Monday, March 30, 2015

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

Kelli Huddleston has always been told that her mother and siblings died in a house fire. But when her father and stepmother die in a car accident and Kelli has to go through her father's things, she finds a whole different scenario emerging and decides to go find out for herself what really happened.

I was not familiar with Kathryn Cushman's work before but I intend to be very familiar in the future. What a great author to add to my "favorites" list!

This book kept me hooked until the very end. I needed to find out what happened more than I needed my sleep. The book and its characters found a home in my heart. Highly recommend!

Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, March 23, 2015

When Grace Sings by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Briley Forrester, hotshot big city reporter, is in the tiny Old Order Mennonite town of Arborville to dig up some dirt on the residents. He and his boss think there must be more to the story than the outward appearance of these people. He stays at the Bed and Breakfast run by Alexa Zimmerman. She's not Old Order Mennonite but she lives plain since her extended family, the Zimmerman's are. Both Briley and Alexa have issues from the past that haunt them. Briley was abandoned at 5 and raised in foster homes. Alexa was abandoned as an infant and raised by Suzy Zimmerman.

Also featured in the story are Steven Brungardt and Anna-Grace Braun who are "published" to be married. Steven has inherited a farm in Arborville from his deceased grandfather. Steven doesn't want to be a farmer, he wants to be a teacher but he doesn't want to disappoint his parents and Anna-Grace. Anna-Grace isn't sure she wants to go to Arborville either because she has discovered that her birth parents are from there. She doesn't want to know who they are but she doesn't want to run into them either.

This story is a continuation of When Mercy Rains and this book is number 2 in the Zimmerman Restoration series. Book 1 deals with Suzy Zimmerman's return to her family with the daughter she raised (Alexa) and seeing for the first time since birth her own illegitimate daughter that had been adopted by a cousin.

Time out! I need to grumble at the author a little: Mrs. Sawyer, you left us hanging on Suzy at the end of book one. Now at the end of book two you leave us hanging on Suzy, Alexa AND Anna-Grace. Book 3 (since this is a trilogy) better be Faith Restored or some such and resolve all three of these. They are all begging for resolution.

Just so you know, that rant above was in fun. I love Kim Vogel Sawyer. She is arguably my FAVORITE of all favorite authors. She provided this book to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. I would have snarfed it up anyway because I've been waiting (impatiently) for this next installment in the story. Please speed-write book number 3, Mrs. Sawyer.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dauntless (Valiant Hearts) by Dina L. Sleiman

All I can say is WOW! I loved this book! I love this time period, I love these kinds of stories and I want more! (And I don't want to wait till the Author's next installment. I want her to speed write!)

Lady Merry Ellison and Timothy Grey were once betrothed but her father's opposition to King John put a damper on the situation. Her parents and brother were murdered by the King's men and Merry and some of the village children were forced into exile by the circumstances. They formed a little band for survival and lived off their wits in the woods. Timothy, thinking Merry was dead too, eventually went to work for a nearby landholder. When he discovers Merry is still alive he doesn't know what to do. To let others know is to put her in danger.

This was so much fun -- a Robin Hood type of story. The characters are interesting, the time period is interesting, the political intrigue is fascinating and the storytelling is superb!

Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review but I would have bought it anyway and will buy any subsequent books by this author. Loved it!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

By Your Side by Candace Calvert

Macy, an ER nurse, and former foster child and Fletcher, a cop meet each other when they are involved in a sniper incident on the freeway. As it turns out they have mutual acquaintances in the the ER / First Responders community. As the sniper continues to show up (more than once when Macy was present) all kinds of theories evolve and Macy and Fletcher spend more and more time together. They seem to be the right mix to work through issues both have with their pasts and presents. Both characters are real and fascinating and people you would want on your friend’s list.

This is the first book I have read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like the medical / ER / Cop insight. It was very well researched. And the story kept developing to the extent that I didn’t want to put it down to resume normal daily activity. I’m looking forward to another installment from this author and I will definitely recommend this book to my friends who enjoy this genre.

I received this book from Tyndale House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Reef McKenna and Kirra Jacobs have known each other since childhood and have been at odds most of that time but when one of Kirra's family members is kidnapped during the Iditarod they team together to find her and catch the criminals who have a plans that will endanger many people and animals.

This is book 5 in the Alaskan Courage series. I have loved every book in this series about the McKenna family in Alaska. I waited rather impatiently for this last installment and now I feel a sense of loss since this is the last book in the series, but I can't wait to see what Dani Pettrey has in store for us in her next series.

The characters in these books are friendly people who anyone would love to have has friends or family. The author makes the reader feel like they are a member of the family or at least a very close family friend. These are books that are hard to put down in exchange for the mundane of daily life so I generally start them when I have a large block of time when I can read with only brief pauses to eat or run to the bathroom. If I have to (sigh) go to bed and put the book down till morning it is most stressful.

I love the way the characters' Christian faith is intertwined seamlessly into the story and just becomes a part of their personality. It is not contrived or superfluous, it is part of who they are and what they are doing.

Dani Pettrey has become one of my favorite authors. Most books I read and pass on but Dani Pettrey's books go on my bookshelf.

Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. If they hadn't I'd have bought it anyway the first day it was released because I have been waiting for this one! All Bethany House books are winners but Dani Pettrey is one of their new shining stars.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Esther: Royal Beauty (A Dangerous Beauty Novel) by Angela Hunt

This is the story of Hadassah / Queen Esther told in a fresh new way. The story is told by Esther and by the eunuch Harbonah, personal servant of King Xerxes. It is true to the Biblical account but is fleshed out by other research and some fictional additions. This is a moving story enhanced by personal details about the characters. I was enthralled throughout and so intrigued by the variance of human nature displayed among the protagonists. This would be a good story to read when celebrating or researching the Jewish feast of Purim.

I love everything written by Angela Hunt so I was sure I would enjoy the story before I picked up the book but I have also read other very nice accounts of this story by other authors and done an entire Bible study on the Book of Esther by a well-known Bible teacher. So I wasn’t sure if I would find anything new here or if it would just be old hat. What I found was so much more than I anticipated and I will cherish this book and recommend it to others.

Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book for the purpose of an honest review.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Song by Chris Fabry

Jed King is a rising Christian music artist who is following in the footsteps of his famous father. He is determined to miss the pitfalls that marred his father's life and when he meets Rose and they get married he thinks he is on the road to his dreams. Like many artists that get caught up in the fast pace of stardom with all the touring and fan culture, he inevitably makes some missteps along the way.

This story is about redemption and forgiveness and the love of God that surpasses all our sins and shortcomings.

This book was well written and the main characters were likable and believable. I was drawn into the story almost immediately and didn't want to put it down. I noticed that there had been a screenplay and since I almost always like the book better than the movie, I'm glad I saw the book first. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good read.

Tyndale provided me with a copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review.