Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Clearing in the Wild


In “A Clearing in the Wild” by Jane Kirkpatrick, we meet Emma Wagner and Christian Giesy. Emma and Christian are part of the German colony of Bethel, Missouri and have decided to marry but their leader will not allow it because Christian is an important recruiter for the colony. After having to wait they are finally able to marry but their marriage is not what they had hoped for. Christian is constantly being sent out and Emma is still living at home with her parents. When the leader decides to send scouts to Oregon to look for a new place to move the colony, Christian once again has to leave. Emma is able to convince the leader to allow her to go with her husband. They travel the Oregon Trail to find a new place to call home. Along the way the marriage is put to the test because Emma constantly doubts her husband. Once they arrive in Oregon the group faces many trials and must work hard to make the land ready for the people of Bethel. When the people finally do arrive the leader is disappointed in the land and the people begin to suffer because of the harsh conditions. Will the new colony survive?

This is the first book in the Change and Cherish series following the Giesy’s. It is based on a true story and Jane Kirkpatrick does a great job of telling the Giesy’s story. This is a story of hope and courage and love. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Click here to visit the author’s website.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Every Perfect Gift


In “Every Perfect Gift” by Dorothy Love we meet Sophie Caldwell. Sophie grew up in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee in the orphan home until a kind couple took her in and moved to Texas. Now the year is 1886 and she has returned to Hickory Ridge to revive the town newspaper. Ethan Heyward has moved to Hickory Ridge to build a majestic resort in the mountains above the town. There is an immediate attraction between Sophie and Ethan but they are both hiding something from each other. As time passes Sophie realizes she cannot keep her secret from Ethan any longer but she also realizes that once he finds out he may not like her any longer. Ethan also has a dark secret from his past and has a lot of anger bottled up in him because of something he saw as a child. Will Ethan and Sophie get the answers they seek? Will they have a future together?

This book is the third in the Hickory Ridge series. This book can be read as a standalone but if you want the background stories on some of the people in Hickory Ridge you will want to read “Beyond All Measure” and “Beauty for Ashes” first. This is a very easy book to read and it is also a very heartwarming book to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

A Kingsbury Collection


“A Kingsbury Collection” by Karen Kingsbury contains three of her novels in one great book. The first novel, “Where Yesterday Lives” is about Ellen Barrett. Ellen is a very successful journalist but her personal life is lacking. Ellen and her husband have been having trouble lately and things really take a turn for the worse when Ellen’s father dies. Ellen returns to her hometown for the funeral and things keep going from bad to worse. None of her siblings get along and they are constantly fighting. Will Ellen’s family be able to be a loving family again? Will her marriage survive?

In the second novel, “When Joy Came to Stay”, we meet Maggie Stovall. Maggie seems to have it all. But what nobody knows is the secret she has carried for years. When Maggie has an emotional breakdown she checks herself into a psychiatric hospital and cuts contact with her husband, Ben. Not knowing what else to do, Ben tries to learn the secret of her past. Will Maggie be able to forgive herself and save her marriage?

In the third novel, “On Every Side”, we meet Faith Evans. Faith is a very popular newscaster and she is also a very devout Christian. When someone threatens a hundred year old statue of Jesus that is located in her town’s park she knows she has to take a stand, even if it means losing her job. What she did not count on was that person, Jordan, was the boy she loved years ago. Jordan’s reasons for wanting the statue gone are very personal and deep. Will Faith make Jordan see the light? Will they have a future together?

In this collection of novels we see three different women facing very difficult times. You will ache and cry for them but you will also see how having God in their lives is what gets them through their tough times. Click here to visit the author’s website. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All Things New


In “All Things New” by Lynn Austin we meet southern belle Josephine Weatherly. Josephine has just survived the Civil War and has returned to her Virginia plantation. She finds that most of their former slaves have left and the plantation is not the same as when she left. She knows that the times have changed and is willing to do anything to bring her plantation back to its former glory. However, there are those who are not ready to give up their opulent lifestyles; her mother for one. Her mother still thinks the freed slaves should be there to wait on her hand and foot and will not hear of her own daughter working like a servant. Josephine tries to befriend her servant Lizzie in order to learn how to survive in this new way of life. Lizzie is leery of all white people because of how she has been treated in the past and she fears for the safety of her family. Josephine also befriends a Yankee solider, Alexander, who is trying to help the newly freed slaves. She soon finds herself growing closer to Alexander but her family tries to put an end to their relationship. She is also discouraged that God would allow all of this suffering to happen and starts to doubt Him. What will happen to Lizzie and her family? Will Josephine find her way back to God?

“All Things New” is another great book by Lynn Austin. Once you start reading it you will not want to put it down. This book is a good example of how life was in the south after the war and how the southern attitude was for most. In this book we once again see how even though bad things may happen to us God is walking with us and will bring us through whatever it is we are going through. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

Taming the Wind


“Taming the Wind” by Tracie Peterson continues the story of Carissa Lowe and Tyler Atherton. When we first met Carissa in “Touching the Sky” she was a spoiled brat who always got what she wanted. Now she has survived a loveless and brutal marriage and has grown up to be a loving and caring person and mother. The scars of her first marriage run deep and she is not ready to give her heart to another man. But then Tyler enters into the picture again. He helped save Carissa from her husband and he has never been able to forget about her. So when he hears that she is visiting her sister and brother-in-law’s ranch nearby he decides to visit and soon realizes he has lost his heart to her and her daughter. Carissa is still wary of him but when he leaves on a cattle drive she finds herself thinking of him and missing him. They both realize they have deep emotional scars that need to be healed before they can have a future together. Will they let their anger go and give it to God?

“Taming the Wind” is the third book in the Land of the Lone Star trilogy. Tracie Peterson does a great job of bringing the characters from the first two books back into this one. This book can be read as a standalone but I recommend reading the “Chasing the Sun” and “Touching the Sky” first so that you have more compassion for Carissa and Tyler and have more of their story. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Isle of Shadows


In “Isle of Shadows” by Tracy L. Higley we meet courtesan Tessa of Delos. Tessa lives on an ancient Grecian island and is enslaved to the very powerful politician Glaucas. When Glaucas has a fatal accident, Tessa knows her life is in danger. If she is found guilty, she will be killed. If they believe it was an accident, she will be passed to another man who has paid for her favors. With the help of Nikos, a slave, and Simeon, a Jewish servant, she is able to keep Glaucas’ death from the other political figures in Rhodes. While she is planning her escape she learns of a plan to bring down many of the political men in Rhodes. She and Nikos must find out who is behind the plotting and scheming and manage to stay alive in the process. What Tessa does not count on is losing her heart to Nikos. Tessa also encounters Simeon’s Jewish family and is told that the one true God will look after her. Tessa does not believe there is a God that would keep letting these bad things happen to her. Will Tessa be able to expose the real political threat to the people of Rhodes? Will Tessa and Nikos have a future together? Will she find the one true God?

“Isle of Shadows” pulls you in from the beginning and is very fast paced to the end. It is full of intrigue and history and you will be drawn into the way of life on the ancient Grecian island in 227 BC. You will be cheering for Tessa as she journeys down the road to freedom. I received a complimentary copy of this to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Twice a Bride


In “Twice a Bride” by Mona Hodgson, we meet Willow Peterson. After her husband and father die, Willow decides to live in Cripple Creek, Colorado where her brother is a preacher. Determined to support herself, she answers an ad in the paper for a portrait painter. Her new boss is a handsome photographer named Trenton. Willow and Trenton do not get off on the right foot but they soon form a friendship as well as a working relationship and they soon begin to lose their hearts to each other. But there is someone else who is after Trenton. His former fiancé comes to town in hopes of renewing their relationship. Also in this book we catch up on the lives of the Sinclair sisters. The four sisters were sent to Cripple Creek in hopes of finding husbands. They are all happily married now and are mothers or expectant mothers. Will their happily ever after fairytales continue? Will Willow and Trenton have their own fairytale?

“Twice a Bride” is the fourth book in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series. It is very well written and can be read as a standalone novel. But if you want the background of what has gone on before and to learn the Sinclair sisters’ stories then I recommend reading the first three books first. This was a good book that teaches us to keep our hope and faith and that God knows what is best for us. Click here to read the first chapter. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Reason


In “The Reason” by William Sirls, we are taken to a small Michigan town and some of its residents will soon be forever changed. On a stormy night lightning strikes the cross in the yard of the St. Thomas Church and the cross is destroyed beyond repair. Reverend Lindy, the church’s blind minister, tries to figure out a way to repair the cross and help his flock keep their faith. When Brooke takes her young son, Alex, to have tests run, Macey Lewis overhears what happened to the cross and wants to help. Macey enlists the help of her fellow colleagues and carpenter Kenneth. When the group arrives to repair the cross, something amazing happens that none of them can believe and makes them wonder just who Kenneth could be. The next day Macey has to tell Brooke that Alex has leukemia. The mysterious Kenneth seems to show up when things are at their worst and tells everyone to “only believe”. Everyone starts to question the miracles that are happening and question if Kenneth could be God. When things are looking bad for Alex, Brooke is led to believe that God will heal him if she will “only believe” but when things take a drastic turn for the worse she questions God and becomes angry that she will lose her son. Will the group witness another miracle? Will everyone finally be able to forgive and believe in God?

This book will grab you from the beginning and you will not be able to put it down. It is a very moving and emotional book. The main focus is on Brooke and Alex but many other characters are present throughout. Have a tissue handy and remember to “only believe”. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Breakthrough


“The Breakthrough” by Jerry B. Jenkins continues to the story of Chicago Police Chief Boone Drake. In the first book Boone lost his wife and young son in a tragic accident. Boone engrossed himself in work to try to forget about the pain. Boone gave up on God after his loss. But slowly he learned to trust God again. And he was able to open up his heart again. In the second book Boone meets two new loves of his life; his future wife Haeley and her son Max. In this book life is great for Boone and his family. He is chief of the Major Case Squad, he has the love of a woman and child and his relationship with God is better than it ever was. But Boone feels like he is waiting for the other shoe to drop. And then it does. Boone is now faced with another tragic accident and wonders if he will lose another woman he loves. Boone is soon faced with the decision of staying with Haeley in her time of need or travelling to China to follow a human trafficking case. The case is very personal to Boone and he knows his wife would want him to go. Will Boone be able to keep his family together?

This is the third book in the Precinct 11 series and it is just as wonderful as the first two. Even though we know what is going on during the whole book it is still very suspenseful. You will not want to put it down. I recommend reading “The Brotherhood” and “The Betrayal” first. You will appreciate Boone more if you start at the beginning. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The River

In “The River” by Michael Neale we meet Gabriel Clarke. When Gabriel was five years old he saw a tragic accident that changed his life forever. Every since that fateful day on the river he has been afraid to really live. As the years go by he is afraid to join in and have fun with his friends. When a teacher paints him a picture of a river he longs to be able to enjoy the beauty that the river holds. Slowly he is able to overcome his fears with the help of a friend. Then his life is changed forever when a former high school friend invites him on a camping trip to the river in the Colorado Rockies. Gabriel is taken to the very river that changed his life forever. While he is there and with the help of a girl named Tabitha, he sees the beauty of the river and learns to love it. Tabitha wants Gabriel to come back and learn to be a guide on the river. Gabriel loves working on the river but his world will soon be changed again. He soon comes face to face with the man the blames for taking the most important person away from him. Will Gabriel be able to forgive him and the river?

This was an amazing debut novel from Michael Neale. It immediately draws you in and tugs at your heart. We can all relate to Gabriel because we all have some fear we have to overcome and it teaches us how important forgiveness is. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Girl in the Glass


In “The Girl in the Glass” by Susan Meissner we meet Meg. Meg’s grandmother grew up in Florence and when she was a child she was painted in front of a statue and Meg has always been drawn to the painting and to Florence. Meg’s father promised her that he would take her to Florence someday but he never comes through on his promise. When she finds out that he stole the money and bought her ticket she goes to Florence in hope of finding her father and getting the truth out of him. Meg soon finds herself all alone in a foreign country. Before Meg left the states she was told about Sofia. Sofia is an aspiring writer who hopes that Meg will help get her memoirs published. Sofia introduces Meg to the beauty of Florence. It is everything she dreamed but things are not what they seem with Sofia. Sofia claims to be the last surviving member of the Medici family and that a Medici princess, Nora, talks to her through the paintings and statues in Florence. Also while in Italy, Meg meets Lorenzo. He and his sister are a team who publish books with Meg’s company. She feels drawn to him but she is confused about her feelings for him and for Gabe, a man she left in the states. Who will Meg choose? And is Sofia truly a Medici?

This book drew me in from the beginning and I did not want to put it down. The author weaves a story of intrigue and love in the telling of the lives of Meg, Sofia and Nora. You will feel compassion for all three women the more you read. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Click here to read the first chapter of the book.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Love and Cherish


In “To Love and Cherish” by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller we are once again welcomed to Bridal Veil Island, Georgia. Melinda Colson works as a ladies maid in Cleveland and has visited to island with her employers for several years. She has become friends with one of the workers on the island, Evan Tarlow. Melinda hopes that Evan will propose to her before she leaves to go back to Cleveland but she is very disappointed when he does not. While apart Melinda wonders if Evan really does love her but Evan knows that he has nothing to offer Melinda at that time. When Melinda receives word that a hurricane has hit the island she quits her job and travels to Georgia because she is worried about Evan. Evan is surprised that Melinda came back and he soon realizes they have different things in mind in their relationship. Melinda is able to get a job as a maid and then is promoted as a special activities planner. Evan is busy cleaning the island from the storm and getting it ready for the tourists to come back. He is also waiting for a promotion and feels the pressure from his supervisors. He knows he needs this promotion in order to provide for Melinda after they are married but there are people who are trying to keep them apart and also something sinister is going on at the island. Will Melinda and Evan live happily ever after?

This is the second book in the Bridal Veil Island series and it will not let you down. Peterson and Miller have done another great job with transporting the reader to the island. You will feel as if you are there with Melinda and Evan as their relationship grows. I highly recommend the first book as well but you do not have to read them in order. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

Prayers of a Stranger


In “Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey” by Davis Bunn we meet Amanda and Chris Vance. Amanda works in a hospital in Florida as the personal assistant to the hospital’s director. When changes come to the hospital she contemplates going back into nursing. When she is told to take a vacation from work right before Christmas she learns that her neighbor’s husband will not be able to go on their trip to the Holy Land so she goes in his place. Amanda hopes that this trip will help her to heal from the loss of her child the year before. Amanda and Chris had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of their firstborn when Amanda suffered a miscarriage. Amanda has never fully recovered from the loss and decided to quit nursing. Chris has been under a lot of pressure at work and is also pressured by his sister to spend the Christmas holiday with her family. While Amanda is gone, Chris has to choose between protecting his wife or pleasing the rest of his family. While Amanda is in the Holy Land she meets a local woman who asks her to pray for a sick child. Amanda decides to visit the child and realizes she may be able to help but she has to put her own fears aside. With the help of their neighbors and God Amanda and Chris are able to heal from their loss and are able to give their marriage a new start. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grant: Savior of the Union


In “Grant: Savior of the Union” by Mitchell Yockelson we get to know the general that brought the south to its knees. In this book we learn about Ulysses Grant as a child growing up in Ohio and the years he spent at West Point. West Point helped mold Grant into the great general he became during the U. S. Civil War. In between West Point and the Civil War, Grant served in the Mexican War and was able to learn a great many tactics he would later use. Many of the great Civil War generals attended West Point together and fought beside each other in the Mexican War. But friendships and loyalties would soon be tested. This book tells of the many heroic things Grant did during the Civil War from the Battle of Shiloh, to Vicksburg, to Petersburg and finally the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. We also learn about Grant as a president. Grant was elected our 18th president in 1868 and was re-elected in 1872. Despite his being a great General of the U. S. Army, he was not a politician and has since been said to be one of our worst presidents. There were many scandals during his presidency and that’s what most people will remember about him but if it wasn’t for Grant the Unites States may not be what it is today.

Growing up in Louisiana I have mainly read about the generals of the Confederacy. Of course I knew who General Grant was because of Grant’s Canal and Vicksburg but I have never thought what it was like to be in his shoes. The Union had been through several Generals before Lincoln appointed Grant as the leader of all the army. Many people questioned Grant throughout the war but in the end he proved to be not only what the Union needed. If not for Grant our country could have permanently been split and more wars could have followed. There will always be the debate of North versus South but we are all still The United States of America.

The Deposit Slip


In “The Deposit Slip” by Todd M. Johnson we meet Erin Larson. Erin has recently lost her father and is close to losing the family farm. When Erin goes to the bank to clean out her father’s safety deposit box she finds a deposit slip. The deposit slip is for ten million dollars. Erin knows her father did not have that kind of money and the bank has no record of the deposit being made. When she hires a lawyer to investigate, threats are made against her. Finally one lawyer decides to take a chance on the case. Jared Neaton left a big firm to go out on his own. The problem is he gambled on a big case and is now barely paying the bills. He is reluctant to take Erin’s case for two reasons. One is that he’s not sure he will win and if he does not he will not have any money left. The second is that the bank is in the town he grew up in. Jared, Erin and Jared’s assistant, Jessie, investigate the case and soon realize that there is a cover up at the bank and also at the law firm Jared used to work for. Where did the money come from? Where did it go? Who is covering it up?

This was an amazing first book for Todd Johnson. He hooked me from the beginning and I was not able to put it down. While I was able to figure some things out the book did keep me guessing and kept me interested until the last page. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of legal suspense. I will definitely be reading more books from him in the future. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

The Widow of Saunders Creek


In “The Widow of Saunders Creek” by Tracey Bateman we meet Corrie Saunders. Corrie gave up a life of privilege when she married her Army husband, Jarrod. Now Corrie is a widow and must face her life without him. She moves back to Saunders Creek in Missouri to a house that Jarrod inherited from his grandparents. Corrie’s plan is to renovate the old house and to hide from everyone so that she can grieve alone. Jarrod’s cousin, Eli, not only helps her restore the house but he also becomes her friend. Strange things start happening in the house and Corrie believes that Jarrod is trying to contact her. Eli tries to show Corrie that it is not Jarrod and that she needs to trust that God will see her through whatever comes her way. Corrie so desperately misses her husband and will not give up hope that he has come back to her. She even goes as far to have a séance in the house so that Jarrod can communicate with her. Soon after, she realizes the presence she is feeling is not her beloved husband. Meanwhile, throughout the process of restoring the house Eli and Corrie become closer than just being friends, but Corrie is scared to put her trust in another man because she is afraid something will happen to him. Will Corrie finally accept God? Will she and Eli have a future together?

In this book we see how far someone will go to hold on to their departed loved one. We never want to give up those we love even when we know we will see them again in heaven, but we have to trust and lean on God to see us through our times of need. He is the only one who will bring us through our pain and suffering and when we finally do make it through we will realize we can love again. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Click here to read the first chapter of the book.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Touching the Sky


In “Touching the Sky” by Tracie Peterson we meet Laura Marquardt and Brandon Reid. Laura grew up in Texas and has been brought up to be the perfect southern belle, but when the Civil War broke out Laura’s father quickly pledged allegiance to the Union. Now that the war is over Laura and her family must learn to live with those who fought for the Confederacy. Brandon is a captain in the Union Army and his first encounter with Laura was not a pleasant one. When he sees her again he realizes that he misjudged her and soon finds himself drawn to her. Laura also finds herself drawn to Brandon and wonders if this is the man God intends for her to marry. They soon begin a courtship but there are troubles around every corner. Laura’s sister fancies herself in love with a Confederate soldier and soon marries; the problem is that he is a prime suspect in a case that Brandon is working on. When Laura finds out how cruel her sister’s husband is and that he may be plotting to kill the Union soldiers in town, she turns to Brandon and God for help. Will Brandon be able to bring the evil man to justice? Will Laura and Brandon live happily ever after?

“Touching the Sky” is the second book in the Land of the Lone Star series. Tracie Peterson has hit another homerun with this book. Once you start reading you will not want to put it down. This book can be read as a standalone even though characters from the first book make a minor appearance in this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

The Stars Shine Bright


In “The Stars Shine Bright” by Sibella Giorello we are once again caught up in the FBI world of Special Agent Raleigh Harmon. Raleigh is looking for a chance to turn her career around after facing suspension from the force. Raleigh is sent undercover at a thoroughbred race track to find out who is fixing races and harming the horses. Nobody at the track trusts Raleigh so she has a hard time making any headway with the case and then she becomes a prime suspect. She slowly begins to piece the clues together but knows she does not have much time. Not only does she have to work and deal with being undercover but she also has to deal with her fiancé. He does not understand her passion for the FBI and when he flies out to visit her things quickly turn sour. Raleigh feels all alone and cannot talk to any of her family. The worst part of it all is that her mother is paranoid and is in a mental hospital and thinks that Raleigh is the bad person and is out to get her. Will Raleigh solve the case? Will there be a happily ever after in her future?

“The Stars Shine Bright” is the fifth book in the Raleigh Harmon series. You can read these as standalone novels but I would highly recommend that you start at the beginning. You don’t really get Raleigh’s complete background unless you read them all and that makes the stories so much better. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Submerged


In “Submerged” by Dani Pettrey, we meet Bailey Craig. Bailey learns of her beloved aunt’s death and has to return to the one place she never wanted to see again. Bailey returns to Yancey, Alaska for her aunt’s funeral with plans to settle her estate and leave in a matter of weeks, but Cole McKenna has other plans. Cole is part of the search and rescue dive team in Yancey. When Cole is called in to recover a dead girl, he soon learns that the accident that killed Bailey’s aunt may not have been an accident at all. He wants Bailey to help him solve the mystery but Bailey is afraid and ashamed to face Cole. When Bailey left Yancey years ago people knew of her fast reputation and how she broke Cole’s heart. In the ten years that she left, she found God but has not completely forgiven herself for her past. Cole also found God after Bailey left and has forgiven her but soon realizes how much he still loves her. Together Cole and Bailey work to solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again and to also settle their feelings for each other.

“Submerged” is the debut novel of Dani Pettrey and is also the first book in the Alaskan Courage series. Ms. Pettrey did a great job of keeping the story moving and keeping the reader in suspense. In this book we see how God is always in control and that the past does not matter to those who love us. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

This Scarlet Cord


Rahab was a young Canaanite girl in Jericho who hid two Israelite spies. In doing this she was able to save herself and her family from Joshua’s army during the battle of Jericho. During this time Rahab learns of the one true God and finds favor with God and in turn is placed in the genealogy of Christ. That is essentially all we are told about Rahab in the Book of Joshua. “This Scarlet Cord” by Joan Wolf brings the story of Rahab to life by letting us imagine what her life was like before and after she met her future husband, Sala. Rahab was kidnapped as a girl and rescued by Sala. Several years later they meet again. They soon realize their love for one another but he is an Israelite and she is Canaanite. Sala shares his religion and the one true God with her and in her time of need she beings to pray to God instead of the pagan gods of the Canaanites. When Rahab hides the Israelite spies and helps them escape they give her a scarlet cord to hang from her window. The cord will be a sign that she and whoever is in the house will be spared. After Rahab and her family leave Jericho unharmed, both her father and Sala’s father allow them to marry. Many years later their descendent Joseph married Mary who was the mother of Jesus.

I have read and heard about the battle of Jericho since I can remember. But I never paid attention to Rahab and what an important person she was. Joan Wolf brings her to life and shows us that no matter what kind of a person we are God can and will use to for a greater purpose. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.

To Heaven and Back


“To Heaven and Back” by Mary C. Neal, MD, is the true story of Mary Neal. In 1999, Mary drowned during a kayaking accident in Chile. While other kayakers were trying to rescue and revive her, she was on an adventure with God. Mary found peace and joy during her time with God’s angels and a deep sadness when she realized it was not her time. Mary tells of her recovery and how she became closer to God during this time. She also finds out that she does have a purpose on earth and begins to realize why God did not take her on that day. This book is more than just the telling of going to heaven and coming back. We also find out about Mary’s life before and after the accident and how God has always been there for her and guiding her even when she was not paying attention to Him.

This book is a great example of how God is always in control of our lives. Most times we read a fictional account that we can relate to but “To Heaven and Back” is about a real person that real things have happened to. Dr. Neal opens up and tells us what her journey with Christ has been like. This isn’t a book that will describe what heaven will be like when we get there. If you’re looking for that, pull out the Bible. This book helps us to understand that sometimes bad things do happen to good people but that he will use that for the greater good and we all have a purpose for being here. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Click here to learn more about Dr. Neal.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Skip Rock Shallows


In “Skip Rock Shallows” by Jan Watson, Lilly Corbett has graduated from medical school and has returned to the hills of Kentucky. Lilly is an intern at the coal camp of Skip Rock not far from where she grew up. Lilly has a hard time getting started because people in Skip Rock are very superstitious and do not want a stranger or a woman doctoring them. While Lilly is in Skip Rock she runs into a long ago acquaintance, Tern. Tern is working undercover to investigate the safety of the mines and he soon realizes he has feelings for Lilly but Lilly is engaged to another man. Her finance, Paul, tries to persuade Lilly to move to Boston. Lilly starts to get close to Tern and begins to realize that Paul is not the man for her. While Lilly is trying to figure out what God wants her to do and who He wants her to be with, she is busy trying to win the people of Skip Rock over and she starts to gain their trust little by little. Will Lilly listen to God and stay in Skip Rock?

This was the first book that I have read by Jan Watson. I definitely was not disappointed. She makes the characters come to life and keeps the story flowing. We could all learn a lot of Lilly. She is determined and hardworking but also knows that she needs God’s direction especially when we have tough decisions to make. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom


“Where Lilacs Still Bloom” by Jane Kirkpatrick, is the true story of Hulda Klager. Hulda was a German immigrant and a farm wife in 1889 Washington. She wanted to create an apple that would be easy to peel and be crisp enough for her pies. With the help of her father, Hulda finally achieved her goal through plant hybridization. She then turned her attention to her flowers. She started grafting her flowers to see if she could come up with different shades of daffodils along with other kinds of flowers. But her main focus quickly became lilacs. She wanted to create lilacs not only in different colors but also with more petals. Hulda was faced with many adversities the biggest being the flood each year. She also faced much sadness in watching her daughters lose husband and also when she lost her own daughter. Even through all the sadness and hardships, Hulda managed to keep her eye on God and he always pulled her through.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt so sorry for Hulda because of everything she went through and I cheered when she finally got her creamy lilac with twelve petals. This book really brings to life what it was like for immigrants who came to America for a better future during that time. This book is also a good example of how sometimes we let grief overcome us, but we should always press on and never give up on our dreams and that God is always in control even when we do not know what is in store for our futures. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Waterbrook Press.

Chasing the Sun


In “Chasing the Sun” by Tracie Peterson, we meet Hannah Dandridge and William Barnett. Hannah’s father moved their family to Texas during the Civil War in hopes of a better future. He was given a ranch because of his support for the southern cause. When Hannah’s father goes missing she is left in charge of running the ranch and also taking care of her younger siblings. Then William Barnett comes into the picture. William was hurt during the war and has returned to his family’s ranch to recover and to take over what his father started. But he soon discovers that Hannah believes the ranch is hers. Hannah also has to deal with the unwanted attention from Herbert Lockhart. Lockhart was her father’s business partner and he wants Hannah and all that she would inherit from her father, so much so that he has her father killed. Hannah and William are strongly attracted to one another and Lockhart will do anything to come between them. Will Lockhart get away with murder? Will Hannah and William finally realize they are meant to be together?

“Chasing the Sun” is the first book in the Land of the Lone Star trilogy. Tracie Peterson never misses with her books and this is another great one. She always tells a great story with an even greater message to the reader. I highly recommend this book and any other Tracie Peterson book. I can’t wait for book two. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter


In “Wildflowers from Winter” by Katie Ganshert, we meet Bethany Quinn. When Bethany receives a call from her mother that her childhood friend, Robin, is going through a traumatic experience and that her own grandfather has had a heart attack, she decides to go home for a visit. Bethany left her small hometown for the big city of Chicago to be an architect. She has not returned in ten years because of several incidents in her childhood that have left bitter memories for her. When Bethany arrives at her grandfather’s farm she meets Evan. Bethany soon finds out that Robin is Evan’s sister-in-law. After Robin’s husband dies, Bethany heads back to Chicago so that she will not have to deal with her feelings. But when she returns she finds out she no longer has a job and she receives a call that her grandfather has died. Bethany returns home and finds out that her grandfather has divided the farm and house between her and Evan. The two clash over the future of the farm and Bethany moves in with Robin. Bethany is determined to pull Robin out of her grief and Evan is determined to find out why Bethany has a wall around her heart. Will Bethany let go of her anger towards God? Will Evan and Bethany have a future together?

This book is a great example of how different people can react to death. Bethany became bitter towards her family and God. She was determined to never have to rely on anybody. Robin turns towards God because she knows that without Him she would never be able to make it day to day. I can definitely relate to Bethany because I have been in her situation and became very angry with God. It took many years to realize that God is in control and will never give me more than I can handle. I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who may be dealing with the death of a loved one. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Click here to read the first chapter of this book.

Covenant Child


In “Covenant Child” by Terri Blackstock we meet Amanda, Lizzie and Kara Holbrooke. Amanda was diagnosed with cancer at a young age and had to undergo a hysterectomy. She didn’t think she would ever find a man who would love her even though she could never have children. Then she meets Jack Holbrooke. Jack was a widower who was raising his twin three-year-old daughters, Lizzie and Kara. After Amanda and Jack marry, everything seems to be going perfectly. The girls love Amanda and think of her as their mother since they do not remember their own mother. When Jack and his parents are killed in a plane crash, Amanda learns that she has inherited a fortune. And then the worst happens. Lizzie and Kara’s maternal grandparents fight Amanda for custody and win. All three lives are turned upside down in the blink of an eye. Even though the girls are heiresses, their inheritance is squandered by their grandparents and they live in poverty for the next fifteen years. The girls turn to a life of destruction. Kara has a bitter hatred for Amanda because of the lies she is told. Lizzie on the other hand believes Amanda is a nice person and really does want the best for the twins. When they finally turn eighteen, Lizzie moves in with Amanda and learns the truth of what happened when they were three but Kara continues to rebel. Will Kara finally see the truth or will she continue down her path of destruction?

“Covenant Child” teaches us that we must wait for what God has in store for us no matter how long it takes. Amanda had to wait fifteen years to get the daughters she loved so much back, but she never stopped loving them or watching over them. Most of us would be like Kara and want to take matters into our own hands instead of waiting for God to show us our path. This book is a good example of how patience will persevere even though we do not see the good in our current situation. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.

Eyes of Justice


“Eyes of Justice” by Lis Wiehl is the fourth book in the Triple Threat series. The Triple Threat is three friends who are in the crime business. Cassidy reports it, Nicole investigates it, and Allison is a federal prosecutor. These three ladies have helped solve several cases but now somebody is after them. When Nicole and Allison find Cassidy dead in her apartment, they take things into their own hands. They enlist the help of an eccentric private investigator, Ophelia. The local police department arrest Nicole’s ex boyfriend for her murder and it appears to be an open and shut case. But Nicole and Allison think there is more to it and with the help of Ophelia, they are determined to find the real killer even if it means putting themselves in danger. Will Nicole and Allison find the real killer before he finds them?

“Eyes of Justice” is by far the best book in the Triple Threat series. Lis Wiehl has done an amazing job with bringing these characters to life and she makes you feel like you know them. This was a very fast paced thriller and it kept me guessing until the true killer was revealed. This book is full of twists and turns. You will not want to put it down. If you have never read any of the Triple Threat books then I highly recommend them. I hope the series will continue with Nicole, Allison and now Ophelia. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Finding Our Way Home


In “Finding Our Way Home” by Charlene Ann Baumbich we meet Sasha Davis and Evelyn Burt. Sasha was a principal ballerina until she suffered a career ending injury. Sasha moves back to her hometown in Minnesota to recover and she hires nineteen year old Evelyn to be a live-in aide. Sasha and Evelyn are complete opposites. Sasha is battling with not only her injury and recovery but also with depression of losing her lifelong dream and the man she loves. Evelyn is a bubbly and outgoing girl who is newly engaged and is optimistic about the future. When it seems that Sasha’s life is getting back on track, Evelyn’s takes a turn for the worse. Evelyn’s parents to not like her fiancé and Evelyn herself is starting to have doubts. When he breaks off their engagement and leaves town, the roles of Sasha and Evelyn are reversed. Now Sasha takes care of Evelyn through her heartbreak. Will Sasha be reunited with the man she loves? Will Evelyn find her own way to a better future?

“Finding Our Way Home” is a great story about the ups and downs people have in their lives. While we are not all broken ballerinas or full of live young women, we can all relate to having our hearts broken or our dreams taken away. What we don’t realize at the time is that there is a greater plan and God knows what’s in store for our futures. We get so caught up in the here and now and blame God when something isn’t going our way that we don’t see the good in any situation or how he is going to use the situation to make us stronger. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from WaterBrook Press.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blue Moon Bay


In “Blue Moon Bay” by Lisa Wingate we meet Seattle architect Heather Hampton. Heather grew up in Moses Lake, Texas but when she left, she had no desire to ever go back because the tiny town holds bad memories for her. For Heather to climb in her job she must convince her family to sell the farm land in Moses Lake, but her family does not want to cooperate. Heather travels back to Texas to talk some sense into her family and she finds out that they are leaving her out of their plans. While she is in Moses Lake, Heather runs into a former classmate, Blaine Underhill. Heather tries to get Blaine’s help with her family and she soon realizes that her high school crush on Blaine has never gone away. Heather also realizes that she has forgotten the good times she had with her father in Moses Lake. Will she be able to put the past behind her and move forward? And just what is her family really up to?

“Blue Moon Bay” is the second book in the Moses Lake series. This book grabs your attention quickly and you will not want to put it down. Although this book can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading “Larkspur Cove” first as it will give you a little more background of some of the minor characters in “Blue Moon Bay”. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, and remember; “The future is a blank page, but not a mystery.” I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Promise Me This


In “Promise Me This” by Cathy Gohlke, we meet Annie and Owen Allen. Annie and Owen lost their parents and Annie has been raised by a very strict aunt. When Owen sees a chance to go to America and start a new life for him and Annie, he takes it. Owen gets a ticket on the Titanic and is excited to leave for America. Before he sets sail he moves Annie into a boarding school so that she will be away from their aunt. A few days before the Titanic leaves Owen meets Michael Dunnagan. Michael is running from an abusive uncle and Owen takes him under his wing. Michael becomes a stowaway on the Titanic and Owen teaches him everything he needs to know about growing flowers for the nursery his family owns in New Jersey. As fate would have it the Titanic never reaches America. Before the ship sinks, Owen makes sure Michael is put on a life boat. Owen does not survive the sinking and Michael continues to New Jersey alone. He is welcomed by Owen’s aunt. When Annie learns of her brother’s fate, she becomes angry that Michael survived. As the years go by she begins to forgive Michael and they become good friends through writing letters and finally come to love each other. Before Annie can leave England, World War 1 breaks out in Europe. Annie has trained to be a nurse and wants to help in the war effort. Her aunt makes her go to the heart of the war and puts her in great danger. Michael decides to go to Europe to be near Annie and to protect her. Will the war keep Annie and Michael apart or will they live happily ever after?

This book is a definite tear jerker. We all know the story of the Titanic and of World War 1, but this makes both events a little more real. This book also shows us that in the midst of tragedy, God is with us and will never leave us no matter how bad it may get. I highly recommend this book, but have a tissue handy! I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dawn Comes Early


“Dawn Comes Early” by Margaret Brownley is the first book in her Brides of Last Chance Ranch series. In this book we meet Boston dime novelist Kate Tenney. When Kate’s latest book gets banned, she moves to Arizona Territory. Kate sees an ad for someone who is looking for an heiress to their cattle ranch. The catch is that in order to inherit the ranch, she must never marry. Kate soon realizes that the world she has written about is a lot different than how it truly is. When she first arrives in Cactus Patch, she meets the infamous outlaw Cactus Joe as he tries to hold her hostage. Then she soon realizes the woman she is to be working for is a hard person to get along with. Kate’s determination never waivers even if she was not prepared for life on a cattle ranch. Kate soon becomes friends with the town blacksmith Luke Adams. She has no intention of marrying but the more she is around Luke the more she likes what she sees. When Kate is kidnapped, Luke realizes how special she is to him and tries everything he can to win Kate’s heart. Kate knows she has fallen for Luke but if she marries him she will not inherit the ranch she has worked to get. Will Kate forfeit the ranch to be with the man that she loves?

This was my first book by Margaret Brownley and it will not be my last. The book grabs your attention from the start and you will not want to put it down. I can’t wait until book two comes out. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall


“The Maid of Fairbourne Hall” by Julie Klassen is set in London in 1815 and is about a young woman who is masquerading as someone else in order to escape a nasty fate. When Margaret Macy overhears her stepfather’s evil plan to get her to marry his nephew, she knows she has to flee in order to protect herself and her inheritance. Margaret, under a disguise and with the help of her maid Joan, leaves London in hopes of finding a safe haven until her next birthday when she will inherit a great sum of money. Margaret and Joan arrive in Maidstone and try to find work. Margaret is disguised as a maid and she is hired to work in a great manor house and takes on the name of Nora. She soon finds herself as a maid in her former suitor’s house. Nathaniel Upchurch loved Margaret once upon a time and proposed but she rejected him. Nathaniel has never been able to get over Margaret and he soon realizes that the new maid is the woman he loves. As time goes by, Margaret begins to realize her true feelings for Nathaniel but she cannot let him know who she truly is. Will Margaret finally be able to tell Nathaniel the truth? Will Nathaniel be able to move forward and forgive Margaret?

Julie Klassen has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her characters come to life and she makes you feel like you are living the story. I highly recommend this book and all of Julie Klassen’s other books as well. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heart of Gold


In “Heart of Gold” by Robin Lee Hatcher, we meet southern belle Shannon Adair. Shannon and her father leave Virginia during the Civil War and head for Grand Coeur, Idaho. Shannon’s father is a preacher and he has been called to a new church in Grand Coeur. When they reach Idaho, Shannon is not impressed especially when she meets stagecoach driver, Matthew Dubois. Matthew works for Wells Fargo and has taken an office job in Grand Coeur in order to be with his sister and nephew, Alice and Todd. Matthew soon realizes his sister is sick and does not have long to live. Since Shannon wants something to do to keep her busy she offers to take care of Alice and look after Todd while Matthew works. Alice decides that Matthew will need a wife to help him raise Todd when she is gone and she is determined that Shannon is the right woman. Soon Shannon and Matthew realize they were wrong about each other and begin to like each other and eventually their feelings deepen. After Shannon hears that Matthew only wants to marry her in order to gain a mother for Todd, she calls off the wedding. Will Matthew be able to win Shannon back or will it be too late?

This book was a quick and easy read. At times it was sad because we know that Alice will not live long but that is what made it so good. Life is not always fun and humorous and this book is an example of what people face in real life and how important God is during those tough times. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.