Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review: The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I enjoyed going back and visiting with the Stoltzfus family in The Quieting the second in The Bishop’s Family series.  Widower David Stoltzfus is still dealing with the problems of his church while things seem to have calmed down a bit in his household.  That is until his mother and two of his nieces, Abigail and Laura, stop by unannounced and with the good intentions of helping him and his family.  We received the viewpoints of David, his 16 year old son Jesse, and Abigail in this read.  Abigail was the new viewpoint and I really liked her.  She is a very literal person, very smart, and does not have a sense of humor.  This has caused tension at her home and now in her uncle’s home.  Throw in David’s meddling mother who is on several missions, one of them being to see Abigail married.  Abigail has only come to help her Uncle David and to finish her father’s genealogical research project for a client.  Abigail finds a friend in Dane Glick, who is a very jolly person who also happens to have his sights set on marrying her.

This was a very good read, at times humorous and others thought provoking that showed how people are very different and you cannot always control the outcomes of the situations or them.  David and Birdy’s love story continues to develop and I was glad to see Jesse maturing as a character from the last book.  I look forward to the next in The Bishop’s Family series.  I received a copy for an honest review from Revell Publishing and the opinions are my own.

Review: Every Bride Has Her Day by Janice Thompson

Every Bride Has Her Day is the delightful, often times hilarious, conclusion to author Janice Thompson’s A Brides with Style Novel series.  Katie and Brady are finally on their way to their wedding day.  Before they can get there they will face many changes and challenges in a very short time.  New babies and new love abound as Katie, Brady, family, and town go through the year to the big wedding date.  Katie certainly did not realize that when she and Casey broke up and she moved to Dallas all the changes that happened not just to her, but just about everybody she knows.  This was a heartwarming and at times a belly laughing read.  I knew this had to have a happily ever after, but I was a little concerned if Katie would get the day she always dreamed about.  This was a fun series about a small town country girl deciding in the wake of heartbreak to move on to the big city for something different.   I received a copy for an honest review from Revell Publishing and the opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Review: Spring in Hyde Park by Jennifer Moore, G.G. Vandagriff, and Nichole Van

Spring in Hyde Park is the third set of novellas in the Timeless Regency Collection.  I have really been enjoying these novellas which really pack a punch for shorter stories.  In this series were three authors that I had not read before and I was pleasantly pleased by all of them.

A Happy Accident by Jennifer Moore was the first and my favorite of the three.  This one throws our hero and heroine into a marriage of convenience due to some conniving by the heroin’s father, but this one ends up of course happily ever after however with some bumps in the road.  Marriage of convenience stories are some of my favorite and this one really highlighted Jennifer Moore’s writing.  I look forward to reading all of her stories.

The Disdainful Duke shows us how an educated woman can hold her own against a somewhat pompous duke who didn’t plan on taking a second look at her.  There were a couple of surprises in this book that quite literally took my breath away and I could not stop reading till I reach the very satisfying conclusion.  I also look forward to many hours of reading pleasure of author G. G. Vandagriff’s other books.

Last but certainly not least, was An Invisible Heiress by Nichole Van which is a story that after a shocking proposal takes place, a period of over 7 years passes and we get to see the growth and maturity of the characters.  This heroine was a clever and crafty one, if albeit lonely and in love with the hero from a distance.  This one was lighthearted for the most part and amused me greatly right up to the sigh inducing ending. 

Again, all these authors were new to me and I look forward to reading more of their work.  My thanks go to I Am a Reader Not a Writer for providing me with an e-copy for review.  The opinions are my own honest ones.

Review: Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Anchor in the Storm

Anchor in the Storm is Sarah Sundin’s second in her series Waves of Freedom and it was a highly anticipated read for me.  In the first book of the series we meet Jim Avery and his best friend and fellow Ensign Officer Archer Vandenberg.  I really liked Archer and I was looking forward to his story which pairs him up with Jim’s little sister Lillian.  Lillian is such a great character and I liked her spunk and tenacity and how she strived to overcome the obstacles in her way.  First off she went to school to become a pharmacist which was an unusual occupation for a woman during the 1940’s.  Not only that, but due to an accident as a child, she was missing a leg and used a prosthesis. 

Archer on the other hand comes from a very wealthy family yet he wants nothing to do with his wealth.  He wants to find a woman who will love him for who he is and not for his name or the substantial riches behind it.  As he and Lillian get to know each other while investigating together on a secret case possibly dealing with a drug ring, they begin to fall for one another.  However, both must overcome past disappointments and fears before learning to fully trust each other.  Their story takes place during the backdrop of World War 2 and their very lives become dangerously exposed.

This novel lived up to my expectations and more and I even learned about some WW2 history that I previously had not known.  I very much look forward to getting to know the next Avery sibling, Dan, and his story in the third of this series. 

I was provided a copy for an honest review from Revell Publishing and the opinions are my own.

Review: Deadlock by Diann Mills

I enjoyed reading Deadlock by DiAnn Mills greatly.  It is the story of Special Agent Bethany Sanchez of the FBI and her new partner Special Agent Thatcher Graves as they investigate the murder of Alicia Javon.  In order to do this they must first determine whether the murder was simply made to resemble another murder that took place three weeks prior, but actually has no connection with it whatsoever (as Bethany believes); or if it is the work of a serial killer (as Thatcher believes).  These agents must learn to overcome their differences in order to solve this murder, but it might just be impossible for them to do this because they have so many.  Bethany is analytical and by the book, Thatcher is a maverick and prefers to follow his gut instinct; however, they do try their hardest to overcome these differences which I found rather refreshing.  Often when you read a book about two characters who do not like each other they try their best to be a hindrance to the other, but that was not the case in this book as Bethany and Thatcher really do try their best to work together and be good partners.

The one problem I had with this story is that the dialogue was rather spontaneous.  The characters will randomly go from discussing one thing to suddenly changing the subject and talking about something totally different.  I understand that Thatcher is a very spontaneous character and so would probably speak in this way, but I still found it a little hard to follow at some parts.
On a whole I really liked this book.  I found it interesting and suspenseful.  It also put me in the mind of the TV show Forever and believe that fans of Forever would probably enjoy this book (I know I did).

I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own honest ones.

Reviewed by Nicki

Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

If I Run by Terri Blackstock is a book that I very much wanted to read after I had taken a look at the synopsis on the back.  It is the story of Casey Cox a very resourceful (far more so than I think I would have been in her situation) young lady who stumbles upon her best friend’s body and completely loses it.  She makes a mess of her situation by leaving her DNA all over the crime scene and further complicates things by failing to contact the police.  She knows that she will be the one held accountable for Brent’s death and that the only way to avoid incarceration (or possibly death- if Brent’s killers get their hands on her) is for her to flee the state, and so she does just that.

Enter Dylan Roberts a veteran with PTSD, who was once very close with Brent Pace.  Because Casey has fled the state it becomes obvious that there is very little the local police or state police can do to catch her.  They do not have the funds to track her down.  However Brent’s parents are rather wealthy and are determined that Brent’s killer be found; they hire Dylan who was an investigator in the army to track down Casey.  He sets out to find and take in the girl who supposedly murdered his former friend, except not everything about the crime is adding up… and soon it becomes apparent to Dylan that Casey might, very well, not be the murderer at all.

This is an intense cat and mouse game as Casey fights her hardest to stay one step ahead of the people hunting her, and Dylan tries his best to track down Casey while also trying to discover the truth about what really happened to Brent.  Add into the mix a two year old kidnapping and corrupt cops and you have a truly suspenseful read.  I read it in one day and eagerly anticipate the next books in this series.

My thanks go to Zondervan’s Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book.  The opinions are my own honest ones.

Reviewed by Nicki

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Review: Her One and Only by Becky Wade

In Her One and Only by author Becky Wade, we get to go back and visit with the Porter family once again.  Baby sister and only girl, Dru Porter, has grown into her own now and after the military is now an executive protection agent, or bodyguard.  Assigned by her agency to protect NFL star Gray Fowler from a stalker, Dru takes her job seriously especially after a really bad case in Mexico.  Well as you can imagine, sparks fly between Dru and Gray, who finds her intriguing and quite attractive but does not necessarily take her job, his situation, or his safety seriously.  This was a really a great romantic read with an underlying sense of danger as the stalker ups the ante and begins to target more than just Gray.  We, along with Dru are introduced to Gray’s very dysfunctional family and some of his crazy fans and ex-girlfriends.  It was really a joy to go back and reunite with Dru’s older brothers, the Porter boys and their families.  I loved seeing the brothers again and how very different they all were.  Bo and Meg have a very prominent side story that was very poignant and long awaited for.  Becky Wade is probably my favorite contemporary author and I look forward to all her stories.  I received a copy from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review and the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: Silence in the Dark by Patricia Bradley

Silence in the Dark is the fourth book in the Logan Point book series and even though I did not read the first books I did not find this story hard to follow; however, I would advise reading them because I’m sure they provide extra information on some characters and background information.  There also does seem to be a continuing plot- something about guns being stolen and sold illegally in Mexico- that appears to have trickled down from the books previous, but, again, I don’t know -I didn’t read the other books.

This is the story of Baily and her ex-fiancĂ© Danny trying to survive a drug cartel and escape Mexico alive.  Danny was my favorite character and I felt an immediate kindred bond with him because we shared the same name.  Because of this I was extremely biased- anything bad that happened in the story was not Danny’s fault.  Also I found myself disliking anyone who hurt Danny or made him upset (you mess with one Danny you get the other).  Baily was one of those characters who incurred my wrath.  I didn’t like it that she broke poor Danny’s heart (even if I knew where she was coming from- she survived a pretty traumatic childhood incident) when she broke off her engagement with him two years prior to the happenings of this book.

However Baily and Danny are not the only characters as there is also Maria, the young girl who Baily was put in charge of getting to her grandparents; the misplaced waitress, Solana, who lost her job and endangered her own life when she helped save Baily’s and Maria’s lives; the mysterious Angle who, while he is helping them, has an agenda all his own; and Joel, Maria’s uncle, who at the surface seems like a nice enough guy, but could be hiding some pretty nasty secrets himself.

This is an intense, fast paced book that I read in a little over a day and enjoyed greatly.   My thanks go to Revell Publishing for providing me a copy for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Nicki

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker picks up a little while after the first book ends. I was a bit surprised to find that Remko, the main protagonist, is now a husband and a father, but it was a pleasant surprise- definitely something different in the dystopian market. The story begins in action and is rife with drama, betrayal, and emotion as Remko struggles to learn how to surrender the fear that grips him so completely- not easy to do, since he has not only a wife and a child to take care of, but also a whole camp of rebels and runaways from the Authority that once kept them all enslaved; a camp he never asked to be in charge of. The story reminded me of the early Christians being persecuted by Rome, except public executions aren’t the only danger- there is also a mysterious group performing tests on humans in an attempt to remove free will. The story will have you nervously following lovable characters hoping that they don’t die. Or get brainwashed. The ending was necessary, I suppose, for the next book, though I hope I never have to face the decision they did, because I don’t think I could make their choice. Looking forward to the next book to see if everything turns out all right!

I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Jes

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review and New Cover Reveal: A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses by Nicki Chapelway

This first adventure to Amar is filled with everything and more the title names.  This is a fantastical and whimsical tale of four friends who find themselves travelling to a world that is not their own.  Having previously journeyed separately before, this time they are all thrust into this foreign place to work together to finish the mission that their fathers’ did not.   Our four adventurers include: Chelsea and her twin brother Clint, Easton, and Bobby.  They have each other’s backs and all want to finish their mission so that they may safely return  home.  Along the way they meet new friends, collect a couple of unusual pets, and a couple even discover magic flows through their veins.  A story of friendship, adventure aplenty, and a budding new romance or two, this book is a very delicious tale.  And after having reached this story’s final chapter and with that ending- you will find yourself anticipating the next chapter in this four book series.  So please Ms. Chapelway- hurry up and write some more.  This is a clean and fun read for tweens, teens, and up.

Review: The Silent Order by Melanie Dobson

I have always enjoyed reading books by author Melanie Dobson as she is a masterful storyteller in bringing past and present timelines and situations to such emotional and fulfilling conclusions.   I do not read a whole lot of Amish fiction, but I can tell you that The Silent Order is not your usual fair.  This story takes place during the 1920’s in Cleveland and Sugar Creek, Ohio in a time of mobsters and bootlegging.  Detective Rollin Wells is a detective bound and determined to take down one particular powerful mob family by the name of the Cardanos who are hiding some pretty dark secrets.  However, his investigation takes him to Sugar Creek, Ohio which is home to an Amish community.  Here he meets Katie Lehman who reminds him of someone in his past.  This story was full of so many layers of secrets, that from the explosive prologue to the very last page, I had to know who was who and what was what.  This was a very satisfying read.  I want to thank author Melanie Dobson for providing me with a copy for an honest review.  The opinions are all my own and I eagerly await her next story.

Review: Healed, Healthy and Whole by Marion M. Pyle

This is a testimony and personal story of one couple’s courageous battle with bladder cancer.  After being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012, Russell and Marion had a long uphill road to follow.  This book gives some insight into the emotions they experienced, how they changed their diet, and the different treatment options that were accessible to them.  This book is also their personal testimony of how they turned to God in prayer with friends and family who walked alongside of them.  This also looked at how very frustrating the waiting can be and even how they continued getting other doctor opinions after the first disappointing treatment Russell had received. 

Having lost my own father to bladder cancer in 2012, this at times was a very hard read for me.   Seeing that they experienced a lot of the same feelings and frustrations along the way that we did, shows just how much people need support.  Through God’s wisdom, He decided to make my Dad whole in heaven- it was good to read such an uplifting testimony of someone who received their healing down here on earth.

My thanks go to The Book Club Network, Inc. for providing me with a copy for an honest review.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Review: Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

Stealing Jake by author Pam Hillman takes you back out west just outside of Chicago, in the small town of Chestnut, Illinois.  Livy O’Brien works at the newly opened orphanage to help the poor orphans stay off the streets and have a chance at a better life.  Livy knows the life of a street kid and of a pickpocket from personal experience herself due to living on the streets of Chicago.  She has found a new life that is forgiven and a new purpose.  However, old feelings die hard and when she meets deputy Jake Russell, she has a hard time setting aside those old prejudices of police, especially the corrupt ones.  Yet Jake is different as he is a moral man and both must work together to find the ones behind a rash of crimes that has erupted in their small town.  Jake believes it is the swarm of street children coming from Chicago, yet Livy has her doubts and instead sets out to prove them innocent.  What they both stumble upon is much worse than either could have imagined.  This was an enjoyable tale of the American West complete with gunfights, explosions, danger, and a sigh inducing romance.  I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own honest ones.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review: The War of Words by Amy Neftzger

War of Words is a fantasy novel I would say for tweens and up.  However, even younger children would find this story interesting if mom or dad read it to them.  There is a war going on between the king’s army and the sorcerer and his shadows.  There is a bit of violence and the shadows are creepy so that might scare younger readers.  This story was interesting on its lessons about words and how powerful they are.  The old saying of “sticks and stones” definitely does not fit into this book.  Words are powerful and can cause great good or great harm.  We seem to have two main groups of people, Kelsey and Eric on the battlefield and their visits to town, and the three students: Nicholas, Maggie, Jovan, the old sorcerer Moss, the headmaster Taro, and a very hungry, itchy gargoyle by the name of Newton all at the academy.  With the help of magical like animals Megan, a snow leopard and Roland a fox like creature rounds out this cast of characters.
Trying to end the war with the evil sorcerer who has been confusing the entire town and the soldiers with what is reality and what isn’t; our team of heroes set out to find a rumored book that no one can read that supposedly has the power to end this war of words.  I enjoyed this fantasy novel and I really liked how the story was focused on words and how we use them and the power that they can yield.  This was good story with timely lessons to be learned.

I received a copy for an honest review from iRead Book Tours and the opinions are my own honest ones.

Book Description for The War of Words: Sometimes there's no better way to understand reality than through fantasy, and the best way to find truth may be in a book - if you can find the right one.

Battles against darkness, a quest for truth, and a search for the book that no one can read are all part of the fantasy adventure in The War of Words. As an evil sorcerer wages war by using mysterious shadows and seeks to gain control by confusing the residents as to what's real and what isn't, the fate of the kingdom rests in the hands of Kelsey and Nicholas.

As the youngest officer in the king's army, Kelsey fights the evil sorcerer s shadows on the battlefield as she explores the kingdom searching for the key to winning the war. Nicholas, a young sorcerer in training who is mastering his craft, discovers how the right words can change the course of the future.

Explore an enchanted maze, uncover the power of words, and learn about friendship in this whimsical tale.

​Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Book Depository

Author's Bio:

Amy Neftzger is the author of fiction books for both adults and children. She has also been published in business and academic journals, as well as literary publications.

A few of her favorite things include traveling, books, movies, art, the Oxford comma, and gargoyles.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Jesus Inspires Me by Missi Jay

My 6 year old son and I have really enjoyed the Graham Blanchard series of books and we were thrilled to find out that a coloring activity book had been released.  This activity book is loaded with all kinds of activities: from coloring pages, to pages you create, secret messages, dot-to-dot etc. all with the theme of the previous books running through it.  This book is great for older kids to do on their own or with help with younger ones.  You may just want to experience it with your child no matter what.  I know my son loves it when I color with him.  This is another great addition to the Graham Blanchard Knowing My God series of books.  I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Boos Mum and Boo Bear

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: Beautifully Prepared by Monica Schaefer, Illustrations by Julie Headland

Beautifully Prepared is a lovely illustrated book that compares the first woman, Eve, with the Bride of Christ from the book of Revelation.  This book starts with the author’s own personal story of how, like Eve, she believed the lie, like so many of us that we are just not enough.  The author shows how Eve, who had everything, was told a lie and she believed it thus putting her in bondage to the liar.  She became a slave.  I have just been studying extensively the book of Revelation, so I really enjoyed all the Bible passages that described the Bride and her relationship to her Groom.  The complete faith and trust that was so apparent in her relationship to him, because she gave up her self-governance and self-reliance.  What really spoke to me was on Pg. 39 where the author talks about what is really motivating us.  How do we really know what is truly motivating us?  Because everything else but God drives us like a slave.  God motivates us with love.  This was a beautiful book that showed the contrast between Eve and the Bride of Christ and begs to be placed on the coffee table to be looked at and pondered time and again.  The paintings themselves are beautifully abstract and give a wonderful complement to the text.  I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.

Review: The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell was a very hard, disturbing read for me.  It dealt with three major issues that in my reading do bother me, and this one had them all in one place.  However, Julie Cantrell’s writing is amazing and beautiful.  Even though this is not my usual read and it was very depressing at times, she wrote about such disturbing circumstances with sensitivity and sympathy.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron but she is an author that even though I know the subject matter is not going to be pretty she has the capability of pulling me into the story and making me want to turn the pages.  With that being said, this story is a story of hope and I appreciated her heartfelt author notes.  I am giving this one five stars even though it is not a happy read, because it still is a good read.  I look forward to more of Julie Cantrell’s writing and will not hesitate to read her stories in the future.  I received a complimentary copy of this book by Thomas Nelson’s Fiction Guild and the opinions are my own honest ones.

My Thoughts and More on Mabel and the Little Green Men by Susan Kimmel Wright

  About the Book Book: Mabel and the Little Green Men Author:  Susan Kimmel Wright Genre: Cozy Mystery Release date: October 5, 2023 The la...