Sunday, 1 December 2013

Singularity

http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/singularity/319450


Back Cover
 
Jevin Banks is searching for a killer—
And answers to terrifying questions he never even thought to ask.
 
When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. 
 
Drawn deep into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won’t stop digging until the truth is revealed.  Soon he uncovers a dark secret that could change the very fabric—and future—of human life on the planet.
 
Based on frightening scientific realities and bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the riveting sequel to Placebo.
 
Review
 
In this book, Steven James writes that “magic is the only honest profession” as magicians promise to deceive you, and they succeed.  But Mr. James is also an honest guy as he promises a crazy, suspenseful ride, and pulls it off each and every time.
 
Singularity takes you through a complex web of mystery, robotics, the search for eternal youth, government secrets, and desperate people willing to do anything to get the answers they need.  And at the centre of it is Jevin Banks, a man still recovering from a family tragedy, and who is suddenly thrust back into an emotional roller coaster ride.
 
Singularity was a thrilling tale, and in my opinion, was even better than its predecessor, Placebo.  Fingers crossed that there will be another instalment in this series!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Becoming Myself

http://www.becomingmyself.com/

 
Back Cover
 
Becoming Myself is a hope-filled book for anyone who wonders if her life will ever change—if she will ever change.  In Stasi Eldridge’s most intimate book yet, she shares her struggles with self-worth, addiction, and her past as she shows readers how God is faithfully bringing us to a life of freedom and wholeness.
 
God desires to restore us, and he is able to restore us—the real us.  As he heals our inner life he calls us to “rise to the occasion” of our lives.  The most important journey any woman can take is the one into becoming her true self through the love of God.  It’s a beautiful paradox:  the more God’s you become, the more yourself you become-the woman he had in mind when he thought of you before the creation of the world.
 
Review
 
When I first saw this book, I was intrigued.  Becoming myself- what exactly did the author mean?
 
As I dove into the book, it quite often became very hard to read.  Written more like a personal memoir, Stasi walks you through some difficult times throughout her life.  She hit on some very positive points such as we should not prison ourselves to fear (i.e. fear of what others think/say, fear of circumstance, etc.), but rather, release those fears and insecurities to God.  Other points were that beauty does not relate to some specific measurement, hair colour, or height (everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way!), and to always strive to be a good friend.
 
However, for the most part, I felt the book was wrought with some very troublesome issues.  What felt like rants against mothers (and two whole chapters of it), didn’t exactly coincide with one of the author’s agendas of helping eradicate misogyny, or hatred against women.  To blame your mother for any and all weight issues, insecurity, self-esteem, addiction, thoughts, feelings---- reminded me of a “scapegoat”.  Casting blame on others has been around for a loooong time – remember Adam in the Garden of Eden when God spoke to him about eating the forbidden fruit?  Adam said “This woman you gave me…”  And Eve goes on to say, “The serpent deceived me!”  While I understand that circumstances can and do mould us to a certain point, in the end, it is our choice to decide whether or not they will continue to define us. While I think that the author’s end point is about overcoming difficulties, it is shrouded in just heaping blame for our problems on someone else.  Instead of doing that, we need to take responsibility for our own mistakes and run to our Father in heaven, Who is always there with open arms – “Cast all your cares upon Him for He careth for you”.
 
There were other points of concern, such as talk of “soul ties” between two people, which was just plain bizarre, and feministic ideals and refusal to embrace to the God-ordained and wonderful roles of men and women as outlined in the Scriptures.
 
In closing, I want to put out there that I really dislike writing negative reviews.  As an aspiring writer myself, I understand how one person’s written work is viewed like their “baby”.  It’s something you’ve poured yourself into, and nurtured into the finished product it is now, so reviewing books is a task I do not take lightly.  But as this is a book about Christian living, I fear I had to raise some very key issues that do not align with Scriptural truths.  I did not hit on every single thing I was at odds with in the book, but instead choose to end this review with a strong word of caution.  If you decide to read this book (and really, any book about Christian living!), I would highly recommend to have the mind of the Bereans that the Apostle Paul spoke of in Acts 17:11, who after hearing Paul speak would search “the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”


Book has been provided courtesy of David C. Cook and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Bride for Keeps

http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-bride-for-keeps/347440


Back Cover
 
Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride.  Not again.  He’s already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn’t in his future.  However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn’t given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.
 
Julie Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiancé.  A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she’ll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she’s experienced there.
 
Although Everett doesn’t see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead.  Determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only.  Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitate to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?
 
Review
 
I started reading A Bride for Keeps feeling unsure of how it would turn out.  I worried that the premise of the novel (marriages of convenience) had been done so many times (Janette Oak’s Love Comes Softly and Deeanne Gist’s A Bride Most Begrudging come to mind), that it would be difficult to bring something new to the table.  But Melissa sure surprised me!  She crafted a wonderful romance with characters that have depth - they had real-life issues and insecurities to work through.  Over the course of their journey, they begin to realize that with God, all things are possible.  A rich and lovely story, it ended all too soon and left me wanting more. 
 
 A debut novel for Melissa, A Bride for Keeps, shows a great deal of promise for this new author.  It was a great historical romance and I will be looking forward to her next book!
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.   Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

First Date



Back Cover
 
When it comes to catching the eye of that cute boy at school,
sometimes you just need a little help from your friends.
 
Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby have one thing in common as they start their sophomore year:  none of them have ever been on a “real” date.  With homecoming looming, the girls make a pact and start a secret club thy call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective – dates for the dance.
 
They’re sworn to secrecy, but the club is their way to set each other up on their first dates so they can report back to the DG.  They’ll have to navigate expectations and rules from their parents, figure out how to act on a date, and endear themselves to the guys they like.
 
What could possibly go wrong?
 
Review
 
Ah, a hard-working teenager starting high school.  It is one of the  most crazy and chaotic times in a person’s life as they become who they are and juggle meeting parents’, teachers’, friends’, and even employers’ expectations at the same time.   And, more often than not, it can also be a time when you are introduced to an entirely new (and possibly scary) terrain:  dating.
 
I don’t often read teen fiction, but Melody Carlson was one of my favourite authors growing up, and I thought First Date would be an interesting book to read.  Turns out, my hunch was correct:  First Date is a great novel for teen girls.  While the girls' agendas are getting dates for the dance, the book didn't just cover dating.  Values such as loyalty, friendship, faith, and parental respect are highlighted throughout the book.  Sprinkled with a bit of humour, and some real-life drama, First Date was a fun trip back to high school - but minus all the homework!  
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 

A Talent for Trouble



Back Cover
 
For years, Miss Felicia Murdock’s every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister’s wife.  When the minister she’d set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change—and soon—before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she’s not.  If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who’s to say nay?
 
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had his fill of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman.  Prompted by friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
 
Just as Grayson decides he’s had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia’s life endangers her.  As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping each other out of trouble?
 
Review
 
I’m afraid I’m starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to reviewing Jen’s novels…seriously, she has not turned out a bad story yet! 
 
A Talent for Trouble showcases Jen’s consistent writing style: intriguing plot highlighted by colourful characters and sparked with liberal doses of wit and humour. 
 
I’ve talked often of the wit and humour in Jen’s novels, but I just want to touch on the characters, which are really be the backbone to any novel.  I (personally) believe that if you have a flat character, your story, even if it is full of twists and turns, goes absolutely nowhere without the dynamic characters to carry it.  How can you be invested in the story if you are not attached to or interested in the characters?  But Jen’s characters are not one dimensional like the print on the page; rather, they reach out, grab you, and throw you right into the story.  Reading about them is as if you are watching them right there in your very room.   
 
Incredibly amusing, and highly distracting (once you start reading, you won’t want to stop!), A Talent for Trouble is another winner by Jen Turano.  I can’t wait for the next installment!   
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Dangerous Passage




Back Cover
 
When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common—a magnolia tattoo on their shoulders.  Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder.  As they venture deep into a sinister criminal world, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities—and their hearts.
  
Dangerous Passage exposes a fully realized and frightening world where every layer peeled back reveals more challenges ahead.  You’ll be hooked from the start.
 
Review
 
Crime/suspense/mystery is one of my favourite genres.  There is nothing better than a novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat, or up waaay past your ideal bedtime as you hurriedly flip the pages as the suspense is too taut to allow to you put the book down.  They are the type of stories that leave you thinking about it for days after you’ve finished reading it and make it on the coveted “favourites” bookshelf.
I wanted to love this novel so much and was so eager to dive into it, but Dangerous Passage fell a bit short of my expectations. There was just something missing…I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the nail-biting, heart-racing adrenaline just wasn’t there.  The story had all the right elements with a solid plot and what could be very interesting characters, but the pieces didn’t quite come together.

While I was a bit disappointed, I wouldn’t completely write off the book by any means.  The story was intriguing, and hits on a very difficult topic; a topic that I believe there should be more awareness about.  In the interest of not spoiling the plot, I won’t name the topic, but do give huge kudos to Ms. Harris for delving into this dark side of society...and being an advocate for the voiceless.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Trapped


Back Cover
 
A runaway teen. 
A desperate sister. 
And an intrepid PI determined to discover the truth.
 
When Laura Griffith’s sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen.  That includes recruiting ATF agent turned private investigator James Devlin to help.  Dev knows time is of the essence with runaways—just forty-eight hours can mean the difference between recovery and ruin.
 
But the deeper he and Laura dig, the more Dev begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl’s disappearance.  And in the icy winter weather, the trail is going cold…
In her latest thrilling read, queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon outdoes herself with a fast-paced tale of fear, deception, and just the right dose of romance.
 
Review
 
Following on the heels of Vanished, the first novel in her “Private Justice” series, Irene Hannon has delivered yet another suspense driven, heart-swooning read in Trapped.  It didn’t take me long to finish this novel, as the pages literally begged to be read.  Irene doesn’t tell a story, she shows it: detailing each character’s emotions perfectly, and pulling the reader into a thrilling tale of a runaway, Darcy, who finds herself in a harrowing set of circumstances, and the two people who are intent on bringing her to safety. 
 
A must-read, Trapped will have you on the edge of your seat until you’ve read the final chapter.  I already cannot wait to get my hands on the third book in this series, Deceived, which is due out in Summer 2014.  Don't miss this book!
 
Thank you, Irene for another brilliant story!!
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Welcome to Last Chance


Back Cover
 
She’s learned you can’t count on anyone—
but she didn’t count on landing in Last Chance.
 
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it’s her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights.  These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life—especially since she’s on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.
 
Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own.  Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town?  Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?
 
Review
 
It is hard to believe that this is Cathleen Armstrong’s debut novel.  It is that good.  She had me hooked from the first page and kept my attention until the last page was turned.  It had a thread of danger, hint of romance, and the hope of change that captured my attention.  I felt invested in the characters and found myself cheering for them, as if they were my closest friends. 
 
The characters in Welcome to Last Chance are so rich, textured, and very … normal (very similar to another novel that I read, With Every Letter).  You won’t find picture-perfect, idealistic personalities, but rather, fractured, hurt, and real people.  But these same people also know when to embrace joy and laughter when it comes their way, and live life fully for God, for your neighbour.  And also to live for yourself, whether it be turning dreams into reality, or saying “no” to the past that comes knocking on your door. 
 
A beautiful story of relationships, trust, love, acceptance, and forgiveness, Welcome to Last Chance is a novel not to be missed. 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Rules of Murder


Back Cover
 
Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate.
 
With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he’s learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime.  Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be—not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler.  Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer—and trying harder to impress Madeline—Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.
 
Review
 
As soon as I started reading this novel, I was reminded of J.B. Fletcher and her escapades on the classic TV series, Murder, She Wrote.  Jessica was the quintessential proper lady with a quick wit and sharp eye, and Drew Farthering is the proper English gentleman with an equally quick wit and eye for detail and clues.  Set in very proper 1930s, this novel was a refreshing read.  I loved the camaraderie between Drew and his best friend, Nick, and the spark of romance between Drew and Madeline was very sweet.  The thread of faith throughout the story was wonderful and provided a nice backdrop for character development.   
 
This is an old-fashioned mystery filled with lots of criminal chaos, suspicious characters, red herrings, and dramatic conclusion.  It kept me guessing to the very end and I will definitely be reading book #2!!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Trouble in Store

 
Back Cover
 
Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort:  the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin.  But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he’s not about to let an obstinate woman with newfangled ideas ruin all he’s worked for.  In hope of turning her interest elsewhere, he determines to get Melanie married off, and luckily, there are many single men in town quite willing to take her off his hands.
 
The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn’t want her to marry any of them.  He’s drawn to her more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store offer unexpectedly positive results.
 
But someone doesn’t want the mercantile to succeed, and threatening words have escalated into destruction and danger.  Will Melanie and Caleb’s business—and budding romance—survive the trouble that’s about to come their way?
 
Review
 
Trouble in Store offers a little bit of everything:  mystery, romance, and humour all set in a classic old Western town.  Caleb and Melanie have several humorous clashes (one most notably involved a broom that had me in stitches), as they both try to run the store their own way, not trusting the other’s input to provide any real impact.  And Caleb’s little mischievous son, Levi, strives to have the spotlight with all his escapades. 
 
The mystery woven throughout the novel was also highly intriguing and kept you guessing until the end with its exciting climax.  Trouble in Store is another fine read from Carol Cox.  I’ll be looking forward to her next novel!
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Small Town Girl


Back Cover
 
How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?
 
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner.  The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath.  But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh.  As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking.  And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can’t draw her interest.
 
Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways.  Could she truly be in love with him?  And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?
 
In her gentle and textured style, Ann H. Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip your heart and stir your spirit.  Fans of Gabhart’s Angel Sister will love seeing Kate Merritt all grown-up, as well as other characters they have come to love.
 
Review
 
This story captured my attention from the beginning.  It starts with Kate, helping her sister get ready to marry a man that Kate had loved for a long time.  Feeling as if all was lost, and trying her best to be happy for her sister, Kate puts her best foot forward, and finds herself drawn to the best man, Jay Tanner.  He is all that she never thought she would fall for.  Jay is like an unpredictable hurricane, blowing into each place for a short while, stirring up emotions, before moving on.  There is seemingly no stability with Jay and so much mystery.  Yet Kate makes the choice to throw caution to the wind and take a chance with Jay, for the excitement that he brings and the joy that takes over her heart every time she sees him. 
 
Throughout the story, Kate learns that love comes at you when you least expect it, and often from the most unlikely of persons.  Even while your heart is seemingly fixed on another, as Kate’s was, one can quickly realize that what you think is love, is not love at all.  Jay shows Kate what love is all about.
 
Love is the music in the air, the song in your heart.  Love is the stolen looks and the small touches.  Love is the kisses that make your toes curl and your heart dance.  Love lifts you up inside, even while the world is on the cusp of war.  Love gives you dreams about tomorrow and that unquenchable happiness throughout the day.
 
Love is also beautiful and moving, everything that this story is.  Wonderfully written, Ms. Gabhart has penned another great story that will capture many hearts in the years to come.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 

A Most Peculiar Circumstance


Back Cover
 
Miss Arabella Beckett, defender of the downtrodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women’s suffrage movement when she suddenly finds herself in a spot of trouble.  Arabella, always loath to accept help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.
 
Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country.  When he finally locates Hamilton’s sister, and she turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he’s at his wit’s end.
 
Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella’s paths continue to cross when they return to New York.  When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all:  love.
 
Review
 
Like oil and water.  Or fire and gasoline.  Arabella and Theodore simply do not mix.  When they are together, barbs are traded, fireworks explode, and their conversations are like warring armies leveling their full artillery at each other.  It is simply impossible that these two stubborn people could have an even civil conversation.
 
Much less fall in love.
 
She is an outspoken suffragette intent on giving women the right to vote, and he is an obstinate man who still believes that women’s purpose in life is to make their husbands happy, clean house, and raise children.  While their snide remarks and sharp snippets lofted at each other make their interactions highly amusing, it had me wondering, how on earth would these two ever get along?  But as Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy had to lay aside their own initial judgments of each other in the classic Pride and Prejudice, so do Arabella and Theodore have to learn to compromise, and do it without sacrificing their individuality.
 
While some couples find love in a storybook fashion, where everything is sugary sweet, others, like Arabella and Theodore, find it in a fiery chemistry, and in what soon becomes friendly sparring. They learn to recognize the other’s strengths and weaknesses, and support each other accordingly.  As Jen Turano displays so aptly in her novel, there is nothing wrong with general disagreements between couples.  It’s how you handle those disagreements that makes or breaks you.  And of course, with God’s help, nothing is impossible.
 
A Most Peculiar Circumstance is another delightfully witty novel by Jen Turano that will be going on my “favourites” list.  It is chock full of fun and laughter and some dangerous intrigues to make a really well-rounded novel.  I have an inkling of who the next “couple” will be, and I cannot wait to read their story!   
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Stealing the Preacher


 
Back Cover
 
A cowboy who wants to be a preacher.
An outlaw’s daughter who wants to change his mind.
 
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can’t believe it when he’s forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday.  He’s determined to escape—which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.
 
For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister.  A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community.  A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother.  But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere.
 
Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?
 
With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.
 
Review
 
Stealing the Preacher is another humorous and fun novel by Karen Witemeyer.  I’m so happy that she is doing a continuation of the Archer brothers, who were first introduced in her novel, Short-Straw Bride (you can read my review of that one here).  Just as in the previous story, Stealing the Preacher has awesome characters, a great story, and wonderful spiritual messages throughout.  There are also quite a few plot twists to keep you on your toes!   The humour that Karen intersperses throughout the story is absolutely priceless and sure to keep every reader entertained. 
 
Having read all of Karen’s novels, I’m convinced that she cannot write a bad story; each one is a winner in its own unique way.  If you enjoy romance involving a swoon-worthy, honourable man, humour, and a good ole’ Western story, you’re bound to love this one!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Guardian

 
 
Back Cover
 
When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road.  The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can’t speak English.  It’s as if the child appeared out of nowhere.
 
Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow—and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish—in search of answers.
 
Review
 
The Guardian is another lovely novel by Beverly Lewis.  Two viewpoints are intertwined throughout this novel – one from an Amish woman, and the other, an Englischer.  The novel starts out with a mother’s worst nightmare: having a child go missing. The anguish and heartbreak of the mother is easily felt, as well as the confusion and sadness of the child’s siblings when their mother cannot explain where their sister is.  Through it all, however, the mother stays strong in her faith and hope that her child will return well and safe, and a guardian angel is out there protecting her.
 
Readers are soon introduced to Jodi, a teacher, as she comes across a little Amish girl alone on the side of the road.  While she starts out trying to help the girl, and bring her home to her family, Jodi soon realizes that it will be the girl who helps her. 
 
Beverly Lewis has delivered yet another one of her classic, sweet Amish tales in her beloved Hickory Hollow in Lancaster County.  Hickory Hollow is where time stops, kindness is readily extended to a stranger, family values are fiercely protected, and God is highly revered.  As I have stated in other reviews of Beverly’s novels, her stories encapsulate “sweet escapes” to a place where one can learn to breathe again, away from busy work lives.  It is always a pleasure to read Beverly’s works and I will be looking forward to her next one.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Undeniably Yours




Back Cover

When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of his empire.  The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with?  Her father’s Thoroughbred racehorse farm.  She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.
 
Bo knows he ought to resent the woman who’s determined to take from him the only job he ever wanted.  But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect.  The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them and earn her love.
 
Just when Meg realizes she can no longer deny the depth of her feelings for Bo, their fragile bond is broken by a force from Meg’s past.  Can their relationship—and their belief that God can work through every circumstance—survive?

Review

I loved this book.  I mean, I LOVED this book!  I breezed through this 378 page novel like nobody’s business.  I just couldn’t get enough! 
 
Where to begin?  The story was lovely and flowed very smoothly.  The characters were downright awesome and the dialogue was fabulously witty and sweet at all the right moments.  Bo Porter is the honourable knight in shining armour that every girl dreams about and Meg Cole is your typical girl who is trying to find her way, or calling, in life, and dealing with some insecurities along the way.  What I loved about Meg though, was even through her insecurities, she was ready to “take the bull by the horns” and work through everything.  She steps into her father’s shoes to run a huge and prosperous oil company; she didn’t back down and was willing to give everything a “try”.
 
And even after having a disastrous previous relationship, Meg was even willing to give Bo, a chance.  Their relationship starts out small before finally exploding into something so much more, like a slow burn that sparks into a wildfire.  The romantic tension between the two is shiver-inducing and mind-spinning (and yes - it's a clean romance!).  It is easily one of the best romantic novels I’ve read in a long time and will be going on my “favourites” list. 
 
All in all, a fabulous read, by a great and up-and-coming author, Becky Wade.  I’m so happy to see that this is the beginning of a new series.  Already can’t wait for the next novel!!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, 27 May 2013

When Love Calls



Back Cover
 
Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list does not include following rules.  So when she must apply for a job as a switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won’t be easy.  Hello Girls must conduct themselves according to strict—and often bewildering—rules, which include absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training.
 
Hannah doubts it will be difficult to keep that rule—until a handsome young lawyer starts getting under her skin.
 
With historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of companionship that blossoms into sweet romance.
 
Review
 
When Love Calls follows stubborn, fiercely independent Hannah Gregory as she tries to look after her sisters after the death of their parents.  She hates feeling “lacking” and has a hard time accepting help.  But when Lincoln comes along, she starts to discover that she doesn’t need to be self-sufficient, and that it’s okay lean on someone.
 
I loved seeing the growth in Hannah's character as it made for an even richer story.  The romance between her and Lincoln was very sweet, and the relationships between Hannah and her sisters were wonderful to read.  When Love Calls is as much of story about the romance between Hannah and Lincoln as it is about the caring relationship between Hannah and her sisters.  It showed how they can pull together during tragedies and hard times and that nothing can break the bond between siblings. 
 
On a lighter note, I just have to add that Ms. Seilstad writes such fun stories.  This is the second novel I have read by Ms. Seilstad, and it was just as good, if not better than the first.  Ms. Seilstad has a talent for writing witty characters and amusing banter and I just couldn’t stop myself from grinning as I read chapter after chapter!  When Love Calls is the perfect book for an easy and fun summer read. 


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story


Back Cover
 
It’s a summer of change for Jennifer O’Malley…
 
 
The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life.  She’s sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family—she’s the youngest of seven—and thinking about marriage.
 
She’s falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good.  But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn’t expect.  The results will soon transform her entire family.
 
Review
 
For those familiar with Dee’s best-selling “O’Malley Series”, they will remember Jennifer as the most beloved of the seven orphans who “adopted” each other as siblings.  She is the sweetest of the siblings, known for being soft-spoken and having a warm, tender heart.  She is also the last of the O’Malleys to have a novel done, for her story is threaded throughout the other novels.  This book, more of a novella, precludes the O’Malley series, and I’m super happy that Dee wrote it. 
 
Dee is a wonderful story-teller, and I loved seeing a more in-depth side of Jennifer’s character and the sweet, easy romance that blossomed between her and Tom.  It is a beautifully well-done story that will endear Jennifer to readers’ hearts even more.  If you’ve never read an O’Malley story, this would be a good place to start.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Love at Any Cost



Back Cover
 
He’s looking to take care of his family.  She’s looking to take care of her heart. 
Trouble is…love’s looking to take care of them both.
 
Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him.  Jilted by a fortune hunter, Cassidy travels west hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache.  But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart.  Can love prevail when Jamie discovers that Cassidy is poorer than he is?  And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?
 
Review
 
My sister has been bugging me for a long time now to read a Julie Lessman book, praising Lessman’s writing to the ninth degree, as if her words were absolutely golden.  She owns Julie’s first series, “Daughters of Boston”.  The little minx even “stole” this book from me and devoured it before I had a chance to read one word.  I just haven’t had the opportunity until now to read one of Ms. Lessman’s creations, and now, I wish I hadn’t waited so long.
 
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this novel!  It had all the right elements: passionate (but CLEAN) romance, fantastic dialogue with a wonderful story, and chock full of interesting characters.  It was one of those hard-to-put-down-just-one-more-chapter kind of book.  If you’ve never read a Julie Lessman book, you’re definitely missing out.  Needless to say, I think I will be “borrowing” some particular books from my sister’s collection in the near future...
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Taylor's Gift


 
Back Cover
 
It was the last run of their first day on the slopes, the beginning of another great family vacation for Todd and Tara Storch and their three children.  But when thirteen-year-old Taylor`s life was tragically cut short in a skiing accident, the Storches were overcome by the devastating loss of their daughter.  Still in shock, they were asked a question no parents ever think they will hear: “Would you  be willing to donate Taylor’s organs?”
 
Their answer would change their family’s lives forever and provide comfort during their darkest moments.  It would also save the lives of five desperate people anxiously waiting for a heart, a liver, a cornea, a pancreas, and a kidney.
 
Review
 
Taylor’s Gift is a heart-rending, and at times difficult, book to read.  It is a true story of a family grappling with the terrible loss of their daughter, sister, at the young age of 13 years old.  They say one of the greatest losses is that of a child, and no parent should ever have to bury their child.  But the Storches had to do the unthinkable. 
 
It is hard to believe that there could be any good that comes from the death of a thirteen year old girl, brimming with life and happiness, and who brought joy to every life she touched.  But as God promises “all things will work together for good to those that love God and those who are the called according to His purpose”, through the Storches’ loss, heartbreak, and emptiness, emerges a story of hope, healing, and even life.  One of Taylor’s dreams was to help people, and through her passing, she was able to help five different individuals with different health concerns – some of them would have been terminal without the gifts Taylor gave them. 
 
Taylor never knew how big of an impact she would leave.  Through her, lives were changed.  It was this that gave the Storches strength and healing through this horrific tragedy.  Knowing that their daughter’s passing saved lives and made lives better helped them.  It also sprung a new organ donation foundation that in and of itself has been saving even more lives. 
 
Full of raw emotion, Taylor’s Gift will undoubtedly leave an impression on every heart who reads this story.  It was encouraging to see a family pull together to lean on God first, and then each other, and then change an awful tragedy around to work good from it.  The Storches have my highest respect and I can only pray that God will continue to bless the work they are doing, and more awareness is raised for organ donation.  Please be sure to look into organ donation – you could save a life.
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Unrivaled



Back Cover
 
Falling in love
could be a recipe for disaster...
 
Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration.  After tasting Europe’s best confections, she’s sure she’ll come up with a recipe that will save her father’s struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes.  But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager—a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy’s skin.
 
Charlie Clarke’s new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime.  He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he’s never known.  The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall.  She’s making his work life miserable…and making herself impossible for him to forget.
 
Review
 
Sassy Lucy Kendall has met her match in the unflappable Charlie Clarke.  Both representing rival candy companies, they each try to out-do the other to make their respective businesses prosper.  Charlie has a head for advertising, and pulls out all the stops to make sure Standard Manufacturing’s name is on every child and adult’s lips.  Lucy is determined to come up with the next delicious candy and works furiously at developing the perfect concoction.  However, Lucy surprises herself at the steps she is willing to go to fight back at Standard Manufacturing.   It doesn’t take too long before Lucy is in over her head, and Charlie has absolutely no idea how to handle Lucy.
 
This was a wonderfully witty novel.  The passionate, strong spark between Lucy and Charlie, combined with dialogue full of sass and humour, and a good plot to hold everything together made the story as irresistible as the candy Lucy and Charlie make.  I had the most difficult time putting this book down and will be looking forward to Siri Mitchell’s next delicious creation!

 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Scent of Lilacs



Back Cover
 
After the summer of 1964,
life for Jocie Brooke will
never be the same.
 
 
Life-changing events rarely happen in quiet Hollyhill, Kentucky, and when they do, they are few and far between.  But for young Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once during the humid summer of 1964.  Though on the surface things are just fine, it seems like everyone in Jocie’s life has something they’re not saying, something they’re hiding from her—and from themselves.  As Jocie digs into her family’s past, she stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries.  Will she find the answers everyone so desperately needs?  Or will her questions lead to truths better left hidden?
 
Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story from bestselling author Ann Gabhart explores the very essence of new life and love.

Review
 
This was an incredibly moving story centered around the “coming of age” of young Jocie Brooke.  Jocie, young and a bit naïve, having lived a fairly sheltered life, is in for a roller-coaster of a summer as one family secret after the other comes to the surface.  It was amazing: just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be another dramatic twist, Ann Gabhart throws out another humdinger. 
 
But the beauty of this story is that it displays the true meaning of family: people pulling together through the ups and downs, encouraging one another, loving one another, and quick to forgive.  I was heartened by the depth of the bond between Jocie and her father.  She looked up to him, he was her hero, and he in return treated her like a princess (but NOT in the spoiled way).  In a world where parents are often torn apart in books and movies, ridiculed, and portrayed as fools and the children are written as spoiled and rebellious, it was lovely to see a strong and good relationship between a parent and child. 
 
And last, but not least, it was encouraging to see the characters leaning on God for the source of their strength, comfort, healing, and peace.  Scent of Lilacs was a beautiful story sure to touch many, many hearts.
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.