Book Reviews

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The Wedding Chapel
Rachel Hauck


An old wedding chapel is the main character in this book, at least as far as I'm concerned. So many lives are connected and touched by the wedding chapel hidden away in the woods. Jack gives his wife, Taylor, a job photo shooting the chapel. Taylor meets Coach, who built the chapel many years ago for a secret love. All three of these characters learn that sometimes life gets in the way of plans, and not everything is always as it seems.

What a great story! There is so much going on, yet I had no trouble keeping up or keeping all of the characters straight. Family, love, reconciliation, and honesty all intertwine to make this book a great read. It's one that will stick in my mind for a long time. Click on the cover to grab your own copy!



Skip Rock Shallows
Jan Watson

To fulfill in internship, Lily accepts a position in a coal camp. She really isn't sure what to expect or which of her doctoring skills will be needed. She only goes with the knowledge that it's temporary. Lily looks forward to life after her internship; life in Boston with her fiancé, Paul, who is also a doctor.

While Lily didn't know what to expect in Skip Rock, she is still surprised. Surprised that they don't trust a woman doctor. Surprised at the health of some of the residents. Surprised that a man from her past appears.

Jan Watson was a new author to me and I'm glad I picked up one of her books. This book is a good read for those who enjoy historical fiction. I will definitely be looking up more of Jan's books, but for now, you can click on the cover to nab a copy of this one for yourself.


Shark Tales
Mary Lee

Shark Tales is a colorful book for children, but it's not an ordinary picture book. Using sharks and the alphabet, Mary Lee gives children suggested titles for writing their own shark tales. The brightly colored pictures could also spark a child's imagination.

This is such a cute little writing prompt book. While I no longer have children at home of the appropriate age to use this book, I will be using it in my children's writing class at our local homeschool co-op.

The book also comes with a code for a complimentary audio book download.

Just click on the cover to hook your own copy.


Widow
Denise Weimer


Widow is the second book in the Restoration Trilogy by Denise Weimer. I found it just as enjoyable as the first. All the same characters return with Jennifer Rushmore continuing to restore the home and property of Michael Johnson.

In this book Jennifer and Michael learn more about each other. Each of them also learns that restoration can apply to more than just houses and buildings. Restoration can also help them heal wounds of the past.

Going even deeper into the past, we learn more about Michael's Dunham ancestors and the secrets they kept.

If you enjoyed the first book in the series, White (scroll down the page a little to see that review), you will definitely enjoy this one as well. 








Love Finds You in Martha's Vineyard
Melody Carlson

This book is part of a series of romances set I places all across the US. After reading this book, I might need to "visit" some of the other places.

Waverly is stuck I a rut. She likes her job okay, her husband passed away, and her apartment leaves something to be desired. When her mother calls, inviting her to pack up and move to Martha's Vineyard to manage The Gallery, it seems too good to be true. And then she gets there. Expectations, secrets, and Cousin Janice all make Waverly's life a rollercoaster ride. But then she meets Sicily… and Sicily's father, Blake. She wonders if she can find love again, or if she's being unfaithful to her husband's memory.



The Living Room
Robert Whitlow

I was a little leery that this book might have creepy undertones to it based on the cover; however, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't creepy/scary at all, thankfully! I don't do scary. Author Amy Clarke has had dreams since she was a child of the living room, as she calls it. This is a place of peace and rest for her to commune with God. At least it used to be. Going back to work at the law firm she had left a year before, scenes in the living room become a little more fuzzy and unclear. She has to determine what is true and what is not, which proves difficult and leads to trouble along the way.

I picked up this book with a birthday gift card because I hate to pay full price for a book and then be disappointed. I have read a few other books of Robert Whitlow's in the past and enjoyed them all, just like this one. God speaks to us all in different ways and this book is a good reminder/example of that.

If you like a book that's a little different, here's one for you. Just click on the cover to go directly to Amazon.




The Rector
Michael Hicks Thompson

Martha McRae is a busybody in a sleepy little town of the Mississippi Delta in the 1950's. At least it used to be a sleepy little town, until the murder of the local rector. Martha takes it upon herself to find out what really happened, even if it means exposing some secrets of many of the town's people. She knows…has a feeling…that there is more at work in the town than meets the eye. Perhaps it's her women's intuition. Perhaps it’s her just being nosy.

This book is full of memorable characters, the plot is fast paced (although it sometimes goes off on tangents), and the one thing I really appreciated about it was the clear Gospel message. All of the above me The Rector an enjoyable read for me. I found it to be a perfect blend of murder, mystery, mayhem, and humor.

There were a couple of cons. There were quite a few typos, missing words, and lots of extra commas. Sometimes I had to go back and read a sentence more than one. One last proofread before printing would definitely have been beneficial.

One the bonuses of the book is that readers can download a 6-week study guide to go along with the book, which you can find here.


If you enjoy reading clean, Christian mystery, then this is a book you might want to check out.

I was provided this book through BookCrash in exchange of an honest and complete review. 





The Inn at Ocean's Edge
Colleen Coble


I picked this book up with a gift card my husband gave me for my birthday. I'm always leery to try a new author when paying full price for a book. But I know Colleen Coble will always be a good choice. And I was right with this book.

When Claire and her family visit a coastal Maine hotel for a business merger, her life is turned upside down. She discovers that when she was four years old, she disappeared from a birthday party at this same hotel. After missing for more than a year, she suddenly returns. Family secrets abound in this book and there is one twist after another that will keep you guessing.

Another great read that you will definitely want to get your hands on. Click on the cover to get your copy.


Running In Heels
by Mary A. Perez


While I normally read fiction, this book kept my attention and kept me reading. Some people's life stories amaze me. I was born into a Christian home to loving parents; I dated one boy and then married him. My life hasn't been one struggle after another, but that's exactly what Mary's was.

As a little, uncared for girl, she watched her mother make one bad decision after another. While Mary vowed to not live the same, she too, made many bad choices. She did have one saving grace and that was her grandparents. Even though she only lived with them a short time, they were an anchor for her. 

God's grace is evident throughout Mary's story, making it a book you should read. Click on the cover to grab your copy.

Note: There are a few swear words here and there, but certainly nothing gratuitous.

Forsaking All Others
by Kari Trumbo

Rose, a young Indian girl, fears for her life at the hands of her abusive father. Pete, half Indian and half white, saves her life on more than one occasion. Then one night they follow through with plans to flee the reservation and head for Kansas. Along the way, they meet Morgan, a white man. Both Rose and Pete wonder if he is a help or a hindrance to their journey and to their relationship.

Forsaking All Others is the prequel to the Western Vows Trilogy. I felt it ended a little abruptly, maybe that's because I was enjoying the story and wanted to read more of Rose and Pete's story.


If you have enjoyed Kari Trumbo's other books, you will enjoy this one as well. (See my review of To Honor and Cherish below.)Just click the cover to grab your copy. As of this posting it is only ¢.99! It's a quick read, making it great for some weekend relaxation.



Blood and Lies
by Marcy G. Dyer


This third installment of the Desert Winds series takes Leandra Davis from Odessa, Texas to Odessa, Ukraine in search of a brother she never knew she had. During the search, she learns more than she ever wished to know about the father who abandoned her when she was only six years old. She also meets JD, the youth leader who was on the trip with her brother when he was kidnapped. The two travel the countryside facing danger around each corner.


This was definitely a suspenseful book. There were many twists and turns that kept me guessing the outcome, especially the identities of several characters. Another exhilarating read in this series! Thanks, Marcy, for allowing me to read and review it!




The Forever Stone
by Gloria Repp

Madeleine needs a change in her life and opportunity just came knocking. When her aunt inherits a huge house that needs a lot cleaning and redecorating, Madeleine jumps at the chance. She packs her bags and moves away from all the bad memories in Virginia to make new memories in Pennsylvania. She wanted a change, but little does she know how much change is about to take place.

She not only takes on the house, she takes on a baking course, some ruffian children (just like her dad would have), and all the injustices in her new world.

One of the things I appreciated most about this book is there is a lot of mention of praise songs and choruses throughout. I often found these songs on my heart for the day. Also some of the places mentioned are near to my present home. It's always fun to read a book and say, "I know where that is!"

This is yet another great book to add to your must-read list just in time for summer vacations. Just click on the cover to download your own copy.


Down and Out
by Marcy G. Dyer

After losing her job in NYC, Candace decides to move back home to Texas, where life is boring. Well, maybe not boring, especially when she finds herself with a deranged stalker. Nothing and no one she is connected to is safe until he is caught. Full of suspense and surprises around every turn.

This is the first book in the Desert Winds series, my second book of Marcy's that I've read. And another enjoyable read.

Just a note: at the time of this posting, Down and Out is FREE on Amazon. Just click on the cover to grab your copy.

From the Author:

I enjoyed writing this book. Some of the characters are near and dear to me. 

There are three older women in the book, Lois, Bertie, and Gertie. These are very loosely based on my granny and two of her sisters. My grandmother and her sisters were fun. They laughed all of the time, and I always looked forward to spending time with any or all of them. 

When I started writing this book, I sent a message to my cousins to see if they would be offended if I used them for the characters since my octogenarian characters are a little over the top. I explained that I wanted to honor the women who had such a tremendous impact in my life and taught me, no matter how hard life might be, there are blessings and laughter. 


To my relief, my cousins weren’t offended, so Lois, Bertie, and Gertie are in the book. I used their real names and writing this brought back many memories of these wonderful women.

White
by Denise Weimer

Old houses. Decorating. History. Genealogy. What more could you want in a book? At least that's my opinion. White had it all for me. This is the first book in the Restoration Trilogy. I'm definitely going to have to read the other two.

Jennifer Rushmore had barely graduated with her Masters in historic preservation when with the help of a professor she lands a job. Everything about the job is perfect. She is in charge of bringing Michael Johnson's ancestral home back to its original state. Within the history of that home lay secrets; ones Jennifer will need to uncover if the house is to be put on the National Registry. Digging up the past is fun for Jennifer, as long as the past belongs to someone else. She holds secrets of her own.

Click on the cover to pick up White for yourself.

From the Author:

Wanting to be out in the country yet part of a community, and possessing a long-term appreciation for historical architecture, my parents settled on a run-down 1800s house in what was once a thriving railroad town. To their surprise, they learned the house and apothecary shop, so rare in the South, belonged to a long line of locally famous doctors tracing back to Revolutionary War days. While their renovations jump-started my ideas for The Restoration Trilogy, I felt an even deeper concept emerging: the parallel between a property restoration and the type of restoration God does in His children.

Those of us who love history and architecture cringe at the sight of a poorly done restoration job. Yet, due to hurts we’ve received in this broken world, many of us are walking around with poorly patched, deep structural flaws that the Master Renovator longs to fix. At least, that’s who my main character in The Restoration Trilogy comes to think of God as. Jennifer has her own childhood woundedness she’s learned to protect by withdrawal and a do-it-myself mentality. But when she comes to Hermon to restore three of his ancestors’ buildings for Michael Johnson, the colorful local residents and her good-looking, stubborn boss shove Jennifer right out of her comfort zone. Like many of us do, she faces conflict and awkward situations with a dry sense of humor and a good dose of self-depreciation. But when she and Michael uncover mysteries about his ancestors hidden in the walls of the house, apothecary and log cabin, the lessons they learn of family, forgiveness and faithfulness drive straight to the heart. And so, I hope, will this story of how God remakes two loners and helps them find love.


Promise Lodge
by Charlotte Hubbard

The Amish live a way of life that is steeped in tradition. At least most of them. After a series of events changes life for three sisters, Mattie, Rosetta, and Christine, they decide to make an even bigger change, even though it goes against their way of life. They purchase an old camp with the intention of starting over and starting a new colony for other Plain people who may have experienced similar situations. They pool all their money and dive in head first.


But not everyone is happy about these changes. Mattie's son, Noah, is one of them. But when his past betrothed, Deborah, shows up unexpectedly, with quite a story to tell, he struggles to find forgiveness and move on.
This was another Amish story that I truly enjoyed. I love the cast of characters. This is the first book in a new series, so I hope to get to know these characters better in the future. 

If you enjoy reading Amish fiction, this is definitely one you need to pick up. Just click on the cover to purchase from Amazon.

P.S. I just saw yesterday that Charlotte was offered a contract for more Promise Lodge books. So keep your eyes open for more!

From the Author:

PROMISE LODGE first came to me, out of the blue, as a setting: what if some Amish widows pooled their funds and bought an abandoned church camp? As soon as the camp setting hit me, I knew readers would immediately be able to visualize the timbered lodge building, Rainbow Lake, a small orchard, and wooded hills—plus the metal archway sign at the entrance that says PROMISE LODGE. The name just sounded good to me—full of promise and hope for fresh starts. I placed the campground in the tiny, fictional, rural Missouri town of Promise.

In some ways my three Bender sisters push the envelope, far as what real-life Old Order Amish women might do. Because Mattie and Christine are widows and Rosetta is single—and they have no men left in their family to take them in—they sell their farms, pool their money, and buy the campground. One of their preachers, who is also fed up with goings-on in their settlement, comes to Promise Lodge with them, and Mattie’s two grown sons come along, as well. It’s a story about how the Amish start new colonies, and a tale of three sisters who believe they deserve lives of peace and prosperity out from under the domination of a bishop who insists they need to marry (and who condones the spousal abuse Mattie wants no more of).


Lies and Alibis
by Marcy G. Dyer

After the death of her father, Andrea Simmons moves back home to be near her mom and sister. After that chaos ensues. A stalker from her high school and college days returns. This time it's more than just letters and threats. This time it involves murder in his attempt to make her see how much she needs him.

Don't expect to ease into this story. The action begins within the first few paragraphs and is fast-paced for the rest of the book. This is the fourth book in the series, but I don't feel as if I missed anything by reading out of order. I truly enjoyed reading it. If you want you can pick up this and the other three today. Just click on the cover above.

From the Author:

This book was a culmination of a couple of experiences I had. The first, I was taking care of a neighbor’s dogs and walked in on a burglary.

The second, I was a home health nurse and was assigned to see a new patient. I went to the house, retrieved the key from its hiding spot as instructed. When I went into the house, I called out for the patient. A woman stepped out of the restroom and screamed. When I explained who I was and why I was there, she said no one lived there by that name.

After terrifying this poor woman, I expected her to call the police, but she was kind and gracious and allowed me to leave without contacting the authorities. It turned out that I had misread the address.

After both of these experiences, I started asking “what if” and this story was born.


The Mystery of the Indian Carvings

by Gloria Repp


Need a last minute book report book? Looking for something for the kids to read over the summer? The book I’m reviewing this week is for tween readers. Julie has found herself in trouble at home. In an effort to keep her from going to a camp for troubled girls, her father sends her to his brother’s home in Canada. Julie is hopeful that she will be able to stay there for the entire summer. But then she gets there and all of her hopes are dashed. Her aunt is a nervous wreck, with constant headaches and always mumbling about some Indian artifacts. Her cousin hates her from day one and tries to get Julie in trouble. Her uncle, while he is present in body, he is rarely present in spirit. Thank goodness for Siem, the dog, her only friend. 

But then Julie stumbles upon a mystery. She wonders if she can help solve it and maybe find a way to stay on the island all summer long. 

I always like a book that has some history in it. This book had a little bit of history that I was previously unfamiliar with. I also like that Julie looks to God to be with her through all her troubles. Great read for all the tweens in your circles. 

From the Author: 

Adventure, mystery, and wild creatures all play a part in Gloria Repp's many books for children. She grew up in the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Northwest, and it was there she learned a love for wilderness that pervades her stories. Over the years, her experiences gained from raising three children, teaching school, and editing have made useful contributions to her work. 

Gloria enjoys reading mystery stories, and as she remembered her summers spent on a beautiful island near Vancouver, BC, she decided that it was the perfect place for an adventure that could change a young teen’s life: THE MYSTERY OF THE INDIAN CARVINGS.




Simply God
by Charles Spencer



I usually prefer to read fiction, but this nonfiction book caught my attention. I should mix things up a little bit now and then anyway, right?

The basis for Charles Spencer’s book Simply God, are what he lists as the five principles of God. These principles are an exchanged life, a whole spirit, a healed body, a prosperous soul, and a godly character. He uses these principles to show readers how to live a life that reflects the Savior and allow God to fulfill His promises in us. He uses lots of Scripture and real-life examples.

Definitely gave me some things to think about.


Dynamo
by Eleanor Gustafson


God has a plan. God knows our future and always has a plan. The same is true for Jeth Cavanaugh. After an unfair stint in prison, he finds himself looking for a job. A wrong turn provides just that at a very small horse farm, training horses, which has been his life’s work. He grew up in the stables of the Wingate farm, but circumstances forced him to leave. Rob, his new boss, sees his potential and allows him to do some buying of horses.

That’s where Dynamo comes into Jeth’s life. Dynamo is a horse as he had never seen before. A little stubborn. Needs a lot of training. Not unlike Jeth. What Jeth doesn’t know is that God is preparing him for something big, and Dynamo is just the horse to do it.

When I was a little girl I always loved horses. Fortunately, I was about to be around them some. I loved riding and always wished the ride would never end. My little-girl love of horses is part of what drew me into this story. While some of the story may seem a little far-fetched (you’ll have to read it to find out what I’m talking about!), I do believe that God works in mysterious ways. This book is full of those mysterious ways. A quite enjoyable read in my opinion.

Click on the cover to pick up your own copy.

From the Author:

I got bit by a horse once, and my thigh blossomed with a five-inch bruise. This memory moved me to include a similar event in the first chapter of Dynamo. Early on, I was bit metaphorically by the entire horse world. My hometown in northern New Jersey hosted a major horse show, and year after year, I drank in the magnificent animals, some of which became the model for the fictional stallion, Dynamo.

Somewhere along the line, I also got bit by God and developed a passion for who He is and what He asks of us. Join the two together, and you see why I write beyond the superficial to the deeper aspects of Story that I hope will spiritually grab and transform the reader’s heart.

Dynamo was a fun project, and the process pulled up old emotions. When I was twelve, a couple down the street bought a pony for their granddaughter. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Couldn’t have asked for a greater gift! This was the start of a tight bond with Lydie, to whom I dedicated the book. This woman spent countless mornings teaching us horsemanship and horse care, preparing us for the little classes we would ride in the big show. She also taught birds and flowers and Bible verses. She knew where to find wild strawberries and sweet cherries you could eat only from astride a horse. In short, she prepared me for life.

Yes, for a brief time, horses were big in my life. But God had a bigger claim on me, shaping me as a writer to see the larger picture. One of my major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable force of Story.


May the power of this great horse Dynamo help you Ride Safe through life.


To Honor and Cherish
by Kari Trumbo

Meg loves the ranch she has grown up on and now runs by herself after the loss of her husband. The problem comes when she realizes that the ranch will never be hers until she has a male heir. After five years of marriage and now with no husband, that seems almost an impossible feat. Her sister, Lizzy, also her eyes set on the prize of the ranch. She doesn’t love it like Meg does, but she has no qualms about stealing both the ranch and a prospective suitor from her sister.

Jax has been on the run for years when he discovers an ad for a ranch foreman. Can he finally stop running or will everyone at the ranch now be in danger? Danger is the last thing he wants for his new boss-lady, Meg.

This book really has a little bit of everything. There’s mystery, there’s romance, there’s excitement. I sat down to read one Sunday afternoon and didn’t stop until I was about two-thirds of the way through, and I only stopped reading because I HAD to. Great book! Click on the cover to pick up your own copy.

From the Author:

My husband and I used to watch tornado shows with rapt fascination. I’ve probably watched hundreds of hours of tornado footage. One night, that tornado took on a life of its own and the story of Meg was born. I held on to that story for three long years before I had enough confidence to put it to paper. I believed in myself enough to edit my friend’s work, but not enough to take the time to do my own. The story visited me many nights and Meg and Jax (I still read mostly classics at that point and had never heard that name, now I know it is fairly common) visited me often and told me their story. I couldn’t keep it inside any longer. Now that the story is out in the world, I no longer dream of it and stories come to me in other ways.


Stormy with a Chance of Love
by Dyanne Gordon Green


Both Maggie and Frank are devout Christians, always seeking the Lord’s will. It has yet to be in His will that they get married. And then the two of them have a chance meeting. However, before any romance can continue, they need to reveal secrets to each other. These secrets burden them, but each is afraid the other won’t understand.

My first thoughts about this book were that I was glad to see a change. Most books that involve romances are all about young people. I like that the main characters were a little bit older, in their fifties. I enjoyed that they didn’t seem as flighty and overly emotional as younger couples often seem to be.

A great read. As always, click on the cover to go directly to Amazon.

From the Author:

When I became a Christian and gave my life to Jesus, a change happened not only in me, but in my writing. My previous stories no longer appealed to me and I actually quit writing for several years.  Then God awakened my desire to write and “Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Love” was born. We all struggle with choices we’ve made or secrets that haunt us, but we don’t have to remain in those struggles. God’s love has already overcome any issue we face. I hope this story is successful in sharing that truth.  


On the Other Side of the Fence
by Kate Kolb

Learning that pastures are not always greener on the other side of the fence is a good lesson for both children and adults. That’s the theme in Kate Kolb’s picture book. This cute little story shows children to appreciate what they have, even if it’s different from what someone else has. We all have things that we can be grateful for.

Another thing I would like to mention about this book is the illustrator. She is young and I appreciate seeing young talent put to good use.

From the Author:

I wrote On the Other Side of the Fence for my children. It was truly a way to teach a very simple lesson in contentment in a more interesting way than just a lecture from Mom or Dad. I have always loved crafting stories, and while many of these stories lived only in my head or in the bedtime tales of my own children, this was my first time putting them down in a more permanent manner.

The idea for this story literally came from own backyard. We live in a more rural area with beautiful farms around our home. I noticed, as I would drive by one particular field each day, that a certain cow would always have her head shoved through the barbed wire fence trying to eat the grass on the other side.

I'd been formulating this idea of teaching contentment to children, and I thought, "Bingo! That's the story!"

And that's where the Virtue Farms Series and "On the Other Side of the Fence" was born.





The Birdhouse
by Laura V. Hilton


The Bird House is the third book in The Amish of Jamesport series by Laura V. Hilton. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about reading this series is that while they are loosely connected, you can read one without having read the others, although there may be a small spoiler or two. In The Bird House Greta thought she had her life all planned out, but then Josh Yoder leaves her hanging in the balance and embarrassed. Three years later he comes back and he expects everything to be the same between them when she doesn’t want to give him the time of day…or does she? Her feelings and emotions are so confusing within herself.

Besides, there are too many other things that she has to take care of. With her father’s injuries requiring extensive medical care, they need her to work extra hard to help provide for the family. And then there is the fast that farm is falling apart around them because her father isn’t able to take care of it.

But then something else happens, while it is completely out of her control, she still faces a shunning. She wonders if Josh will be there for her or run away like he did before.

Another great read by Laura! This was one of those books where I wondered why everyone had to keep talking to me while I was trying to read. Could they not see I was engrossed in a book???

If you like Amish fiction, you will definitely like this book. Click on the cover to go to Amazon and purchase a copy for yourself.



Love, Agape Style
by Norma Warrick

In our English Bibles the word “love” is used for different meanings in the original Hebrew. “Agape” is the love of sacrificing for another. That love is shown all throughout this book. Anna and her friends at church all step up immediately when they meet a young girl, Sherry, whose life has fallen apart and has nowhere to turn. That love eventually spills over to her family.

This book is a great example of how Christians should be every day. When we meet someone who truly needs help, there should be no questions, especially if the Lord has spoken to our hearts and told us to move. While there were a few slow spots in the book, the story still brought a tear to my eye at one point. A very touching and convicting read.

From the Author:

In Love Agape Style it was hard to write the drama of Sherry’s father kidnapping her and his brutality towards her. I had a hard time sleeping for a couple nights because I was disturbed by the character’s behavior.

The best part of the book to write was the birth of baby Joshua. The scene shows the interpersonal relationships that had developed: the young troubled couple becomes a family with the birth of their son, and Margaret is Sherry’s sole support during the complicated birth. Lots of warm fuzzies and maybe a tear or two.


I was always a “story-teller” with my own children, my grandchildren, and the kids I’ve taught over the years. Actually sitting down and putting the story down on paper is different than my usual fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach to weaving a story verbally. I’ve only been writing for a few years now. I’m excited to see growth in my ability to write a story and watch it unfold slowly. Besides family and writing, my time is divided between a number of volunteer days and church events. I love my weekly Bible study groups.




This Dance
by Jerusha Agen


No attachments. That’s how Nye has chosen to live her life now. No attachments in friendship and no attachments to her job. That way, if something bad ever happens, again, she could easily cut ties and start her life anew. Attachments were not worth the risk of possible. She has had too much of that in her life and she blames God for every bit of it.

Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, they do, and they get better at the same time. She just needs to open her eyes to see that, to see how God is working in her life, trying to get her attention and draw her back to Him.

Some books are predictable. This Dance wasn’t one of them. Although there were some aspects of the story that I figured where it was going, other parts were completely unpredictable. That made it an even more enjoyable read for me. I like to be surprised once in a while.

From the Author:

Though I wouldn’t write This Dance until many years later, the first spark of the idea for the story came at an unexpected location—a zoo! In my childhood and teen years, I used to volunteer at our local zoo. During my shift one day, I envisioned a scene in which a blonde beauty was quietly looking at the cougar exhibit from the elevated platform. A tall, dark, and handsome man would approach and be mesmerized not just by her beauty but by the aching sadness in her eyes.

Yes, it’s okay to laugh. As you can tell, one of the gifts God gave me is an overactive imagination! Thankfully, He also eventually showed me that having that sad blonde beauty and the swoon-worthy stranger meet after a car accident was a much better beginning to the story of This Dance. Now that you know the “alternate beginning,” keep a close eye on my future books. I might still find a way to fit in that chance romantic meeting at a zoo that I’ve always dreamed of.




Awesome Wonder
by M. Ann Ricks


Forgiveness is a topic that is close to my heart. (That’s the main theme of my book Come Eat at My Table). Forgiveness is the basis for the story line in Awesome Wonder by M. Ann Ricks. Paige Covington is a strong woman, but is tainted by experiences in her past. Her father, like many fathers, was not a perfect man. Paige watched as he and other men of the church lived hypocritical lives and wondered why God allowed them to continue without some form of punishment. Paige struggles to find it in her heart for forgive him for all the hurt he caused their family.

This is a good read for anyone struggling with forgiveness, whether is someone who needs forgiving or someone who needs to forgive. No one is perfect. We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, and unfortunately, those mistakes can be costly for those around us for years to come.

NOTE: There are a few “romantic” scenes in this book. There is nothing wrong as they are between a husband and wife; however, I know some readers may not care for some of the details.



The Postcard
by Laura V. Hilton

Rachel is a young Amish woman, who dreams of traveling to distant places. She also dreams of love, which she reads about in forbidden romance novels.  While she is engaged to marry Obadiah, she writes to a man she read of in The Budget who is convalescing after an accident. She doesn’t see any harm in it as they are both promised to someone else. However, she didn’t plan on falling in love with his letters, and she certainly didn’t plan on him showing up.

David suffers one tragedy after another. He hopes that Rachel will be a bright spot in his life, but that only leads to more trouble.

I always enjoy Amish stories and this one was no different. Although I figured I knew how the story would eventually end (it is a romance after all), the twists and turns kept me reading, wondering what would happen next. I enjoyed reading about their faith in God and seeing their dependence on Him for whatever came up in life.  Definitely another book to add to your TBR list.

From the Author:

We all go through difficulties, and sometimes the circumstances scare us to death. It might be a health problem, an adult child with troubles, or as David has, an enemy out to scare him away or make him pay.

That is why I chose Psalm 56:3 as the verse for this story.  God is always there, always trustworthy, and He will see you through whatever you are facing.  




Julianne
by Rebekah Lyn


Julianne is a woman who feels that she’s always lived in her brother, Michael’s shadow. She struggles to find her own place in the world and do it on her own. Just about the time she’s at the end of her rope on another dead-end job, she bumps into Oliver who changes her life. Oliver also brings feelings to the surface that Julianne hadn’t felt in quite some time, not since Jonathan. Then there’s Gavin. Julianne has had a crush on him ever since her brother brought him home from college, but then there’s the fact that he never noticed her for more than a little sister. 

I enjoyed reading this story. I love the theater and had been involved in plays in high school and college. Reading this brought back a lot of pleasant memories. The only negative (slightly) thing about this book is the sudden changes in points of view. Sometimes I had to go back and re-read a paragraph or two to see who perspective it was.

All in all, this was a great story. One you should definitely add to your TBR list.

From the Author:

Although Julianne is not the first novel I published, it is the novel that began my writing journey. I was dissatisfied with the job I was working after I graduated from college and dismayed that my degree had not opened doors as I had hoped. One day I went into work and found out my schedule had been changed. I had time to kill and the absolute frustration with where I was in my life overwhelmed me. I handled it in the only way I knew, I started writing.

Julianne was a way for me to escape my own world and live out a version of my dreams. I worked on it for a few weeks, and then found myself bogged down in day-to-day tasks. That was in 2003.

Fast forward to 2011, I had just finished writing another story, Summer Storms, and learned about Amazon's self-publishing options. Riding high on the euphoria of completing an entire novel and putting it out to the public, I dug Julianne out and dedicated myself to finishing her story.

Since then the drive to create the next story hasn't waned. Even though I didn't finish Julianne right away, those first chapters I wrote in 2003 opened the door for me to pursue my dream of writing.




Land of My Dreams
by Norma Gail


Bonny has suffered great tragedies, all close together. She loses both of her parents within a few months of each other, and then her fiancé, the man who is supposed to love her forever, leaves her for another woman. In an effort to find a change of scenery and a change of pace, she heads off to Scotland where she and her father were supposed to teach a college course together.

Not only does her scenery change, but pretty much everything else about her life changes as well. The scenery is definitely worth looking at, especially when Scottish Highlander, Kieran, is part of it!

But difficulties in her life are far from over. God seems to test her repeatedly, until she doesn’t think she can take it anymore. God has big plans for her, if she can simply survive.

I truly enjoyed this book! I love the unusual (at least for me) setting and the history the author included throughout. Definitely a book worth buying.

From the Author:

I never planned to write a novel—hoped, yes, planned, no. When I stood at the Loch Garry overlook on the A87 in the Highlands of Scotland, I had no idea I would write a book, much less choose that place as the setting. We stood there, contemplating the interesting fact that the loch is shaped like a map of Scotland for about fifteen minute’s total. I have one photograph of the Loch and I’m not even in it. A little over two years later, I broke my foot and decided to take the idea that would not go away and see if it might turn into the book I had always planned to write. Land of My Dreams, my contemporary Christian romance, is the result. The images of that beautiful land stayed with me, and thanks to a lot of research and an editor who lived in Scotland, the story came together.

The spiritual element of the book comes from not only my own experiences, but over 21 years of leading women’s Bible studies. The injuries to the characters are drawn from my time as an RN on a busy 64-bed orthopedic unit. I now am a full-time homemaker and writer, enjoying our home in the mountains of central New Mexico with my husband of almost 40 years. We have two adult children. 




Reins of Love
by Laurie Salisbury


Twins, Beth and Ben, are about to set off on a new adventure: living in the country. There may only be five short chapters, but each is packed with truth from God’s Word. The children learn how to think of others and put their needs first, praying for others, witnessing, being kind, and more.

This would be a great little book to read with students in a Sunday school setting as each chapter focuses on one issue and contains an appropriate memory verse.

From the Author:

REINS OF LOVE was originally written for VBS. We had the most awesome VBS ever, with real live horses! The kids would rotate through riding, crafts, memory verse and games. I liked to think of it as VBS EXTREME. But the best part by for was sanctuary time! The kids were on the edge of their seats as I read and were begging for more when I finished. REINS OF LOVE teaches kids God attitudes, forgiveness, witnessing and trust! It is dedicated to He Reigns Riding Camp (HRRC) kids.

I have 10 children and have had 28 foster children, which means much of my writing time happens at night. Many times I ask my kids for input and ideas, because they have awesome ideas!

I saw a question the other day that asked: Which character are you most like, and I would have to say, Aunt Mary Ann. I am stubbornly passionate, brutally honest and I love horses too.

All of my writing contains Scripture references because God’s Word will always be more powerful than mine.




Kari Lynn's Shattered Dreams
by Delaine Swardstrom


Warning! Make sure to have a box of tissues handy!

Kari Lynn knew she had made a mistake. And now she has to deal with the repercussions. Troy and Kari Lynn were a couple and allowed passion to rule over their relationship, even though they were devout Christians. That passion led to an unplanned pregnancy and subsequent abortion. But that isn’t where the struggles ended. Guilt overwhelms her and the dreams she had for herself she thinks are no longer possible. But God is bigger than any problems she may have.

This is a great book for those who’ve had an abortion and are looking for peace. This is a good book for those who know someone who’s had an abortion to better understand how they feel. There are consequences to our sin, but no matter what we do, God still loves us.

In spite of the subject matter, I found this book and enjoyable read. We all have sins we struggle to deal with and something forgiving ourselves is the hardest part.

A good read for when you feel the need to cry.

From the Author:

Abortion has become much too prevalent in the world today. So many women become pregnant but don’t want the baby, so they believe the solution to the problem is abortion.

However, abortion is not a quick procedure and that’s the end of it. There are lasting effects. It’s time people are faced with the reality of how it can affect their lives, possibly for the rest of the woman’s life.

I feel very strongly that abortion is wrong. Although the Bible does not specifically mention abortion, there are plenty of verses which tell us it is wrong. I wrote Kari Lynn’s Shattered Dreams to portray some of the after effects, and hopefully someone reading the book will realize that option is not for her. 

6 comments:

  1. Hi Ruth: I'm new to FWA and found this site via Black Oyster - How do I get acquainted with you and get my books reviewed?
    The posts here are almost a year old - are you still active reviewing?

    Robert Z. Hicks

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    1. Hi, Robert. Not all the posts are old. I just keep adding to the page, so it might look old. Send me a message about your books to oneilruth@gmail.com. I'd love to talk to you and find out more about them.

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  2. Ruth, I know I'm not supposed to recommend my own book right here on your blog site, but I couldn't find your email address. My fourth book is being released in January. I've kept up with your blog and noticed that you also like mysteries. Christian mysteries. The Rector is a combination of suspenseful murder mystery and theology. Yes, a 1950s allegory of Christ's ministry. If you'd just take a peek at it on my site, I hope you'll feel confident in reading it and providing an honest and unbiased review. I also have a free 6-week study guide to go with the book. You can read the first chapter at http://www.michaelthompsonauthor.com. And the guide at www.TheRectorGuide.com. Please consider. Thank you.
    All to His Glory! (Obviously, no curse words in the book.)

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    Replies
    1. My email is oneilruth@gmail.com. Please send me yours and I'll send you some info. Your book does sound like something I'd like!

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  3. Some great books. I'll definitely have to add some of these to my reading list. :)

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    1. I only post books I've enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them as well.

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