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.