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 promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Friday, July 13, 2018

My Thoughts on "Unafraid" by Carey Scott

"Unafraid" is a book that targets women of all ages. Girls and young women often struggle with anxieties about beauty and attractiveness but older women tend to trade these worries for other concerns. We may no longer be obsessed about our outward appearances but we stress instead over being able to live up to the expectations of family, friends, co-workers and even our fellow church members. This needs to end because God created each of us to be just the way we are. Don't worry about not being pretty enough or smart enough. Don't think that you have to be the perfect wife, mother, grandmother, daughter or sister. Don't feel pressured to be exactly like someone else. I especially appreciate this observation  that author Carey Scott makes on page 253 of this book. "Friend, you're an intentional creation, and He put time and effort into your design. You really are fearfully and wonderfully made, just like we're told in Psalm 139:14." She suggests that we should choose to be Authentic and she uses an acrostic of this word to share nine tips that can change our lives. We need to

Accept Our Awesomeness
Unearth the Untruths
Try Loving Everyone
Hold On To Hope
Extend and Embrace Forgiveness
Never Shrink Back
Trample the Negatives
Invest In Community
Camp In the Word of God

"Unafraid" has thirteen chapters filled with practical advice based on the author's own personal experiences. Carey Scott shares the doubts and fears that she herself has experienced and reading this book makes you feel like you are having a personal conversation with her. She suggests that we need to end our 'counterfeit living' and stop being something that we aren't. Instead of suffering silently and being afraid to speak we need to learn to act bravely and speak boldly. We need to live un-afraid! God's Word is a big part of this book and there are many examples of Biblical people who struggled, suffered and eventually endured; they chose to conquer their fears and their stories provide even more motivation.

The words chosen for the subtitle are also the final words used in "Unafraid". 'Be you. Be authentic. Find the grit and grace to shine'. Perfect beginning and ending words for a book that challenges, inspires and uplifts each person reading it! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

My Thoughts on "The Innkeeper's Daughter"by Michelle Griep

It is 1808 in Dover, England and a young woman is desperately trying to save her late father's inn and provide a home for her mother and young brother. Her struggle is witnessed by a visitor to the run-down inn who longs to help her but he is involved in a struggle of his own. What follows is a tale of spies, intrigue, danger, death and a threat against the English crown but it is also a story filled with hope, love, family, faith and forgiveness.

Michelle Griep has created several memorable characters for The Innkeeper's Daughter and her attention to historical detail makes this an enjoyable and entertaining read. I especially recommend it for those who love the Regency era.

I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Thoughts on "River to Redemption" by Ann H. Gabhart

I love it when an author reads a historical fact and decides to create a story around it. This is what Ann H. Gabhart has done in River to Redemption. From the first page I was caught up in the lives of Adria, Louis, Matilda and  Ruth in my home state of Kentucky. It is 1833 when the cholera epidemic starts to claim lives in Springfield, Kentucky and families are changed forever. Seven year old Adria Starr loses her mother, father and baby brother to this dreaded disease and in a matter of days she becomes an orphan. The scene when a "black giant" finds her with her dead mother and baby brother will forever remain in my mind. Her fear of this man and her reluctance to leave her mommy and baby Eddie change when he carries her from her house and "away from the bad air" and takes her to his friend Matilda Sims.  It is here that Adria finds love and healing and she would have been content to stay with Matilda and Louis forever but they are both black and Louis knows Springfield society will never accept this. He asks the widow of the recently deceased school teacher if she will give Adria a home and we see a family being born.

The characters in this story are very well developed. Adria is like most children and she sees people with her heart and not her eyes. The color of Matilda and Louis's skin has no affect on her love for them. Matilda wants Louis to cross the Ohio River and seek freedom but he feels obligated to remain with his master.  Louis is a wise man who often quotes the Bible and he feels that God had a reason to keep him from being one of the few who didn't develop cholera. Kind, caring and faithful,  Louis is based on a real person and he is reminds me of some older black gentlemen that I knew in my childhood. At first the character Ruth Harmon feels inferior to care for Adria but we see a bond develop and grow between them. Sometimes we all just to need to trust God and let Him do the rest!

River to Redemption spans the years between 1833 and 1845 and readers see how Kentucky was affected by the cholera epidemic that ravaged the area in 1833. A few miles from my own home there is a cemetery where the majority of the graves were for cholera victims. This story allows us to also witness slavery and the beginning of abolition. We watch Adria as she takes up Matilda's efforts in encouraging Louis to seek freedom and the beginning of her secretive support of the abolitionist movement. We rejoice in the strong family unit that was the result of Louis's rescue of seven year old Adria Starr and his wise decision to seek Ruth Harmon's help. And when we read the Author's Note we can feel pride in the citizens of Springfield, Kentucky and their efforts to  purchase the real Louis's freedom from slavery.

This book has tragedy and loss but it is also  filled with love, faith, hope and the reminder that families are not always created by birth. I  appreciate the many references to Bible scripture throughout the book and I especially love that "pray believing" is the cental thought woven throughout this story

Ann H. Gabhart is a Kentucky author and she has written an outstanding book about our state. I recommend River to Redemption for anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction and I wish that I could give it more than the five stars available!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but I wasn't obligated to post a review. All opinions are my own.

My Thoughts on "The Fashion Designer" by Nancy Moser

I truly enjoyed this new book by Nancy Moser that offers the early history of the fashion industry and even features a glimpse of the Lane Bryant fashion business. "The Fashion Designer" is a sequel to "The Pattern Artist" and it continues the story of Annie Wood, her new husband Sean Culver, her best friend Maude Nascato, and another friend Edna Holmquist. I haven't read the first book but I didn't feel lost because "The Fashion Designer" has numerous references to the previous story. In this book Annie and Sean are about to become parents and there is also the dilemna of finding the funds to finance Annie's dream of designing clothing for the working woman. Sean's mother would like to use her inheritance to help but her husband has full control of her money and he doesn't consider it a worthy investment. The setting is New York in 1912 and this was the time when women still wore corsets, "expectant women" were limited in their choice of maternity wear and no woman was allowed to vote! We've come a long way baby!

The Fashion Designer touches on the topics of emotional abuse and rape but they are handled in a discreet manner.  Mr. and Mrs. Culver separate, Maude fears the possibility of being unable to conceive and decides that she can never have a husband and Annie experiences moments of doubt. I appreciate that during these times of stress and conflict  these characters display their reliance on God and their faith in the power of prayer. Through it all these friends offer each other hope and encouragement.

I recommend "The Fashion Designer" to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction and Christian romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

My Thoughts on "Made Like Martha" by Katie M. Reid

Reading this book has given me a new appreciation for the story of the two sisters mentioned in Luke 10. Martha was the perfect hostess who wanted everything to be just right for Jesus's visit and she was unhappy that her sister Mary wasn't helping. Mary was just sitting around enjoying the company of their important guest and to top it off, Jesus seemed to defend Mary!

Author Katie B. Reid admits that she is a modern Martha but she now knows that this is okay and she has written this book to help others who possess a type A personality and are "Made Like Martha". Reid has finally realized that "Jesus wasn't telling Martha to stop being who He designed her to be; He was pointing out that she did not have to work herself into a frenzy to be loved. Martha was already adored by Jesus, and His love was a gift to be received, not a prize to be earned."

I love that this book is filled with so many examples about our compulsive need to keep doing when we should be receiving. "Nothing we do or don't do affects His approval. If we are in Christ, then we are approved through his death and resurrection." I also appreciate that there is a Made Like Martha Bible study that has five lessons to correlate with the ten chapters. What a great way to reinforce the encouragement and wisdom that fills the pages of this book!

"Made Like Martha" shows that it is okay to be made like Martha and equally okay to be made like Mary because God created them both and He loved them both. And He feels the same about all of us who are His beloved daughters!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher but a positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.