Thursday, December 29, 2016

Travis Thrasher's Awe ~ Reviewed

By Travis Thrasher
2016
Lucas Lane Publishers
 0996474714



BACK COVER:

THE MYSTERY ONLY DEEPENS. After his best friend disappears and his girlfriend abandons him, Brandon finds himself alone with few answers about what's happening in the small town of Appleton. Nobody knows the whereabouts of Devon, so Brandon decides to get the help of a private investigator who warns him of bad things ahead. At every possible turn, Brandon seems to meet a roadblock. With Marvel's dangerous uncle, Carlos. With the mysterious Otis Sykes. Even with Marvel herself. What darkness awaits them as the story unfolds? The third in The Books of Marvella series after Marvelous and Wonder. Watch for the final book, Glory.

MY REVIEW:

Gah! Be forewarned: this one leaves you hanging in a beautiful yet must-have-the-next-book kind of way.

In usual Thrasher style, the writing of Awe is quick-paced yet connects you to the characters so much, you feel like you're one of them. Brandon and Marvel's relationship is so right and so wrong at the same time. Without giving any spoilers, there are a lot of answers in this 3rd installment of the Marvella series, but not all -- and even leaves you with a few new what-the-heck's by the time you close the book.

God's love is clearly portrayed through story in this dynamic sequel to Marvel and Wonder. If you haven't read the first 2 books, don't start here. Snatch those up and then grab this one.

And then join me with my nose pressed against the glass door of the bookstore while waiting for the next one!

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Johnnie Alexander's When Love Arrives ~ Reviewed


WHEN LOVE ARRIVES
Johnnie Alexander
  • Series: Misty Willow (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800726413


Description: 

An Unlikely Couple Struggles to Reconcile the Burdens of Their Past
Dani Prescott came to the children's hospital to spy on Brett Somers--so how did she end up on a date with him? Weeks earlier she'd seen an interview in which he blamed her mother for the plane crash that had killed his parents. But the crash had killed her mother as well, so Dani can't believe the story Brett's trying to sell to the media.

Vowing to find a way to discredit the privileged--and maddeningly handsome--Brett, Dani has been following him and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use against him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself offering up a fake name and agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something--but he's got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is? Will Dani and Brett look beyond their own heartaches to discover a love that could heal their deepest pain?

Fresh, flirty, and fast-paced, When Love Arrives is an engaging story that will have readers falling in love with the characters as they navigate the tricky waters between romance and revenge.

Review:

When Love Arrives is book number two in the Misty Willow Series. We learned about Brett Somers in Where She Belongs, and the story continues in this book. At the end of the last book, Brett discovers he has a young son who was in a terrible accident, and it is questionable as to whether he will live. Brett's life has taken quite a turn. He's gone from being a selfish womanizer, to a person who realizes he isn't the only one that exists! In the mean time, a young woman named Dani, has sought him out, initially to hurt him for things he said about her mother. But a chance meeting between Brett and Dani takes a turn for the unexpected, and tensions build for Dani as she begins to develop feelings for Brett.

I was really excited to get his book to see how Brett's character developed. He was a bit annoying in the first book, but became more likable as it went on. You can really see the change in him in this book. Dani's was a great character as well. She was originally out for some sort of vengeance, but was able to allow her feelings to change her attitude. This was a great follow up to the first book. Can't wait for the next one.


Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Monday, November 28, 2016

Chawna Schroeder's Beast ~ Reviewed

Beast
by Chawna Schroeder
October 2016
Gilead Publishing
1683700260

BACK COVER:

I am Beast. I serve the master.

For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master's dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold she dreams of one day becoming her master's favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire.

When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers, hunting down the loners.

They are so strong, and she is only a beast . . . or is she?

For anyone who has found a monster within, Beast is a tale of truth and transformation.

MY REVIEW:

Ever doubt God loves you? Ever struggle with a lower than low self esteem? This story wrestles with those issues and is told from the perspective of an unlikely protagonist . . . a beast. But is it really a beast -- or is it you? I know, intriguing questions, right?

And a very intriguing story.

Just like life, the beast's circumstances go from bad to dire, yet has moments of kindness and seasons of love. Yet it's harder for her (yes, the beast is a female) to accept the good times instead of the bad because she feels like she is worthless. Through the efforts of a patient King and compassionate Princess, she eventually comes to see herself for what she is - a priceless creation. It's a beautiful parable of our own lives.

Chawna Schroeder's writing is fresh and well-crafted. I look forward to whatever her next book will be!

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Christine Johnson's Honor Redeemed ~ Reviewed



Honor Redeemed
Christine Johnson
Series: Keys of Promise (Book 2)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Revell (July 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800723511


Description:

Two Men Vie for Her Affection--Survival Will Depend on Choosing the Right One

Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life. Arriving penniless in the South, Prosperity is dismayed to find David married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, she gains the friendship--and the affection--of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again?

With a deft hand, Christine Johnson fills the reader's senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of Key West in this heartwarming story of honor lost, honor redeemed, and a love forged in adversity.

Review:

Honor Redeemed is book two in “The Keys of Promise” series. In this book, we follow Prosperity Jones. Her fiance left two years ago, as the army sent him to the Key West for eight years. In the meantime, both of her parents have died. Since she has nothing to hold her to Nantucket, she decides to sail to Key West to be with David. What she doesn't realize is that David has gotten himself into a compromising position, with no memory of the incident, and is forced to marry a woman of ill repute as she claims she is expecting his child. Prosperity does not get the message in time, so when she arrives at David's door, she finds he is married and soon to be a father. Since she has no where to go, she stays with some new friends and gets a job at the hospital in town. But through different events, David and Prosperity's paths keep crossing, making it hard for them to forget each other.

It had been a while since I had read book one in this series, but it didn't take too long to put things together again. The main character from book one, Elizabeth, has a decent role in this storyline, and I love how she is involved in Prosperity's life. This was such a good book, and I so admired David, even though he made a mistake, or so he thinks, he is willing to step up and make things right, even if it means giving up the love of his life. 

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sarah Sundin's Anchor in the Storm ~ Reviewed



ANCHOR IN THE STORM
Sarah Sundin
Series: Waves of Freedom (Book 2)
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Revell (May 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800723430

Description:

One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance--and Danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America's entry into World War Ii means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg's attentions only annoy--even if he is her brother's best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves--and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War Ii to life, offering readers an intense experience they won't soon forget.



Review: 

Anchor in the Storm takes place during World War II. Lillian Avery is a young woman who has studied to be a pharmacist and has persevered through many ordeals, including the loss of a leg at a young age, resulting in wearing a prosthesis. This has caused her to keep to herself and not trust any man, after a bad experience she had in college. Arch Vandenberg is best friends with Lillian's brother, Jim. He is an Ensign in the Navy, and the heir to the Vandenberg fortune, which he is trying to get away from. He has an immediate attraction to Lillian, but soon realizes that not only is she not interested in him, but the lure of his fortune means nothing to her. That is refreshing to Arch, who is used to women wanting him just for his money. Through his experiences on a Navy destroyer and Lillian's observations in the pharmacy she is working at, they discover a drug ring and attempt to work together to bring it down.

I loved this book. The storyline flowed well, the characters were great, and I loved the time period. There were some twists and turns I didn't expect that made it even more interesting, and, of course, the budding romance between Lillian and Arch. This is a great book. I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Michelle Griep's The Captive Heart ~ Reviewed

The Captive Heart
Michelle Griep
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press; Gld edition (October 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634097831


Description: 

Proper English governess Eleanor Morgan flees to the colonies to escape the wrath of a brute of an employer. When the Charles Town family she’s to work for never arrives to collect her from the dock, she is forced to settle for the only reputable choice remaining to her—marriage to a man she’s never met. Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath is a hardened survivor used to getting his own way by brain or by brawn, and he’s determined to find a mother for his young daughter. But finding a wife proves to be impossible. No upstanding woman wants to marry a murderer.


Review: 

Michelle Griep knows how to get a reader's attention from page one. We open the page to find Eleanor panicked over the worst of scenarios. She has stepped well over her position and is going to pay a consequence she cannot afford. The lesser of two evils is thrown at her like a rope to a drowning woman and she grasps hold. This rope takes her to an unknown land across a foreboding body of water and a journey through a near hell in the belly of a ship. 

When she arrives her placement evaporates and she is quickly joined in marriage to a frightening man. An angry half-wild man who is looking for a mother for his child, nothing more. Bound by societal rules she has no choice but to go with him to the virtual wilderness. Only trained to be a governess she has no training in cooking, or even the proper clothing. 

As the plot thickens, Samuel's truth is slowly revealed, as are his enemies. Eleanor is forced to protect Samuel's child from new-to-Eleanor terrors and she has to face the possibility that this little one might need protection from her own father. 

Griep can write a beast of a bad guy. Whew. And she always manages to torture her heroes. I'm not even kidding you. Every one of her novels there is a secondary character who gets a royal beating at best, or a tragic death at worst. This one is no different. People die in Griep's novels, yet it is impossible for me not to finish one. 

I loved a couple of story line's that were nice little teasers and sure hope their stories end up being shared in future books. If you love historical romance this little gem is right up your alley. Especially if you don't mind a dead character or two. Shoot. Maybe I don't want her to write the other stories, more people will die, and the townsfolk are pretty charming. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jolina Petersheim's The Alliance ~ Reviewed


The Alliance
Molina Petersheim
Series: The Alliance
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Author Signed edition (June 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1496402219

Description: 

When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it's a foreshadowing of things to come. Soon after the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won't start.

Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.

In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they're willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life.

Review: 

The Alliance takes place in an Old Order Mennonite Community. Leora Ebersole is taken aback when a small plane crashes in her community. The pilot, Moses Hughes, regains concsiousness, and realizes his plane crashed because his instruments were destroyed by a strange power outage the took out the electricity and power in all of the local stores. Not only that, the cars and cell phones of the Englishers in town were not working either. Moses, theory is that there was an EMP attack, causing the loss of all power and electricity, and that it will not come back. This results in the town and the Englischers coming together to ration food and protect their families and belongings from anyone who might come along from the cities. This ordeal tests both Leora and Moses, not only in their faith, but the struggle they have with the growing attraction they feel towards each other.

This was a very interesting storyline that I did not expect when I started the story. I guess the thing that hits home is that this is something that could realistically happen today, and it makes you wonder what will happen, how the world will react, and how we as believers are to conduct ourselves. Of course, God is sovereign over all, and we can trust him if something like this happens. However, it is a bit scary to think about. I'm hoping there is a sequel to this book as I felt like the ending was abrupt.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers


BONUS REVIEW: 

Nora St Laurent shares her thoughts here: http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-alliance-by-jolina-petersheim.html

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Suzanne Woods Fisher's The Quieting ~ Reviewed



The Quieting
Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • Series: The Bishop's Family (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080072321X

Description: 

Bestselling Author Delivers the Intrigue and Romance Fans Crave

The Stoltzfus family faces serious problems, both in the church and at home. Everyone in the community expects minister David Stoltzfus to fix things--fast. But David doesn't work fast. He prefers to wait for God to work in individual hearts. However, even he is left wondering if the solution to their most pressing problem might be a Quieting.

When David's mother arrives, uninvited, more upheaval is in store. She has matchmaking plans for everyone in the family, including David and her eligible granddaughters--and especially for David's niece Abigail. When Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem--but will it create another?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher takes fans back to Stoney Ridge, delivering the twists, turns, and romance they adore.


Review: 

The Quieting is book two in the series, “The Bishop's Family.” This book picks up where book number one leaves off. It has come out that the Bishop has been dishonest, but he refuses to acknowledge his sin, so David is at odds with how to handle the situation, as he is not a confrontational person. In the meantime, his overbearing mother decides to come help him get his life and family together. David's niece, Abigail, and her sister, Laura, also come to help. Abigail's main reason for being there is to help her father with some genealogical records of a prominent family in the district. She ends up getting help from one of the family members, Dane, and in the process, begins to have feelings for him as well. But her no nonsense logic threatens to seclude from everyone she cares about and is beginning to care about.

I was SO excited to get this book to see what happens next. I like how it picks up immediately where the other book left off, and while we began to follow some different characters, we also got to learn more about the characters from the last book and how their lives are progressing. Abigail's character was intriguing to me. She saw everything as black and white and was brutally honest in what she said, but had no tact. As the story progressed, I think she began to see that she needed to learn to think a bit before she said what she was really thinking. Can't wait to read the next one.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beth Vogt's Almost Like Being in Love ~ Reviewed



ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE
Beth K. Vogt
Series: Destination Wedding
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (June 28, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476789800


Description: 

From the author of Somebody Like You, a RITA finalist, and one of Publishers Weekly’s top ten books of 2014, comes the story of a woman who has everything for a perfect wedding—except the groom!

Winning an all-expenses paid Colorado destination wedding might seem like a dream come true for some people—but Caron Hollister and her boyfriend Alex Madison aren’t even engaged. How is she supposed to tell him she’s won their wedding and honeymoon when he hasn’t asked her to marry him? Being “perfect for one another” seems like the absolute best reason to get married. But what if their supposedly faultless relationship is merely a safe place to protect his secrets and a way to keep their families happy? After quitting her job, Caron accepts her best friend’s offer to visit Colorado. She needs to catch her breath. Who knows, maybe visiting the destination wedding site will make a future with Alex seem like a reality.

Kade Webster just landed the biggest deal of his life with his company, Webster Select Realty, participating in the Colorado Springs Tour of Homes. He never imagined he would run into the woman who broke his heart—Caron Hollister—right when his career is taking off. Seeing her again, Kade can’t help but wonder why Caron walked away from him years ago, leaving him with no explanation. When Kade learns his home stager won’t be able to help with the Tour of Homes, he vaults past all the reasons he should stay away from Caron, and offers her a temporary job helping him on the project. This time, their relationship is purely business.

Spending time with Kade has Caron questioning everything. The man intrigues her—at times infuriates her—and reminds her of what she lost. Has she been settling for what everyone expects of her? Just because others believe she and Alex are an ideal couple, does that mean they should get married? And how can Caron say “I do” to one man when she’s wondering “what if?” about another?


Review: 

Almost Like Being In Love is the next book in The Destination Wedding Series. This time, we follow Logan Hollister's sister, Caron. Everything she's done in her life up to this point has been to please her father and win his praises – even dating Alex, the son of family friends. Even to the point of breaking up with the one man she loved, Kade Webster. Kade worked for her father in Real Estate, but when he decided to branch out on his own, Caron's father wanted nothing to do with him, so Caron choose pleasing her father over Kade. But after recent decisions in his Real Estate business, Caron has quit her job with him and decides to go visit a friend in Colorado. While there, she happens to run into Kade again. After returning home to sort out her life, Kade calls to offer her a temporary job, which she decides to take. The story then follows them trying to fight their feelings for each other, and, not surprisingly, doing a poor job at it.

I really liked this story. More than Crazy Little Thing Called Love
, I think. I don't know what it was about it. Maybe seeing Caron finally break free and make a decision for herself rather than trying to please someone else. This was a great story!



Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Deb Richardson-Moore's The Cantaloupe Thief ~ Reviewed


The Cantaloupe Thief (A Branigan Powers Mystery)
by Deb Richardson-Moore 
Paperback – June 27, 2016
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1782641920


Book Description: 

A murder mystery set in NE Georgia, USA, and featuring a reporter, Branigan Powers, who is commissioned to investigate a cold case, an unsolved murder of a wealthy widow ten years previously. She enlists the help of Malachi Ezekiel Martin, a homeless man who is both a possible suspect and a possible sleuth: the idea being that homeless people get overlooked, and hence see things that are concealed from the rest of the population.  This is the first in an intended series of novels featuring Branigan, Malachi, and Branigan's friend Liam, who runs a shelter for the homeless.

Review: 

First can I say that this book description is painfully dry? 

I received this novel randomly from the publisher and picked it up to decide whether or not to read and review it or send it on down the road. I get books I don't ask for and review maybe ten percent. Fortunately, I have others near me who love to read and some who review so that's where most of them go. 

I kept The Cantaloupe Thief after opening it and getting hooked early on. I'm really glad I did. There are two solid mysteries in the novel, and many, many possibilities for the culprit or culprits. I like that, there is not much more disappointing then figuring out whodunnit in chapter two. I did not and was leaning a whole different direction for much of the story. Definitely a win in the mystery department. I also liked the characters, setting and overall feel of the story. A great, solid four-star read for sure. Since this is book one of a series I'll look forward to more. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Irene Hannon's Sea Rose Lane ~ Reviewed



SEA ROSE LANE
Irene Hannon
Series: Hope Harbor
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell (June 7, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800727541

Three-Time RITA Winner Invites Readers Back to the Captivating Coastal Town of Hope Harbor 
After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to the town where he grew up--only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed & breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he's constantly distracted by noise, chaos--and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect and construction chief who's invaded the house with her motley crew.

As for BJ, her client's son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn't high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces to create a program for Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?

Three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon takes readers back to Hope Harbor for a new season of charm, romance, and second chances.

Review:

Sea Rose Lane is another book in the Hope Harbor Novel Series. This one involves Eric Nash, who is returning home to Hope Harbor after having been let go from the law firm he was working for. He had been working for most of his adult life to move up in a law firm, so he's at a loss as to what direction he is supposed to go in now. BJ Stevens owns her own construction company and is remodeling Eric's father's home into a bed and breakfast. She left the big city life after a bad relationship, and has enjoyed her time in Hope Harbor, using her talents to help those in need, and enjoying a quieter life. Their first meeting involves a car accident, so they leave with bad impressions of each other, but as they continue to “bump” into each other, they find qualities about the other that are admirable and attractive. However, Eric is unsure if he wants to leave the big city life and stay in Hope Harbor, and BJ is not willing to give her heart away to someone who is going to leave.

I enjoyed reading another book in this series. Hope Harbor sounds like a place I would like to visit or live. I enjoyed watching Eric's perspective change as he adjusted to a slower paced life. The life he had led before, working 60 plus hour weeks and living only for his job, sounds miserable. I think he began to realize that as the story unfolded. This was a great read.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Terri Blackstock's If I Run ~ Reviewed

  • If I Run
  • Terri Blackstock
  • File Size: 1959 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 16, 2016)
  • Publication Date: February 16, 2016
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing

Description: 

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truthThat’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Review: 

If I run is my new favorite Blackstock novel. From the second the story starts until the minute it ends with a massive cliff hanger I was hooked. 

The opening moments show Casey removing blood stained clothes, gathering what she can't leave behind and grieving a huge loss. And the evidence will show Casey murdered her best friend. 

As she attempts to find truth that can clear her and bring the killer to light she finds herself getting involved in another dark secret unrelated to her murder charges and just as deadly. 

This novel is not tied up in a nice bow at the end. There will be another book or more to finish the story. If you hate cliffhanger endings this one might frustrate you. The only other iffy point is the fact that there is murder and a couple scenes involving child endangerment. But if you love PI or police procedurals it's top notch. I loved the characters as well. Very solidly three dimensional and the writing is smooth and engaging. It's pretty rare for me to give 5 star reviews the longer I've been reviewing. But this one earns 5 from me. 

As per usual, I received an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher so I could offer my opinions. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer
SaveSave

Friday, August 05, 2016

Kim Vogel Sawyer's When Love Returns ~ Reviewed

WHEN LOVE RETURNS 
Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • File Size: 13773 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (September 22, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 22, 2015
  • Sold by: Random House LLC



Description: 

Riddled with doubt and lingering regrets, will Suzanne and Paul find strength in God to explore a second chance at love?  
 
It wasn’t easy to move back to the Old Order Mennonite community from which quiet, responsible Suzanne Zimmerman was shamefully sent away as a pregnant teen. Returning twenty years later to take care of her mother, Suzanne and Alexa—the daughter she raised as her own—have spent months rebuilding relationships with her family. 
 
Now with the upcoming wedding of their biological daughter,  Suzanne and Paul find themselves drawn to one another once again—but with new challenges to face. They have been single parents with painful pasts. Can Paul and Suzanne find the strength to rebuild the loving relationship that was torn apart by their teen pregnancy so long ago? 
 
Suzanne must also let go of Alexa as she heads back to Indianapolis to visit friends--and as her chance to find her birth parents. Leaving the bed-and-breakfast in Suzanne’s apprehensive hands, Alexa embarks on a journey that will certainly change her life completely. Can mother and daughter trust God to restore all things in His timing?

Review:

When Love Returns is book three in The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy. In this book, Suzanne moves back to the Mennonite community to help her adopted daughter, Alexa, run the Bed and Breakfast at her Mother's home. It proves more difficult than she anticipated, as she has to work closely with Anna Grace, the daughter she gave up for adoption to family members 20 years sooner, as well as the man she once loved and Anna Grace's father, Paul. To make matters even harder, Anna Grace does not know they are her parents. In the meantime, Alexa decides she needs to search for her birth mother as well. What she doesn't realize is that her birth mother has also begun a search for her!

I didn't read book one in this series, so I missed out on some of the details, but I did read book two. I was very excited to get this book and see how things turned out for everyone. My heart hurt for Suzanne, having to work so closely with her real daughter while not letting on who she was, and watching her adopted daughter leave to find her birth mom. I had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to see everything get resolved so that everyone had their happy ending. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Elaine Stock's Always With You ~ Reviewed

  • Always With You
  • Elaine Stock
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing (January 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1942513844


Description:

Can she move forward without knowing her past? Will he enjoy his present if he can’t free himself from what he left behind? In the heart of the Adirondacks, Isabelle lives in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. Tyler belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith. She wants it; she gets it; they marry. And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices: Staying could endanger her child. Leaving could cost her life.

Reviews: 

Always With You's chilling premise is taken right from current headlines. Polarizing groups of people lashing out in an attempt to keep those within safe and protected is happening all around us. Somehow hurting to protect seems noble and revenge feels right. But in the harsh light of truth neither of those is justifiable.  

Isabelle, who is saved from a fate worse than death by a mysterious outsider. She falls hopelessly for him. Her family had given her anything she could ever need but had neglected her confused and insecure heart. Tyler belongs to a sect and lives outside of town in a communal setting. He is driven to keep his family together and indebted to the leader of the group who had rescued him. 

As the deep hatred of the frightened townspeople intensifies and the racially biased violence escalating within The Faithful comes to light Isabelle becomes horrified at the choices she now faces. And at what she has chosen to believe. When some of her family secrets spill over as she makes a move toward freedom, she is shocked back into helpless surrender again. 

An intimate look into how truth can easily become twisted and how followers can be made through manipulative acts of kindness and escalate into powerful mind control. Chilling and suspenseful yet filled with the promise of grace. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

BONUS REVIEW. Pop over to Nora's Blog for her thoughts http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2016/02/always-with-you-reviewed.html

Monday, July 25, 2016

Maggie Brendan's A Sweet Misfortune ~ Reviewed



A SWEET MISFORTUNE
Maggie Brendan
Series: Virtues and Vices of the Old West (Book 2)
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revell (February 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800722655

Rachel Matthews isn't one to rely on others to take care of her. Destitute and alone, she still wants to make her own way and her own money--even if she's forced into the life of a dance hall girl. Horrified by her circumstances, Rachel's brother sends a friend--the widely admired cattle baron John McIntyre--to rescue her, then sets off to earn enough money to buy back the family ranch. But when months pass without her brother's return, Rachel isn't sure she can take one more day in John McIntyre's home--especially once she discovers that he's the one who holds the deed to her family's ranch.

Sparks fly between this spunky, independent heroine and the ruggedly handsome hero as they navigate the snarled terrain of pride, greed, faith, and love in Maggie Brendan's delightful series set in the Old West.
Review:

A Sweet Misfortune takes place in Montana in the Old West. Rachel Matthews' parent's have passed away, and her and her brother are in danger of losing their family home. Her brother, Preston, leaves for the gold fields, leaving Rachel alone. Her only choice for employment is as a dance hall girl, which she is unhappy about. However, when Preston's friend, John McIntyre, gets a letter from Preston asking him to rescue his sister, he feels it's his duty as a friend to help out. After taking her to his home to stay with him and his Grandmother, Estelle, he tries to settle back into the life of a cattle baron, but is distracted by Rachel's character and beauty. Rachel, on the other hand, is upset that her brother hasn't returned, and does not like being dependent on strangers. But John is different than other men and she can't help being drawn to him.

This was a great book. I admired Rachel's character. Working in the saloon was not ideal, but she was able to keep herself from becoming a “soiled dove,” and try to continue to trust in the Lord. I also liked that she was able to humble herself to accept help from strangers in order to get back on her feet. John's character grew throughout the story, too. He became less judgmental and began to see that wealth and status were not quite as important as he originally thought.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lori Benton's A Flight of Arrows ~ Reviewed

A FLIGHT OF ARROWS
Book 2 in the Pathfinder Series
By Lori Benton
Waterbrook
April 2016
ISBN 1601427344

BACK COVER:
It is said that what a man sows he will reap--and for such a harvest there is no set season. No one connected to Reginald Aubrey is untouched by the crime he committed twenty years ago. 

Not William, the Oneida child Reginald stole and raised as his own. Identity shattered, enlisted in the British army, William trains with Loyalist refugees eager to annihilate the rebels who forced them into exile. Coming to terms with who and what he is proves impossible, but if he breaks his Loyalist oath, he'll be no better than the man who constructed his life of lies.

Not Anna, Reginald's adopted daughter, nor Two Hawks, William's twin, both who long for Reginald to accept their love despite the challenges they will face, building a marriage that bridges two cultures. 

Not Good Voice and Stone Thrower, freed of bitterness by a courageous act of forgiveness, but still yearning for their firstborn son and fearful for the future of their Oneida people.

As the British prepare to attack frontier New York and Patriot regiments rally to defend it, two families separated by culture, united by love, will do all in their power to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.


MY REVIEW:

Action. Adventure. Romance. And a healthy dose of history. All this and more are in store for you in this rousing historical tale.

I love the way author Lori Benton captures the speech pattern of the Oneida Native Americans. Is it true to form? I have no idea, but I could sure hear their voice in my head. 

I also love the way Anna Catherine and Two Hawks finally get to . . . umm . . . I suppose I shouldn't give it away. Let's just say their story will leave you satisfied.

I did get a little annoyed, however, with William. Yeah, I understand he had a rough life and felt betrayed and all that, but that doesn't excuse his stupid choices. Stupid man. But I suppose such strong feelings toward a fictional character are the sign of a fantastic author, eh?

If you're interested in the Revolutionary War era, plus a sweet little love story, this is the book for you.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep


Bonus Review:

A Flight of Arrows is book two in the Path Finders Series. This book continues where book one left off. The Revolutionary War is about to begin, as the British and the Continentals build their armies. William has left to fight for the British, after finding out his father, Reginald Aubrey, kidnapped him at birth, separating him from his twin brother and parents. He also found out that his birth mother was white and his birth father was an Indian. His brother, Two Hawks, and father, Stone Thrower, are on a mission to find him before something happens to him, and before the war reaches their home.

I was SO excited to finally get this book. Book number one really left me hanging. The author did a great job of letting the story build, telling it from different points of view. I had really had no idea how things were going to come together, and I have to confess, I had no idea it would end as it would, but even thought it wasn't how I may have ended, the way the author wrapped things up was wonderful and glorifying to God. This is one of the first series I've read that I thought would make a wonderful movie.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dennis Hensley and Diana Savages' Pseudonym ~ Reviewed



Pseudonym 
by Diana Savage  Dennis E Hensley
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (January 12, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629116149

Description:

Sheila Davis once said, "I'd give my life to become a best–selling author"—and that's exactly what it cost her. Growing up on an Indiana farm, Sheila Davis has one dream—to become a professional writer. But her farmer father sees no reason for his daughter's fanciful thoughts to pull her away from her duties at home. After winning a scholarship, Sheila convinces her dad to let her attend a summer writing course at a nearby school, where she flourishes, thanks in large part to the encouragement of her high school English teacher. It seems as though fate has smiled on her when a whirlwind romance with upperclassman Dan Gray turns into a proposal of marriage, with a promise to support her educational and professional dreams if she'll delay them and hold a job long enough for him to complete his degree. But Dan's personal agenda sentences Sheila to years of menial work as he climbs the ladder of academia, meanwhile secretly sabotaging her every attempt to become a published author. The longing never dies, however; and when Sheila gets a once–in–a–lifetime opportunity to take a shot at getting published, she risks everything and dives in—only to encounter some stunning twists and turns she never anticipated, never prepared for, and never even imagined she'd have to confront.

Review: 


Sheila Gray has always wanted to write. She was groomed to write by the only person who believed in her. But the spare life of being the only female in a hardworking family left her chained to her home. Until her teacher found a way to get her out from underneath her needy and broken father.


But just as Sheila’s future looks promising her path twists to a similar road, one that holds empty promises and even more soul crushing dream breakers.


Sheila’s teacher finds her again, and convinces Sheila to finally take a chance, a huge one. Sheila’s prison doors temporarily open when she finds her voice. A freak twist of fate breaks the chains completely, letting her try out all she had ever dreamed she could be.   
This is a lovely what-if almost suspenseful read. I loved the unique storyline. A simple act of changing flights to help someone out reframes Sheila’s world and belief system. The thought of the twist of fate and the outcome is indeed the stuff of novels.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Susan May Warren's When I Fall in Love ~ Reviewed


When I Fall in Love
Susan May Warren
Series: Christiansen Family
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414378432


Description: 

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled―or maybe yanked―away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.


Review:

  When I Fall In Love is book three in a series about the Christiansen Family.  This story revolves around Grace Christiansen.  She is a homebody who is afraid to try new things, especially after her rejection from culinary school.  After catering her brother’s wedding, she is surprised to find out that the family has bought her a three week vacation in Hawaii to attend a culinary event.  Terrified of the thought of going alone, she initially refuses, until her sister, Eden, admits she wants her to go to gain more experience to cater her own wedding.  In the meantime, Eden’s fiancĂ©, Jace, recruits his hockey playing friend, Max Sharpe, who goes to the same culinary event every year, to watch out for Grace.  Neither Max nor Grace are looking forward to meeting the other one, but when they do, there is an instant connection.  Their feelings begin to grow for each either, however, the secret Max is keeping may keep them apart forever.
                I LOVED this book!  After reading the first two, I began to feel invested in the Christiansen family.  It was exciting to see them back, to see what was happening with characters that were in the background before, and see the featured characters from other books go about their lives.  I can relate to Grace’s character a lot, being a homebody myself, afraid to take risks and not good with change.  Watching her character grow was inspiring to me.  


Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers