Monday, December 11, 2017

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

This is another WWII era mystery by Julianna Deering and, as always, it is full of interesting characters and plot twists and turns. It kept me guessing till the last chapter. Drew Farthering and his wife, Madeline, and their friends Nick and Carrie are visiting one of Drew's relatives in Scotland during the 1935 British Open. As is always the case in these stories, someone gets murdered right off the bat and Drew gets involved in the investigation, much to local law enforcement's chagrin. Drew suspects there is even some Nazi spying going on and he believes the two situations might be connected. As always, Ms. Deering leaves the reader anticipating the next installment of Drew's amateur sleuthing exploits.

I received my copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my review, but as much as I have enjoyed this series I would have purchased it myself anyway and I recommend that you try it out for yourself.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Prayer Monsters: Tora Fright Patches Things Up – A Story About Forgiveness by Tracey Madder

This is a cute book and my grandchildren loved it! Tora wins a prize for her ceramic armadillo. But then her baby brother, Booyah, breaks it. Tora is very sad but she realizes that her brother didn’t mean to break it. She asks for forgiveness for what she said to Booyah and then lets him help her fix it. It’s a nice story that teaches about forgiveness. The names of the kids (the others are Pi, Zeppi and RJ) and the fact that they live in a very busy and messy household at the end of Quiet Street makes the story all the more fun. There are five siblings in my grandchildrens’ family too so that resonated.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review and I’m so glad I selected this one to review.

Too Far Down by Mary Connealy

This is book three of the Cimarron Legacy series. I have really enjoyed this series and I think it’s the best yet of Mary Connealy. I have never missed one of her books since she started and I love them all. She writes some really funny stuff. But his one was less funny and less about quirky characters and more meat to it. She kept me guessing through all three of the books and I was surprised by the ending. I definitely did not figure it out ahead of time. The plot was more complex and the characters were wonderfully crafted.

This story is about Cole Boden, the oldest son of Chance and Veronica Boden. He has come back to the ranch to run the gold mines on the property. A childhood neighbor and friend, Melanie Blake, helps him out after an explosion at the mine which appears to have been orchestrated by someone. I would tell you more of the story but it is more fun to discover it for yourself. All the loose ends from the two prior books came together in the end and the story comes to a very satisfying conclusion.

I would definitely recommend this entire series, and, in fact, the entire list of Mary Connealy’s books to anyone wanting something great to read! I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review but I would have bought this the minute it came out anyway because I was waiting for the conclusion of the story.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

I enjoyed this novel. It is about a legal case against a big drug company. Kate is the lead counsel for the injured party and a friend of hers is actually representing the drug company. Both attorneys are looking for advancement in their law firm. When it appears that someone is out to prevent Kate from winning the case, Landon, a former Army Ranger whom Kate has hired to do some detective work for her, steps up security for Kate. It is interesting seeing the legal process at work. I like the way the author seamlessly wove the characters spiritual walks into the story. The thing I think could use more work it the solutions to the mysteries that had been introduced throughout. For instance, someone was tampering with Kate’s papers and internet throughout the process of getting ready for the trial and several times the author laid out the possible culprits for consideration but when the culprit finally confessed it was somewhat of an anti-climax. It was a quick few sentences just to tie up that particular loose end. Not really any surprises or fun plot twists – just it was suspect number 2 and let’s move on.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review expressing my opinion of the book.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore

I have really enjoyed the Cold Case series by Janice Cantore and now she brings us Crisis Shot about Tess O’Rourke, whose career is on the line after shooting a teenager in the city where she is a commander. Even though the Grand Jury found there was no wrongdoing, the press coverage makes it impossible for her to continue on the force so she accepts the position of Police Chief in a small rural town in Oregon. What she thought would be a very laid back job turns out to be full of policy activity including a murder and a kidnapping.

I love this author’s books and this one is just as wonderful as the rest. I can’t wait to get the next one! I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Assault (Harbingers) Cycle Two by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky

This book is the second in the Harbinger series. The book is divided into four sections, one by each author. Each author makes a different character the focus of their piece of the story, but all the characters appear in all the sections.

The characters are all drawn into supernatural / paranormal activity and see first hand the work of Satan and his minions on earth. The first book in the series was an introduction of the characters and the genre. I found it very interesting. This second book got even deeper into the paranormal and I found it odd and hard to follow at times. I still have the greatest respect for these authors and read their works avidly, I may just have to reread this one later and maybe digest a little more of it. It is just out of my ordinary range.

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

Family -- How to Love Yours (and help them like you back!) by Jessie Minassian

This book came to me at a very propitious time. My 12-year-old granddaughter is just at the age where she is experiencing a lot of angst about her place in life and in her family. She is a younger sister, a middle sister, and the sister of adopted younger siblings. Often, this causes a lot of conflict and and lot of soul searching for her. This book explores the mystery that is family and helps young girls see how God wants them to fit into theirs.

She has enjoyed exploring this subject and seems a lot more comfortable in her own skin after discussing some of the issues that are covered in this book. I highly recommend it to others. We are using it in our homeschool as a part of our Bible curriculum.

I received this book from Tyndale (NavPress) in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am so grateful for the opportunity.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt

Chava, a Jewish Scholar’s daughter, is the close childhood friend of the girl who would become Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. This follow her story from when she was the trusted companion of Cleopatra through and beyond the rest of Cleopatra’s life. She finds out the age old truth that politics and ambition trump friendship. Apparently motives and intrigue and political gain were much the same in that age as in this. Angela Hunt, as always, did a phenomenal job of researching the time period and the people involved. While Chava is a fictional character, she could very well have been in the position she is in this story. The story is fascinating, as are all of Angela Hunt’s novels, and although I have read biographies of Cleopatra before, this gave new insight and interest to the subject.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review and I am so pleased to add it to my collection of Angela Hunt books. Thank you Bethany House and thank you Angela Hunt for another great story.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Essential Guide to Prayer (Dutch Sheets)

This book is a very helpful guide to being an intercessor / intercessory prayer. Each chapter gives an in depth how to and why and provides questions at the end to test your comprehension. Dutch Sheets uses a lot of stories and literary illustrations to bring home the points he is making. This was a very informative and helpful book and will be my “go to manual” for all things intercessory prayer.

Bethany House provided me a copy of this book for purpose of review and I am very happy to have received it.

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh


This book had me riveted from about the third chapter on. After that point I just read pretty much non-stop until I was done and then I just sat there stunned wanting more. I don’t recall ever reading something from this author before, but I will certainly read more in the future.

Lane Kelley escaped her small resort hometown of Harbor Pointe, MI when she went to college and she tried very hard to never look back. Bullying, disappointments and hurt feelings stood between her and her family and friends. She locked into her career as a designer in Chicago and work and her dog were her friends. When one of her brothers is injured she is called back home – right in the midst of an important presentation for her company. Although she is anxious to get back to Chicago she gets pulled into the family situation again. Ryan Brooks, a friend from childhood, is dealing with a difficult past himself and trying to make a life in Harbor Pointe. He remembers Lane well and becomes an anchor for her. What transpires after that is fascinating and beautiful. I love the way this author seamlessly weaves in the Christian faith of the characters. This is a don’t miss read!

I received a copy of this book from TYNDALE for the purpose of doing a review and I am so grateful! I would have never discovered this great author otherwise.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Bringing Maggie Home is one of those stories that you want to jump into personally. You want to be friends with these people and you want to share their excitement. And I, personally, wanted to sleep with the book for a week after I read it hoping I could dream some more about the story because I wasn’t ready for the last page to be the last page when I finished reading it.

This is the story of a little girl who disappeared in the woods in Arkansas in 1943, leaving her family devastated, especially her older sister, Hazel, who was in charge of her at the time of her disappearance. The family dynamics were such that Hazel carried a load of guilt all her life. The story tells of three generations of angst stemming from this incident. Hazel’s daughter, Diane, blames her mother for her childhood because she feels that she was overprotected. Diane’s daughter, Meghan, feels resentment toward her mother because she was never as engaging as her grandmother (Hazel) and always held Meghan at arm’s length (her intention being to let Meghan have some freedom). When Diane and Meghan come to visit, Hazel finally tells them about what happened to her as a child and Meghan, who is a Cold Case investigator, decides to do some research and help Hazel find closure. As the story unfolds, all three women forge new relationship trails with each other and learn some new family dynamics.

Only Kim Vogel Sawyer could have told a tale that was as engaging as this one. This had me hooked from page one. Of course, I have been doing genealogical research for over 40 years and am fascinated with Cold Case detective stories, so I would have likely looked at this book even if someone else had written it, but Kim Vogel Sawyer is at the top of my “Favorite author’s list” so it was destined to hold my attention to the exclusion of all else until I finished it.

I received a copy of this book from the author, Kim Vogel Sawyer, as part of a promotional team. Let me say unequivocally that I would have promoted it anyway because this is a wonderful story. I highly recommend this to anyone who just wants a heart lifting book to read.

Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl is on my “favorite authors list.” I read every book she writes. This one didn’t really hold my attention in the beginning – it was difficult to get a grasp of what was going on and also to care about it. However, after about the second or third chapter I started getting into the groove of the book and I started avidly working toward conclusion.

There were a lot of twists and turns to the plot and a lot of shady characters in this one. The main character is Kate, whose twin sister was murdered a few years prior and Kate was the only witness. The man they convicted of the crime has been released from prison on a technicality and Kate must return from witness protection to testify again. Tony, a Deputy Marshall who supported Kate during the original trial is planning to protect her again.

I enjoyed this book which was provided to me by Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. That being said, I would have bought and enjoyed this book anyway if I wasn’t reviewing it. I will always follow Nancy Mehl’s work. This is the kind of story I enjoy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Threads of Suspicion (An Evie Blackwell Cold Case) by Dee Henderson

This is another great installment in the continuing story of Evie Blackwell, a police officer and member of an elite Cold Case team. In this story, the team is just taking their first set of cases and each team member gets a different case to research in the location where they are working. Evie and her partner David Marshall are working together. He has the case of a missing PI and she has the case of a missing college student but the cases have odd aspects that mirror each other and Evie’s case is oddly mixed up with David’s fiancé, a popular music star. I love the detail of how they research the case and lay out the face and the possibilities to try to find clues to solve the case. This kind of research is right up my alley and I am fascinated by the stories of solving these cold cases.

Dee Henderson is one of my all time favorite authors and this Evie Blackwell series is a winner! I can’t wait for the next installment.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes this genre.

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? By Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley

This is a sweet little picture book that has some rhyming verses in it that answer some questions children might ask. I like the theme of it and the story line, but I think the rhetoric needed to make a nice rhyme might be more on an adult’s interest level than a child’s. It is charming, nonetheless, and the illustrations are very colorful and fun. It basically discusses different aspects of different animals and some of their quirks. My granddaughter loves animals and any knowledge about them she can soak up so this book is right up her alley. I would say this is a nice addition to your child’s bookshelf.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review. I’m very pleased with the selections Tyndale has and this book is no exception.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

INVITATION Harbingers – Cycle One By Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky

This is an interesting book. It is in four sections, each written by one of the four authors. Each one is from the point of view of a different one of the characters in the story. The story is moving forward in time with each section. It is the story of strange paranormal activities that astound the characters in the book: Brenda (a tattoo artist who sees people she will meet in the future), The Professor (a former priest who now lectures on the non-existence of God), Andi (the professor’s assistant who has some talents of her own with number sequences), and Tank (a football player who has a strange healing gift). They all come together to experience these strange happenings because they seem to be being drawn to these circumstances at the same time.

I love anything by Angela Hunt and anything by Frank Peretti. Bill Meyer’s book list has a couple of titles that sound familiar but I don’t remember his work at all. I don’t believe I have ever encountered Alton Gansky’s work before. That being said, I enjoyed the writing of all four and look forward to future installments in this Harbingers series. I see that there is already another installment in the works and I’m anxious to obtain it when it is available.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review. The names Hunt and Peretti on the cover ensured that I would be very interested and I was not disappointed. For a different type of Christian fiction, give this a try.

GIFTS FROM HEAVEN True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer By James Stuart Bell

This book is a collection of people’s true stories about miracles in their lives. Some are so amazing that doctors can’t explain them. Others, equally miraculous could be explained away, I suppose, by people who did not share the Christian faith of the people who experienced them. However, the people involved “know that they know” that they are miracles and that God is the author. Miraculous healing of mental conditions, Angelic presence, protection, provision – all are included in these varied accounts. I found them inspiring and they also inspired my memories of some of the miraculous things God has done in my life and inspired me to bless others with those experiences so they can be inspired to look for God’s intervention in their lives.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review. I’m so glad I received it. I have been savoring it a story or two at a time as a devotional. I recommend this book to any and all to enjoy true stories of God caring for his children.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Deep Extraction (An FBI Task Force Novel) by Diann Mills

This book is about a murder and a bombing of an Oil & Gas company property. FBI Special Agent Tori Templeton and her partner team up with Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers to solve the case. Tori’s partner is ill and on his last case before retirement so Tori and Cole find themselves working together much of the time. In addition, they are both family friends of the victim and the victim’s family.

This story has a lot of twist and turns and a lot of suspense. It keeps you wondering throughout. This is not a book you are going to want to start if you don’t have time to read straight through with minor stops for everyday life routine. There is a lot of dramatic action and unusual turns of event. Throughout, Tori is searching for a faith in God that she can’t seem to find since her brother died of cancer. Cole has a strong faith in God and finds himself falling for Tori. The subtle way this subplot is woven through the story is uplifting without being preachy. The main thrust of the book is the mystery involved. I have enjoyed every book by Dian Mills that I have read and this one seems even more suspenseful than previous ones. I love how authors grow as they go and their stories get more and more intense the more books they write.

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

Book Trailer


Long Time Gone (The Cimarron Legacy Book 2) by Mary Connealy

This book is classic Mary Connealy. It has it all – drama, twists and turns and a little comedy. I read the last book in the series and found the characters a little too naïve at times but they seem to have grown up a little for this book and, while still funny, are not unrealistically goofy. I love Mary’s books and haven’t missed any. I can confidently say, she gets better with each one. I can barely wait for Book 3.

As the tale of the attack on the Boden homestead continues, Justin, the younger son, becomes the hero and Angie Dupree, who we met in the first book, becomes the heroine. Everyone’s life is still in danger and the fate of the ranch is still in peril at both the beginning and end of this book, but a lot of mysteries were solved and bad guys unmasked in this story. Mary’s books are always full of sassy, independent heroines and slightly befuddled, manly heroes and this book is no different. If you don’t have so much fun reading this that you fail to put it down for mundane household duties, I will be very surprised.

Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Truthfully, this book would have found its way to my bookshelf in any event because I have a full set of Connealy novels on my shelf.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

I've seen Joel Rosenberg on news programs on TV and have a great respect for his opinion so I recognized his name right away when I saw this book. I thought to myself, this guy knows what he's talking about but can he write an interesting novel. The answer is YES -- not only can he write an interesting novel, he can write a blockbusting novel! The minute I started reading I was hooked and couldn't put it down. Situations right out of the news headlines jumped out and the characters in the story made it all interesting and making perfect sense. This novel should be read by anyone who cares about the world stage and our very future. Yes, it's a Christian novel, but the way that is woven into it makes it an integral part of the story and does not detract from the timeliness of the story.

The story involves ISIS attacks on the United States and the involvement of J. B. Collins, a reporter for the New York Times and his family as they are pursued by ISIS leaders. The story goes all over the world including most of the countries in the Middle East. It's an insider's look into the intelligence operations of major governments and the intrigue that is a large part of those operations. I challenge you to pick this book up. I'm guessing you won't be able to put it down either.

Tyndale House gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review. Thanks Tyndale! Because of this choice I now have a new favorite author to watch for when new books are introduced (and I need to find all his older books too so I can catch up).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Still Life (#2 in Chesapeake Valor series) by Dani Pettrey

This is the second book in the Chesapeake Valor series. I was so excited to receive it from Bethany House in exchange for a review since I loved the first book and was waiting for the sequel. Now I have to wait several months for Book 3 (oh man!).

This story concerns Avery, whose past comes back to her when her friend Skyler comes up missing. She has been taking forensic pictures for a crime scene analyst, Parker Mitchell, who becomes involved with her on this case along with their other friends who consist of several other law enforcement types (FBI, etc.). Avery goes to a showing at an art gallery as Skyler’s guest but Skyler does not arrive and the portrait of Skyler that was the featured portrait in the show has been replaced by another picture which was not done by the featured artist. The artist is incensed and Avery is devastated because her friend never arrives. The artist orders the picture thrown away but Avery manages to sneak it out and save it so they can check it out for clues. There are several things going on as they retrace the steps of Skyler and others. In the midst of the investigation, another investigation comes along when a terrorist makes his way ashore after being smuggled into the country. There is a lot going on but it all builds into the conclusion which is unexpected, to say the least.

Dani Pettrey keeps getting better and better! I love her books and they will always be permanent residents in my bookshelf.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Maybe Its You by Candace Calvert

I was excited to get this book since I have read the first two books in the series already. This one is about and ER nurse named Sloane who has had a rough time of it and has tried to lose herself in a new town at a new hospital to avoid scrutiny and publicity. However, she becomes close to Micah, who is the PR man for the hospital and is also best friends with an aspiring reporter. All things come to a head when they try to help girls caught up in a sex slavery operation operated by the Russian mob and Sloane’s past is exposed rather dramatically. There are lots of twists and turns in the story and it definitely is not a book you will want to put down while you do mundane things like every day life. I want to see more by this author so hopefully this series will continue or she will come up with a new series that is just as riveting.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. So just to be up front about it, I would have bought this one the minute it was available anyway because I’ve been waiting for this third installment in the Crisis Team series.

The Sisters of Sugar Creek by Cathy Liggett

This was a fun English / Amish story with some surprises. It involves Jessica, whose aunt was killed in a fire at their church, leaving her with the aunt’s quilt shop as an inheritance. Aunt Rose’s friend, Liz, becomes close with Jessica after Rose dies and they decide to carry on one of Rose’s traditions, which was to deliver anonymous gifts to people with some sort of issue. Their first project together involves Lydia, an Amish widow, whose husband was killed as he was volunteering to help fight that same church fire. Lydia discovers their mission and they become friends. Since Lydia is an avid quilter and knitter and Jessica is not, Jessica hires her to work in the shop and do the classes and customer work while she does the managerial / marketing side of the business which is more her forte.

The really unusual aspect of this story is that all three women find a love interest in the course of the story and so all three have to come to a happy conclusion by the end of the book. If I could recommend one thing to this author it would be to not get in a hurry next time. Make it a three book series featuring on of the three ladies in each book and building on their story as she goes. I felt a little rushed and cheated having it all crammed into this one book. However, I am the first to complain when I read book one of a series and have to wait months for book two so she dodged that bullet. Actually, I enjoyed this story very much and would have taken it to heart either way.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review and am very grateful that I picked this one out of the offerings last month.

· Random Acts of Kindness Cards:
· Amish Friendship Bread Recipe:
· Lemon Bars Recipe:
· Shepherd’s Pie Recipe:
· White Chocolate Chex Crunch Recipe:
· Blank Recipe Card:
· Blog Post:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

This is a wonderful historical romance which gave me a lot of new knowledge about the founding of New Orleans and how it was settled and populated. The first population was made up of soldiers and convicts that France shipped over to populate the “New World.” Then, due to other conflicts going on elsewhere, they were slow to send rations and supplies for the population and there was mass starvation. This story details the many hardships encountered in this rough place where the climate was less than comfortable (humidity, heat, mosquitos etc.).

Julianne is one of the convicts (falsely convicted) that is sent to New Orleans to help populate it. She is a midwife and hopes to help the other women give birth. She is also hoping to find her younger brother who ran off to be a soldier a few years earlier and was sent to New Orleans. She becomes aquainted with Marc-Paul Girard, an officer who was once aquainted with her brother.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will be a permanent fixture on my shelf and become required reading when my homeschoolers reach the American History phase of their education.

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

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

What kid doesn’t love knock knock jokes? This book has its fair share along with other jokes and fun facts. There are some little quizzes to make you think and some scrambles and some matching and some Bible words that you see how many other words you can make using those letters. My 6th grader is reading the Bible through this year and she enjoys the offerings in this book as a way of processing some of what she is reading as well as a light change of pace from constant reading. We throw some of these exercises in as a little break time. The younger children are also enjoying the book so I will keep it with my homeschool curriculum for years to come.

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