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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Lopsided Christmas Cake by Wanda and Jean Brunstetter - A Brief Comment

christmas_cake     
If you are looking for a short, simple, feel-good story, this book is for you. There is a theme of balancing putting others before oneself with meeting one's own needs.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Redeeming Love - A Book Review

Redeeming Love

     Once again I have chosen a book to read that has been lingering on my shelf for quite some time. It wasn’t until I read the author’s note, though, that I realized that this novel was Francine Rivers’ first as a Christian fiction writer. In her note, Francine shares intimate details of her journey from writing secular romantic fiction to finding Christ and allowing Him to transform her as a writer. She gives God full credit for everything in Redeeming Love. Francine says she has written the book for all those who find themselves in bondage by the so called freedom offered by the world. The message is one of God’s unconditional love.
     While based on the story of Hosea and Gomer, the story is set in California in the mid 1800s. The gold rush is in full swing, as are those who prey on the hopes and dreams of others. Angel, a beautiful young lady who was abused from a young age, expects little from life, and does her best to keep hope from rising in her soul, certain that it will fail her, leaving her to sink further into the depths that have her within their grasp. Michael Hosea is a farmer who treasures his relationship with God, and accepts God’s sovereignty in his life, even when the logic of God’s commands escapes him. Together Angel and Michael’s lives paint a picture of humanity’s struggle to accept God’s grace, to believe in its possibility and its truth. Their lives also clearly demonstrate that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
     Longer than many novels on booksellers’ shelves today, Redeeming Love is a book to be savored, even though one is apt to not want to set it aside to take up life’s chores. I would anticipate that most who choose to read it  will find God dealing with them in many ways, and that they will emerge from between its covers with a greater understanding of His love and His mercy, and hopefully an improved ability to extend mercy and love to others.

     Thank you, Francine, for opening yourself to God’s work in your life, and for using your gifts and talents in service of His people. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Spirit of Sweetgrass by Nicole Seitz - A Few Thoughts

     If I were not a Christian, I would love this sweet story about a family protecting its heritage and its future. However, as a Christian, I experienced a lot of mental dissonance with the scenes that played out in heaven. This came about because:

  •  Jesus and God received cursory attention.
  • While the Bible says that there will be not marriage in heaven, married couples lived as married couples in a replica of the same home and town they shared on earth. 
  • People in heaven fretted over their family on earth, and returned to earth to influence events there.
  • This fretting over their earthbound family caused the people in heaven to begin to age again, along with all of the accompanying aches and pains.
  • A young girl lived in a home all alone in heaven. She had no name, and others just called her "girl" or "honey." It was suggested that she might be a product of abortion after an affair. 
     I wouldn't put this book at the top of my Christmas list even though the author has wonderful writing skills, and the background information on the sweetgrass weavers is very interesting. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson – A Book Review

The Christmas Joy Ride    

     Fun, fun, fun!!! This short (168 pages) book is jammed pack with pure joy. This light hearted story will lift its readers’ spirits, and motivate them to seek out someone to bless this Christmas season. What could bring more joy than blessing others?
     Joy Jorgenson, an octogenarian, loves Christmas even though her childhood memories of the holiday are lackluster at best. She even has a blog to help others celebrate the holiday to the fullest. Now that she has reached the time in her life when she needs to move closer to her sons, Joy comes up with an ingenious and generous way to bless others with years of accumulated Christmas paraphernalia. The only problem is that it may be a bit daring for her to execute the plan on her own. Enter Miranda Fortner, a young neighbor who is facing foreclosure. Together these two women go on the adventure of a lifetime.
     I would recommend carving out some time, it won’t take much, to go with Joy and Miranda on their Christmas Joy Ride. You won’t be disappointed. Hmmm, I know we have some extra lights and ornaments up in the rec room closets; for whom might they be just the thing?

     I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing The Christmas Joy Ride for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Vendetta by Lisa Harris - A Book Review

     "...sometimes there truly is nothing you can do to change your circumstances. Sometimes all you can do is hold on for dear life and pray that God will help you find a way to escape, and sometimes he walks through the fire with you. But I am starting to realize that as much as I've battled God, nothing that happens here on this earth changes who God is." Important words from special agent Nikki Boyd, grounded in lessons that didn't come easily. Lessons that began with her younger sister's abduction, continued with the death of her closest friend, and were punctuated as she dealt with victims and their families throughout her career in law enforcement.
     Lisa Harris immediately engages her readers in this first installment of The Nikki Boyd Files. Nikki's current case leads her team into the wilderness of the great Smokey Mountains, a place where it is easy to disappear, and to make others disappear. Her team is assisted by local police officers, park rangers, and Tyler Grant, former member of an elite combat force fighting in the Middle East, in pursuit of sixteen year old Bridget Ellison and her abductors. Harris builds suspense, and then doubles and triples it. Emotions run high and bottom out during the course of the investigation, both the characters' and the readers'.
     While this book is the first in a series, the author ties up this mystery, making it a good stand alone read for those who don't want to wait for months to see what happens next. She does, however, leave enough loose ends to make readers happy when they see that book two has become available at their favorite bookseller. I thank Revell and the Christian Blog Alliance for this copy of Vendetta in exchange for my personal opinion. I have received no compensation for providing this review.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher – A Book Review

suzanne and dog         The Imposter

     The Imposter, the first book in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s The Bishop’s Family series is the real deal, no imposter here.  When I started reading the book, I was actually in the mood for a mystery, but within the first chapter I was pulled into the story of David Stoltzfus and his children. David, a widower and a pastor in the Amish community of Stony Ridge, is having his fair share of challenges raising six children on his own. In addition, he must cope with the growing tension between himself and the bishop of this Plain community. This book shows that our Amish brothers and sisters deal with many of the same temptations, family issues, and work concerns that we Englishers do. The author, through David, does a nice job of explaining why it is important to the Amish to keep their traditions in the midst of our modern society. It also explains why many of us wonder if we might better deal with stress if our lifestyle more closely resembled the Plain life.
     I would not classify The Imposter as a suspense book, but it kept me in suspense. I tell my students that questioning the text, the author, and oneself is part of being a good comprehender. This book constantly generated questions in my mind, some related to the text, some related to Amish traditions and faith, and some about my response to the manner in which characters related to one another. I appreciated knowing, from the back cover that Beth Wiseman, another author who has written Amish fiction, considers Suzanne Woods Fisher to be an authority on the Plain folk. To me that meant I didn’t need to ponder questions about authenticity.
     While beach season has drawn to an end, this book remains a great vacation read. If you can’t get away for a vacation, maybe you can just spend a weekend on the mossy hillside of Stony Ridge. I’d highly recommend it.
     I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing The Imposter for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.     

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick – A Book Review

Describe the photo or the page it links to

     Jane Kirkpatrick, an author known for bringing history to life, has skillfully told the story of another strong woman, unknown to many, who helped pioneer our country. Eliza Spalding Warren was the first surviving white child born west of the Rocky Mountains. Her earliest memories were formed among the Nimíipuu, who were called Nez Perce by the white settlers, her parents being sent to Lapwai, Idaho by the Presbytery Mission Board at the request of the Nimíipuu.
     Having formed only happy memories, things changed drastically for ten-year old Eliza. Spending time away from her family while being educated at another nearby mission, Eliza was taken hostage during an Indian massacre by those who were angry about the mission’s being built on sacred land and the mission doctor’s inability to save the natives from the pox. This became a defining moment in Eliza’s life, the memories of which encroached on her daily living for many years, well into her adulthood.
     Kirkpatrick’s telling of Eliza Spalding Warren’s story helps the reader to realize that our memories often become tangled as they are being woven, tangled by misconceptions, tales of others’ memories, extreme emotions, and knots caused by the passage of time. Our own memories are woven into our lives, but it is up to us to decide whether or not they will define us as we continue to weave in new memories.

     For fans of Kirkpatrick, The Memory Weaver won’t disappoint. For readers whom Kirkpatrick will be a new-to-you author, The Memory Weaver will have you reaching for another book by this author. May I recommend for you two of my favorites: A Light in the Wilderness and Mystic Sweet Communion (the book that led me to reach for another). 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble - A Book Review

Rosemary Cottage

     So happy that I pursued reading book two in the Hope Beach series even though book one was not among my favorite Coble books. She was back in full swing with this book, hitting it out of the park. (Or should I say off the beach?) Murder, drugs, kidnapping, secrets and lies, with a touch of romance; believable dialogue, relationships that ring true, and settings the reader could walk into, true Coble.
     Why was it so hard to be herself, to be transparent? When she went to church, she put on a smile and never let anyone see her heartache. She was always “fine.” It wasn’t just here either. All around her she heard people asking, “How are you?” and others answering, “Fine.” They all wore masks. Amy Lange had been raised to suppress bad feelings, to put on a smile and look on the sunny side. That describes the outlook in many in our churches today, some taught by parents, others through life’s circumstances. Our masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most have lips curved up at the edges; masks, like Amy’s, hiding feelings, and secrets.
     Coast Guard officer, Curtis Ireland, has secrets of his own. Secrets, when revealed, that might cost him the guardianship of his orphaned niece. Then there are also the secrets of those no longer among the living, secrets carried to the grave by Amy’s brother and Curtis’ sister, life changing and life ending secrets. Amy and Curtis must join forces to solve the mystery of their siblings’ deaths, and to learn how to open their hearts.

     I highly recommend this book to both lovers of mystery and romance. While it would make a great summer beach read, it would also be a great curl up by the fire read. Whenever and wherever you decide to read Rosemary Cottage, it’s a guaranteed good time. While characters from book one in the series reappear in book two, it will work well as a stand- alone read. So, here’s to happy reading!   

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble - A Brief Book Review

     

     This was an interesting read. The theme of greed versus generosity isn't one I have come across often. Underlying themes of forgiveness and trust in God were also addressed. Sometimes forgiving is an act of generosity, and withholding it an act of greed.
     I have read many of Coble's mysteries, and am a big fan. I especially enjoyed the Rock Harbor series. This book, while enjoyable, is my least favorite of her books. It seemed less plausible, less realistic. I am beginning book two in this series today though; so I wouldn't say it was a wash.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker - An Invitation to Journey

    Rachelle        

     A friend asked me recently if I ever savored a book by leaving it on a table just to look at before reading it. Immediately a mental image of The Choosing on my nightstand popped into my mind. I had rushed right out to by it the first week it was available, not waiting for a reduced e-book sales campaign.  Then it sat, calling to me, until I had time to truly immerse myself in its pages. I was not disappointed, not in the least, in spite of how I had built up the possibilities of this book in my mind. Throughout reading The Choosing I was anxious to review it, to pass the word on to my fellow readers about the depth of this story and the talent of this author. However, when it came time to sit and share my thoughts, I procrastinated.  Why? I just didn’t feel like there was any way my words could do this tale justice. So I am just going to simply share a brief description to help the readers decide if this book is for them, and welcome those who choose to join the journey.

     Rachelle Dekker’s debut novel falls within the dystopian genre. Washington D.C. is occupied by a group of people who were fortunate enough to survive immunizations which proved to be deadly for many. The Authority is in control of individual destinies, determining one’s place in society. Young women have once chance at being selected for marriage, not to be chosen would yield a cruel fate of their own making. Carrington Hale’s mother had prepared her for her Choosing Ceremony her whole life. She was confident in the outcome. How could things go so horribly wrong? Young men are placed in occupations for which The Authority finds them best suited. Remko had always been satisfied with his solitary life as a City Watch guard; that is, until he met Carrington. Then there is Aaron, a speaker of truth or a leader of rebellion, or both? The ideas he promotes are unsettling. Is there something more, Someone more, who determines individual worth, Someone greater than The Authority? What sacrifices are necessary to find the answer to those questions? What sacrifices are our protagonists, their friends, their family willing to make?


     I invite you to join me on the journey, the journey of seers. 

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin - A Book Review

     Through Waters Deep

     A look at the book list on Sarah Sundin’s website indicates that Through Waters Deep is her eighth published book. In her acknowledgments section in the book she mentions that she is new to mystery writing. Well, I never would have guessed that while reading this book, and am glad that she has another mystery in this Waves of Freedom series in the works. While Ms Sundin is described as a World War II author, this was also her first book about the Navy. She was quite brave to take on a new genre and a new area of research simultaneously, and she pulled it off marvelously.

     Through Waters Deep is set in 1941, as America struggles in its decision as to whether to enter another war or to refrain unless directly attacked. Emotions run high on both sides of the argument. There are some who might take matters into their own hands, arranging circumstances to sway public opinion.  Mary Sterling, a secretary in the Boston Navy Yard, an unlikely detective, is pulled into the intrigue of identifying a saboteur who might be trying to do just that. Ensign Jim Avery, a high school friend of Mary’s, supports her investigation even though he is anxious about her safety, and wonders about the possibility of a budding romance; that is until the vibrant Quintessa , Mary’s best friend and Jim’s high school crush, arrives on the scene. Sabotage, mystery, and romance, all ingredients for a great read, are included in just the right combination.  

      I loved that the mystery is introduced on the first page of the story. Sundin’s pool of suspects is like the ripples from tossing a stone into a pond, every growing circles, with a bulls-eye forming in the center. The circumstances surrounding the mystery and the events that unfold are plausible, and there is no magically pulling out new facts or characters at the end in order to solve the mystery. Red herrings are seamlessly woven into the story. Sundin followswhat P.D. James refers to as the fair play rule. The information that is available to the detective is also available to the reader, but clues are provided with “deceptive cunning.”  

     The research that went into writing Through Waters Deep is well evident. Sundin’s care to use era appropriate vocabulary, especially in naming places in Boston, demonstrates her detailed research, as does her knowledge  and use of naval terminology. The feel she got from exploring ships, climbing inside naval gun mounts, and touring Boston, including historical Charlestown, comes through, heightening the reader’s senses as they are immersed in the story’s setting.

     Sundin’s protagonist, Mary Sterling, deals with the issue of pride; the reader will cheer her on as she learns to differentiate between using one’s God given gifts and talents to draw attention to self and using them to glorify the Giver. Ensign Jim Avery floats through life, fearful of making waves that might bring about undesired consequences. The reader will share his heartache and struggle alongside him as he learns to find balance in his life. Sundin develops the readers’ attachment to even her secondary characters by focusing on the underlying motivations for their actions, motivations that readers can identify with.  This novel, and others like it, make it clear why recent research has found evidence that literary fiction increases the readers ability to empathize.


     I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Through Waters Deep for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.      

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Lady Bornekova by Sara R. Turnquist – A Book Review

        

     I met Sara Turnquist at a recent writers’ conference, and was happy that she offered me the opportunity to read and review her debut novel. Life had a way of getting in the way of completing The Lady Bornekova as quickly as I would have liked, and appreciate Sara’s patience with me. I did enjoy this novel, as I have an interest in historical novels set in the Czech Republic. While I have not searched for books of this type, I have had the fortune to stumble upon them, and was indeed fortunate to receive a copy of this novel.
     The theme of this book, standing up for one’s beliefs even when doing so places one in extreme danger, continues to speak to Christians in this day and age of both political correctness and religious persecution throughout the world. The heroine, Karin Bornekova, and her friend, Pavel,  adhered to the ideas put forth by Jan Hus, an early Christian reformer and predecessor of the Protestant movement, something that threatened the nobility as well as the church. They had to make a choice, how far would they be willing to go, what risks would they be willing to take, in order to remain faithful to their faith, to their beliefs. We must also make that decision before trouble arrives.
     This author’s strengths, as displayed in her debut novel, include her ability to pace her story to maintain reader interest, her skill at creating mental images without lengthy descriptions that cause the story to drag, her placement of information that helps the reader to infer and desire to confirm these inferences without giving away too much too soon, and sentence structures and vocabulary that, for the most part, respect the reader’s intelligence.  As a debut author, we anticipate that there will be areas in which the author can hone her craft. In this case, that would be to avoid the trap of inserting current day, Western civilization vocabulary and phrasing (e.g. tough love, active cases, making real time notes) and social norms into other periods of time or cultures. Since Sara posed questions in the reader’s mind at the end of the story, she will likely have the opportunity in future books to demonstrate a closer adherence to the culture revealed in her research. This author’s talent makes her one to watch for in the future.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino – A Book Review

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino, available July 2015           Image of Rebecca DeMarino

In this second book in The Southold Chronicles we once again enter the lives of the Horton family and their many friends, this time during the year of 1653.  Benjamin Horton, the second oldest son, is in love with his childhood friend, Heather Flower. Heather Flower, princess of the Montaukett tribe, struggles with her emotions following the rescue from her kidnappers who killed her groom on their wedding day.  Benjamin understands her need for time to heal, but worries about the intentions of her rescuer, Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren who also has eyes for the lovely princess.
     Through the telling of Benjamin’s story, DeMarino reveals the bond between the members of the Horton family and their dearest friends. She opens a window for her readers to see how the English and their native neighbors learned from, supported and depended upon one another. I found the descriptions of how daily chores and winter preparations were accomplished fascinating, and how bits of free time were spent inspirational. I am anxious to try Mrs. Horton’s recipe for pippin [apple] pie. 
     The story moves at a slow, relaxed pace, and will appeal to readers who like characters to be fully developed.  It will be less appealing to those who prefer being kept in suspense, steep climaxes and lots of action. The author was inspired by her own family’s history in the settling of what would become Long Island, and fans of historical fiction will appreciate the research behind her writing.
     While I don’t always read an author’s acknowledgements section, this time I did.  When reading the author’s comments about her father, Howard M. Worley, who authored his first book at the age of eighty-nine, I was reminded of an article I had recently read in Guideposts magazine.  Sure enough I flipped through and found Rebecca DeMarino’s article about her father’s writing and how it was impacted by a heart attack in the May, 2015 issue! The article demonstrates that Rebecca’s own family has a strong support system, maybe being what inspired the same among her fictional Horton family.

     I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing To Capture Her Heart for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.      

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley - A Book Review

           Patricia Bradley
     Forgiving someone and accepting someone for who they are, even when that someone is you, those are the themes behind the story of Livy Reynolds and her cousin Robyn Martin. It had been almost three years since Robyn Martin had disappeared, leaving behind a husband and young daughter. Livy Reynolds, her cousin and a detective on the Memphis police force, had not been able to solve the mystery of Robyn’s disappearance. Livy now had her own problems as she struggled with having killed a robber armed with a very realistic toy gun. Could delving back into Robyn’s case along with private detective Alex Jennings, who was working on another case involving a missing woman, help heal her aching soul? 

     Patricia Bradley has filled Gone Without a Trace, book three in the Logan Point series, with a number of likely suspects. Mystery lovers will thoroughly enjoy sorting through carefully presented and timed clues, and attempting to narrow the list of suspects. Those who enjoy romance will not be disappointed either as new love blooms and dying embers of love are rekindled. While not romantic love, readers will also be moved by the difficulties as well as the ease with which family members express love for one another, and the horrors resulting from love withheld. 

     I enjoyed meeting Logan Point’s new characters and spending time with characters from the previous two books in the series. I must admit though, I did feel rather sorry for Charlie Martin, Robyn’s father,  who seemed to be a bit neglected and unappreciated, and am hoping he has the opportunity to come forth as a strong character in any future books in this series. I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Gone Without a Trace for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.           

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart - A Book Review

    
     Page 140, that is where this book came alive for me. Prior to that point, it was a pleasant read, but not compelling in any way. From that point, and through the remaining 242 pages, I could not put the book down. I am so glad that I had agreed to review the novel, otherwise I may not have continued reading, and I truly would have missed out. 
     While I have read a number of Amish fiction novels, this is the first Shaker novel I have read. I will be looking for other Shaker novels by Gabhart. I know that there are at least five more from which to choose. While I have visited the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Danville, Kentucky several times, I learned a great deal more about the Shakers while reading The Innocent. I did do an internet search on some of the information included in the text, and found it to be accurate every time.
     Carlyn Kearney, Gabhart’s main character, grew up under her pastor father’s legalistic thumb, cushioned only slightly by her mother’s teaching of God’s grace and love. After marrying Ambrose, Carlyn blossomed as she came to understand the joy of the Lord. That joy was difficult to sustain, however, due to Ambrose’s uncertain fate two years after the end of the Civil War. Being unable to support herself, let alone pay her debts, Carlyn seeks shelter and peace within the boundaries of the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. While thankful for food and shelter, Carlyn does not readily fit into the Shaker way of life.  Sheriff Mitchell Brodie cannot deny his attraction to Carlyn, but respects her faithfulness to her husband even though the townsfolk assume that she is indeed a widow. He longs to insure her safety as every instinct within him is on alert to something being very wrong in the Shaker village. It is at that page 140 mark that Carlyn herself becomes aware of dangerous undercurrents among the sisters and brethren. 
     One thing I really appreciate about Christian fiction is the lessons that one can take away. I hope that in the darkest and most difficult times, the times when hope seems lost or when my body is exhausted, I will remember the echo of Carlyn’s mother’s admonishment to, “Pray anyway.” When looking for the answers I desire, the good I want to come, I hope I recall her saying, “Assuredly. God is love. But he sees the whole woven fabric of our lives and not simply the few threads we are trying to twine together at the moment.  Good and bad weave into the pattern of our lives.  Together they make us strong and able to endure whatever must be endured.” God equips us in many ways, some easier than others.  

     I recommend this book to those who have the time and patience to allow the author to develop her characters before increasing the tension that drives the reader forward. It is my belief that readers will find it worth the wait; I certainly did.  I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing The Innocent for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.                  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Desperate Measures by Sandra Orchard – A Book Review

  Desperate Measures        Sandra Orchard

    Desperate Measures is the third book in the Port Aster Secrets series.  I read the books out of order, book two, then book one, and finally book three.  I was able to follow the storyline, and felt in reading book two first that it worked well as a stand-alone read.  I do believe, however, reading books one and two first is important to truly comprehending book three. I have greatly enjoyed the series, and will look for other books by Sandra Orchard. 
     While in several series I’ve read lately each book focuses on a particular character from a family or group of friends, the Port Aster Secrets series follows the adventures of a plant researcher and amateur sleuth, Kate Adams, and her love interest, Detective Tom Parker.  Kate solves a variety of mysteries, many linked to a pharmaceutical company that has its eyes set on her research laboratory, and the mysterious plants she harbors.  Kate’s dogged determination to clear the names of loved ones, to restore relationships, and to ferret out the truth often frustrates Tom, who only wants to insure her safety. The author includes an abundance of red herrings, and does not make it easy on her readers to solve the variety of mysteries that pop up in this book and in this series. 
     My favorite quote in this whole series comes near the end of book three, “Isn’t it funny how often what we think we want is really only how we’d imagined getting it?...Makes me glad that sometimes God says no so he can give us what we truly desire.”  That second sentence is fairly easy to comprehend, but the first takes some rereading to truly capture the wisdom there. 

     I would highly recommend this book, but once again would encourage readers to read the first two books of the series before reading this one. I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Desperate Measures for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.       

Monday, June 1, 2015

Love's Rescue by Christine Johnson - A Book Review

     

     I selected Love’s Rescue to review mainly due to its setting, Key West, Florida.  Having spent a lot of time in south Florida, and being interested in the history of the area, I found this book very appealing.  Well, I got way more than I bargained for.  This book really drew out my metacognitive side, making me think about the way I was thinking as I read.  (Okay, maybe I’ve been reading too much about comprehension strategy instruction, but it did make me appreciate this book even more!)  This book has characters you will cheer for as well as those you will love to hate.  At one point I wondered to myself how I was enjoying the book so much even though I was gritting my teeth with frustration at the turn of events, and while I hate to admit it, I did take a peek at the last few pages just to make sure all was going to end well.  The author gives just the right amount of information for the reader to make inferences without feeling like they came too easy, and without throwing in some new information or character from left field, allowing the reader that pleasant sense of accomplishment as the pieces of the story begin to fit together. The sights and sounds of the 1800s Key West come alive with the author’s wonderful word-smithing, backed by sound research. 
     Elizabeth Benjamin returns to Key West after a four year absence.  Having fended off all potential suitors, she anxiously waits to see what type of reception she will get from Rourke O’Malley, captain of a wrecker ship.  She just didn’t anticipate her ship’s colliding into a reef being the event that would bring her face to face with Captain O’Malley.  Elizabeth also has to wonder about how her father will react to her returning unwed and unbetrothed.  As Elizabeth struggles to meet her obligations while remaining true to herself, she uncovers family secrets that will impact the lives of everyone within her home, and many outside of the family as well.  She is faced with hard decisions and the possibility of great sacrifice. While multi-themed, the central theme that winds itself throughout the story, and brings it to a climax, is forgiveness.  The author deals with the struggle we all face at one time or another, the desire to forgive in the face of a stronger desire to withhold it.
     Fans of historical romantic fiction will enjoy this book, even those who may not have selected a book within this genre that focuses on Christian themes.  I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Love’s Rescue for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
     I do have to share a picture from a 2014 trip to Tarpon Springs that this book reminded me of, even though it doesn’t fit the time frame in which this book is set.  You’ll have to read the book to discover my connection.
 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard

      Sandra Orchard

     I previously reviewed book two in Sandra Orchard's Port Aster Secrets series.  So, I was excited when I was offered the opportunity to review book three. The next day I learned that book one, Deadly Devotion, was being offered for free on the Kindle. It was great fun to go back to the beginning of Kate and Tom's story.  Even though I'd read book two, and knew some things were going to end well, the suspense was still great enough to keep me engaged with the storyline. While I thoroughly enjoyed Deadly Devotion, I must admit book two, Blind Trust, seemed more realistic. I can't wait to open up Desperate Measures. I feel pretty sure I have a good mystery waiting for me behind the front cover. I will be reviewing another book before being able to get my teeth into that one, but that will provide motivation to make time for reading. More to come...

Monday, May 11, 2015

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason - A Book Review

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     No Place to Hide is the third book in Lynette Eason’s Hidden Identity series. Eason is surely maintaining her momentum in this series. While I don’t like clichés I have to say she has hit another out of the park with this one.  The books in this series revolve around a semi-government agency, Operation Refuge, which works to help and protect those who can’t help and protect themselves. In this book it is one of their own, Jackie Sellers, who is need of help, but unlike their usual clients, Jackie has some skills developed at the police academy to bring to the table.
     Jackie’s childhood friend, Ian Lockwood, has found himself on the run from law enforcement and unknown assassins.  His only hope is to avoid capture long enough to prove his innocence and to discover who is really behind whatever is going on. That’s not going to be easy with his face splashed all over the news, and his name being linked to terrorism. What a surprise when Jackie breaks into his home after years having passed since last seeing her. Thus begins a tumultuous ride for both the characters and the reader. There is nothing predictable about the storyline in this book.  I repeatedly found myself saying, “Well, I didn’t see that coming!”
     I highly recommend this book and this author. I’ve read enough of her books to feel comfortable even recommending those I haven’t had the opportunity to pick up yet. There are only a handful of authors that I have that much confidence in.  I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing No Place to Hide for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Rose for Jonathan by Beth Green – A Book Review

  Since I was a little girl I have been enamored by stories.  My best memories involve books: being read to by my mom who also loved stories, waiting beside the roadside for the book mobile to stop, reading Alice in Wonderland while buried under the covers when my mom didn’t know how to work the thermostat our first day in our first home with central air conditioning, and making it through those dreaded camping trips with the help of a stack of books. As an adult I discovered Christian fiction, stories that enlighten as well as entertain.  I have always believed that God has a way of putting the right book in my hand at the right time.  At times it is a book that has been on my shelf for years, and at others it is a book recently acquired.  Some books are like the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin (Luke Chapter 15), with a fairly easy theme to recognize.  Others cause me to ponder at a deeper level and seek God’s wisdom, like the disciples in Luke Chapter 8, asking the meaning of the story.  Others spark a longing to dig deeper into God’s Word looking for truth.  A Rose for Jonathan is just such a book. 
     I belong to a closed Facebook group where Christian authors link up with reviewers.  I saw a post from Beth Green; while her book looked interesting, it was the fact that she was located in Baker, Florida that caught my attention.  I messaged her and asked to be considered for receiving a copy of the book to review, and asked whether or not she knew relatives that had lived in Baker.  As it turned out she and her husband were vacationing there, but I believe God used this to place Beth’s book in my hand. 
     As I am reading a book for review, I’m always thinking about wording my review.  As I got into A Rose for Jonathan, I was considering connecting with fans of Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker and maybe Randy Alcorn as the story is occurring in the earthly and spiritual planes.  I was thinking about incorporating the underlying theme of the importance of organ donation.  Then I was increasingly convicted that I was reading this book not as a way to promote Christian fiction, but because I needed a wakeup call in my prayer life.  When I first retired I felt God’s call to spend significant amounts of time in prayer, and to pray utilizing Scripture.  He gave me tools to assist me in this, one of the greatest being the book Prayers That Avail Much from Word Ministries, Inc. Over time I allowed a new kind of business to enter my life, and my prayer life changed.  I continued to pray quite often, but my prayers lacked the intensity that they’d had early in my retirement, and they included less Scripture.  To be honest they were less effectual, but as all things that happen gradually, it went unnoticed.  That is until God, through Beth Green, gave me A Rose for Jonathan.  
     Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that we struggle against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  He instructs us in verses 13 through 17 to put on the full armor of God.  Beth Green points out that some of the armor is defensive in nature: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation.  Our offensive weapons are the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and prayer.  Paul reminds us in verse 18 to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, and that with this in mind to be alert and to always keep on praying for all the saints. 
     I most highly recommend A Rose for Jonathan. The story of Pastor John, his wife Lindsey, his daughter Rosie, and all those whose lives they touch will grip your heart. Indeed fans of Peretti, Dekker and Alcorn will be blessed to meet a storyteller who is their equal. Who knows, there may be a reason that God is bringing this book to your attention at this time, or it may simply be your time to enjoy a great read.  Either way, I couldn’t recommend a better book. 
     Thank you to Beth Green for providing this book for my honest review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
AR4JebookFinal      Read a Book...Support a Cause

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Heart of the Amish: Life Lessons on Peacemaking and the Power of Forgiveness by Suzanne Woods Fisher – A Book Review


     It’s not often that I review a non-fiction book, but this one caught my eye after experiencing a wonderful vacation in the Amish area of northern Ohio.  Suzanne Woods Fisher has authored both fiction and non-fiction books about the Amish.  I have read several books on the topic of forgiveness, but this book approaches the topic from a totally different point of view.  Forgiveness is portrayed as being simple, but not easy.  Simple in that from the Amish point of view it is basic, not optional, central to their faith, yet not easy because, like with all of us, emotions do have to be dealt with.
     While the book was not written as a devotional text, the structure does lend itself to being used in that manner.  The twenty-nine sections are short, making a focused point.  They could easily be read day by day with time to ponder the point being made.  I must admit though that I found myself getting so involved that I would read several sections each day, underlining, adding asterisks, and making notes in the margins.  Each section begins with an Amish proverb and ends with a tidbit, or as the author labeled it a “plain truth”, about Amish life.  Sandwiched between are real life examples of Amish forgiveness, forgiveness of significant wrongs, among these: murder, sexual abuse, and theft of life savings. 
     Forgiveness is deeply woven into the Amish culture.  As Christians we all know that God calls us to forgive so that we, too, may be forgiven (Matthew 6:12). There are lessons to be learned from the Amish, and their teaching and modeling of forgiveness for their children, living it out before them.  Fisher gives us a window into this, a glimpse into how we to might live out forgiveness before our own children, how we might practice forgiveness in light of the significance Christ gave it as he taught His disciples to pray. 
     Whether you are aware of an unmet need to forgive, or feel like you are doing well in this area, I would highly recommend The Heart of the Amish.  It is informative, persuasive, and engaging.  It speaks to the heart.  I thank Revell Publishers for providing The Heart of the Amish for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
heart of amish       

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt – A Book Review

Silent Tears     Kay_Bratt_122012_2_zpsfe9004d8-1_zpseca57b02 photo Kay_Bratt_122012_2_zpsfe9004d8-1_zpseca57b02-1_zps1c42dfe1.jpg

      Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt – A Book Review
     God led me to this piece of non-fiction years ago, long before I retired from teaching, long before I started blogging and posting book reviews.  God began then preparing my heart for the little girl who will be joining our family within the next eighteen months to two years.  Kay Bratt dedicated her book to China’s Orphans; stating, “You are not forgotten.”  Indeed they are not. Biological parents in China, for a variety of reasons, have made the heart wrenching decision to leave their children, and in the words of our soon-to-be granddaughter’s new parents, “There’s a lot we don’t know about our daughter, but we do know this: She has been left to be found, and our love will find her wherever she is.”  There are many parents out there whose love has led them to find their son or daughter wherever they were, and many who are being led by God to that wonderful discovery.
     In 2002 the author’s husband was transferred to China.  She immediately set three goals for herself: to learn to speak Mandarin, to volunteer in an orphanage, and to chronicle her time overseas by keeping a journal.  Once in Shengxi, and personally experiencing the day to day life of the orphans there, Kay began a volunteer group supported by friends and family stateside. This book is a collection of her journal entries during her four years in China.
     When Kay first arrived in Shengxi, volunteers were not readily welcomed in the orphanage.  A lady named Ann was the only volunteer at the time, and she laid the groundwork for Kay’s volunteering.  Without her, Kay may never have been able to reach her second goal.  The condition of the children, the living environment, and the lack of human contact was deeply depressing.  Kay’s description of the treatment of the children is vivid, and incomprehensible to most of us living in America.  While reading this book causes the reader great sadness, it is not meant for us to close our eyes and hearts to human suffering.  The reader can hold onto the portion of the title of the text: A Journey of Hope. Kay and her corp of volunteers did indeed slowly, and over time, bring hope to the Shengxi orphanage. The volunteers realized that change needed to occur little by little, move to fast and they would be told not to return.  
     Kay introduces us, her readers, to several specific children.  It is impossible not to get emotionally involved with their stories, driven to read on and discover their fates. Squirt a baby boy who stubbornly hung on to life for as long as he could.  Xiao Feng, a small girl with a beautiful smile and a missing hand. Two year old Jin Ji, a favorite of the ayis. Yue Hua longing for the comfort of human touch and understanding. Hei Mei with a minor heart condition, dimples and a sunny disposition. Xiao Gou twice abandoned.    
     A model of God’s love, compassion and mercy, Kay expresses an understanding of the ayis, the workers responsible for the children’s care.  By looking for ways to show them appreciation and to make their jobs easier rather than criticizing and arguing with them, Kay won their confidence and respect, building relationships one visit at a time.  This resulted in greater opportunities to impact the children’s lives and eventually changes in how the ayis treated the children. 
     Kay ends her book with letters that she has received by some of those who have been touched by her story, some who have gone on to adopt.  These letters are testaments to the power of the testimony contained in these pages, be they paper or electronic.  Whether you plan to adopt, love children, or just love a touching story, you will find inspiration and hope while reading Silent Tears. 
     If you want to learn more about what happens to children who age out of “the system” in China, you may want to visit http://www.brownwingfamily.com/2013/05/what-happens-to-orphans-if-they-are-not.html.
     If you want to know more about Kay Bratt’s continuing advocacy for children, you can visit www.kaybratt.com. If you want to know more about our son and daughter-in-law’s journey into adopting through China, you can keep up with their story at https://becomingafamilyof5.wordpress.com/ or http://www.gofundme.com/babycastenir.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Creole Princess by Beth White - A Book Review

     In April of 2014 I reviewed book one in the Gulf Coast Chronicles series.  I am delighted to have the opportunity to review book two, The Creole Princess, in April of 2015. While characters from book one, Pelican Bride, are briefly referred to, this book tells the story of their descendents and is set in Mobile and New Orleans during the Revolutionary War. I had been previously unaware of two British colonies that remained loyal to the Crown – East Florida and West Florida.  White focuses on Spain’s contribution to the success of the American War of Independence as she tells this story. Many of us may be less familiar with Spain’s alliance with the Americans that with France’s, creating additional interest in this historical romance.  White’s research and attention to detail are clearly evident as she intertwines real and fictional characters in authentic and fictionalized events. 
     The Creole Princess tells the story of Lyse Lanier, daughter of a poor, drunken fisherman and granddaughter of a wealthy businessman whose family had settled in the Gulf Coast decades before.  Lyse is being semi-officially courted by a young, red-headed soldier named Niall McLeod, and unofficially by a Spanish merchant, Don Rafael Maria Gonzales de Rippardá.  Don Rafael has a way of appearing and disappearing, leading Lyse to be uncertain about their future, and wondering if there is not more to him than meets the eye. Beyond providing her readers with an intriguing romance, White expands the freedom theme inherent in a story set during the Revolutionary War to include the issue of slavery.  She does this by giving her heroine ancestors with French, Indian, and African roots.  Lyse, born to a freed slave, gives much thought to the difference between her life and her cousin’s, the daughter of Lyse’s mother’s twin who had not been freed. As Don Rafael quizzes Lyse about her family, she laughing tells him he would need to see a family tree to follow the relationships.  I agree with her and hope that Beth White will supply us with a Lanier family tree on her blog site.

     Fans of Jane Kirkpatrick books will likely also enjoy White’s brand of historical fiction.  Both authors tell engaging stories, mixing fact and fiction with historical accuracy.  Both have well developed characters and use beautiful language to create vivid mental images to hold their readers spellbound.  I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing The Creole Princess for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.   
Pelican Bride by Beth White             

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon - A Book Review

Buried SecretsIrenepic    

     














     From the moment one picks up this book, all of his or her senses are engaged in the author’s tale.  I say that because the publisher has gone the extra mile to add texture to the cover allowing the reader to feel the dirt, and the sole of the shoe on the shovel as secrets are buried.  We know though, that secrets seldom stay buried, and in this case twenty-four years later they come back to haunt those that would prefer they had. 
     Police Chief Lisa Grant and Detective Mac McGregor, a former Navy SEAL, may not have been the ones to unearth the human skeleton, but they are the ones who will seek to discover the secrets buried with it. Along the way they also may discover the type of relationship they have both longed for in their lives.  Neither discovery will occur without a price exacted by someone desperate to keep the two plus decades secrets buried, the motivation to for doing so stretching even further into the past.  Lisa and Mac’s future hinges on solving this mystery.
     Buried Secrets is the first book in Irene Hannon’s Men of Valor series.  While the book serves well as a stand-alone read, the epilogue definitely sets the stage for the story to continue, much to the reader’s satisfaction.  The author has included the first chapter of book two in the series; reading it indicates that Lisa and Mac’s story may continue as a subplot to that of Mac’s brother Lance’s story.  Lance, like his older brother, has left military service to go into law enforcement, leaving Finn as the only McGregor brother in harm’s way in the Middle East.
     Hannon’s protagonists are real and contemporary in their outlook on life and emotional reactions to the situations they find themselves in and to one another.  However, they remain true to their Christian convictions, and do so without falling prey to stereotypes.  Hannon also balances a strong female character in a career that includes a fair amount of danger with a male character who feels both protective of her and respectful of her abilities.  Hannon’s antagonist is equally well developed, demonstrating the difference between having a strong character and strength of character
     I recommend Buried Secrets not only to fans of contemporary Christian fiction, but to all fans of romanticmysteries.  I will be anxiously awaiting book two in this series, and will be looking for other books previously written by this author.  I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Buried Secrets  for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.     









Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Midnight Sea by Colleen Coble - A Book Review

Midnight Sea   Colleen Coble Headshot 

This book has been on my bookshelf for awhile.  I am so glad that I recently picked it up to read.  It was an enjoyable romantic mystery.  Following Colleen Coble on Facebook, I was not surprised to discover that the book was set on a coffee plantation.  While I may not share her fondness of butter in my coffee, I do love a good cup of kona. This book always motivated me to have a cup in hand as I read; although I must admit it doesn't take much to motivate me to reach for a cup of coffee.
     The story revolves around Lani Tagama, recently blinded, who is struggling to become independent while being at the mercy of those who would do her harm.  She is aided by Ben, a former policeman and current guide dog trainer.  Perhaps her greatest sense of confidence comes from Fisher, the guide dog Ben is training, with whom there is an immediate bond.  Lani's and Ben's stories are intertwined with those of Lani's aunt and her friends who had once lived in a commune setting, hippies living in tree houses in a place called Taylor Camp. In order to solve the mystery of who is trying to harm Lani may mean solving a mystery that began at Taylor Camp.
     Lani has other struggles as well.  Having recently accepted Christ, she struggles to put her old desires behind her.  Through the support of Christian friends and family, she is doing well.  She struggles with forgiving herself for past mistakes, something many of us can relate to.  She struggles with understanding how God can allow not just bad, but horrible things happen to those who have given their lives to Him.  A common question for centuries. The reader will find this book relevant, absent of pat answers to difficult questions, and filled with hope.        

Monday, March 2, 2015

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher - A Book Review

   
     Fans of Amish fiction and historical fiction alike will enjoy the time spent between the covers of Anna’s Crossing. I received my copy late due to a recent winter storm’s impact on mail delivery. Therefore I had to read through it in three day’s time in order to review it during the author’s blog tour dates. However it is a book that I would have preferred to linger over. The language, or maybe I should say languages, of the story is worthy of being dwelt over as are the lessons in Christian living.
     In 1737 Anna König, a young Amish woman, crosses the Atlantic with members of her community on their way to the New World. Aboard the Charming Nancy, Anna weathers the voyage displaying grace and forgiveness as only one with the mind of Christ can. Along the way her faith becomes a balm to the ship’s carpenter, Bairn, who suffers from a past he longs to forget. Anna and Bairn are drawn together by affection for young, Felix, a lovable although mischievous Amish lad, but also by the One who loves them and has plans not to harm them, but to give them a future filled with hope.
      Bairn is challenged, as is the reader, by the Amish minister’s words, “Each one of us will face a watershed moment that will define all others in a life. The moment that puts our humanity to a test. When that moment arrives, we each need to ask ourselves, which path will it be? Will we follow God’s ways or will we choose man’s ways?” When the time comes, Bairn responds to his watershed moment in a manner that takes the reader by surprise, and what seems to be the end, might actually be a new beginning. Anna tells Bairn that we can see the beginnings of the love of God, but not its end as it goes on forever. Yet often times we, as humans, focus on perceived endings and miss offered beginnings. In this story Fisher helps us see God’s participation in our lives that offers us forgiveness, provision, and second chances. When we have difficulty seeing God in our daily lives, we would do well to remember Anna’s explanation that, “Broken expectations aren’t meant to crush our hopes, but to free us to put our confidence in God alone. They aren’t meant to make us give up, but look up.”
      I do recommend this book to fans of Amish fiction and fans of historical fiction. It is a part the Amish Beginnings series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I look forward to reading more books in this series.
      I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Anna’s Crossing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

After the Silence - Rula Sinara Blog Tour

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're blitzing the GRAND FINALE for
After the Silence
By Rula Sinara

Two people from different worlds and separated by an ocean. Can love span the distance? Did you find out more during the tour? Did you miss some posts? Go back and check them out now!
What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book?
That there are no boundaries to love: not mountains, oceans, physical or emotional challenges, race, different cultures and not even species (sometimes a pet can open a heart when another person can’t). Love is a universal power that has an extraordinary ability to heal. And it always finds a way.

The Written Adventure - Ten Tips on Strategic Parenting from a Marine
A marine accustomed to battlefields—not babies—is thrown into single parenthood after the tragic loss of his wife. This man has braved worse things than a civilian could imagine, but raising a ten year old who hasn’t spoken since her mother’s death, a hyperactive four year old and an infant who can some major diaper damage…is a whole new kind of battle.

I Am A Reader - Soul Mates Stranded Oceans Apart
In my latest book, After the Silence, Ben Corallis, a widowed marine in America and Hope Alwanga, a medical intern in Kenya manage to meet despite the ocean between them, but that’s just the beginning of the impossible road ahead of them.

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Suffering in Silence: Selective Mutism in Children
It’s a whole different world when the inability to communicate doesn’t stem from language differences, but from deeply rooted fear or anxiety. In particular, trying to help or raise a child who suffers from selective mutism is heartbreaking and often frustrating because you don’t want to watch them suffer.

JoJo's Corner - Review
"The author does a fabulous job immersing readers into the story and creating powerful scenes throughout. . . . If you love stories of love and loss and second chances…don’t miss After The Silence."

Mythical Books - Heroes and Heroines: How Visual Are You?
When I embark on a new story, one of the first things that pops into my head is an image of the hero and heroine. After all, it would be kind of creepy stepping into their world and encountering faceless people. Don’t you think?

Christy's Cozy Corners - Review 
"The characters in After the Silence are very well-written, and you'll feel like they could be your neighbor or best friend. This story drew me in very quickly, and I finished it within 2 days. It is very realistic and moving."

Brooke Blogs - Excerpt
     But I need you to get some rest before I end up having to resuscitate you. Or before you do make a human mistake.”
    Hope pressed her lips together and cringed at the mental image of Zamir resuscitating her. He’d love that, wouldn’t he? Zamir to the rescue. Always looking out for her. That was exactly why her parents loved him so much.

i blog 4 books - Review
"[After for Silence] is a sweet romance that tackles some tough issues as well. The intro gives readers a glimpse into the "what could have been", making the reality throughout the rest of the book even more heartbreaking. . . . I thought this was a great book. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series, so we can keep track of Ben, Hope, and the kiddos! [4 stars]"

WV Stitcher - Review
"Easy to connect with characters that provide depth and feeling for what they are going thru really captured my emotions as I read this story. . . . A touching story that left me wanting to read more from this author." 

Wishful Endings - Review
After the Silence was a wonderful, heartfelt story. It was full of challenges, family, self-awakening, friendship, grief, and hope for a brighter future. I loved the romance and I loved these characters. If you enjoy sweet romance and this line of books then this is one you definitely don't want to miss!

Katie's Clean Book Collection - The Month of Love
Have you ever played the word association game? Isn’t it funny how, any given month is identified by its main holiday? I say November, you say….I’m betting you said Thanksgiving. I say December, you say…Christmas, right? And I can’t think of February without thinking of Valentine’s Day. But in a perfect world, shouldn’t every single day of the year be Valentine’s Day? Doesn’t love deserve 365 days instead of just 30…or 1? 

Savings in Seconds - Review
"The story is gentle yet heartbreaking; the contrast makes the sweet parts even sweeter. . . . This clean romance has a tender story that all women, especially moms, can appreciate."

Rockin' Book Reviews - Interview & Reviews (Book One & Two)
5. Give us a hint of what the next book in the series will be about.
Thanks for asking! I'm so excited about Book 3 (yet to be titled) in the series. Those who read Book 1, The Promise of Rain, may remember Mac, the Serengeti bush pilot who volunteered time to helping wildlife rescuers and who had a thing for Anna ;). Well, he's the next hero, it'll be back to the wilds of Africa for his story! Stay tuned!

"I love her approach in addressing each topic and in the way she truly draws the reader into the story. The characters are very real and endearing and the scenes portrayed well and easily visualized." (Review)

After the Silence
(From Kenya, With Love #2)
Rula Sinara
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 368 pages
March 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Does following her passion mean losing her way?

Marine Ben Corallis is an expert at facing death, but nothing comes close to the terror that grounds him when his wife is killed in a car accident the day he returns from duty. He's left to raise an infant, a toddler and a ten-year-old girl who hasn't uttered a word since her mother's death.

It's hard not to care for the widowed marine with three young children. Yet he's still grieving, too burdened with guilt to fall in love again. And Hope Alwanga's future as a doctor awaits her on the other side of the world, in Nairobi. If two such opposites can't agree on a common country, how can they ever create a safe place to call home?


About Book One in the Series
(Each can be read as a standalone.)

The Promise of Rain (Book 1)The Promise of Rain
(From Kenya, With Love #1)
Rula Sinara
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 384 pages
January 1st 2014 by Harlequin Heartwarming

He wants to take her child out of Africa...

The Busara elephant research and rescue camp on Kenya's Serengeti is Anna Bekker's life's work. And it's the last place she thought she'd run into Dr. Jackson Harper. As soon as he sets eyes on her four-year-old, Pippa, Anna knows he'll never leave...without his daughter.

Furious doesn't begin to describe how Jack feels. How could Anna keep this from him? He has to get his child back to the States. Yet as angry as he is with Anna, they still have a bond. But can it endure, despite the ocean--and the little girl--between them?

Rula Sinara
Rula Sinara lives in Virginia’s countryside with her husband, three boys and zany but endearing pets. When she's not writing or doing mom stuff, she loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard (cool bugs included) or watching romantic movies. She also enjoys interviewing fellow authors and is a Special Contributor for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog. Her door is always open at her website and blog.


Tour-Wide Giveaway


Gift Card Prize Pack: $100 Amazon Gift Card and ebooks of The Promise of Rain and After the Silence (open internationally)
US Prize Pack: Paperbacks of The Promise of Rain and After the Silence + Swag
3 ebook of After the Silence (open internationally)
Ends February 28th

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