Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Emily Wierenga's A Promise in Pieces ~ Reviewed

A Promise in Pieces
Emily T Wierenga
Series: Quilts of Love
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (April 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426758855

A small gift, a simple promise, a life forever changed It’s been more than fifty years since Clara cared for injured WWII soldiers in the Women’s Army Corp. Fifty years since she promised to deliver a dying soldier’s last wish. And fifty years since that soldier’s young widow gave her the baby quilt—a grief-ridden gift that would provide hope to countless newborns in the years to come. On her way to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Clara decides it’s time to share her story. Little does she know she will re-gift the quilt one more time—to a recipient who, perhaps, is most deserving of all.


A Promise In Pieces is about a woman named Clara Wilson.  While on a road trip with her whole family to meet an old friend, she begins to tell her life story to her grandson.  Clara served in WWII as a nurse, much to the frustration of her family.  She returns from the Army Nurse Corps to deliver a dying soldier’s last wish, a note stating his love for his young bride, Mattie, which Clara wrote for him while he dictated before he passed away.  As Clara tries to settle back in to a normal life and deal with her own post-war trauma, she decides to use a quilt Mattie had given her, which was to be a baby quilt for her own children, to honor the sacrifices of the soldiers and their families. 
This was a wonderful book, and really kept my interest.  Just when the back story would get interesting, the author would cut back to the present to let us know what was going on while Clara was relating the story to her family.  I really enjoyed watching her character progress, and seeing the struggles she went through, and how her faith in God was restored. 

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Bonus Review: 

Emily T Wierenga's debut novel, A Promise in Pieces, grabbed hold of my heart and didn't let go until I read "The End," and even then, the characters have lingered in my mind. Well-written, this touching story will leave you wanting more from this talented new author. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation. It's a 5-star must read.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stu Summers's Summers' Love ~ Reviewed

Summers' Love, A Cute and Funny Cinderella Love Story
by Stu Summers (Author)
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (April 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938499204


Following the collapse of her interior design business, Kate Winston moves to Georgetown with hopes of making it as a sales rep for Tasmania, a company selling personal protection devices for women. With rapes, robberies, and domestic violence on the rise, the nation's capital is a ripe market. But Kate's stun gun party implodes when her guests demand she sweeten the deal by providing autographed copies of In Heat, the latest best-selling novel by Stu Summers. With creditors breathing down her neck, Kate drives to Page Me Bookstore, where adoring fans clamor for a picture with the New York Times sexy and single romance writer. 

Stu expects the flirty smiles and women fawning praise, but when his editor phones to inform Stu that his latest manuscript failed to impress the publishing board, his carefully crafted career begins to unravel. Stu has one week to deliver a complete rewrite that meets his readers' demanding standards. And he would if only he could write. But he can't. Not a lick. 

For years Stu has paid a church secretary to ghostwrite his novels. Only now Hattie May Hall feels God calling her to write paranormal prairie Amish thrillers with an evangelical, Western twist. With Stu's career on the line and Kate's big sale in jeopardy, an unlikely pair of hearts collide, providing a shocking climax at the world's biggest stun gun ball.


When I read that Stu Summers had written himself - or his name - into Summer's Love, I frankly didn't know quite what to expect. Still, I read on. His humor and a delightful story drew me. Then came the twist I didn't expect. And so much more. Summer's Love is definitely not your normal romance. It's a love story at its best. One with a perfect ending. If you like romance, you will definitely love Summer's Love. Novel Rocket and I give it a high recommendation.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Robin Lee Hatcher's A Promise Kept ~ Reviewed

A Promise Kept
Robin Lee Hatcher
Pages 304
Binding Softcover
Release Date Dec 1, 2013
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1401687652


God was going to save her marriage, Allison was sure of it. But neither her husband nor her marriage had been saved.
What had become of His promise?

Tony Kavanagh had been Allison's dream-come-true. They were in love within days, engaged within weeks, married and pregnant within a year. Her cup bubbled over with joy . . . but years later, that joy had been extinguished by unexpected trials.

The day Allison issued her husband an ultimatum, she thought it might save him. She never expected he would actually leave. She was certain God had promised to heal; it was clear that she'd misunderstood.

Now, living in the quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single, self-reliant Great Aunt Emma, Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small town life. But when she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma's attic, a portrait of her aunt emerges that takes Allison completely by surprise: a portrait of a heartbroken woman surprisingly like herself.

As Allison reads the incredible story of Emma's life in the 1920s and 1930s, she is forced to ask a difficult question: Does she really surrender every piece of her life to the Lord?

Drawing from her own heart-wrenching story of redemption, "A Promise Kept" is Robin Lee Hatcher's emotionally charged thanksgiving to a God who answers prayers--in His own time and His own ways.


A Promise Kept tells us about Allison Kavanagh.  After marrying Tony, the love of her life, she thought life would be perfect.  But shortly after her marriage, she realizes a secret he’s been hiding, his love for alcohol.  While not a violent drunk, his addiction drives a wedge between himself and Allison.  Allison finally delivers an ultimatum, trusting that Tony would turn things around and God would save her marriage, but Tony did not agree and left.  Allison moves herself to a quiet mountain cabin that she inherited from her Great Aunt Emma.  As she settles into the house, she finds several journals that belonged to her aunt, as well as an old wedding dress, which was a mystery, because, as far as the family knew, Aunt Emma had never married.  As Allison begins to read the journals, she realizes how much alike she and her aunt were, and she learns the true importance of laying everything at the Lord’s feet and trusting Him for the outcome.
This was a great story.  I loved the idea of Allison retreating to live in a cabin in the mountains.  I could picture it in my mind, and imagine it being somewhere I’d love to live.  I also related to the fact that Allison had plans all laid out and figured that God planned on keeping them just the way Allison wanted, and when something went wrong, it caused Allison to question herself and how in tune she was with the Lord’s will.  I’ve found myself in that position several times, so it was nice to see her and how she came out in the end.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Creston Mapes's Sky Zone ~ Reviewed

By Creston Mapes
Published by David C. Cook
400 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: A rally for a controversial presidential candidate. 
A terrorist threat.
A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions.

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn’t making matters any easier.

With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives—and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

This third book in The Crittendon Filesreminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith—and why we are never in as much control as we think. 

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book I just couldn’t put down. This is a nail biting suspense drama that’s all too real. It reminded me of two movies Airforce One with Harrison Ford, from a political point of view with the danger and on the edge suspense. The other movie was Die Hard with Bruce Willis because of all the people on the inside he trying to save people from the bad guys. A few insiders were the eyes and ears for the police outside which created dramatic tension. 

This story picks up about where the last book leaves off. Jack Crittendon finds it hard to obtain full time work so he is working part-time as a security person at the Columbus Festival Arena. His wife Pamela has had to go back to work full-time as Administrative assistant to a local orthodontist office to make ends meet. Both of them hate their situations since she’s now expecting their third child. 

When Jack gets to work he discovers that singer Everett and Senator Martin Sterling will be at the Arena that night, which meant this place was going to be hopping.  He works with Shakespeare who’s x-military and takes pride in arming himself and family for a collapse of America’s economy. They both think of strategies for tonight’s crowd. 

Shakespeare shares the reason for his life style and possible disaster forecast for America with Jack, “You control individuals with guns and weapons, like Hitler did, but you control the population with food….If food is cut off you have chaos, societal bedlam. Pillaging. Theft. Gang of looters. What do you do then?” He wanted Jack to start preparing for this event now like him and his family were. 

Shakespeare went on to tell him about the Get Home Bag. “It’s a bag of necessities you keep in your car in case the mud hits the fan while you’re away from home. It’s got everything you need to get you home – then you can decide whether you are going to bug out or hunker down –  I can show you mine. You’ll need a SRL too – Survival Retreat location. It’s when home base is no longer good. It’s when there’s complete breakdown of society with people starving and panic, looting from house to house…You’ve got to bug out because every house, barn, store and building will be searched for food and supplies.” 

“Jack and his wife had been to Shakespeare and his wife’s survival camp (home), it was astounding.”
Jack liked his friend but who had time to think about all this much less do it. But he’d be polite and listen. 
There’s a call on the radio for both of them to report to the office. There they hear the news that homeland security has picked up a threat of a possible attack at the Arena that night. His boss was deciding whether to cancel the event or delay opening so they could search the place to make sure it was safe for their visitors. One of the workers says to the boss, “We did a full sweep last night after the hockey game just like always.” This was a 12,000 seat venue. 
“You know as well as I do that if someone wanted to spend the night in this building they could. If these guys are pros and this things been planned out, they could have been hanging from the ceiling like bats for all we know. There are plenty of places to hide. I say they’re in here now and we should evacuate.” 
Time was ticking down for the arrival of baby number three. Pam had been a stay at home mom for all of their kids. That’s where her heart was and where Jack wanted her to be too; home with their new born. She couldn’t believe God wasn't making that happen.

I highly recommend you prepare time to really enjoy this book; it’s one you can’t put down once you start.  Mapes writing shines in his best novel to date. Don't miss this riveting, page-turning thriller that will have you up late reading the dramatic, satisfying conclusion of an all too real scenario. 

Reviewed by: Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
Finding Hope Through Fiction  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mona Hodgson's The Quilted Heart ~ Reviewed

Mona Hodgson
Pages 400
Binding Softcover
Release Date Jan 21, 2014
Series Quilted Heart
ISBN 0307731146


Like a beautiful patchwork quilt, the three novellas in The Quilted Heart tell stories of lives stitched together with love and God's unending grace. 
Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all experienced heartache related to the intense hardships of the Civil War, and together, they are facing their painful circumstances with friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God's grace?                 


The Quilted Heart follows three young women in St. Charles, Missouri.  All have been through different experiences during the Civil War, but become friends through a quilting circle held once a week. Maren Jensen took a job At Elsa Brantenberg’s home after being rejected as a mail-order bride due to her impending blindness.  She is content at the moment to help Elsa at her home, as well as to help her raise her granddaughter, Gabi.  When Gabi’s father, “Wooly,” returns after disappearing when Gabi’s mother died, Maren finds herself hoping for a chance at love.  Emilie Heinrich helps her father run the town general store. While her father insists she continue her education at a local Ladies’ college, Emilie is content to stay home and take care of her father.  In the meantime, she is reacquainted with childhood friend, Quaid, and comes to realize she may want more out of life than running her father’s general store.  Then, there’s Caroline, whose husband was killed in the Civil War.  She isn’t sure where to go from here with her life, until Garrett Cowlishaw comes into town.  She never thought she could love another again, but as she gets to know Garrett, she finds she’s having a change of heart. 
This was a great book.  I loved how each story was separate, but all three were tied together at the same time.  The characters were so likeable.  I found I was excited to keep reading to see what happened next. 

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Connie Almony's At the Edge of a Dark Forest ~ Reviewed

By Connie Almony
Pages: 80
Release Date: February 17, 2014
Publisher: Createspace
ISBN: 978-1495452178

Back Cover:
Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams. Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become. At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.

In an effort to help save her father’s company while bettering the life of amputees, Carly Rose moves into the lavish home of an angry, liquor guzzling war veteran. She understands post traumatic stress disorder, and though her understanding helps, she still finds it quite difficult to help a man who not only appears to not want her there, but who seems to take great pleasure in mocking her when the chance arises. If not for her love for and loyalty to her father, she might leave… except the hints of sorrow she sees in his eyes compel her to stay. But how can she help bent on self-destruction?

As Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, I clamored to read this modern day telling of the story. I expected to enjoy it, but I must say, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I found myself, on many nights, staying up much later than I should to read just one more chapter, then one more, then one more. Ms. Almony wrote with a depth and authenticity that gripped, flayed, and encouraged my heart—depending on the scene I was reading.

What struck me most was her skill at characterization. She did a masterful job with Cole, the gruff, wounded, yet tender hearted war veteran, revealing his personality through each piece of dialogue and flitting thought. His actions, word choices, and perceptions all pointed to a cohesive and dynamic individual I could easily visualize. Contrasted with the sweet, quiet, yet focused and determined Carly Rose, who was also masterfully crafted and revealed, Cole appeared all the more masculine and unique.

I was equally impressed with how Ms. Almony revealed Cole’s inner struggle as a former soldier who was now so dependent on others for even the most menial of tasks. I felt, it seemed, the entire spectrum of human emotions as through his experiences of being hopeful for increased independence, fearful of his inner demons, terrified of failure, terrified more of allowing hope to blossom only to have it shattered, his deep longing for love yet his distrust of it… Bravo, Ms. Almony! At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a brilliant story of love, hope, and deep emotional healing.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Pam Hillman's Claiming Mariah ~ Reviewed

Claiming Mariah 
By Pam Hillman
Pages 425 
Binding Softcover
Release Date Dec 1, 2013
Publisher Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN 1414389752

After her father's death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father's farm, the only home she's ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father's rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.With the ranch now under Slade's careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until the rest of the Donovan clan arrives at the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed changes their futures forever.


Claiming Mariah is about a young woman named Mariah Malone.  After her father passes away, she sends a letter to an old acquaintance of her father’s, not realizing what would come of it.  When Slade Donovan shows up at Mariah’s door, she has no idea what she’s in for.  She is told that her father stole what belonged to Slade’s Father, and that, in fact, Mariah’s ranch actually belonged to the Donovan family.  Slade and his brother, Buck begin to take over, while Slade allows Mariah and her Grandmother to stay there until his mother and sisters come.  Mariah has to work hard to trust the Lord to work the situation out, while Slade is relying on his own strength to make things work.  While Slade and Mariah are struggling to get along, it is discovered that thievery and betrayal is about on the ranch.  Top this off with Mariah and Slade’s growing feelings for each other that they aren’t willing to admit, and you’ve got a great story!
I enjoyed this book.  I admired Mariah, who, after losing her father, has to deal with the fact that a stranger is coming to take her home, leaving her with nothing.  Yet she works hard at trusting the Lord through it all.  It just goes to show that God knows our circumstances and that He can work all things together for good.  The trusting part is the hard part, but it’s worth it.  

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers