Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell

Title: Like a Flower in Bloom
Author: Siri Mitchell
Pages: 368
Year: 2014
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     He stole the work she loved. Will she let him steal her heart as well?

     It’s all her uncle’s fault. For years Charlotte Withersby has been free to pursue her love of plants and flowers by assisting her botanist father. But now that she’s reached the old age of twenty-two, an intrusive uncle has convinced her father that Charlotte’s future – the only proper future for a woman – is to be a wife and mother, not a scholar.

     Her father is so dependent on her assistance that Charlotte believes he’ll soon change his mind…and then Edward Trimble shows up. A long-time botany correspondent in the South Pacific, Trimble arrives ready to step in as assistant so that Charlotte can step out into proper society – a world that baffles her with its unwritten rules, inexplicable expectations, and confounding fashion.

     Things aren’t perfectly smooth between Trimble and her father, so Charlotte hatches a last gasp plan. She’ll pretend such an interest in marriage that the thought of losing her will make her father welcome her back. Only thing go quickly awry, and she realizes that the one man who recognizes her intelligence is also the person she’s most angry with: Edward Trimble, her supposed rival. Suddenly juggling more suitors than she knows what to do with, Charlotte is caught in a trap of her own making. Will she have no choice but to leave her beloved flowers behind?

My review:

     A delightful “fish out of water” novel!

     I absolutely love the characters that Siri has created for this novel. When she introduces Charlotte it is very easy to understand who she is and what her focus for her life is. Then we are introduced to her uncle and her whole existence is turned upside down. The journey she embarks on to try and learn all that she feels is now expected of her is a joy to go on with her. There are multiple times throughout the book that I found myself laughing outright.

     The other characters are equally well developed and a lot of fun to get to know and try to understand. After meeting most of the characters it is a wonderful surprise to realize who is able to give her the best advice as she tries to transition to her new role.

     I personally don’t know what most flowers are, or the different parts of them, so I really can’t speak to the accuracy of the botanical terms used. I am sure that the research Siri did to write clearly about this very detailed subject was intense. I must applaud her attention to research and presenting the topic so thoroughly.

     I really enjoyed this book and I’m giving it 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Soft Breath of Wind by Roseanna M. White

Title: A Soft Breath of Wind (Stand alone sequel to A Stray Drop of Blood)
Author: Roseanna M. White
Pages: 353
Year: 2014
Publisher: White Fire Publishing
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     A gift that has branded her for life.

     Zipporah is thirteen when the Spirit descends upon her, opening her eyes to a world beyond the physical goings-on of the villa outside Rome she has always called home. Within hours, she learns what serving the Lord can cost. Forever scarred after a vicious attack, she knows her call is to use this discernment to protect the Way. She knows she must serve the rest of her life at Tutelos, where the growing Roman church has congregated. She knows her lot is set.

     Yet is it so wrong to wish that her master, the kind and handsome young Benjamin Visibullis, will eventually see her as something more than a sister in Christ?

     Samuel Asinius, adoptive son of a wealthy Roman, has always called Benjamin brother. When their travels take them to Jerusalem for Passover, the last thing he expects is to cross paths with the woman who sold him into slavery as a child – the mother he long ago purged from his heart. His sister, Dara, quickly catches Benjamin’s eye, but Samuel suspects there is something dark at work.

     When Dara, a fortune-teller seeking the will of a shadowy master determined to undermine the Way, comes into the path of Zipporah, a whirlwind descends upon them all.

     Only the soft wind of the Spirit can heal their scars… with a love neither divination nor discernment could foresee.

My review:

     This novel is absolutely amazing!

     There are a lot of wonderful characters that are incredibly well developed. The way that they interact with each other whether they are a part of the family of land owners or their slaves is a joy to read. They all work together for the good of them all. When conflict arises it is clearly shown who is on which side and yet they are still able to work together in spite of the conflict.

     I really love the way the story progresses. I didn’t really notice any filler material in the novel. Everything works together to move the story forward or to help to define one of the characters and what makes that individual “tick”. The climax of the story is very well presented. Yet at the same time there is an opening left for another novel to be written with some of these fantastic characters.

     I have to give this wonderful book, looking at the 1st century church in Rome, 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tears of the Sea by MaryLu Tyndall

Title: Tears of the Sea
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Pages: 260
Year: 2014
Publisher: Ransom Press
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Doomed by the evil warlock Forwin to wander the ancient seas as a mermaid for all eternity, Perdita longs for the release death would bring. Every ten years she has a chance to break the curse when she emerges from the sea fully human for one month. The catch? She must find a man willing to die for her. After 200 years, her failures have left her heartbroken and alone.

     Savion Ryne wants nothing to do with beautiful women. It was one such woman whose betrayal sent him far away to battle Natas’ rebellion. He longs to return to his father’s kingdom in Nevaeh but must first complete an unknown mission.

     After Savion falls off his ship during a storm, he wakes on the shores of an island with visions of a dark haired mermaid tending his wounds. When a woman similar in appearance begs for his protection, he is suspicious.

     Perdita has never met anyone as honorable as Savion. Even though he shuns her every advance, she falls for him. But as the end of her time on land approaches, she faces the hardest decision of all, save Savion and remain cursed for all eternity or break the curse and watch the man she loves die.

My review:

     WOW! It sucked me in!

     If you want a wonderful romantic novel to take you away, this book is perfect.

     If you want a book that will draw you in and give you a deeper meaning to search for while reading it, this book is perfect.

     When I started reading this book I was feeling like I needed to read it quickly and just be amused by it. What I found instead was a very deep story that I found I needed to take my time with it and just absorb all the nuances that it contains. There are many points that can just be taken at face value as an entertaining read. But they can just as well be applied to mankind today and how we live our lives and treat other people.

     The characters are so well written that the attitude each one has towards other people is very clearly presented. There are greedy, money hungry people. There are power hungry people. There are those who are only wanting their needs met. Then there are some who are just looking for how they can help others. Just like all the different types of people that we all run into in our own lives.

     The way the romance develops and grows is fantastic. As the romance builds the question is will the characters grow in emotional maturity and become better people because of it. I couldn’t put the book down until I found the answer to this very important question.

     The one additional thing that really captured my interest was in trying to identify different situations and draw the parallel to a time period or situation in the bible. This is a difficult thing to present in a novel and yet MaryLu has done a fantastic job of it.

     I absolutely LOVE this book. Standard rating systems have 5 stars as the maximum but here on my own blog I’m going to take the liberty of doubling it for this book because it is just THAT WONDERFUL! I’m giving it 10 stars and I don’t care whose mind that messes with. I cannot stress my recommendation of this book enough! Get a copy! Read it once, twice, or a dozen times! I know I will be reading it again!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Surprised by Love (The Heart of San Francisco #3) by Julie Lessman

Title: Surprised by Love (The Heart of San Francisco #3)
Author: Julie Lessman
Pages: 416
Year: 2014
Publisher: Revell
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     She can turn the head of the man who spurned her – but can she turn his heart?

     When Megan McClare left San Francisco to study in Paris, no one would accuse her of being poised and pretty. But on the other side of the Atlantic, this wallflower blossomed into a beauty with big dreams. When she returns to California and accepts an internship at the district attorney’s office, she’s thrilled that her life is taking shape. But the exciting opportunity quickly loses its glow when she discovers she’ll be working alongside Devin Caldwell, who mercilessly mocked her at school – and with whom she was hopelessly enamored.

     Bram Hughes is the best friend to whom Megan has always turned for support and advice. But when she seeks his counsel about working with Devin Caldwell, Bram’s vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a little sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

My review:

     Incredible Christian historical romance.

     Julie has again crafted a wonderful story. She has done a masterful job of developing not one but two love triangles for this book.

     As with the first two books in this series we spend a lot of time in the McClare household in early 20th century San Francisco. We venture out from there with the main characters to see what life was like in this time and place.

     The characters are beautifully described and superbly developed. With such a large cast of characters I’m amazed at how each personality is built up and then each one stays true to themselves throughout the story.

     I loved seeing how many of the individuals grow in their relationship with God throughout the story. The calm strong believer is willing to help direct others to God and yet he doesn’t shove his belief down other people’s throats. I really like that.

     As soon as I saw that this story takes place in San Francisco in 1904, my mind jumped ahead to the earthquake of 1906. As I fell more and more in love with these wonderful characters I couldn’t help wondering how they would fare when the earthquake struck. I would love to see more books in this series so that this question can be answered.

     This is a fantastic book and I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Silent Night Standoff (First Responders #1/Love Inspired Suspense) by Susan Sleeman

Title: Silent Night Standoff (First Responders #1/Love Inspired Suspense)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 224
Year: 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     When armed robbers strike her bank, hostage negotiator Skyler Brennan’s life is on the line. Rescue comes from the last person she thought she could count on; the ex-boyfriend who chose his job over their relationship. FBI agent Logan Hunter knows how much is resting on this case. The promotion of his dreams; and the safety of the woman he’s never been able to forget. But when an unexpected twist in the case pulls Logan in two separate directions, he’ll have to make an impossible choice. Will he manage to have it all by Christmas; a career and love; or will he lose them both?

My review:

     Incredible suspense and heartwarming romance.

     Susan Sleeman has created a wonderful cast of characters for this book. The two main ones for this novel are Skyler Brennan and Logan Hunter. They are so well developed and have so many layers to them that are gradually revealed it is an ongoing adventure to discover what makes each of them tick.

     Skyler is part of a team of First Responders and each of her teammates are introduced and enough about them is revealed that I can’t wait to read their stories and learn more about them. I’m hoping that each of them gets their own book.

     The plot line for the suspense is intricately woven and held my interest throughout the book. Skyler and Logan both have emotional baggage from years past that hinders their romance. It was fascinating to me to see how they worked through their own problems as the story progressed.

     I absolutely LOVED this book. In my mind 5 stars isn’t enough. But since that is the standard “high score” I will only give it the 5. I definitely recommend this wonderful book!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance

Title: The Covered Deep
Author: Brandy Vallance
Pages: 400
Year: 2014
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Some dreams are worth searching for.

     Bianca Marshal is looking for a man who can quote both Jesus and Shakespeare. Not surprisingly, that man is hard to find in the small Appalachian town where she lives. Her mother insists that Bianca lower her standards. On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, even Bianca wonders if her mother is right.

     Still set on experiencing love, or at least a little adventure, Bianca wins an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for the perfect romantic hero. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of Palestine, Bianca’s true love will be revealed – but not without a price that might be too heavy to pay.

My review:

     An incredible debut novel!

     The premise for this story caught my attention immediately. The development of the plot did not let me down. The main character, Bianca Marshal, is beautifully presented. She has a high standard set for the man she will marry. Will she truly find someone to meet those standards or will she have to relax them?

     There are a number of other characters who are just as well developed. Some are masters at manipulation, while others are open and forthright. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions between them all. I was intrigued by the buildup and revelation of the motivation behind the planning of the trip and the contest to see who would be going on it. The bottom line for this story, as I see it, is that there is always the need to forgive others.

     Brandy Vallance has written a wonderful debut novel. I’m looking forward to seeing what she will write next. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Title: Mr. Miracle
Author: Debbie Macomber
Pages: 256
Year: 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track – and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

My review:

     A light, entertaining Christmas story.

     Debbie Macomber once again develops quite an array of characters. Addie Folsom displays her maturity throughout the story as she deals with a difficult situation and a difficult neighbor. Harry Mills is a guardian angel on his first mission to earth. I really enjoyed Debbie’s ideas on what it is like for an angel to take on a human body.

     There is only one thing that did disappoint me in this novel. I’ve read a number of other Christmas stories by Debbie. Each of them had multiple riotous comedic scenes in them. I only found a few amusing scenes in this story and I missed being able to let loose with laughter.

     I enjoyed this book and am giving it 4 stars. I’ve grown to expect more comedy from Debbie’s Christmas stories. I do highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

All God's Children (The Peacemakers #1) by Anna Schmidt

Title: All God’s Children (The Peacemakers #1)
Author: Anna Schmidt
Pages: 320
Year: 2013
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

About the book:

     Beth Bridgewater, a German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts – a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist. Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay to help the helpless. Meanwhile, Josef Buch, a passionately patriot German, is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis. . . . Despite their differences, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance – and in love. Does their love stand a chance. . . if they even survive at all?

My review:

     This is an exciting Christian WWII novel.

     This is a wonderful exploration of how the Quakers handle themselves during very difficult times. I had no idea how this unique group of people worship and how they work as a community. I loved the look into their beliefs and calm manner of dealing with difficult issues.

     The characters are wonderful. I was able to connect with them very quickly. They were well developed and the personalities were extremely varied which helped to keep my interest.

     The conflict between those who believed in Hitler, and his regime, and those who were opposed was very clearly presented. I never knew that there were Quakers in Germany at the time of WWII. I really enjoyed learning about this.

     I give this wonderful story 5 stars and I’m eagerly looking forward to reading the other books in this series. I highly recommend this book.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Healing Quilt (The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #3) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Title: The Healing Quilt (The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #3)
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Pages: 320
Year: 2014
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Emma takes her Amish quilting class to the sunshine state.

     Amish newlyweds, Lamar and Emma Yoder Miller seek warmer weather is Sarasota, Florida, and have purchased a small house in the Pinecraft community. But Emma wishes her days had more purpose than leisurely walks on the beach. Before long she is sending back home for her supplies and advertising a quilting class.

     Wounded and hurting people have a knack for finding their way to Emma’s classes for some quilting therapy: Jennifer, a pregnant new mom; Mike, a charter boat owner; Erika, a wheelchair-bound teen; Kim, a waitress; Noreen, a newly retired widow; and B.J. an artist facing illness. God will use Emma and Lamar on each of their journeys toward healing frayed hearts.

     And when Jan Sweet visits from Indiana, a romantic twist is unexpectedly added to the class dynamics.

My review:

     A great story about simply caring about and for others.

     There is a full cast of wonderful, well developed characters. Emma and Lamar Miller are so calm and peaceful. They share their love of God in the simple things that they do and easy way they open up to each person taking their quilting class. Each student in the newest class arrives for the first class with a problem they are facing. The Miller’s simple way of caring for each one helps them all to open up before the 6 weeks are over.

     The students all have differing personalities and a variety of problems. I love the depth that Wanda goes to in building up each one of them. The problems are slowly explored and then sorted out.

     It is a fantastic book that drew me in and held my attention throughout the story. One of the main attractions for me is the simple lifestyle that Emma and Lamar live and the ease they have caring for so many different types of people.

     I absolutely loved this book and give it 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Forever Amish (Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy #3) by Kate Lloyd

Title: Forever Amish (Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy #3)
Author: Kate Lloyd
Pages: 368
Year: 2014
Publisher: David C. Cook
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     It’s the last thing she expects to find.

     Sally Bingham needs some time away to sort through the changes in her life and to rethink her upcoming marriage. Despite her ailing father’s hesitations, she drives to Lancaster County for a weekend away. But her best-laid plans leave her in a near collision with a bishop’s buggy and in the home of a mysterious Amish woman named Lizzie. Lizzie introduces her to a different perspective on life, a charming farmhand named Armin – and opens a Pandora’s box that will forever change Sally’s life.

     The last book in the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Forever Amish introduces us to a young woman about to uncover a shocking secret and find an invitation to a new way of living. This is a story of forgiveness, legacies, and the ties that bind through generations.

My review:

     This is a wonderful exploration of forgiveness.

     This book is full of fantastic characters. They are well developed and presented. The variety of personalities is very nice. Most of them, but not all, are Amish. Some of them have secrets they have been keeping for years even from their closest loved ones. As secrets come out heartaches abound. It was great to see the paths each one takes to find their way to forgiveness.

     Once again I have found a great book that I loved and am giving it 5 stars. I highly recommend this book. It is a stand-alone story and you don’t have to have the first 2 books in this series before reading this one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Place in His Heart (The Southold Chronicles #1) by Rebecca DeMarino

Title: A Place in His Heart (The Southold Chronicles #1)
Author: Rebecca DeMarino
Pages: 330
Year:  2014
Publisher: Revell
Note:  I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     She could cross an ocean, but could she ever win his heart?

     Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother.

     With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas’s secret plans tomove his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary’s world is upended. How could she possibly leave her papa and her dear sister?

     And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband’s broken heart?

My review:

     Incredible debut novel!

     I loved this story. There are no major attention grabbing moments. It is a simple, heartwarming tale of everyday family life in the 1600s. The characters are easy to connect with and very human. The conflicts that arise between them are common today as each person sees life from their own perspective. The descriptions of life and how a household was run during this time period were wonderful. They kept my attention just as much as the characters did.

     A fabulous job by debut author Rebecca DeMarino. When I found at the end that it is based on her ancestors I was even more intrigued by the story. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment in this family’s history.

     I give this wonderful story about faithfulness to wedding vows a rating of 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Praying Through Hard Times: Finding Strength in God's Presence

Title: Praying Through Hard Times: Finding Strength in God’s Presence
Author: Linda Evans Shepherd
Pages: 192
Year: 2014
Publisher: Revell
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     I had a little trouble getting started on reading this book. I don’t read very many non-fiction titles. When I agreed to read this one it was because God wouldn’t let me let go of the thought that I needed to read it. I finally picked it up about 6 weeks after it arrived in the mail and read the first chapter. The very next day I had a mammogram. It showed an area of unusual cells and I was scheduled for a needle biopsy. I am still working my way through doctor appointments and testing to find out what exactly what those cells are. God knew what I was going to be going through and that I was going to need to read this book.

About the book:

     No matter what the hurt, there is always, always hope.

     The storms of life visit us all, and at times we find ourselves ill-prepared to weather them. Where is God when everything comes crashing down? Where is he when a job is lost? When a child goes astray? When the diagnosis is cancer? Does he truly care?

     In Praying through Hard Times, Linda Evans Shepherd shows you how to see God in times of trouble. With compassion born from her own experiences with tragedy, Shepherd offers you practical strategies for surviving difficult times, giving your worries and sadness to God, praying through the pain, and finding peace, hope, and joy once more. In fact, she even shows you how the tough times can draw you closer to God than ever before.

     God’s answers to prayer may not come packaged in the ways we would expect, but they do come in ways that will transform our lives.

My review:

     Great directions for finding strength in God’s presence.

     Each chapter in this book was very well presented. They were full of wonderful points and insights. I liked the fact that a lot of scripture was used to support the points that were made. I also enjoyed the examples from the author’s life, as well as other women she had contact with. The one downside for me in this book is that some of the chapters did not seem to fit together very well. At times this was a distraction that I had to struggle to get past.

     I do recommend this book to anyone that has ever had to, or will have to, go through hard times of any kind. Since we are all humans living in an imperfect world this should include all of us. I give this book 4 stars.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Abandoned Memories (Escape to Paradise #3) by MaryLu Tyndall

Title: Abandoned Memories (Escape to Paradise #3)
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Pages: 320
Year: 2014
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Something sinister lurks in the lush Brazilian jungle…

     It is 1866 and the fledgling Confederate colony of New Hope is Angeline Moore’s last chance at a normal life. Running from the law, she longs to make a fresh start in this new Southern Utopia. But a series of strange disasters threatens to destroy everything the colonists have worked for, and strange visions threaten to reveal a past Angeline is desperate to hide.

     James Callaway failed at both doctoring and preaching, but he hopes that his move to Brazil will give him another chance to become the spiritual leader he so desires. He longs to create a world free from the immorality that plagued every street corner back home and ruined his life. And he believes Angeline is just the sort of refined woman he needs to keep him on the right track.

     But something is amiss in New Hope: haunting visions, the discovery of crypts beneath an ancient temple, and an archaic Hebrew book, set the colonists’ fears on edge. When one of their own is murdered, a series of disasters leads them to believe God has brought them to Brazil to defeat an evil that, if unleashed, could wreak havoc on the entire world.

My review:

     Incredible romance mixed with danger as good battles evil.

     I had already felt a connection to both of the main characters in this book, Angeline Moore and James Callaway, from having read both of the previous books in this series. That connection with them only grew as they stepped forward and took center stage in this novel. Though they were the main focus all four of the main characters from the previous books were very evident and we learned how they had grown and developed.

     MaryLu did a wonderful job of building a very dangerous situation and then taking these fantastic characters on a road of personal discovery as they also tried to find the root cause of the danger as well as how to defeat it. I loved how they had to develop their belief in God before they could overcome the evil that was trying to destroy all of them.
     I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I have to give it 5 stars. I love these characters and feel very sad thinking that their journey is probably over.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fatal Exchange (Southern Crimes #2) by Lisa Harris

Title: Fatal Exchange (Southern Crimes #2)
Author: Lisa Harris
Pages: 320
Year: 2014
Publisher: Revell
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Desperate times create desperate people. And desperate people are dangerous…

     Though Emily Hunt comes from a family of cops, the relatively quiet life of a high school teacher suits her just fine. She’s saving up to buy a house, slowly moving forward after her brother’s death, and settling into a life she loves. So the last person she wants to spend time with is Mason Taylor.

     An undercover cop, Mason is enemy number one as far as her family is concerned. His involvement in the death of Emily’s brother is still up in the air, and now he expects her to help him with a case. Mason has been working with one of her students, Rafael Cerda, whose brother has been kidnapped by a drug cartel. And with time running out to meet their demands, Rafael is getting desperate.

     Emily will have to draw on all of her strength to handle what happens next…

     Fatal Exchange will draw you into a complex matrix of intertwining lives, unraveling secrets, and unexpected love.

My review:

     Christian suspense that makes your heart pound!

     This is the first book by Lisa Harris that I have ever read. After reading it I will definitely be looking for her other novels. I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

     Both of the main characters, Emily Hunt and Mason Taylor, are Christians. As they are thrown together in a very tense and suspense filled situation it is wonderful to see how each of them copes. Emily has no personal training and so she relies mainly on God to get through. Mason is a trained police officer so he relies on his training and yet he also seeks God’s guidance. They were both so well fleshed out and presented that I quickly connected with them and found myself pulling for them to figure out who the bad guys were so that they could safely resolve the life threatening situation.

     There are a lot of secondary characters that are important to the storyline as well. They are also well developed and their interactions with each other, as well as, with the main characters do a wonderful job of moving the story along.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dying to Read (Cate Kinkaid Files #1) by Lorena McCourtney

Title: Dying to Read (Cate Kinkaid Files #1)
Author: Lorena McCourtney
Pages: 320
Year: 2012
Publisher: Revell Publishing

     All she wanted was a paycheck. What she got was a murder.

     Cate Kinkaid’s life is … well, frankly it’s floundering. Her social life, her career, her haircut – they’re all a mess. Unemployed, she jumps at the chance to work for her PI uncle, even though she has no experience and no instincts. After all, she is just dabbling in the world of private investigating until she can find a “real” job.

     All she has to do for her first assignment is determine that a particular woman lives at a particular address. Simple, right? But when she reaches the dark Victorian house, she runs into a hungry horde of gray-haired mystery readers and a dead body. This routine PI job is turning out to be anything but simple. Is Cate in over her head?

     This is a very enjoyable Christian mystery novel.

     It was a lot of fun to meet Cate and the other characters in this book. Lorena developed a wide variety of personalities along with their crazy quirks. I found Cate to be a very sweet, bumbling PI. I loved seeing what all trouble Cate managed to get into, much of it was of her own making. Just as enjoyable was finding out how she got out of each situation.

     I’m looking forward to reading the other novels about Cate, as well as, the other series Lorena McCourtney has written. I highly recommend this book. I give it 5 stars.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sky Zone (The Crittendon Files #3) by Creston Mapes

Title: Sky Zone (The Crittendon Files #3)
Author: Creston Mapes
Pages: 448 
Year: 2014
Publisher: David C Cook
Note:  I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Jack Crittendon is now working as an usher at the Columbus Festival Arena. He reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling, where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist attack, Jack and his survivalist friend, Brian Shakespeare, are thrust into a life-and-death battle to save themselves – and thousands of innocent people.

     This is edge of your seat Christian suspense!

     Jack and Pamela Crittendon are back with even more problems in their personal lives. I enjoyed seeing where they have progressed to since the end of book two in this series. This is nicely interspersed throughout the suspense of the main story and very easy to relate to.

     The main story is introduced at the end of chapter one with the announcement, “We’ve got a national security threat.” It races full speed ahead from that point on. This book is filled with action and adrenaline pumping terror. The story builds to a heart pounding crescendo. Then it finally eases off a little when I reached the point that I felt like I couldn’t take anymore. There is a nice lull as the personal problems are worked through, only to come back with a final burst of action to wrap things up.

     Are Jack, Pamela, and their friends going to live through this one? If they all survive will they be able to find their way, with God’s help, through the quagmire of problems in their personal lives and with their families?

     This is the best book by Creston Mapes that I have read. He brought back a number of familiar characters from the previous books in this series. He has also developed a number of new people and described them so well that I was able to relate to them and the challenges they faced.

     Nearly everyone has a happy ending. The journey to get there was very well crafted and an absolute pleasure to go on with these characters.

     This is such a marvelous suspense novel I really wish that the normal rating system allowed for more than 5 stars because I would definitely give it more. But because everywhere caps at 5 that is what I feel I have to stop at also. So 5 stars it is. If you enjoy suspense novels I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Raina's Choice (Western Justice #3) by Gilbert Morris

Title: Raina’s Choice (Western Justice #3)
Author: Gilbert Morris
Pages: 320
Year: 2014
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Raina needs a brand-new life, anywhere but here…

     A slave to her brother-in-law’s brutal bidding in a seedy Louisiana saloon, Raina Vernay is at the end of her rope. She’s not sure how much longer she can endure and empty life – and avoid her vile brother-in-law’s advances and her sister’s indifference to it all.

     When a mysterious stranger, Tyler Kincaid, arrives in town from Texas, headed for Ft. Smith and Judge Parker by way of riverboats, Raina’s mind starts churning a plan. She longs to find the father she’s never known, and if an old letter he wrote to her mother is any indication, he just might be in Indian Territory. But she needs a hero to help her escape and has her sights set on Ty.

     Then Ty lands himself in jail. Could this wanted man be any use to her? And yet, what other choice does she have?

     This is book three in a series but you don’t have to read the earlier books first. The only connection between them is Judge Parker and his marshals trying to keep law and order.

     This is a fantastic Christian western novel!

     Life is all about making choices. So is this book. The title is “Raina’s Choice” yet all the way through the book Raina (and a few other characters) have multiple choices to make. A lot of these choices can have a huge impact on the rest of their lives. I really loved the way that Gilbert Morris intertwined the characters lives as they were each processing the decisions that they had to make. There were a couple of characters that had strong relationships with God when they first showed up and they were trying to help the others with their decisions by pointing them to God for help. It was very encouraging and uplifting.

     The characters were easy to connect with and I found myself trying to help a lot of them sort things out and make the right choices. I love reading a book where I can feel for multiple characters.

     The plot was wonderfully developed and presented. It held my attention throughout the book.

     I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Poison Town (The Crittendon Files #2) by Creston Mapes

Title: Poison Town (The Crittendon Files #2)
Author: Creston Mapes
Pages: 368
Year: 2014
Publisher: David C. Cook

     There’s more than one kind of poison in this town!

     People are sick and dying. Rumors are swirling. Some claim chemicals leaking from a manufacturing plant are causing the cancer that’s crippling people on the poor side of Trenton City, Ohio. Yet nothing at the plant appears amiss. The problem remains a mystery until reporter Jack Crittendon’s longtime mechanic falls ill.

     As Jack investigates, he becomes engulfed in a smokescreen of lies, setups, greed, and scandal. The deeper he digs, the more toxic the corruption he uncovers. As he faces off with the big time players behind the scenes and tries to beat the clock before more people die, he realizes the chillingly unthinkable – he knows way too much.

     This is a fantastic Christian suspense novel! I’m giving it 5 stars and highly recommending it.

     The plot is very intricately woven and at the beginning of the book it very slowly develops. As you get farther in it picks up speed as more and more details are revealed.

     There is a wonderful cast of well developed and beautifully presented characters in this book. It is not just a couple of main characters and then small glimpse of side people. They cover a variety of personalities and most of them are easy to connect with.

     I really liked the fact that Jack’s character is still working through the residue of emotions from the first novel in this series. He is a human being with all the faults and failures possible with that. It is nice to see him work through things with his wife and with God as the story progresses.

     I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Match of Wits (Ladies of Distinction #4) by Jen Turano

Title: A Match of Wits (Ladies of Distinction #4)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 345
Year: 2014
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

     After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancee, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes--by hook or by crook--she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.

     Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home . . . until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics.

     Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

     This is a wonderful lighthearted Christian romantic comedy!

     I have read each of the previous books in this series by Jen Turano and absolutely loved all of them. This latest installment in the series does not disappoint. The main characters in this book, Agatha Watson and Zayne Beckett, made appearances in the previous books. It was a lot of fun to see them come to the forefront of the action and grow and develop. The twists and comedic turns that come up are hilarious. Zayne had no idea about how to deal with women or how to understand them. It completely delighted me to see where the most astute insights that he received came from.

     I loved this book and have to give it 5 stars. I highly recommend it!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Rosa's Land (Western Justice #1) by Gilbert Morris

Title: Rosa’s Land (Western Justice #1)
Author: Gilbert Morris
Pages: 318
Year: 2013
Publisher: Barbour Books

     His dream awaits…

    Lafayette Riordan longs for an adventurous life fighting against the West’s worst outlaws. But his gentle upbringing has prepared him for a life as a scholar and artist, not a lawman. Unwilling to give up, Riordan secretly learns to handle firearms – and eventually gains a coveted spot with Judge Isaac Parker’s famous marshals – even though it involves doing the worst jobs in the Territory.

     Rosa Ramirez left the sordid conditions of her home near Amarillo, Texas, for the promise of a new life on her grandfather’s ranch. But she quickly learns that safety is just as precarious on the ranch after a band of outlaws steals her grandfather’s horses and kills one of his men. Rosa rides to Judge Parker and demands protection, but she is livid when she learns that Riordan-the stable boy and dish washer-is the only man available. Far from being the marshal that Rosa wanted, Riordan doesn’t even look like he can brandish a pistol.

     It’s up to Riordan to convince Rosa otherwise…and take hold of his dream of honor and love.

     This is a wonderful Christian western novel!

     It has been a number of years since I’ve read anything by Gilbert Morris. I had forgotten what a fantastic writer he is. He has created wonderful characters in Lafayette Riordan and Rosa Ramirez. I thoroughly enjoyed his development and presentation of each of them. He also created a fairly large group of supporting characters that were equally well developed. I was quickly drawn into the story and found that I needed to finish the book to find out what happened in their lives. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

     I give this novel 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Restless Hearts (Love Inspired / The Flanagans #6) by Marta Perry

Title: Restless Hearts (Love Inspired / The Flanagans #6)
Author: Marta Perry
Pages: 250
Year: 2009
Publisher: Steeple Hill

     A search for her roots brought midwife Fiona Flanagan to Pennsylvania Dutch country – and made her wonder whether she should turn back. The area’s mixture of Amish and English culture confused her, and her first encounter with local police chief Ted Rittenhouse didn’t help. He’d thought she was breaking into her own office! Despite the misunderstanding, Fiona could see that Ted’s tough-as-nails exterior hid a kind soul – one caught between two worlds, seeking a place to belong. She felt the same, but trusting him with her heart would require the biggest step of faith she had ever taken.

     This is a heartwarming Christian romance!

     This is the first book that Marta Perry wrote that I have ever written. I will definitely be looking for her other books. She has created an incredible blend of Amish and English characters. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the people from the two different cultures interacted with each other. As Fiona Flanagan was trying to come to an understanding of the Amish was of life it was very clearly and simply explained so that as an English reader I was also able to understand.

     I really enjoyed the paths that both Fiona and Ted Rittenhouse travelled down to work out issues from their pasts. The questions of who do you trust and how do you reach a point of feeling like you belong are things most of us face at some point or another in our lives. The way that Marta Perry approached them and walked the main characters through them was fantastic.

     I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Raptor 6 (Quiet Professionals #1) by Ronie Kendig

Title: Raptor 6 (Quiet Professionals #1)
Author: Ronie Kendig
Pages: 352
Year: 2014
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

About the book:

His mission.

His team.

Captain Dean Watters keeps these parts of his life in laser-like focus. So when hackers threaten both his mission and his team, Dean’s Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Ten military super-secure computers are missing-which if opened, would give America’s enemies a blueprint of US military intelligence. Failing to stop the hackers isn’t an option.

Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. She’s also a target. Her expertise in quantum cryptology makes her an unwitting pawn in the hackers’ deadly game. They’re coming for her, and Dean and his team must stop them.

Before the team can get to Zahrah, she disappears. Now Dean must race to rescue her and stop the hackers from unleashing terror on millions across the globe. But to do so, Dean will be forced to crack open the steel box around his heart – a move that might come at the highest cost.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with four children and a Maltese Menace in northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction.

Ronie can be found at and on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Now for my review:

This is a fantastic Christian military novel!

Ronie has created an incredible cast of characters for this novel. When I first looked over the list she included at the front of the book I felt very overwhelmed by the number of individuals that are integral to the story. But when I pushed that aside and started reading the story I was able to follow who was who simply by the wonderful way she introduced each one and described them. It was presented slowly as she needed to over the course of building the intricate plot in this story.

She has a marvelous talent for describing surroundings and action that put me in the middle of things. The plot was very carefully woven with enough twists to keep me guessing as to where it was going.

There were a handful of times that the point-of-view would change and I would deal with some momentary confusion as to who was talking. Backing up to the beginning of the section and re-reading was all it took to sort it out though.

I’m looking forward to finding out the next segment of the overall story in the next book of this series.

It is a job well done and definitely deserving of 5 stars. I highly recommend this book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.