Friday, December 30, 2011

Lori Copeland's The One Who Waits for Me ~ Reviewed

The One Who Waits for Me [Paperback]
Lori Copeland (Author)
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930183


Bestselling author Lori Copeland (Walker’s Wedding and Outlaw’s Bride) sets her brand-new story in North Carolina the months after the Civil War. In the midst of chaos, there is also a sense of possibility and the hope of love when:

Sisters Beth and Joanie run from a vindictive uncle toward healing
Trella, a pregnant young slave, leaves a plantation for freedom
Gray Eagle, a Cherokee military scout, finds refuge for the young women
Captain Pierce, a quiet man of faith, heads for a plot of land and a new life
Samuel, a black soldier, longs to follow his father’s preaching legacy

The intersecting lives and tales of these engaging characters and those they meet along the way create an uplifting story of tested faith, growing seeds of love, and the challenge and gift of believing God’s promise of a future.


The One Who Waits For Me begins with two young women, Beth and Joanie. After their parents have just passed, they struggle to escape from their tyrant Uncle, Walt, and his son Bear. Trella, a young slave escapes with them. Along the way, they meet three men who are heading home after fighting in the Civil War, Preach, Pierce and Gray Eagle. In initially being kind and rescuing the women from a fire, they unwittingly get tangled in helping them escape their uncle.

I really enjoyed this book. It was fun to see Joanie and Beth’s eyes and hearts open to the fact that not all men are bad. Joanie’s faith was rooted deep from the beginning, but Beth’s was not, however, with the help of different characters along the way, Beth’s heart was softened as well. This was a great read for anyone who enjoys Civil War era books.

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Janelle Mowery's When Love Gets in the Way ~ Reviewed

When Love Gets in the Way (Colorado Runaway Series)
Janelle Mowery
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736928081


Grace Bradley wishes all she touches would turn to gold. Instead, it tends to tarnish…that is, until she finds freedom on the Double K Ranch. Grace is fleeing from the man her father chose to be her husband. But once her heart is captured by her new employer’s best friend, and she finally understands the meaning of God’s sacrificial love, she relinquishes her independence to save her loved ones.

Cade Ramsey contemplates running for dear life from the accident-prone nuisance he brought to his hometown. The trouble that trails her seems to latch on to him at every turn. But when Grace manages to win his calloused heart, he chases her down, praying he can keep her from following through on a decision that could ruin their lives.

An adventurous novel of faith, hope, and love in the Wild West.

About This Series: Straight from the heart of the Old West, the Colorado Runaway series is full of adventure, humor, and romance by award-winning novelist Janelle Mowery.


When Love Gets in the Way is about a young woman named Grace Bradley, who is trying to escape the clutches of an evil man who will do anything to force her to marry him. In escaping, she meets Cade Ramsey, her new employer’s best friend. Both are adamant that they will never fall in love, but they can’t seem to fight a growing attraction between them. In the meantime, their town is being terrorized by an unknown group, whom Grace and Cade fear is being run by Frank Easton, the man that wants to marry Grace.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: I absolutely love books set in this time period. I’ve read the other books in this series (Colorado Runaway Series) and have loved all of them. It was fun to watch Grace and Cade’s ‘dislike’ for each other, grown into friendship, and eventually love. A great read for those who love books set in the mid to late 1800’s. I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Serita Jakes's The Crossing ~ Reviewed

By Serita Jakes
Published by Waterbrook Press
292 Pages

Back Cover:

Imprisoned by memories, Claudia Campbell lives each day in the shadow of a ten-year-old murder. Who can set her free?

On the way home from a football game, a decade earlier, a masked gunman opened fi re on a Texas school bus. Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington was killed, but her murderer was never found. Claudia, who had a close friendship with the young, spirited teacher, constantly relives the anguish of that day, caught in one moment in time. When her husband, the assistant district attorney, becomes determined to uncover the mystery of that tragedy, the secrets buried over the years threaten to tear their family apart.

Officer Casio Hightower will never forget the day his dreams were destroyed. A star quarterback with a promising future, Casio was on top of the world—until one bullet changed everything. He is eager to help Victor Campbell find B.J.’s killer, the man who shot him. Maybe solving the case will help silence the demons driving Casio to hurt the woman he loves.

As the Campbell’s and Casio teeter on the brink of losing everything, will they be able to discover that what begins at the crossing ends at the cross?


Serita Jakes pens an intense, page turning and emotionally stirring novel. It’s full of action, adventure, mystery and surprise. I felt it haunting when the author had B.J. Remington share from her POV, as she reflected on life and the choices she’d made while wavering between life and death inside a school bus as people panicked around her.

Life can get messy when you find yourself tripping over the pain of the past. It can get crazy when you are reacting to life instead of living it. Claudia, daughter to a well known Pastor in town and wife of an assistant DA, was traumatized and suffered with PSTD from the tragedy that happened on the school bus. Flash backs are interwoven in the story as the author had the reader experience parts of that fateful night. Claudia finds herself imprisoned by vivid, unforgettable memories of how her world changed forever when she lost her best friend B.J. What made things worse was that Claudia feared for her life because no one found the person responsible for the disaster.

This author writes in the POV of a few characters which made the story emotionally charged and kept me guessing how things would end up, especially when Claudia’s husband Victor, starts to dig up clues that had been over looked in the original investigation. People get angry when he confronts then and talk about the crime scene in order to track down the person responsible and hopefully stop the pain in his wife’s life and their marriage.

It’s an ending that does not tie everything up in a neat bow. It’s one we’ve seen in today’s headlines. This story deals with loss, suffering, forgiveness, adultery, miscarriages, abuse, PTSD, murder, drinking and mental health struggle. The issues are not sugar coated but brought about in a very real way. Eventually the author shows unconditional love is the only way to move on into the future. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, it won’t be the last. It’s a book you won’t soon forget.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Bonus Review:

’t expect to be sucked in by this novel. For starters it is written by the wife of a celebrity. Secondly, I thought it wouldn’t grab my interest as much as it did. Though not a perfect read, it’s well written. And for content junkies, it contains quite a bit. Each chapter opens with a first person narrative told from the perspective of a dying woman. Points of view of several characters who have a stake in the unfolding story move throughout the book. The main characters, Claudia and Cascio are crippled by life and the event ten years before that shaped them and derailed them from carefree high school seniors, to victims of a horrific crime.

I found myself reading longer than what I wanted to each time I opened the book. Curiosity over the mystery that unfolded in the pages kept me turning them. I also found a huge plot twist surprise that I didn’t expect. Jakes did a good job with characterization considering the number of them that she was required to juggle.

I didn’t love this novel, but I liked it and found it to be a compelling read. There are cautions. Those who are sensitive may want to avoid this one because the subject matter is tough and it gets gritty. 
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Elizabeth Camden's The Lady of Bolton Hill ~ Reviewed

Elizabeth Camden
Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764208942


Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American-born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London's poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face-to-face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel's success is fueled by resentment from past wounds and Clara's deeply-held beliefs about God's grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara's very life is endangered by one of Daniel's adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen.


Now this is a book that I completely loved beginning to end. Page one had me captivated. I'm always nervous about new authors, but Elizabeth Camden with this one novel has made it to the favorite's keeper shelf and I will desperately await more stories to come! What is so extraordinary about this novel is that it was a perfect setting, but for once (something I do not often find with historicals) I could easily translate this and see it in my head as an everyday occurrence in the current time. It's a sad story, and a real story, but it's a beautiful story and so romantic and perfect. It's a romance of two humans and it's a romance of new beginnings with our Lord Christ. Elizabeth Camden has put so much into this book that it is just plain fabulous. I'm delighted to have read it and truly highly recommend it!

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

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jennifer Wilson's Running Away to Home ~ Reviewed

Jennifer Wilson
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312598955


A middle class, Midwestern family in search of meaning uproot themselves and move to their ancestral village in Croatia

“We can look at this in two ways,” Jim wrote, always the pragmatist. “We can panic and scrap the whole idea. Or we can take this as a sign. They’re saying the economy is going to get worse before it gets better. Maybe this is the kick in the pants we needed to do something completely different. There will always be an excuse not to go…”

And that, friends, is how a typically sane middle-aged mother decided to drag her family back to a forlorn mountain village in the backwoods of Croatia.


I love the books that come out of an inner drive to find something that is missing in life. The ones where the author connects into that empty spot and discovers something about him/herself that leaves him/her forever changed.

Running Away to Home finds a family from urban middle America, living their materialistic, busy-all-the-time-lives. Running to and fro, accomplishing little, constantly striving for that one elusive thing.

Jennifer Wilson is a travel writer, and she and her husband have always dreamed about a sabbatical somewhere exotic. Jennifer’s ancestors are from war-scarred Croatia. So. They head to Croatia to encounter life as it might have been had her family never come to the states.

What they discover is vastly different than life in Urban Iowa. A life where folks are still identified by the political leanings of their parents and grandparents. A place where drinking is an art and maybe the only way to deal with memories for so many. A land where organic is a must rather than a luxury, where neighbors congregate to celebrate, where food and friendship is offered with no strings, where Wilson's family feels embraced and changed.

I would've loved to share some of the reentry issues the Wilson family faced. Maybe there will be a follow up.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Amy Clipson's Naomi's Gift ~ Reviewed

Amy Clipson
Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (September 12, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310327350


Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.


Naomi’s Gift takes place in an Amish community. It revolves around Naomi King, a young Amish woman who believes she is destined to spend her life single and helping her mother take care of her siblings. But when widowed Caleb Schmucker and his daughter, Susie, come to visit family things are about to change. Susie and Naomi meet by “chance” and are immediately drawn to each other. When Naomi and Caleb meet, there is an immediate attraction, though neither one are willing to admit it at first.

I loved this book. I was able to relate to Naomi’s character on some level, in regards to wondering if she would ever meet that one perfect guy for her. It was so much fun to watch her character open up to the possibility of love. And Caleb’s character, was fun, too. This is such a wonderful little love story and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read stories about the Amish.

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mary Ellis's A Marriage for Meghan ~ Reviewed

Mary Ellis
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0736930108


Fans of superb Amish fiction will welcome the rich and moving stories of The Wayne County series by Mary Ellis, the bestselling author of Abigail’s New Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart.

Meghan Yost is 19, bright, and eager to prove to her father, the bishop, that she’s mature enough to teach in the Old Order district. But just when Meghan gains confidence and assurance, a troubled student challenges her authority and a male suitor challenges her patience.

Life and love tensions escalate when a string of crimes threaten the Amish community, and handsome FBI agent Thomas Mast arrives to investigate.


A Marriage for Meghan is book 2 in the Wayne County Series. It follows Meghan Yost, who wants to become the new schoolteacher in her Amish community, but due to being seen as immature by many in the town, she must share the role with her older sister, Catherine. In the meantime, as a result of her independence, she loses her best friend, Jacob Shultz, who is in love with her and wants her to marry him and settle down. While Meghan is going through this, the whole community is going through a difficult time as well. They seem to be the target of hate crimes, so FBI agent Thomas Mast is sent to the community to investigate.

This was an enjoyable book. It was fun to see the story continue from the previous book, Abigail’s New Hope. It was nice to see Meghan’s character grow, and to see her prove herself capable in the eyes of her family and community.

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Friday, December 09, 2011

Sigmund Brouwer's Flight of Shadows ~ Reviewed

Sigmund Brouwer
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1 edition (May 18, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400070333


Her genetic secret could change humanity forever.
Her DNA grants her the ultimate power.
But all she wants is to disappear.

Looming buildings rise into the sky of a near-future America, shadowing the desperate poverty of the soovie parks, death doctors, and fear bombs. In this world of walled cities, where status matters most, Caitlyn Brown is desperate to remain invisible, wrongly believing what she needs to hide is the deformity on her back. The powerful want her for so much more.

She’s forced to take flight again, relying on the help of Razor, a street-smart illusionist she can’t trust. Her only hope is to reach friends already tracked by government.

With a twisted bounty hunter in full pursuit, she and Razor begin to learn the unthinkable about her past and the unique gifts of her DNA. It leads Caitlyn to a choice between the two men who love her, and whether to keep her freedom or sacrifice herself to change human destiny.

In this lightning-fast chase through an all-too-plausible future, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer is at his best. Flight of Shadows is a terrifying ride into the heart of compelling moral questions about science and society.


If you love futuristic sci-fi/fantasy books put this one on your list. Not so future America has become segregated into a large, protected colony ruled by religion, or outside of those walls of protection lies the a caste system where the destitute live in Soovie (SUV) parks and are at the mercy of the rich and untouchable. Beyond that, few know, but rumors are that true freedom exists, for the strongest and fittest.

Caitlyn is a young woman, a product of genetic manipulation, thrust from the security of religious safety into the cruel, unknown world. Caitlyn carries a few secrets, some unknown to her. But the secrets relating to the ugly hump on her back make her valuable to many and force her to run, hide and fight for her life. The hunters include a corrupt government, a merciless bounty hunter with revenge boiling in his gut, and those who think she might just be a prize worth owning for various assorted reasons, none of them good.

This novel is not for those of weak knees or stomach. There are moments of brutality. However, this is a page turning, plot twisting, fascinating read.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Dan Walsh's Remembering Christmas ~ Reviewed

by Dan Walsh
Published by Revell
ISBN #: 978-0-8007-1979-1
264 pages

Book Blurb:

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls on Thanksgiving weekend begging him to come home after his stepfather has a stroke, Rick is more than a little reluctant. He's never liked Art and resents the man's presence in his life, despite the fact that his own father abandoned the family when Rick was just twelve. When what was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and running off the homeless man who keep hanging about, Rick's attitude sours even more.

Still, slowly but surely, the little bookstore and its quirky patrons--as well as the lovely young woman who works at his side each day--work their magic on him, revealing to Rick the truth about his family, his own life, and the true meaning of Christmas. With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story will have readers remembering every good and perfect gift of Christmas.


This is a warm cuddly, feel good novel sure to become your next family favorite. It reminds the reader that God uses all things in our life for His Glory and our good. You may not see it at the time because of all the pain and drama but when you look back at the situation you can see the situation didn't take God by surprise. He used the event to change the course of our life. No easy task to get us to change the path we were headed down.

Rick Denton’s life is interrupted when his mom calls and ask him to fill in at the Book Nook. His step father’s in the hospital. She needs to stay with him and can’t be at the book store.

Rick ’s lived life on his own terms after his father abandoned him. He made a point to not get tangled up with his mother’s husband, so that he wouldn't get hurt again. Life was humming along nicely. He was climbing higher and higher on the corporate ladder, he didn’t have time for family, because he was on the pathway to greatness.

Now his mom tells him his step father has had an aneurysm and there was no one to run the store. His mom had never asked for much so when she tearfully asked for his help he reluctantly said he would. He got off the phone with her but hadn’t fully grasped what he just signed up for.

His parents went to church and read the books they sold at the Christian book store they ran - he didn’t! He give his mom a week. He could only take a week away from his clients! That was as much as he could sacrifice. Then when Rick gets there and realizes all he’d have to do -maybe he should reconsider. This was going to take longer than he thought.

The people that show up at the Book Nook, sure felt the need to talk to him about Art, his step father. All this talk was beyond him – he had work to do. No time for chit-chat, didn't they see he had a business to run?

“The Book Nook seems more like an enchanted cottage than a bookstore. A harbor from the cares of life!” Rick was beginning to see why his parents loved their business so much.

Dan’s characters were endearing and I was drawn to them instantly. I enjoyed the fact that most of this novel took place inside a small sweet book store, and last but not least I liked the way this author showed how only God can bring the miracle of Christmas to our lives. He’s the light in our heart that shines for the whole world to see! This is a novel that will get you in the Christmas Spirit on so many levels. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Monday, December 05, 2011

Rose McCauley's Nick's Christmas Carol ` Christmas Bells of Georgia ~ Reviewed

“Nick’s Christmas Carol”
By Rose Allen McCauley
Published by Barbour
ISBN# 978-1-61626-480-2
350 Pages

Back Cover:

They were sisters once—identical quadruplets—given up for adoption at birth. Now each receives a letter advising her to claim her inheritance and the family she never knew. . .at Christmas. Holly feels betrayed when she learns she’s adopted, while Carol prays for a loving family. Starr thinks it’s all a hoax, and Noelle needs a break from a hopeless situation. There are more surprises in store as each young woman gets just the gift she wants—and needs. You’ll be warmed by love in these interwoven tales of the ultimate Christmas gift. . . .


Rose Allen McCauley pens a sweet, heart-warming story that will help you catch the Christmas Spirit! I enjoyed reading about her main female character, Carol Peterson, who learns four months before Christmas she is one of four identical quadruplets. They are all schedule to meet on Christmas day! Carol’s been an only child and is excited as the aspect of meeting her siblings.

Carol’s adoptive parents have money so she’s grown up in privilege. Carol Peterson has always known she was adopted but she had no idea she was part of a big family that got split up. This meeting was an exciting and scary gift! How would her sisters feel about her? Would they all get along?

In the search for her family she runs into Nick Powers, a boy from her past. A boy she didn’t treat very nice and made fun of even! Would he remember her and the way she treated him that summer?

Oh, Nick remembers Carol alright, the rich brat who mistreated him that summer in front of all those kids. How could he forget? He’s become a Christian and is learning to forgive and forget. Turn the other cheek. Maybe she’s changed.

It surprised them both at how they felt when they saw each other again. What surprised them both was the fact they had so much in common and enjoyed each others company. Things were different alright! What were they going to do about this? Nick starts to view Carol as a woman he could spend his life with but he struggles with feeling worthy of her love. Carol thinks Nick is her soul mate and just adores his large family after having dinner at his Aunt and Uncles house. What would her parents think?

I live in Georgia so this book was extra enjoyable for me to read because of all the places that Rose talks about in her books. I was filled with delight as I read about Nick and Carol join forces and creativity as they adopt a family for Christmas. They will celebrate with them the 12 days of Christmas. They are very creative about what they give this family and how they give them these gifts every day!

Each story in this compilation is about one of the four quads and how they react to the news that they have identical siblings and will be meeting them at Christmas. It’s definitely a time to rejoice! Do you want to read a story that will make your heart glow, and bring a smile to your face? I suggest this story and the 3 other ones in the four in one collection, titled Christmas Belles of Georgia.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Donita K. Paul's Dragons onf the Watch ~ Reviewed

By Donita Paul
Published by: WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)
ISBN# 978-1400073412
400 Pages

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Trapped in a forgotten city, bound by secrets, Ellie and Bealomondore must enlist the dragons of the watch to find freedom.

Ellie knows exactly where she is going. She just wants to experience the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding, then settle into a simple life with a country husband.

With too many choices, Bealomondore’s future is a tangle of possibilities. He is respected, well-known, and admired among the elite of Chiril, but Wulder demands he narrow his focus and follow his Creator, one step at a time.

Both Ellie and Bealomondore’s plans are thwarted when they find themselves lost in an isolated city. As they discern the needs of a group of wild children and a very old man, clues began to surface and a bigger picture is revealed. With the help of the dragons of the watch, can the two tumanhofers find the way out—and perhaps discover their connection to something greater than themselves?


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Dragon tale, the only other book by Donita that I’d read was an enchanted Christmas story that I adored. I soon was captivated by how Donita painted a magical world her characters played in. I felt a similar way that C.S. Lewis did when he created Narnia for his book series. Both are allegory stories pertaining to God’s preeminence and how He cares for us all. Each story has their unique characters that the reader will adore and a magical land they grow to love. Each of the stories have interesting names. Although I did find Donita’s names a bit more challenging and would never read this story out loud because I’d never be able to pronounce them! Grin!

Ellicinderpart Clarenbessipawl sees the invitations that arrive at the house and knows what it says because her grandfather has taught her to read. It’s an invitation to the royal wedding and coronation of Princess Tipper and Prince Tayrus. She dreams of going to the event but doesn’t see how that will happen until her Aunt Tiffenbeth and Uncle Stemikenjon agree to escort Ellie to the grand event.

I was thrilled for Ellie until her goat Tak shows up and the Aunt and Uncle tell her she had to take it to the neighbors’ house before she can join them. They head off with instructions on several stops they could meet up at. I thought it was sad and strange that they would send a young one off on her own with a goat and make plans to join up with her later. Why didn’t they all go together?

Another thing that struck me was that Ellie followed their directions without one complaint at all. She took it as her lot in life. I get more complaints from my kids by just asking them to take out the garbage. But I guessed she was confident she knew the way and would catch up with her aunt and Uncle in time. I know that I get turned around with road signs and maps. Here Ellie was going there was no such thing. She was in a strange new town and knew her way around it. I have a friend that can do that! Wow!

But as I suspected Ellie might do, she takes a wrong turn and ends up in a land with dragons and large, unruly children that are all six years old. How strange is that? I didn’t see Ellie getting out of this mess in time to join up with her Aunt and Uncle and making the Royal event. I was disappointed for Ellie but was drawn into this strange new world and thrilled she ran into Bealomondore, along with some other colorful characters I adored. I felt compassion for Ellie and rooted for her as she faced so many challenges with such a patient spirit. I admired her.

Wulder is a Yahweh - God character in the story – like Aslan in C.S. Lewis story but different, but just like the Narnia series it brings parts of the bible and attributes of God to life and the reader can experience them in a dramatic arena, that’s entertaining and powerful! I was caught up in the efforts of Ellie and Bealomondore to escape the mysterious city they were trapped in. This author whisked me into her magical world hook line and sinker. It’s full of adventure, action and intrigue. This is one entertaining story with a deeper meaning the whole family will enjoy!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vicki McDonough's Long Trail Home ~ Reviewed

Vicki McDonough
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802405851


The Long Trail Home is third in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.When Riley Morgan returns home after fighting in the War Between the States, he is excited to see his parents and fiancee again. But he soon learns that his parents are dead and the woman he loved is married. He takes a job at the Wilcox School for the blind just to get by. He keeps his heart closed off but a pretty blind woman, Annie, threatens to steal it. When a greedy man tries to close the school, Riley and Annie band together to fight him and fall in love.But when Riley learns the truth about Annie, he packs and prepares to leave the school that has become his home and the woman who has thawed his heart. Will he change his mind and find the love he craves' Or will stubbornness deprive him from the woman he needs' Through painful circumstances, Riley and Annie learn that the loving and sovereign hand of God cannot be thwarted.


Long Trail Home is about a young man named Riley Morgan. When he returns home after fighting in the Civil War, he finds that his family is dead and his fiancée has married another man. When trying to figure out what to do next, he decides to take a temporary job at the Wilcox School for the Blind. While there, he meets a young woman named Annie. She came to the school at age 11 after her Pick-Pocketing father abandons her. What Riley doesn’t know is that Annie isn’t really blind…she has only been pretending to be blind so that she could stay at the school. As the story unfolds, they develop feelings for each other, but both are afraid to actually admit it.

This was such a wonderful story. I loved watching Annie’s journey, as she grows from a girl forced to steal for her father’s approval, to a young woman, convicted of her sins by a traveling pastor. And Riley’s journey from being bitter about the death of his family to opening his heart to the Lord again is wonderful to read as well. This book is a great read and highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stephen Lawhead's The Skin Map ~ Reviewed

By Stephen R Lawhead
Published by Thomas Nelson
403 Pages

Back Cover:

Kit Livingstone's great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story--the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.

But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . . but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.

Enter the ultimate treasure hunt--with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.


Kit Livingstone and his girlfriend (only because he didn’t have the time to find another) Wilhelmina are watching life pass them by. Until one day Kit is in the middle of a day where everything is going wrong, he starts to walk because the transit system is not working and is caught up in a storm. When things settle he runs into a man who says he’s his great-grand father. How could that be? He’d never met this man before. He turns to flee when Cosimo tells him, “I need your help with a project. It will be the adventure of a life time – of several lifetimes. But it will change yours forever.” Cosimo has discovered a way to travel through space, time and alternate universes using ley lines, which are forces of energy that are intersections between worlds.

Kit doesn’t know what to think. Was this real or a dream? He has to go home and sort this out. Cosimo lets him. He needs a willing partner who believes in the search for the Skin Map which will lead them to “the secret of the universe or something even more significant and momentous? He told Kit.” Should he join the quest to find the Skin Map? He gathered that it’s a treasure map everyone wants because it’s the road map to the ley-lines. What would he do?

Thanks to BookSneeze® who provided me with a complimentary copy of this amazing audio book. The man reading had a British accent and read with so much expression and created different voices for the many characters I felt as if I was there. The reader brought The Skin Map to life for me. It was a very unique experience. I really enjoyed. I've never read anything so riveting and illuminating as The Skin Map. Stephen Lawhead is a brilliant and imaginative writer. I liked his well timed sense of humor and his quirky characters. I liked his main characters and his sub-characters some are compassionate, quick witted and others are full of surprises.

The author starts the story in current time and whisks them back to Sept 1666 where life is quite primitive. The time travel is through ley lines. Kit is dropped into Cosimo and Sir Henry's world this way. They both keep Kit in the dark about their search for treasure. The author reveals things to Kit and the reader at the same time. I liked that but poor Kit gets in trouble because he doesn't understand the rules and what this mission is all about. I was so captivated by the adventure and search for the skin map, time travel, and them running from the bad guys I felt as if I might run into Kit during my daily routine. They were that believable.

I could see this series as an amazing big screen movie. This author did a great job of creating visual scenes and a setting I could picture and feel part of. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. These books are a little expensive because they are in hard back but I’m telling you they are worth every dollar you spend to read this master story teller. I highly recommend this great adventure.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deborah Malone's Death in Dahlonega ~ Reviewed

By Deborah Malone
Published by Lamppost Inc
ISNB 13: 978-1-60039-190-3

A friendly adventure turns to murder and mayhem in the north Georgia mountains. Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked to cover Gold Rush Days in the picturesque Georgia mountain town, Dahlonega. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along.

Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum - the very man she'd had a run in with earlier that day - holding a bloody pickax in her hands. Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer?

In this fun cozy mystery, Malone sets you down in the heart of Dahlonega, GA, the seat of the country's first gold rush. Rich in ambiance, and quirky characters, it's a delightful read. Novel Rocket and I recommend it.

Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pamela Meyers's Thyme for Love ~ Reviewed

Thyme for Love
By Pamela S. Meyers
Published by Oak Tara
ISBN 978-1-60290-302-9

April Love has always dreamed of being a chef. But she didn't expect a former fiancé or murder to be part of the recipe for her new job.

When April Love signs on to be an in-house chef at an old lakeside mansion in Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, she comes face to face with her long-lost love, the drop-dead gorgeous Marc Throne. It doesn't take long for their old magnetism to recharge, but how can she trust a guy who left her nearly at the altar eight years earlier? Her gut tells her something has happened to Marc in between—something he's reluctant to reveal.

When April's boss is murdered, Marc is accused of the crime. Unless April can find out who really killed Ramon Galvez, her chances for love will end up at the county jail. But someone else is just as determined she not solve the mystery ... and will go to any length to stop her.

Endorsements for Thyme for Love:

"Thyme for Love is a compelling romance with unique characters that will live on in your hearts long after you turn the last page." ~ Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor, Novel Rocket

"Fresh, clever, witty, real. That rare romance that leaps to 3-D life and keeps you enraptured—and guessing." ~ Tammy Barley, award winning author of The Sierra Chronicles, Exec Ed., WorldTalk Internaitonal Christian books, Destination: Earth magazine.

"Great food and a murder are all the rage today for haute cuisine. I'm looking forward to the adventures!" ~ Bonnie S. Calhoun, Publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, author of Cooking the Books.

"A romantic mystery, full of twists, turn, fancy cooking, a hunky hero, and a heroine who doesn't take no for an answer." ~ Cynthia Hickey, author of the Summer Meadows Mysteries and Unraveling Love.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Susan Page Davis's Captive Trail ~ Reviewed

Susan Page Davis
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802405843


The Captive Trail is second in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own. Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family's teepee. The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station. They come across a woman who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu identity. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas, and the two end up defending the mission station. Through Taabe and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.


Captive Trail is about a young white woman named Taabe Waipu who was kidnapped at a young age from her family by a band of Comanche’s. Though she is forced to forget the white man’s ways, as she grows up, there is a yearning in her heart to find her real family, though she can’t remember them. After several years, she finds the courage to take a horse and escape. When an accident happens along the way, she is rescued by a group of nuns that are settling in the area to start a school for girls, and a Mail Company driver named Ned Bright. As the nuns begin to nurse her back to health and learn to communicate with her, Taabe also finds that she is falling for Ned Bright, and Ned is feeling the same. Ned is determined to help her find her family, while trying to keep her safe from the Comanche, whom Taabe knows will be coming for her.

It took me a little while to get into this book. It was very interesting, though. I enjoyed seeing how quickly Taabe was able to begin picking up the English language again. It amazed me how much she had forgotten over her years with the Comanche. However, her determination to find her family again was admirable, especially with the trials she faced in trying to escape.

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Monday, November 21, 2011

Melody Carlson's The Christmas Shoppe ~ Reviewed

By Melody Carlson
Published by: Revell
ISBN #: 978-0-8007-1926-5
168 Pages

About Book:

The small town of Parrish Springs is not ready for Matilda Honeycutt. A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town's quaint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn't fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing.


I’ve enjoyed several of Melody Carlson’s Christmas books and this one is no exception. The Christmas Shoppe reminded me of of two things, one the movie with Johnny Depp called Chocolat, where a mother and daughter set up a chocolate shop in a small town in France and also a book called The Legend of the Candy Cane, where a man comes to town and opens a mysterious shop that turns out to be a candy shop. In each of these stories the whole town watches in anticipation to see what the shop owner will sell.

Melody’s story starts out in a similar way, the whole town is intrigued at what kind of store will open in their small town of Parrish Springs. Matilda Honeycutt is setting up shop and doesn't want to tell just yet what type of shop she has in mind. “Matilda has a little something for each one of them (towns people) sitting on her cluttered shelves, just waiting to be discovered.”

Everyone speculates and wonders what is behind the papered-up windows and locked doors! The town counsel is watching and wants to make sure Matilda follows the rules. She has to follow strict guidelines. When she is cornered about these rules and would she comply with them, she asks the board her own questions and confronts Rose “The secret value of this treasure is impossible to measure-what do you think peace is worth Rose? Impossible to measure?”

Rose ponders that idea and leaves Matilda alone. She talks to another, “Please don’t turn down a gift, George. You might not get another chance. Today is here. It’s yours for the taking! Please, just take it?”

It’s an easy read that helps you see the gifts only God can provide! Definitely a warm, fuzzy, feel good novel with a few twists and subtle messages for the characters and you to ponder. This was a sweet tale that helps the reader catch the spirit of Christmas.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Friday, November 18, 2011

MaryLu Tyndall's Surrender the Dawn ~ Reviewed

Surrender the Dawn
Book 3 in Surrender to Destiny Series
By MaryLu Tyndall
Barbour Publishing

Review by Michelle Griep

When the war of 1812 robs Cassandra Channing of her father and brothers, she must find a way to support her mother and younger siblings without being forced to marry a man she does not love. Determined to remain independent, she hires a privateer, captained by the town rogue.

Tortured by guilt over his parents’ death, Luke Heaton spends his time drinking and gambling. When Cassandra offers him enough money to fix up his ship, he sees an opportunity to redeem his reputation and help the lady he has loved from afar. Things go well until the British blackmail him into selling supplies to their ships> Still Luke cannot allow Cassandra’s family to be tossed on the streets.

When Cassandra begins to suspect Luke’s nefarious activities, she is heartbroken. Hoping to prove her suspicions wrong, she sets out to catch him in the act. But what she doesn’t expect is to get caught up in a massive British invasion…and one of the most decisive battles of the war where lives, liberty, and the future of a nation are at stake.

Whewie…hold onto your bonnets ladies because this is one wild ride! Surrender the Dawn is the third and last installment in the Surrender to Destiny Series and it’s by far my favorite, for so many reasons.

First off, I love how at the end the reader gets to see previous scenes from earlier books in other character’s perspectives. What an intricate weave of plot author MaryLu Tyndall ties together.

Secondly, what’s not to love about hero Luke Heaton? This is one bad boy lead character who’s completely irresistible. Besides the fact that he’s drop-dead gorgeous, he’s got a heart as big as the sea he sails on.

And last but not least, the amount of history worked into this tale is well worth the read. I especially liked one of the last scenes where heroine Cassandra Channing is shoulder to shoulder with Francis Scott Key with the bombs bursting in air.

If you enjoy history, snappy dialogue, and lots of action, Surrender to Destiny is the series for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Laurie Alice Eakes's A Necessary Deception ~ Reviewed

By Laurie Alice Eakes
Published by Revell
346 Pages

Back Cover:

When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entré into London society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting her family in danger?

Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.


Laurie Eakes whisks the reader into 1812 – London Society – into the Regency Era. It’s a world filled with drawing rooms, masquerade balls and a time when women were presented into society in hopes of a marriage proposal.

This author knows her stuff and brings historical richness to the story I adored. It was fun to read about the social rules for women to keep their reputation pure. It was also interesting how most of these rules didn’t apply to widows and how most of these rules could be used to trap a man or women into an unwanted marriage proposal in order to keep a woman’s reputation in tact.

Widow, Lady Lydia Gale, age twenty-six was trying to find where she fit into society. She wasn’t married long when her husband was killed in the war. Lydia made her sisters her focus. She wanted them to have a better marriage opportunity than she had so she worked hard to make sure things were set up elegantly in order to be presented into society properly.

In the middle of her preparations, Lady Lydia went on a secret mission to repay a kindness shown her husband before his death. In order to do that Lady Lydia had to go places most ladies would never been seen. The first line in the novel says, “Entrée into the prison proved easy for Lady Lydia Gale.” I was hooked from the start..

Lydia was meeting Christian de Meuse, a French man, who helped her husband an Englishman, at the end of his life. This just wasn’t done. On behalf of her husband she wanted to do what she could to show she appreciated his help.

Things get crazy after she visits the prison and soon discovers Christian de Meuse could be a spy. Would she be in trouble for helping him if he turns out to be a spy? He has told her things, could she trust him?

Lady Lydia is brave, and devoted to her family. She’s willing to sacrifice what she can because she wants the best for them. She’s also self-sufficient and strong willed. She soon finds herself in predicaments that are dangerous for her and her family. She made and emotional decision that puts her life at risk, her reputation and causes her to struggle in her faith and relationship in God.

This was an intriguing story filled with mystery and reminded me a little of a T.V. series, Murder She Wrote, with Angela Landsberry, back in that time period. The novel is sweet, fun, romance Regency style, and full of twists, surprises and scandal. I’m thankful for the review copy of this book.

I enjoyed the Regency setting and the minor characters in this tale. They were delightful and enjoyed the natural spiritual thread. Stories like this make me appreciate our current time with our cars, cell phones and conveniences. It was harder to track down clues to solve the mystery back then, but people were different back then too. They paid attention to their surrounding and what people did. They weren’t obsessed with video games, and iphones. This is a fun read and I recommend this book to the historical minded and those who like a good mystery!

Reviewed by:Nora St.Laurent

Jennifer Rogers Spinola's Southern Fried Sushi ~ Reviewed

By Jennifer Rogers Spinola
Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-61626-364-5

Back Cover:

Ride the rollercoaster of Shiloh Jacobs’s life as her dreams derail, sending her on a downward spiral from the heights of an AP job in Tokyo to penniless in rural Virginia. Trapped in a world so foreign to her sensibilities and surrounded by a quirky group of friends, will she break through her hardened prejudices before she loses those who want to help her? Can she find the key to what changed her estranged mother’s life so powerfully before her death that she became a different woman—and can it help Shiloh too?


Southern Fried Sushi is an intriguing combination of Tokyo, with its fast-paced lifestyle and elbow-to-elbow high rises, and the calm and peaceful lifestyle of America’s south. Shiloh’s life is an odd mixture of both, although she’s most comfortable amidst the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Or so she thinks, until a family tragedy sends her to a quaint town in Virginia. The fried food, collard greens, and mushy bread aren’t quite what she expected, but the people she meets along the way add palatability to her trip. Even draw her. This unexpected trip challenges her to see things and people differently, including her deceased, estranged mother.

I enjoyed Jennifer’s spunky writing and I found the dual settings unique. It was also fun to learn about Japanese culture, especially from one of their younger members. However, at times I felt this was overdone and forced. Personally, I found all the foreign words, which were often followed by definitions, distracting, but I imagine those intrigued by other cultures will enjoy this aspect of the novel. My interest wasn’t piqued until about forty pages in as much of the beginning presented conversations over various foods and other details that didn’t seem to contribute to the story. There were intriguing conflicts sprinkled in the early chapters, like Shiloh’s boyfriend troubles and a nearly missed deadline. However, I felt the long discourse offered in between detracted from the story. Once we got to Virginia, I caught a glimpse of Shiloh’s true struggles and began to empathize with her.

Those who enjoy lighter fiction that centers on unique locations will love Southern Fried Sushi.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery