Wednesday, March 31, 2010

James Rubart's Rooms ~ Reviewed

by James Rubart
Published by B&H Fiction, April 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-08054-4888-7


On a rainy day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning, brand new nine-thousand square foot house. ANd after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away lie the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.


Rooms is being touted as another great among Christian allegories, such as Dinner with A Perfect Stranger or The Shack. I believe it will be the Twenty-first Century’s Hind’s Feet on High Places or Pilgrim’s Progress. Following Micah’s journey of discovery is an eye-opening - or perhaps I should say a soul-stirring - experience.

As a Christian, I related to Micah’s faith journey, his confusion, doubts, hot one moment and cold the next. But it’s Rubart’s masterful imagination that makes this story so amazing. Rooms is not a chapter-a-night book; it’s a one-sitting-read. A thrilling page-turner, and a keeper in my permanent library. Rooms is the book I will purchase for Christmas gifts this year. Rooms is a must-buy book. Novel Reviews and I give it 5 stars and our highest recommendation.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan
Editor, Novel Journey

Bonus Review:

Looking for a workout for you heart and mind? A novel that will challenge your motivations and the way you live your life? Grab yourself a copy of James Rubart's Rooms and prepare to confront your deepest desires and impulses.

Rooms is the compelling story of software prodigy Micah Taylor who is forced to face both the beauty and destructiveness of his own soul, after receiving an inheritance that fits his every unspoken desire. With a mind bending premise, Rooms is a provocative and complex revelation of the human psyche in a thoroughly entertaining and tightly woven tale with long lasting impact. Suspenseful, romantically satisfying and spiritually significant, Rooms is without question, a must read.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ali Shaw's The Girl With Glass Feet ~ Reviewed

The Girl With Glass Feet
Ali Shaw
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805091149

Product Description:

Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts, a mainlander who has visited the islands only once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.

Midas Crook is a young loner who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defenses. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart. Love must be paid in precious hours and, as the glass encroaches, time is slipping away fast. Will they find a way to stave off the spread of the glass?


I'm surprised that I loved this book. Usually fantasy leaves me cold as stone because I struggle getting beyond the extremely foreign and sometimes bizarre details and often I don't connect with the characters because of that struggle. An omniscient point of view is my least favorite, too. Girl With Glass Feet is both fantasy and borderline omniscient. To overcome these issues the story must be amazing and the writing must be compelling. Girl With Glass Feet delivers on both.

Set on an island that is both magical and brutal, it is a story of loss and of love. A tragedy and a hope, life and death struggles with flashes of breathtaking beauty, and characters who ache with unresolved pain. Shaw's prose is artistic and he treats his characters with a respectful tenderness. I opened the book because of the unique premise but the pages turned because the story captured my heart.

Readers who don't like the pace of literary fiction may not love the wistful and meandering turns this book travels at times. Those who love romance and hate a tinge of tragedy probably won't love Girl With Glass Feet. If you can't do F-bombs, there are enough that you may struggle with the read. But character collectors and lovers of whimsy and poignancy should consider giving it a read.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Bonus Review:

Weird. Generally depressing. A little creepy. So why did I give this 4 stars? The writing is incredible. Ali Shaw's prose is crazy good. The story didn't do so much for me, but the turn of phrases, the descriptions, the amazing bits of poetic combinations of words make this one inspiring read - either that or you'll quit your own writing for feeling inadequate.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Linore Burkard's The Country House Courtship ~ Reviewed

By Linore Rose Burkard
Published by Harvest House
ISBN# 978-0-7369-27994
287 Pages

Back Cover:

It’s been five years since Ariana Forsythe married the Paragon, Mr. Phillip Mornay. Now, Ariana’s sister, Miss Beatrice Forsythe, is seventeen and determined to marry advantageously as well.

The Mornays have disappeared from high society as they raise a family at their country estate. Can Beatrice persuade them to chaperone her in London? And what about her business with the curate, Mr. O’Brien, whom Beatrice had rashly promised to marry years earlier? She's too sophisticated now to settle for a mere clergyman—despite his agreeable countenance and gentle, understanding ways.

Ariana falls gravely ill, secrets come to light, motives are revealed, and pretenses that were easy to keep up in the darkness, begin to crumble. As hearts are bared and truths uncovered, a country house courtship like no other cannot be far behind!


Linore Rose Burkard's unique style of writing and passion for this time period spills out onto the pages. She quickly whisked me into the Regency era and I fell right in step with the characters I enjoyed from the first two books of this series. I found Linore Rose Burkard’s stories captivating, inspiring and laugh out loud funny in parts. Linore’s characters are endearing and believable, and I quickly bonded with them. This author deals with a wide variety of situations which lets the reader to experience a full array of emotions. I felt immersed in the Regency period - its trials, the culture, style of clothes and manner in which the classes were treated then. Linore also alludes to medical horrors these people endured with mass sickness, poverty and uncleanliness.

This book opens with Ariana and Phillip Mornay, five years after their marriage. It was fun to read about this couple's passionate love for one another, and how that love has spilled over to their family life. Oh, let’s not forget about Mr. O’Brien, who created quite the stir right before the Mornay’s wedding. Linore shows us another side of Mr. Peter O’Brien we weren’t privy to before. I grew quite fond of Mr. O’Brien and the situation he found himself in. Poor guy, grin!

Ariana and her sister, Beatrice, although from the same family, were driven by different desires in life. Linore did a great job creating Beatrice and I found it difficult, in the beginning, to warm up to Beatrice. She was not at all like Ariana and there were several times I just wanted to tell Beatrice “Wake up girl! There are more important things to be chasing after and worried about in life” I guess this means Linore Rose Burkard has done a great job developing this character and having her get under my skin!!

Don’t let how I felt about Beatrice stop you from reading this book. You won’t want to miss out on experiencing true love, family and forgiveness, and how this household gathered together to let God have His way in their lives. Linore writes a satisfying conclusion to her Regency series. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next, and neither will you. I was very thankful to receive a review copy of this book.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Liz Curtis Higgs's Here Burns My Candle ~ Reviewed

Here Burns My Candle
By Liz Curtis Higgs
Published by WaterBrook Press
ISBN 978-1-4000-7001-5


Lady Elizabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory's many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.


She's back! Liz Curtis Higgs returns to her fans after a four-year hiatus, with her best novel yet, and Here Burns My Candle is a jewel in her crown. Rich in the tumultuous history of that era, you'll be swept into the past and tiptoe along dark, stone passageways with the Lord and Lady Kerr. Novel Journey and I give Here Burns My Candle our highest recommendation. It's a must read.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan
Editor, Novel Journey

Bonus Review:


I really enjoyed Liz Curtis Higgs’ last series that started with A Thorn in My Heart, so I jumped at the opportunity to receive a review copy of this book. Here Burns My Candle is a story loosely based on the biblical characters of Naomi and Ruth. Mrs. Marjory Kerr represents Naomi. Marjory’s a woman that wants the best for her sons and a mother that can’t face her or her family’s future. Elizabeth, Marjory’s daughter-in-law represents Ruth, a woman that has left her country of the Highlands, but not the practice of worshiping the moon -- which she does in secret. Elizabeth plagued with doubt that her husband really loves her and tries to fit in this foreign land. She is unsure of this countries nameless God.

Liz creates a heartfelt, colorful story which touches on all your senses. It’s rich in history as she describes the political takeover of Charles Edward Stuart and how the people loved him. This author has done her research and uncovered some fascinating treasures; you can read about in the author notes at the back of the book.

It was a little difficult to get into the rhythm of reading the dialect in this story. I found the author notes fascinating and the Scottish Glossary in the back of the book extremely helpful. I prepared myself for the read by starting with the Glossary and the author notes; which is filled with a wealth of information. Then I dug in. Liz tells of her beloved Scotland and how most of the city is the same now as it was back in 1745. This author loves Scotland and has been there several times. Who better to write this story, than someone who loves the land and its people? This was a fascinating read and one you shouldn’t rush through. I’m looking forward to the sequel, Mine is the Night, which will be out in stores spring 2011, and you will too!

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

This book was supplied by WaterBrook Press


Liz Curtis Higgs was my introduction to Christian Historical Fiction many years ago with her first Lowland Series of a retelling in the Scottish Lowlands of the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob's wives, and later Dinah. The time in between waiting for the next novel was torture and thus I turned to other authors to bide my time and hence my current obsession with so many authors and stories today. It seems that it has been a long time in waiting for a new novel from Liz and I was eager to...more Liz Curtis Higgs was my introduction to Christian Historical Fiction many years ago with her first Lowland Series of a retelling in the Scottish Lowlands of the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob's wives, and later Dinah. The time in between waiting for the next novel was torture and thus I turned to other authors to bide my time and hence my current obsession with so many authors and stories today. It seems that it has been a long time in waiting for a new novel from Liz and I was eager to grab this one up. In starting this story, a retelling in Scotland's Edinburgh of the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi I had some preconceptions for what would happen and was shocked at how slow things seemed to transpire at first, but the story did pick up and sucked me in with it.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage it is her story that that of her mother-in-law Lady Marjory Kerr that the pages are brought to life. Following along as they watch from the recessed side lines of battle between King George of England and Scotland's own Bonny Prince Charlie causes quite a stir of emotions. Learning with them through their own trials as some old ways are forgotten and God makes a difference in their lives is refreshing and eye opening showing his presence in the best of moments and well as the worst.

Knowing that this story was loosely of Ruth and knowing most of the Biblical story by heart, I ended at a point surprised having expected a different part. This just went to show me that I did not know all of the story, just the last part and causes me to have a newly increased thirst to go back and read the scriptures in full to delve into the first eighteen verses which it seems I hardly know at all. With all that said, I am entirely too eager to anticipate the next installment and sequel in Mine is the Night to come in 2011.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sarah Sundin's A Distant Melody ~ Reviewed

A Distant Melody
by Sarah Sundin
Published by Revell
ISBN 978-0-8007-3412-3


Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval—even marry a man she doesn’t' love. While Allie has nearly resigned herself to that fate, Lt. Walter Novak – fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women—takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet and begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?


I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel from Sarah Sundin. Beautifully written, Sundin carries her readers back to a time when a person's word meant something, and loyalties were paramount. Complex characters define this gripping tale. I was caught up in Allie and Walt's world and didn't leave it until I closed the book. I give A Distant Melody a high recommendation.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, editor
Novel Journey

Bonus Review:

If you want a quick, predictable, historical/romance novel, this is it. It is set in WWII and alternates between the US and Europe. The two main characters are revealed in the first five pages, and it is obvious that they will have the typical boy meets girl relationship with a conflict that will consume all but the last two chapters. Part of the conflict deals with honesty, and it is a bit idyllic in its resolution. Despite this, it was still pleasurable to read. The author did a good job of creating some memorable scenes, and weaving some humor throughout the book.

Reviewed by: Leeann Garben


This is one of the better whole novels that I have read in a while. This is a historical romance that has all of the elements that one's heart looks for and while at the same time bringing forth events of a war time past that are true and hard to accept. Usually I am not a fan of war time novels, but this one captures my heart. In a similar manner as the films Pearl Harbor and Hanover Street except with a moral conscious. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait for the sequel A Memory Between Us...more This is one of the better whole novels that I have read in a while. This is a historical romance that has all of the elements that one's heart looks for and while at the same time bringing forth events of a war time past that are true and hard to accept. Usually I am not a fan of war time novels, but this one captures my heart. In a similar manner as the films Pearl Harbor and Hanover Street except with a moral conscious. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait for the sequel A Memory Between Us come this fall.

It starts with the cover being pure dreamy that just makes your heart sigh. Then from page one I was in love with the character of Allie and soon after Walt. Watching how romance blossomed and watch the confusion of their hearts and yearning for explanation for the other was pleasantly painful. Each chapter brought me begging for me. Sarah Sundin wrote an incredible heart rending story and I highly recommend it. Sundin is now on my favorite authors list.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jill Eileen Smith's Abigail ~ Reviewed

By Jill Eileen Smith
Published by: Revell
ISBN# 978-0-8007-3321-6
375 Pages

Back Cover:

Her days marked by turmoil and faded dreams; Abigail has resigned herself to a life with a man she does not love. But when circumstances offer her a second chance at happiness with the handsome David, she takes a leap of faith to join his wandering tribe. Still, her struggles are far from over. How can she share his love with the other women he insists on marrying?


Once again Jill Eileen Smith whisked me into bible times while introducing us to a tender, young Abigail who loves the Lord and anxiously awaits her arranged marriage with Nabal. This author’s illustration of Abigail’s loss of innocence, heartbreak, agony and struggle, is so powerful I could feel her pain, her sorrow. Nabal is a brash, deceitful, selfish man who will do whatever it takes to satisfy his flesh.

Abigail would not let Nabal break her spirit nor turn her back on God. Instead, she sought Adonai (God) for comfort. Abigail lets God mold her and give her strength. Adonai gives Abigail the courage to seek out David in order to avoid blood shed in her household because of Nabal's foolish behavior.

David seeks to marry Abigail when he learns of her husband’s death. I was intrigued by this union and how it might have taken place. Jill paints an exciting picture of how these two beautiful people get together. She also describes their inner turmoil and the desire David and Abigail had to do God’s will in the middle of uncertain times. I hadn’t realized how long David lived in the forest as a fugitive, and how many men, women and children were with him; it made it hard to hide, especially since David had crazy King Saul trying to kill him most of that time. I found it amazing how David refused to kill God’s anointed Saul, no matter how frustrating things got.

I liked how Jill broke the book into five parts, and before each part, she had the complete verse and reference for you to read before she described the new part. I found it most helpful and handy for me to go back to the bible and read the complete account later.

This author has a keen insight into the hearts and minds of two strong, passionate people. David and Abigail, continue to show their love for Adonai, each other, and shared a struggle they had to do the right thing in the eyes of God, not people. It was an eye opener to read what demands there were for a King and the life Abigail might have had as his wife. It was quite different than living with him as a fugitive. I now have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the culture, times back then and why they called David, a man after God’s own heart. I think Abigail felt the same way about Adonai. I could see how they received comfort, wisdom and strength from each other. There was a unity they had that David didn’t share with his other wives. I was encourage as I read about David and Abigail and their life’s struggle, how they sought peace in the middle of their trials and a love so pure. I enjoyed how they humbled themselves before Adonai (God) and sought him with all their heart, soul and strength. It’s a love story you’ll want to read and experience for yourself.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Amanda Cabot's Paper Roses ~ Reviewed

Paper Roses, Texas Dreams Series #1
By: Amanda Cabot
Number of Pages: 416
Vendor: Revell
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 080073324X


Mail-order bride Sarah Dobbs arrives in Texas in 1850, only to learn that her future husband, Austin Canfield, is dead! Seeking refuge with his family, she tries to reconcile herself to an uncertain future. Will Austin's stubborn brother, Clay, spoil her happiness? Or is he the man she was looking for all along?


In the author's letter to readers, Amanda Cabotstates that she had referred to this book as the mail-order-bride-meets-Cyrano-de-Bergerac book. After reading it, I find it to be that and so much more. I initially requested this book and through confusion received it months later and it was on my back burner, but when I realized I could have the opportunity to read the sequel Scattered Petals and I had enjoyed starting this one I snatched it back up. I enjoyed getting back into the characters liv...more In the author's letter to readers, Amanda Cabotstates that she had referred to this book as the mail-order-bride-meets-Cyrano-de-Bergerac book. After reading it, I find it to be that and so much more. I initially requested this book and through confusion received it months later and it was on my back burner, but when I realized I could have the opportunity to read the sequel Scattered Petals and I had enjoyed starting this one I snatched it back up. I enjoyed getting back into the characters lives and now I am eager for the sequel.

Paper Roses is my first introduction to author Amanda Cabot, but after reading this one I definitely do not plan for it to be my last. This story of Paper Roses has the best title (and I am certain that Scattered Petals will be just as appropriate). Bringing together the elements of faith, forgiveness, vengeance, murder and madness as well as trust and child-like intuitiveness this story finds it's way into your heart and holds on. The characters are real and their plights are difficult. The mystery is woven through out and the clues kept quiet. Romance is palpable, but confusion as it is in real life.

Through out the story I could not guess what would come next, but my interest was peeked and the pages kept turning. I highly recommend this read as I am sure will recommend the entire series.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Robin Caroll's Deliver Us From Evil ~ Reviewed

By Robin Caroll
Published by: B & H
ISBN# 978-0-8054-4980-8
298 Pages

Back Cover:

Brannon Callahan, a search and rescue helicopter pilot working for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is as beautiful and tough as the terrain surrounding her. When a blizzard crashes the small helicopter carrying U.S. Marshall Roark Holland, she must save him and the donor heart he is transporting to a comatose government witness whose mind holds a crucial piece of information. Without it, the largest child trafficking ring in history—closer than Brannon or Roark can imagine—will slip further into darkness somewhere along the Appalachian Trail.


I received a review copy of Robin Caroll’s exciting debut novel. Warning: reading this book will keep you up late—compelled to discover the final, exciting conclusion to this wonderful book.

Robin Caroll’s characters were strong, brassy and real. Roark reminded me of the U.S. Marshall in the movie The Fugitive. He liked to be in control of everything. His motto, “Don’t let them see your weakness.”

Brannon reminded me of the female character in G.I. Jane. She’s a rough and tough girl you don’t want to mess with when she’s working. Here’s a peak at how Brannon snaps at Roark, ” Let me tell you something, Mr. Marshall. I don’t care how big and important you think you are—you will not make it out of these mountains without our guidance. So you can stop with the arrogance and know-it-all, take-charge attitude. We must work together to survive.”

I felt like I was in the middle of an action adventure movie with fighting, shooting, chase scenes, fires, helicopters and police drama. This is an intriguing story filled with suspense, hope, forgiveness and justice. I enjoyed the comradery among the characters and how they chased down the bad guys. But, I especially enjoyed how this author wove a believable spiritual thread into the story; keeping the main thing the main thing even in the middle of war - I like that.

There’s a race to set little girls free from brothels in the USA, before they’re shipped to another location. I think Robin handled the topic of sex-trafficking with grace. I’m sure conditions in brothels are worse than described. The author notes she hadn’t realized how serious this problem was before doing research. It’s horrific.

I enjoyed every second of this book. Can’t wait to read the sequel called Fear No Evil. Way to go, Robin Caroll, on writing such a great and exciting debut novel.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jane Devlin's Hattie the Bad ~ Reviewed

Hattie the Bad
By Jane Devlin
Pictures by Joe Berger
Published by Dial Books
ISBN 978-0-8037-3447-0


When Hattie was bad she was very, very bad. And when she was good, well … that didn't help either.


I can't find one redeeming value to this book. It teaches children that being bad is fun and being good isn't. Other kids don't like you when you're good, but they do when you're bad. And we wonder what's wrong with kids today? Novel Reviews and I do NOT recommend this book.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan
Editor, Novel Journey

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leanna Ellis's Once in a Blue Moon ~ Reviewed

By Leanna Ellis
Published by B & H Books
308 Pages

Back Cover:

Bryn Seymour was nine years old when her mother died, under mysterious circumstances. It was the same day Apollo 11 made its historic lunar landing. Forty years later—divorced, working as an obituary writer, and duly cynical—she meets Howard, a conspiracy theorist who knew her mom and believes a small Texas town may hold clues to what really fueled her demise. Seeking closure, Bryn goes along for this men-in-black ride. But upon meeting Howard’s son Sam, an outspoken Christian, she can’t decide whose beliefs are more pie-in-the-sky.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Once in a Blue Moon, go HERE


I’ve just finished reading, Once in a Blue Moon and have the biggest smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart. This story is fun, fun, fun. I’m so thankful to receive a review copy of this book.

At first I didn’t understand where Leanna Ellis was going with her story. When Byrnda Seymour meets Howard Walters, I realize then that Leanna uses the beginning to set up their strange encounter. Howard calls Miss Seymour to request she write his memoir, Bryn writes obituaries for a living - not books - but she’s willing to give it a shot for a chance to find out about her mother's life. Bryn’s life changes forever when she meets Howard. It’s bizarre and she writes this, “One small step for man, one giant leap off the cliff of sanity.”

Because of this encounter, I immerse myself into the story and Leanna Ellis’s endearing characters make a way into my heart. Howard thinks someone is trying to kill him because of the NASA conspiracy theory he’s researching and goes out of his way to stay safe, he says this to Bryn, “These precautions are paramount, for your safety as well as my own.”

I love the relationship Bryn develops with Howard’s son, Sam. Sam becomes her protector and friend. I really enjoyed their interaction. It’s honest, real and fun to read. Sam says this about himself, “Even though I was going about doing good so to speak, I was putting myself in charge, not God. I decided what needed to get done….and sacrifice time with my own family for God’s good—when He wasn’t asking that of me at all.”

Bryn questions everything,” What could Howard know about my mother? And why do I care? Would I believe anything he might say anyway? I don’t actually know why I felt compelled to come here to talk with Howard. Maybe it’s just that I miss my mother.”

Sam is trying to make light of their situation when they suspect someone is following them. He says, “And its Bond…James Bond to you, ma’am.”

“Terrific. You’re living out your adolescent fantasy.” Bryn says.

‘Who said it’s my adolescent fantasy? It could be my current one.’ He winks.”

I enjoy Sam, a man after God’s own heart, trying to help his Dad, be there for his boys and live the best he can for Christ. He’s an outspoken and sincere man and can see through to the heart of Bryn. She is a woman haunted by a childhood secret, affecting every area of her life. I love the gentle, caring way Sam deals with Bryn and her secret. He wants to open her eyes so she could see for herself the light and make a choice to share with him what scares her. I love their flirting, fun and honest conversations.

I totally enjoyed every word of this book; I hated to see it end. I can’t wait to see what adventure Leanna takes us next.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Bonus Review:

Once in a Blue Moon is a charming and quirky novel of second chances, forgiveness and moving toward hope. Reckless in life, but not in love, Bryn Seymour, meets a man full of strange ideas and conspiracies who knew her deceased mother and hints at a conspiracy involving her mother's death. Bryn was just a child when she lost her mother and emotions and hungers drive her to investigate this crazy man's theories. Along the way she meets another man who challenges her with things she fears far more than any physical stunt she's ever encountered, love and faith. Those of you who like charming, well-written, romantic encounters full of quirk and characters need to give this book a chance.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bette Nordberg's Genoa Bay ~ Reviewed

By Bette Nordberg
Published by Kregel
ISBN# 978-0-8254-6296-2
317 Pages

Back Cover:

Young widow Brandy Beauchamp inherits a bed and breakfast on Vancouver Island. It needs energy and commitment, but the beautiful, shabby property can be restored. Brandy moves to British Columbia and sets about building a new life—only to discover that a local property developer has very different plans, and very direct methods of persuasion…


Brandy Beauchamp is overwrought by the news that her husband’s been killed in military action. Left to raise their daughter, Gabby, alone, Brandy feels disconnected and says, “Part of me felt like a purse left behind at a restaurant. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for someone to come and claim me. Waiting to go home again.”

Brandy didn’t belong with the military crowd anymore, her friends didn’t get it. Then an unexpected phone call changes everything. Unexpected news—a dear friend, Maggie, leaves everything she owns to Brandy; it's a house she ran as a bed and breakfast resort. Brandy jumps at this chance for a new life, but soon discovers this place needs serious repair. Can she do this? Will it be worth it? Did she really hear from God on this?

Brandy’s childhood memory about Maggie, “As a teenager, when I first came to the house at Genoa Bay, I’d always believed that there were only two kinds of people, slobs and neat Knicks—you know the kind, the ones who alphabetize their spice cabinet. But when I met Maggie, I realized that there was also a third category. Maggie was meticulously clean in areas that mattered to her, and remarkably sloppy about things that didn’t.”

I felt compassion for Brandy as she struggled to find her place in the world again. Her daughter, Gabby, was adorable, honest and fun to read about. Brandy runs into unexpected difficulties she’s not sure she can handle. Cliff, who works for the marina near Brandy’s house, tries to lighten her load and be a friend.

The author discusses a wide range of topics in this book that I found intriguing and heart warming. One such topic is Brandy’s courage to live life and do what God’s called her to do, even though it was scary, and to stand firm and fight for what she believed in. It’s also a time of new beginnings for both Gabby and Brandy. A whole new world opens up to them, if they have the courage to walk in it. God says He is a lamp unto my feet, but I have to take the first step in order to see the next step I should take - which is the case with Brandy and life’s challenges. I enjoyed this story and I’m thankful for the review copy I received. I can’t wait to read more books by this author.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sophie Hannah's The Wrong Mother ~ Reviewed

The Wrong Mother
Sophie Hannah
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Original edition (September 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143116304

Product Description:

A chilling exploration of a mother's unspeakable betrayal from the author of Little Face

Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name-Mark Bretherick. It's a name she shouldn't know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation-away from her hectic family life-and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark's wife and daughter are dead-and the safety of Sally's own family is in doubt. Sophie Hannah established herself as a new master of psychological suspense with her previous novel, Little Face. Now with accomplished prose and a plot guaranteed to keep readers guessing, The Wrong Mother is Hannah's most captivating work yet.


The Wrong Mother is a challenging, mind-twisting read.

Several characters come into play and all are sympathetic, yet oddly, not. Hannah has a remarkable ability to make characters very complex. I appreciated the British flavor and found that it intrigued me further. I didn't find this novel to be spooky, though it is definitely disturbing.

Within a literal week's time several lives are altered and the characters' lives are left hanging. Hannah leaves many loose ends which actually worked for me as the tying up would have been forced.

The basic plotline/premise is: Sally, a young mother makes a choice, one out of her attempt to keep sane, that comes back to haunt her. A murder-suicide tragedy of a young daughter and her eerily Sally-look-alike mother is splashed across the television. The interviewed grieving husband/father bears the same name as a man that Sally had spent a week with a year before. The name is the same but the man is very different. Sally begins to unravel with this news and is compelled to find out who this man is, which is the real Mark? The one she'd slept with or the bereaved stranger? And what does it mean for Sally? The police discover more and more information that begins to twist the bizarre situation further. The storylines run parallel and intersect, culminating in a twisted outcome. Bizarre, disturbing, thought-provoking and page turning.

Extra sensitive readers may have trouble with the subject matter and some of the language.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Friday, March 05, 2010

Lynnette Bonner's Rocky Mountain Oasis ~ Reviewed

By Lynnette Bonner
Published by: Oak Tara
ISBN# 978-1-60290-214-5
300 pages

Back Cover:

Brooke Marie Baker, eighteen, has been sent West as a mail-order bride. As the stage nears Greer’s Ferry, where she is to meet the man she’s pledged to marry, she tries to swallow the lump of nervousness in her throat. Can it be any worse than living with Uncle Jackson...or Hank?

Sky Jordan, holds a single, yellow daisy in his hand as he watches the ferry cross the river. Ever since he’d found out his surly cousin, Jason, had sent for a mail-order bride, his mind and heart had been ill at ease. No woman deserves to be left with the likes of Jason. But now he questions his own plans to claim the bride for himself.


Brook—mail-order-bride, was sold to Mr. Jordan by Uncle Jackson, so she’s off to Idaho to marry a stranger. Brooke Baker’s life changed forever after her family died in a buggy accident and she was sent to live with her physically and verbal abusive Uncle. Brooke hoped for a better life in Idaho, away from her Uncle and abusive Fiancé. But deep down in her heart she knew men were all the same.

Sky Jordan, rancher and a man after God’s own heart, interrupts his cousin Jason’s plans to marry a mail-order-bride. Sky wasn’t certain why he was drawn to a women he didn’t know, but he just knew he couldn’t let an innocent woman marry his drunk, violent tempered cousin. He was bad news.

Lynette pens a tender, heart warming, action adventure story based on real events in Idaho history. Lynette creates believable characters that take the reader through a wide range of emotions. Sky watched Brooke’s reactions to situations and knew she had been mistreated. He was determined to show her unconditional love. Sky says this to Brooke after she flinched because she thinks he’s about to hit her, “I will not hurt you.” His voice was low and tender, “I promise not to touch you until you say it’s okay…You have nothing to fear from me…I will never hit or abuse you in anyway.”

Brooke thought, “the probability of his keeping his word is about as good as finding an oasis in the middle of a desert…Hank her fiancé had started out being nice to her too, and look how that turned out.”

Sky and his family’s faith in God touches the people around them and Brooke in a big way. She hadn’t known any Christians before. Sky helps the sheriff track down the person responsible for murdering his friend; things get tense and suspenseful as Lynnette describes how this town tried to capture the bad guys and how justice was done. This is the first book in the Shepherd’s Heart series. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series you will too.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Deborah Kinnard's Seasons in the Mist ~ Reviewed

Seasons in the Mist
By Deborah Kinnard
April 2010
Sheaf House

Reviewed by Michelle Griep

Bethany Lindstrom, a graduate student in history, wants the same things as any ambitious historian: worldwide academic recognition, a series of brilliant papers, and a reputation that places her in the front ranks of her peers. She's well on the way to achieving her goals when her trip to the U.K. to work on a dig at Oxford goes awry from the moment she lands at Heathrow. A missing taxi, an enigmatic acquaintance, and an unplanned trip to Cornwall form no part of her plans. Then, as she wanders around her hostess's ancient home, searching for history, she stumbles through an unseen portal to the fourteenth century.

Stranded in 1353 Cornwall, Bethany must find a way back home or face a life of falsehoods and peril. But with the stern Lord Michael Veryan, she is swept into the dangerous intrigues of King Edward's court, which will test their mettle and their faith in God to the limits—and forever bind their lives together.

Time travel. Big beefy noblemen. Castles and danger and romance….what’s not to love about this book? In Seasons in the Mist, Deb Kinnard pulls off a satisfying visit to the chivalrous realm of the past—and a very real visit it is. Kinnard’s style of description allows the reader to experience the medieval era up close and personal.

History is woven with fiction throughout and with such skill that it’s sometimes hard to tell fact from fable. Mossock House seemed so genuine that I thought I might like to go there myself someday. I googled it to see if the real image matched the one in my head. I’ll save you the trouble—Mossock is not real. But Kinnard’s portrayal of King Edward’s court and all the vying for power did correspond to the factual intrigues of the time.

I must admit that toward the end of the tale, I got a little nervous. I didn’t see how Kinnard would pull off a happy ending. So nervous, in fact, that yes…I did skip to the last page just to make sure. Without spoiling it, let me just say don’t worry. You’ll be happy with the grand conclusion. And even better, there’s room for a sequel.

In the current tight economy, Seasons in the Mist is a very affordable getaway to a place and time that will haunt you for long after you close the book. Hopefully this is the first of many time travel/spec fiction titles for Sheaf House and the first of other titles to follow by Deborah Kinnard.

Monday, March 01, 2010

ACFW March Book Releases

1. A Distant Melody, Wings of Glory, Book One by Sarah Sundin An historical from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Allie is promised to a man she doesn't love, but a B-17 pilot captures her heart--will she honor her family's wishes or take a chance on love?

2. A Woman Called Sage by Diann Mills An historical from Zondervan. A woman bounty hunter fights bitterness and revenge to find the killers of her husband.

3. Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett Women's fiction from Tyndale. A moving story about women helping women and lives changed across continents, inspired by a non-profit organization of the same name.

4. Beguiled by Deanne Gist and J. Mark Bertranda> A suspense/mystery/thriller from Bethany House. A dog-walker and a journalist pursue a thief (and each other) in atmospheric Charleston.

5. Cowboy Protector by Margaret Daley A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense. When Hannah Williams comes to help Austin Taylor with his injured daughter, she draws him into an intrigue that threatens their relationship--and their lives.

6. Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Abingdon. Trapped by a terrorist plot in Mumbai!.

7. Disarming Andi by Elizabeth Goddard A Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents. Contractor Andi Nielsen has another chance to discover what ís hidden inside the missile base she was hired to remodel. Is she prepared to detonate her feelings for the new owner?

8. Fatal Burn; Big Sky Secrets, Book 2 by Roxanne Rustand A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense. In Montana's wide open spaces, danger and love are waiting....

9. Forget Me Not, Crossroads Crisis Center series, Book 1 by Vicki Hinze A Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook-Multnomah. Someone's robbed her of her identity and goes to great lengths to convince her she's someone else; someone who wants her dead.

10. Gold in the Fire/Light in the Storm by Margaret Daley A Romance from Love Inspired. Stories of love and loyalty

11. Groom in Training by Gail Gaymer Martin A Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired. Friends, Four-legged Friends and Love.

12. Kansas Courtship, After The Storm, No. 3 by Victoria Bylin An Historical Romance from Love Inspired. Dr. Nora Mitchell came to heal the town of High Plains. She stayed to heal Zeb Garrison's heart.

13. Katie's Redemption, The Brides of Amish Country by Patricia Davids A Romance from Love Inspired. A young woman returns to her Amish roots but can she find her way back to her faith.

14. Katy's New World, Katy Lambright Series by Kim Vogel Sawyer General Fiction from Zondervan. An Old Order Mennonite girl holds to her convictions while attending public high school.

15. Liberty's Promise by Amber Stockton An Historical Romance from Heartsong Presents. Feel the heartbeat of a chaotic new country through the lives of three Pennsylvania women who seek to know to whom they can entrust their hearts.

16. Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon by Miralee Ferrell A Romance from Summerside Press. A schoolteacher must choose between a man from her past and one who could be her future, while risking her reputation to rescue two runaway orphaned children.

17. Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson A Romance from Summerside Press. A widowed father and his young daughter find healing and hope in the communal Amana Colonies.

18. Morning's Refrain, Book 2 in Song of Alaska series by Tracie Peterson An Historical from Bethany House. Adventure and Romance in 1800's Sitka, Alaska.

19. Once in a Blue Moon by Leanna Ellis Women's Fiction from B&H Publishing. Faith is the first step to soaring.

20. Romance by the Book by Myra Johnson A Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents. A shy young woman's crush on her favorite romance author leads her to the man who will finally claim her heart.

21. Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot An Historical from Revell. Tragedy broke her spirit -- will love mend her heart?

22. The Captain's Lady by Louise M. Gouge An Historical from Steeple Hill. Torn between love and duty, American Patriot James Templeton must deny his heart to help win his country's freedom.

23. The Easter Edition by Robin Shope A romance from White Rose. Bridal shop owner Carol Horn feels she will never find a love of her own until a new pastor comes to town, turning up by accident at her mother's funeral.

24. The Family Way by Michelle Levigne A romance from Desert Breeze Publishing. Pregnancy brings their shaky marriage to the breaking point, and Lisa and Todd must rediscover their love, their faith, and what true marriage means.

25. The Mockingbird's Call by Diane Ashby and Aaron McCarver A Romance from Barbour. Amelia Montgomery, torn between her family's traditions and her own convictions against slavery, must also choose between her duty and her heart as she works for the Underground Railroad.

26. The Promise of Morning, Book 2, At Home in Beldon Grove series by Ann Shorey An Historical from Revell. When loss drives them apart, can their faith bring them back together?.