About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart


When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This new book by Ann H. Gabhart shares a lot of the history of the Shakers, a religious community that was prominent in Kentucky in the 1800s but best of all, she gives readers a wonderful love story. Yes, there is a hint of a romantic love that might develop but the true love story involves parental love. Much of the plot revolves around the influence that the Sisters and Brothers of the Shaker community have on Darcie Goodwin's and Flynn Keller's commitment to their children. Darcie's love for her unborn baby and her determination to provide for it until she can find a real home after her husband's sudden death exemplifies the ultimate mother/child bond. There is also the love that widower Flynn Keller has for his young daughter. Flynn and his father-in-law are trying to raise Leatrice as she should be raised but this young girl definitely needs a woman's influence in her life. Choosing to join the Shakers may seem to to be answers for both of these parents but Darcie knows that she will never want to become a permanent member of this community; Flynn understands that Leatrice needs supervision but he also rejects the idea of choosing this way of life forever.

I really liked Darcie Goodwin and I enjoyed watching the friendship that developed between her and a few of the Sisters. I also liked how the author chose to share all of Darcie's thoughts and readers can see how she grows in confidence and in her faith in God. Flynn Keller is a worthy hero and I found myself hoping that his daughter's need for a mother would somehow lead to a relationship between him and Darcie.

The Refuge is a heartwarming story and it proves once again Gabhart's expertise in understanding and explaining the Shakers. Yes, I find it hard to understand their belief in celibacy and their forbiddance of marriage that ultimately led to their extinction but I have to admire their commitment to helping those in need and their "hands to work, hearts to God" motto.

*I received a copy of this book from the author and the publisher. These thoughts are mine alone.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Imagine...The Giant's Fall by Matt Koceich

Imagine... The Giant's FallABOUT THE BOOK

The Fourth Release in an Epic Bible Adventure Series for Kids

The last thing fourth-grader Wren Evans remembers (before the world as she knew it disappeared) is getting off the school bus to discover her house engulfed in flames. What happens next can't be explained as Wren finds herself in a beautiful valley with a shepherd named David—in ancient Israel! Imagine. . .The Giant's Fall is the fourth release in an exciting epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today's kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

Don't miss Book 1 in the Imagine Series--The Great Flood. . .Book 2--The Ten Plagues. . .or Book 3--The Fall of Jericho!


Imagine... The Giant's Fall by Matt Koceich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the fourth book of the Imagine... series and this time author Matthew Koceich focuses on the classic Bible story of the battle between shepherd boy David and a nine-foot giant named Goliath. Wren Evans is a fourth-grade student from Mulvane, Kansas and she feels overwhelmed dealing with her mother's death, the feelings that she and her father are growing apart and then, getting off the school bus to find her house on fire. As Wren runs away from her overwhelming feelings of loss she finds herself transported to the time leading up to the famous battle mentioned in 1 Samuel 17: 33-51. Suddenly Wren is witness to all of the excitement surrounding this event and she is rescued more than once by an angel named Josephine during some of the action and danger that occurred in Israel in 1020 BC.

I must admit that The Giant's Fall is not my favorite of these four books and I believe most of it relates to the fact that David and the battle aren't featured more. David meets Wren and there is a little interaction but I would have liked for him to have given her more advice and encouragement. I do, however, appreciate that this book often mentions Matthew 19:26. "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible". Wren is obviously familiar with God's Word because she already knows the outcome of David's battle with Goliath and this makes her a good role model for young readers.

Matt Koceich has an excellent understanding of his reading audience and he is able to creatively mix fantasy and popular culture with actual events from the Bible. His use of easy to understand text and the short length of this book both make The Giant's Fall an enjoyable book for readers age 8-12; it is also refreshing that he uses both boys and girls as his main characters because young girls enjoy adventures also!

This book has mystery, action, and adventure and it also touches on some of the emotions that today's youth often experience. Wren's feelings of hopelessness are often felt by young people and her acceptance and belief that God can do anything is a message that they need to hear!

I hope that Koceich will continue to write more books for this series and I recommend The Giant's Fall to adults who are searching for good reading material for the children in their lives.

I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to write a review.

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