Friday, July 30, 2010

Sharon Gillenwater's Jenna's Cowboy ~ Reviewed

Jenna's Cowboy, The Callahans of Texas Series #1
By: Sharon Gillenwater
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Revell
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 0800733533


When Jenna Callahan's father sent Nate Langley away years ago, she never expected to see him again. But now he's back in town, and their attraction is as strong as ever. Will Nate be able to heal from the horrors he witnessed during two tours of military duty and become the man he believes Jenna deserves? 352 pages, softcover from Revell.


It is plain to see in reading this story that Sharon Gillenwater is good at her research and explains things very well. I know nothing about ranching or farming, but I felt from the explanations and pictures drawn by her imagery were great. I thoroughly enjoyed the romance of the story and the cover is perfect for the character of Nate. While reading this book I was thinking about the different things that I was going to say in the review about how much I enjoyed the characters and the visualizations as well as their witty banter. Easily I could say that I enjoy this author and look forward to reading her books in the future. However, I felt that the last three chapters were such a lurch from the rest of the story. Perhaps I am on my own in that opinion, but I felt that it went in rather abruptly and then the story just ended. I know why "it" happened and understand that, but I feel that the "big event" could have had more closure. It felt to me that the story was going along great, and then just amidst the action it ended and did not wrap down. It leaves me feeling like I missed something and I think could have ended better. Overall great writing though and enjoyable.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Renee Riva's Heading Home ~ Reviewed

By Renee Riva
Published by B & H
ISBN# 978-1-4347-6776-9
258 Pages

Back Cover:

For eight years, A.J. Degulio has been itching to get back to her beloved Indian Island. Its home, but a lot has changed: Sailor moves slower, Danny has grown into a man . . . and A.J. has a promise to keep…but it doesn’t include Danny. When Danny discovers the truth, he’s shocked and hurt. But he won’t stand in the way of what she really wants.

What’s a girl to do? She wants to keep her promise and Danny. But Danny has plans of his own. Can they work it out? It will take compromise and laughter before Danny and A.J. figure out that home is more than a place on the map. It’s a place in the heart.


I’m so thankful to have received a review copy of this entertaining and touching book by Renee Riva. This is a charming tale of a girl coming of age, finding true love, discovering what’s important in life and having peace about what God has called her to do. I remembered growing up in an Italian-American Catholic family and could relate to A.J. and her situation on many levels. I found myself smiling as I read and laughing out loud in parts! The way her family interacted reminded me of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and how they did family. Fun, Fun, Fun!

A.J.’s best friend and love interest is Danny, a Southern cowboy; he’s waited 8 years for her to return home from Italy and is trying hard to understand the A.J. that has returned and her new mission in life. Danny says to her, “Are we talking nun here, A.J.?”

“um..kind of.”

He exhales, “How can you kind of be a nun?”

“Well, I won’t be kind of a nun. I mean, I’ll be kind of considering being a sister.”

He stares at me dead on. “You’re serious aren’t you?”

Danny doesn’t understand A.J.’s thinking. How can he compete with God for her affections? He respects her choice and leaves A.J. to work this out for herself.

I enjoyed A.J.’s earnest search to do the right thing and follow God no matter what people said. She was confident God would reveal His will for her life. This was a refreshing and fun read. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this cute and quirky tale of coming back to your first love, both on a spiritual and human level. In this book, A.J. learns that following God's will isn't necessarily what you think it is and that love, even built on a solid friendship, still requires hard work and some compromise. A.J. also does alot of growing up in this book which in itself is quite comical, from pelting an unsuspecting couple with berries to running away from 'Nun Camp' this book will have you laughing until you cry. I highly recommend this lighthearted read and can't wait to go back and read the 2 books preceding it!

Reviewed by Rachael Schnitker

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nancy Mehl's Simple Secrets ~ Reviewed

Simple Secrets: Can Love Overcome Evil in the Mennonite Town of Harmony, Kansas? (The Harmony Series, Book 1) [Paperback]
Nancy Mehl
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602605122


Can graphic designer Gracie Temple have it all: the big city life and a job at a successful advertising firm? Just when she feels life coming together she receives an unknown uncle’s inheritance in a quiet Kansas Mennonite community. The house comes with a dark legacy and a cast of interesting neighbors, including farmer Sam Goodrich.

Can Gracie shake off the dust of this town or will its secret charms pull her in to stay?


As most of you would know, Amish fiction is not my favourite genre, and although Nancy Mehl's new mystery series is set in a Mennonite community rather than Amish, I still opened the novel with minimal expectations. I'm pleased to say I was in for a nice surprise! Simple Secrets is a cozy mystery with an inevitable outcome but provides a sweet and enjoyable read as Gracie experiences a new community far removed from her own, the appealing and mysterious Sam Goodrich and unearths an uncomfortable secret that affects the town and her own family. I will be returning to Harmony in the continuing stories, Simple Deceit and Simple Choices.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet


The title of Simple Secrets means so many different things in the complex threads of this novel. This is my first introduction to the writing of Nancy Mehl and it will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed her foray from mystery into romantic suspense. She knows her stuff. Each chapter and page was another hook that made me need five more minutes to find out what happens next all the way to the very end.

Love at first sight was palpable between Gracie and Sam and I look forward to see...more The title of Simple Secrets means so many different things in the complex threads of this novel. This is my first introduction to the writing of Nancy Mehl and it will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed her foray from mystery into romantic suspense. She knows her stuff. Each chapter and page was another hook that made me need five more minutes to find out what happens next all the way to the very end.

Love at first sight was palpable between Gracie and Sam and I look forward to seeing how their relationship evolves in the next book, Simple Deceit: A Mennonite Community's Way of Life Is Threatened by Outsiders. Set in a mostly Mennonite Town of Harmony, Kansas readers are taken on an educational journey into the reals of Mennonite personalities versus assumed stereotypes. Every piece of the puzzle was enlightening and interesting.

Though the story revolves around something not so pleasant watching how evil can be used and turned for good in the end was enjoyable. Keeping the faith and listening for God's will to come through while attempting to find the secrets between the darker side of the town will keep readers entertained in full.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ronie Kendig's Nightshade ~ Reviewed

Nightshade (Discarded Heroes)
Ronie Kendig
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160260777X

Book Description:

Max Jacobs is ready to end it all. His stint as a SEAL is over. So is his marriage. All thanks to his out-of-control anger. Then an invitation comes to join a black ops team called Nightshade. War changed him. War calls to him.

With nothing to lose, Max signs on. A failed marriage isn’t all her husband left Sydney Jacobs—he left her with an unplanned pregnancy. Heartbroken, she buries herself in her journalism career. Soon, she’s chasing an ultra-secret paramilitary group around the globe.

In the deadly jungle they battle for their marriage - and their lives!

To read the first chapter click here.


Make room Dee Henderson, tip your hat Chuck Holton, Ronie Kendig has well and truly arrived and stamped her authority in the suspense genre! There are writers who excel at characterization, others pace their stories to perfection while some can write a love story that touches the soul yet rarely have I seen those talents combined...until now! Just like the Hayabusa motorbike Max Jacobs rides, Nightshade is a powerful and electrifying read, accelerating through danger at breakneck speed and stirring deep emotion as Max and Sydney watch their marriage disintegrate and danger come to their door. Ronie's ability to capture the male perspective is mind blowing as Max struggles to assimilate after his tours of duty in Afghanistan, finding safety and acceptance only in returning to high risk black ops missions. Men and women alike will find themselves captivated by Ronie's exceptional talent and I can confidently say Nightshade is a book you will be unable to put down. The sequel, Digitalis, simply can't come soon enough for me!

Reviewed by:Rel Mollet


As my friends Renee and Rel both said, Digitalis, the next book in the Discarded Heroes series cannot come soon enough and I fully and wholeheartedly agree. Nightshade is intense and real. Mixing up a team of veteran special ops from various divisions with a endangered marriage, a PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) SEAL in denial and anger, a wife reporter bent on discovering the black ops team with a group of missionaries in danger of Muslim terrorists and my goodness do not expect any sleep while reading this book. The pages have to go fast and as a reader you’ll negotiate that it is worth a few less hours of sleep to find out what happens next.

There were so many different elements to this book that make it enjoyable that I do not even know how to begin to touch on them. Ronie Kendig is an awesome new author and I hope and pray that there will be much more to come from her in the days to come. Nightshade is entertaining and suspenseful. The romance is realistic and heart changing. This is a great book for someone from any spectrum. There is entertainment for all here. Highly recommended! More please. *wink*

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind


Nightshade is an elite commando unit who perform black op missions. Each man was handpicked for their experience. I’m so thankful for the review copy of this novel. This story reminded me of the “A–team”, with its larger-than-life characters, who individually bring something special and unique to the group. They aren’t always a happy family, but 'when the chips are down', they get along to accomplish the mission.

Max, “Frogman”, a former U.S. Navy Seal, Colton, “Cowboy”, former U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations, Griffin, “Legend”, former U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations, Marshall, “The Kid”, a former U.S. Army Ranger, Oscar, “Fix”, former U.S. Air Force Pararescue, and General Olin, “The Old Man”, Army Chief, all of these men are in this special undercover unit.

The General confronts these men,” You spent time in Afghanistan…You’ve all been trained to kill; then you come back, and what do you do with those skills, but go out of your mind...we’re here to establish a team that can penetrate hostile situations without any entanglements, without any blame on the good ol’ US-of-A…You are the best, a natural…that’s why you are here."

I loved the interplay between the men in this military elite commandos unit. I learned about the real struggle war veterans have with postwar disorders. These former military men could relate to each other's nightmares, no explanation needed. I also enjoyed the believable spiritual struggle of Max and Sydney. Ronie doesn’t sugar coat anything and I liked that.

I found myself checking the back of the book to read Ronie’s bio. Was this author really a woman? If so, how could she write about all these macho men and war stuff? This author does an amazing job of creating believable, flawed and broken characters, who function at their best together in this commando unit doing extraordinary life saving missions. I was astounded that a woman could write such a believable action packed adventure with these macho men—it was done so smoothly. Ronie is an "army brat" and is married to an Army Veteran, it says on the back of the book. Ok, this explains a lot.

This is the first book in the “Discarded Hero’s” series. The main focus of this book is on Max and his news reporter wife, Sydney. My guess is that each book will highlight one or two of these men and their personal lives, and how they deal with the missions. Digitalis is the next book to be released. I can’t wait to read where their missions take them next. Just like the “A” team, I’m sure they’ll be facing incredible circumstances in each book. I can’t wait to join them in their next adventure..

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent

The Book Club Network

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tiffany Baker's Little Giant of Aberdeen County ~ Reviewed

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County [Paperback]
Tiffany Baker
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (January 25, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446194220


When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how recordbreakingly huge the baby boy would ultimately be. The girl who proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity; her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. When he, too, relinquished his increasingly tenuous grip on life, Truly and Serena Jane are separated--Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the future May Queen and Truly to live on the outskirts of town on the farm of the town sadsack, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation at the hands of her peers.

Serena Jane's beauty proves to be her greatest blessing and her biggest curse, for it makes her the obsession of classmate Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans who have been doctors in Aberdeen for generations. Though they have long been the pillars of the community, the earliest Robert Morgan married the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson, and the location of her fabled shadow book--containing mysterious secrets for healing and darker powers--has been the subject of town gossip ever since. Bob Bob Morgan, one of Truly's biggest tormentors, does the unthinkable to claim the prize of Serena Jane, and changes the destiny of all Aberdeen from there on.

When Serena Jane flees town and a loveless marriage to Bob Bob, it is Truly who must become the woman of a house that she did not choose and mother to her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie. Truly's brother-in-law is relentless and brutal; he criticizes her physique and the limitations of her health as a result, and degrades her more than any one human could bear. It is only when Truly finds her calling--the ability to heal illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques--hidden within the folds of Robert Morgan's family quilt, that she begins to regain control over her life and herself. Unearthed family secrets, however, will lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually break the Morgan family apart forever, but Truly's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places.


Tiffany Baker has written a hefty novel about a giant woman, cruel people, and making a life out of the life that is given. Told in a unique omniscient voice but first person narrative, we get to know Truly, a woman who has seen little love and much scorn. The reader follows her through birth to her late thirties/early forties so the time frame taken on is impressive.

With colorful similes, Baker has created this unlikely heroine who sees life from a tower of flesh and girth and through the lens of an outcast. Not light in the reading because the plot line contains plenty of death, there is still an overall brooding hopefulness within the story. I didn't find many laughs within this novel as a gray cloud of melancholy hung over Truly.

The novel digs deeper and covers more territory than I expected, though the opening paragraphs told me that there would be moments of both light and darkness. It's hard to suggest Little Giant to a specific genre fan. Literary fiction lovers should like the tone and the tale unless bothered by similes because there are quite a few. Those who just want a feel good story may want to hesitate to make sure they know what they are jumping into with Little Giant. Yes, it's feel good but it's not easy feel-good, instead it requires a lot from those who read it and the story may haunt them after the final page is turned. I definitely wouldn't suggest it to chick-lit junkies or inspirational fiction lovers. If you are a fan of Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone you may find Truly to be bigger than the pages who hold her. Some have likened Little Giant to the movie Big Fish and there is definitely a tone that the two share.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Friday, July 23, 2010

Terri Blackstock's Predator ~ Reviewed

By Terri Blackstock
Published by Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0-310-25066-1
334 Pages

Back Cover:

Krista Carmichael is desperate to find her sister’s killer. The murder has shaken Krista’s faith .Desperate to find the killer; she creates an online persona to bait the predator. Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online Predators. Joining forces, he and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.


Predator is a story that could be ripped from today’s headlines. I’m so glad that I received a review copy of this informative, chilling tale. Terri Blackstock talks about today’s technology and how it’s quickly changing our world. We need wisdom in navigating through the world-wide web and what we tell our peeps.

It’s a shocker to realize teens are up-dating their status many times a day, giving people detailed information. For example, posting from their phones up-dating their status in every class period, texting what teachers say, what their friends are doing, where they were going after school, what stores they are in, where they are sitting at a ball game and what time they go to bed. All of these things are helpful information for predators. After reading this book I sat down with my kids and talked to them again about being safe on the web.

Terri has a scene in her story that gave me chills. A young woman has just gotten off a plane and is try’s to get a cab. She is texting on her blackberry as she waits. A man in a town car tells her he is just as expensive as a cab and his car is nicer to ride in. So, the girl gets in the car, not paying attention to much because she’s texting her current activities to her peeps. When the car takes a wrong turn, the girl realizes she’s in trouble and tells the man to let her out, she knows karate and has let everyone know what he looks like via her blackberry.

The predator says to her, “Car’s not registered in my name. You didn’t tell them what I look like. I’m one of your followers, Megan; I get all of your Thought Bubbles. I saw what you posted; right here on my own phone. You’re not into Karate. I’d know if you were. I know when you wake up in the morning, what you got for Christmas, …I’ve been tracking you for the last six weeks.”

My heart raced and I fully experienced this chilling story as Terri Blackstock made me completely conscious of how giving out too much information, all in the name of fun, is dangerous. The Web can be a wonderful place but just like anything else there are dangers you need to be aware of to be safe. I just couldn’t stop reading this nail-biting suspenseful story that took me through a full range of emotions. This story is oh so real and so are Terri’s characters. This is a stand alone story that will definitely pull at your heart strings and make you look at social networking in a whole new light.

Reviewed by:Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator


Predator is my favorite Terri Blackstock novel. Intense, difficult to read, heavy, heavy subject matter that kept the pages turning and my emotions roiling. Blackstock tackles on-line social media and paints an ugly what-if picture that is chillingly realistic. The characters live out of reactive rawness and the punches don't stop til the story explodes into a horrific, but finally satisfying climax. I did guess the creepy villain early in the game and there were a couple moments in the ending scenes that required my suspension of disbelief, too. But those are minor complaints compared to the overall page-turning quality of this novel. I will caution chickens to be very, very cautious. Older teens should read this, though younger ones might be haunted since it involves young girls as prey.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Evans's and Hauck's The Sweet By and By ~ Reviewed

The Sweet By and By, Songbird Series #1
By: Sara Evans, Rachel Hauck
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 1595544895


Jade Fitzgerald and Max Benson find their wedding day fast approaching with all the assorted relatives, and past baggage along with the joy, of their special day. Jade thought she left her past behind a decade ago, but when her gypsy-like mother, Beryl Hill, shows up with her younger sister, Jade's old insecurities come barreling to the surface. Can God's grace help to mend her family's broken hearts and somehow meet in the middle before it's too late?


Rachel Hauck is a favorite author and I absolutely love her Sweet Caroline and Love Starts with Elle, however this book I do not love. I like this book and it is interesting and entertaining, but it is not quite my cup of tea. I could not really relate to the characters personally and it made it hard for me to enjoy it. I could easily see this story being a Hallmark film and would definitely watch it and encourage others to do so as well, it is just not a favorite.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Melanie Dobson's Refuge on Crescent Hill ~ Reviewed

By Melanie Dobson
Published by: Kregel Publications
ISBN# 978-0-8254-2590-5
271 Pages

Back Cover:

Camden Bristow didn't expect to move into her deceased grandmother's rundown mansion in Etherton, Ohio. What happened to the house she played in as a child with its secret passageways and tales of runaway slaves? When antiques start disappearing, Camden wonders if Grandma's stories were true. Who else has access to Crescent Hill---and why?.


Camden has run into an unexpected financial crunch and evaluates who she can turn to for help! Her father’s dead, her mother’s, undependable, and then there was Grandma Rosalie. They’d written letters to each other over the years. Etherton was home, so she decides to go to Crescent Hill and see her grandmother. Camden bangs on the door. No answer. Where could her grandmother be? Jenny, a school friend, sees Camden and stops to tell her that Rosalie has passed away—funeral was Friday.

Friday? Why hadn’t anyone called her? Next surprise, Rosalie has left Crescent Hill to her. Problem…Camden has no money to repair and maintain the mansion. Camden has nowhere to live either, so she stays at the Rosalie’s house. She remembers the fun summers she spent in there and all the stories her Grandmother used to tell her about the mansion and the underground railroads. There were rumors of ghosts who lived on the third floor. She couldn’t think about all that-too scary. She just needed to bask in her childhood memories and sleep. She had to make this work she had no where else to go.

Alex, from the town counsel, and Jenny, try to help to find a solution to Camden’s dilemma; in doing so they uncover mysteries involving Crescent Hill. Did the house really have secret tunnels? Camden discovers surprising family secrets that rock her world! She was going home to Crescent Hill for love and support….not all this.

I enjoyed this fascinating story of Camden’s personal journey, the history behind the house, the underground railroads, and how women used quilts they made for more than just keeping their family warm. Refuge on Crescent Hill’s story builds to a suspenseful, climatic ending that will keep you up late trying to figure out how all the pieces to this puzzle fit together. I’m so glad I received a review copy of this book. Thanks Melanie for helping me escape into another one of your gripping, suspenseful, entertaining stories. I enjoyed seeing pictures of the real house Melanie used for this story on her website. This is one intriguing story.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cynthia Ruchti's They Almost Always Come Home ~ Reviewed

By Cynthia Ruchti
Published by Abingdon Press
ISBN# 978-1-4267-0238-9
300 Pages

Back Cover:

When Libby's husband Greg, fails to return from a two week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband's escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband's disappearance, if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby's presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.


“Do dead people wear shoes? In the casket, I mean. Seems a waste.

Then again, no outfit is complete without shoes!”

The first sentence startled me, but kept me reading. I was so happy to receive a review copy of Cynthia’s thought provoking and honest debut novel.

Libby’s husband Greg, went camping and hasn’t returned. How long do you wait to report someone missing? Cynthia Ruchti has the reader experience all the emotions and thought process someone might go through when they discover their husband is missing; but Libby has a little bit of a twist to her tale—honestly, she wanted to leave her husband before this camping trip. Libby thought she’d kept this little secret hidden. Now this might reveal it!

Jen, Libby’s best friend, tells her the police have come to her door and asked questions. Libby’s worried and wants to know exactly what they asked? They can’t discover what Greg and her relationship was really like! Would she be a suspect?

The police think Greg might have left Libby for another woman, it’s a natural conclusion. Libby thinks this, “If he were planning to leave me, couldn’t he have had the decency to tidy up after himself and clear out the closet?”

Frank, Greg’s father says he’s starting a search for his son--something’s wrong… he had to get to the bottom of it. Libby goes along with things because, after all, isn’t that what a caring Christian wife would do? No one would have to know she was miffed at the fact she didn’t get to leave Frank first!

There was more to this story than I suspected. Cynthia kept it suspenseful and had me guessing about Greg—the whole novel, I wondered if he was alive or dead. She did an amazing job of making me care for and understand Libby, as she goes back over things she wished she would have done differently and she finally discovers what’s important in a relationship with God and her husband. This is powerful!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deanne Gist's Maid to Match ~ Reviewed

By Deeanne Gist
Published by: Bethany House
363 Pages

Back Cover:

When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in the ways of refined society, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid. But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangled in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs...and their hearts.


Deanne hits another home run with Maid to Match. I was glad to receive a review copy. I loved the first line, “Like a butterfly breaking free from its confining cocoon, Tillie Reese emerged from the barren, tan-colored servants’ hall into the opulence of Biltmore’s main level.”

This author quickly whisked me into the Biltmore, where I wanted to know more about the Vanderbilts, their amazing home and what was required to become a lady's maid. My favorite thing about Deanne’s books is the fact that they are educational and captivating. This author goes to great lengths to masterfully craft historical details in every book she writes. I was immediately drawn into the unfamiliar world of 1898 with its class struggles, and was mesmerized by how a Mansion is run. It only took a few minutes to feel compassion for the hopes and dreams of her believable characters.

Deanne writes about strong women with conviction. Tillie is no exception; she has a deep faith in God and has her focus on the purpose for her life. She’s been groomed to be a lady’s maid and she will stop at nothing to achieve it. Tillie falters a little when she meets Mack and the chemistry between them unnerves her. Tillie’s mother has prayed hard for this opportunity. Could Tillie be seeking money and status over achieving the call God has for her life? Everything has lined up perfectly, hasn’t it? People were depending on her; she had to get this job to provide. So, why did she have this nagging unrest in her heart?

God has worked everything out—hasn’t he? She wonders and prays a hard prayer, “I’m listening, Lord. Call to me. Just like the sheep. Just like these animals that you called to the ark. Call to me and I will follow.”

I felt like I was actually there when Mack, a big, strong manly man, dressed in proper attire, tries to serve his first formal dinner with its many courses. I felt myself praying he didn’t spill anything or break a dish. I couldn’t believe how much food they ate and the manner in which it was supposed to be served and eaten.

I was amazed how the Vanderbilts lived and how they cared for their servants. I couldn’t believe what a lady’s maid was required to do for Mrs. Vanderbilt and her guests. It seemed too intimate to let someone else do these things for you. It definitely went against the "personal space" rule we have today. This book is going on my list of favorite picks for book club.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Boykin and Morrisey's Danger Close ~ Reviewed

Danger Close: A Novel [Hardcover]
William G. Boykin, Tom Morrisey
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Fidelis (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805449558


Barely into his twenties and already a highly decorated military hero, Army Special Forces veteran Blake Kershaw is now going to college, studying while recuperating from wounds received in Afghanistan, and planning to re-enter the Army as an officer after graduation. But life tosses Blake a curve when his country approaches him about using his special skills to avert a terrorist plot to detonate a nuclear device in a major eastern U.S. city. To do that, he would need to become an operative deep within Al-Qaeda’s innermost circles—changing his entire identity, even his face. A true patriot, Blake makes the journey into a shadow world that leaves friends, family and, seemingly, even God far behind. But when things go terribly wrong, and his country looks set to destroy him, it is God and God’s people who intervene.


This review is from reading an Advanced Reader Copy/Unedited Proof. A couple days ago I finished reading a thriller/action-adventure/suspense novel in the latest Time Scene Investigators series, The Influenza Bomb: A Novel from Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore MD and I was immediately in the mood for more. Thus I looked through my shelves to find similar authors and found two books that I read last year about the same genre one was Gold of Kings: A Novel from Davis Bunn and the other Pirate Hunter...more This review is from reading an Advanced Reader Copy/Unedited Proof. A couple days ago I finished reading a thriller/action-adventure/suspense novel in the latest Time Scene Investigators series, The Influenza Bomb: A Novel from Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore MD and I was immediately in the mood for more. Thus I looked through my shelves to find similar authors and found two books that I read last year about the same genre one was Gold of Kings: A Novel from Davis Bunn and the other Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey. So I looked up the authors and discovered that I had an ARC sitting on my shelf co-authored by Tom Morrisey at Lieutenant General (Retired) William G. Boykin. With some excitement I snatched it off my shelf and dove in.

When I read about this book I thought that it was going to be all military and more a "man's-novel" than something that I would enjoy, but it was both. There was tons of military jargon and descriptions, but for the most part I was able to keep up and catch on. This is a novel about a Army Special Forces veteran that turns Spook and works in some extremely dangerous double agent espionage in an Al-Qaeda cell. It was thrilling and suspenseful. I was nervous and excited. It was the same thrill as watching the television show 24 or reading/watching the Jason Borne stories. The characters were real and easy to follow.

My only issues were specific to it being an unedited proof and therefore hold no control over what the final press print will be like, but even in a draft this story was there and developed fully enough for extreme entertainment. I would not hesitate to recommend this story to anyone. Normally I try to stay out of the stories that deal with "current day scenarios" as it is true that anything in this book could be tomorrow's headline. But I felt that this novel was entertaining and if nothing more than that provides hope. Lt. Blake Kershaw is a good 'ole boy and a true patriot. I would gladly want to own a real copy of this novel for my keeper shelf.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Friday, July 16, 2010

Shelley Shepard Gray's Winter's Awakening ~ Reviewed

Winter's Awakening, Seasons of Sugarcreek Series #1
By: Shelley Shepard Gray
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Avon Inspire
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 0061852228


As winter winds blow, three young people wonder where God will lead them. Amish Joshua Graber is expected to marry Gretta Hershberger---but then Englisher Lilly Allen catches his eye. Gretta wonders what's gotten into Joshua. Would Roland Schrock be a better match? And Lilly is attracted to Joshua. Will her dark secret drive him away?


Honestly Shelley Shepard Gray is probably my favorite Amish Fiction author of the current Amish Fiction craze. Her reflections into the lives that interact and are affected by the Ohio Amish are fresh and refreshing. I enjoyed her previous Sisters of the Heart Series and I am fairly certain that I will be even more impressed with her new Seasons of Sugarcreek Series if this book is any indication.

Most romances these days are all about the new relationship that is budding. This book however shows true romance from a different perspective, the future of a relationship that is already in existence. I have never read a book that touched on the relationship behind marriage quite like Shelley was able to in the pages of this novel.

Reading into the lives of Gretta and Joshua and hearing their thoughts and feeling their emotions while they try to understand whether they were meant for each other in God's divine plan is quite an adventure. Learning the neighbor Lilly's secrets and past relationships and decisions on new ones with throw you for a twist. Reading between the lines on other characters in the way they interact is all so amazing. This book is full of possible routes and choices and really allows a reader to imagine what might be.

I highly encourage you to jump in and read along into the lives of the Sugarcreek Amish and their Englischer neighbors. See if things are how you would imagine they might end up to be. What do you envision your marriage to be? Would you be willing to work on it if it was not quite right?

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Deborah Vogts's Seeds of Summer ~ Reviewed

By Deborah Vogts
Published by Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0-31029276-0
313 Pages

Back Cover:

A heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas, where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father's ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize, with the help of a young new pastor, that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope. Spanning the Seasons of the Tallgrass, each story in this series reveals the struggle of the people who live there and the dreams they have for the land, until they come full-circle in a never-ending cycle, just as man comes full-circle in his understanding of God.


Seeds of Summer reminds me of the Little House in the Prairie TV Series. Each week the stories were about family struggles and/or a budding romance that would grab the viewers’ attention as they watch the characters struggle with this new development in their lives. This was brought to a somewhat predictable conclusion and hopefully the characters learned something about family and what mattered most in life. The show gave you a good feeling and left you ready for the next week’s episode. I received a review copy of this light-hearted summer read by Deborah Vogts. It’s the second book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series.

The story opens up with Natalie’s father dying unexpectedly. She returns home to raise her brother and sister, Dillion and Chelsey. She is faced with figuring out how to save the ranch her father left behind. How was she supposed to do that with very little income?

Then Jared, the new pastor in this small town, gets involved in Natalie’s life through her sister's troubles and notices this young twenty something girl trying to handle it all without any hope in her life. He offers to help where he can, but Natalie resists his help and the God that he serves.

Natalie’s circumstances take an unexpected turn when Libby shows up at her front door. The mother she thought was dead! Life starts unraveling at the seams. Natalie starts to consider Jared and Willard’s help. This novel shows a family struggling against the odds to stay afloat. Natalie and her siblings come to realize what’s important in life and what makes it worth living. Best of all, they learn the importance of family. This book leaves you with a good feeling and gets you ready for the third book in this series.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lynette Eason's Too Close to Home ~ Reviewed

Too Close to Home (Women of Justice Series #1)
Lynette Eason
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Revell; Original edition (April 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080073369X

Book Description:

Samantha Cash is the FBI's secret weapon. Her methods are invisible, and she never stops until the case is closed. When missing teens begin turning up dead in a small Southern town, Samantha is assigned to help local chief Connor Wolfe find the killer. And he has two problems with that. There's her faith--in God and herself. And then there's the fact that she looks exactly like his late wife. As they get close to an answer, the case becomes personal. The killer seems to be taking an interest in Connor's 16-year-old daughter, who thinks her dad is getting way too protective. Can't a girl just have some fun?


Lynette Eason ramps up the tension with a predator stalking vulnerable teenage girls, a homicide cop trying to balance a demanding career with an equally demanding daughter and a Special Agent with her own reasons for pursuing evil men. Authenticity of characterization is evident as Connor struggles with being a single father, often failing miserably and as Samantha questions her faith in light of the personal devastation suffered by her sister. While I was disappointed to identify the killer so early in the story, Lynette does not shy away from writing the harsh realities of a murder investigation and the often fatal consequences when a psychotic killer is bent on revenge. The relationships are complex and intriguing and the story is paced well. Lynette ensures readers will seek out the sequel, Don't Look Back, with a disquieting epilogue featuring Samantha's sister, Jamie Cash. Too Close to Home is a solid start to the Women of Justice series.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Bonus Review:

“Too Close to Home” is the first book in Lynette Eason’s debut series: Women of Justice. It’s a mind boggling, gripping tale of crime, broken relationships, love, and ultimately justice. A book that keeps you on your toes to the very end, this is a book that I couldn’t put down. Twists and turns that confused everyone else who’d tried to solve the mystery of the kidnapping and murder of teen girls were no match for the unlikely duo of Connor and Sam…and most importantly, Sam’s faith in God. So strap yourself in for a few hours, keep the lights on and read this thrilling and touching book!

Reviewed by: Rachael Schnitker

Monday, July 12, 2010

McCusker and Larimore's The Influenza Bomb ~ Reviewed

The Influenza Bomb
By Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore M.D.
Published by Howard Books
ISBN# 978-1416569756
448 Pages

Back Cover:

Siberian hospitals are overrun with what looks like the Spanish Flu of 1918. When Dr. Susan Hutchinson arrives, she learns that the outbreak began when the missing Professor Weigel had a run-in with an ecoterrorist group called Return to Earth. In a race against time, can she stop them before they destroy all of mankind? .


We first met Mark Carlson and the TSI team (Time Scene Investigators) in the Gabon Virus. If you haven’t read this prequel to the Influenza Bomb, stop, step away from the Bomb book and click on the link below to order it. It is a fast paced thriller. That however is an entirely different review.

Assuming now that you are up to speed and have invested a sleepless night blistering through the pages of the Gabon Virus, let me tell you about the next treat in store for you from the word processors of Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore M.D.

The TSI Team and the WHO (World Health Organization) still haven’t fully recovered from their wrenching battle with the diabolical Return to Earth terrorist organization, whose goal is to eliminate all human life on the planet, expect maybe them. You know.

Susan Hutchinson, with WHO is call to Siberia when another illness begins killing thousands, suddenly, by what is soon identified as another terrorist attack with global, pandemic repercussions.

Personally I loved this book as much as the first in the series, and couldn’t put it down for long. It is hard charging and suspense filled with characters that have depth that you care about. Obviously there is a Time Scene involved with the story, and in this case we get to travel back to WWI on through WWII, where the Nazi leaders were experimenting with and launching germ warfare attacks against the Allied Armies. The historic recreations are realistic. You find yourself running to the computer to look up aspects. It is a fascinating work of fiction that involves Nazi hideouts, dastardly villains and new technology taken to frightening levels of abuse. I loved it!

Review by Fred St Laurent
The Book Club Network


Can you say whirlwind? This is the fastest that I have read a book in a long time, especially with AppleBlossom running around (yes that's right, my barely ten month old daughter is running...). I could not turn the pages fast enough. I could not find enough time to sit and read as long and as much as I craved to. Every time line, every plot was bam bam bam, give me more!!

Last August, I was able to experience the first book in the TSI (Time Scene Investigators) series The Gabon Virus: A Novel. I knew then that I wanted more and I was not disappointed with this second novel in The Influenza Bomb: A Novel. I was on the edge of my seat turning the page. I was terrified and excited. The characters are real and the enemies true evil, but perfectly appropriate to the mentalities of the world today in both our history and future.

Through out the story I was able to delve down deeply into conspiracies and myth surround the first and second Great World Wars as well as Hitler and his Nazi regime. The facts were fascinating and it was incredible how this team of authors worked the mystery into the medical drama. Without giving anything away, I'm sputtering for speech.

All and all, the best word for it, Love. I love this book, I love this series and I want more!

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cindy Martinusen-Coloma's Caleb + Kate ~ Reviewed

Caleb + Kate
Cindy Martinusen-Coloma
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 1595546782

Product Description:

Rich and pampered, Kate has everything. But when her family moves to the Pacific Northwest, her life changes completely. She meets rough Caleb, and even though they have nothing in common, she's attracted to him. When Caleb decides Kate has something he needs, can she prove that's not who she really is? Ages 12 to 16.


I will now declare that Cindy Martinusen-Coloma is one of my new favorite YA writers. Seriously, this lady knows how to write good YA. And it's not just Christian YA we're talking about. Her stuff is just as good as the general market YA offerings that are out there. This book sets itself apart from most Christian YA books. For starters, the cover is just wonderful. It doesn't look like stock photography and neither does it look like clip art put together hastily. The image portrays a wonderful clue to what the story is about.

Kate is one of the popular girls in the school while Caleb is the new kid who works for Kate's dad at their hotel. Their story revolves around Kate potentially losing her popularity and falling for the kid from the other end of the class spectrum. Martinusen-Coloma's writing is topical and relevant to teens who will be able to relate to the feelings both Kate and Caleb have in this book. The use of technology is frequent as characters text each other quite a bit but never annoying as teen speak is kept to a minimum. I would have loved to read a story about Kate's friends especially Oliver as I felt that his character has so much more to say.

I'm always on the lookout for multiculturalism in Christian books (sadly because of the lack of it in Christian fiction) and once again I find it in a YA book. Caleb is Hawaiian and is proud of his heritage. I was glad that while class issues are a focal part of the story, race issues are never a factor other than to point out obvious differences. While this book does mention God and the fact that both Caleb and Kate are Christians, it is never preachy and adds to the story instead of being a distraction.

The only minor quibble I had was that I felt that the disagreement that caused the feud between the two families wasn't expounded on enough. Basic details are told as well as hints given towards the true feelings of the two men, but I never felt as if the whole story was really told. I guess I felt that there had been a lot of build up throughout the whole story and nothing really came of it. Other than this, I really enjoyed this book. Finding your true love as a teenager is a popular subject but it's always downplayed in Christian fiction. I'm glad that instead of ignoring it and giving out the message that "you're too young" or "dating is wrong", Martinusen-Coloma embraces the fact that teens DO fall in love. It all comes down to whether or not they can handle the emotions and growth that come from it. Looking forward to her next releases as from her track record, I can predict it will be another winner. HIGHLY recommended.

Reviewed by:
Deborah Khuanghlawn

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Denise Hunter's Driftwood Lane ~ Reviewed

Driftwood Lane
A Nantucket Love Story
By Denise Hunter
Published by Thomas Nelson
Release date July 9, 2010
ISBN-10: 1-59554-800-9


Meredith can handle anything: guardianship of three distant siblings, a dilapidated Bed-and-breakfast, even an ever-present handyman who's dismantling more than her fireplace—or can she?

When the death of Meredith's estranged father leaves her with custody of three siblings she's never met, she reluctantly goes to Nantucket to care for them—but only until their uncle returns from his trip. Little does she know, the uncle is already there under the guise of her friendly handyman, with plans of his own.

Will the love that grows between them be strong enough to overcome the secrets that brought them both to Driftwood Lane?


There's a good reason Denise Hunter is an award winning, best-selling author. She can weave a love story that wrings your heart out and leaves you totally satisfied.

I thoroughly enjoyed Driftwood Lane. The siblings' reaction to Meredith wasn't overdone but completely believable. The thirteen year old reacted with suspicion and a young teen's rollercoaster emotions, while the boys waffle in their affections. I fell in love with the hero right along with Meredith, and that was unexpected. Novel Journey and I recommend it highly.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan
Editor, Novel Journey

Bonus Review:

Earlier this week the latest and last addition from the Nantucket series from author Denise Hunter was released from Thomas Nelson. Although this is not the first time that I have heard of Denise, this is the first opportunity I have had to read one of her novels and the first thing that I can say is that I'm sorry that I have waited so long. Through out the chapters of the story I was introduced to real characters placed in a very plausible but difficult situation in life. This novel took something rough and turned it into a beautiful seaside romance. Each page was filled with the spray of the sandy shore waves and the bark of the newly inherited dog. I could hear the sawing of wood and hammering of nails and feel the stress and questionings stares with thoughts of tomorrow in the character's lives. I'm delighted to have been introduced to Denise's writing and plan on gathering more of her books in the future.

Driftwood Lane is book four in the Nantucket Love Story Series, but in my experience not having read the first three I can truly say this novel stands alone and only brings forth a desire to go out and buy the first three.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Shawn Grady's Tomorrow We Die ~ Reviewed

Tomorrow We Die
Shawn Grady
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076420596X

Book Description:

Chase the Angel of Death and You Might Catch Him

Jonathan Trestle is a paramedic who's spent the week a few steps behind the angel of death. When he responds to a call about a man sprawled on a downtown sidewalk, Trestle isn't about to lose another victim. CPR revives the man long enough for him to hand Trestle a crumpled piece of paper and say, "Give this to Martin," before being taken to the hospital.

The note is a series of dashes and haphazard scribbles. Trestle tries to follow up with the patient later, but at the ICU he learns the man awoke, pulled out his IVs, and vanished, leaving only a single key behind. With the simple decision to honor a dying man's last wish, Jonathan tracks the key to a nearby motel where he finds the man again--this time not just dead but murdered. Unwilling to just let it drop, Jonathan is plunged into a mystery that soon threatens not only his dreams for the future but maybe even his life. He must race for the truth before the Angel of Death comes calling for him.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tomorrow We Die, go to HERE.


Shawn Grady's sophomore release shows great talent. I did not read his first book so I can't compare the two, but I plan to go back and pick it up based on what I read in Tomorrow We Die. I work in the medical field and am fascinated with the human body and its workings and Grady's EMT training has given him lots of details to provide. Tomorrow We Die is a fast read weighing in at around 200 pages (not sure of final count as I read an Advanced Reader Copy provided by the publisher). Plenty of action and emotional tension join with the medical jargon making the novel a page turner.

Readers who like twists and turns, medical fiction and first person narratives told well should enjoy examining Grady's novels. The end resolved quickly and there were a few predictable moments for me, but Grady's writing is strong overall and his characters are compelling enough to overcome a few minor irritations. Some details may give chickens the willies so be forewarned.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer


Shawn Grady’s second novel Tomorrow We Die, is just as gripping, eye opening, and realistic as the Through the Fire. Shawn takes the reader into an EMT’s world the way no one else can. He’s been a firefighter and EMT in the Reno area for years. I’m thankful I received a review copy of this suspenseful, action packed story that made me realize how hard EMT’s work and how much they sacrifice, day-in and day-out.

Jonathan works as an EMT as he awaits news of a scholarship. He dreams of being a Doctor. EMT’s have demanding, dangerous jobs but Jonathan knows this is the first step to becoming a Doctor. He also realizes he can’t save everyone. That was the rub.

Jonathan tries to save Simon Letell’s, life. He asks for a favor. Puts a piece of paper in his hand and says, “Give this to Martin.” Then passes out, what did that mean? Who’s Martin? Simon is rushed to ER. Jonathon checks on Simon later to learn more about the crazy note. It didn’t make sense. How would he find Martin? The mystery gets more complicated when Jonathan discovers Simon’s gone AWOL. He was near death’s doors just this morning he couldn’t have gone far. How to find Simon and Martin? Aha, the million dollar question.

I was spell bound as I read this gripping, suspenseful mystery. I grew to like Jonathan and was intrigued by the challenges he faced. I hadn’t realized how hard EMT’s work and how they have to think on their feet just like Firefighters. What worked in the classroom doesn’t always mean it will work in the field with its less than perfect circumstances and drama. A split second decision in the field can mean life or death to a patient and to themselves.

I’ve started to look at Firefighters and EMTS in a whole new light thanks to Shawn Grady’s realistic, complex characters and the insider details he gives these stories nobody likes to talk about. I can’t wait to see where Shawn takes us next.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Monday, July 05, 2010

Linda Windsor's Healer ~ Reviewed

By Linda Windsor
David C. Cook 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6478-2

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Her mother’s dying prophecy to the chieftain Tarlach O’Byrne sentenced Brenna of Gowrys to twenty years of hiding. Twenty years of being hunted—by the O’Byrnes, who fear the prophecy, and by her kinsmen, who expect her to lead them against their oppressors. But Brenna is a trained and gifted healer, not a warrior queen, so she lives alone in the wilderness with only her pet wolf for company. When she rescues a man badly wounded from an ambush, she believes he may be the answer to her deep loneliness. Healing him comes as easy as loving him. But can their love overcome years of bitterness and greed…and bring peace and renewed faith to the shattered kingdom?

I’ve read lots of Linda Windsor’s books—she’s got twenty-nine published—but this one is my favorite by a long shot. Healer is historical fiction at its finest, incorporating fast-paced action, romance, and spiritual warfare.

When thinking of the Dark Ages, certain words come to mind…mystical, superstitious, even downright demonic. Windsor pulls these elements into the story while managing to bring all the glory to God.

I really liked the herbal remedies that were used and explained throughout the tale. Much of the mystery during this time period (think King Arthur and Merlin) can be demystified when applying the science of nature—which is exactly what Windsor does.

But aside from the apparent research, medical and historical, Windsor writes a love story that sizzles. Hero Ronan O’Byrne is one serious hunk of man with a noble heart and muscles to match. Heroine Brenna of Gowrys is a woman who knows her own mind and is not afraid to act on her convictions, yet she displays a sincere humility and desire to please God. After only a chapter or two, I was seriously invested in these characters.

Healer is one of the top three books I’ve read so far this year, and I read a lot. This is definitely one I’ll keep on my shelf and re-visit in the years to come.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Marlo Schalesky's Shades of Morning ~ Reviewed

By Marlo Schalesky
Published by Multnomah
338 Pages

Back Cover:

When her sister dies unexpectedly and leaves behind a 15-year-old Down’s syndrome son, Marnie's world comes unhinged---and her past collides with the present. As she struggles to find healing and forgiveness, a man arrives, determined to destroy her. Will she face the consequences of decisions made a decade earlier---or will she run again?


“Some people were meant to love. Others only watched from the outside….because once, a long time ago, she had a single chance to love. One glimmering impossible opportunity. And she’d blown it. Big time.”

Today Marnie meets her sisters’ child for the first time. He’s fifteen and has Downs’s syndrome. How could her sister Rose, keep a secret like this? Taylor, the executor of her sister’s will and former friend was asking the impossible; she couldn’t raise Rose’s son, Emmit. Marnie was single and had a coffee shop to run, people depended on her. Her life was full, and no room for anything else. But the longer Emmit stayed and the more she learned about him, a surprising thing happened. Marnie realizes she needs him. “Emmit was showing her the way home. He was showing her how to trust,” in people and in God again.

Taylor realizes he has his own struggles with God and Marnie….”God, who wanted him to let go. God, who had never stopped pursuing him. God, who wanted the past for Himself.” Why couldn’t he let go? What was he afraid of?

I’m so glad I received a review copy of this amazing, powerful, heartfelt story. Marlo has a talent to captivate you from the start and immediately draw on your heart strings, because her characters are believable and they deal with circumstances beyond themselves. I felt for Emmit’s situation as he was forced to live with an Aunt he’d never met.

This author captures the endearing qualities of Emmit and the real issues he struggles with being a Down’s syndrome teenager, but at the same time you’ll see the simple way he views life and knows what’s important. He hopes Marnie realizes it before it’s too late. I was absolutely taken in by Emmit praising God in church, how he loved life and I laughed at his obsession with doughnuts!

When you meet Emmit and get to know him, you won’t look at another Downs’ syndrome child the same. I highly recommend this novel. The story and its characters will stay with you long after the last page is read.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network

Bonus Review:

Marlo Schalesky has a lovely way with words which can be experienced in her latest love story with a twist, Shades of Morning. Wary and jaded on the outside, Marnie's heart for others can be seen in the selfless things she does for others but her generosity is tested when she is forced to care for her late sister's son. Challenged by Emmit's Downs Syndrome and the fact it brings Taylor Cole back into her life after fifteen years of silence, Marnie's journey is awkward and moving with an ending I thought I saw coming but clearly didn't! A tender story of broken faith, wounded souls and the freedom of unconditional love, Shades of Morning challenges us to choose love and to forgive.

Reviewed by Rel Mollet

Thursday, July 01, 2010

ACFW July Book Releases

1. A Shore Thing; Otter Bay, Book 2 by Julie Carobini-- A Romance from B&H. A fiery, eco-friendly young woman leads the fight against a large development in her beachfront hometown while falling for the architect assigned to the job.

2. Back on Murder; A Roland March Mystery, Book 1 by J. Mark Bertrand -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Bethany House. Homicide cop Roland March attempts a comeback as corruption and a high profile case threaten to sink him.

3. Beautiful Bandit; The Lone Star Legends Series by Loree Lough -- An Historical from Whitaker House. When rancher Josh Neville rescues a terrified woman who calls herself Dinah, she unwittingly leads notorious killers to his door, putting him and everyone at the Lazy N in jeopardy.

4. Beyond Summer; Blue Sky Hills Series, Book 3 by Lisa Wingate -- Women's Fiction from Peguin Group/NAL. Tam Williams discovers the blessings of community when her father is jailed, and the family moves to downscale Blue Sky Hill where her new friend, Shasta might lose her home to her father's shady mortgage company.

5. Bride in Training; Man's Best Friend Series by Gail Gaymer Martin -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Troubled lives lead to loneliness, Emily and Martin learn, until the Lord teaches them he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

6. Cattleman's Courtship by Carolyn Aarsen -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Cara Morrison has to fix the past before she can face the future.

7. Doctor in Petticoats; Sophie's Daughters Series, Book #1 by Mary Connealy -- A Romance from Barbour. A burned out doctor is called in because he's a man, while the town's lady doctor does all the work and keeps the doctor from cracking up.

8. Driftwood Lane; 3rd in Series of Stand Alones by Denise Hunter -- A Romance from Thomas Nelson. A love story set on Nantucket Island.

9. Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. A firefighter falls in love while trying to find her father's killer.

10. Flash Point; Emerald Coast 911 by Stephanie Newtonr -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense. Courage Under Fire.

11. Heart of a Cowboy; 2nd book in the Helping Hands Homeschooling by Margaret Daley -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Zachary Rutgers is perfectly happy with being a loner until he discovers he has a son and must deal with buried feelings concerning Jordan Masterson.

12. Love Finds You in Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig -- An Historical from Summerside Press. A young seamstress struggling to survive in a booming mining town is pressed into a marriage of convenience with the local livery owner.

13. Minnesota Moonlight 3-in-1 Collection by Becky Melby & Cathy Wienke -- Romance from Barbour. An ex-con, a storm chaser, and a footloose musician˜three unlikely heroes for three women learning to trust God...and the men He's brought into their lives.

14. Nightshade; Book #1 of the Discarded Heroes series by Ronie Kendig -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Barbour. This Former Navy SEAL is fighting a new battle--the home front!

15. Prodigal Patriot; Vermont #1 by Darlene Franklin -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong. How can Sally and Josiah battle through the barriers separating Tory and Patriot to find love and forgiveness?

16. Ransome's Crossing; The Ransome Trilogy, Book 2 by Kaye Dacus -- A Romance from Harvest House. Disguising herself as a midshipman to get to her secret fiance, Charlotte Ransome faces danger--and love--crossing the Atlantic.

17. Rodeo Redemption; The Rodeo Royalty Series, Book 1 by Teri Wilson -- A Romance from White Rose Publishing. Josie Turner would rather forget she was ever crowned Rodeo Queen. Can former rodeo cowboy Luke Anderson mend Josie's heart and can one rodeo weekend help them both find redemption?

18. Seeds of Summer; Seasons of the Tallgrass - Book #2 by Deborah Vogts -- A Romance from Zondervan. When a former Miss Rodeo Kansas queen returns home after her father's death to care for the family ranch and her two younger siblings, what follows is a summer full of change, life-lessons and an unexpected romance with the new minister in Diamond Falls.

19. So Over It; Book 3 in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series by Stephanie Morrill -- General Fiction from Revell. Senior year is over and Skylar Hoyt is ready to forgive and forget. Or at least forget.

20. Song of Solomon by Kendra Norman Bellamy -- A Romance from Urban Books. How can he convince her that she's his God-given mate when she's already wearing a wedding ring?

21. Stars in the Night by Cara Putman -- An Historical from Summerside Press. Step back to 1942 Hollywood as Audra Schaeffer tries to find her sister and a killer before it is too late.

22. The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis -- An Historical from Summerside Press. When Emma's father is murdered, she's hired to do the job he could have had--helping track them down by breaking their ciphers.

23. The Engineered Engagement; Book Three in the Kennebrae Brides Series by Erica Vetsch -- An Historical from Barbour Heartsong. Sparks fly when a shipbuilder finds himself engaged to the wrong girl.

24. The Seeker; The Shaker Series # 3 by Ann H. Gabhart -- An Historical from Revell. The story brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry, the simple Shakers and the ravages of war in 1860s Kentucky.

25. The Way to a Man's Heart; The Miller Family Series, Book 3 by Mary Ellis -- A Romance from Harvest House. When all the men beat a path to Leah's diner, her parents don't breathe a sigh of relief until she narrows her suitors from half a dozen down to one.

26. Where the Dogwoods Bloom by Myra Johnson -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong. Jilly Gardner left Blossom Hills ten years ago, determined never to return, but when Cam Lane calls to ask for her help, she finds she can't say no.