Friday, October 29, 2010

Vanessa Miller's Long Time Coming ~ Reviewed


By Vanessa Miller
Published by Abingdon Press
ISBN# 978-1-4267-0768-1
303 Pages

Back Cover:

Faithful Christian Deidre Clark-Morris is a professional career-minded woman with a loving husband and beautiful home, but no children. Kenisha Smalls has lived in poverty her entire life and has three children by three different men. After learning that Kenisha has inoperable cervical cancer, the relationship between these two women becomes a catalyst of hope, leading them both to a place of redemption and healing.


I’m thankful to have received a review copy of this bitter-sweet novel which reminded me of the Good Samaritan bible story. It’s also a book filled with the message of forgiveness, sacrifice and God’s love for us and others. The author quickly captures the readers’ attention and heart, while setting the tone of the novel from the beginning. “Twenty-three and played out. Like the words of a tired, old, blues song, Kenisha Smalls had been strung and rung out….and too young to give up.”

Deidre had a run in with Kenisha at the school she worked at when she was late to pick up her son. Deidre threatened to call social services. Deidre hated to see parents mistreat their children. They took them for granted and didn’t realize the precious gift they had. Kenisha clams up, Deidre has judged her and soon realizes that this woman wouldn’t believe the truth if she told it to her.

Deidre and her husband had tried for years to have children, but after seven years God had not blessed her womb. Was God punishing her? Deidre had a secret not even her husband, Johnson a military man who worked hard and loved the Lord, knew about. Could she tell her husband what she hid in her heart? Is that what God wanted?

Miller does a great job of setting the mood and placing readers into the skin of her characters:

Jumping in the shower, she allowed the hot water to assault her weary bones. As the steam filled the small bathroom, she wallowed in the horror story her life had become. What next? How much can happen to a person before the almighty decides it’s time to pick on someone else?

That’s how Kenisha sees God. He hadn’t been there for her when all the bad things happened, and He isn’t there now.

Deidre feels drawn to this woman and her family,”She had certainly learned that some of life’s journeys were simply too great for her, and she needed to lean on the Lord to get through them. Just as God had sent an angel to strengthen Elijah, Deirdre knew that her husband Johnson had been her angel, sent from heaven above. He had helped her move past the pain, and now she wanted to do the same for Kenisha.”

Deidre and Kenisha are the most unlikely people to become friends. It’s made possible after Deidre apologizes for judging her and wants to be there for her. Deidre says, “We all suffer from something, Kenisha. That’s a part of life-since evil has come into the world, God has no choice but to let things play out, so we can choose good over evil!...So, accepting good over evil is more like accepting God into your heart.” That was the first step.

I enjoyed the journey this novel took me on even though it had a predictable ending. There were many gold nuggets and fun moments along the way. I look forward to reading more of Vanessa Millers’ books.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yvonne Harris's The Vigilante's Bride ~ Reviewed

The Vigilante's Bride
by Yvonne Harris
Bethany House, 2010
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764208047


Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and kidnapping a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expects to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from him, but ends up with a feisty copperhaired orphan thrown over his shoulder who was on her way to marry Sullivan's bitter enemy. Emily McCarthy is an orphan out of options. Forced to marry because she was too old for her orphanage, she doesn't take kindly to her "rescue." Still she trusts God can turn any situation to good especially when it seems Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Sullivan's crossed a dangerous man unused to losing and Emily may just be the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.


I love this book, as in love love love this book. The Vigilante's Bride is my first experience with author Yvonne Harris and you better believe it will not be my last. The romance in verbiage and actions is palpable and beautiful. If you know any of my taste in books, you know that I love Mary Connealy and Tracie Peterson and even though Yvonne's book is slightly shorter, she's right up there in my favoritism. I can hardly put the book down, and then when I think I've only been reading for a short time, I'm shocked that another hundred pages have gone by.

Bethany House has a winner with this author and I cannot wait for more. The bad guys are real and evil. I'm tense with anxiety and delight. Chill bumps greet me with the since of new found love and the hope for a future and better opportunities for all is heart warming. It makes my heart smile.

*Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy for review through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.*

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jennifer Erin Valent's Catching Moondrops ~ Reviewed

By Jennifer Erin Valent
Published by Tyndale
370 Pages

Back Cover: Jessilyn Lassiter no longer has to convince people she’s not a child. Having just turned 19 in the summer of 1938, her love for Luke Talley has never been more real. And Luke is finally beginning to care for her in the way she’s always dreamed of. But their budding romance is interrupted when Tal Pritchett—a young, black doctor—comes to Calloway, stealing the heart of Jessilyn’s best friend, Gemma, and stirring up the racial prejudice that has been simmering just beneath the town’s surface. The tension starts to bubble over when Jessie’s elderly neighbor Miss Cleta becomes the first white townsperson to accept Tal’s treatment. And when a young black man is lynched, Calloway is brought to its knees once again as Jessilyn realizes that her anger can make her heart as full of hate as the klan members who have terrorized her town and her family.

REVIEW: I was captivated by the first two books in this series, Fireflies and Cottonwood Whispers; and anxiously awaited the review copy of Catching Moondrops; the last installment. I couldn’t wait to be reunited with the characters I had grown to love.

Jennifer Erin Valent has masterfully written a series about 1938, a turbulent time in American history through the eyes of a child. Her characters are authentic and grabbed my heart from the beginning. I enjoyed hanging out with them in all three books and wondered how I would react if I grew up in a time like them. I enjoyed reading about their challenges and seeing how the times affected them and American society.

I do believe Jennifer has saved her best book for last. This novel can be read as a stand alone but I highly recommend getting to know Jessilyn, Gemma and Luke when they’re small. This author shows the reader how horrific times were then and how this affected these dear ones as they got older.

Jennifer writes all three books in the first person through the eyes of Jessilyn, which I loved. She’s now nineteen. Still bull-headed, knows what is unjust and is not afraid to speak her mind! She also has a strong sense of right and wrong. Her convictions and emotions often times get ahead of her safety and common sense.

Jessilyn says, “…from the day I’d come to know what prejudice could do to people’s hearts, it had stolen from me. It had stolen innocence, security, loved ones…and now it had stolen my hope.”

Jennifer says this about prejudice thru Jessilyn, “For some people, time has a way of blurring the good and the bad, spitting out that thing called conscience and replacing it with a twisted sort of logic that makes right out of wrong.”

Skillfully woven through these crazy times is a love story between Jesslyn and Luke that has been brewing in all three books and comes to a delightful conclusion. Gemma, Jessilyn’s best friend, has a love interest too.

Jessilyn thinks, “Young love in a step apart from reality. It paints over the crudities of the world with pretty colors and strokes until everything’s just a watercolor. Only problem is, when you cover something up, you don’t really get rid of what’s beneath.”

Just because Jessilyn and Gemma were in love, the harsh reality of life was all around and broke through their love bubbles in unexpected ways.

This author is an amazing wordsmith and weaves a very natural and believable spiritual thread through the heart of Jessilyn. She wrestles with doing the right thing. Her parents, Luke and Gemma trusted God and tried to explain things to her. But Jessilyn couldn’t trust a God that would allow bad things to happen to the people she loved. She wanted to treat the members of the KKK like they treated her friends. She knew it wasn’t right but she didn’t care.

Jennifer gets to the heart of the issue in a unique way. She lets the reader see along with Jessilyn that there is nothing good in any of our hearts but Jesus. “Bitterness hardens the heart and corrupts the mind!”

Given the right circumstances hate can creep in anyone’s heart and hold it hostage. We become just like our enemy seeking revenge. It’s only through forgiveness and healing can love shine through our lives.

This entire series is a keeper. You’ll definitely be reading it again, and telling your friends and family about these books. You won’t view prejudice the same way or God’s love for his people after reading these novels.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Monday, October 25, 2010

Trish Perry's Sunset Beach ~ Reviewed

Sunset Beach
By Trish Perry
Published by Harvest House
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2675-1

Sonny Miller plans to use a week's vacation at a San Diego beach house to fins the answers she has wanted all her life. She invites her mother, Teresa, and her mother's estranged sister, Melanie, to the quiet and quirky retreat. They both show up...and with surprises of their own. Teresa, a successful classical singer, brings her latest protégé, and Melanie beings along secrets about Teresa and the identity of Sonny's father.

Strong personalities cause big waves, and Sonny quickly finds herself in over her head But as the sisters begin to reconcile, Sonny makes some surprising connections—romantic and otherwise—of her own.

Review: I loved the first 2 books in the Beach House series, Beach House and Castles in the Sand, by Sally John. When Trish Perry continued the series with Beach Dreams, I was skeptical and ended up loving it. Sunset Beach is even better.

A compelling story of betrayal, revelation, and forgiveness, Sunset Beach is filled with surprises. Once again, Perry made me chuckle and in the midst of drama. Rich characters, a quirky beach house, and old friends Julian and Zeke make Sunset Beach a must read. Novel Journey and I give it a very high recommendation.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, editor
Novel Journey

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lisa Mangum's The Hourglass Door ~ Reviewed

The Hourglass Door
Lisa Mangum
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (May 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606410938

Review by Michelle Griep

Abby’s senior year of high school is going according to plan: good friends, cute boyfriend, and college applications in the mail. But when Dante Alexander, foreign-exchange student from Italy, steps into her life, he turns it upside down. He’s mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she’s ever met before. Abby can’t deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Soon Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery whose roots reach into sixteenth-century Florence, and she uncovers a dangerous truth that threatens not only her future but the lives of those she loves.


This book is AMAZING! Lisa Mangum is one of my new favorite authors…and I can count my favorite authors on one hand. Seriously. Drop whatever it is you’re doing right now and get yourself a copy of The Hourglass Door. You’ll be sucked in so fast, you’ll feel as if you’ve been pulled through the portal described in the book.

Hero Dante is mysterious, intriguing, hunka-hunka handsome, and comes complete with an Italian accent. Yes, there were several times I had to wipe the drool from my chin. Top that off with his gallant, protective, sensitive yet strong personality, and he’s one character that you’d love to meet in real life.

I also connected with Abby, the heroine, in a way that didn’t make me feel at all jealous. I became her as I read. And believe me, it’s a rare book that can make a forty-eight-year-old feel like a teenager again.

Besides the excellent characterization, the story made me think, laugh, get angry—an entire gamut of emotions. The plot had many twists and turns, some predictable, some completely broad-siding me, but all enjoyable.

If there is one book you’re going to buy this year, make The Hourglass Door the one, no matter what your age is. And if you’ve got any teens in your life, pitch their Twilight into the trash and replace it with this trilogy. Speaking of which, gotta run…the second book in the series, The Golden Spiral, is calling me to plunk my bottom down on the couch and let the world go by.

Read Lisa's Interview at Novel Journey.

Bonus Review:

Abby is a normal High School is on track, she has plans to go to the same college as her group of friends, and she has a coveted golden-haired boyfriend. But...Abby has a secret dream and some secret doubts that are pushing her into serious emotional unrest.

Enter Dante. Dark, Italian, handsome and very aware of Abby.

Abby's list of secrets grows as does her connection to the mysterious Dante. She ends up, literally, going places she never dreamed she'd visit.

Hourglass Door is a page turner. Anyone who loved the Twilight series should find much to like in Door. Even non-fans of Twilight but seekers of romance, intrigue and mysterious happenings should look further into Doors because all of the above is in there.

I found it to be a less melodramatic teen story than Twilight. Door would be appropriate for most pre-teens and is sweetly clean.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lori Copeland's One True Love ~ Reviewed

One True Love, Belles of Timber Creek Series #3
By: Lori Copeland
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Avon Inspire
ISBN: 0061364940


Copper is overjoyed that her friends Willow and Audrey found love and fulfillment after the war. The only remaining spinster, Copper vows to pour herself into her new teaching job. But tragedy strikes during her very first week. The schoolhouse catches fire and Copper suffers a serious injury while ushering her students to safety. Suddenly she's on a wagon train bound for Colorado to see the only doctor who can help her walk again.

Ever since the wagon train pulled into town, Copper butted heads with wagon master Josh Redlin—and now she must depend on him for her very life. But as Copper is forced to count on others for life's basic needs, she starts to surrender...and let her guard down around the one man whom she's despised for so long. Could it be that the very person that drives her crazy is the one she truly needs?


The entire Belles of Timber Creek series was fun to read. Following along the journey of three quirky, but lovable, opinionated and adventurous friends. This book is the final book coming after Twice Loved and then Three Times Blessed and it was a great way to fully get to know Copper. From the first chapter of the first book I knew that Copper was my favorite and was eager to hear her story. Now that I have, I'm glad to have read this series as it was a great time in a triple romance.

This book has so much more than the rest of the series in a way of Biblical lessons for me. Learning to let go and let God as well as true forgiveness of one's self are true hard lessons. In this story they are shared in a very vivid light. I highly recommend the entire series as well as other series and books from author Lori Copeland.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sally John's Ransomed Dreams ~ Reviewed

Ransomed Dreams (Side Roads)
Sally John
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414327854


Sheridan Montgomery leads a charmed life as the wife of Eliot, U.S. ambassador to Venezuela. But an attack on their lives cripples Eliot, and they retreat to a remote Mexican village. As Sheridan quietly cares for her husband, she sees her dreams slipping away. Luke Traynor shatters their reverie when he arrives to tell Sheridan of her father’s heart attack and the evidence implicating him in a conspiracy. Sheridan returns to Chicago to untangle the web of her father’s past and is forced to confront her feelings for Luke, a trail of deceit, and the truth about her marriage.


Ransomed Dreams is a moving story of a life shattered by a sniper's bullet and the slow disintegration of a marriage between two people who no longer recognize each other. Consumed by chronic pain, Eliot no longer desires his wife nor is he able to comprehend her emotional needs while Sheridan is fearful, angry and reclusive. Sally John's writing is emotive and thought provoking as she lays bear the heartache of destroyed hopes and unmet needs. At times, the pacing slows but I did not mind the gentle unfolding of this couple's thoughts, the complications of Sheridan's dysfunctional family and the palpable tension as Sheridan wrestles with her commitment to her disengaged and physically altered husband and the magnetic pull of the man who saved her life on that fateful day in Caracas. For anyone who has had their life change in an instant or find themselves in a marriage they didn't sign up for, Ransomed Dreams is a powerful story of love, commitment and forgiveness.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Irene Brand's and Anita Higman's Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe ~ Reviewed

Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe
by Irene Brand and Anita Higman
Published by Summerside Press
ISBN: 978-1609360047
320 pages

Back Cover:

Two Christmas stories - one historical, one contemporary - under one cover.

Love Finds You under the Mistletoe: An Appalachian Christmas

A promise to her dying sister compels Julia Mayfield to take her young nephew to Mistletoe, Kentucky, a tiny town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. Sparks fly when she meets David Armstrong, a World War II veteran like herself. Even as shadows from the past weave a dangerous web around Julia and David, will their love flourish like the mistletoe that blankets the nearby hills?

Love Finds You under the Mistletoe: Once Upon a Christmas Eve

Holly Goodnight's store has just been voted best Christmas shop in America. All the new publicity draws flamboyant novelist Van Keaton to the cozy town of Noel, Missouri, demanding to write Holly’s story - a dramatic tale of misfortune and triumph. She is swept up in his world of beautiful words and fanciful interludes. . .until Owen Quigly, her lifelong best friend, launches a plan to win her back.


Love finds you is an interesting combination of a historical and modern day romance. In this warm yourself by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa book, the reader is given two endearing stories in one. The first novella is centered around a small, backwoods town in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. Julia Mayfield, an independent city slicker and war veteran from Maryland, finds herself floundering in the old fashioned community of Mistletoe when her weeklong expedition turns into an extended stay. The lack of progress, resources, and transportation in the quaint town of Mistletoe infuriate and endear her at the same time. And perhaps if it weren’t for dear Granny and her handsome, mysterious son, David Armstrong, her independence would win out. But the longer she stays in this isolated community, the deeper it penetrates her heart. Fighting against inner demons of unworthiness, she longs for the uncomplicated acceptance and sense of community Mistletoe offers. And yet, the city in her refuses to die. Will her love for David be enough to keep her in the hills?

In the next novella, written by Anita Higman, we travel forward in time some seventy years to an equally small town in Noel, Missouri. And if you were paying attention in novella number one, you will remember this is the same town Julia’s parents traveled to when they abandoned her with their young, recently orphaned, grandson, her nephew. Now we dive into the life of another orphan, Holly Goodman. Deposited on a bachelor’s doorstep on Christmas Eve, Holly Goodnight is welcomed with open arms. By the time we pick up the story, we see a young woman flourishing in a tight-knit community surrounded by people who adore her. And yet, despite the love and security pillowing her heart, a longing wiggles to the surface. If only she could meet her biological mom, the emptiness in her heart would be filled.

It isn’t long before the media picks up her story, and this tale of abandonment turned adoption sparks the creativity of a struggling author. As citified, slightly neurotic, Van Keaton watches his writing career dwindle, he searched for the story that will salvage his dying career. He thinks he’s found it in Holly, but he soon realizes Holly Goodnight represents much more than a best-selling story. It isn’t long before he falls for this giggly girl from the Midwest, and Holly is equally taken by Van’s eloquence and charm. But are the butterflies in her stomach love or excitement of the unknown? And what if it means losing her childhood friend, Owen, the one she promised to marry some ten years back? As Owen and Van duel it out for Holly’s affections, Holly finds herself in a no-win situation. Either way, one of the men she’s grown to love will be crushed.

Both of these stories did a great job of pulling me in and creating a heart-warming, cozy atmosphere that made me long for the simplicities of small town life. Irene Brand’s novel was a bit more formal, and at times, didn’t handle emotions as realistically as I would have hoped, but she still managed to evoke empathy in the reader. And although I appreciated the faith aspect brought into Irene’s novel, it would have settled deeper had I seen more angst as Julia struggled with her deep emotional issues.

Anita has a very strong writing style, creating quirky characters that made me smile. Images of hiccup-burping Holly Goodnight quickly settled in my mind.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kaye Dacus's A Case For Love ~ Reviewed

A Case for Love
Kaye Dacus
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602604568


TV society reporter Alaine Delacroix feels like David facing Goliath when she takes on the biggest corporation in town to keep them from putting her parents’ garden center out of business. Lawyer Forbes Guidry wants nothing more than to stand up for the endangered local-business owners—but it will mean risking his job and crossing his powerful parents. Can Alaine and Forbes make A Case for Love?


Kaye Dacus has a way with storytelling that I really enjoy. With that said, I was not quite a fan of this book. The other books in the series I really like and her historical series I love. "A Case for Love" was an uncomfortable read almost the whole way through and I found myself stressed out for the characters not knowing how anything could end well. I don't recommend this to be your first read from Kaye Dacus, but I do recommend her over all.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kristen Heitzmann's The Rose Legacy ~ Reviewed

The Rose Legacy, Diamond of the Rockies Series #1 (rpkgd)
By: Kristen Heitzmann
More in Diamond of the Rockies Series
Bethany House / 2009 / Paperback
ISBN: 076420713X


Driven by hope and vengeance Carina Maria DeGarcia, an Italian heiress, sets out for a new life in a Colorado mining town. But she soon finds out the "dream house" she purchased through the mail is already inhabited and the town called the "diamond of the Rockies" is anything but luxurious. Two men vie for her trust, but neither is what he seems. Will Carina learn the truth--and confront the deep secrets hidden in her heart--in time to prevent tragedy?


My introduction to Kristen Heitzmann was through her most recent contemporary romantic suspense novel The Edge of Recall and I loved it. When I found out that she also had previously written a series in my favorite genre of Christian Historical Fiction I added it to my TBR list. Then I discovered that Bethany House was going to re-release the series with beautiful new covers and I could not wait to get my hands on the series! After reading the first novel, I am glad that I did. Originally published in 2000, now being re-released in 2010.

Carina Maria DiGratia is a high class Italian transplanted with her family to Sonoma, California. After her heart is broken, she runs away to make someone work for her love. It is after she gets to her destination that she starts a journey of learning that maybe it is God's will but for different reasons than her own. Through this story we get to know Carina and also a less likely character of Quillan. Getting to know his history explains some of her own and God is definitely working in Carina's life in mysterious ways.

This is a story of romance, redemption, vengeance and love. It ends with a string that causes a reader to have to get the next book and on the edge of your seat you want to know what comes next. I recommend this story, and I'm certain will recommend the series.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Thursday, October 14, 2010

MaryLu Tyndall's Surrender the Heart ~ Reviewed

Surrender the Heart
By MaryLu Tyndall
Book 1: Surrender to Destiny series
Barbour Publishing, 2010
ISBN 978-1-60260-165-9

Review by Michelle Griep

On the brink of the War of 1812, Marianne Denton must marry to unlock her inheritance. Without the money, her mother can’t receive medical care and her sister will be destitute. But Noah Brenin needs to sail his cargo to England before the war commences in order to prove his worth to his father and make enough money so he won’t have to marry at all.

When Noah walks out on their engagement party, Marianne chases him down and ends up on his merchantman out at sea. The situation worsens when Noah’s ship encounters a British man-of-war and the couple is impressed into the British navy.

While a young lad’s prophecy of destiny looms over them both, Marianne and Noah are forced to face their darkest fears as they desperately try to escape and fulfill their destinies—destinies that could change the course of the war and history forever.

With vivid detail and a flair for blending fact with fiction, author MaryLu Tyndall takes the reader on a memorable historical voyage. From the dizzying heights of a ratline, down to breathing in the acrid leftover smoke of canon-fire, you’ll become as impressed aboard the British man-of-war as hero Noah and heroine Marianne.

Noah is everything a hero should be—handsome and strong—but not so pristine that he doesn’t have a fault or two. He’s a man on a mission to prove himself to his father. Marianne is headstrong and determined, and therein lies the tension. Noah and Marianne have quite the love/hate relationship going on. At the beginning of the story, it’s more hate than anything, making the reader wonder if these two will ever get their acts together. Never fear, though, for by the end, the pendulum swings completely into the love zone.

And speaking of the end, whewie! There’s a whole lot of action to keep you turning page after page. Just when you think you’ve reached the climax, something ever more devastating happens. Tyndall manages to wrap up every loose plot line by the finish, though.

Surrender the Heart is an intriguing beginning to the ‘Destiny’ trilogy, one which will have you eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sarah Sundin's A Memory Between Us ~ Reviewed

A Memory Between Us
By Sarah Sundin
ISBN#: 978-0-8007-3422-0
439 pages
Published by Revell

Book Cover:

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways? A Memory Between Us is the second book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.


Major Jack Novak is featured in his book; he is the older brother to Walt, who was the main focus of Sarah’s first book in this series A Distant Melody. I was thankful to have received a review copy of this book. I enjoyed that Sarah had Walt and Annie, which were the main characters from A Distant Melody, make an appearance in this book.

A Memory Between Uscan be read as a stand alone but I highly recommend reading A Distant Melody to get to know the Novak family up-close and personal. Unlike Sarah’s first book, which was sweet and light hearted, A Memory Between Us shows the reader the darker side of life! Both Major Jack Novak and Lieutenant Ruth Doherty are letting fears from their past control them. These memories are attacking their future! Can they be helped?

Can Jack and Ruth face their fears and trust God in the process? Can these two let God heal their pain or would their pride and the need to be in control keep them running from the thing they fear the most and each other?

Ruth faces some pretty tough situations sexually and I’m glad the author didn’t get any more graphic than she did! Major Jack gets in some pretty intense battles on the war front that paint an honest picture of what they faced when being attacked. It was fascinating to read about women being Air Med’s in the war! I learned a lot about history from this book and you will to!

This is a heavier read than the first book but Sarah definitely captured the time in history. Sarah’s next book will be about the next brother, Ray. Ray is a Pastor!

I look forward to reading another story in this series!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Robin Jones Gunn's Secrets ~ Reviewed

Robin Jones Gunn
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (February 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601422733


The Glenbrooke Series

Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all?

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth.


My first introduction to Robin Jones Gunn was Sisterchicks Go Brit! and I loved it. When I heard that "Secrets," the first novel in the Glenbrooke series (of about eight novels I believe) and the first adult novel that Robin wrote I was greatly intrigued. This is the book that so many people have told me was their first Christian Fiction novel to read that hooked them on the genre. The new cover is gorgeous and definitely something I would reach for. I was really excited about the oppo...more My first introduction to Robin Jones Gunn was Sisterchicks Go Brit! and I loved it. When I heard that "Secrets," the first novel in the Glenbrooke series (of about eight novels I believe) and the first adult novel that Robin wrote I was greatly intrigued. This is the book that so many people have told me was their first Christian Fiction novel to read that hooked them on the genre. The new cover is gorgeous and definitely something I would reach for. I was really excited about the opportunity to read this one. Through the Value Fiction from WaterBrook Multnomah, several fabulous titles have been released under an unbelievable price of just $6.99!! These are not mass market but trade paperback and that makes me so happy. This is the kind of thing that I can afford when it comes to books.

This novel is good. It is heart beating, curiosity peaked, turn the next page enjoyable. There were moments when I was quite nervous and moments when I was exceedingly happy for the characters. I would say that this book goes on my keeper shelf and I'm just about guaranteed that I will look for the others in the series. I do hope that the entire series will be republished with such awesome covers. If so I cannot wait to see them! I recommend this book with out hesitation. I have seen some reviews where people had qualms about the secret not being what they expected, but is it ever? This is a book about walking away from something and trying to hide from God. Going forward in life and being with or with out the support is what we all go through. Follow Jessica on her journey and see where she turns out to be in the end. I look forward to reading more of her story and the people that she comes across.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Monday, October 11, 2010

Melanie Dickerson's The Healer's Apprentice ~ Reviewed

The Healer’s Apprentice
By Melanie Dickerson
ISBN 978-0-310-72143-7

Review by: Michelle Griep

Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.

When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she beings to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

The Healer’s Apprentice is a young-adult sweet love story with a bit of intrigue. If you’ve ever wondered what life is like in a medieval castle, then this is the book for you. And if you’re in to handsome, strong, integrity-filled heroes, then this is definitely the book for you.

Lord Hamlin struggles with following the call of duty or his heart, and a very real struggle it is. He chooses duty…which just so happens to end up fulfilling his heart’s desire. This fella is every girl’s dream man.

Rose is sometimes timid, sometimes bold, but mostly tries to do the right thing. She makes some mistakes along the way, which makes this character all the more believable.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to my teenage girls. Not only is it a history lesson but a great example of purity before marriage as well.

Bonus Review:

I’m thankful to have received a review copy of this wonderful enchanting novel written for a youthful audience which I thoroughly enjoyed. I haven’t had this much fun since I watched Beauty and the Beast with my kids. Rose, the main character in The Healers Apprentice, reminds me a little of Belle, in Beauty and the Beast’s. She’s avid reader, well educated, loyal, passionate, poor and opinionated.

Opening of the book, “The townspeople of Hagenheim craned their necks as they peered down the cobble stone street hoping to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Hagenheim’s two handsome sons.” I was quickly drawn into this great fairy tale from the start. Can you see the ladies pushing through the crowd to catch a look at these handsome men?

The author’s characters are likeable and promptly draw on your heart strings as their situations quickly unfold. It’s April 1386, in the heart of the middle ages. Lord Wilhelm and Lord Rupert have returned from studying abroad. Rose and Hildy, her best friend, were in the crowd along with everyone else trying to see these men. Hildy, a romantic at heart yells to her friend Rose to try to catch these men’s attention. Rose is level headed and practical, she quickly reminds Hildy that Lord Wilhelm is betrothed and Lord Rupert must marry an heiress since he’s the second born son.

Lord Wilheim had been betrothed since an early age. He had always guarded his heart, his eyes and was in control of his situation. But since he’d met Rose, his world had been rocked. A lot was expected from him. He couldn’t let a beautiful poor woodcutter’s daughter get the better of him. But he had to be honest with himself, “For the first time in his life he wished he was an ordinary man, instead of Wilhelm Gerstenberg, Earl of Hamlin, the future duke of Hagenheim.”

Lord Wilheim had been in wild adventures most of his life trying to capture Moncore, who has been set on killing his bride he’s never met. Her parents have had her in hiding to be kept safe from this evil doer.

Lord Wilheim was exasperated because, “Moncore had eluded him before. The fact that one man had continued threatening lady Salomea’s safety despite Wilhelm’s best efforts, was a frustration like he’d never known, a splinter he couldn’t gouge out no matter how hard he tried.”

Rose knew her status also what was expected of her and yet struggled to find her way, her gifts and how to be loyal to God and her family. Rose was the eldest child of a poor woodcutter. She wouldn’t be in the running for either of these men’s affections. Rose did pray, “O God, make me like Frau Geruscha, (the healer)…because one day she would be expected to take over as healer. If Rose returned home a failure, her mother would torment her until she accepted one of her suitors-a desperate widower with nine children, an old man with no teeth…and her newest Peter Brunckhorst, his greasy black-and-white hair plastered to his head.”…her mother had told her this was her best offer…”why was he the best she could hope to get? Because she thought she was stupid? Mean? Lazy? Unworthy of being loved? Because she was poor?...She’d never experienced love. Most married people didn’t either. Could she hope for more and marry for love or not marry at all?

I adored that Melanie Dickerson had the reader in the middle of the action. The author also had the right mix of adventure, battles, romance and a mix of scenery which all added to the mystery and fun of the book. I liked the depth and complexity of these characters as their spiritual fight was revealed. It was refreshing to see characters struggling as they attempted to live out what they read in the bible and do what God asked them to do. Rose and Wilhelm had a personal relationship with God. Both of them struggled with their emotions, and how not to be taken over by them Melanie has several supporting characters’ that you grow fond of and get drawn into their dilemmas too. It’s suspenseful in parts. I found myself holding my breathe until the situation was resolved. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. The author had me guessing.

I was totally taken into this story and read it in one day, to the lack of doing my dishes and dinner. I had to find out how this ended. I wasn’t sure of the ending, just when I thought I had it all figured out she would add another wrinkle. This is Melanie Dickerson’s debut novel, wow!! I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I’ll definitely be waiting to read it.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tamera Alexander's Within My Heart ~ Reviewed

Within My Heart (Timber Ridge Reflections, Book 3)
Tamera Alexander
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House; Original edition (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764203916


Widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat and provide for her two young sons, though some days it feels as though her efforts are sabotaged at every turn. When her cattle come down with disease and her sons' lives are endangered, she must turn to Rand Brookston, Timber Ridge's physician and reluctant veterinarian. While Rachel appreciates his help, she squelches any feelings she might have for Rand--her own father was a doctor and his patients always took priority over his family. Rachel refuses to repeat the mistakes her mother made. But when she's courted by a wealthy client of the local resort, she faces a choice: self-sufficiency and security or the risk inherent in the deepest of loves.

Review :

Tamera Alexander is one of the most talented writers of historical fiction today and that talent is clearly on display in her much anticipated novel, Within My Heart. With tenderness and emotion, Tamera reveals Rachel’s heartbreak and fear following the death of her husband and Rand’s desire to heal and protect. Beautiful prose and vivid characterization hallmark this enthralling story that will engage anyone who loves historical romance. Tamera is one of the few historical writers with the ability to make this all too often cliched genre vivid and fresh which guarantees each one of her books remain on my keeper shelf. If you are yet to discover Tamera's novels, you are missing out on some fabulous writing and I recommend you rectify the situation immediately!

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Susan Sleeman's High Stakes Inheritance ~ Reviewed

High Stakes Inheritance
By Susan Sleeman
ISBN #: 978-0-373-44411-3
216 pages

Back Cover:

Despite the threatening warning, Mia Blackburn won't let anyone scare her from the rustic resort she inherits from her beloved uncle. But when a fire traps her in a burning barn, she fears that she won't get out alive. Just in time her ex-boyfriend volunteer firefighter Ryan Morgan rescues her from the deadly blaze. He had once broken her heart, yet she still has feelings for him. With Ryan insisting on keeping a close eye on her, Mia feels safer—and closer to Ryan than ever before. Yet the threats haven't stopped, and soon Mia's high-stakes inheritance includes a murder—and Mia could be the next victim.


I enjoyed the review copy of this suspenseful murder mystery! I was hooked from the first line of the book, “Pinetree will never be yours, leave Loganlake now or you will pay.”

Mighty strong threat, was this real? Mia Blackburn wondered as she read it. She’d just come back in town today. She was back to fulfill the request of her late uncle’s wishes! Why the threats?

Mia decided to keep this threat a secret no need to worry anyone else. It was probably nothing! She thought so until the fire! Mia and a little girl are almost killed at Pinetree when the barn catches fire! Okay, maybe the threat was real, but why would someone be out to kill her?

Russ, the police chief starts to question Mia at the scene of the fire and is convinced she’s done this horrible thing! That’s crazy – she had to prove her innocence but how?

She could ask Ryan, her high school sweetheart, to help but that’d be crazy. They didn’t part on such good terms. But people change – she had heard he got “religious” just great! She didn’t trust men or God for that matter!

Ryan told Mia, “In High School I didn’t know God. Now that I have a relationship with Him, I know He doesn’t cause bad things to happen.”

“Really? Then why do they happen?” Mia let sarcasm shout through her words…waiting for Ryan to convince her that God was not her enemy.

“…God doesn’t cause bad things to happen but He allows them to happen for a variety of reasons. For me, it’s usually to get my attention and draw me closer to him.”

“That’s pretty lame, if you ask me Ryan…” Mia’s heart was hard toward God and men. Her relationship with her dad was strained ever since her mom died and her brother took her dad’s side!”

I enjoyed how the author naturally wove the spiritual thread throughout the action, suspense, plot twists and turns. All the while helping the reader discover who was threatening to kill Mia and doing all these bad things.

The author says this in her note to the reader “I wanted to write a story to show how hard it is to trust God, when faced with life-altering challenges like Mia and Ryan experienced. I wanted to show through Mia and Ryan that no matter what the problem, when we trust in the Lord ad don’t try and take things into our own hands, he has a far richer and more rewarding life planned for us than we could ever dream on our own.”

I believe this authors statement with all my heart and maybe that’s why I could relate to these characters and liked the story so much. I do believe Susan Sleeman accomplished what she set out to do. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, it won’t be the last.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network

Monday, October 04, 2010

ACFW's October Book Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW website.

1. A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman -- A Romance from Abingdon. Will Annie find acceptance in the Amish community she left behind?

2. Brides of Arkansas by Janet Lee Barton -- A Romance from Barbour. Thwarted by mystery and mayhem, three women in historic Arkansas are roused by love when and where they least expect it.

3. Embers of Love; Striking a Match Series by Tracie Peterson -- A Romance from Bethany House. Deborah Vandermark desperately wants to fit into God's plan and 1880's Texas, but can the two coexist?

4. Emily's Chance; The Callahans of Texas, Book 2 by Sharon Gillenwater -- A Romance from Revell. Will cowboy and builder Chance Callahan be able to convince Emily Rose Denny that she can have love and a career?

5. First Love; Tombstone Treasures, Book 2 by Michelle Sutton -- A Romance from Desert Breeze. Two former high school lovers play the roles of socialite and preacher as Tombstone actors and are reunited after four years of separation; but can they rebuild their love on a new foundation, this time around without falling into past behavior?

6. Legacy of Lies by Jill Elizabeth Nelson -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Steeple Hill. When a cop's widow discovers the bones of an infant buried in her grandparent's back yard, she teams up with the local police chief to help clear her family name.

7. Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho by Janelle Mowery -- A Romance from Summerside Press. Whoever said trouble comes in threes has never been to Silver City, Idaho, where peace and acceptance face off against chaos and rejection, and the winner is not always clear.

8. Love is Grand; Walk in the Park, Book Three by Annalisa Daughety -- A Romance from Barbour. National Park Ranger Ainsley Davis returns to her job at the Grand Canyon, a widowed mother who has become fearful of everything, including love.

9. Mirrored Image by Alice K. Arenz -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Sheaf House. The uncanny resemblance of a murder victim to eccentric newspaper columnist Cassandra Chase gives Detective Jeff McMichaels the haunting suspicion there is a link between the two women . . . a link that may only exist in the murderer's mind.

10. Mistletoe Prayers by Betsy St. Amant and Marta Perry -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. Two heartwarming Christmas tales from your favorite authors.

11. Nipped in the Bud; Hometown Mysteries by Susan Sleeman -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Barbour. After Paige Turner finds a dead body on her construction site and the police think she killed him, can she prove her innocence and stay out of jail?

12. Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar -- A Historical from Moody Publishers. Rahab vowed never again to trust a man. God had other plans. Salmone was a man of faith, honor, and an enemy. An impossible marriage: an unforgettable journey of healing.

13. Prairie Courtship by Dorothy Clark -- A Historical from Steeple Hill. Emma Allen never knew, until she joined Zachary Thatcher's wagon train to Oregon country, what being a doctor really meant---or how much it could cost.

14. Seek Me With All Your Heart; Land of Canaan Series by Beth Wiseman -- A Romance from Thomas Nelson. Emily and David each come to terms with a past that follows them, testing their faith and resolve.

15. Seeking His Love: Love Inspired Series 593 by Carrie Turansky -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. Haunted by false accusations, a former teacher tries to build a new relationship without revealing her troubled past.

16. The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund -- A Romance from Bethany House. A young Puritan maiden determined to save a motherless baby... and a grieving preacher who doesn't want another woman in his life.

17. Whisper on the Wind; Great War Series, Independent Read by Maureen Lang -- A Romance from Tyndale. Isa Lassone sneaks into occupied Belgium to rescue the man she loves; when he refuses to go, she joins his secretive work˜praying it won't cost both of their lives.

18. Wrangler in Petticoats: Sophie's Daughters Book 2 by Mary Connealy -- A Romance from Barbour. When the two of them see an elk, she reaches for her rifle, he reaches for a sketchpad, the word DRAW means completely different things to them.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hitchcock and Gansky's Mayan Apocalypse ~ Reviewed

The Mayan Apocalypse
Mark Hitchcock
Alton Gansky
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930558

Book Description:

On the heels of Mark Hitchcock’s prophecy bestseller 2012, the Bible, and the End of the World comes a suspenseful novel (coauthored with bestselling novelist Alton Gansky) about the supposed expiration date of planet earth—December 21, 2012.

Andrew Morgan is a wealthy oil executive in search of the meaning of life. In his quest for answers he encounters the ancient Mayan predictions that the world will end in 2012. That the claims seem supported by math and astronomy drives him to check on them. Then he meets Lisa Campbell, an attractive Christian journalist also researching the Mayan calendar. When he learns that she is a Christian, he quickly dismisses what she has to say.

As the time draws closer to December 21, 2012, a meteorite impact in Arizona, a volcanic eruption, and the threat of an asteroid on a collision-course with earth escalate fears. Are these indicators of a global apocalypse? Will anyone survive? Does Lisa’s Christian faith have the answers after all? Or has fate destined everyone to a holocaust from which there is no escape?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Mayan Apocalypse, go HERE.


Christian journalist Lisa Campbell meets oil baron Andrew Morgan. The two chafe and bond over the impending end-of-the-world-on-December 21, 2012 panic. But spanning nearly two years in under three hundred pages makes for some challenges in storytelling. A thread with secrets and another journalist ends up ringing a little "Huh" and detracted from the story. Also big chunks of time are covered rapidly and some of the relationship between Andrew and Lisa suffers.

The fascinating details of the Mayan end-of-the-world theory were intriguing but I knew nothing except the bare minimum of details and there wasn't excessive coverage in the novel. If you are curious about 12-21-2012 or love fiction that compares Christianity and alternative views give this a shot.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer