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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury - A Book Review

Product Details 

     A friend suggested I read this book, and I am glad that she did. The Bridge is a sentimental story that tugs at ones heart strings. Molly Allen went to college in Tennessee as a music student to escape her privileged upbringing and the expectations her dad had for her future. Ryan Kelly went to study music and follow his dream to be a professional guitarist. Together they shared many special moments in a bookstore known as The Bridge, but just as friends. Both Molly and Ryan had someone back home waiting on them, and they were cautious not to cross any lines, well until they did. Unfortunately that special night was the beginning of the end.
     Charlie and Donna Barton, owners of The Bridge, considered their customers their family, the only family they had other than one another. They loved them like family, and treated them like family, helping them to find God’s path for their lives through books, a listening ear, and a caring heart. A time has come when the Barton’s need family, now will be the time to see if customers, people like Molly and Ryan, reciprocate those family feelings.

     The theme of this book is that God is a God of second chances. If you are looking for a message of hope, this book has it. If you are a lover of books, this book honors your pastime. If you cry at Hallmark commercials, this book is for you; have the tissues ready.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Haven of Swans by Colleen Coble - A Book Review

Product DetailsColleen Coble

    I have read four other books from the Rock Harbor Collection, and a couple of other books in which Rock Harbor characters made cameo appearances. I really enjoyed returning to Rock Harbor in Haven of Swans, and following along with Bree and Kade as they assisted Bay City Police Captain Nick Andreakos in his search for a serial killer, a search that became very personal to each of them. Bree’s search dog, Samson, plays, as always, a very big role in apprehending the killer, but will he lead Bree there in time to stop him from killing again?
     Fans of the television show “Criminal Minds” will be great fans of Haven of Swans as well. While I would classify most of the Rock Harbor books as mysteries, I would classify this one as a psychological thriller. Coble has included quite a few red herrings for her reader to sort out. Through most of the book I prided myself on identifying the killer, snickering at Coble’s attempts to lead me down another path, only to be quite humbled by his true identity.

     I highly recommend this book to mystery, thriller, and romance fans. While Colleen Coble is a Christian writer, this book is not preachy, and will appeal to both Christian and secular audiences. This summer a new Rock Harbor book will be added to the collection, Beneath Copper Falls. I, along with other Coble fans, will anxiously be awaiting this next installment. I thank Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing me with this copy of Havens of Swans in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pursued by Lisa Harris - A Book Review

Product DetailsLisa Harris

     I was so excited to receive the third book in The Nikki Boyd Files. Formerly a classroom teacher, Nikki is now a special agent in the missing persons division of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, spurred on to make the career change in the aftermath of her younger sister’s kidnapping. In Pursued Nikki stumbles into a case after her seatmate, Erika Hamilton, goes missing following their airplane’s crash at the Nashville airport. After first having her offer of assistance declined by the FBI, Nikki is asked to join the case to locate Erika, a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. Has Erika been kidnapped or is she on the run? Why is there an abundance of dead bodies being left in her wake? These are just a couple of questions that Nikki and her team must answer, along with finding out who is the mole in the FBI.
     Nikki had been looking forward to reconnecting with her longtime friend, Tyler, following his three months in Liberia. They still needed to find out if there was something more than a friendship developing between them, and if so, what their future would hold. A future that may be complicated by some unexpected medical results waiting for Nikki upon her return to Nashville. A complicated case like Erika’s, that quickly became personal, was not what Nikki wanted or needed at this time, but it drew her in because that’s who she was, someone who did her best to find those who were missing before it was too late.

     Pursued, met my expectations and provided me with an enjoyable read. While having some background provided in the first two books of the series gave me insight I would not have had otherwise, I do believe Pursued would work well as a stand-alone read. Harris has provided adequate information as to not leave new readers in the dark, while not boring those who are reading the series in sequence. I thank Lisa Harris and Revell Publishing for providing Pursued in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson

Treasured Grace (Heart of the Frontier Book #1) by [Peterson, Tracie]    Tracie Peterson

     With over one hundred books to her credit, Tracie Peterson is a prolific writer. While Treasured Grace falls among her historical fiction novels, Tracie writes contemporary fiction as well. Her fans will be very pleased with this first book in her latest series. 
     Treasured Grace is set in Oregon Country in the mid-1800s, leading up to Oregon’s recognition as a territory of the United States of America. Peterson’s fictional characters survive the trials of life on the Oregon trail, only to live through the real life horrors of the Whitman Mission massacre. Readers of Jane Kirkpatrick’s The Memory Weaver, which told the story of Eliza Spaulding, an actual Whitman Mission survivor, and her family, may also be interested in reading the story of the Flanigan sisters: Grace, Hope and Mercy.
     Following the death of their widowed mother, the sisters embark upon a journey to Oregon Country in order to locate their uncle. Unable to make the trip as a single woman, Grace, the eldest, enters a marriage of convenience. The Right Reverend T.S. Martindale, meeting the Mission Board’s requirement of having a wife, agrees to take on the responsibility of Grace and her sisters, while also taking most of their resources. However, during the trip to Oregon City, the Right Reverent succumbs to illness, and Grace becomes a widow whose marriage was never consummated. She finds that she must place herself and her sisters at the mercy of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, who graciously allow the sisters to winter over while they build up their strength, and determine their next course of action. Any thoughts they had about their future were abruptly changed as the Cayuse attack the mission killing the older boys, men, and Mrs. Whitman, and keep the women and children hostage.

     Themes presented through this story deal with forgiveness, prejudice, healing, and faith in the face of the most difficult of times. I recommend this book to fans of well-researched historical fiction as well as fans of Christian romance novels. I thank the publisher for making this book available to me in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Returning by Rachelle Dekker - A Book Review

Product DetailsRachelle Dekker

     I have to admit I read Rachelle Dekker’s first book, The Choosing, because I was quite curious about her storytelling in light of her growing up as Ted Dekker’s daughter. However, it is her skill as a storyteller that brought me to read The Calling and The Returning. Rachelle definitely does not need to ride on her father’s coattails; she is an author with an eloquent voice of her own.
     The Returning is the third novel in Rachelle Dekker’s Seer series, and it leaves her reader longing for more, not because the tale is lacking, but because the reader will want to follow the characters and their future generations.  The Seer series is a tale of forgetting and remembering, remembering who one is in the Father. It is a tale of letting go, surrendering, in order to gain that which is of the greatest value. It is a tale of great power, power that comes only with being filled with the Spirit of the Father, a Spirit we know comes through the Son. It reminds us that Light can always overcome darkness; it is never too late.

     The Returning is best read within the proper sequence of the Seer series. The story’s impact would likely be minimized as a stand-alone read. I would encourage you to take this journey. You will find it time well spent. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Murder Is No Accident by A. H. Barnhart - A Book Review


      I enjoyed my first visit to Hidden Springs as much as I enjoyed visiting Hollyhill and Rosey Corner, each a small town springing from A. H. Gabhart's creative mind, complete with a cast of memorable characters. While Murder Is No Accident is the third book in The Hidden Springs Mysteries series, it worked well as a stand-alone read, revealing just enough from the first two books to entice readers to read the previous books in the series. (I already have Murder at the Courthouse loaded on my Kindle.)
   Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane has roots that grow deep in Hidden Springs as His ancestors were founding fathers in Keane County. Alexandria Sheridan's family never remained anywhere long enough to put down roots, but childhood visits to her aunt and uncle's made Hidden Springs feel like home. While undeniably drawn to one another, Michael and Alex had never been able to figure out how to match Michael's small town roots and Alex's big city career. Something not being made any easier by the demands suddenly placed on Michael's time to solve one or maybe two murders while protecting a key witness and her family. Solving the current mystery might depend on his being able to put other ghosts to rest in the old Victorian mansion known as the Chandler house.
     While this may be Gabhart's first mystery series, her expertise as a storyteller stands her in good stead, and I believe her fans, as well as those new to her writing, will not be disappointed. I thank Revell Publishing and the Christian Blog Alliance for providing me with a copy of Murder Is No Accident in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no compensation for this review.

Friday, March 10, 2017

When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin - A Book Review

Product DetailsSarah Sundin

     The United States is fully engaged in World War II as Lieutenant Daniel Avery’s and Quintessa Beaumont’s story gets underway in the third installment of the Waves of Freedom series. Their story is driven by the strength of their character as well as their character flaws. A major theme in the book alerts readers to the danger of judging people by outward appearances and using those judgments to predict their motivations and desires. The lesson here goes far beyond the old adage of not judging a book by its cover, and touches tender places within the heart. We are reminded as well of the value of leaving vengeance to the Lord, choosing rather to take the high road, surrendering to God’s sovereignty. While all of this may make this book sound preachy; far from it, Sundin offers her readers action on land and at sea, mystery, spies, and romance. Fully entertaining, but not mindless entertainment.
     Daniel Avery is brother to Jim and Lillian from previous books in this series. Quintessa is best friend to Mary, the Nancy Drew of book one. Readers will enjoy encountering these and other friends and family members again. They will also appreciate Sarah Sundin’s continued portrayal of actual historic events within the context of the story. Her attention to accurate detail makes her books come alive. When Tides Turn places the reader alongside Daniel during battles at sea and celebrates the 1942 establishment and success of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) as Quintessa, now known as Tess, finds a sense of purpose in serving her country.

     I thank the publisher for making When Tides Turn available to me in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.