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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris - A Book Review

Product DetailsLisa Harris
     I have greatly enjoyed Lisa Harris’s Nikki Boyd Files series. Throughout the series Nikki and her colleagues in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation solved missing persons cases, but they were never able to solve the abduction of Nikki’s sister, Sarah. In Vanishing Point we finally find out who was behind the abduction and whether or not Sarah, whose body had never been found, is alive or not. The story actually begins prior to Sarah’s going missing, with the third victim of the Angel Abductor. It ends over a decade later with the families, investigators, and Harris’s readers finally getting closure.
     New characters are introduced in Vanishing Point, among them is Special Agent Garrett Addison of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Jordan Lambert with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Garrett and Jordan had once been close while enrolled in the Police Academy, but their careers had led them in different directions. Now, working closely together on the Angel Abductor case, might the sparks that were once there be rekindled, or have they grown cold?
     The major theme in this book revolves around the classic question of why God allows bad things to happen. How does one’s faith survive when God doesn’t seem to be present? Parents reeling with the fact that their daughters will not be coming home, and investigators who see the dark side of humanity almost daily feel cause to cry out, “God, where are You?” This is a question many we have read of in the Bible have asked, and it is a question many of us have asked as well.  Harris handles this question with care, not offering flip answers, but allowing her character, Jordan, to really articulate a thoughtful response.

     I thank NetGalley and the Baker Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Vanishing Point in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review. 

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering - A Book Review

Product Details   Julianna Deering
     I am coming into this series at book six, but it made for a great stand-alone read. I am looking forward to going back and catching up on the previous escapades of Drew and Madeline Farthering and Nick Dennison. My husband and I are fans of several BBC mystery series, and I could absolutely see a series built around these characters. I would recommend The Drew Farthering Mysteries to both men and women.
     Set in England in the 1930s, the Drew Farthering series has the feel of Christie, Sayers and James; names well known to fans of British writers from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. In Death at Thorburn Hall Drew and his entourage are tasked to unearth the secrets of their host’s formerly trusted business partner who has begun to act in a very suspicious manner. The investigation quickly turns into the search for a murderer, a search that turns even more deadly and pits our detectives against possible Nazi spies. Nick, Drew’s right-hand man, struggles throughout the investigation as he is torn between dedication to Drew and love of country and his attempts to win the hand of Carrie, the love of his life who has a major aversion to his detective work.
     Julianna Deering, who also writes under her real name, DeAnna Julie Dodson, may live in Texas, but she provides her readers with a real flavor of 1930s England’s upper class. In the fashion of other writers of the same era, Deering provides a cast of suspects and plenty of red herrings. She allows her readers to wade through these and to weed out the important clues, avoiding giving them surprises that come out of nowhere as the solution to the mystery comes to light. Mystery fans will find this book a real treat.

     I thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for providing me a copy of Death at Thorburn Hall in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review. 

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas - A Book Review.

The Sound of Rain by [Thomas, Sarah Loudin]   Sarah Loudin Thomas

     It was the settings that drew me to The Sound of Rain: the lowlands of South Carolina, a place I’ve wanted to visit; West Virginia, a place whose beauty touches my heart each time we are there; and Kentucky, a place that I am proud to call home. Judd Markley loved his home in West Virginia until he found himself buried in a cave-in in the mine in which he and his younger brother, Joe, worked. While he found the hot, humid air of South Caroline, the place to which he fled, quite oppressive, he cherished the opportunity to work above ground and to use his mechanical skills, and he decided that he might also cherish his boss’s daughter. Larkin Heyward, whose father owned Waccamaw Timber Company, had everything most girls her age could want: beauty, wealth, and popularity. Yet, something was missing. Larkin longed to follow her God given calling to be of help to others, to make a difference in the world, to go beyond the superficial life of a young socialite. She especially longed to help the people of Appalachia, but might she also long for a certain young timberman recently transplanted from the mountains of West Virginia?
     The Sound of Rain is a story of discovering, embracing and setting priorities, while looking to God for guidance in the process. It is also a story of relationships, and understanding others, accepting them for who they are and where they are in their life journey, taking their hand, and walking alongside them, moving together to a closer relationship with one another and with God.

     I recommend The Sound of Rain to readers who love a sweet romance along with a bit of drama, but with a full share of deeper meaning, a lesson worth pondering. I thank NetGalley and the Baker Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of The Sound of Rain in exchange for this honest review. I received no monetary compensation. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tethered: The Life of Henrietta Hall Shuck the First American Woman Missionary to China by Brenda H. Cox - A Book Review

     Brenda Cox

     Brenda Cox wrote this well-researched piece of historical fiction based on the true story of the first American woman missionary to China, Henrietta Hall Shuck, her husband’s great, great, great grandmother. Henrietta embarked on this journey with her husband, Jehu Lewis Shuck, as a young bride not yet out of her teens beginning with a nine-month sea voyage to reach their first destination Macau, China, a small island off the coast of mainland China, as western women were not yet allowed on the mainland. Henrietta suffered greatly with seasickness during the voyage, only finding relief by leaning way over the ship’s railing bathing in the salty spray from the sea through which they sailed, much to the dismay of the first mate who feared she would be swept overboard and drowned. He solved this problem by fastening a leather tether to the railing through which Henrietta could pull her arm and hold tight to. Later, being gifted the leather tether once the missionary couple settled on dry land, it became a symbol of the important things she tethered her life to: her husband, their mission, and, most important of all, God.
     Lewis, in his twenties, and Henrietta, in her teens, followed the call God had placed upon their hearts knowing that they would likely never see home or family again. Written communications with those they left behind could take months or years to arrive at their destination if they were fortunate enough not to end up at the bottom of the sea. Other missionary families with whom they traveled, and those serving in nearby locations became as family, as did the local people whom they served and with whom they served. The hardships the Shucks endured came from many directions: climate, politics, social mores, financial concerns, and even from their own missionary board. In spite of these things, Henrietta Lewis persevered in developing relationships into which they could introduce Christ, educating local children, especially girls whose education was not a priority in the culture, and caring for the orphaned.

     The devotion with which Henrietta lived her life is inspirational. The skill with which Branda Cox penned this, her first novel, is delightful. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, to those who enjoy reading of strong female characters, to those who are interested in church history, and to those who are looking for inspiration or refreshment for their own spiritual walk.         I thank Mrs. Cox for providing me with a  of Tethered in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon - A Book Review

Product DetailsIrene Hannon

     Trish Bailey had gone through so much turmoil over the preceding two years, losing her father and husband in a horrible accident which left her mother confined to a wheelchair unable to do so many of the things she loved. Seeing to her mom’s care and working as an art teacher in an underprivileged school kept Trish  from focusing on her great loss, and also from forming new relationships. Was the mounting stress impacting her judgement, possibly with deadly consequences? Matt Parker was living a life of solitude, hiding from things in his own past, but was considering the possibility of nurturing a relationship with Trish. His job as accountant for her parents’ charitable foundation often put them in one another’s company. Trish’s mom was certainly in his court. Might Trish be ready to succumb to her mother’s match making attempts? Detective Colin Flynn of the St. Louis County PD only had two people of any significance in his life, his two best friends from school, but their ties were stronger than many families. Yet, in spite of many of his protestations to the contrary, Colin was beginning to sense his increasing readiness to find the right person and settle down. Unfortunately, the only woman he had been drawn to was right in the middle of one of his investigations. Would she still be free by the time things were wrapped up? If not, would it be because of he had placed her under arrest, or because another man was already endeavoring to win her heart?
     When reading Dangerous Illusions, expect the unexpected. Major plot twists are headed your way. If this first book is any indication, Hannon’s newest series, Code of Honor, will be every bit as wonderful as her last, Men of Valor. As a matter of fact, readers of that series will renew acquaintance with a couple of familiar characters, Mac McGregor and, through his stories, his wife, Lisa. While the story has some romance, it is the mystery that keeps the pages turning. It is what keeps me coming back to Irene Hannon’s books again and again, always happy to see when her newest series hits the market.

     I wish to thank NetGalley and Baker Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Dangerous Illusions in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hidden Places by Lynn Austin - A Book Review

Product DetailsImage result for lynn austin

     Once again Lynn Austin didn’t disappoint. This tale of the impact parents can have on their children is bittersweet. The message that God can use it all to form us into the man or woman He wants us to be is heartening. Coming to an accurate view of God, rather than a skewed view created by earthly fathers, makes a world of difference in how we see and handle relationships, and how we parent.
     Matthew Wyatt fled from his father, while his brother Sam lived a life of compliance in his father’s shadow. Lydia led a life of sacrifice so that her sister, Betty, could escape their father’s manipulation. Walter, spared from disappointing his father by way of illness, but still in need of a quiet place of solitude away from family tension. Eliza fled from her parents’ deceit, only to become the deceiver. Gabe also ran from his father, so fearful of becoming like him, of not ever becoming the man he was intended to be. An inability to love, an inability to demonstrate love, not knowing how to articulate love, each stemming from not fully living in the light of God’s love, each impacting the next generation. How many of these would come to know the love of the true Father, the only father who knows how to love unconditionally? How might their pasts be used to lead them on their journey, to assist others on theirs?
     While this book is a tale of romance, it’s the wooing of God that holds the greatest significance. While it is a work of historical fiction, there are many in this present age who will closely identify with the characters and their struggles. While the book includes a bit of mystery, it is the mystery spoken of in First Corinthians 2:7, the characters who seek God’s wisdom,  that is most intriguing.

      I highly recommend Hidden Places. It is a story that will find a special place in your heart, not unlike other books by Lynn Austin, a gifted author. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Complete Book of Sewing Techniques: More Than 30 Essential Sewing Techniques for You to Master By Wendy Gardiner – A Book Review

Product Details 

     I am very much a newbie to sewing. When I retired four years ago, I didn’t even know how to thread a sewing machine. I took a basic sewing class offered to seniors at our church, learned the basics of running the machine, and made an apron. Then the ladies from our church’s sewing circle took me under their wing and instructed me in basic quilting techniques. Until recently I had done very little garment sewing, but was asked to help with some costumes for our granddaughters, and needed to develop some new skills.
     This book was exactly what I needed, and had been unsuccessful in finding in previous excursions to the book section at our local fabric store. It covered the basic skills with clear, easy to follow instructions for both hand sewing and machine sewing. As the subtitle says, 30 essential techniques are covered. Information is provided for each technique describing its function in garment and/or home décor production. The reader is told what types of fabric the technique is designed for, and modifications for different weights of fabric are provided. I especially appreciated the many helpful hints that were given, things that sewers pick up over time, but that will make the process easier and more successful. The book is geared mostly to garment sewing, with attention given to home décor. It is not designed for those wanting to learn more about quilting. This is not a deficit, because the book does very well what it is intended to do.

     I thank NetGalley and Companion House Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation.