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!

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Series for Lovers of History, Adventure, Romance, and Ancestry

Will Ellis Lose All at the Alamo?
Ellis Valmont finds a man in New Orleans Grey unconscious on Valmont property in 1836. As his fevers rage, the man mutters strange things about treasures and war. Either Claiborne Gentry has lost his mind or he’s a spy for the American president—or worse, for the Mexican enemy that threatens their very lives. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide who she can trust. Will she put her selfish wants ahead of the future of the republic or travel with Clay to Mission San Jose to help end the war?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT


The Alamo Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #7)The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This new book in The Daughters of the Mayflower series features a redheaded, green eyed heroine who is stubborn, adventurous and fiercely loyal, a hero who has lost his memory, and the threat of war as the Texas Republic strives to gain independence from Mexico. This effort would end shortly after the Battle of the Alamo and this is Kathleen Y'Barbo's fictional account of events leading up to this seige. Much of The Alamo Bride relates Ellis Valmont's efforts to help a wounded stranger recover from serious injuries and try to determine if he is friend or foe. Clay Gentry has lost his memory and often, in his unconscious mumblings, he speaks of war, an important meeting and a day in November. Ellis initially mistrusts him so even as she works to save his life, she also writes down everything that she hears. What follows is a story filled with uncertainty, adventure, and learning to trust. There is also a developing romance between Ellis and Clay as they work together to find her missing father and brother.

I enjoyed reading Ellis's ability to treat other people's ailments with herbs and plants and she is often referred to as "the healer". She is also very devoted to her family and very proud that she is a 'spitting image' of her great-grandmother, Maribel Cordova, the young girl who eventually wed Jean Luc Valmont and became The Pirate Bride in the second book of The Daughters of the Mayflower series. I find it fitting that both of these books were written by the same author. I also appreciate that the Valmonts are very strong believers who trust that God will guide them and protect them. In several instances, after they have escaped serious injury or misfortune, they are heard remarking that there was no luck involved, just God himself working. "The Lord takes care of us in His own way. If we manage to have something go our way, we figure it is His way".

'Remember the Alamo" is the saying made popular in 1836 and in this book Kathleen Y'Barbo reminds readers why this is such an important part of our United States history. I recommend The Alamo Bride to anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction.

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


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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner

ABOUT THE BOOK

From the author and illustrator of the best-selling When God Made You comes a new illuminating message about God's design affirming young readers.

With lyricism, whimsy, and heartfelt emotion, Matthew Paul Turner reveals the tender emotions connected with watching a beloved child grow up and experience the world. Paired with Kimberley Barnes's vivid and playful illustrations, When I Pray for You is a beautifully affirming book, in which children and parents will see their own stories come to life.

When I Pray for You celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings parents pray over their children, and shares with the little ones how much care and concern a loved one feels for them.

This is a book you will read to your child again and again. Perfect for any occasion, as well as for milestones including baby showers, birthdays, and graduations.

From the moment I saw you, 
I started to pray.
Big prayers and small ones 
I have sent God's way.

I prayed you felt safe, 
full of joy and content.
When I whispered "I love you,"
you knew what I meant.
 

MY THOUGHTS


When I Pray for YouWhen I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is very apparent that this book was written by someone who has children. From the first words to the last, this story shows children that they are loved by their Mommy who is constantly praying for them and they are also reminded that God loves them also and that he is hearing their mother's prayers. From a young mother praying for her newborn to the mother praying for her young adult child, the many stages of a young person's life are covered and we are reminded that prayer is an essential part of parenting.

When I Pray For You features the rhyming text that most children love and there are bright and colorful illustrations to capture and keep their attention. This is a perfect book to read to my young granddaughter but it will also be just as enjoyable when she is reading it on her own. Matthew Paul Turner knows and understands his audience and he has definitely created a winner!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but a favorable review was not required. These are my honest opinions.

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American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith by Travis Thrasher

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this taut thriller that depicts a future where belief is dangerous, faith is deemed hatred, and a group of powerful elite keeps watch, the Reckoner has come to wake up America.

The year is 2038 and Cheyenne Burne is a brilliant young programmer working for Acatour, the world's top technology firm. Her father converts to Christianity, and he suddenly disappears without a trace. When a stranger hands Cheyenne a coded message that sends her on a collision course with a clandestine group of believers, she must put her life in the hands of those following a man known only as the Reckoner. He claims he wants to bring back true faith in Christ to America and also reveal the forces behind the disappearances of the many renowned people who publicly declared their Christian faith.

Operating in the shadows and living off the grid, this mysterious prophet assembles a ragtag team--including a former bookseller whose store was shut down for selling prohibited books--to help him take the battle for transparency to the top. With a ruthless FBI agent closing in, can Cheyenne and the others expose the truth and lead a return to God in America before it's too late?
 


MY THOUGHTS


American Omens: The Coming Fight for FaithAmerican Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith by Travis Thrasher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I usually don't read futuristic fiction but this book is published by Multonomah and the subject matter and my respect for this publisher prompted me to give it a try. American Omens is set in 2038 and Christian believers are being targeted for their faith. As I read this I couldn't help but compare our current situation with the events being portrayed thirty years from now. Yes, it is fiction and yes, it may cause some people to cry "Paranoia" but I consider it possible and even prophetic. We Americans are becoming complacent and more accepting of values that once would have been considered very unacceptable.

I enjoy technology but this book suggests that it is being used to control all of us who use it so freely. Every social media post that we make and every statement that is available for public viewing may also be used as a way to challenge our freedoms and our beliefs in God.

This book won't be for everyone and every reader won't agree with the premises being offered but it is certainly a book that deserves to be discussed among fellow believers. There are some very believable situations where the Christian believers are accused, tortured and even killed for their beliefs. Near the end of American Omens the author offers a statement that I plan to keep in my personal journal. A newly converted Christian, whose unexplained absence a year ago is the basis of this story, leaves a letter for his brilliant computer programmer daughter. He tells her that

"I want you to see the power of faith. It's not fantasy. It's not scientific, and it's not computer generated. There won't be algorithms in Heaven. God doesn't need them."

This quote is from an uncorrected proof so it may be changed in the published copy but I love the deep meaning. I also like that author Travis Thrasher uses Bible scripture throughout the story and that he allows his characters to learn to trust one another and to experience growth in their faith. I also appreciate that among all of the warnings there is also hope and encouragement! This book is Christian futuristic but it also has mystery and suspense for readers who enjoy those genres.

I received this complimentary book from WaterBook and Multnomah Book Launch Team but I was under no obligation to review it.

#americanomens #travisthrasher

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Atoning For Ashes by Kaitlin Covel

ABOUT THE BOOK

Josie Chadwick dreams of marrying for love in Cornwall, England, but with her father's debt threatening to destroy all she holds dear, her romantic options are dwindling. When her elder sister Delia is disowned, Josie finds herself heiress of Chadwick Park, torn between dreams and duty. After sacrificing her heart to atone for Delia's sin, Josie clings to the hope she will learn to love a distant husband, whom she fears is incapable of requiting her affection.

Charles Radcliffe's heart has been scarred and hardened by rejection. He fears hurting his new bride, but his fears of betrayal and rejection are stronger, making it impossible for him to trust her love--let alone the love of her God.

As Josie and Charles face their new life together, ominous events warn of dark family secrets that could shatter them both. More than a loveless marriage is at stake if they cannot stand as one. Will they learn to trust God and each other before it's too late?

MY THOUGHTS

Atoning for AshesAtoning for Ashes by Kaitlin Covel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Atoning for Ashes is set in Regency England during the time when young girls dreamed of finding true love and marriage but often were forced to marry to save their family's name or fortune. This is the case of Josephine Chadwick. Her father intended for his eldest daughter to marry into wealth but Delia Chadwick woud have no part of it. Josephine (Josie) observes her father's distress and his increasing ill-health and she volunteers to wed Charles Radcliffe to save her family from bankruptcy. She actually has very good intentions but it becomes apparent that Charles is reluctant and he isn't going to be a loving husband. I found their early marriage hard to read about because of his drinking and unpleasantness but Josie's sweetness and devotion soon begin to influence Charles Radcliffe and he starts to change. It is through Josie's goodness that he begins to believe in God.

This debut novel by Kaitlin Covel features mystery, intrigue and mistaken identities; there are shady business transactions, deceit and treachery, and even murder and attempted murder. Atoning for Ashes has some adult situations that aren't always written about in Christian fiction but the author buffers them with a strong Christian message. She shows how some of the characters grow in their faith and she often uses scripture in the plotline. There are also some beautiful passages that show trust in God. As Josie recalls how she never felt truly loved by her mother and as she wonders if she will ever enjoy a deep romantic love, she realizes that "In all of her life, only God's love had never disappointed. His love was without condition, constant and faithful as the sunshine". And later, as she faces extreme danger and perhaps death, Josie is reminded by her long-time housekeeper Esther that "God is just, Josie," she said gently. "He is fighting our battles even as we speak."

Kaitlin Covel has successfully captured the culture and mores of Regency England and I was reminded that the goodness and evil that was present during that time are still present today. This may be her first published novel but I feel that it certainly won't be her last! I recommend Atoning for Ashes for anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction.

I received a complimentary advanced reader copy from the author but my review is voluntary.

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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Camp Club Girls: Bailey by Linda Carlblom

ABOUT THE BOOK

GET A CLUE WITH THE CAMP CLUB GIRLS!
Join Bailey and the Camp Club Girls as they embark on a series of clue-filled adventures and crack the case in this entertaining and action-packed 4-in-1 mystery collection.


What's the meaning of the mysterious messages beneath shaggy sheep coats at the Curly Q ranch?  The Camp Club Girls are determined to uncover the clues as they investigate a strange string of events. Will the girls discover the whereabouts of eccentric millionaire Marshall Gonzalez?

Why are wild elk running amok in Estes Park?  During a stay at the historic Stanley Hotel, Bailey and Kate encounter out-of-control stampedes that put the townsfolk and tourists in danger. Will the Camp Club Girls uncover the reason behind the unusual elk behavior before someone gets hurt?

Are the rumors surrounding a valuable turquoise mine true? When Bailey and Elizabeth travel to a Native American village in New Mexico to help out a distant cousin and her children in their pottery shop during the busy tourist season, mysterious rumors begin to stir. The Camp Club Girls have their suspicions about rightful ownership of the mine, but will they be able to prove it?

Who's responsible for the peril at Mermaid Park?  When Bailey and Sydney are invited to spend part of the summer with Bailey’s grandmother in Florida, both girls are fascinated by the local attraction—Mermaid Park. When curious and frightening events begin to take place, will the Camp Club Girls solve the mystery and save the park before time runs out?
 


MY THOUGHTS ABOUT: Camp Club Girls: BaileyCamp Club Girls: Bailey by Linda Carlblom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another 4-in-1 collection of the Camp Club Girls books and this book revolves around Bailey Chang, her family and the other girls that are part of this exclusive club. There are four stories that feature Bailey as the main focus and she and the other members of the club are once again finding adventure and mysteries whenever and whereever they go. The four titles in this collection are Bailey's Estes Park Adventure; Bailey's Peoria Problem; Bailey and the Santa Fe Secret; and Bailey and the Florida Mermaid Park Adventure. These adventures take Bailey and the others to Colorado, Peoria, New Mexico, and Florida and they become involved in mysteries that involve a missing millionaire, elk stampedes, a turquoise mine and mermaids. As the girls work to solve the mysteries they are given the chance to visit new places and learn the history of these areas. These adventures enable them to use their minds, learn the consequences of good versus bad decisions and continue to deepen the friendships that they enjoy with each other.

Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew introduced me to mysteries many years ago and I am so happy to learn that young girls now have this series to satisfy their own love of mysteries. Linda Carlblom is the author of this collection and she has successfully maintained the integrity that the other The Camp Club Girls books offer. They are wholesome, faith-based stories that provide scripture and examples of Christian living while offering adventure and the joy of discovering and solving clues. The target age is 9+ but I believe that these books will be just as enjoyable for an older female audience.

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


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Friday, February 8, 2019

The Forgiving Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter

ABOUT THE BOOK 

What would happen if you found out someone has been impersonating you?
 

Sara Murray had never met her mother’s parents and was surprised to learn after her death that they were Amish living in Pennsylvania. When she is finally able to make the trip to meet them, she is shocked to learn someone else has been living with them and pretending to be Sara. Sara can’t understand how quickly her grandparents are willing to forgive the imposter.

Secrets and deceit seem to follow Sara, and she is so tired of it. Though soon she meets Brad Fuller who is visiting her grandparents for during Christmas. She likes him a lot, but even he seems to pull away from her, not being totally honest.

Struggling, Sara finds an old canning jar hidden in the barn that is full of encouraging prayers. Can Sara find a way to forgive the past and move on to building new relationships?

This is Book 2 in the brand-new series, The Prayer Jars, from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
Book 1 -- The Hope Jar (August 2018)
Book 3 -- The Healing Jar (August 2019)


  MY THOUGHTS ABOUT The Forgiving Jar (The Prayer Jars #2)The Forgiving Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Prayer Jars series and I have enjoyed both of them equally! In my review of the first book, 'The Hope Jar', I stated that "I feel that the Lapps have enough love for both a real granddaughter and the young woman who pretended to be their granddaughter" and this second story offers proof that they did. This is wonderful for Michelle Taylor, the young woman who impersonated their granddaughter, because she has finally found love and acceptance. The true granddaughter of Willis and Mary Ruth Lapp is now living with them and she doesn't understand or appreciate the love and kindness that her grandparents continue to offer Michelle. Much of this book revolves around Sara Murray's determination to uncover Michelle's true nature. Now I know that Michelle was clearly wrong in her deception but she has apologized and she has also asked forgiveness from the Lapps and from God. It seems, however, that the harder that Michelle tries, the harder that Sara resists. Sara's behaviour is often unkind and she is clearly envious; it soon becomes obvious that she herself has issues that need to be resolved. The Lapps are good Amish people and they are uncertain how to reconcile these two young women. Just a short time ago they were completely unaware that they even had a granddaughter and now they have been blessed with two girls to love!

'The Forgiving Jar' is centered around the Amish community but there are several "Englishers" who play important roles. There is romance and the possibility of marriage and there is the continued importance of the slips of papers found in hidden canning jars that offer encouragement, prayers, inspiration and the importance of forgiveness. Wanda E. Brunstetter has once again written a story that entertains and inspires and 'The Forgiving Jar' is very appropriately named. It shares the message of love and forgiveness and it shows that if we humans seek forgiveness, we must be prepared to offer forgiveness. Readers are also reminded that the ability to trust and to accept change is invaluable in our relationships with each other.

This is an excellent book for fans of Amish books and Christian fiction and I look forward to seeing what the third prayer jar holds and hopefully learning the identity of the person behind these notes!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but this in no way influenced my opinions.

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Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

ABOUT THE BOOK

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel's life convince her he's in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She's risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?
 

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT Between Two ShoresBetween Two Shores by Jocelyn Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This new book by Jocelyn Green is a story steeped in history and rich in both the triumphs and the failings of the human spirit. I was immediately caught up in the story of a young girl who is part Mohawk Indian/part French and the choices that she was forced to make after moving from Quebec to Montreal. It is 1759 and Catherine Duval is involved in several struggles. She struggles constantly to please her alcoholic father but she is often verbally abused when he is intoxicated. It is during these moments that he taunts her about her heritage from her Indian mother. Catherine becomes a fur trader and she trades furs with both the British and the French while working out of a store in Canada. She has every intention of remaining neutral in the war that is raging but, with her decision to help her ex-fiance to deliver secret information to a British soldier, she realizes that neutrality isn't possible. Catherine begins a harrowing journey over the land and the rivers of Canada that could result in her being charged with treason.

Author Jocelyn Green has written a beautiful story of being caught between two cultures, two lands and two loyalties. Catherine Duval is also known as Catherine Stands-Apart and she is scarred emotionally by her father's cruelty. Even as my heart broke for her I questioned why she continued to stay; I rejoiced when she eventually realized that she wasn't responsible for the happiness of her father and she could therefore distance herself from him. Catherine is also torn over her relationship with her Mohawk brother and sister and the sudden reappearance of the man that she had once loved and lost.

There is so much to like about Between Two Shores. It is full of historical information and geographical detail. The French and Indian War that started over control of the Ohio Valley eventually turned into a full-scale war that involved several countries and Green's battle scenes were strinkinly real! I also learned much about the Canadian landscape because of the author's detailed description. I was reminded of the importance of the fur trade during this time and the
immense part that women played during this time. There are other female characters who also play heavily in this story and I greatly admired their independence and bravery but it is Catherine Duval's victory over doubts about her self-worth that makes this story so special! This is never more evident than when she replies to a comment about having two names. "What does it matter what we are called, when God alone can judge the heart?"

Between Two Shores is a wonderful read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a strong faith element. It is my first Jocelyn Green book but it certainly won't be my last!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher but a positive review was not required.

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Monday, February 4, 2019

When God Made LightWhen God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Shimmer and shine, be a beacon so bright, ' cause when God made you, child, God made light." These are the final words of "When God Made Light" and I absolutely love them but I also love all of the words preceding them! Author Matthew Paul Turner uses rhyming verse to tell how God gave light to the world after declaring "Let there be light" and illustrator David Caltrow uses bright, vibrant colors to create pictures of children and animals that are fun, creative and just a little quirky. These characters are encouraged to enjoy the light that God made for the day and reminded that they can feel safe at night because of the light that He made for the darkness. But the most important lesson comes from hearing that the God who created the world and gave it light also created them to be filled with light. God made all of His children to be filled with His light.

This book is filled with words that hypnotize and images that capture the imagination and it is perfect for all ages. Young children will love listening to it, older children will enjoy reading it and adults will experience joy in sharing it. Definitely five stars for "When God Made Light"!

I chose to review this book and all comments are my honest opinion.


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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard

ABOUT THE BOOK
As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth. Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow's tender heart at risk. In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end.

  Never Let Go (Uncommon Justice #1)Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Goddard has written a book that lives up to its title because 'Never Let Go' grabs your attention from page one and it is hard to put it down! The prologue introduces us to an event that occurred twenty-one years ago and it is a cold case that has never been solved. Now, in the present, forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is determined to try one last time to find a baby girl that was stolen from a hospital in Houston and never returned to her mother. It is a case that Willow's grandfather intended to look into before his sudden death and Willow feels an obligation to help the still grieving mother who is now facing death from leukemia. The sudden appearance of Willow's former boyfriend Austin McKade seems very awkward but she soon realizes that she needs his FBI experience and expertise to continue. Their partnership quickly reveals that the feelings they once shared are still very much alive!

I enjoyed the apparent romantic tension between Willow and Austin. Willow wants to trust him but her past hurt runs deep. It is only when she continues to be threatened that Willow realizes that Austin is the only one who can protect her and help her to find this young woman. Austin still loves Willow but he has a secret that keeps him from sharing his true feelings. It is only when his secret is revealed at the latter part of this book that we can understand his initial reluctance to help Willow with this search.

There are so many things to love about this story! It has circumstances that I could never have imagined and there are unseen threats and almost non-stop danger. Secrets are finally uncovered but I was kept guessing until the very end just who was behind all of the threats and who was responsible for the kidnapping twenty-one years ago. I wasn't familiar with forensic genealogy so this was an intriguing element and I also enjoyed learning about the Jackson Hole region of Wyoming and the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the area where much of the story takes place. But most of all, I loved the strong faith element running throughout the plot. Talking with God is often mentioned and one example is as Willow tries to escape from an assailant.

"Help me, God! Help me get away. Someone has to live to tell the story." And a short time later, Willow again prays. "I'm doing the best I can and it's not enough. Jesus, help me!"

You will definitely want to read this book if you enjoy romantic suspense and Christian fiction. 'Never Let Go' by Elizabeth Goddard gets 5 stars from me and I look forward to the next book in this Uncommon Justice series that will allow Austin's brother Heath McKade to have his own story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Publishing but I was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. These are my own opinions.


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