Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

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About:

When a black field hand disappears, a wealthy white boy he has befriended sets out  to find him. But Pete McLean discovers more than he bargained for—including unexpected love and difficult truths about race and class in 1960s Alabama.

My Thoughts:

I enjoy discovering new author’s stories and debut author Valerie Fraser Luesse’s story, Missing Isaac, is one for the keeper shelf. When I first started this story I really did not know what I was getting into. I was happily surprised by this novel and its message of love and community that was written between its pages.

As the title suggests, we are introduced to a young boy, Pete, who has latched on to his father’s field hand, Isaac, after some terrible circumstances. Isaac is like the big brother Pete never had, guiding him and showing him how to be himself. Then Isaac disappears without a trace. As the year’s progress and Pete grows into manhood and he meets new people and new friends, he has not forgotten Isaac. Isaac’s lost story line is relevant in the shaping of Pete and his loved ones lives. Even though life continued to go on, there was still a missing piece.

This is a story of a small community made up of rich, poor, black, and white during the 1960’s. Some of the people are kind, some mean, and some very peculiar. This is also a coming of age story. This book touched on some of the deepest tragedies people can face and showed how after a while they were picking up the pieces learning to live and love again. There are a couple of romances nestled into these pages. And though this story’s focus is not the romance, the two that are within are superbly told. I am glad I picked up this book and tried this new author. I can’t wait for more of her stories.

I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Review: Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

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About:

In this epic Biblical narrative, ideal for fans of The Bible miniseries, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah's household rises to capture the heart of the future king. 

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name--Zibah, delight of the Lord--thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet's home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah's lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah's favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation. 

My Thoughts:

I am really blown away with Isaiah’s Daughter. Author Andrews brought the political atmosphere to life between the divided countries of Israel and Judah.  We start off when Hezekiah and his future wife are but children and both have endured horrific events. The voices of Hezekiah, Isaiah, and Ishma (later to be called Hephzibah) walk us through the political turmoil of the royal family, the palace intrigue, Israel’s deliberate disobedience to God, and the devastation of idol worship and an evil king can have on a country and on a family. And a beautiful love story between one of Judah’s good kings and his queen is nestled between all of that.

Knowing the story as I do, I was given a fresh perspective of the life and times of God’s people. This is the third book I have read by Author Andrews, her writing with such historical and Biblical detail makes her works very enjoyable. From a genre I didn’t use to like to read; now I can’t wait to get my hands on all her books. I think I am lacking but one.  This is a worthy read, if not a hard one in regards to the sin nature of humanity.

I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekend Briefing by Jes Drew

Weekend Briefing 
by Jes Drew

This week's mission: Cover Reveal

Welcome, agents, to Mission Headquarters. Today marks the initiation of our newest branch of intelligence operations: Weekend Briefing. Congratulations to everyone who has the clearance to know this.

To celebrate, we have decoded encrypted files containing the cover, synopsis, and publishing date of the next book to be released by Mission Head: 
Castaways 

All agents looking to be assigned to a clean, young adult trilogy with adventure, mystery, and a touch of romance should look into this pilot of a trilogy. It will reveal the secrets of what it means to be normal people in the world of the Ninja and Hunter series.

Stand by as we upload the cover reveal... 

About:

Emily Rogers thought nothing could be worse than her family moving across the ocean. When the unthinkable happens and the ship goes down, she learns just how wrong she is. Now she's stranded on a deserted island with her two young cousins and Christopher Williams, the boy who refused to leave until all the women and children were safe.

But the island hides many secrets and holds many dangers. And as they fight to survive and hold onto hope, one unsettling question rises above the others. Is the island really deserted?


Coming February 14, 2018 to all major online booksellers


Join us next Saturday for a visit and interview from one of our agents and the hero of the Ninja and Hunter trilogy, Villain Hunter as he talks about what to expect in crossovers (and, let's be honest, he'll be talking about himself quite a bit as well). Until then, avoid doing anything that might get you brain-wiped. Ciao!  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: My Big Book of Bible Heroes Devotional by Glenn Hascall

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About the Book:

Kids love My Big Book of Bible Heroes. . .and now your kids will love the My Big Book of Bible Heroes Devotional!

This fully illustrated devotional explores the heroic characteristics of 50 Bible characters—including Joshua, David, Daniel, Ruth, Mary, and more. Each engaging reading features a full-color illustration followed by “where to find it in the Bible,” a relevant devotion for kids (ages 7 and up), plus a short prayer starter to encourage kids  to talk with their Creator, and “Becoming a Hero” questions to get kids thinking about the Bible and how faith can be integrated into their daily lives.

My Thoughts:

This devotional book for kids is eye catching. From the cover throughout, this book brings these Bible characters into action by showing who they may have been in their poses and even the looks on their faces. The art is bold, showing muscles, wings (for Gabriel), and expressions that show secrets, anger, and even prayer. There are 50 characters in this book and along with the picture we are given a story, about one page in length, a prayer, and questions to do with a parent or on your own.

My seven -year old gobbled this book up. These are not superheroes but real men and women who lived and loved God and were called to do some pretty amazing and daring things. Even my older kids took a second look at this one.

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

Review: A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

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About:

Pearl Spence is finally getting used to life in Michigan. She’s made her peace with the piles of snow that come with winter. She and Ray are making friends and figuring out how to fit in. Pearl has even discovered the library, a place she’d never heard of back in Dust Bowl Oklahoma. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her new favorite place on earth— until she discovers swing dancing.

Now Opal Moon, the family’s hired help and an expert in swing, is teaching Pearl the steps to this new style of dance. The sheer fun of the moves and music is a distraction from the fact that Mama is still missing, too caught up in her own grieving to spare a thought for her family.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t a happy occasion. Pearl must decide between forgiveness and bitterness—and when calamity strikes again, there are no easy answers.

Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt the reader. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed!

My Thoughts:

In this third book of following Pearl Spence’s young life, we pick up shortly after the second book left off. Pearl is in a new town, new school, new home, her mother has left the family so the only constants she has is her father and Ray who came with them from Oklahoma to live with them. Pearl has gone through a lot, especially for a young girl. I could understand her wanting to find some happiness and stability after the tragic circumstances of the first two books. I like that she has found a respite in the library and the books she begins to read and in Opal and dancing.

There are some heavy topics in this story and they deal with depression and prejudice. I am glad that Pearl’s father, although very hurt by his wife, continues to be a strong steadfast character and though it was not easy for him, he chooses to love and keep his promises and vows to his estranged wife. Mama is not quite the same person she was in the first book. I was sad to see this change in her; however grief has a way of changing people for the good or the bad. I think the author showed a very real picture of the damage that grief, shame, and blame can take on a person’s mental health and on their life choices. Sometimes this causes loved ones to ask, where is our loved one and can they come back home?

I found this book, this whole series a thought provoking lyrical tale of a young girl coming of age in less than ideal circumstances. I would really like to see a novel written about Pearl all grown up.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Review and Giveaway: Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr



About:

Twofer murder? What’s a twofer murder?

Twofer Murder is a treat for fans of best-selling author Lauren Carr’s fast-paced mysteries! Lauren’s latest novel contains the main characters from her three successful series: Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go away for a fishing weekend only to get caught up in the murder of a journalist investigating fraud at a timber company. Meanwhile, the ladies are spending the weekend in the presidential suite at a posh resort where Jessica Faraday is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late grandmother at a murder mystery writers conference. But before they have time to get their facials, they get wrapped up in their own real mystery when an up and coming author ends up dead!

Lauren Carr’s Twofer Murder is a 2-for-1—making it a must-read for any mystery fan!

Buy the Book:
Amazon
Add to Goodreads


My Thoughts:

Author Lauren Carr has brought her iconic characters back and all together in her latest novel. The guys and the girls are separated as each group goes on their respective trips: the girls off to their fancy writer’s award ceremony and the guys going on their guy bonding fishing trip. I really liked seeing all the characters together, human and animal, and I quickly got lost in their lives again.

What I really liked was the family theme that seemed to be running throughout, just like her other books. The Thornton’s, Faradays, and O’Callaghan’s are a blended family of blood relatives and in-laws and maybe future in-laws and I liked that familial bond that kept them watching each other’s backs and sticking together. It is a very strong bond. Because of such a large family, we are given many people to keep track of. However, the author does give us a list of characters at the beginning of who’s who and the new characters of the mysteries each group is involved in. I had no trouble keeping people straight as just like all the characters in an Avenger movie, each of her characters have a distinct voice and talents. I was glad to get reacquainted and get to know some of the other members.

As always, we have the pets that also get involved in the adventure and sometimes create more havoc or help in solving the crimes. And thanks to cell phones, the guys and girls were in touch with each other frequently. So if you like murder mysteries, give this one a try as you not only get one but two. And both mysteries have enough twist and turns to keep you turning the pages.

On content: there is some innuendo and there is language here and there (though I do not recall any profanity). I would consider this a fairly clean Adult read somewhere along the lines of TV dramas like the show Castle with such hard topics like murder and evil people but the characters adding humor to lighten the mood. I look forward to more works by Lauren Carr. I think a picture book story of the animal stars would be a fun story to read, hint hint.

I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.



Meet the author:


​Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram
​​

Giveaway:

Win a $100 Amazon gift card (open internationally where Amazon.com delivers gift cards)
(ends Jan 27)



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Dec 4 -   Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Dec 6 -   Books for Books - review 
Dec 6 -   My Reading Journeys - review / giveaway
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Dec 12 - Cassidy's Bookshelves - review / giveaway
Dec 14 - FUONLYKNEW - review / giveaway
Dec 15 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Dec 20 - 
Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Dec 21 - Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
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fundinmental - review / giveaway
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Jan 5 -   Olio by Marilyn - review / giveaway
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Jan 12 - Pause for Tales - review / giveaway
Jan 15 - Perfect Chaos - book spotlight
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Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - review / giveaway
Jan 16 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review 
Jan 18 - Sahar's Blog - review / giveaway
Jan 19 - Jessica Cassidy - review / giveaway






Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

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About:

When dance hall singer Louisa Bell visits Fort Reno to see her brother, she is mistaken for the governess that the harried Major Daniel Adams is waiting for. Between his rowdy troops and his two daughters, he has more responsibility than he can handle alone. Eager for the opportunity, Louisa sets out to show the widower that she is a perfect fit.

My thoughts:

Holding the Fort was such a joy to read. I cannot think of another book that had me giggling out loud as much as this one did in quite some time. It takes a special story to really be able to infuse humor into a romance during a time in history that was very stressful and could be deadly. I like that this story had such a quirky heroine.  Her growth as a character and the transformation that she made in a world that often judged her and the wonderful romance that develops between her and Major Daniel Adams was both sweet and swoony.

This is the first in a new series by author Jennings and there are a few side characters that I hope get their own stories. Every book I read by her is my new favorite one and I enjoy her out of the box storytelling.  I highly recommend this one of a kind story with a heroine who knows her mind and a hero who knows his heart.


I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.