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, August 31, 2018

My Thoughts on A Father Offers His Son by Scott LaPierre

Many years ago, I read Genesis 22 for the first time and when I read the story of Abraham and Isaac I couldn't understand why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his young son; I certainly couldn't imagine how Abraham would even consider doing it. However, in my growth as a Christian and after reading Scott LaPierre's thoughts on this scripture, I now know that Abraham's test was to help us understand the depth of God's love for mankind as He sacrificed His own son. "A Father Offers His Son: The True and Greater Sacrifice Revealed Through Abraham and Isaac" is a discussion of Abraham and Isaac but ultimately, it reminds us of the wonderful story of God the Father and His sacrifice of His son Jesus.

Author LaPierre talks about Isaac and Jesus both being only begotten sons and he explains that God's frequent use of the term "begotten son" in scripture was His way of using repetition to show emphasis. Isaac wasn't Abraham's only son but that is how he is referred to in Genesis 22:2. Jesus, of course, was mentioned as God's only Son many times and as "his only begotten son" in the beloved Bible verse John 3:16.

This book also mentions many other similarities between the son Isaac and the son Jesus. Both of their names were chosen by God, they both silently accepted what was to take place and they were willing to obey their fathers.

There are 74 pages in "A Father Offers His Son" and they are filled with many thought-provoking statements. I appreciate that the author offers many scriptural references to support these statements and that he also offers questions at the end of each chapter to help us in our understanding. There is also one chapter that especially caught my attention and it is Chapter 7. I consider it as a "how-to" chapter on how to truly serve God through Abraham's example. LaPierre states that

1. Abraham was ready to obey 
2. Abraham obeyed God when it didn't make sense
3. Abraham did not delay obeying
4. Abraham would not let anyone interfere with him obeying
5. Abraham understood that obedience is worship
6. Abraham trusted God
7. Abraham's obedience showed his fear of God.

Isn't this what we all should strive to do?

I consider this book to be a worthy addition to both my personal collection and our church library and I strongly recommend it!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

My Thoughts on Darkwater Secrets

Darkwater Secrets is the first book in a new series that revolves around the Darkwater Inn in New Orleans and it involves a murder that is committed at this well known inn during Mardi Gras. As the murder investigation gets underway we learn about the sometimes dark events that often occur during this famous carnival season. Voodoo, prostitution, sexual immorality, and a past sexual assault are all mentioned but author Robin Caroll writes wonderful Christian fiction so her plotline is never offensive. She subtly reminds us that humans are fallible and prone to sin but there is always a chance for redemption through the Grace that God offers all of us.

Darkwater Secrets has some wonderful characters but they all have secrets. Many of them also believe in God but they don't always follow Him. As Adelaide Fountaine reveals the secret that she has hidden for many years, she questions where God was during her assault. "I cried out to God to make him stop. I begged God to intervene, but guess what? He was silent. I'd been taught that God would never leave me, but he did. That night in Brayden/Kevin's car, God left me alone." (page 68).

This is just one example of the author's talent in writing believable but complex characters and dialogue! Adelaide's childhood friend Beau is now the detective investigating the murder, Adelaide and her co-worker Dimitri are both suspects and both men harbor secret feelings for this special young woman. Still more secrets to reveal!

This is a well-written mystery with a romantic triangle that will hopefully be further explored in the next book in the Darkwater Inn series. I recommend Darkwater Secrets to anyone who enjoys Christian romance and mystery/suspense.

I received a copy of this book through Just Read Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

My Thoughts on The Daily Question for You and Your Child: A 3-Year Spiritual Journey

"What is your favorite way to celebrate New Year's Eve and New Year's Day?" This is the very first question in 'The Daily Question For You and Your Child' and what follows are 364 more questions meant to be discussed with your child or grandchild. The questions suggested range from general questions such as "What is your favorite snack?" and "What do you want to be when you grow up?" to those related to a holiday such as Easter, Halloween or Thanksgiving to "What do you know about Jesus?" and "What is your favorite thing God created?" So many unique questions to trigger a youngster's thoughts and replies!

'The Daily Question' is a small attractive book with a hard cover and a slot on the cover to insert a child's picture. I like that one page is devoted to each day of the year and that there are three places to write the year and response. Using this journal each day is like writing in a diary and the good thing is that using it for three years will create a timeline of the child's progression. My only negative thought is that the one page for each question limits the amount of space available for each year's entry.

When I saw this book I knew that this would be perfect to share with my young granddaughter and I look forward to comparing her answers over the course of the next three years! I also anticipate the treasured conversations that the two of us will share as we complete this unique journal.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher WaterbrookMultnomah but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review. #PRHpartner

Monday, August 27, 2018

My Thoughts on Shadow Sister by Katherine Scott Jones

There are so many reasons why I love this book. It is a beautifully written story that left me in suspense until the very end. Yes, it is filled with clues but there are also secrets and we readers are reminded that the secrets that we think will prevent hurt can actually cause the most pain. I assumed that the title was a reference to the relationship between Sarah and her older sister Jenna but now, as I write this, I believe that it was a feeling shared by both. Perhaps Jenna felt as much in Sarah's shadow as Sarah felt in hers.

Shadow Sister is the story of two sisters, Jenna and Sarah Lanning, and she includes both the present and the past to explain their deep but perhaps tenuous bond. Jenna was an artist of words who wanted to be a writer and she was very attached to her father;  Sarah felt closer to her artist mother and she herself possessed the ability to create with paints and easel. And then, a tragic accident altered all of their lives and Jenna and Sarah both set their talents and their dreams aside.  Jenna left their family vineyard to work in Bolivia and Sarah was left with a sense of both estrangement and abandonment. Suddenly, Sarah and her father receive word that Jenna has died in a bus crash and that Jenna's husband is seriously hurt. As she travels to Bolivia to tend to funeral details Sarah becomes involved with the people that Jenna was trying to help. She also meets a man who may alter her future as she discovers two secrets that completely undermine all that she has ever believed.

Katherine Scott Jones has an amazing way with words! Both Jenna and Sarah have lost their first loves but both are given a second chance at great love. In one scene Jenna's husband Jonas tells Sarah "And I'm scared that I might forget her altogether. We weren't together very long. A little over a year. What if I forget what she was like? Who she was! My wife!" (p. 140-141)  How many of us have felt those very same thoughts when we've lost someone?

There is also a strong element of faith throughout the story. As Sarah returns to the crash sight where her sister died, she feels as if someone is right behind her. "There is no one. And yet... The hairs on her arms stand up, a breeze licks her forehead. Jesus. His nearness brings a settling to her spirit, an easing of tension, as if a coiled spring has sprung. And then, out of nowhere, a tiny lift of joy." (p. 145) Oh, the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus!

Shadow Sister has 365 pages filled with intrigue, sadness, and grief but there is also hope and the promise of forgiveness. Most of, there is also the reminder that family is important and that God's Grace means everything!

I received a complimentary copy of this book and was under no obligation to post a favorable review. These are my honest opinions.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The First Days of School Never Change!

Forty-two years ago my daughter went to school for the first time. She was going to be five years old that October and she seemed awfully little as she went in to meet her teacher and classmates. I followed her into the room to check on her and my little girl was in her element. I left her there, cried a little as I sat in my car and then I went to town. My husband couldn't understand why I went. No, I didn't need anything that I could buy but I did need my little girl and I didn't want to go home to an empty house!

Today, my daughter's little girl went to school for the first time. She is going to be five in February and she seemed awfully little as she walked up our drive with her mommy on her way to meet her teacher and classmates. My daughter went in to check on her and her little girl was in her element. I don't know if my daughter cried but I know that shortly after they left for school, I got in my car and I went to town. This time I did need some things but I also needed my "second little girl" and I didn't want to be home in an empty house!

The first days of school never change!

My Thoughts on The Hope Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter

As I began reading how a young woman allowed an older couple to believe that she was the granddaughter that they never knew existed I immediately judged Michelle Taylor. She was being deceitful and lying to them time after time and  and we all know that this is wrong! But as I continued to read I began to understand why she found it so hard to be honest with them. Michelle had been subjected to the abuse of her natural parents, forced to live with foster parents and then, she had suffered abuse from the man who was supposed to love her. All that she had ever known was hardship and neglect and suddenly, a fine and loving couple assumed that she was the child of a daughter who had run away from home and disappeared so many years ago and they were eager to accept her! Yes, Michelle was definitely wrong but I could begin to understand why she allowed her charade to continue as she pretended to be Sara Murphy!

This new book is the first book of a new series by Wanda E. Brunstetter and I like that she has used the characters of a young English woman and an older Amish couple to help readers better understand some of the beliefs and customs of the Amish people. Michelle is naturally curious about the Amish lifestyle and both Willis and Mary Ruth Lapp are happy to answer her questions. She also has the opportunity to question Ezekiel King, the young Amish man who finds her English lifestyle so fascinating. He is struggling to make his final decision to either join the Amish church or leave to live his life as an "Englisher". There are several other characters, both Amish and English, who play an important part of this story but my favorite "character" is actually a blue canning jar filled with slips of paper. Michelle finds it hidden in the Lapp barn and it contains the thoughts and prayers of someone who once struggled to make the right decision. These thoughts and prayers have a great influence on this young woman who is also struggling to do the right thing. Should she confess her deceit and hurt these people she has come to love or does she continue to pretend to be their long-lost granddaughter?

The Hope Jar is the first book in the The Prayer Jars series and I am anxious to see how Michelle Taylor and Sara Murphy's stories will continue. I feel that the Lapps have enough love for both a real granddaughter and the young woman who pretended to be their granddaughter so I will be eager to read more in the The Forgiving Jar, the second book in this series.

Wanda E. Brunstetter has written a book filled with deceit, lies and hopelessness but it is also full of understanding, compassion, forgiveness, faith and love. I recommend it to all who enjoy Christian fiction and stories that feature the Amish lifestyle.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My Thoughts on The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

This is the fourth book in The Daughters of the Mayflower series and it is certainly a worthy addition! The Patriot Bride is an exciting tale of events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and it has a heroine and hero who are equally dedicated to the Patriot cause. Faith Lytton is just 10 when we first meet her in 1752 at her family home in Virginia and it is apparent that she is an independent little girl who knows no fear and feels no limitations due to being a female. The story soon advances to 1774 and Faith Lytton Jackson is now a wealthy 32 year old widow living in Boston and she is still fearless and independent. This is the time when the American colonies were facing increasing oppression from England and the move for independence was beginning. Faith is an old friend of the respected soldier George Washington and she agrees to become a messenger to deliver secret information to help the Patriots (colonists) in their cause. Matthew Weber is a friend of Benjamin Franklin and he becomes Faith's contact. This is the beginning of an association that will alter both of their lives forever!

I love historical fiction so I truly enjoyed this book. Faith and Matthew are both brave people who love God and who value the Patriot cause and Faith is more than happy to use her wealth and her social influence to secretly further this effort. I loved how independent and feisty she is and her humor and creativity are to be admired.  Matthew is the perfect hero and I was touched that he had never been in a serious relationship and he was very reluctant to admit his deep feelings for Faith. In one meeting he tells Faith "I allowed my fear to rule my mind and my heart. I was so worried about what might happen to you that I slammed the door of my heart and I am afraid it hurt you." (p. 113).

And later, "He moved closer to her and wanted to drink in those green eyes. Her face was framed by her dark blond curls. He closed his eyes and tried to memorize the ways her eyes smiled at him, the lines of her face." (p. 121). Oh! Be still my heart!

Author Kimberley Woodhouse has given readers a story of finding love and friendship when you least expect it. There is also adventure, secrecy, and a reminder of the danger that the colonists faced in their struggle for freedom.  Bible scripture is quoted often in this book and and a strong belief in God and the power of prayer is very evident. I heartily recommend The Patriot Bride to readers who enjoy Christian fiction and historical romance.

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

Thursday, August 9, 2018

My Thoughts on Miss Serena's Secret by Carolyn Miller

"Miss Selena's Secret" opens with an episode of sexual harassment but it is handled tastefully and readers will be encouraged by the roles that faith and prayer play in this story. Many of us have had secret crushes on our teachers and Serena Winthrop was no different. When her art instructor seemed impressed with her talent she was thrilled but his attentions soon became bold and personal and her happiness turned to fear and dismay. Suddenly Selena's joy of painting became tainted with horrible memories and a sense of shame and she lost her desire to create with paints and canvas. She also believed that she could never trust a man again so she had many reservations about her new association with Lord Henry Carlisle. His reputation as a gambler and a popular lady's man was exactly what she hated and she didn't hesitate to make her feelings very clear to him! It is when circumstances demand that they continue to spend time together that Henry begins to question his own past and wonder if he can change his habits so that he might become someone that Selena can respect and even love. Their journey to acceptance of each other's pasts and the realization of their mutual attraction leads to a pathway filled with secrecy, misunderstandings, and eventually the understanding that all things are possible. 

This is the fifth book that I've read by Carolyn Miller and her books just keep getting better! It is apparent that she loves the Regency era and she shares this love with those of us who also enjoy this time period. Her stories transport us back to a time of modest maidens and roguish heroes and she introduces us to multi-faceted characters and the different social classes that were so prevalent during that time. As I read this book I felt as though I was traveling the countryside and seeing the beautiful homes and gardens first hand. I suffered along with the characters as they experience their trials and I rejoiced when their faith carried them through.  I appreciate that all of Ms. Miller's stories feature the underlying theme of trusting in God and believing in prayer and I always enjoy being able to briefly revisit familiar characters from her previous books.

I highly recommend "Miss Selena's Secret" to all who enjoy Regency romance and Christian fiction. Carolyn Miller is quickly earning a spot along side of Georgette Heyer and I am looking forward to her next book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.