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, February 28, 2019

Sneak Peak! Cover Reveal!! Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard

Earlier this month I was given the chance to read and review Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard and I was blown away by this book. Today, I have the chance to share the cover of her newest book. 

Here's a sneak peek of Always Look Twice!





At the advice of her therapist, homicide survivor Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She flees the scene in fear--and loses the camera.

 Pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/Always-Look-Twice-Uncommon-Justice/dp/0800729854


Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Carol Award–winning The Camera Never Lies. Her Mountain Coveseries books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Awards and the Carol Awards. Goddard is a seventh-generation Texan and can be found online at http://www.elizabethgoddard.com/"

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams: Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible by Jill Eileen Smith

ABOUT THE BOOK

Life is full of twists and turns. Relationships falter, careers fizzle, health fades. We may be faced with choices we never wanted to make or have situations pushed upon us we'd never expected. Yet, in all of it, God is at our side--even when he feels far away.

Drawing on her extensive research into women of the Old Testament, novelist Jill Eileen Smith turns her pen to the lessons in trusting God that we can learn today from women like

- Eve
- Noah's wife
- Sarai
- Hagar
- Lot's wife
- Rebekah
- Rachel
- and more

Readers will learn from what these ancient women did right--and even what they did wrong--when faced with dashed expectations and deferred dreams. And they'll come away with the confidence that ours is a faithful God who loves us and is forming us through our trials into the women he longs for us to be.

MY THOUGHTS


When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams: Hope for Today from 12 Women of the BibleWhen Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams: Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible by Jill Eileen Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jill Eileen Smith is usually associated with writing wonderful Christian fiction and now I can say that she also writes wonderful non-fiction. When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams is a book about twelve real women who didn't have their dreams come true. These twelve Old Testament women were probably like many of us who once thought that our lives would be one way and then watched them as they became entirely different. It is through the stories of these Biblical women that we can recognize that our troubles can defeat us or they can make us stronger; we can continue to struggle by ourselves or we can turn it over to God and let him fight for us!

Many of the women's names are familiar: Eve, Sarai (Sarah), Hagar, Rebekah, Rachel, Dinah and Leah. And then there is Noah's wife. Her name is never mentioned in Genesis 7 but Smith has given her the name of Adah for the purpose of this book. Others mentioned are Melah (Lot's wife), Aneksi, Tamar, and Zipporah. They all faced different problems but they all persevered.

This book has twelve chapters that offer a biblical account titled If I Were.... and there are also sections titled In Our World, Imagine with Me, Ponder this, and Taking it Further. These sections allow us to consider how we might have handled the same situations and they also offer understanding and encouragement.

It is apparent that Jill Eileen Smith devoted many hours to studying Bible scripture and her efforts have helped me gain new knowledge of these women. When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams is very well-written and I think that this book would be a valuable resource for organized Bible Study classes. It truly does give "Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible".

I received a complimentary copy of this book but I voluntarily chose to write this review.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Season of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston

ABOUT THE BOOK

Enjoy a year of beautiful seasons in this new story collection, as young Amish couples manage a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way.

Spring Is in the Air 

As the young people of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, plant a garden in memory of their friend, Katie Ann begins to worry that her older brother, Ephraim, is dating her best friend. What if she somehow loses them both? But Christian, a new boy in the community, also works in the garden—and falling for him may be exactly the distraction, and lesson, that Katie Ann needs.

Home by Summer 

Clara Hertzler is surprised when Jerry Petersheim, her old friend, comes to the garden to drop off his younger sister—especially because Jerry has been gone for years, and now seems to be living as an Englisher. As the friends get to know each other again, Clara pushes Jerry to examine why he abandoned his Amish beliefs. Will Clara help Jerry renew his faith in God, and will they find love beneath the summer sun?

The Fruits of Fall 

Tena Speicher has come to live in Bird-in-Hand after her fiancĂ© left her for an English woman. When a homeless veteran comes to the fruit stand one day and asks for food, Tena is not sure how to respond—but Wayne intervenes and offers to let him stay in the barn. Afraid to trust Englishers, Tena must learn, with Wayne’s help, that everyone is a child of God and deserving of kindness.

Winter Blessings 

Ephraim and Mandy have dated for some time and now have plans to marry. But after a series of unexpected events and misunderstandings, they wonder if they should go their separate ways. What will happen when their friends at the Amish garden conspire to bring them back together?
 

MY THOUGHTS


Seasons of an Amish GardenSeasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to garden and to "get my hands dirty" so I was immediately drawn to Seasons of an Amish Garden, a collection of four novellas that are each set during a different season of the year. In hopes of helping a widow through her grieving process and to also help benefit a local shelter in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, a group of Amish youth decide to grow a community garden as a memorial to an Amish gentleman who has recently died. As their garden grows throughout the year we also see how these young people grow in their relationships. None of them are married as the Spring begins but throughout the months ahead, several of them begin to enjoy romances and to learn lessons about each other, their families and about life in general.

Author Amy Clipston shows us that Amish people may live simpler lives than most of us but they are susceptible to many of the same feelings that we have. They can be tempted, they can feel jealousy and envy, they may doubt themselves and the people around them and they experience hurt and anger! And, just like all of us "Englishers", they need to come to the realization that it is their family, their friends and their faith in God that will help them overcome all of it.

Seasons of an Amish Garden made me happy and sad; I laughed and even cried and and I also began to long for the winter to be over so that I could once again enjoy gardening. It is apparent that Amy Clipston has a deep understanding of the Amish lifestyle and I appreciate that she included a glossary to help us understand some of the Amish terms that are scattered throughout the book. Her writing style is easy to read and I believe that this book will appeal to all who like Christian fiction and stories about the Amish people.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and I chose to write this honest review.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she's finally put behind her—or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town—but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it's too late.
 

MY THOUGHTS


A Desperate Hope (Empire State, #3)A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I read A Desperate Hope I was struck by the fact that in 1908 a young woman in New York City was enjoying a successful career as a CPA and auditor for the state of New York. Eloise Drake was also living a straight-laced life in an effort to atone for a mistake that she made as a teenager. What she doesn't count on is being sent to Duval Springs to help in the project that will eventually demolish that town so that a huge reservoir can be built to furnish water for New York City. Eloise once lived near Duval Springs and it was there, as a teenager, that she experienced her first love affair. Now, her first love is the mayor of Duval Springs and he is determined to protect the town that he loves. Eloise's mathemetical genius knows that this project is feasible but her heart allows her to understand why the people of Duval Springs want to save their town.

There are so many facets to this story. Young love, the embarassment and shame of being judged, the loss of innocence. There is also murder, mystery and the question of parentage but what I loved most is the presence of hope. Alex Duval was hopeful that Eloise would join his fight to save Duval Springs and Eloise hoped that her efforts would help because she realized that he and the citizens deserved to keep their homes. As they began to work together Eloise began to understand that God had made her a planner and Alex a dreamer. Loving each other again might not be possible but this was okay because "It was simply the way God had made them, and the world needed both sorts to succeed".

I truly enjoyed reading this book and the fact that it is actually based on true events made it even better. There truly were several small towns in New York that were forced to either dissolve or to relocate so that The Ashokan Reservoir could be built. As I read the town people's determined efforts I thought how I would feel knowing that the small rural town that I grew up in might soon be displaced and I could imagine their desperation.

A Desperate Hope is wonderful historical fiction filled with hope and faith. Author Elizabeth Camden reminds us that no one is beyond redemption and that forgiveness is possible for everyone. She shows Eloise and Alex's growth from their past hurts and she allows other characters to change also. The way that she chooses to end A Desperate Hope is a wonderful testament to the power of love, both human and divine!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and was not required to write a positive review.

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Seeking His Love by Carrie Turansky

ABOUT THE BOOK

For these two wounded hearts, it will take a great leap of faith to overcome past hurts and give love a chance to grow. 

False accusations from the past haunt Rachel Clark, the new director of the Northcoast Christian Youth Theater. Seeking to make a fresh start in Fairhaven, Washington, she rents space for her group from an artists’ cooperative led by handsome frame shop owner, Cameron McKenna. To keep his financially strapped co-op afloat, Cam reluctantly agrees to include Rachel’s drama program, but he’s not sure he can trust the attractive director or tolerate all those kids in his building. 

Cam is a widower with painful secrets of his own, and when he must temporarily care for his fourteen-year-old niece, he needs Rachel’s practical help and advice. Their friendship deepens into romance, but then past secrets come to light, Cam must decide if he will risk his heart and his future to help Rachel rebuild her reputation. Will wounds from the past destroy their fragile relationship, or can their renewed faith—in the Lord and each other—help them build a bright new future together?



Seeking His Love by Carrie Turansky
Bayside Treasures Series, Book One



MY THOUGHTS


Seeking His Love (Bayside Treasures #1)Seeking His Love by Carrie Turansky


Many who see the title of this book will assume that Seeking His Love is romantic fiction and that the title refers to a woman longing to find true love with a man. This is part of the story and there is a sweet romance but there is so much more. There is a man dealing with the grief of losing his wife and son and his guilt that he may have contributed to their accident. After almost five years he still can't forgive himself. There is a young woman who has been unjustly accused of inappropriate behavior with her student and she can't escape the gossip that seems to follow her. But most of all, Seeking His Love is about faith and forgiveness. Faith in God and the people around us and learning to forgive as we are forgiven.

I admired Rachel Clark and her efforts to guide and counsel the young people involved in the Youth Theater Program in Fairhaven, Washington and I could understand her reluctance to tell why she had left her former teaching position. Rachel was a strong Christian, she believed that God would work in her favor, and she believed in the power of prayer but she still couldn't fully trust that people would believe in her innocence. And even as she realized that her feelings toward Cameron McKenna might be more than friendship she still kept her secret. Cameron was a good man but he was keeping a secret also: his guilt about the deaths of his wife and son. He was also dealing with his sister's battle with cancer and trying to provide a temporary home for his teenage niece. So much to handle and Cameron was lacking the moral strength that comes from being an active worshipper. I loved that a sermon about The Prodigal Son was the turning point in Cam's faith journey and I am so glad that Turansky chose to use this beloved parable.

Just as Rachel and Cam begin to work through the hurts and disappointments of their pasts a situation occurs that may end their chance of a happy future. This is when we are allowed to witness their realization that loving God is truly the first step in having successful relationships. When we accept the love and forgiveness that only He can offer we are free to truly love and forgive others and also ourselves.

I knew Carrie Turansky's reputation for writing wonderful historical fiction but Seeking His Love proves her ability to write contemporary fiction. This is an updated version of a book first published in 2010 and it is perfect for fans of Christian romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but I voluntarily chose to share my honest opinions.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE BOOK

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.
 

MY THOUGHTS


Ladies of Intrigue: 3 Tales of 19th-Century Romance with a Dash of MysteryLadies of Intrigue: 3 Tales of 19th-Century Romance with a Dash of Mystery by Michelle Griep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Ladies of Intrigue' is a collection of three novellas that are all set in the 19th century but they each have a different location. 'The Gentleman Smuggler's Lady' occurs in Cornwall, England in 1815 and it is full of adventure and danger. Helen Fletcher finds herself on a ship off the Cornish Coast that has been overtaken by smugglers and suddenly the life that she had known working as a governess drastically changes. One of the smugglers captures her attention and she must decide if she is ready to give Isaac Seaton her heart.

'The Doctor's Woman' takes place in the Dakota Territory in 1862 and it is my favorite of these three novellas. Emmy Nelson had learned medicine from her late father who was a missionary doctor and she now finds herself helping a big city doctor as they work to treat the soldiers at Fort Snelling and a group of Sioux Indian women and children who are now living there. Smallpox and measle outbreaks force them to work together and their initial mistrust turns into mutual admiration. Dr. James Clark finds himself falling madly in love with Emmy and I enjoyed some of the scenes that show this happening. "Miss Emmaline Nelson would be the death of him. Carve it on his gravestone, killed by a woman--a beautiful bit of a woman, all fire and passion." And as Emmy finds herself becoming infatuated with James she realizes that she is becoming "worse than a moonstuck schoolgirl". There are, however, many events that may prevent them from finding their happily-ever-after.

The last story finds society woman Amanda Carlson involved with "A House of Secrets" in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1890. A haunted house that appears to be a brothel and a secret involving her fiancee forces Amanda to wonder if there is a future for her and Joseph Blake.

Michelle Griep is very adept in writing stories filled with adventure and suspense and her stories often feature realistic situations when God, faith and prayer are very important. These three novellas are no exception and I recommend 'Ladies of Intrigue' to anyone who likes romantic suspense and Christian 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 20, 2019

Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky

ABOUT THE BOOK

Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don't approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson's new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson's newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella's heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella's faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?
 

MY THOUGHTS 


Across the BlueAcross the Blue by Carrie Turansky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is 1909 and barriers are about to be broken. James Drake wants to be the first man to cross the English Channel in an airplane and Isabella (Bella) Grayson wants to be recognized as a journalist. Their paths cross when James and his mentor try to interest Bella's father into investing in their venture. Bella is intrigued by aviation so she is drawn to this young pilot and James is drawn to her beauty. They both feel a great attraction but there are huge obstacles in their relationship. Bella's family is "newly rich" and they want her to "marry well" so that they will be be accepted into high society and James is a poor young man who doesn't know who his father was or if he is still alive. It becomes apparent that the Graysons will do whatever is necessary to prevent their daughter's involvement with James.

"Across the Blue" is a fascinating look at early aviation and the beginning of the advancement of women. It is filled with details of life in England in the early years of the twentieth century and there are many historical facts about aviation woven into the story. There is also a mystery surrounding James's parentage and a reminder that a true family doesn't have to be related by blood. Both of the main characters have many trials in their lives. Bella wants her family's approval but she also craves her independence and James wonders if he will ever find his father or have a chance with Bella. I liked that both of them place their trust in God and rely on prayer to help them through.

This is a well-written and entertaining book filled with a subtle message of faith, grace and forgiveness and I recommend it to all fans of historical fiction and Christian romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher but I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Her Last Chance Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe

ABOUT THE BOOK

She came seeking family…
Will she find love at 
Big Heart Ranch

When pregnant single mother Hannah Vincent shows up professing to be the half sister of the Maxwells of Big Heart Ranch, horse trainer Tripp Walker is wary. Wounded before, he doesn’t trust easily. If only Hannah and her feisty five-year-old daughter weren’t so impossible to resist. Now, despite his doubts, joining this little family is quickly becoming the cautious cowboy’s greatest wish.
 

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT


Her Last Chance Cowboy (Big Heart Ranch)Her Last Chance Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book and, as much as you loved the main characters, you longed to know more about one of the others? Well, that has happened to me each time that I've read one of the books in the Big Heart Ranch series. Tina Radcliffe has a knack for creating very realistic women characters, pairing them with fantastic males and involving them in romances that make you wish for more. She also knows how to deliver great supporting characters and in the first three books there have been two other male characters that I absolutely love! One is Dutch, an old wrangler who has a knack for telling it just like it is and making me laugh out loud. The other is Tripp Walker. Tripp, the horse whisperer. Tripp, the cowboy with the secret prize-wining chili recipe and an old cookbook that he keeps with his Bible. Yes, I always thought that Tripp Walker needed his own story and now, it has happened!

Her Last Chance Cowboy centers around Tripp Walker's mistrust of a new gal in town. Hannah Vincent believes that she is the half sister of the Maxwell siblings but he doesn't believe her for a minute. Tripp, convinced that she is a scam-artist, sets out to disprove her claims. It is in the process of trying to prove who she isn't that Tripp Walker discovers who he truly is. Hannah is somewhat amazed at "A vegetarian equine manager on a cattle and bison ranch who is a gourmet cook and wins the chili cook-off" but she and her little girl Clementine begin to chip away at his "loner" heart and Tripp finally realizes that he is capable of feeling love and and that he deserves a chance to be happy.

I have loved all of the books in the Big Heart Ranch series books set in Timber, Oklahoma at a ranch where children are given a second chance. I've enjoyed seeing the three Maxwell siblings find their own love and happiness as they worked to provide orphaned and underprivileged children a chance to experience unconditional love from them and from God. This Maxwell clan has consistenly shown forgiveness and mercy and they've proven that families are more than being related by blood. Tripp already knows that acceptance and now Hannah and her daughter may have a chance to experience the same.

I have laughed, cried and been inspired by this series and I will hate to see it end but Her Last Chance Cowboy is definitely a wonderful way to bring it to a close! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book with no requirement to write a review and I voluntarily chose to share my thoughts in this honest review.

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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 Light by Matthew Paul Turner

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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