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Book Reviews

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I receive many complimentary books for review from the publisher or the author. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

A Different Kind of Courage
by Sarah Holman

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To say I enjoyed this book is an understatement. I've read other books by this author and this was definitely my favorite. Perhaps it's our shared love of history. She thanked her parents for teaching her to love history, and I blame my parents as well.

This book is set in Revolutionary War time Boston. I've been to a couple of the forts mentioned in the book (again, thanks to my parents!). I found it interesting reading this book during this time in our country's history. The Revolutionary patriots loved our young colonies and were seeking freedom, as are so many patriots today. I'm not even sure how different things are from then to now.

Holman did her research well when portraying real people. They were woven perfectly into the stories of fictional characters. I appreciated that she kept the book clean and did not shy away from sharing the gospel message throughout the story as well. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, this is one book you'll want to grab.

On another note: I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator was fantastic!

A Teacher's Prayer

by Tammy Mentzer Brown

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At first I thought this story was fictional, but it didn't take me too long to realize it wasn't. It's heart wrenching.  It's been a while since I read a book I couldn't put down. The author deals with sensitive issues of abuse in a delicate manner. She told enough to paint a picture without giving too many gory details as in some similar books I've read. I appreciated that!

I was about half way through the book when I realized the author's life and my life ran parallel to each other. From dates given in the book, I figured out  we are the same age. Living the life I lived, I was completely oblivious to what other children experience in their home life. I was in one state, she in another. While I was growing up in my stable Christian home with loving parents, her life was the opposite.

 Points of the book gave me chills. Also, as a teacher, it made me realize the importance of praying for my students more regularly. I only know for sure what I see in class. I don't see what goes on at home.

For those who love true stories and want to be encouraged and moved, this is definitely one you will want to read. 

by Ginny Yttrup

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When I began reading this book, I found it a little confusing. There were four character points of view and they all used "I". Several times I had to go back and check the beginning of the chapter to see who I was reading about. I think that made it not the best read for me, but the book did have some good points.

Ellyn, Twila, Sabina, and Miles all have things in life they need to overcome from body image to loss. In many ways, they feel invisible or want to feel invisible.

The story was good. It had a great message for those people who think they're invisible or aren't good enough for God's (really man's) standards.

This was my first time reading this author. I think I would definitely give her another try.

Begin Again
by Crystal Walton

Both the main characters in this book were artists. It takes place on Ocracoke, which is one of my favorite places to be! 
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It was pretty good, except that emotions got pretty hot and heavy sometimes. There was nothing gratuitous, but it did make me wonder if people really walk around life that way (I won't say the word I'm thinking!). Ti and Drew both have issues and need a little help. It's a sweet story where both of them need to deal with hurt and forgiveness. 

This was the second book in the series. I don't really feel that I missed anything by not reading book one first. When I looked it up, the first book is about minor characters in this book.

I listened to the audio version of this book, which I received from the author but not in exchange for a review.

by Brennan S. McPherson

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Brennan McPherson was a new to me author. I really enjoy reading biblical fiction. While I know there is a lot of literary license in many of these stories, it still makes me question things and go back and read the Scriptures. Any book that points me back to the Bible is good in my mind.

I did enjoy the book. I listened to the audio version, which the author read. In some ways I like it when the author reads his own story since they know it better than anyone else and also know they intonations intended.

I had never really thought about Noah still being on the earth when the tower of Babel was built. It seems like such a short period of time (anywhere from 100-300 years) for the inhabitants of the earth to get caught up in their own sinful selves again. I guess that's proof we are all born sinners. I truly enjoyed the story as it opened my eyes up to how things could have been. It made me see that my testimony is everything for the time I am here on earth (although it won't be as long as Noah!).

The one negative I can think of is the extremely short chapters. That's good when you don't have a lot of time to read, but it has a tendency to pull me out of the story instead of sucking me in. 

By All Appearances
Dawn Kinzer

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I haven't left many reviews lately. Not because I'm not reading, but because I just haven't take the time to write out reviews. I need to change that. So here is the latest book I've read.

Liana Tate is just trying to make a name for herself in the world of event planning. She has plenty of contacts since her father is a well-known doctor and her mother owns a talent agency. Life should be easy for her, but it's not. Liana and her father have a great relationship, but her mother on the other hand, is never pleased by anything Liana does. With a critical mother and a sister who always seems to be out to get her, Liana feels she will never succeed.

Then there's Bryan. He was on track to have his band pick up a record deal, until the accident that left him disfigured and gruesome to look at.

Was the story a little predictable? Yes. Was it still an enjoyable read? Definitely. I like how the author shows that people, even Christians, are imperfect. We don't all walk around with halos on. We mess up…daily. I also love how the author incorporated the gospel message. It wasn't overbearing. It was enough and clear.

For readers who are a little more conservative and sensitive, there are several references to alcohol consumption and one scene of drunkenness. I didn't find them offensive at all, especially considering most of the drinking was done by non-Christians.

Dawn Kinzer is a new to me author, and I think I will be looking for more of her books. The author did send me a copy of the book, but I was not required to leave a review. 

Good Night, Fireflies
Janet Christensen

Poor Landon can't fall asleep because of all the creepies he sees in his room as soon as his dad turns out the light.

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When I saw this book come available for review, I thought it looked like a cute story. I was right. Like many children, little Landon sees all sorts of scary things at night in the shadows of his room. After calling out to his father because of his fear, Dad takes Landon outside to teach him an important lesson about God. They watch the fireflies for a few moments and Dad asks Landon whether they are still there when their lights aren't flashing, even though they couldn't see them. Landon is unsure. Together, the pair catches a couple lightning bugs and put them in a jar where they can see more clearly. Suddenly, Landon says that he can see the bug even when it's not shining. Dad then takes that same concept and applies it to our heavenly Father. Landon may not always be able to see God, but he can know with confidence that God is always there.

I think it would be a great book for toddlers and preschoolers who are having trouble sleeping because of "monsters under the bed." The author, Janet Christensen, does a great job of teaching the spiritual lesson of God always being near us in a simple language that young children can understand.

I read this book to the children I babysit and also to the children in my picture book writing class at a local homeschool co-op. It was well received by all the children, even the ones that were a little past the age range I thought would enjoy it.

ISBN - 978-1732315877

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the book review program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Valerie Howard

I was recently given an audio book of Avalon by Valerie Howard. This is not necessarily a book I would have picked up on my own, but I'm so glad I was able to listen to it! It is an allegory of the Christian life. Think Pilgrim's Progress, but this story is from the perspective of a slave named Mara. She has spent years of her life preparing to rise up against the King, but then one day, the Prince makes her an offer she can't refuse.

I love how almost every line of this story holds a spiritual truth. In enjoyed the medieval feel to the story.

If you know someone who is searching and on the precipice of the truth of the Gospel, this would be a great book to gift them. The Message is clearly written and easy to understand. It's a shame to think I almost passed this book over. You won't want to. It is a great reminder of God's merciful, boundless, and gracious love for us.

Saved By Grace
Kari Trumbo

A new family comes to Belle Fourche, well sort of. They are the cousins to the Olesons.
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One of the things I enjoy about Kari Trumbo's books is the characters. The characters continue from one book to another. One that might have had a very minor role in one is front and center in the next. I love that I'm able to get to know each of the family members in turn.

I found the historical aspect of this book interesting. Natalie and her father have made a living making artificial limbs for those who have lost an arm or a leg. I don't know why that fascinated me, but it did.

I love the family ties and that even after years of separation, no one is turned away from the Oleson ranch. I love that the characters are well developed and that the plot line isn't always predictable. I love that when I pick up a Kari Trumbo book, I know that it will be free from bad language and other questionable things that I don't want to read.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author. 

A Single Light
Tosca Lee

A Single Light is the second book in Tosca Lee's The Line Between series.
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Spoilers from book one ahead!

At the end of book one Wynter and Chase are locked into an underground silo with a group of other healthy people. Toward the end of their 6-month "imprisonment" tensions begin to run high. And then the door opens. Early. They all know something isn't right. Where's Noah? Where's anyone?

Circumstances force Wynter and Chase to leave the silo and face an uncertain and definitely unexpected world.

For more sensitive readers, there is some violence and a few swear words.  

Fans of Tosca Lee will get sucked into this book. You can grab your copy by clicking on the cover and preordering. It hits stores September 17th.

Dreams in Deadwood
Kari Trumbo

I think I'm behind on posting reviews. This summer has been CRAZY!

I had another sewing project to work on and an audio book by Kari Trumbo kept me company.
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This time I listened to Dreams in Deadwood. I was already familiar with some of the characters. (Apparently I don't read book series in order!) Ms. Trumbo takes the life of Jennie Arnsby and brings her to the forefront.

Jennie is forced to move from Cutter's Creek to Deadwood, South Dakota. She is not amused, neither is she impressed when she gets there. She tells her sister and brother-in-law, who are her guardians, that she is giving it three months. If nothing changes or is any better, she's going back home. But then Aiden Bradly falls into her life. She doesn't want to fall in love with him, and he has issues of his own he needs to deal with.

I enjoyed this book of Ms. Trumbo's. The characters are well developed and so is the plot. Trumbo opens the door to the next book in the series, Kisses in Keystone. If you keep scrolling down, you can find my review of that book. 

Michelle Lynn Brown

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This book was the first in a summer reading challenge I'm taking part it. I'll put the link at the bottom of this in case you want to join along. This was a new-to-me- author, so I didn't really know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. The story was true to real life. I've known people who have been in almost all of the situations Hannah and Keith found themselves in – military life, miscarriages, taking care of aging grandparents, and everything piled on to create marriage issues. This book is real life. The world doesn't stop just because we have a problem or two. We have to learn to deal with it all at the same time we keep functioning in everyday life.

This was a quick read and a pretty good story until about three-fourths of the way through. It was there I noticed inconsistencies in editing (but maybe only other editors would notice?). I also felt that the end of the story was rushed. I would have liked to see the story and the relationships play out a little slower and in more detail. It kind of jumped from "everything is bad" to "everything is good" rather quickly. But those issues shouldn't keep you from reading the book. it was an enjoyable and, at times, heart wrenching, read. I will definitely pick up another of Michelle Lynn Brown's books.

Come join the Christian Women Reader's Epic Summer of Books Reading Challenge:

Vikki Kestell 

This was my first time reading a book by Vikki Kestell. I'm glad I was able to pick it up as I enjoyed it immensely. It was a little different than a lot of historical fiction books I've read in that it had a different perspective of WWI. Tabitha is a nurse who volunteers to go to England and help take care of the wounded there before America even gets involved in the war. Of course there is a LOT more to the story than that.

Tabitha, like so many of us, had to learn to outgrow some of her anger that more often than not got her into trouble. For more conservative readers, there is some content that is difficult to read about. It is certainly not graphic in any way, but could be disturbing to some. However, this content is only at the beginning of the book and sets the stage for Tabitha's life. There is no bad language or graphic violence at all.

One of the things I loved most about this book is that the Gospel message is so prominent throughout. It might be a great book for those who are hurting because of what others have done to them and are searching for something bigger than themselves…God.

There were a few times throughout the book that I was audible in my reactions to what I was reading. I don't want to give any specifics because of spoilers, but the story definitely drew me in, made me fall in love with the characters (most of them!), and keep reading. I will absolutely be looking for more books by this author.

Picking Daisy
Valerie Howard

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This was my first book by author Valerie Howard. I enjoyed it. It was a little different than books I normally read, and I liked that as well. It was heartbreaking to watch young Daisy make so many mistakes that could affect the rest of her life, but that just made me root for her all the more.

I love how this book gave a clear Gospel message. I also enjoyed the symbolism of our relationship to God. We too often repeatedly make mistakes that could change the course of our lives, and there God is, picking up the pieces and making something beautiful in spite of ourselves. It was interesting to read about foster care. While I can't relate to what Daisy experienced, it helped me feel a little closer to my father who was in foster care for a time – a part of his life he kept fairly quiet about.

The story is a beautiful picture of God's love for us!

As of this posting you can grab this book for only .99.

Note: I received an audio book version of this book in exchange for a review, and while I truly enjoyed the story, the narrator wasn't my favorite. 

Lavender Tides Series
Colleen Coble

I'm doing something I don't normally do and am reviewing an entire series of books at the same time. After asking for and receiving a specific book for Christmas, I realized it wasn't the first in a series. Off I went to one of my favorite reading groups on Facebook to ask if I needed to read the series in order. I did. Off to Amazon I went to order the beginning books, but then I figured I might as well order the rest of them, right?!

The Lavender Tides series by Colleen Coble includes The View from Rainshadow Bay, Leaving Lavender Tides (a novella), The House at Saltwater Point, and The Secrets at Cedar Cabin. I knew I would enjoy the series because of who the author is. Coble has become one of my favorites over the years. In each of the books, things aren't always what they appear to be on the surface. That goes for the characters as well.

In The View from Rainshadow Boy a struggling young widow, Shauna, finds out there could have been (should have been?) more to her family during her childhood. There's also more to her present life when danger seems to lurk around every corner. Zach, Shauna's dead husband's best friend and cause of his death, seeks to assuage his guilt by being there for Shauna and her son whenever possible. Everything surrounding more than one mystery comes to light soon, and it's not what anyone expected.

Leaving Lavender Tides is a continuation of the first book and I don't feel as if I can say anything without spoilers from the first, so I'll just tell you to read it.

In The House at Stillwater Point, Ellie Blackmore, a house flipper, finds more than she bargained for with her latest project. Besides that, everyone blames her sister, Mackenzie for stealing a shipment of cocaine. Ellie just can't believe it's true, even when all the clues say otherwise. Grayson Bradshaw for the Coast Guard and has been brought in to solve the mystery in the disappearance of bot the cocaine and Mackenzie before disaster strikes that threatens the entire community of Lavender Tides.

The Secrets at Cedar Cabin keeps the suspense going when Baily comes to town after her mother's murder. She attempts to hide out in a cabin her ex tried to bribe her with. With the help of FBI agent, Lance Phoenix, she uncovers more family lies, yet both she and Lance are determined to find the whole truth.

I love the non-creepy suspense since I'm such a wuss about scary things. Keep in mind, there is a connecting thread that runs all the way through the series so it is necessary to read them in order. Because these are page turners, it won't take you long to read through the whole series. Great books to add to your summer vacation reading list. You can click on each of the covers above or you can order them all right here:

Teach Me to Love
Kari Trumbo

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Ok, so I kind of read this series backwards, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. I just finished reading, actually listening to, Kari Trumbo's Teach Me to Love. This is the first book in the Brothers of Belle Fouche series.

Izzy thought she found true love when Harland promised to love her forever. Apparently forever only lasted through the wedding night. After a miserable marriage with more sorrow than one person should ever have to bear, Izzy feels no emotion when her husband dies. She only knows she needs to get away. Her friend from school, Lula, comes to mind.

But then Izzy finds more than she bargained for there, as well. Conrad, Lula's brother-in-law. Izzy tries to stay away from him because she never wants to be involved with any man ever again. However, she can't help but feel drawn to him.

This book was well thought out by the author. The characters were realistic and enjoyable to get to know, at least the good guys were. I keep going back to pick up a new-to-me book from authors I enjoy. Kari Trumbo is one of them. 

No Ocen Too Wide
Carrie Turansky

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I was so excited to receive my review copy of No Ocean Too Wide in the mail. I'm always excited to get books in the mail, but after reading several other books by Carrie Turansky, I knew this was going to be a good one. I was not disappointed.

The McAllister family faces one tragedy after another after the death of their father and the illness of their mother. With the oldest sister, Laura, working as a ladies maid some distance away, the police take the three younger children to a children's home. Before Laura can do anything, the three children are shipped off to Canada.

Andrew Fraser, a solicitor and Laura's employer's son, offers her help she desperately needs before her brother and sisters are lost forever. But Laura can't help but wonder if there could be more to their relationship in spite of their different standings in society.

I love the strong bonds of family in this story. I enjoyed the time period and the history as well. Learning about how children were often unjustly separated from their families is heartbreaking, but it kept me turning the pages. The only disappointment I had was the point I realized there weren't enough pages left to finish the story. Now I have to impatiently wait for the next book.

Lovers of Carrie Turansky will find another gem in this book! A great book to add to your summer reading list.

This book is not out until June 25th, but you can pre-order it now by clicking on the cover above.

Isaiah's Daughter
Mesu Andrews 

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Mesu Andrews is one of those authors who makes me learn while reading a good fiction book. When I'm done reading one of her biblical fiction stories, I always feel compelled to go to the Bible and see what it says. She is a master at inter-twining fact and fiction for an  entertaining read.

Isaiah's Daughter is one of those books. I'm familiar with the profit from the Bible, but the research it took to write this book helped me know him better. He is a prominent character as well as King Ahaz and his son King Hezekiah of Judah, and of course Isaiah's daughter, Hepzibah.

While Hezekiah watched his father do evil in the sight of God, he vowed to follow Yahweh as his teacher Isaiah had taught him. Hepzibah, or Ishma at the beginning of the book, is a lonely orphan girl displaced from her home when soldiers tear through killing both of her parents and taking her captive. When Isaiah and his wife take her in, her life is changed in ways she never dreamed or thought possible.

This book opens the eyes of readers to see some of the hardships the Israelites had to endure because of their sin, but it's also a story of God's faithfulness to those He loves.

The Love Letter
Rachel Hauck

Bwhahahaha! This is me, blubbering like a baby after experiencing this book! Rachel Hauck is one of my favorite authors and this book is a reminder of why.
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I love the duel timeline of the present and the Revolutionary War time period. I love the real-life aspect of Jesse taking something from his family history and writing a movie script. (My books often contain snippets from my life.) This story had a little bit of mystery, specifically surrounding one character and the timeline from the past AND the present. There was romance, showing what true love and commitment mean.

This was a book that kept me reading (or listening as I had the audio version) and not doing the other things I needed to be doing. I neglected my work and enjoyed every moment of it! Definitely another great book by Rachel Hauck.

Faye Bryant

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I recently read about the life story of Louise. It's a hard life, but a good life. Good times and bad. 

I listened to the audio version of this book – read by the author – and I enjoyed it for the most part. Much of the time I felt the chapters were too short and that many of them could have been combined. Some of them ended abruptly and left me wanting more.

During the listen, I found myself wondering if it was a true story and actually had to go and find out that it was in fact fiction. The characters felt so real and alive. This book was a little bit out of the norm for me, but I enjoyed the realistic feel of it and that the issues were true to life. If you're looking for something a little different, maybe this is the book for you.

Romance in Rapid
Kari Trumbo

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Frances has a dream of becoming the next dime store novelist. At 18 she thinks she knows enough about romance to write about it. How wrong she is, at least according to Clive, the journalist she meets in Rapid who she hopes will help her publish her story. But, the help he offers causes more trouble than anything. She has a lot of lessons to learn about romance.

This is the fourth book in Kari Trumbo's Seven Brides of South Dakota series. I haven't read the previous books in this series, but I felt this book could stand on its own. 

I listened to the audio version of the book. While the narrator wasn't my favorite (on this book  - I've heard her on other audio books and enjoyed them) I did enjoy the story. For the most part, the plot was realistic. There was one thing I thought was strange, but won't mention it due to spoilers. 

Another easy and entertaining read/listen by Kari Trumbo that I would definitely recommend picking up.

Seeking His Love
Carrie Turansky

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I just finished this book by Carrie Turansky over the weekend. It was a pretty quick and thoroughly enjoyable read. 

Trying to escape an incident in her past, Rachel moves to Fairhaven hoping to start a new life with new children in her theater group. The first challenge is finding a place to rent. The second is changing Cam's mind about having children and teenagers around all the time. Forgiveness is a theme that pops up in both Rachel and Cam's life throughout the story.  They both must learn to forgive others and themselves. While surprises arise in their lives, love is the biggest one. Neither expected to fall in love. 

Carrie writes in a manner that definitely keeps the reader's attention. There are so many more things going on in this story than just the main plot line. Definitely another great book by Carrie Turansky you will want to pick up.

The Line Between
Tosca Lee

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I was so excited to hear Tosca Lee had another book coming out, and then I had a chance to read it early. Yay! 

Although she is one of my favorite authors, this was not my favorite book of hers. Don't misunderstand me; it was a great book! She is a master at keeping readers turning pages. I think what I didn't like was that it was written first person. I don't care for that in most books, but that is just personal preference and opinion.

Wynter was essentially raised in a cult. Since she was five years old, she had been brainwashed to believe the world was coming to an end and only those who were true believers and lived in the enclave, would survive. But when she is cast out of the enclave and reenters the world she was born into, she begins to wonder if perhaps it is coming to an end. An unknown disease is rampant and quickly kills those who become infected. Little did she know what her role in this would be.

This was one of those books that had me looking at people weird out in public. Hearing someone in the aisle next to me with a horrible cough, or seeing someone wearing a mask almost made me question reality. Do they just have a cold, or is it something worse? Because of those thoughts after reading this book I know that I was sucked into the story. You will be too!

While most of the threads tied up neatly at the end there were still some questions. The biggest question I have is, "Is there going to be a sequel?"

Innocence Denied

Mike Garrett

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Derrick knows he's dying. He feels a call from God to help a damsel in distress, someone he's never met, but was friends with her father. This might be his last ditch effort to redeem himself and maybe make up for some of the bad things he's done in the past.

I was really looking forward to reading this book. It was a new to me author and was in the suspense genre. However, it just didn't quite meet what I was looking for. The main premise of the book is very weak, completely unrealistic. Derrick said that he felt God told him to kidnap Larissa in order to save her from going to prison for a crime she didn't commit. I don't believe God would tell us to kidnap anyone. I got so stuck on that, that it was difficult to keep reading, but I did. There were also some sentences that needed rewording for better clarity. There were quite a few, especially at the beginning of the book, that I had to go back and reread a few times to understand them.

There were some good notes to it, though. I do like that the Gospel was presented. It was also mostly free from typos and grammatical errors which seem to be so prevalent in many books these days, even traditionally published books. It was quick, easy, and clean read, so if that's what you're looking for, then I say go for it. Suitable for teens to adult.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the book review program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Romancing the Cat Burglar
Pamela Gossiaux

This is the third installment in the Russo Romantic Mystery series. This time, Tony and Abigail are off to Paris for a map symposium where Abigail is set up as a speaker. The trip also doubles as the honeymoon they have yet to take, but there ends up being more trouble than romance. In Tony's search for family, he finds more than he bargained for.

It was another enjoyable read from Pamela Gossiaux. The short chapters made it an easy read, and the cliff hangers at the end of chapters toward the end of the book kept me turning the pages. The only negative might be that one more pass by an editor or proofreader would have been beneficial.

Thanks, Pamela, for allowing me to read your book in exchange for an honest review.

You can grab your copy by clicking on the cover.

What the Heart Holds
Kari Trumbo

I recently listened to the audio book version of What the Heart Holds by Kari Trumbo. I found it to be another enjoyable book by this author.

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Stephenia has recently taken a new teaching position in Belle Fourche. Unfortunately, it isn't everything she has hoped for. She develops feelings for local bachelor, Arnold, but he seems to want nothing to do with her in spite of her efforts to get him to notice her. Once she realized he suffers from a broken heart, Stephenia takes a step back. She doesn't want him as long as he still holds a candle, or wears a handkerchief, for the woman he lost.

This is the second book in the Brothers of Belle Fourche series. I haven't read the first book, and while I don't feel like I missed a lot of pertinent information, starting at the beginning would have been best. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed listening to the book. The story was excellent and the narrator was easy and pleasant to listen to. I found myself caught up in the story. Another enjoyable listen by Kari Trumbo.

I received a copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review.

Trusting the Cat Burglar
Pamela Gossiaux

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Trusting the Cat Burglar is the second in the Russo Romantic Mystery series. I found it just as enjoyable as the first. Abigail and Tony are now married after a whirlwind romance, starting when thief Tony not so innocently dropped into Abigail's library and life.

Abigail believes all her dreams are coming true. Besides finding love again with Tony, a collector of famous and priceless maps wants to include his pieces in her library. She is looking forward to the publicity for the library and the prospect of tenure. But then… 

Tony and the collector meet, and not for the first time. 

Abigail struggles with learning who to trust.  

Again, Pamela Gossiaux's book is thoroughly thought out, with well-developed characters, and keeps the reader turning pages to see what's going to happen next. If you are new to the Russo Romantic series, I suggest starting at the beginning so you don't miss a thing.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Little Orphan Annie
Susette Williams

I just finished listening to another audio book. I've been so busy with some sewing projects lately, and I like having something to listen to while I'm working. I'm able to get lost in a book while multitasking! 
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Annie finds out her parents have been keeping a huge secret all her life. She isn't theirs. She's adopted. When she wants to find out who her biological parents are, people end up in "accidents", including her own adoptive father. She enlists the help of Ian Wallace who has dedicated his life to finding abducted children, thinking that his contacts might be able to help her. She finds a little more than she bargained for with him.

The plot was enjoyable, although a bit predictable at some points. I enjoyed the characters as well. I wouldn't have been disappointed if the story had been a little bit longer. 

This was my first book by Susette Williams, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

The Writing Desk
Rachel Hauck

I picked up this book by Rachel Hauck first of all because it's by Rachel Hauck. I have yet to be disappointed by any of her books. The other reason it caught my eye was the title: The Writing Desk. That means it's about writing…right?

This story goes back and forth between Tenly in the present day and Birdie and her family (which is also Tenly's family) just after the turn of the century. Tenly has followed in the footsteps of some pretty famous family members and become a best-selling author. The problem is the publisher wants another book, and she fears she can't deliver.

Fortunately (?) she is given a diversion when the mother she barely knows, calls for help during some cancer treatments. Unfortunately, the publishers still want her second book, and Jonas Sullivan does not help in keeping her mind where it needs to be.

Within the writing desk she finds the answers to her problems. Or has she just created even more problems?

This book was definitely a page turner for me. I enjoyed the back and forth between time periods. I enjoyed the wonder of what was going to happen next. I enjoyed the little bit of romance. Fans of Rachel Hauck need to put this book on their to-read list. 

Kisses in Keystone
Kari Trumbo

Click the cover to go to Amazon
I recently received an audio book. I don't usually listen to audio books unless we are on a long drive in the car. Even then, it's something my husband picks out and isn't something I would necessarily choose. But this is one book I would have chosen. I've been doing a lot of sewing latterly to prepare for events, so I had plenty of time to listen. The narrator wasn't my favorite, but that's just a personal opinion. But it's the story itself that matters.

This is the second book in the Seven Brides of South Dakota series. I wasn't sure I was going to like the story when I first started listening to it, but I think a lot of that was because I'm such a paper copy gal. As the story went on, I did enjoy Hattie's transformation from entrapped saloon girl to a free daughter of God. She made some bad choices, many of which were due to dependence on whiskey, but Hugh and God were there for her in her time of true need. Hugh is hired by her family to come and bring her home where she belongs, but Hattie never expected to fall in love with him. Who would want her anyway, all washed up and used?

This story has a definite message of forgiveness and God's love. He loves us in spite of ourselves and the mistakes we make in life. I think that's what I enjoyed most about the story.

Haven of Swans
Colleen Coble 

I just finished reading Haven of Swans the other day. Let me just start by saying the author of this book is Colleen Coble. That right there tells you I loved the book. Where do I start without giving anything away?

Click the cover to
go to Amazon
The story opens with a woman dazed and confused and on the run with a child she can't remember anything about. All she does remember is that someone is after her and trying to kill her. Why? She has no idea. Amnesia is blocking everything in her past.

Gideon is a man with a vendetta. He takes a passage from Proverbs and finds women who fall into those sinful categories and eliminates them from society.

"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren" (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Clues are left behind on geocaching websites that office Nick Andreakos struggles to solve before another young woman loses her life.

This book is full of suspense. Any lovers of Collen Coble's previous Rock Harbor novels will more than likely enjoy this one just as much.  (Note: Apparently this book is a republish of an earlier version entitled Abomination, just in case it sounds familiar to you.)

Across the Blue
Carrie Turansky

Secrets. Misunderstandings. Romance. History. What more could you want from a book?

Isabella Grayson longs to be a journalist for one of her father's newspapers, but neither of her parents will allow that, unless she is willing to compromise. She needs to be willing to at least make an attempt to find a husband, this being her third season with no suitable marriage proposals. But where does that leave James Drake, aviator, who is nothing like the wealthy young men her parents are interested in? Besides being poor, James has a shadowed past with a lot of questions. not to mention the fact that he is determined to win the contest of flying his plane across the English Channel.

I enjoyed reading this story. All the way through I was intrigued at which parts were fact and which were fiction. The plot moved along at a good pace and kept me turning the pages. Carrie Turansky turns out another delightful novel! This book releases February 20, 2018, but you can preorder it now. 

If you have read her books in the past, this will be one you want to pick up. If you are not familiar with Carrie's books, I have listed some below for you. Just click on the covers to learn more about them.

Because You're Mine
Colleen Coble

I haven't posted a review in a while, so I'm sure you're just waiting for me to tell you about another great book.  I've got one for you. Because You're Mine by Colleen Coble. It only took me a couple of days to read because it's that good! It would have taken me less time if it weren’t for real life creeping in on my reading time.

 An accident leaves a pregnant Alanna without a husband. Just when things were beginning to go so well with their Celtic singing group. When Liam's parents threaten to take custody of the baby, Alanna finds herself in a marriage of convenience with her manager, Barry. But is it really convenient, or is it something else entirely?

When Alanna and Barry move into his old family home, a decrepit mansion in Charleston, some strange things begin to happen and questions arise in Alanna's mind.

I loved every page of this book – except for those few pages I read before bed that creeped me out and kept me from falling asleep! But, I am a big baby when it comes to scary. Even the creepy pages kept me reading.

If you have enjoyed Colleen Coble's other books, this one won't disappoint. And as always, click on the cover to go to Amazon and purchase your copy today!

Denise Weimer

With the official kickoff of summer behind us, I thought it was a perfect time to post a new book review to help you add to your summer reading list.

Witch is the third installment of the Restoration Trilogy by Denise Weimer. It was no less fulfilling than the first two. (Scroll down to see my reviews of those two - Widow and White.)

Jennifer Rushmore's future holds so many questions. Could she ever have a relationship with Michael who is technically her employer, especially after she shared some secrets from her past? Should she take the job offer of a lifetime in Savannah leaving the people in the community she has grown to love? Will she even survive the final project on Michael's property as someone seems intent on harming her or sabotaging the work?

Romance, mystery, history, and fun all abound in this book, making it a thoroughly enjoyable read. Once again, I love how the author has woven history throughout. Because of our shared love of history and family genealogies, I think the author and I could be great friends in real life!

Thanks, Denise, for allowing me to read another of your wonderful books.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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. 


  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

    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 I'd love to talk to you and find out more about them.

  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 And the guide at Please consider. Thank you.
    All to His Glory! (Obviously, no curse words in the book.)

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

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

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


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