committed suicide as a result.  Some snarky church people and some bootleggers mix things up a little bit and it makes for a very fun story.

I love how Bethany House authors seamlessly include the characters’ faith as part of the story .  Ms. Witemeyer does a great job and her characters are real and interesting.

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

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Spirit-Led Heart by Suzanne Eller

In trying to draw closer in relationship to my Savior, I have been trying to learn ways to understand the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives a little better.  This book has been very helpful and instructive in that pursuit. The author leads us step by step through the basics and we learn how to recognize the Holy Spirit’s intervention in our lives, expect it, be confident in it, be guided by it and be sure that it is legitimate. This book provides a well thought out and outlined study by which we can come to a better understanding of and relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I found the study guide at the end of the book especially helpful to review and process what I had just read.  I would recommend this book for individual or group study.

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

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

This is the second book in this series that I have been able to read and review and I really enjoy this author.  Most of this type of story that I read has female police officers or FBI agents but in this series, the heroines are lawyers and the heroes are ex-military or police officers that have a private agency of their own.  The stories are very detailed and there is a lot of lawyer / prosecutor type information – they are always researching their case.  I thought that might make these a little dry and harder to read, but that has not been the case.  I find the detail very interesting and I will pursue more of this type fiction from this author.

This is the story of Sophie Dawson, an Assistant DA in Atlanta and her bodyguard, Cooper Knight, who has been retained to protect her when she suddenly becomes a witness to a murder and her role is now different than her day-to-day role in the DA’s office.  There is a lot of action and nail-biting adventure but also a lot of detail and background information on the cases involved.  Faith is interwoven into the story and plays a big part in the points of view of the characters. I highly recommend this book and its predecessor to anyone who wants an interesting read that’s a little out of the norm.

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

The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman

This is the story of Irish immigrants that arrived in Mississippi in 1792 to be indentured servants. Kiera Young and her younger sisters had been sent by her brother-in-law who had sold them to a brothel owner. Quinn O’Shea brought his two younger brothers to meet up with his older brother.  When Quinn decides to help Kiera escape from the brothel owner, they embark on a dangerous journey along the Natchez Trace to find Quinn’s brother.

I love the historic details and the wonderful character development.  This is the second book in a series it turns out so I will be seeking out Book 1, while waiting (rather impatiently) for  Book 3 to be released. 

There is a lot of action, twists and turns and suspense in this story along with the love story.  The Faith of the characters also is woven into the story and is integral to it.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Good News For A Change by Matt Mikalatos

I found this book to be very enlightening.  The author is a missionary who has worked with students and groups of people over the years.  Using his approach, you can talk to just about anyone about Jesus.  He takes any opening he can get for a discussion with an individual or makes an opening by listening carefully to the other persons beliefs and feelings and asking questions.  One of his main points is to drop the churchy jargon and talk in a way that would make sense to the person you are talking to.  Another excellent point he makes is that everyone wants to hear the good news, they just don’t want to be bombarded by a pushy sales pitch.  Also, you just provide the information  The Holy Spirit does the rest.

I found this book to be informative and relatable.  Many non-fiction, informative books are hard to read but I enjoyed this one so much that I read it cover to cover the evening I received it .

I received this book from Tyndale House in exchange for a review.  I would highly recommend this book to others.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Blind Betrayal by Nancy Mehl

This is another book in Nancy Mehl’s Defenders of Justice series.

U.S. Marshall, Casey Sloane, is in charge of transporting a witness to Washington, DC to testify about  a drug kingpin and a senator that the witness (a reporter) has found information about.  As she and her partner, Doug, and another Marshall from D.C. (Casey’s old partner E. J. Queen) are getting ready to transport the witness there is an explosion in the U.S. Marshall’s office in St. Louis where Casey and Doug are stationed.  Because of the chaos and injuries there, they are forced to take off virtually on their own to get the witness to D.C. without the usual backup and support they would have.  It gets crazy as they try to outsmart the people chasing them without being able to contact their supervisor for information and support. 

This story takes some interesting twists and turns and keeps the reader waiting on edge to find out how it will all come out.  I really enjoy Nancy Mehl’s books and I think I have read them all – except the next one!  I love the fact that her characters are Christians without being overly “churchy” about it.  It’s just part of who they are, as it should be. 

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

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel Rosenberg

This book is one you won’t want to put down once you pick it up.  It keeps building right to the end.  This is about two men, one in Russia and one in the United States, who reach the highest levels of Government service.  They have similar life stories, albeit in different countries and forms of government.  Their paths cross in the course of their work but they suddenly become directly involved when their countries are in the midst of an International crisis.

This is the second political thriller I have read by Joel Rosenberg and both were well researched and could have been plucked out of current news headlines.  I loved how the personal lives of the two men were established and how Joel wove the main character’s faith into the story. 

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review.

Check it out! A Sneak preview:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

Mercy McClain is confronted by her childhood nemesis Aaron Firebrook when he applies for a teaching position at the school where she is a member of the school board.  Arron (then called George) had been a bully and had offended multiple people in his younger days.  While waiting for the school board’s decision, Aaron takes a job as groundskeeper at the mansion of a local couple who has orphans from the city’s red light district in residence.  As it turns out, Mercy is also employed there to take care of the orphans. As the summer progresses, Mercy starts to see Aaron in a different light.

The name of the town intrigued me because the book tells us that the setting is Southeast Kansas.  Since I grew up in Southeast Kansas, I know the layout pretty well.  The picture of the mansion on the cover has a striking resemblance to a mansion that is a tourist attraction in SE Kansas.  The fictional town name is Teaville and there is no town by that name.  But there is a town name Coffeyville and the book mentions a nearby town (Caney) a couple of times so I think that pretty well nails it down.  I will have to do some research into Coffeyville’s history out of sheer curiosity now.

I really enjoyed this book, although as a person who was a foster parent for many years and now a grandparent to adopted children, I think the author’s view of outcomes for adoption of older children is a bit more cut and dried than the reality but that’s what romantic fiction is for – a feel good ending.  That is what I want in a story when I read this type of fiction.

Bountiful Blessings by Susie Larson

This is a book of short devotionals that would be a great start to your Bible reading time / Quiet Time.  Each devotion (or actually to be more accurate – encouragement) is not very long – one scripture and one accompanying paragraph.  The facing page is an intricate picture that you can color with colored pencils.  This is a lovely little paperback book and it fits into small spaces.  It’s not very thick.  I loved all the pictures.  My favorite is the fox on page 79.  I would love to color that and have it enlarged and put in a frame.  I love foxes and this one is really nice. 

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

Sunday, March 11, 2018

God Made The World by Sarah Jean Collins

This is a fun board book that basically outlines the 7 days of Creation.  I used this in my Kindergarten homeschool class and the kids love it.  It tells the story very concisely just like the Bible does. The illustrations are bold and colorful.  It is a quick read if you just flip through,but if you take time to discuss each day of Creation with the children, it makes for a very satisfying session.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review.

If I Live, If I Run Series, Book 3, by Terri Blackstock

Wow!  This book was everything I anticipated and more.  What a great ending to the story.  There is suspense aplenty as Casey Cox and Dylan Roberts find themselves in one life-threatening situation after another and it seems like it's not going to end well.  Then, in the nick of time, something happens to pull them out of that particular danger, although another one is just around the corner.  I couldn't put this book down.  I love all of Terri Blackstock's books and series but this one really had me enthralled the entire time.  Highly recommend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette

This is such a good book! I love Christian historical fiction and this is a great example. This is set during the time the Hebrews have finally entered the Promised Land after leaving Egypt and wandering in the desert for 40 years. This is a few years into that time period and Joshua is still alive. Moriyah is forced by an accident to flee her father’s home and seek refuge in a Levitical City of Refuge. To get there she has to go through enemy (Canaanite) territory and evade her pursuers as well. This book gives a vivid picture of life at that time. The characters are very well developed and even though so far removed from our time and culture, I still felt part of the story.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review. Ms. Cossette is a new author for me and I will definitely be looking for some more of her other work.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt

This is the story of Judah called Maccabaeus in the Old Testament told through his and his wife’s points of view. This is the story of the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem that is the basis of the celebration of Hanukkah. Like all good researchers, Angela Hunt did not include anything that was not in the original account so the legendary story of the oil for the Hanukkah lights lasting 8 days was not included since it is not scriptural but comes from another historical document. It is no less compelling for having this part not included. I love Biblical historical fiction and this is one of the best I’ve read. Ms. Hunt’s meticulous research brings the time and the setting to life and really gives some background to the story told in the Bible. Although some of the characters such as Leah, Judah’s wife, were not actually people mentioned in the Bible and were invented by the author, the story still remains true to the facts. We don’t know who his wife actually was, but it is very likely that he had one.

This book kept me glued to it from the moment I read the first page. I will confess that the name Angela Hunt on the front cover was the first selling point because I’m fairly certain I’ve not missed anything written by Angela Hunt, but this one may well be her masterpiece. The next one probably will be too though since she just keeps getting better as she goes along!

I can’t say enough about this book. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. If it doesn’t win some literary award it’s because enough people didn’t know to read it. I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review, but most assuredly I would have purchased it if it hadn’t been offered to me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

High Treason by Diann Mills

This is the best Diann Mills book I’ve read and I’ve read them all. Diann Mills gets better as an author like ages cheese and fine wine. The character development and research she did for this book was magnificent.

Monica Aiden is a CIA operative and Kord Davidson is an FBI special agent and they are assigned to work together to protect a Saudi prince who is in Houston with some family members to get cancer treatment for his mother and conduct some business. Someone is trying to kill him and all the evidence points to it being one of his trusted team. Monica and Kord are both reluctant to trust a partner they had never previously met but they soon come to rely on each other to crack this difficult case.

This is such a well crafted story that I had to keep to keep reading to find out how it all came out. I loved this book and it will be part of my permanent collection. Tyndale gave me this book in exchange for an honest review and I am so glad they did. All Tyndale fiction books are winners!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Empowered by Craig Parshall

This story is about disbarred attorney Trevor Black and his newly discovered daughter Heather as they are embroiled in a case involving Voodoo and human trafficking. The story is fast paced and intriguing and kept me in suspense until the very end about who the high powered government employee who was calling the shots of the criminal activity was. I was very impressed with the depth of the characters involved and the intricacies of the plot. I will definitely be looking for more of Mr Parshall’s work in the future.

I loved how the main character’s faith in God and complete reliance on Him throughout was part of the story but not in any contrived or artificial way. It was all just a matter of fact.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my review. I love the quality of Tyndale fiction.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

Lola has lost her job st the Cat Eye Saloon to a younger more accommodating singer. Her younger brother had gotten into some trouble with his superior officer at Ft. Reno in Indian Territory, so Lola decides to go and see if she can fix the situation. She finds a position teaching the commander’s daughters by accident and misinformation.

I enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the glimpse into our US history. According to the front of the book this is the first of the Fort Reno series. I’m excited to see what new tales will emerge. Regina Jennings is becoming one of my new favorite authors. I reviewed her previous book “For the Record” last year.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my review. I love just about everything from Bethany House and I’m especially happy that this was the book I chose to review this time.