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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard - A Book Review

Sandra Orchard

     Another Day, Another Dali is the second book in the Serena Jones Mystery series, following A Fool and His Monet.  Special Agent Serena Jones is a member of the FBI’s art crime team, but it was her Nana that got her involved in solving the theft of a Dali painting. This on the heels of rushing into a drug dealer’s home based on the possibility of a valuable painting being found on site. Then things get really interesting when Serena helps out another agent who is investigating the Russian mob. All of these cases seem to be intertwined, and all Serena knows is that someone is targeting her; the trick is to figure out which of the cases her attacker or attackers is linked to.

     When reading a mystery, we expect to be looking for motives, and questioning motives. In life we also look for motives, and unfortunately often make incorrect assumptions about why people do what they do. In Another Day, Another Dali Orchard drives this point home. Those incorrect assumptions may result in hurt feelings and unwanted and unnecessary consequences, feelings and consequences that could be avoided with adequate trust and communication.  

     I am looking forward to reading Serena Jones’ next adventure, and Orchard’s next clever title. I recommend this series to cozy mystery lovers and to those “more mature” ladies who have been looking for fun characters in their age bracket. Both groups (regardless of their age) are going to love Serena’s Aunt Martha. The series makes a great vacation or fun weekend read. I thank Revell Publishing and the Christian Blog Alliance for providing me with a copy of Another Day, Another Dali in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher - A Book Review

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     The Devoted is book three in The Bishop’s Family series. This book focuses on seventeen-year-old Ruthie Stoltzfus. Ruthie is being pulled in so many directions. Should she remain within the familiar surroundings of the Amish Community of Stoney Ridge, or should she pursue higher education outside of the community? Should she continue her relationship with handsome Luke Schrock in spite of his poor life choices which hurt so many around him, or should she pursue a relationship with Patrick Kelly, a guest at a local inn who is considering converting to the Amish? While it is wonderful to have choices, making them can be difficult and life altering.

     Patrick’s appearance has had an impact on Ruthie’s father, David Stoltzfus, the Bishop, as well. As Patrick contrasts what he had anticipated Amish life would be like with the reality of Amish life in Stoney Ridge, David is forced to face some realities as well. How has the last three years of prosperity made possible by the discovery of oil on land owned by Amish families impacted their community? Has the community’s faith become misplaced? Have their priorities been altered?  If so, what is the correct course of action? The questions with which David struggles should be questions each and every Christian should ask themselves, whether living in prosperity or not.

      Visiting Stoney Ridge again is like going home, finding out about new relationships, interacting with eccentric uncles, trying to please stern-faced aunts, oohing and aaahing over how the children have grown, and mourning those that are no longer there. Suzanne Woods Fisher allows us to see inside the Amish world, and helps us discover that we really aren’t so different, our challenges are often their challenges as well.

     Suzanne Woods Fisher shows a deep understanding of the Amish, and her love for these people shines through in her writing, while always remaining realistic, not romanticizing the Amish community. Her writing brings out a variety of strong emotions; sometimes gluing me to the story, unable to put the book down; other times causing me to put the book down and step aside for a moment. I would highly recommend this book to Amish fiction fans, and also to those who love to study human nature. Thank you to Revell Publishers and the Christian Blog Alliance for providing me with The Devoted in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon - A Book Review

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     The third book in Hannon’s Men of Valor series is the story of Finn, the youngest of the three McGregor brothers, and former Army Ranger. Like his brothers before him, Finn is trying to find his place after leaving military service. While Mac and Lance have not only found new occupations that are a perfect match for their skills, they have also each found the woman who is their perfect match, Finn has no such aspirations when he goes into a month’s seclusion in a national forest outside of St. Louis.
     Dana Lewis, publishing executive turned freelance book editor, has retreated to her late grandparents’ cabin on the edge of the national park after surviving a harrowing experience, one that left her guilt ridden, visually impaired, suffering bouts of dizziness, and waking screaming from nightmares. Now someone is vandalizing her property, possibly working to frighten her away.
     When Finn and Dana’s lives collide sparks fly. Finn’s military training takes over, along with his protective nature. Dana hasn’t had anyone looking out for her for a very long time. Should she give into the temptation to allow Finn to step into that role? Finn has secrets, secrets he hasn’t shared with anyone, not even his family. Should he allow Dana take the role of confidant?
     Hannon develops characters that evoke strong emotions. Readers of Tangled Webs will have deep empathy for Police Chief Roger Burnett, and the difficult choices he has to make throughout the story. Many will think of loved ones as they meet Leah Burnett, the chief’s wife. Hazel, waitress at the Walleye Diner, is endearing in spite of her rather stereotypical role as a small town, good natured gossip. Even the two characters that only appear in the prologue will find a special place in readers’ hearts.
            I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Tangled Webs for my honest review. I thank Irene Hannon for several enjoyable hours between the covers of this book. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.