Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

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With the public eye fixed on the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force, Detective Evie Blackwell and her new partner, David, are under pressure to produce results. While they investigate two missing-persons cases in Chicago, Evie and David’s conviction that justice is truly possible for all will be tested to the limit.

My Thoughts:

I have not read a Dee Henderson book in a long while, too long so I opted to start with the second book in her new series, An Evie Blackwell Cold Case. This novel is over 400 pages and did take me some time to read it. Not because it was slow or anything, just because there was so much story and information within in the story that really did fascinate me. The author definitely has done her research in how missing person cold cases are handled and just some of the thought processes and work processes that are involved.

This is about a team of detectives that are given cold cases to try to solve. This particular story was focused on Evie Blackwell and her partner David. The amount of information they had to process and given the time that had passed on the cases, to me was staggering. I thoroughly enjoyed the way their brains worked and the white board scenarios that grew from looking at all the old evidence with fresh eyes.

We do get to see some of the personal lives of these detectives, especially in the romance department. I liked that we had two people working together and they were just friends and partners as they each had someone else special.

This story was intricately detailed and was quite a mystery/suspense. I wanted to just peek at the end so many times to see how everything wrapped up but I did not as that would have ruined the whole story. If you enjoy well-done crime dramas, this is a story that really gets into the details of how detectives work.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to give a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Until the Day Breaks by Paula Scott

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My Thoughts:

Until the Day Breaks is the first book by author Paula Scott and the first in her series California Rising. This story was amazing and absolutely captured my attention and did not let it go. I often found myself thinking about the story even when I was not reading it.

This novel is about a Californian, Roman who is passionate and rebellious and has just come back from fighting against the Americans in Texas. Well we know how that war ended and now Roman is back home to lick his wounds only to find out that his fiancé has been married off to an American. However this American has a daughter, Rachel, who was living out east. Now to make stronger alliances between the two families, Rachel and Roman have been betrothed against both of their wishes.

This turbulent love/hate affair is made only more complicated as Rachel is a Christian and Roman is not. This story was also set against the very turbulent times of California’s history as the Americans are coming to claim and take the land. There was so much to this story, the characters, even the evil ones just leapt off the pages. There is some violence that was hard to stomach and there is a very evil spiritual thread as well. But through it all I relished the author’s writing of how passionate God the Father is for His children and how He pursues them.

Another lesson I picked up was just how much God wants to give us our hearts desires when it falls in line with His will. However, like Roman we sometimes have to wait for very good reasons. I do believe that if Roman received the “gift” he so desperately wanted that he would have destroyed the “gift” and his heart in the process. God’s timing is always best.

This is an adult read and a very realistic look at the history of California.  I look forward to continuing the series and reading anything else she writes.


I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: None So Blind by Chautona Havig


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About the Book


Book title: None So Blind
Author: Chautona Havig
Release date: September 29, 2013
Genre: Contemporary

Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.

When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.

What’s a gal to do?

In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.

Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.

Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

My Thoughts:

None so Blind by Chautona Havig was definitely an escape from cookie cutter fiction. It was a very unique, compelling tale about a woman who wakes up with no memory of herself, her family, or where she is. And so begins ‘Danielle’s’ journey from the ‘Dani’ everyone calls her to ‘Ella’ the virtual antithesis of what everyone says she once was. This story explored a lot of unique themes, like different kinds of counsels and whether or not ‘till death do us part’ counts when your personality dies. It was sweet watching the love story between Ella and her poor husband David- again a very unique thing to see in Christian fiction; very refreshing. Perhaps the most compelling part of the story for me was trying to figure out what exactly happened to her… though it may or not be explained by the end of the book. All around, though, I recommend this book for anyone looking for something a little different to read.

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

Reviewed by Jes

About the Author


Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husbnd and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

Guest post from Chautona Havig


“Who are you, again?”

“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”

For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.

It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.

Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”

Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.

Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.

And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.

That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.

I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.

But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.

Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

Blog Stops

June 15: Genesis 5020
June 15: Lane Hill House
June 16: The Scribbler
June 18: Carpe Diem
June 19: Quiet Quilter
June 20: Mommynificent
June 22: Remembrancy
June 23: Pause for Tales
June 24: Bigreadersite
June 25: Lots of Helpers
June 28: Just Jo’Anne
June 28: Henry Happens

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!

Check out this cool video from Chautona: https://youtu.be/5K_cTjlg4S8

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ba35

Review: Israel- God's Heart Landscapes and Legacy of Israel by Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett

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Israel-God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel  (Skypics Israel, November 2016)
Soar across the skies of beautiful Israel and visit contemporary and historic sites beckoning visitors to stay and explore.

The beauty of Israel from above is captured by top aerial photographer Ron Gafni.  As you sweep over ancient ruins, fly high in hot air balloons, and view vignette's of Israel's modern lifestyles, Holy scripture will also come alive. Author Kathleen Barrett offers reflective narrative with scripture pointing to God's redemption plan for the world.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Thoughts:


Israel-God’s Heart is a photographic journey with some beautiful and stunning pictures. The full color photographs are accompanied by the description, a bit of history or interesting details, along with Bible verses.  Since most people may not be able to visit this Biblical, historical, and cultural-rich country- this book vicariously takes us on a trip of a lifetime. From modern architecture to historical ruins, the Old and New Testament lands are shown in vivid detail.

This would make a great coffee table book or a book to go along with your Bible study. I found it also a very educational and unique way for even children to learn about and “see” Israel. My ten year old son was enamored with this book and his favorite picture was on page 75 of the iconic Azrieli Towers. This is definitely a keeper for your shelves and worth many viewing opportunities.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.


Read and Reviewed by Ron

Ron Gafni works as a professional aerial photographer after spending more than a decade in Israel's High-Tech Industry. He brings his vast experience and personal perspective through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in "National Geographic," and his company, Skypics.co.il, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli government, Army and Air force, as well as to large corporations in Israel. 

Kathleen Barrett, a south Florida resident and former teacher is a student of the Word. She shares her thoughtful point of view in "Israel-God's Heart" from a personal, 40 year walk of Christian faith and study. In 2002, she authored a children's devotional. Before that and since then, she has published numerous articles from mission's outreach to local political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.

Find out more at http://skypics.co.il.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review: True as Fate by Laurie Alice Eakes

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Lady Chloe Ashford detests going to balls, loathes social pretense, and finds the very idea of hunting for a husband obscene. But she has an even more scandalous secret: she once helped an American—the enemy—escape from Dartmoor Prison. Now, nearly three years later, Ross Trenerry is back—and in trouble again. So is her traitorous heart. He doesn’t know she’s the one responsible for sending him to a second prison, and she has no intention of telling him.

A former privateer, Ross has finally run out of his legendary luck. Only one woman lies between him and freedom. He desperately needs Chloe’s help to prove he hasn’t committed treason, but he’s distracted by the passion that flares between them.


They set out on a cross-country adventure together to prove Ross’s innocence, but peril soon dogs their heels. As they race to reach their appointed rendezvous on time, they must fight their growing attraction and focus on discovering who is behind this deadly plot. Will they finally admit their love and put the pieces together before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:

True as Fate is the second in The Ashford Chronicles by author Laurie Alice Eakes. And what a romantic adventure it was! This is Chloe Ashford and American privateer Ross Trenerry’s story. We have met both of them before in book one. We are now a couple of years out from the War of 1812 but Ross is branded as a traitor and cannot really go back to the States or stay on English soil due to someone’s machinations for revenge. As Ross fights to clear his name and save his life, he wants to see his love one more time. However, Chloe Ashford is set against him ruining her little sister’s chances for a good marriage and she herself harbors a love for him since his time in Dartmoor Prison.

So what’s a girl to do but try to help the love of her life prove his innocence and to right a wrong that she did to him, a terrible wrong that drives her to even risk her own life for him. As they travel through the countryside, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad men and her family, to make it to the rendezvous point before something worse befalls the Ashford family, Ross discovers how deep Chloe’s feelings and love for him go. But to him, she is not the sister that he has loved for years.

This novel broke my heart and achingly put the pieces back together while giving a tale of a grand adventure. I was so glad to read the continuing saga of the Ashford family and I am impatiently waiting for the next in the series. This was an unputdownable story, one that I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to read.

I was gifted a copy of this book by the author. I was not required to post a review positive or otherwise. All views and opinions are my own.

Review: My Enemy My Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes

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The sea is Deirdre MacKenzie’s home, and the crew of her father’s Baltimore clipper is the only family she loves. She’s happier wearing breeches and climbing the rigging of the Maid of Alexandria than donning a dress and learning to curtsy. But when the War of 1812 erupts, the ship is captured by a British privateer, leaving her father, the captain, dead. Deirdre watches her crew herded into the hold, destined for the notorious Dartmoor prison in England. Though her fate as a noncombatant is uncertain, she knows she must find a way to free her crew.

Kieran Ashford has caused his family one too many scandals. On his way to exile in America, he is waylaid by the declaration of war and a chance to turn privateer and make his own fortune. But he regrets his actions as soon as the rich prize is secured. Now his best chance at redeeming himself in the eyes of his family is to offer Deirdre the protection of his name in marriage.


But love and loyalty clash as Kieran begins to win Deirdre’s heart despite her plot to betray him. Will Kieran’s plan mend the relationship with his family, and can this fated couple find true love despite the secret lies between them?

My Thoughts:

So I have spent the last couple of days devouring author Laurie Alice Eakes newest series the Ashford Chronicles. My Enemy My Heart is the first in the series and we meet oldest son, Kieran Ashford who is trying to make his way to Georgia after being told by his father to leave England for a while due to a scandal. Unfortunately for him and for American Deirdre MacKenzie and her father’s ship, The Maid of Alexandria and crew, Britain and the US have just entered the war of 1812.

Kieran sees the capture of The Maid as a way to prove to his father his worth. Not only that but he finds a bonus in the fact that Deirdre is a female in need of protection. To protect her best is to marry her. So we have a story of a marriage between an American and an Englishmen whose countries are at war. A time of spies, privateers, and cruel treatments for prisoners shows just how precarious this new married couple and the whole of the Ashford family and the times they lived in were.

Their loyalties and love were tested beyond what any thought possible and even well-kept family secrets come to light. I enjoyed watching this very inconvenient marriage grow and mature these two individuals into becoming the perfect match for each other.

Highly enjoyable and I cannot wait to read more by her. I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

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Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances—along with her father’s precious dye—help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.


My Thoughts:

In Acts chapter 16, we have the apostle Paul meeting a woman by the name of Lydia who is a seller of purple and she becomes a Christian. Author Tessa Afshar has taken Lydia and given her more of a backstory then we know, although fictional it was still a very engrossing tale. How did Lydia become who she was and where she was in the Roman world that was run by men and become such a business woman in a time that was cruel and hard for a woman to make a name for herself? 

We meet Lydia when she is just 17 years old living in Thyatira with her merchant father who has created his own recipe for the often sought after purple coloring in clothing. She has a very kind father who loves her very much, but Lydia is a very cautious young woman with a great enemy, fear, that seems to be just hidden in the shadows. The author really highlighted how this controlling fear can affect every part of your life; it keeps you just out of reach of your potential, robs you of sleep at night, and no matter how hard you have tried to prepare for it, it will sneak in and rob you of your peace of mind. I really took the message and illustrations of this fear to heart as how often have I lost sleep over fear instead of praying about it.

This was the first novel I have read by author Tessa Afshar and it was a very quick read for me. The title of the story I had not actually read before in the scriptures and by the conclusion of this story, Bread of Angels just clicked for me. I am thankful for author’s and their imaginations when they can make a small ordinary person from history stand out and have me thinking about Bible verses in a whole new perspective.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers. I was not required to post a positive review and all the views and opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:


Tessa Afshar was voted "New Author of the Year" by the FamilyFiction-sponsored Readers Choice Awards in 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her second book, Harvest of Rubies, was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Christian Book Award in the fiction category and chosen by World magazine as one of four notable books of the year. Her novel Harvest of Gold won the 2014 Christy Award for historical fiction. In the Field of Grace, based on the biblical story of Ruth, was nominated for the Grace Award.

Tessa was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England, where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University, where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. Tessa has spent the last seventeen years in full-time Christian work in New England and the last fourteen years on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. Visit her online at www.tessaafshar.com.

For more information please visit the Author's Videos.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: The Runaway by Claire Wong

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Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Rhiannon Morgan runs away from the remote Welsh village of Llandymna. Camping out in Dyrys Woods, she starts to make a new life for herself. In the woods she finds space for her active imagination--weaving together the stories she loves and memories of her past, including the mother she lost thirteen years ago.

Back in the village, Rhiannon's disappearance triggers a series of events that uncover the cracks in Llandymna's quiet surface. Relationships become frayed as a young police officer is forced to investigate his neighbors, and the village's elderly storyteller hints at a secret that the older generation has kept for decades. But as painful as the village's past may be, it may hold the key for hope in the present.


Claire Wong's strong debut explores how human relationships develop, how we change as we interact with one another, and the role of folktales and mythology in small communities.

My Thoughts:

The Runaway by Claire Wong starts off with Rhiannon, a 17 year old girl, in the midst of her decision to run away after yet another argument with her aunt Diane. As the story goes back and forth, we get Rhiannon’s time in the woods, making up stories and withdrawing into her own little world, and then we get the viewpoint of the village of Llandymyna. Rhiannon’s disappearance has shocked the whole town, not just her Aunt’s. The village itself becomes a character as the appearance of a peaceful town slowly begins to crumble and a secret long held from the outside world begins to resurface. There are key characters like Maebh a kindly grandmotherly figure who tries to remind the town of the past through her stories and she is burdened by the town’s secrecy and willingness to forget its past mistakes.

Against this backdrop we have two outside strangers, a brother and a sister, who have come for answers and the secrets this town thought long buried and only known to them come back in startling clarity.

This was a definitely a different read for me, it was a bit of a slower read. I did enjoy the author’s writing and how we really got a complete narrative with first person and third person points of view. There was a little bit of suspense, little bit coming of age story, and a little bit of coming to grips with the past. I liked visiting Wales where this story took place; the old world and fairytalesque atmosphere the author set her contemporary story in was interesting as well.

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

Review: The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race by Mike H. Mizrahi

About the book:

Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle-in bloomers!

It's 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she's drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.

Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.

Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride "the wheel?" Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the "new women" emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter?

Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be.



My Thoughts:

Who would have thought that a woman in bloomers riding a bicycle would cause such uproar? The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race by Mike H. Mizrahi delves into the history of women fighting for their rights to do just that. Bicycles are becoming quite popular and a quicker way of getting around downtown and the men have been enjoying the freedom, fresh air, and the benefits of the exercise that naturally comes with cycling, why not women too? Well Anna Gaines, from an old southern family, with a mother who is set in her ways and definitely has her opinions about what a genteel lady should or should not do asks that same question.

After visiting her forward thinking aunt in New York, Anna has shed some of her fear and feelings of inadequacy when she learns to ride a bike. But as she returns home to Tennessee, her family and hometown are more set in the ways of the past.  Two men are interested in her. Both are part of the bicycle club and avid cyclists themselves. Grover is against her in her cycling pursuits; however Peter Sawyer has more of an open opinion.

Set in 1895 in a time that was certainly filled with old prejudices and new, Anna realizes that she just may become an outcast in order to follow her dreams. I appreciated the author’s thorough historical research and the time period and issues that were brought to light. I think in today’s day and age it is good to stop and take a moment or two and remember what those brave women before us had to go through just to gain the basics rights that a man had and that we now enjoy for ourselves. A thought provoking read about a struggle in history I was not aware of. Thank you. And on another note, that cover is very eye catching.

I received a copy of this book for free through Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.

About the author:


Mike Mizrahi has a master's degree in public relations, advertising and applied communication from Boston University. After a career in corporate public affairs, he retired to pursue a deep passion: writing.
 
Mizrahi and his wife, Karen, led a mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo four years ago and were so moved by the experience, Mizrahi wrote his first novel, which he hopes will one day be published. The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race is his debut published work.
 
Mizrahi loves reading and writing stories about "sozo," which means to be rescued in Greek. He and Karen are very active in their church and community and love to hike, travel and go the movies together. The Mizrahis live in Woodland Hills, California, where they raised their children who are now adults.
 
Learn more about The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race and Mike H. Mizrahi at www.mikehmizrahi.com or on Facebook (AuthorMikeMizrahi) and Twitter (@MikeHMiz). 
 

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: The Farmer's Market Mishap by Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter

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Living alone for the first time in her life is lonely for Elma Hochstetler, whose twin sister Thelma recently married. Though they share the running of a general store, more and more of Thelma’s time is taken up by her growing family. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love.
 
Through a mishap at the farmers’ market, Elma meets Ben Wagler and instantly likes him. But there is a problem. He lives in Grabill—50 miles away! But Elma has tried long-distance dating before, and it won’t work for her.  Besides the store needs her. Her sister needs her. Elma feels love will forever remain beyond her grasp.
 
Elma has a habit of putting others before her own needs. Can she learn to take a risk at following the desires of her heart?

My Thoughts:


In The Farmer’s Market Mishap, we find Elma Hochstetler very lonely and very busy after her twin sister married and is now expecting a baby. Even though her sister, Thelma just moved across the street, Elma can’t help but to feel lonely and even a bit abandoned.

I really felt for Elma. She has resigned herself to being an old maid and is now running the store her and her sister own virtually on her own. The one thing she seems to talk to the most is her cat. She has courted a few men, but either she is too picky or they are. Till one day she meets Ben at the farmer’s market.

Ben is a bachelor of 35 living at home and taking care of his mother. He also has resigned himself to a life of singleness until he meets Elma. The only problem is that they live a distance apart. Distance can be such a problematic and scary word for families. Neither Thelma, Elma’s twin, or Ben’s mother wanted either one of them to move away. It was a sticky situation and I did feel that Elma and Ben were quite old enough to make their own decisions, but the families were comfortable the way things stood and neither Elma’s sister or Ben’s mother were very open about them moving away from one of them. Hmmm, this raised a few of my hackles.

This for the most part is a light summer read that shows that even having a simpler life, life can still get complicated.

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Sailing Out of Darkness by Normandie Fischer


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Book: Sailing out of Darkness
Author: Normandie Fischer
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: February 25, 2017 (2nd Edition)

Love conquers all? Maybe for some people.

When Samantha fliehs to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.

Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.

But not even sailing the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean can assuage Sam’s guilt for destroying Jack’s relationship and hurting another woman. Soon the consequences of her behavior escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.

Sailing out of Darkness is the haunting story of mistakes and loss…and the grace that abounds through forgiveness.

Awarded: Aspen Gold, Selah, and Maggie Finalist 2014 (1st edition)

My Thoughts:


Sailing Out of Darkness takes on the difficult topic of divorce and its destructive aftermath. Samantha has been married for at least 20 years to her husband, had a set of twins with him, and then he decides to leave her for a much younger woman. Not only just leave her but tell her he never loved her. What a devastating blow that had on Samantha even if she didn’t see all the rippling affects that would cause her.

I liked Samantha and I really felt for her as she tried to pull herself up out of the pit and move on with her life. She was a very successful business woman and was doing well for herself until Jack, a childhood friend steps back into her life. And with Jack she makes some really bad decisions. I think after some time passed after her divorce, Sam wanted to feel loved and needed and Jack was more than willing to fill in any and all of the voids. Except the collateral damage from that relationship was Jack’s live-in girlfriend, India.

We are not eye witnesses to the affair of Jack and Sam and the blow up caused by India, we see these periods of time through regrets and memories that won’t stay buried in Sam’s mind’s eye. She is experiencing some scary incidents at her home and boat, the Alice, which are menacing in nature, but she knows she has hurt India immensely so it seems she is reluctant to point fingers. Instead, Sam takes a long desired trip to Italy to visit her daughter and to just get away for a while.

In Italy she meets Teo who is an American mystery writer who is healing from scars of his own and has seen the ugliness of divorce as well. He and Sam strike up a friendship which has the promise of becoming something more for both of these scarred individuals.

We get the points of view from Sam, Teo, and Jack at times. Jack’s pov provides us with the news of the home front. This story for me was an emotional read as Sam’s loneliness really reached out. It also took twists and turns that I was unprepared for and as I read late into the night I was surprised at some of the shocking revelations. This is an adult read and it deals with sensitive topics, (that may be difficult for some), but through it all there is a thread of hope and a promise for a truer love.

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


About the Author


Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field as an editor. She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, to care of her aging mother and enjoy her two grown children and her grandchildren. She is the author of six books: Becalmed (2013), Heavy Weather (2015), Twilight Christmas (2016), Two from Isaac’s House (2015), From Fire into Fire (2016), and Sailing out of Darkness (2013 and 2017).

Guest Post from Normandie Fischer


In Sailing out of Darkness, the female protagonist longs for something, anything that will validate her after her husband leaves. She’s propelled into such an emotional wasteland that she becomes vulnerable to what seems a safe friendship.

It isn’t. And so she flees to Italy, but the repercussions of her actions continue to affect her and others—as consequences are wont to do.

After my divorce, hurting women seemed to flock to my vicinity. (Either that, or suddenly husbands in the church were leaving in droves.) These were abandoned women, angry women, women searching for love in the wrong places. I wasn’t in any shape to minister to them as I too was struggling at the cross, but that period helped me understand how woefully ignorant and unprepared many church goers are when it comes to hearing the cries of the hurting. I know of two women (to whom I dedicated the book) who actually killed themselves because no one listened or reached out a hand when they needed it.

The process of divorce and healing taught me about grace in a way that I’d never fully internalized. I’d ministered and counseled for years about the Love of God. I’d preached and written about it, but part of me, the part that needed healing, still held on to the idea that I had to be perfect to be loved by God and by man. I knew better, but the heart and the head weren’t working well together, especially during my years of living with an alcoholic husband and during divorce recovery after he left. As I wrote about Sam’s guilt and helped her find peace, I think new pieces slid into place for me as well. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God. And that’s probably the most powerful message we have to share with this hurting world

Blog Stops

June 1: Genesis 5020
June 5: By The Book
June 6: Book by Book
June 7: Carpe Diem
June 11: Bigreadersite
June 11: The Power of Words (spotlight)

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Normandie is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b630