Category Archives: Book Reviews

These book reviews are written by me (Debbie, former Media Center Director) and I ask that while you read them you will take into consideration that I’m not a writer. I just love books and I am going to do my best in reviewing books that I have read in the Media Center and other books I’ve read on my Kindle or iPad and plan on buying for the Media Center.
I am hoping to have some guest book reviewers from time to time also. Thank you for visiting this page and I pray that these book reviews will encourage you to come into the Media Center and check out the book. Or if you are not a member of our church and visiting this blog, that you will like what you read and go buy a copy of the book for yourself. Happy Reading!

Silenced (Alaskan Courage #4) by Dani Pettrey – 5 Stars!

Another Thrilling Ride Through Alaska (5 Stars)

BHP_Silenced_Keyline_approved.indd

Silenced (Alaskan Courage #4) by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House Publishers (2014)


Here we are back with the McKenna family and another breathtaking mixture of suspense and romance. It was great to be back with the McKenna siblings and see how Dani Pettrey worked through the tough-hearted Kayden McKenna to finally soften her up and lead her through a very exciting mystery and then open her heart to love.

This is a series you really need to read in order. Each book has one of the McKenna siblings as the center focus, but with one…you get all. And you really do want to know the back story of all the other family, because they cross over to the next books. So if you haven’t read, Submerged #1, Shattered #2, Stranded #3, then I willl strongly suggest you get started. Each novel is excellent and you’ll be drawn into mystery and romance from the start and it will be hard to put down until you are finished.

In Silenced #4, we begin to get the full story of Kayden McKenna. She’s the tough sister, quiet, strong and not interested in romance. She is an excellent rock climber and the book starts with her on a climb and finding something very disturbing. She gets involved with the mystery, along with Jake Westin. He’s an ex-lawman and was in earlier books with a past that was full of secrets. Now, Kayden and Jake are thrown together to solve this mystery, but it turns out to be a deadly adventure and lives are at stake.

The mystery will keep you going until the end, full of excitement and wondering how it will finally end. But there’s the romance that had began to secretly develop in the previous book and now, as much as Kayden doesn’t want to get close to anyone, this time she has no other choice but to trust Jake with her life and her heart.

I’m waiting to see if there is a Book 5 to finish telling the stories of the last McKenna sibling. Dani Pettrey is an excellent author who knows how to mix excitement, suspense, and romance all together just perfectly!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group & Bethany House for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


 

Let’s meet Dani:

dpettrey2sm1

Short Bio:
Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, and her latest release, Silenced. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson.

I invite you to check out her website and browse around and take a look at some of her YouTube videos under the “Press” section.

www.danipettrey.com

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer – 5 Stars

Deeply Moving Amish Novella (5 Stars)

cover35047-mediumA Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer (Zondervan – 2013)

This is a sweet, deeply emotional story about a young Amish woman named Rose, who finds out something about her past that devastates her to her very core.  And on top of that she is angry at Jonathan Fisher, the man she planned on marrying.  He is Amish, yet he joined the Army, not to fight, but to go as a Medic to help those who were wounded.  The Amish community doesn’t know exactly what to do now that he’s back and Rose doesn’t know how this is going to affect her.  But when she learns the truth about herself, she is really confused.

There are two other english men, one who is really suffering from what we know today as PTSD, and Jonathan and the other ex-soldier, Curtis, visits him with hopes of helping him deal with the devastation of all he saw in the war.  All the while, Rose is trying to deal with her own problems and trying to figure out if there is a future for her and Jonathan after all.

This novella is wonderful.  I loved every minute and had a hard time putting it down. I think anyone who reads this sweet story will be touched.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Please take the time to click on Tricia’s name and Zondervan’s name under the picture of the book and check out their websites.

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Captain Jack’s Treasure by Max Elliot Anderson (5 Stars)

Ahoy, Come Aboard for a Great Adventure! (5 Stars)

We will be giving away a copy of this book, Dec. 1-6, 2013.  So stop by and read the interview with the author and make a comment to that post to enter.

We will be giving away a copy of this book, Dec. 1-6, 2013. So stop by and read the interview with the author and make a comment to that post to enter.

Captain Jack’s Treasure (A Sam Cooper Adventure #2) by Max Elliot Anderson

Three boys, best friends, Summertime, the ocean, treasure hunting, and Captain Jack!  Ahoy, matey’s!  You are in for a treat reading this second adventure with Sam Cooper and his friends Tony and Tyler.

They live in Harper’s Inlet, FL and Tony’s dad own’s a marina.  They are out of school for the summer and Sam’s dad surprises him with a metal detector.  Now Sam is obsessed with finding buried treasure.  So he gets his friends involved and they set looking for adventure.  After a long time digging, all they came up with was an empty metal drum.  But then at the marina they meet up with an old “crusty” sailor, named Captain Jack.  He’s just bought and old dilapidated boat and ask the boys if they want to work for him this summer in fixing the boat up.  Of course they jump on that offer and off they go on a grand adventure on finding out Captain Jack’s secret and Sam’s getting more and more obsessed with finding treasure. Captain Jack always offers the boys a wonderful “tale” after each work day and the boys just eat it up, just like the pizza Captain Jack gives them.

Sam’s dad explains to him that earthly treasure are only temporary and true treasure is things that last.  Sam finds out the hard way what his dad was trying to teach him.

The morals in this story are wonderful and the excitement is good enough for any young boy, maybe 4th grade through middle school even.  Even I, an old grandma, enjoyed the story.

You don’t have to read the stories in sequence but I would recommend it.  This story refers to the boys harrowing adventure in the first book that I’m going to have to read now!  And I’m sure Book 3 will be just as good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from bookfun.org in return for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Remember, to come back on December 1-6, 2013 and read our interview with Max Elliot Anderson and comment on THAT post to be entered to win a copy of this book.  It would make a great Christmas present for some blessed young boy in your life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

GREAT NEWS- This Deal/Giveaway Has Been Extended Through Cyber Monday! Black Friday Blog Blitz – Fire Storm by Mackenzie Dare

 

THE AUTHOR HAS EXTENDED THIS OFFER THROUGH CYBER MONDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2013…SO YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO VISIT HER SITE AND ENTER OR BUY THE BOOK AT A DISCOUNT.

First-time author, Mackenzie Dare has written a thrilling mystery novel.  I have read it, although I haven’t had a chance to write my review yet. I will try and get it posted next week.  The novel will keep you guessing and will present the gospel message in a wonderful way.  I thought Mackenzie did a wonderful job on her first novel.  The mystery kept me going and there were lots of twists and turns and it was action packed.  So, when Mackenzie asked if I would post this on our blog, I said “sure”!  It’s a good deal and you can enter to win a free copy at the link she shares below.  DO NOT ENTER ON MY BLOG, I’M NOT RUNNING THE GIVEAWAY, SHE IS, SO FOLLOW HER DIRECTIONS.  Thanks!  Enjoy the interview and reading the first chapter listed below.

6951145

“But we have no enemies!”… Why would a young mother, happily married and safely nestled amongst the cornfields of small town Illinois suddenly start finding murder attempts around every corner? 
A fireman, Jim thrives on danger, that is until it creeps closer than he ever expected – not to him, but to the one he loves more than life itself – his wife. Who and why? How can the “protector” keep his most cherished possession from this unseen killer?

Totally innocent – untouched by evil, Jess cannot explain or understand the incidents threatening her very existence. Holding on to her husband and clinging to her knowledge of a powerful God, she can only strive to keep trust in her soul and a smile in her heart, as the icy fingers of death lurk, coiled behind every corner. Safe in innocence, secure in love – marked for murder! God bless our home – if it doesn’t blow up!

FIRE STORM

BLACK FRIDAY BLOG

BLITZ

Hi! Thanks for stoppin’ by to participate in our “Black Friday Blog Blitz!”

Other Blogs That Are Participating  In This Black Friday Blog Blitz:

http://foundachristianbyhisgrace.blogspot.com/

http://craftybooksheeps.blogspot.com

http://www.morethanareview.com/

http://www.favchristianbooks.com/

www.TMWoodsBooks.com/blog

https://danyelle0423.wordpress.com/

http://www.wfbcmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://voyagesofalifetime.blogspot.com/

http://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.com

http://mackenziedare.blogspot.com

**************************************

Today only, get your copy of “FIRE STORM” for 60% off the retail price by following the “special sale link” below!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=USP4JCDLXG6JW

6951145

Enter for a chance to win a free e-book of Fire Storm by copy and pasting one of the messages below and emailing it to: fiction4christians(at)gmail(dot)com

Hi, I stopped by (blog name), and would like to enter for a chance to win a free e-book of FIRE STORM. 

Please also sign me up to receive your monthly newsletter.

OR

Hi, I stopped by (blog name), and would like to enter for a chance to win a free e-book of FIRE STORM. 

I would rather not receive your monthly newsletter at this time.

Your name will then be assigned a number, which will then be put in a hat to be drawn out by an unbiased third party.

Enter to win a $25 – $50 prepaid Visa card by following the link below sharing our Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/FireStormdare

A $25 gift card will be awarded if our page receives under 500 shares.

A $50 card will be the prize if our page receives over 500 shares.

You may share this page as many times as you wish as long as each share is one hour apart. Your name will be entered again for each share.

Each entry will be assigned a number, which will be put in a hat to be drawn out by an unbiased third party

Below read this review along with an interview of the author and the first chapter of Fire Storm.

Review By Caitlyn Santi

May 23, 2013

5 of 5 stars

Oh. My! I absolutely, completely, totally loved this book! I
don’t know if I can put into words how much I loved it, but I will try!
As a Christian, small town, horse crazy, farm girl, I was thrilled to
find a Christian suspense book that was set in a small town where the
main characters live on a horse farm, needless to say I found myself
completely relating to so many aspects of this book! The romance, true
love, and devotion between the married couples was so sweet, their were
times that it made my heart swell and my stomach flutter! I loved Jim
and Jessica, Wade and Mellissa, and through the skillful writing of the
author I grew to love Derrick as well! And of course Morgan was just oh
so adorable. Fire Storm grabbed me on page one and didn’t release me
until I reached the end! I usually am able to guess who the killer is,
but with this one I had no clue who it was, so it was a big surprise
for me when the killer’s identity was revealed! And the suspense, oh my
goodness it was SO amazing, just when I thought it couldn’t get any
crazier (In a good way!) it did!!!

There is one thing I would like to point out and that is that Fire
Storm is told from a number of different characters view points, while
this did not bother me and I personally feel that it helped to tell the
story perfectly, I know that there are people who don’t like this way
of telling a story, but I would highly recommend that they read it
anyway because it is so worth reading!!!

Fire Storm has touched my life and my heart and I feel truly blessed to
have had the opportunity to read it! It is now on my list of all time
favorite books and I know I will reread it many times in the future!
And I highly anticipate this author’s next book!
In closing, Fire Storm is an amazing read, which I highly recommend to
anyone and everyone!!!
It is one of those rare finds that as soon as you finish it, you desire
nothing more than to start it again, it’s that good!!! 🙂

I received this book from the author, in exchange for my honest review.
The above is my honest opinion.
All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.

****************************************************

Author Interview

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I don’t remember a conscious decision. I think that’s just the way the Lord made me. I’ve always loved writing and making stories up in my head for as long as I can remember.  Every once in a while, I’ll find a page of an ancient second or third grade short story and chuckle as I read it and try to decipher the context.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

Right now, I’m self-employed, so I can just flip flop my schedule around to what works best.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Like I have any writing quirks…. 😉  Probably my most interesting one is the fact that my characters refuse to ever conform to my outline. Sure, I start out with a neat and detailed plan, but by mid-story, sometimes before, my characters are all running every which-a-way in their own directions. Sometimes the “good guys” turn into bad guys. Sometimes scenes from the end move up to the middle. Sometimes the wrong people fall in love, and even other times a deep, dark secret that I didn’t even know about will just pop up from somebody’s past. Surprises… that’s what makes writing so fun!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love life! One of my favorite things to do is to run outside, especially on a dew-glistening, bird-singing, apple-blossomed, spring morning… just to run toward a painted sunrise and feel absorbed in the beauty of God’s creation! I love riding my horse down the gravel road or through the cornfields. I love chilly fall days… a cool breeze floating in a slightly open window and feeling the warm apple-scented  steam as you slide a crusty, golden, apple pie out of the oven just as a drip of cinnamon syrup bubbles out and sizzles. I like a crisp, breezy walk through a pumpkin patch or a swim in a Wisconsin lake. I like camping in the North Woods or browsing souvenir shops. I’ve enjoyed climbing cliffs in the Blue Ridge and drivin’ by buffalo in Yellowstone. I love findin’ deals at garage sales and hangin’ out with my family… cookout style or pizza and popcorn movie nights. My favorite time is Christmas… It’s A Wonderful Life in the DVD player, a fire crackling in the corner, the pop of popcorn, and the sweet aroma of hot chocolate as we hang ornaments and wrap lights around our Christmas tree and nativity scene. I love seeing the Lord work in my life and teach me new things. I love Him because He first loved me. He’s shown me this sooo many times in my life! One of my favorite verses is “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” He’s the giver of life, the one who makes daffodils smile and the thunderclouds clap. I love life, love, loyalty, and laughter.

What does your family think of your writing? 

They are all very supportive and encouraging! I loved giving them my new book and hearing what they thought of it. I really appreciated their suggestions before I was satisfied with my final copy.

Do you have any suggestions to help readers interested in writing become better?  If so, what are they?

Always pray about your writing. You couldn’t get a better teacher.

Just keep writing. Progress can be amazing if you just keep practicing until you get the hang of it.

Make it fun, and keep it fun. If you get bored with it or lose track of where you’re going, you’ll likely stop.

Start with an outline for structure, but then add some surprises to keep yourself guessing.

Do you hear from your readers much?

Sometimes. I always enjoy hearing from them.

What do you think makes a good story? 

Action, a good plot, likeable and admirable characters, emotion, human interaction, purity of relationships, cleanness in language, mystery… but most of all, it needs to honor God. I loved writing this book, but it would always feel empty and useless to me if there wasn’t a higher purpose in writing it than making money. If you pray about it and are truly writing for Him, I believe He will cause everything else to fall into place

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Be a teacher…or a vet…a nurse… or a fireman… a restaurant owner… or a mom with 12 kids….

For viewers who have not read, but are interested in your book, can you describe it please? 

Fire Storm is about a couple of young families living excessively normal lives in a small-town, farming community in Northern Illinois. Wade is a paramedic. His wife, Mellissa, works in a lawyer’s office, and they are expecting a baby very soon. Their best friends, Jim and Jessica, live on a small horse farm out in the country. Jim is a fireman. Jess is a stay-at-home mom with her recently born little girl. Life is fun and carefree till… Jess starts running into threats at every turn. Are they even threats or just accidents? The thought of a killer being after Jess just seems so ridiculous… though not so much… when she comes eye to eye with murder! Who and Why? What about Wade ‘n Mellissa? Will they remain safe in their young existence as they embark in the beginnings of life’s journey, or will the epidemic of murder spread? How far does it reach? What are the secrets?

 How and when did you become a Christian? 

When I was five, I prayed with my mom after hearing a Christian radio testimony, then I prayed the same prayer quite a few times after that whenever doubts arose after a salvation message. I got complete assurance of my salvation when I was eight and started growing in the Lord. I know I was saved before that. That is just when the Lord removed all doubt. So, I can’t honestly point to an exact date, but I’m 100% sure that I’m in God’s family, that He watches over me, protecting me many times, that He loves me, blessing me with countless surprises that are much more then luck, that He teaches me, not only spiritual but also physical things, and that He’s always there whenever I need Him.

How does God affect your writing? 

He gave me the talent to write. He gave me an imagination and a love for stories. He put me in a strongly Christian home where I received wisdom about spiritual things and knowledge of true love, sacrifice, and care. He saved me and gave me a reason to write. Fire Storm was written for Him and dedicated to Him, and by His grace, I pray that every book I write will always point heavenward and never downward toward worldly lusts.

Who is your favorite character in your book?

That’s hard to say. I like all my characters. They are all different and unique.  I like variety. The world needs rich and poor, plain and fancy, strong and weak, dream-chasers and content daily laborers, business women and stay-at-home moms, flippant and flighty and rigid work-a-holics. If there was one “right” type of person or one perfect race, the world would be sooo dull. Everyone fiction or real has their very own story.

What was the hardest part to write in the book? 

The Salvation message. It carries the greatest responsibility.

****************************************************

Chapter 1

Bright autumn leaves whirled around an even brighter red F-150 spurting down the gravel road. At the wheel, Jim Richards, enjoying the cool breeze ruffling his hair and the warm sun tanning the side of his face, had his arm through the open window. In his opinion, northern Illinois was at its peak in the fall. He glanced around at the walls of corn drying on either side of the road, brown with just a hint of green. They’ll harvest ‘em pretty soon.

Jim returned a wave from the driver of an oncoming car. He didn’t know who it was. People were just friendly like that in this small-town, farming community. He and his wife, Jessica, farmed a few acres of hay and bred a small herd on a little horse farm between the village of Oak Creek and the larger town of Spring Valley.

For an average-size guy, Jim’s frame sported a lot of solid muscle. He liked to work and enjoyed a healthy lifestyle. His blond hair was dark, almost brown, cut short and combed to the side. His eyes were a soft, sky-blue and held a mixture of humor, determination, kindness, compassion, or anger – whatever the situation called for.

Giant, white cotton ball clouds made the sky seem bluer than normal. Jim glanced down at the clock. Better hurry. You’re gonna be late for work. Pushing down on the accelerator, he knew he was going a little faster than he should on these curvy, gravel roads, but he told himself he had grown up around here and knew the area like the back of his hand.

He slowed to the speed limit as he turned onto the main drag going into Spring Valley.

Jim flipped off the radio. It never took him very long to get annoyed with it. It was always on the Chicago “all-news” station, and he really couldn’t care less how the traffic was moving on the Eisenhower or the Kennedy. If there was anything else on that station, he never knew, since he always turned if off before he heard it.

Huh, car in my spot, he thought to himself, as he pulled into the parking lot of the Spring Valley Fire Station.

Jim walked into the locker room. “Hey, Thundercloud, exactly what are you doing in my parking place?” Jim asked his best friend, jokingly.

Your parking place? Your deed of ownership, please?” Wade Thundercloud held out his hand.

“Squatter’s rights, my brother. Everyone knows that is my parking place.” Jim took his uniform shirt out of his locker.

“Uh oh, looks like another storm’s a brewin’ between Jim and Big Chief Thundercloud,” Carlos laughed.

“Did I miss something?” a fireman Jim didn’t know asked.

“It’s relentless persecution for my name,” Wade grumbled, buckling his belt.

“His name’s Wade Thundercloud. In case you haven’t noticed, the boy’s a full blooded redskin,” Carlos, a brawny, Hispanic fireman, explained as he buttoned his shirt.

Wade rolled his eyes. “Isn’t that a racist statement?”

Carlos laughed, “Awww…we hurt the little guy’s feelings.”

Wade threw his shirt at Carlos. “Oh, it’s on.”

“Yeah, maybe we should change the subject,” Jim suggested.

“Hey, I was kinda enjoying it. The guys at my last station were, like, way too serious,” the new guy protested.

“Yeah, talkin’ ‘bout that, who are you anyway? Derrick get kicked out or something?” Jim put his foot on the paint-chipped bench to tie his shoelace.

“Name’s Travis. Derrick’s sick or something, so I got called over as his replacement.”

Jim nodded and began to tie his other shoe.

“Yeah, well, it’ll be nice to be partnered with a guy that has a little more experience.” Wade straightened his collar. “Derrick’s been out of the academy for almost two years, but he’s only twenty-one.” He buttoned his cuffs. “He graduated from high school a year early when he was sixteen, took one year of paramedic training, quit for a year, then took the last year when he was nineteen.”

“Why’d he quit for a year?”

“Who knows with that kid.”

Jim gave Wade a sideways glance of disapproval.

“By the way, Jim.” Carlos tucked in his shirt. “Cap’s gone at more divorce proceedings so we got Captain Johnson.”

Jim grunted an acknowledgment and then closed his locker door. He was glad to be back to work and was ready for action

Today was hay-stacking day. Jessica Richards really didn’t mind. She loved being out in the barn with the smell of hay. Besides, throwing hay bales all day was one way of keeping in shape, and what girl didn’t want that? Of course, if her husband had been home, she would have conned him into doing it or at least into helping.

She grabbed a bail in each hand and climbed the ladder to the loft. People had commented that she was stronger than she looked. She was only five-foot-three and one-hundred pounds. Her chestnut hair fell thick and shiny to the middle of her back, and her deep brown eyes danced with joy and excitement more often than not. At twenty-three, she was a year younger than her husband and the proud mother of their beautiful baby girl.

After two hours of strenuous hay-stacking, Jess was beginning to wonder if the horses were worth all this trouble. She plopped down on a bale of hay in the loft and sighed. Halfway done.

She just sat there a moment, leaning against the stack of hay bales. She seriously contemplated just backing the hay wagon into the lower half of the hay shed and calling it quits for the day. Why not just leave the wagon there permanently and save all this trouble? After all, they never used this barn for anything other than hay, anyway. She smiled to herself as she imagined Jim’s reaction to that idea. That item of business would never make its way to a serious discussion bu-ut… She chuckled at some humorous mental images of his likely aghast response and filed the topic away in her memory as a good conversation starter to lighten the mood some likely evening. Smile weakening, she huffed a sigh. Un-for-tun-ately… that topic would have to keep for a while since he would not be coming home tonight.

She stretched. Maybe I should go inside, get a glass of cool lemonade, and see how Morgan’s doin’. Mrs. Robinson, an older lady from church, had offered to watch Morgan so she could get some chores done. She wiped her face with her sleeve. It felt good to sweat again. She hadn’t done much really hard labor since before she had Morgan.

As she got up to go down, the smell of smoke drifted up to her. She looked down the ladder. A thick cloud of dark gray smoke filled the barn. Breathing into her sleeve, Jess practically jumped down the ladder, frantic to get out. She raced for the door, but bright, daunting, orange flames already billowed across that escape route. Smoke burned her eyes. She darted for the back, but it was no good. Fire devoured the entire frame. Every wall blazed. Her lungs burned from the smoke.

She turned a full circle but saw fire in every direction. I have to get out, now! Lord, please, please give me a way out! The loft! Spinning around, she raced for the ladder. The heat grew more intense. Flames crept around the ladder, but she knew she had to go for it. As she raced to the top, the heat nearly overwhelmed her. Her lungs screamed for air. Relief flooded her when she saw that the loft door wasn’t engulfed. Thank you, Lord. 

Kicking the wooden doors open, she jumped, bracing herself for the impact. Pain and gladness swept over her as she hit the ground. Gasping for air, she was so glad to be alive. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Jim sniffed the air as he walked into the kitchen. “What’s that smell?”

“Wade’s cooking lunch today. We’ll probably all end up in the ER with food poisoning,” Dan, their oldest firefighter at forty-three, replied.

“Hey, don’t criticize my stew.”

“Stew?”

“Yeah, I found a prize-winning stew recipe and a prize-winning soup recipe. I’m just gonna mix everything together, and you won’t believe what I come up with.”

“I’m sure of that.”

“Just wait. You’ll love it.” Wade stirred the concoction.

Jim looked skeptical. “Did you burn something?”

“Well, the rice got a little done.”

BURRRUZZZ… The deafening fire bell sounded. Wade switched off the stove and hurried after the crowd out to the trucks. The address came over the loud speaker. Jim froze as he grabbed his helmet. “That’s my house!” Carlos shoved Jim into the engine, flipped on the sirens, and followed the squad out onto the road.

Jim’s heart raced, and his adrenaline pumped in overdrive. What happened? How did it start? Are Jess and Morgan okay? Did they get out? Jim clutched the handle near the door until his knuckles turned white. Faster! Faster!

He could see the smoke billowing as they turned onto the gravel road.

Fear invaded him as he saw flames plume above the hay barn. NO! Jess was going to be in there stacking hay today! His heart pounded.

The engine swung into the driveway. The barn looked like a lost cause. Jim’s eyes wildly scanned the area, looking for Jess. She stood in the grass with the elderly babysitter a little ways from the barn, holding their baby. Relief swept over him. They’re okay.

As the engine came to a stop in the front of the barn, they all piled out. Jim raced to his wife. As soon as he reached her, Jess handed the baby to Mrs. Robinson and fell into his arms. He could smell the strong odor of smoke on her. She hid her face in his shoulder. Now that she was in her husband’s strong arms, she let tears flow and allowed herself some quiet sobs.

Jim could feel her shaking. He held her tight, resting his cheekbone on her head. “Are you all right? I almost went crazy when I heard the address and saw….” His voice trailed off.

“I’m fine. Twisted my ankle. Just gla… I’m just glad to be alive.” Her voice shook.

“What happened?” He didn’t want to let go.

Wade put his hand on Jim’s shoulder. “They need your help, man. We’ll take care of her.” Reluctantly, Jim surrendered her to the paramedics and, after a final kiss, left to help with the fire.

The barn was so far gone that they decided just to contain it. Jim thanked the Lord that there was no wind and that the fire had not spread to the main barn or the house.

After the fire was out, Jim took off his helmet and began looking around for his wife. Seeing her seated on the ground leaning against the squad, he took his equipment back to the truck and joined her.

“So how ya doin’?”

“I have been diagnosed with a twisted ankle and mild smoke inhalation.” She coughed into her arm. “For a minute I thought I was a goner, but the Lord showed me a way out.”

“I’m just so glad you weren’t hurt any worse.” He put his arm around her and pulled her into a hug.

She leaned her head against his shoulder, feeling so much safer with him there. “Do they know how it started?”

Jim broke away from her gaze, glancing back at what had been their barn. “They think it was arson.”

“Arson?” Jess sat up straight and stared at him.

“Yeah…they say that someone soaked the walls with accelerant, then came back later and lit it.”

“Why would anyone do that?” She paused. “You mean they came back and lit it while I was in there? They were trying to…?” Her voice quivered.

“That’s not why. Most likely, they got scared off the first time and then came back. It’s probably just teens doing it for kicks. You were up in the loft. They must not have seen you.”

She glanced down at her hands. “I hope you’re right. I just can’t imagine anyone doing something like that for fun. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Some people don’t make sense.”

Wade came over and knelt down in front of Jess. “Are you sure that you don’t want to go to the hospital?”

“Yeah. Mrs. Robinson will drive me to my own doctor after I’ve had a chance to calm down.”

“Do you want me to try and get off work to go with you?” Jim asked.

“No. I’ll be fine. Just so whoever this was doesn’t come back.”

“It was probably just some jerk….”

“I know.… That’s what Jim said.”

“Of course, on the other hand…” Jim lowered his voice and shifted his eyes back and forth. “…it could be the ghost of some long lost second or third cousin seeking vengeance.”

Jess rolled her eyes. “Right.”

“Vengeance for what?” Wade grinned.

“Only the shadow knows.”

“Uh-huh.” Jess held out her hand to Jim who stood in front of her. He pulled her up.

“I better go find Mrs. Robinson and the baby. I’m pretty sure they went inside.” She reached to put her arms around her husband’s neck. Jim bent down. Usually, she stood on her toes, but that wasn’t going to work with a twisted ankle. Jim really wasn’t that tall. She was just that short.

“I’ll see ya tomorrow.” She finished the hug.

“Yeah, okay.” He kissed her and let her go. “Do you need help getting to the house?”

“No, I’ll be fine.” She smiled and began hobbling toward the house. As she went, she heard the alarm sound on the engine’s radio. Turning, she watched everyone pile in and the trucks speed out of the drive.

Not seeing Jim for twenty-four hours at a time was what she disliked most about his job, but it was what he really wanted to do, so she put up with it. She limped up the porch and into the house.

Mrs. Robinson sat in a recliner, rocking the baby. “Did Jim leave already?”

“Yeah. They had another call.” Jess coughed into her elbow. She still felt a little shaky, but she was calming down. “Oh, give me my little girl,” she said softly, bending down to gather her little one into her arms.

“Here you go.” Mrs. Robinson smiled as she handed her to her Mama.

“And how’s my little Morgan?” Jess swung the baby over her head, causing the little girl to wiggle and giggle. Sitting down, Jess put Morgan down in her lap as another coughing fit struck.

Mrs. Robinson headed for the phone in the kitchen. “Do you want me to make an appointment with your doctor?”

“I suppose. … Maybe she won’t have any openings today.”

“Jess-i-ca.” Mrs. Robinson put her hands on her hips reprovingly.

“Well… Can I help it if I’m not crazy about doctors?”

“Jim must be rubbing off on you. I’ll call.”

Jess just stared a moment into the bright, lively blue eyes of her beautiful girl, just so thankful that she could.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Strait of Hormuz (A Marc Royce Adventure #3) by Davis Bunn

Excitingly Paced Thriller (5 Stars)

9780764211386

Strait of Hormuz (A Marc Royce Adventure #3) by Davis Bunn (Bethany House)

Marc Royce once again finds himself in the middle of a life and death situation, the only problem this time is that he has been fired from the US agency he was working from and he has not authority nor backup.  Yet, not all is lost.  His friend and supervisor from the U.S. State Department called him and wanted him to help.

So once again Marc is going from the Mideast to Asia and all over Europe to find the bad guys who are involved in nuclear warfare and bring them to justice.  His friend Carter Dawes shows up for back up once again and helps him.  And he is surprised by seeing Kitra Korban, from Bunn’s second book, Rare Earth, show up.

Let’s just say this whole book is a whirlwind of espionage, government agencies, and high tech weapons, desperate situations and romance.  It was a great book!  I enjoyed every minute and I’m sure you will too.  But I strongly recommend reading the series in order.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This book will be donated to our Media Center for our patrons to come and check out.  We have all three books in the series now!

Very interesting information to read, so be sure to click on each of these links:

Book announcement

Questions and Answers with Davis Bunn

Download an excerpt

6 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

When Mountains Move (Sequel to, Into the Free) by Julie Cantrell (5 Stars)

This Story Draws You Right Inside the Pages  (5 Stars)

9780781404259_hi-2

When Mountains Move (Sequel to Into The Free) by Julie Cantrell (David C Cook)

This is the sequel to, Into the Free, so you have to read that book first or in my opinion you will not understand the depths of this book.

It’s now May 7, 1943 and church bells are ringing for Millie and Bump (Kenneth).  After all that happened to her in the first book, Bump was her lifeline!  He brought her back to living and loving.  Yet, she is still holding back.  She’s keeping secrets.  But one thing she knows is Bump loves her and she loves Bump.

Their rodeo boss wants them to go out west to run an old cattle/horse ranch he bought and that where they take off to.  Only when they get there they see that it’s going to be much more work than they could possibly imagine.  But with Bumps encouragement, Millie was all in. It seems like they take turns, when one is down, the other is up, and visa versa.  They are the perfect couple.  That is until a certain woman, Kat, enters the picture.  Will she drive a wedge between them?  Will Bump discover Millie’s secret before she can ever get the nerve to tell him?  And what ever happened to River?  You’ll know who this is from Into the Free.

This book was hard to put down.  It pulled me inside the pages and I felt like I was right there with them.  Even though I love lots of dialogue, and this book had less than I usually like, it still captivated me.  I loved this book.  You’ll love this book.  But, you have to read, Into the Free, first.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s Meet Julie:

julie-7-2_06_03_2013

Julie Cantrell is the New York Times andUSA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, which won Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and for Book of the Year 2013. Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She and her family live in Mississippi, where they operate Valley House Farm. Her new novel, When Mountains Move, hits shelves September 1, 2013.

Julie is represented by Greg Johnson of WordServe Literary. Learn more about the realm of publishing by following the WordServe Watercooler, where Julie joins more than 70 authors to discuss the writing life. You can also find Julie blogging weekly with the Southern Belles, a group of southern female authors who gather on the cyberporch each day to chat about family, faith, fiction, food, and fun: http://www.southernbelleviewdaily.com/

2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson (3.5 Stars)

Modern Day Nuclear Disaster Thriller  (3.5 Stars)

cover36962-small

Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson (Bethany House – Publication Date November 19, 2013)

Real time…the book starts on October 16, 2013…A nuclear site, called Hansford Nuclear Reservation…and explosions, strange colored clouds…and cover-ups!  This is the start of the book.  Kieran Mullaney, 25 years old, is right in the middle of this whole explosion and cover-up.  He’s sick, but no one at Hansford believes him.  They “tested” all his clothes, his blood work, etc.  All is well.  But why is he still sick?  And there is also a missing guard, and another sick worker.  Kieran files a lawsuit, but is quickly realizing that he’s up against a much bigger opponent than he realized.  He calls an old friend to take over as his lawyer.  She gets involved and soon believes him and calls her estranged father to help her with this trial.  Things get tense and more people are drawn into the story and that’s all you’ll get from me.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

There’s a lot going on in this book, many characters, and not as much dialogue as I like, but finally halfway in the book things started coming together and I got caught up in the intrigue.  It’s scary, because it sounds like something that could happen, maybe has happened and it was covered up, who knows!!!  If you enjoy a conspiracy mystery, you’ll enjoy this book.  If it doesn’t grab you at first, stick with it. Just because it didn’t grab me at the start, doesn’t mean it won’t grab you!  This was the authors second book and his first book, The Deposit Slip, is good from start to finish!  So, I’ll keep reading books by Todd M. Johnson.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet the author:

Todd M. Johnson

Todd M. Johnson

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd’s career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.
A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson’s first novel, debuted in 2012.  Todd’s second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.

Click on these links to connect with Todd and learn more about him and his books:

Todd M. Johnson website

Todd’s Twitter

Todd’s FaceBook

Out Media Center has Todd’s book, The Deposit Slip, so come in and check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Christmas at Harmony Hill by Ann Gabhart (4 Stars)

Untitled1.006

This is the story of Heather Worth who married a man her father did not approve of because he was a Yankee and was fighting on the wrong side, according to her father.  Heather went with her husband, Gideon, traveling with him as the company’s laundress.  She was not happy with the war, but she was happy that she was with Gideon.  But this was no place for a woman to have a baby, so Gideon talked Heather into going home.  She traveled for days and finally, finally she saw home.  So excited to see her family, only the closer she got, she realized that things had changed and she was not welcome.  One of her brothers and her sister helped her as she was forced to stay in the barn, and  they gave her a letter that her mom had written to her.  Her mom told her to go see her Aunt Sophrena who lived at a Shaker village and that Sophrena would help her.

With this being Heather’s only choice, she headed out again into the unknown.  When she arrived, she immediately discovered that the Shakers were very different from her and she didn’t understand them at all.  But it was their policy to help people, so they let her in and since she was pregnant, they let her have a small cabin and let her Aunt stay with her.  I can’t tell you anymore about the book, because I love surprises and I don’t want to know what’s going to happen when reading a book.  Just know that you will really enjoy this book.

This book is filled with different beliefs and how God works in people’s lives to save them, whether they are on the battlefield, a father who hates his daughter, or a Shaker who is having doubts.  And though this is not a typical Christmas story, Ann weaves Christ’s birth into the story beautifully.

Special note:  Come back on between November 1-7, 2013 and read a WONDERFUL Christmas interview with Ann Gabhart.  She’s sharing Christmas memories, photos, and recipes!  And Ann is giving away an autographed copy of this book.  You can’t enter to win on this post, so come back during Nov. 1-7 and make a comment at the end of the interview to be entered to win this really wonderful novel.  Hope to see you in a couple of days!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Traces of Mercy (Mercy Medallion Trilogy, Book 1) by Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley (4 Stars)

cover32960-medium

In this suspenseful historical novel, it’s April 1865 during the Civil War and we have a Confederate sniper, a Union officer, a wounded woman who has amnesia who ends up living in a convent, Little Sisters of Hope, with Mother Helena trying to help her find out who she is.  Since she has no memory of what her name is, she comes up with Mercy.

Mercy is obviously upset about her memory loss and Mother Helena gives her a journal to start writing down her thoughts and things she is doing now, so she will have them as memories and maybe one day something will spark her memory.  Mercy writes in her journal almost nightly.  She writes down things that happen and things she discovers that she knows or is good at.  One thing she is good at is horses.  The horse that the sisters bought before Mercy came was always giving them trouble, but then Mercy stepped in and the horse immediately calmed down.  She even discovered she was a good shot, when after she met Rand Prescott, a local wealthy young man, he brings her to his home for a party.  The men were going on a hunt and Rand knew she loved to ride, so he gives her a gun to teach her to shoot.  Let’s just say she didn’t need lessons!

This is a wonderful novel full of mystery, and ups and downs for Mercy.  Trying to discover who she is and afraid of finding out all at the same time.  I totally enjoyed reading this book , and I can’t wait until the second book in this series comes out.  This is a great novel for those who like history, romance, and suspense and mystery.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Click here to be directed to the author’s/publishers websites:

Michael Landon, Jr.

Cindy Kelley

David C Cook

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall (5 Stars)

Wonderful Amish Christmas Novels (5 Stars for each one!)

cover

The Sound of Sleigh Bells:  This is a heart-warming story of Beth Hertzler who has been hiding herself from love, ever since her fiancé died.  She wears black and avoids all the single’s activities and has resigned herself to never fall in love again.  She lives with her Aunt Lizzy, helps her run their store and she takes care of all the ordering and selling.  One day her Aunt Lizzy ends up in another Amish community and sees a beautiful wood carving and she buys it and brings it home.  Beth is immediately drawn to the beauty of the carving, it’s the most excitement Lizzy has seen in her niece in a very long time.  Lizzy uses a bit of creative manipulation in getting Beth and the carver, Jonah “who is called the Old Man” to write each other.  This is a wonderful “pen-pal” type of relationship and they immediately connect.  But each one thinks they are writing to someone else.  What will happen when they discover who they are really writing too?  And will the hurt and trickery be something they can overcome?  This is a wonderful love story, one of hurts, pain, disappointments and how letting God touch your very soul can heal anything and bring joy in the most unexpected ways.  Here’s a wonderful quote  from the book:

“Well, time and medicine and family would have eventually helped, but during the worst of it, I caught a glimpse of how Jesus let go of His anger.  Just a fraction of a second, mind you, but I saw Him on the cross, looking beyond the people who’d put Him there and to the Father He trusted.  It seemed that He didn’t hold the people accountable because He wasn’t looking at them.  When in the worst pain, He kept his focus on everything above.”

The Christmas Singing:  This was a delicious novel because the main character, Mattie, is the owner of Mattie Cakes.  She designs and bakes specialty cakes and all other types of delicious sweets!  She has a notebook full of drawings, magazine clippings, and notes that she has been collecting since she was a young girl.  And Gideon, her best friend, helped her with her notebook and listened to her talk about her dreams.  They were bound to fall in love, then something happened and Gideon broke Mattie’s heart.  She left Apple Ridge and moved to Ohio to another Amish community and lived near her brother and sister-in-law and their family.  She even met a new man, Sol.  He seemed perfect for her.  Yet, nothing was like it was with Gideon!  Then a tragedy struck Mattie and her life was suddenly turned upside down.  Who would really be there for her, Sol or Gideon?  Could she trust Gideon and what was he hiding?  You’ll love this book!  I think this may be my favorite!  Could it be all the delicious cakes????

The Dawn of Christmas: This book is about Sadie Yoder.  She was marrying Daniel Miller until he broke her heart before the wedding.  Then she decided she was through with men and would devote her life to mission work.  She’d already been to Peru once and was back home making crafts saving money to go back again.  But her family would not let up…they kept trying their best to matchmake and she was so tired of it.  Many miles away, back in “The Sound of Sleigh Bells”, there was Levi.  He lived with his brother and nephew.  He decided women were not worth the trouble either and was tired of his family matchmaking.  Then Sadie and Levi met and forged a strange friendship.  They came up with a scheme to keep both of their families off their backs about marriage.  But would this plan backfire?  Probably.  And what of Sadie’s old boyfriend, Daniel?  This is a great novel, full of doubt, love, distrust, and the learning of how to love and trust again…and who to trust because some people lie so well.

You’ll love each one of these books.  They are sold separately, but I loved reading them all together in this order.  They are separate books with separate stories, but the characters and communities are the same in all three books and it’s neat to be able to see the lives of the other character’s as you read the next book.

I received a copy of this book for free from Blogging for Books, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of this review and for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Please take the time to click on these links to learn more about Cindy and her books!  You can even read an excerpt from the first chapter free!  You’ll enjoy looking at each one of these links, I know I did.

Cindy Woodsmall’s website

Cindy Woodsmall’s Bio

More Info about the books from WaterBrook Multnomah

Read an excerpt from the first chapter

2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

A Talent for Trouble (The Ladies of Distinction, Book 3) by Jen Turano (5 Stars)

Delightful Romance with a Little Mystery & Suspense (5 Stars)

9780764211263

A Talent for Trouble (The Ladies of Distinction, Book 3) by Jen Turano (Bethany House)

Felicia Murdock’s middle name is “trouble”, make that with a capital “T”!  She is the most delightful young woman who was in Book 2, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, and now she is center stage in this book, completely run-a-muck!

She has shed her rather flashy wardrobe and settled down to more stylish clothing, and that has brought her much more attention from the gentlemen.  But the only gentleman she can’t seem to get her mind off of, is Grayson Sumner (Lord Sefton).  He wants nothing to do with women nor marriage, his past has plummeted him with deep regrets and guilt and he can’t seem to get past them.  Then along comes Felicia!  A most troublesome woman, who can aggravate him and amuse him at the same time.  The adventures they, along with some friends and family, get into are sometime so funny you laugh out loud and then sometimes quite suspenseful.

You will quite frequently find yourself laughing at the circumstances that Felicia seems to get involved in and then you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat wondering how they can possibly escape some very dangerous trouble.

I promise, that if you love a great historical, most times amusing, and sometimes a bit suspenseful read, you’ll love this book.  I was told that this series can be read as stand-alone books, but since the major characters carry over into the next book as secondary characters with backgrounds of their own, I recommend you read this series in order.  I have read Books 2 & 3…and now I’ve got to read Book 1.  And I can’t wait!!!  Yes, I did what I’m telling you not to do, but when I started I didn’t realize it was a series.  But each story is wonderful.  Jen Turano is now one of my favorite authors and I will read anything she writes without even looking at the description…I know that she cannot possibly write a bad book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet Jen: 

15821

Jen grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.

She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she  fired up the computer and never looked back.

Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.

Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

You can connect with Jen at:

www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor

jenturano.com

7 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry (5 Stars)

Superbly Emotional Novel (5 Stars)

Every-Waking-Moment_300

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Treha (Tray-uh) Langsam has no recollection of her past.  She takes stories from other people, people she works with at a nursing home, Desert Gardens of Tucson, Arizona.  Miriam Howard is the director and she’s the one who hired Treha to work there as a janitor.  But when she began to see how she interacted with the patients, she pretty much gave her free reign on letting her work with them.  She could bring them out of a mad rage, or out of a spell of complete silence.  Treha had talent.  She just had no confidence in herself and she had no past.

Then a couple of men, Devin Hills and Jonah Verwer, come by wanting to do a documentary on the older generation, to hear their stories and to put it all on film.  They knew the importance of what the older generation had gone through and all the knowledge they had accumulated over the many years they had been on this earth.  And they wanted to be the one to tell their stories.

When they first saw Treha in action they knew they had stumbled on something special.  So special they wanted to get it on video and then they, along with the director, Miriam, start trying to find out information on Treha and where she came from.  But before they could get to far, things changed at Desert Gardens and the changes were not good.

This is all you’re getting from me.  This book is so special, I can’t tell you anymore, you just have to read it, absorb it, live it, and let it soak in.  One very special scene will stick with me for life and I think sharing this quote will not hinder anything or spoil you reading the book.  Here goes:  “That verse going over and over in my head-the one people use to say God won’t give us more than we can handle.  1 Corinthians 10:13.  They think temptation and the hard stuff of life are the same.  I don’t believe that for a minute.  He does give us more than we can handle.  He lets us go through deeper waters so that we cling to him; that’s the whole point of having faith.  If we could handle everything, there would be no reason for us to need God.”  So, so true.

You have to read this book, it’s pretty different than anything I’ve read before and there are twists and turns all the way to the end.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet the author:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth FindingBuilding Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris’ novels, which include DogwoodJune BugAlmost HeavenNot in the HeartBorders of the Heart, and his latest release, Every Waking Moment, have won three Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it’s his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.

He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and The Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR.

Here is the book trailer that I’m sure you’ll enjoy watching:

Our Women’s Book Club has had the privilege to read several of his books and we are currently reading this one for our November 2013 meeting.  I can’t wait to talk about this book with everyone!  We have a copy of this book in our Media Center for our patrons to read, but it will be held in reserve for our Book Club members until after 11/9/13.

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Keeping Faith by Hannah Alexander (4 Stars) –

History, Suspense and Romance (4 Stars)

Untitled.002 - Version 2

Keeping Faith by Hannah Alexander (Harlequin Love Inspired Historical – September 2013)

Visit our Featured Author and Book Giveaway (10/1 – 10/8) and read a great interview by the author and enter to win an autographed copy of this book!

Early American history, wagon trains, freed slaves, and those who are full of hate against those who are against slavery.  We even have a woman doctor!  Dr. Victoria Fenway, who learned from her husband who was a doctor.  But he had been murdered for his stand against slavery and now his wife, Victoria was out for revenge on the man who murdered him.  She hooks up with a wagon train from Missouri to Kansas in hopes of starting a fresh new land where slaves were free men and treated equal.  And also in hopes of finding Thames, the awful man who murdered her husband.

Little did she know that this trip would be a test of everything she knew and of the faith that she has lost sight of when her husband was murdered.  Her first (and only true love) is the captain of the wagon train, Joseph Rickard, and that brings trouble for her.  She’s newly widowed and still has feelings for Joseph, but he left her 10 years ago to go back to his plantation in Georgia where they had slaves, knowing how she felt.  They both had a lot of growing up to do during the past 10 years and also during the time on this trip across some dangerous territory.  They had to fight weather, illness, wild animals and mean, heartless men and a couple of young boys who needed to grow up and listen to instructions.  Would they be able to make it across to Kansas and start fresh?  Would everyone on the trip make it with them?  Would Victoria and Joseph be able to overcome the obstacles that had caused their problems before and finally admit their feelings.  Most of all, would Victoria be able to forgive God for letting her husband die?  Would she be able to enter into a close relationship with Him again?

This was a very good book, full of excitement and hard to put down.  Even though some things you expected, there were enough unexpected plots and adventures that will keep you guessing.  I have read the contemporary medical mysteries written by Hannah Alexander and loved them, so I was a little bit afraid I wouldn’t like this change in genre.  But I did!  I love historical novels and this had some of the early medical treatments in it to satisfy that need. If you like historical romances with lots of suspense, then you’ll love this book.

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

For Every Season (Amish Vines and Orchards, Book 3) by Cindy Woodsmall (5 Stars)

Amish Fiction at it’s Best!!!

fes_lg

For Every Season (Amish Vines and Orchards, Book 3) by Cindy Woodsmall

The story continues with Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob.  They have moved to Maine with some of their families and Landon, the Englisher, and are working hard to establish the run-down orchard before harvest.  Working on the orchard is easy compared to working on their relationships.  Rhoda and Jacob are still in love and trying so hard to make their relationship work, but Jacob’s past still keeps getting in the way.  He’s always running off to help Sandra and Casey.  He’s finally getting smart and learning that he needs to give his all in working things out with Rhoda, but lies are still turning up.

Then there’s Leah, who takes it on herself to invite Iva, from another Amish community, to come join their community and give them the extra help they need with the household chores.  When the brothers find out about what she’s done, they are not exactly what I would call “happy”.  But as with all things, God has a plan and it seems like His hand was in this move.  Iva had her own reasons for leaving her family and she’s trying very  hard to fit in with the the new Orchard Bend Farm.

Meanwhile, more and more information is surfacing about Camilla and Bob, who Rhoda is living with, and she’s still hearing voices.  She’s getting help from Landon to help her track down leads on what she’s learning and if you thought the last book was mysterious, then you’re in for more mystery!  It’s hard to say more, because I don’t want to spoil this book by telling too much.  All I will say is that some things are resolved and some things aren’t!

I’m so thankful that there will be a final book in this series, Seasons of Tomorrow,  coming in April 2014.  This has been a fantastic Amish series and I have enjoyed every book so much. Once I get started reading, it’s hard to put the book down.  Cindy has a way of drawing you into the story and getting you so involved with the characters you’ll find yourself being drawn into the book like you are one of the characters.  I love these kinds of books, when I finally finish them I feel like I’ve lost some great friends and sometimes, gladly getting rid of some characters I don’t like!

You don’t want to miss this series…you have to start with A Season of Tending #1, then you will want to immediately pick up, The Winnowing Season #2, then hurry to read this book and then wait until April 2014 before we can finally discover all the mystery and discover all the characters true loves!

“I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of this review and for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

These books are in our Media Center for our church members to come and check out and enjoy!

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears (5 Stars)

Excellent Historical Romance

Untitled.001

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagear (Bethany House) releases on October 1, 2013

This novel is set in Kansas in the Spring of 1876.  Everett Cline has tried three times to get a mail-order bride.  Each time ended in disaster.  Everett had given up, and bless his heart, I do believe I would have to if all that had happened to me.  Everett may have given up, but his best friends wife, Rachel, didn’t give up.  She decided if Everett wasn’t going to try again, she would try for him.  He was just too good of a man to be all alone on his farm with no help and no company and most importantly, no one to love.

Everett gets a big surprise when he’s in town and the train is due and everyone keeps looking at him like they know something he doesn’t.  Well, Rachel, his friend’s wife, made all the plans and now that Everett was finally catching on to what was up, he was not happy.  How could he be happy!  The last three women had left him humiliated and he was pretty much the town’s laughing stock.  But here comes the train and the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on stepped off and Rachel went to greet her like they were the best of friends!  Oh, how he didn’t think he could stand for his heart to get broken again, but there she was, already tugging at his heart and he was bound and determined he was not going to open that door again.

Julia Lockwood had a past of her own and she had been terribly hurt by her father and her former fiancé.  So hurt, that she didn’t want anything to do with men again, but her father kicked her out and she had no place else to go.  So when the letters from Rachel started coming, they forged a friendship and Rachel told her about Everett and his need for a wife to help him on his farm.

This whole book was delightful.  The back and forth between Everett and Julia, the problems it created with others in the area.  And oh, the love that was growing, yet was being pushed back at every chance.  Sometimes I just wanted to jump inside the book and grab both of them and tie them together and say “you’re not going anywhere until everything is said and settled!”  I love books that draw me in and make me feel like I’m there and want to talk to the characters (sometime I do talk to them, yell at them, and laugh and cry with them).  This is one of those books.

It’s hard to believe that this is Melissa’s first novel.  Great job and I can’t wait for more books from this new author!

You’ve got to go out and get this book and read it!  I totally recommend it to anyone who loves great historical romances! You can buy it from any major book retailers and if you have an e-reader you can download it in a second and be reading before you have time to say “mail-order-brides”!

I will donate this book to our church Media Center so our patrons can check it out and enjoy it also.  I can pretty much tell you that everyone will love it.  Some of our regular patrons who love historical fiction will be fighting for it! Just kidding, we don’t fight in our Media Center! 🙂  But there will be a waiting list, I’m sure of that.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and the author for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet Melissa:

jagearsheadshotcompressed

Bio: Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade, is a stay-at-home mother to two small children on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly.

Author Contact Information:

Website:  http://melissajagears.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/melissajagearsauthor

Blog: http://inspirationalhistoricalfiction.blogspot.com/

Facebook Blog Page: https://www.facebook.com/InspirationalHistoricalFictionIndex

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6929011.Melissa_Jagears

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/melissajagears/

Email: mjagears AT gmail DOT com

Endorsements:

“Melissa Jagears is a stand-out talent! Her fresh new voice is strong, stylish, and makes A Bride for Keeps a page-turner for anyone who fancies a stirring love story. Vivid description and unforgettable, heart-tugging scenes between hero and heroine transform the ever-popular mail order bride storyline into something much more real and three-dimensional. In this appealing novel, Ms. Jagears demonstrates beyond doubt that the aplomb of the writer determines the quality of the story.” – Rosslyn Elliot

“As slow and gentle as a prairie breeze over the wheat plains of Kansas, Melissa Jagears has penned a tender tale of a mail-order bride who takes both the groom—and herself—by surprise when love comes softly … quietly … to heal their broken hearts.” – Julie Lessman

“Melissa’s book is just beautiful.Her writing put me in mind of Janette Oke’s sweet prairie romances but with a bit more edge, which I found compelling. The heroine’s trauma at the hands of a man and the hero’s former attempts at finding a wife echo their feelings of worthlessness. I particularly loved how Everett, with his conflicted feelings finds in his own way he’s brought Julia to the same kind of pain that Ned brought Helga. The two couples, one who overcame through faith and one who didn’t, reflected each other in a way that made the whole story more powerful. I loved it.” – Mary Connealy
A Bride for Keeps treats readers to an engaging prairie romance when God’s will and love collide, delivering a heart-warming, satisfying read reminiscent in the style of Kim Vogel Sawyer.” – Maggie Brendan
Professional Reviews:
“Beautiful, descriptive writing makes for excellent storytelling in Jagears’ debut. Everett and Julia are two stubborn, strong-willed yet vulnerable characters at the center of a story about surrender and love. With a well-crafted plot, Jagears deftly expresses the characters’ struggle to overcome feelings of self-doubt on their journey toward God and each other.” –RT Book Reviews
Melissa has also written a novella, Love by the Letter, that released on September 1, 2013. This was excellent too and the best part is that for now it’s a FREE download on Kindle.  It may be on other e-readers also, so check your store.  But, get it, read it, and savor it…it’s delightful also!
 Untitled.001
Oh, Melissa, you have blessed my heart by your books and I’m looking forward to more books!  So write, write, write, quick, quick, quick!!!! 🙂

6 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

The Miner’s Lady (Land of Shining Water, Book 3) by Tracie Peterson (5 Stars)

The Miner’s Aren’t The Only Danger These Families Face

9780764206214

The Miner’s Lady (Land of Shining Water #3) by Tracie Peterson (5 Stars)

Remember the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s?  Well, their feud has nothing on the feud between the families of the Panetta’s and Calarco’s.  These two Italian American families have hated each other for many decades, going all the way back to Italy and a mule.  I know that doesn’t make sense to you now, but it will when you read the book.

Isabella Panetta and Orlando Calarco have fallen desperately in love.  Yet the father’s of both families are totally against it and forbid them from seeing each other.  They enlist their older siblings, Chantel Panetta and Dante Calarco to help them.  Chantel is much more receptive to them, because she has a deep love for the Lord and hates the feud between the families.  While, Dante is not quite so willing.  But the beautiful Chantel is slowly wearing him down.

There’s so much I want to say, but to say anything will give away some of the story and you just have to go into this story open to God’s workings and be ready to be swept away with emotion after emotion after several tragedies occur.  But God has not left them to deal with these things alone.  He is forever working in their lives and we get the privilege to read this story and watch the lives of these families unfold.  I laughed some, I cried a lot.  It’s an excellent story of God’s redemption and grace.

Although this is Book 3 in the series, it does not have to be read in order.  Each story is totally separate with the characters, but the setting is always in Minnesota. This is Christian fiction, yet the characters faith is so entwined in their lives, that the book does not come across as preachy.  Anyone who loves historical, romantic suspense will love this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet Tracie:

TPetersonPressKitPhoto

I encourage you to visit this link to Tracie’s website and view her videos.  She talks about herself and shares about her family and then there is a section of frequently asked questions and you can click on the question and will be directed to another website.  You’ll then have to search for her name on the list of authors on the right-hand side and then you can listen to her answer those questions.  I loved it!  It makes it so much more personal knowing the author better and how she goes about her day and what inspires her and how she works.  I think you’ll enjoy this as much as I did! 

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

The Quarryman’s Bride (Land of Shining Water Book 2) by Tracie Peterson (5 Stars)

Family Loyalty and Lost Love

TheQuarrymansBrideSM

The Quarryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson

It’s 1886 in St. Cloud, Minnesota and seventeen year-old Emmalyne Knox was engaged to marry Tavin MacLachlan in a few weeks.  But tragedy struck the town and her family especially and now because of an old family tradition, she is now the youngest daughter and is expected to remain living with her parents to care for them the rest of her life.  There was no changing her father, Luthias Knox’s mind.  He packed up and moved his remaining family away and for 11 long years all Emmalyne did was care for her parents and brother, Angus (the only bright spot in her life) and daily wondered about Tavin.  Her heart breaking each time she thought of all she had lost.

Luthias Knox is a very hard, unyielding man.  He has no love in him and it shows in the way he treats his wife, daughter and son.  He ruined his daughter’s life, yet she felt like it was her duty to honor her parents as God had said in His Word.  Now after 11 long years circumstances change and they move back to St. Cloud, Minnesota.  Her father will be working with Robert MacLachlan, Tavin’s father.  He now owns a quarry and has offered Luthias a job.  But Emmalyne is scared.  Will Tavin still be there?  Will he be married and have children?  Can she bare to see that and will her heart break again?

But as with all things, God has a master plan and although this book is full of pain and heartache, it’s also full of love, redemption and restoration.  I loved reading every word, even thought sometimes I got so mad at Mr. Knox!  This is a wonderful book and anyone who loves historical romantic fiction that is not sappy, but gritty and tense and not always the “happily ever after for everyone story” will love this book.  It keeps you wondering what will happen between Emmalyne and Tavin and there’s a new doctor in town that has his eyes on Emmalyne too.  I highly recommend this book and series.  This is not the type of series you have to read in order.  Each book is separate, they are just all set in Minnesota.  So just go pick one up and enjoy!  I’m picking up, The Miner’s Lady #3, today!

Let’s learn more about the author:

TPetersonPressKitPhoto

I encourage you to visit this link to Tracie’s website and view her videos.  She talks about herself and shares about her family and then there is a section of frequently asked questions and you can click on the question and will be directed to another website.  You’ll then have to search for her name on the list of authors on the right-hand side and then you can listen to her answer those questions.  I loved it!  It makes it so much more personal knowing the author better and how she goes about her day and what inspires her and how she works.  I think you’ll enjoy this as much as I did!

9 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano (5 Stars)

Funny, Delightful, Romantic Suspense (5 Stars)

Jen Turano.001

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

Beautiful, strong-willed Arabella Beckett has landed herself in jail!  Of course, it was all an innocent mistake, but jail nonetheless.  She has been traveling across the country speaking at women’s suffrage conferences, and she was delayed by an unexpected side trip.  Her family back home was very concerned, so they got their son’s friend, and famous private detective, Theodore Wilder, to go on a search for her.  It took him quite a while and when he did find her they butted heads quite frequently.  It was so comical reading about all their conversations and sometimes, lack there of, and then there was all the other trouble that Arabella kept getting into!  It was driving Theodore crazy!

Arabella was intent on helping women get their rights and helping them improve their lives, only later did she realize as she was sitting in jail again, that her attempts were totally off base.  She was accused of being judgmental and that hurt and brought her back to God asking for His help in changing and truly helping the women that needed it most.  Of course, she has a crew of men out to do her harm and it’s almost more than Theodore can do to keep tabs on her while trying to track down the criminals.  I’ll not say anymore, other than you’ll love this book!

This is wonderful mixture of several genres that the author brought together beautifully.  It’s historical, suspenseful, romantic, and funny!  I can’t wait to read other books by this author.  Make sure you click on the authors name underneath the book cover and you’ll be directed to her website.  It’s full of great info and you can read her bio.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Book Club Network and Bethany House Publishers for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 This book will be added to our Media Center within the next week.

7 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Stranded (Alaskan Courage Book 3) by Dani Pettrey (4 Stars)

BHP_Stranded_Cover_Winner.indd

Exciting Suspense in Alaska

Reporter Darcy St. James comes back to Alaska in this book, by way of a cruise ship.  She is helping her old investigative reporter friend, Abby, undercover something strange going on during these cruises.  The only problem, the first night on the ship, Abby goes missing and Darcy is left to try and keep her cover while trying to find out what has happened to her friend.

As God has it all planned out, the new excursions company for the cruise line is Gage McKenna’s company.  That was not what Darcy was expecting, but she was hoping to see Gage and his family.  She hadn’t heard anything from him since she left months earlier.

The mystery surrounding the cruise ship and young women disappearing keeps you going until the end and it’s full of surprises.  Gage and Darcy are drawn to each other and we even get a peak at Jake and his mysterious past that everyone has been so eager to discover.

This is a great book, showing that in all things God can work for good, not all things turn out the way we want them, but when we turn ourselves over to God, the peace He gives will help us through anything that comes our way.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group & Bethany House for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s find out more about the author:

dpettrey2sm1Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels SubmergedShattered, and latest release, Stranded. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

Here’s a great YouTube interview with Dani:

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Topaz Heat (The Jewel Series-Book 3) by Hallee Bridgeman (5 Stars)

Emotionally Packed Christian Romance (5 Stars)

Scan 132410001

Topaz Heat (The Jewel Series #3) by Hallee Bridgeman

In this last book of the series, we find the story of Sarah Thomas one of Maxine and Robin’s half-sisters.  In this touching story, Sarah is a successful nurse and has a great relationship with her half-sisters and their husbands and their children.  The only person in their extended family that Sarah can’t stand is Derrick DeNunzio.  He was taken in by Tony Viscolli (Robin’s husband) when he was an 18 year-old boy living the wrong life and Tony recognized himself in him and wanted to give him a second chance at a good life.  Derrick willing accepted Tony’s help and now he’s helping Tony run his famous hotels.  His only problem is that Sarah can’t stand him.  From the first moment they met it was like oil and vinegar.  Oil and vinegar doesn’t mix until it’s shaken and that’s what happens in this book.  Their lives are shaken to the point of breaking and so many things happen to each one of them that help them come to terms with their past and their present and future.

I don’t like to tell much of the story, I personally just like to know a little bit about the book and that it’s good and then let me read it and be surprised by every twist and turn.  So you won’t get anymore information from me.  Just that this is an excellent book and I can’t wait to go back and read the first of the series to see the stories of Tony and Robin  develop.

I have read Emerald Fire and now this book, Topaz Heat, and I’ve got to say that Topaz Heat had me in tears several times!  I can’t wait to go back and read Sapphire Ice-Book 1 and Greater Than Rubies-Book 1.5.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Book Club Network for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews