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!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

The Sowing Season


After he's forced to sell the family farm he's labored on his whole life, 63-year-old Gerrit Laninga doesn't know what to do with himself. He sacrificed everything for the land--his time, his health, his family--with nothing to show for it but bitterness, regret, and two grown children who want nothing to do with him.

Fifteen-year-old Rae Walters has growing doubts and fears about The Plan--the detailed blueprint for high school that will help her follow in her lawyer father's footsteps. She's always been committed to The Plan, but now that the pressure to succeed is building, what was supposed to unite her family in purpose, may end up tearing it apart.

When their paths cross just as they each need a friend the most, Gerrit's and Rae's lives begin to change in unexpected ways. Can they discover together what really matters in life and learn it's never too late for a second chance?


Gerrit Laninga has been a dairy farmer most of his life but now, at 63, he signs an agreement fo sell the family farm and suddenly, his life's purpose is gone. 'Everything about this place felt like home and reminded him of his failures. He hated it, but he loved it. It was death, but it was the only life he'd ever known.' This is the story of Gerrit's realization that his wife and children have suffered immensely because of his dedication to this farm life and his obsession of keeping the farm in the family. What do you do when you now have time to spend with your family but they don't want to spend their time with you? Things begin to look up when Gerrit finds a teenage girl hiding in his barn. Rae Walters feels immense pressure from her parent's huge expectations for her future and Gerrit, in helping her, may have found a new meaning for his life.

This is a book that speaks to all of us farmers who've seen our lives slip away in a haze of early mornings wake up calls, days filled with back-breaking labor, and working until there's no light left in the day. Author Katie Powner grew up on a dairy farm so her own knowledge is shared in Gerrit's thoughts and recollections and let me tell you, they are 'spot on'! Gerrit's story also targets anyone who has allowed their career to preoccupy their time and, in doing so, lost precious time with family.

Best of all, The Sowing Season is a lovely story of hope, renewal, and the power of forgiveness, with a reminder of what most of us have learned---in life, as in farming, we truly reap what we sow. Rae observes that "Maybe this was what that whole "harvest" thing meant. That you get out what you put in. If you plant anger and suspicion, you harvest misery. And if you plant reconciliation, forgiveness, hope---there was no telling what good things might come out of it."

I recommend this stunning debut novel to all who enjoy realistic faith-filled stories and I certainly look forward to reading more of Powner's books!

I voluntarily accepted a copy of this book from Bethany House. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 


Katie Powner is an award-winning author who lives in rural Montana where cows still outnumber people. She is a two-time OCW Cascade Award and ACFW First Impressions Award winner. Katie is a mom to the third power: biological, adoptive, and foster. She loves Jesus, red shoes, and candy. Katie can be found at 
www.katiepowner.com,  Follow her on Facebook     Twitter     Instagram

Endless Mercy by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse: Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

 Endless Mercy

Author: Tracie Peterson, Kimberly Woodhouse

Genre: Christian historical romance

Madysen Powell has always been a forgiving person, but when her supposedly dead father shows up in Nome, Alaska, her gift for forgiveness is tested. With the recent loss of her mother, she searches for answers, leaning on Granny Beaufort, a neighbor in town, who listens with a kind heart. Still, Madysen is restless and dreams of performing her music around the world. The arrival of a traveling show could prove just the chance she needs, and the manager promises more than she ever dreamed.

Daniel Beaufort arrives in Nome, searching for his own answers after the gold rush leaves him with only empty pockets. Still angry about the death of his loved ones, he longs to start fresh but doesn’t have high hopes until he ends up helping at the Powell dairy making cheese. Drawn to the beautiful redhead with big dreams, will deceptions from the past tear apart any hope for the future?


Click here to get your copy!


Is it possible to forgive a father that you had believed dead, but who had apparently left you, your sisters, and your mother years ago because he loved alcohol more? How do you overcome the grief of losing a mother who loved music and encouraged you to share your God-given musical talents with others? If you're one of the three Powell sisters, you depend on each other as you struggle with these emotions. Endless Mercy is a lovely story that shows the wonderful bond between Whitney, Havyn, and Madysen Powell and the strong Christian upbringing that they have been given. It also shows the struggle that the youngest sister Madysen faces as she contemplates leaving Nome, Alaska, for a musical career elsewhere. Is it God's will for her to leave her grandfather and sisters, not to mention a young man who offers her strength and comfort? Would she really be comfortable performing in a traveling show?

Authors Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse have written a touching historical novel that focuses on the deep love between siblings. Endless Mercy realistically shows their grief for their mother and their bitterness for their father but this book is never depressing. It is, instead, a story of hope, forgiveness, and the marvelous gift of mercy. If you're looking for a heartwarming Christian romance that gives you all of the feels, you will want to read Endless Mercy!

I received a copy of this book from the authors via Celebrate Lit. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

About the Authors

Tracie Peterson (www.traciepeterson.com) is the award-winning author of over 100 novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her many bestselling series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.





Kimberley Woodhouse (www.kimberleywoodhouse.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than fifteen fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.


More from Kim

It’s so exciting for book two in our Treasures of Nome series, Endless Mercy, to be heading out into the world! Tracie and I are so thrilled to bring you another story set in Nome, Alaska. And isn’t that cover gorgeous? Bethany House does such an amazing job with our books, it is an absolute joy to get to work with them.

In book one, Forever Hidden, we are introduced to three sisters and their family (and farm) in Nome. Forever Hidden is Havyn’s story. And did I mention there are chickens? Check out my blog for some interesting pictures and stories about how these chicken stories came to be…

Book two, Endless Mercy, is Madysen’s story. Madysen is the youngest sibling, and in our story, she’s a talented cello player. Oh, and there are some sheep, who just might help get her into mischief. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

Book three will release January 2022 and will finish out the Powell girls’ stories with the eldest, Whitney.

This series is very near and dear to us because the Powell sisters in the books are actually named after three beautiful girls we adore. They were music students of mine in Colorado and when Tracie and I had a book signing for In the Shadow of Denali, the red-headed, musical sisters all came. Tracie made the comment that someone should write a book about them…so of course…we did!

I wish you could hear the girls play and sing in real life. They are such talented musicians, and I love them dearly. Huge thanks go to Monica and Merle Powell for allowing us to take their three girls and make fictional characters out of them.

Here’s a picture of Monica with me and Tracie at a book signing years ago. And then of course, I had to put in a picture of the real Powell girls.

We’d love for you to join us for The Treasures of Nome. Enjoy the blog tour!

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, January 25

Connie’s History Classroom, January 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 26

Breny and Books, January 26

Christian Bookaholic, January 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 28

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Batya’s Bits, January 28

She Lives to Read, January 29

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 29

Remembrancy, January 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 30

Older & Smarter?, January 31

deb’s Book Review, January 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 1

For Him and My Family, February 1

Bigreadersite, February 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 2

Inspiration Clothesline, February 2

Artistic Nobody, February 3 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Empowermoms, February 3

Texas Book-aholic, February 4

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, February 4

Vicky Sluiter, February 4

Inklings and notions, February 5

Daysong Reflections, February 5

The Avid Reader, February 6

Hallie Reads, February 6

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 7

Pause for Tales, February 7

Bizwings Blog, February 7


To celebrate their tour, Kimberley and Tracie are giving away the grand prize package of Forever Hidden, Endless Mercy, and this candle!! (https://etsy.me/2JvrO0a)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


View all my reviews

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep: Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Li


The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian historical

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint

Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.


Click here to get your copy!


What happens when a rookie constable finds himself working with a swindler and thief from Blackfriars Lane, a part of London that isn't for the faint-hearted? Kit Turner is smart and shrewd and just the person to help him but she isn't quite as tough as she seems. Will Jackson Forge see past her street-savvy persona and discover the real Kit?

"Heaven and earth! What was he thinking? He swiped a hand over his face. Now was not the time to admire a woman, particularly one who broke the law...or did she?"

There are so many reasons to love this book. Two great characters, a mystery set in 1885 London, and the thrilling chemistry between Jackson and Kit that promises to be more than either bargained for. Author Michelle Griep is an expert in writing romantic scenes but the chemistry between Kit and Jackson is more than physical attraction. These two complicated people connect on a deeper level and Griep gives us a glimpse of the vulnerability of both of them! Her addition of humor and a strong faith element add to the appeal and the result is a fantastic Regency fiction novel!

I highly recommend The Thief of Blackfriars Lane to all who enjoy Christian romantic suspense and I'm hoping that there will be another story with these two special characters.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest



More from Michelle

Zootopia in Victorian London

I admit it. I like kid’s movies. You know, the animated sort that entertain both young and old alike. One of my favorites is Zootopia, a rollicking adventure about a bunny whose dream it is to be a police officer and make the streets of the big city safe for all animals. In fact, I loved it so much that I thought why not set it in Victorian London?


So I did.


And that’s what The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is all about, but that meant I had to do a little digging into the history of police force of the late 1800’s. Here’s what I learned…


The Metropolitan Police (founded in 1829 by Robert Peel) was composed mostly of young men, many of whom were recruited from rural areas. Few were from London, the philosophy being that they would thus be free from local patronage and influence.


It is a bit of an anomaly that hero Jackson Forge and his friend, Officer Baggett, carry a sidearm. Some did, but most relied on truncheons. It was up to the officer. Revolvers were usually only supplied after the death of a police officer by an armed criminal, at the discretion of the Divisional Officer, or if a constable requested to use one during night duty. In 1884, after the deaths of several police officers, the Home Office ordered nearly a thousand revolvers from Webley & Scott to be issued to branches of the London police. . .which is where I got the idea of a shipment of guns for the villain to attempt to steal.


Police detectives were recruited from within the ranks of existing uniformed officers. There were actually women on the force at the time, employed as police matrons. But these were behind-the-scenes workers, tasked with guarding women and children. If my heroine, Kit, were to be out in public, serving as Jackson’s assistant, she’d have to keep her job secret. The first female police officer wasn’t seen on the streets until 1919.


And so, armed with that information, I wrote the adventures of not a police bunny and a con artist fox, but of Jackson Forge, a fresh-faced constable, and his thorn in the side, swindler Kit Turner. Snatch up your own copy and enjoy a visit to Victorian London!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 23

Bizwings Blog, January 23

Remembrancy, January 24

Connect in Fiction, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

Blogging With Carol, January 24

She Lives To Read, January 25

Blessed & Bookish, January 25

Genesis 5020, January 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 25

Library Lady’s kid Lit, January 26

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 27

CarpeDiem, January 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 28

For the Love of Literature, January 28

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 28

Connie’s History Classroom, January 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 29

Rachael’s Inkwell, January 29

Life of Literature, January 29

Betti Mace, January 30

Older & Smarter?, January 30

Texas Book-aholic, January 30

HookMeInABook, January 30

For Him and My Family, January 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 31

Mia Reads, January 31

Godly Book Reviews, January 31

Through the Fire Blogs, February 1

KarenSueHadley, February 1

The Book Chic Blog, February 1

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, February 1

Artistic Nobody, February 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, February 2 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mamma Loves Books, February 2

Blossoms and Blessings, February 2

Splashes of Joy, February 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 3

Vicky Sluiter, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 3

The Write Escape, February 4

Wishful Endings, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 4

Hallie Reads, February 4

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, February 5

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 5

To Everything There Is A Season, February 5

Daysong Reflections, February 5


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Thief of Blackfriars Lane!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


View all my reviews


Friday, January 29, 2021

Tested and Approved: 21 Lessons for Life and Ministry by Tom Lane: Review & Giveaway

I'm thrilled to share this book with you I also have a copy to give away. You can find the details at the end of this post. 


Pastors and Christian leaders will benefit from the wisdom and experiences of Pastor Tom Lane. Ministry can be a long road with many rewards and challenges, but you don’t have to walk it alone. In this book he shares 21 lessons he has learned in over 30 years of ministry.

There are 21 lessons in Tested and Approved.

1. Ministry and Life are not fair.
2. Ministry is about people before it is about results.
3. We will be known by the fruits we produce. 
4. Success is a process.
5. Accountability is a good thing.
6. Every generation has the responsibility to build wealth.
7. Take responsibility for your mistakes.
8. Respect and honor the past.
9. Excellence is a reflection of effort and attitude.
10. Live your life in a godly rhythm.
11. Seek out and embrace what is true.
12. Be nice to people who are different.
13. You are either an influence or you’re being influenced.
14. Make spiritual hygiene as important as physical hygiene.
15. Life is lived in seasons, so learn to recognize and celebrate their coming and going.
16. Don’t take up an offense, especially one that is not your own.
17. Respect and appreciate the platform you have been given.
18. Love is courageous, yet it does not enable.
19. Be gracious in transition and remember God is in charge!
20. Watch your six-at all times!
21. Finish strong and don’t coast to the finish line!


Tested and Approved is an exceptional resource for all ministers but what Tom Lane has learned in his more than 30 years of ministry is very beneficial for all Christians. Anyone wanting to have a closer walk with God will certainly profit from Lane's wisdom and it is shared in an easy and informal manner. The lessons in the 21 chapters mention success, failure, relationships, finding a balance between life and work, and understanding the different seasons of our lives. I was especially drawn to chapter 13 and chapter 18, with Lane's reminders that we are 'either an influence or we're being influenced' and that 'love is courageous, yet it does not enable'.

This book is overflowing with inspiration and encouragement and I recommend Tested and Approved to anyone wanting to deepen their Christian faith.

I received a copy of this book from Gateway Publishing. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 


Tom Lane is the apostolic senior pastor at Gateway Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. As an elder, he provides spiritual governance for Gateway’s ministries. As a pastor to pastors, Tom is a long-term, trusted Christian leader. Tom has written many books including Heritage: A Father’s Influence to the GenerationsFoundations of Healthy Church Government, and he coauthored Strong Women and the Men Who Love Them with his wife, Jan.

Tom and his wife Jan have been married since 1972 and are blessed with four married children and 15 grandchildren.

One hardback copy will be given to a commenter who tells me which lesson sounds the most appealing. Please leave an email address so that I can contact you if you are the winner. You may also comment on my Facebook post featuring this review. Giveaway ends Tuesday, February 2 at 11:59 PM.

Going Home (Brides of Webster County #1) by Wanda E. Brunstetter


Faith Stutzman Andrews left her Missouri Amish community ten years ago to pursue her career as a comedian. Now widowed, Faith shows up on her parents' doorstep with her six-year-old daughter in tow. Will the lure of the English world prove too strong for Faith, or will she discover that home is where her heart is? Confirmed bachelor Noah Hertzler often bakes desserts that he gives to others, attaching verses of Scripture to each culinary delight in the hopes of soothing the soul as well as nourishing the body. Can Noah's tactics heal a shattered Faith before she runs away again?

Brides of Webster County

Going Home 
On Her Own 
Dear to Me 
Allison's Journey


Ten years ago Faith Stutzman Andrews ran away from her Missouri home because her Amish parents frowned upon her joke telling and her yodeling. Now, even though she still loves to entertain people with her talents, she is returning to Seymour and Webster County because of the sudden death of her husband. Her parents may not accept her back into the fold but hopefully, they will be willing to provide a home for the granddaughter they've never met.

I always appreciate that author Wanda E. Brunstetter doesn't portray the Amish as never experiencing problems or heartaches and Going Home is a thought-provoking Amish story that shows how the desire for fame and fortune can change the way a person believes. Faith admits that she was a rebellious teenager who left her Amish upbringing to join the English world and she also realizes that her marriage wasn't happy. Even worse, she understands that she grieves more for the loss of a manager than the loss of a husband. These painful realizations prompt her to steer clear of another romantic involvement! "I'll never marry again--that's for certain sure. It would be hard to trust another man."

And then, Noah Hetzler becomes a part of her life and suddenly, the Amish lifestyle becomes much more appealing. Noah's strong Christian witness shows Faith what she's lost and in a moment of revelation, Faith understands that "She must rely wholy on the Lord to meet her needs. No amount of money or recognition could fill the void in a person's heart the way Jesus' love did." Has her return to faith come too late? Will this prodigal daughter be allowed to raise her daughter in the Amish culture that she now fully appreciates? Is it possible for Faith to remain in Webster County?

Going Home
is a heartwarming story of forgiveness and redemption and I recommend it to all who enjoy Amish romance.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, 
Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

To learn more about Wanda, visit her  Website  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest