Monday, December 2, 2019

The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr













Title: The End of the Magi
Author: Patrick W. Carr
Pages: 381
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

     Centuries before the Magi arrived in Bethlehem, a prophecy sets a young magus on his path…

     Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel calls forth a select group of men who will count down the calendar until the arrival of Israel’s promised king. Centuries later, as the day draws near, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are slain by a ruthless Parthian queen.

     Equipped with very little, in haste Myrad escapes the city and, searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is keeping secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable asset, an epic journey filled with peril, near captures, and dangerous battles begins.

     With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can’t forget, and the promise that the world will never be the same.

My review:

     This is an incredible biblical novel!

     I have always loved the story of the magi visiting Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus. I have never looked into the history of where they came from though. This book goes into the history of the magi. Either in his newsletter or on social media the author gave some information on the research he did in preparation for writing this book. That gave me a feeling of confidence that the story is built on historical fact.

     The characters are extremely well developed. I was able to understand their emotions as they moved through the story. I was completely caught up in the action throughout the book. I definitely felt the awe right along with Myrad and the others when they finally found the place the star led them to.

     The descriptions about how the merchant caravans worked and the fighting techniques of their guards were wonderful. Many times I was able to visualize what was taking place.

     I love the fact that I read this book in November. It has really gotten my mind ready for the Christmas season.

     I am giving this marvelous book a 5 star rating and highly recommending it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Friday, November 29, 2019

City of More by Sonya Annita Song













Title: City of More
Author: Sonya Annita Song
Illustrator: Daniel Howard
Pages: 48 pages
Year: 2019
Genre: Children’s Illustrated
Publisher: Chinchilla Books
Format: eBook (also available in hardcover)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through BookSirens. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

     The City of More follows the Bigwigs and their porcine companions as they shop for everything they don’t need. When their purchases build up to an incredible amount, they seek advice from the Smallwigs of the City of Less. The Smallwigs help the Bigwigs to see that real prosperity comes from sharing with others.

My review:

     This is a charming children’s illustrated book.

     The illustrations are clear and colorful. The rhymes easy to read and follow. The message is very plain and helpful for keeping our minds in a healthy place as far as the stuff we own.

     I decided to give this sweet book a rating of 5 stars. I do recommend it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Friday, November 8, 2019

Recipe for Deception (Creative Woman Mysteries #3) by Rachael Phillips













Title: Recipe for Deception (Creative Woman Mysteries #3)
Author: Rachael Phillips
Pages: 250
Year: 2013
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Annie’s Fiction
Format: Hardback (also available in eBook)

About the book:

     From the moment Shannon McClain set foot in America, she’s dreamed of the day her teenage twins, Alec and Lara, could join her. Now that the college semester is over, Shannon’s dreams have finally come true!

     The twins arrive in Apple Grove just in time for the grand opening of Espresso Yourself, the new coffee shop addition to the Paisley Craft Market & Artist Lofts, and both spend much of their time helping out at the store. Thrilled to have her kids with her again, Shannon looks forward to a summer together filled with laughter and fun.

     But her plans quickly spoil when her daughter takes a part-time delivery job working for Joyce Buchanan at the Pink Sprinkles Bakery and a customer dies after eating a cupcake delivered by Lara. Consumed by guilt for having served the fatal dessert, Lara turns to local bad boy Chaz Loper for comfort—the last boy Shannon would ever want her daughter to date. Shannon and Alec each have their own suspicions about Chaz and his true motives for befriending Lara, but when they try to warn her about him, it only pushes her away and creates tension in the house.

     Meanwhile, rumors about the deadly cupcake spread like wildfire through the small town and Joyce’s business begins to suffer. As more unsavory events unfold, all seemingly connected to Joyce, it becomes clear to Shannon, and the other women of the Purls of Hope knitting circle, that someone is trying to set her up. They decide to take matters into their own hands and find out who’s really behind all the trouble before Joyce is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit.

     With two irascible teens breathing down her neck, and a busy craft business to run, can Shannon whip up a crime-solving recipe in time to catch the killer before another deadly dish is served? Join Shannon and the Purls as they tackle this latest mystery to come to Apple Grove.

My review:

     This is a great cozy mystery!

     I love the regular characters in this series. It is wonderful to see how they interact with and support each other through all of the difficulties that they face. It was wonderful to see how Shannon and her kids butted heads over a number of things. They are such realistic characters.

     The mystery is well developed. I did manage to guess who the murderer was before the end of the book. I was completely confused about the motive though. That definitely kept my interest and reading to the very end.


     I have decided to give this book a rating of 5 stars. I am definitely recommending it.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Golden Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #8) by Kimberley Woodhouse













Title: The Golden Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #8)
Author: Kimberley Woodhouse
Pages: 256
Year:  2019
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Barbour Books
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

     Can Olivia survive the crime and Gold Rush fever of 1849…and the countless marriage proposals?

     The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working in her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.

My review:

     This is a wonderful historical romance!

     I loved all three of the main characters. As soon as I met Olivia Brighten my heart broke for her and all of the grief that she was carrying. I can’t imagine losing both of my parents at the same time. That fact that she carried on and dealt with the trip to San Francisco to join her brother Daniel was amazing. She definitely needed time to heal from all of the loss.

     One of the things that I really liked about Joseph Sawyer was that he was willing to take things slowly and build a friendship with Olivia. I also enjoyed the strong emphasis on prayer and trusting God that was displayed by Joseph, Daniel, and Olivia throughout the story.

     The historical content was great. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area but most of what I learned about the Gold Rush in school has been lost over the years. It was nice to get a look at the attitudes of the men in San Francisco at this time through the eyes of a god-fearing woman. 

     I am giving this fantastic book a rating of 5 stars. I highly recommend it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, October 28, 2019

An Elegant Facade (Hawthorne House #2) by Kristi Ann Hunter













Title: An Elegant Facade (Hawthorne House #2)
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Pages: 369
Year: 2016
Genre: Historical Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

     Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.

     With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he’s irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.

     What Colin doesn’t know is that Georgina’s desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina’s plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.

My review:

     This is an extremely funny historical romance!

     I love reading books by this author. She is one of my go-to writers when I need something lighthearted and good for a laugh. This book definitely delivered on the laughter side. At the same time there was a side that caused me to think whenever Lady Georgina’s difficulty came into play.

     I had gotten into the story quite aways before it became apparent that she had an actual problem that she was working to hide. Until then she just made me angry with her seemingly self centered attitude. Many times early on I just wanted to shake her and tell her that the world didn’t revolve around her.

     I loved getting to see how the Hawthorne family was doing. It was nice seeing the final part of the previous book from a different character’s perspective. Since the two books overlapped there really wasn’t any lapse in the family progression. We did get a very nice look at the family dynamics and how the siblings relate to with each other, especially Georgina, the younger daughter.

     I have to give this wonderful book a rating of 5 stars. I just wish I had had time to read it sooner. The plus side of that is that the rest of the series is already written. I am highly recommending it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The White City (True Colors Series) by Grace Hitchcock













Title: The White City (True Colors Series)
Author: Grace Hitchcock
Pages: 256
Year: 2019
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Publisher: Barbour Books
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

Mysterious Disappearance Tain the Chicago World’s Fair
Step Into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

     While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman for bodyguard.

     Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

My review:

     This is an amazing mystery!

     I absolutely love both Winnifred Wylde and Jude Thorpe! They are incredible characters and I connected with both of them from the very beginning.

     The plot of this book is fantastic! I was caught up in the mystery and kept trying to figure out all of the details. I lost track of how many times I readjusted my thinking about who the culprit was and how the crimes were being committed.

     The details of the World’s Fair were great. I actually found myself looking for a book with pictures from it so that I could see what was being described. 

     I will definitely be looking for any future books by this author. I’m so glad that I started with her debut novel. I won’t have to be trying to catch up.

     This wonderful book is getting a 5 star rating from me. I highly recommend it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Inn at Hidden Run (Tree of Life #1) by Olivia Newport













Title: The Inn at Hidden Run (Tree of Life #1)
Author: Olivia Newport
Pages: 256
Year: 2019
Genre: Duel-Time Novel
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family Trees

     Meri’s family has been producing doctors for so many generations that no one remembers why, so when she flunks out of medical school, she runs as far from her parents as she can get. In the small mountain town of Canyon Mines, Colorado, she takes a job at the Inn at Hidden Run B&B. And waits. It’s only a matter of time.

     What she doesn’t count on is genealogist Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her father, Nolan, having her back when it takes everything she has not to bolt again but to stay and face the truth that only unfolding her family’s history will reveal. While Nolan works on keeping Meri calm—and in town—Jillian pulls out of her gems of information she doesn’t know she has and arranges the puzzle pieces.

     But none of that changes the fact Meri’s family is closing in to haul her back to her “real” life. When their arrival inflames tensions and Meri finally does bolt, Nolan and Jillian may be out of time.

     The Inn at Hidden Run is the first book in the Tree of Life series. Readers will come back to backdrop of a lovely mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that inspire them to connect with their own family histories and unique faith journeys.

My review:

     This is an incredible duel-time novel!

     I was caught up in Meri’s story and wanted to find out what the bottom line problem was in her family relationships. She was very well developed and my heart went out to her from very early in the story.

     I was absolutely fascinated by the historical portion of this book. It was set in 1878 Memphis, Tennessee, during the Yellow Fever epidemic. The amount of details given about what life was like for those who lived through it is amazing. This was a historical event that I knew nothing about. I was horrified to think about the terror people lived with and the conditions surrounding them. 

     I love it when an author can teach me history in such an enjoyable way. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

     I am definitely giving this wonderful book a 5 star rating and highly recommending it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*