Thursday, May 28, 2015

Taken by Dee Henderson

Title: Taken
Author: Dee Henderson
Pages: 424
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand, and his new client, missing far too long . . .

     Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

     When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

     If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to uncover exactly what happened to her – even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

My review:

     This is another great book by Dee Henderson.

     I have to admit that the way the story flowed in this novel was not what I expected. I’m used to Dee’s books having a lot of suspense and danger for the main characters. That said I also have to state the fact that I loved this book as much as her others. There were a lot of twists and surprises throughout the story. I never really knew what to expect to have happen or to be revealed. I did know all along that I was not going to be able to give up on the story. I needed to follow it through to the conclusion.

     Shannon Bliss and Matthew Dane are the main characters and they are both incredibly well developed. I really enjoyed the way that they are presented in layers as the story progresses. Some books with well developed characters they are just put before you and their personality and characteristics are dumped on you right at the beginning and the rest of the story you see how they deal with what comes. I find it much more realistic to meet someone and then as time passes to learn a little more about them through each scene and each interaction with them. This is how Dee has chosen to develop these wonderful characters.

     The other thing that I really enjoy about Dee’s books is the fact that many of her characters from previous books make an appearance. They keep showing up and using what they learned from the book centered on them to help the new characters in the new book. I find this to be a delightful way to keep up with their lives.

     I am highly recommending this novel and giving it a rating of 5 stars.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Deadly Devotion (Port Aster Secrets #1) by Sandra Orchard

Title: Deadly Devotion (Port Aster Secrets #1)
Author: Sandra Orchard
Pages: 374
Year: 2013
Publisher: Revell

About the book:

     Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn't been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn't have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.

     Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.

     As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

My review:

     Kept me guessing all the way through!

     This is the first book of Sandra Orchard’s that I've ever read. It was fantastic. She did a marvelous job of crafting a twisting and tangling suspense/mystery novel. She had so many suspects in this story and presented just enough about each of them that they were definitely believable as the murderer. I didn't know right up until the end who was the culprit.

     I loved both of the main characters, Kate Adams and Tom Parker. They were incredibly well developed and presented. The secondary characters were also well developed. I thoroughly enjoyed the relationships between the different characters.

     I will definitely be reading more books by this author. I am definitely recommending this great suspense/mystery novel and giving it a 5 star rating.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Silver Spurs (Horses and Friends #2) by Miralee Ferrell

Title: Silver Spurs (Horses and Friends #2
Author: Miralee Ferrell
Pages: 240
Releases: June 1, 2015
Publisher: David C. Cook
Age Level: 8 – 12 years old
Note: I received a free eBook copy from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Kate’s dream of owning a horse has finally happened. But now her best friend Tori has no money to buy a horse. So Kate comes up with a plan – she’ll raise money by boarding horses and hosting a show in her family’s barn.

     It seems the perfect solution until Melissa, the girl who disses Kate and Tori at school, shows up to board her horse, determined to compete in their show and win the silver spurs. Will their plan be ruined – or does God have something better in store for them all?

My review:

     This book is perfect for 8-12 year old horse lovers.

     I loved spending more time with Kate, her family, and her friends. This book is a wonderful continuation of their lives. Kate, Tori, and Colt are very realistic middle school age kids. They are very focused on what they want. Kate especially is open with her frustration whenever it looks like things aren't going to go the way she wants them to. As she faces obstacles she is learning to take things to God in prayer. This is helping her learn to trust Him with her dreams and to help her overcome her fears.

     The descriptions of the horse show itself and the care of the horses were wonderfully written. I could picture what was taking place in my mind. This made the story very entertaining to read.

     This is a fabulous story for any girl, or boy, who loves horses and loves to read about them. I am highly recommending it and giving it 5 stars.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Carol for Kent (Song of Suspense #3) by Hallee Bridgeman

Title: A Carol for Kent (Song of Suspense #3)
Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Pages: 300
Year: 2014
Publisher: Olivia Kimbrell Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     A ruthless serial killer seeks to end a love song eight years in the making.

     Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Carol Mabry heads up an investigation into a string of stranglings in Virginia’s capital. The serial killer known as Richmond Red remorselessly snuffs out beautiful young women with violin strings before ritually enshrining their lovely lifeless bodies inside a pentagram of blood red candles.

     Country music superstar Bobby Kent makes an unscheduled return trip to his Virginia home for the first time in years. To his shock, he discovers that he and Carol have a young daughter, Lisa. His parents have kept Lisa hidden from him her entire life while simultaneously deceiving Carol about Bobby’s interest in fatherhood.

     Angry and hurt over the deception, Carol and Bobby strive to cope with this newly discovered reality. They struggle to overcome harmful secrets and years of lies to decide whether they have a future. Neither of them realize how every waking moment they move closer to the serial killer who harbors an unnatural and deadly obsession.

     With the beautiful Carol locked in Richmond Red’s sights, the clock is ticking down to her destruction. Will the two find love, or is their sonata striking a dangerous final chord?

My review:

     An absolutely fantastic inspirational suspense!

     I love the characters that Hallee has developed for this novel. Both Carol and Bobby have so much depth to them that they are a joy to get to know. As soon as the deception that they have been living under was revealed my heart broke for all that the two of them, plus Lisa, had missed out on. I have never wanted so badly to see the characters in a book receive their “happily-ever-after” as I did with these characters. The way that they each dealt with everything that life threw at them was amazing. The fact that they both take time to pray is wonderful in my mind. The road that they have to travel to come to the point that they can forgive those who have hurt them is very well written.

     The plot caught my attention and pulled me in so thoroughly that I was really trying to figure out who the murderer was. I felt an urgency to ensure the safety of the characters.

     Even while I was learning so much about both Bobby and Carol there were brief appearances from a number of characters from both of the previous books in this series. It was very satisfying to catch up with them even as we were seeing how they helped Bobby and Carol deal with their story.

     The writing of this novel was an excellent job done by a fantastic writer and I highly recommend it. I would be remiss if I didn't give it the full 5 stars, so that is what I'm giving it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Fruitcake Challenge (The Christy Lumber Camp #1) by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Title: The Fruitcake Challenge (The Christy Lumber Camp #1)
Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels
Pages: 121
Year: 2014
Publisher: Hearts Overcoming Press
Note: This novella was included in the Christmas Traditions Series of novellas.

About the book:

     When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, “as good as the one my mother makes,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp – and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on!

My review:

     This is a wonderful holiday novella.

     I have never read anything by this author before. I am so glad that I was introduced to her. This was a very entertaining novella to read. I love the main characters that she developed. She took the time to also create a variety of secondary characters that were equally enjoyable.

    The story is a light romance and a very quick read. As both Jo and Thomas are trying to figure out where they want to go with their lives, individually and possibly together, they each at times seek God’s guidance.

     I will definitely look for more books by this author. I am recommending this novella and giving it a rating of 5 stars.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

As Love Blooms (The Gregory Sisters #3) by Lorna Seilstad

Title: As Love Blooms (The Gregory Sisters #3)
Author: Lorna Seilstad
Pages: 320
Release Dates: May 12, 2015 (eBook) & May 19, 2015 (print)
Publisher: Revell
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Young romance opens like a rose … but even a rose has its thorns.

     Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind and hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. Before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park – and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her . . . or to capture her heart?

     Against the lush backdrop of manicured gardens and greenhouses full of the exotic, Lorna Seilstad weaves a sweet and sassy story that is sure to delight.

My review:

     This is an incredible inspirational historical romance.

     I love reading series like this one, where each book focuses on one member of a family. It is so much fun to meet the whole family in book one and learn more about them throughout the series.

     In this book the main character is Tessa, the youngest of the Gregory sisters. In each of the previous books she had a different interest. We find in this book though that her life dream is the interest that peeked out briefly in both of them. I love her character and personality. She is so spunky that reading about her is delightful.

     There are a number of new characters, including Reese King, in this novel. Lorna does a marvelous job of developing them, both the good and the evil ones. Reese is a perfect example of someone who has been wounded by something said to them. The comment is permanently etched in his mind and affects everything he does and the decisions he makes. Yet the other person barely remembers the conversation. Watching what we say so that we do not cause those kinds of wounds is a lesson we can all stand to learn. This novel helps to point that out.

     The main story is the development of the friendship between Tessa and Reese. There are also two additional storylines that are running in the background. All three are very well written. They run along within the extended family without detracting from each other.

     I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that multiple characters are leaning more about trusting God and how to separate that trust from their emotional desires. I really love it when an author can put these deep spiritual lessons into a light entertaining novel and challenge me to examine my own heart. I am highly recommending this wonderful book and giving a 5 star rating.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Strength Renewed: Meditations for Your Journey Through Breast Cancer by Shirley Corder

Title: Strength Renewed: Meditations for Your Journey Through Breast Cancer
Author: Shirley Corder
Pages: 206
Year: 2012
Publisher: Revell

About the book:

     Comfort and hope to sustain you.

     Nothing saps your physical, emotional, and spiritual strength quite like a cancer diagnosis – unless it is the energy-stealing treatments you may face in your fight against cancer. But you can find hope and renewal in the pages of Scripture and in the experience of someone who has been there.

     In Strength Renewed, breast cancer survivor and registered nurse Shirley Corder combines encouraging personal stories with life-giving passages from the Bible to help you process your diagnosis and find encouragement along the way. These devotions can be read in order as you move through your cancer journey, but each devotion also stands on its own, so you can go directly to the entry that speaks to your need – right now.

     You have a partner and a cheerleader in Shirley – and in God – on the rough road ahead. Let Strength Renewed lift you up as you travel.

My review:

     On September 8, 2014 I had a biopsy done on a lump that had been found in my right breast. Two days later on the 10th I got a phone call from my doctor. She told me, “It is cancer.” After feeling the lump and then seeing it on the ultrasound in the doctor’s office before having the biopsy done this was not unexpected. I had seen for myself how odd the shape of the lump was. It still hit me very hard and I had a lot of emotions that I had to work through. I reached out to friends telling them the diagnosis and asking for prayer. The very next day one of them connected me with another one of her friends, Rita, who is a breast cancer survivor. Rita sent me a Kindle copy of this wonderful devotional and told me how much it helped her through her journey through breast cancer. She then told me that she prefers the term “overcomer” to “survivor”. That gift from Rita has been an incredible blessing to me.

     Since that phone call I have had a lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy. At the same time as that surgery I had an area of suspicious tissue removed from the other breast. Not quite 4 weeks later I had a total hysterectomy to resolve post-menopausal bleeding that had been going on for a year. The doctors were concerned that with that blood loss my blood counts would drop too much during chemotherapy. Then 3 ½ weeks after that surgery, I started the chemo treatments, which lasted almost 4 months. I was given 4 weeks off to recover from the last chemo treatment before I started radiation treatments. Today I am going for my final treatment and will then be starting on the road of follow-up appointments and tests. I have read this book throughout this period and been extremely encouraged by it.

Now for my actual review of this wonderful gift:

     This is an extremely encouraging book for a hard time.

     When I was diagnosed as having breast cancer a friend of mine connected me with a breast cancer survivor, Rita, she is friends with. Rita immediately sent me an eBook copy of this wonderful book. It was an incredible blessing to me.

     Shirley is so open and honest about what she went through during her treatment. She even shares a number of times when she had lapses in good judgment and the lessons that God taught her through them. I found each short meditation to be extremely encouraging as I went through my treatments.

     There is only one thing that I wish were different about this book. That is the layout of the meditations. I wish that they had been grouped together based on what period of treatment Shirley was going through. If all of the surgery entries were together, all of the chemo entries were together, and so on it would have been much easier to go to what fit my needs for where I was at on my journey.

     I hope to be able to buy copies of this fantastic book to gift to other women when they are diagnosed with this dreadful disease. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I am giving it 5 stars as my rating.

Monday, May 11, 2015

No Place to Hide (Hidden Identity #3) by Lynette Eason

Title: No Place to Hide (Hidden Identity #3)
Author: Lynette Eason
Pages: 336
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Revell
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     She’ll defend her friend until the bitter end- but is she in over her head?

     It’s not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can’t believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she’s determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe.

     Lynette Eason delivers nonstop action as Jackie and Ian travel a dangerous road – one that may lead straight to destruction.

My review:

     This is a great inspirational suspense novel.

     The main characters, Jackie Sellers and Ian Lockwood, are extremely will developed. The author did a fantastic job of crafting a back story for each of them that goes all the way back to childhood. The way they are presented in small pieces throughout the book leads to a good understanding of their personalities and what hang-ups they have as adults.

     The main plot line is incredible and has so much intense suspense and action built in that it was a book I knew I would have to finish. I did have one problem with the way the story was written though. As the story progressed there were a few times that seemingly random scenes dropped into it sporadically. The shifts to and from these scenes were so sudden that I was caught off guard and my attention was distracted by them. It felt to me like the main plot lost momentum from them. Late in the story more information was revealed that did tie those random scenes into the overall plot which led to a nice feeling of completion.

     Those distractions did affect my enjoyment of the book and are the reason that I dropped my rating down to 4 stars. I do recommend this book. I will be looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Monday, May 4, 2015

While Love Stirs (The Gregory Sisters #2) by Lorna Seilstad

Title: While Love Stirs (The Gregory Sisters #2)
Author: Lorna Seilstad
Pages: 341
Year: 2014
Publisher: Revell

About the book:

Take one lovely young woman.
   Add two ambitious young men.
      Stir . . . and stand back.

     As a graduate of Fannie Farmer’s School of Cookery, Charlotte Gregory is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution – the gas stove. And she certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired the kindhearted Lewis Mathis to entertain at her lectures.

     Lewis encourages Charlotte’s work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made – especially by this outspoken young woman.

     When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?

My review:

This is a fantastic inspirational romance set in 1910.

I really don't know very much about the culture and what society was like during this time period. I am just trusting that the author did her research and has written it accurately. That being said I want to say that I loved reading the details that she worked into the story. I loved the look at the amusement park and the yacht club regatta that she included. The details about the type of outings couples would go on when courting were wonderful.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about the Gregory sisters. I especially liked getting the update on Hannah and Lincoln, who were the main characters from the first book in this series. The deeper look at Charlotte only made me connect more with this wonderful character. She is so well developed and I was fascinated to see how events in her life from book 1 affected her personal story in this book. Lorna did a marvelous job of portraying that effect on the character's personality.

Lewis and Joel are both interesting characters and well developed. Their personalities are very different from each other. They also relate to Charlotte very differently. I loved reading the interaction between each of these pairs. Both of these men also have past events that have helped to shape who they are now which are very clearly presented. They are very different and both are just as enjoyable to read and just as easy to understand their affect on them.

Tessa is the youngest of the Gregory sisters. I found her progress in growing up and defining her individuality very entertaining. I am looking forward to reading her story in the third book in this series.

Reading this book was a very enjoyable way to spend some of my time. I am definitely recommending this novel and giving it a 5 star rating.

You can find information about more of Lorna Seilstad's books at: