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.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn


Carey arrives in Greece to find out the position she is reporting for is no more because the Institute has been closed. She is an expert in antiquities and forensic archaeology and a hometown friend, now an investigative reporter, Nick hires her to help him on his quest to find out who is stealing antiquities from Museums and Monasteries in Greece.

This book kept me engaged throughout and the mix of history and Greek culture was fascinating. Davis Bunn is a new author for me but I will definitely seek out his books again. Especially when a sequel to this one comes out since he left us hanging at the end. I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense / mystery / Biblical history.

Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles) by Lynn Austin


This story begins with the wicked Haman's decree in Babylon for all Jews to be killed. It has the King's seal so every Jew in Babylon is terrified about the approaching day. Ezra, a teacher of the Torah, delves deep into the scripture and into prayer and fasting to help find a solution. Jews (and Gentiles) all over the realm are preparing for the day.


Lynn Austin has made the story of Queen Esther and the subsequent opportunity for the Jews that so desire to return to Jerusalem come to life. The Bible story is compelling but putting actual every day people and their dreams and hopes and feelings into it make it even more compelling. Lynn Austin is a master storyteller and all her historicals have this ability to bring it all home but this one is one of her best yet! I literally could not put this down until I finished the story. What a wonderful resource this book is as well as being a great book to just enjoy reading. My granddaughter has read everything she has found on Esther over the last few years and she is waiting (impatiently) for me to finish this book so she can read it. This takes the story on beyond the Esther story and I know she will devour it just as I did.


This is a book to savor and then be kept on the shelf to savor again in the future. This entire series is a wonderful addition to any collection.


Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I love Bethany House and all their authors!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Abraham by Charles R. Swindoll



Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of a great nation. He wasn't a righteous man. He wasn't even a God-follower when he was chosen. But God typically takes who he wants not who looks, acts or does the best. The story of Abraham is vastly different than the sweet little Bible stories we were taught as children. The story of Abraham is the story of a man who was very much flesh and blood, very much subject to his own fears and inhibitions and not above stretching the truth for his own purposes. But he did what God told him, for the most part, and fulfilled the purpose God had for him. This is an in depth study of the story of Abraham.


I have taken several studies about Abraham so I was familiar with the topic but each author has their own twist on it and gives food for thought. The best way to begin to learn about Abraham is to read his story straight from your Bible. But it is also helpful to have the insight of Bible teachers who have studied it in depth already. There are many cultural and geographical facts from the period that need to be addressed to fully understand the story. That is the reason books like this are valuable to us as seekers of truth.


Charles Swindoll has done an excellent job of presenting all the facts and making this study interesting and informative. This would be an excellent book for Bible Study or Book Club groups but is also good for personal studies. This book will stay on my shelf and be a resource in homeschooling and personal study.


I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer



This book is a Kim Vogel Sawyer masterpiece. She just keeps reaching deeper and deeper. I've made it my business to read everything that comes out by this author for several years now and this one is just beyond wonderful. I could not put this book down to get anything done today and I finally finished it this evening and was relieved to see that the sequel is in the works already. There is definitely some unfinished business at the end of this book and I am anxious to see the next installment.

This is the story of Suzy (an old order Mennonite girl), who gets pregnant when she and her boyfriend have sex. Her mother sends her away to have the baby and have it adopted by a cousin and then return and resume her life. Instead of coming back to Kansas, she stayed in Indiana and went to nursing school. Nineteen years later, her siblings ask her to come back and take care of her mother who has been injured in an accident and she returns with her daughter to help. No one knew about her daughter and it was all a surprise. Complicating matters was the fact that her former boyfriend, now a widower with a young son, was the contractor working on adapting her mother's house to her disabilities.

All the characters in this story were interesting and their various means of dealing with emotions was interesting. So many surprising things happened in this story and the setting was so compelling that I just wanted to keep reading about it even after the last page was read. I'm counting on the sequel to be full of more fascinating people and settings. Being a native Kansan, I am always excited to read about Kansas anyway but this book make it even more special.

I received this book from the author for the purpose of writing a review, but if I hadn't been chosen for the task I would have purchased it anyway because I can't pass up anything new from Kim Vogel Sawyer's pen.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson



Mazy Pelfrey has gone to Lexington to go to business school on the advise of her sister, Lilly (a doctor). Her beau back home is Chanis Clay who is the local sheriff. While in Lexington she becomes interested in Loyal Chambers, the son of a local doctor and part of Lexington's upper class. She soon finds out that all that glitters is not gold as the saying goes.


I found this story interesting because my grandmother went away to business school in about this time frame and it gave me a little feel for what her life may have been like while she was away from home taking this course.


I also found Chanis Clay very interesting and like the way he treated people he came across in his work and in his social life. He might not be the dashing, exciting hero of a lot of romance novels, but he is a true blue hero all the same.


This story was well told and kept me interested throughout so as a result I finished this book fairly quickly.


Tyndale gave me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.