Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vicki McDonough's Long Trail Home ~ Reviewed

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


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


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

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

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stephen Lawhead's The Skin Map ~ Reviewed

By Stephen R Lawhead
Published by Thomas Nelson
403 Pages

Back Cover:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deborah Malone's Death in Dahlonega ~ Reviewed

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

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

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

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

Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pamela Meyers's Thyme for Love ~ Reviewed

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

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

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

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

Endorsements for Thyme for Love:

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Susan Page Davis's Captive Trail ~ Reviewed

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


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


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

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

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Monday, November 21, 2011

Melody Carlson's The Christmas Shoppe ~ Reviewed

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

About Book:

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


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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Friday, November 18, 2011

MaryLu Tyndall's Surrender the Dawn ~ Reviewed

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

Review by Michelle Griep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Laurie Alice Eakes's A Necessary Deception ~ Reviewed

By Laurie Alice Eakes
Published by Revell
346 Pages

Back Cover:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by:Nora St.Laurent

Jennifer Rogers Spinola's Southern Fried Sushi ~ Reviewed

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

Back Cover:

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


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

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

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

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jamie Carie's Pirate of My Heart ~ Reviewed

By: Jamie Carie
Published by B&H
ISBN#: 978-08054-4815-3
306 pages

Book Cover:

When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.


I was drawn to this book by the book cover and the title, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect! I ‘m thankful for the review copy of this entertaining adventure! This author pulls at your heart strings from the start when Lady Kendra is born and her mom Eilleen dies, poor Edward, Kendra’s dad, is left to raise his daughter alone! He does well as he devotes his entire life to raising her properly. His relationship with his daughter is special and brought a smile to my face!

Then Andrew Townsend arrives on the scene. He’s Edward’s twin brother. He begs Edward to help him out financially. Kendra knows her father wants to show God’s love to his brother, maybe help turn his life around, but tragedy strikes and Lady Kendra is left alone with her selfish, greedy uncle, to provide for her. The Uncle gives her two choices: she can marry a man that has sought her hand in marriage, who’s older than dirt or she can go live in America with relatives - she has to pick one – Kendra was no longer welcome in her own home!

Lady Kendra chooses America. Maybe these relatives would be nicer. How bad could it be? She has no idea the danger that awaits her on a ship full of men. She’s innocent and thought the best of everyone so she goes on board. Kendra has a strong faith and confidence God knew what was best for her even in tragic times.

Captain Dorian Colburn runs a cargo business. His rule is no passengers on his ship. But his first mate gives into Andrew Towsend’s pleading to take his niece to America so she could care for sick relatives. Andrew was willing to pay handsomely for his request.

Lady Kendra was very beautiful which sweetens the deal. Dorian was furious with his first mate until he met Kendra. Dorian emotions went all crazy inside when he spoke with her. He’d told himself he’d have to stay away from that one! He made a vow to Bachelorhood! Women tried to trap him into marriage all the time - he knew their tricks and he would not let this one catch him either!

Captain Dorian feels responsible to take care of Lady Kendra and protect her from the men. She was elegant and he wanted no harm to befall her. Lady Kendra and the Captain instantly start a playful banter and verbal sparing, each had a quick wit and sense of humor I enjoyed.

Lady Kendra fears pirates will take over their ship, where would she hide? The Captain assures her they won’t encounter pirates on his watch. Lady Kendra does her best to believe him and seek Gods' will for her life in this foreign land with relatives that don’t know her.

This is an enjoyable, sweet story of Lady Kendra and Captain Dorian. Parts of their relationship frustrated me as neither wanted to admit their love for the other and hurt my heart as Captain Dorian and Lady Kendra assumed the worst about the other. They react to each other out of their past pain, instead of talking things out.Ugh!

This novel is filled with action, adventure, love, redemption, trust, acceptance and hope. Some characters jump to conclusions without all the facts and behave poorly. I haven’t read a book by this author before. I’ll definitely jump into another adventure she’s written, this book was pure enjoyment! Look forward to another adventure this author will take me on!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kathi Macias's A Christmas Journey Home ~ Reviewed

By Kathi Macias
Published by New Hope Publishers (October 5, 2011)
ISBN# 978-1596693289
240 Pages

Back Cover:

During Isabella Alcantara’s seventh month of pregnancy, her parents and siblings are murdered in gang- and drug-related violence, simply because their home was targeted by mistake. Isabella knows she was spared only because she now lives in a different location, but she knows too that the same thing could easily happen to her and her husband, Francisco. When her grandfather offers to hire a “coyote” to bring them across the border to America, she agrees. But Francisco and Isabella are abandoned by the coyote and left to die. Francisco then valiantly sacrifices himself to get Isabella to safety. Homeless, nearly penniless, pregnant, and alone, Isabella determines to find a way to honor her promise to her beloved husband.

Living on one of the smaller spreads along the Arizona border, Miriam Nelson becomes furious with God and turns from her faith when her border patrol agent husband, David, is killed in a skirmish with drug smugglers. Though her mother and young son do their best to woo her back from the anger and bitterness that have overtaken her, they make little headway. Two widows—one driven by fear and a promise, the other by bitterness and revenge—must make their journeys along different pathways, but with the same destination: a barn full of animals that stands waiting for them on Christmas Eve. Forced to face their personal demons, Isabella and Miriam soon discover a common yearning that will bind them together in a most miraculous way.


Looking for a warm cozy feel good Christmas story? – It’s not found here! Just like Jesus’ life on earth was not filled with cute fuzzy experiences but what he went through here on earth changed the world forever. It was miraculous and so was the ending of this book. Kathi Macias writes stories with heart and they have a mission. This story is to make people aware of Illegal Immigration. Even at the mention of this topic images and emotions stir, Kathi doesn't take sides. She shows the situation from many angels. I really liked that about her books.

This author looks at two women from different parts of the world - living completely diverse lives. Isabella is in Mexico, recently married and is 19 years old. After Isabella’s family is murdered by drug Lords her grandfather gives the couple his blessing and life savings. He wants them to flee to America in hopes of a better life.

Isabella’s husband Francisco secures a Coyote to help them get to the Promised Land. Instead they find themselves all alone in the desert, with no hope of survival.

Miriam is a widow raising her young son with her mother. Her husband patrolled the Borders and was killed doing his job. Enforcing immigration laws was what he did and she was angry at “those” people! The ones trying to cross the boarder, they were all the same and responsible for her being alone!

The author has you empathize with these women and their struggle, each trying to push past their hurts, fear and walk one step at a time trying to hear from God. Living out the Christian life wasn’t easy for Miriam or Isabella.

This is not an easy read as Isabella goes through a series of unfortunate events. It’s hard to read because I know that this kind of thing does exist. Kathi doesn’t get graphic but gives you a glimpse into their struggle. I like how this author shows the grandfather interceding for the young couple! He knows the power of prayer and does it without ceasing!

This is an emotional, gripping tale that will have you look at this situation with new eyes! Kathi also shows what greed, can lead to and what poverty does to people. In the end and all throughout the story reveals how we can only make it thru impossible situations with God working in us and through us with His love, compassion and forgiveness. When we let God work in us and through us our life and the people in our life are forever changed. I highly recommend this story and Kathi’s Extreme Devotion series; her books are unforgettable in so many ways!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Janelle Mowery's When Two Hearts Meet ~ Reviewed

Janelle Mowery
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736928103


Janelle Mowery (When All My Dreams Come True and When Love Gets in the Way) concludes her popular Colorado Runaway series with another adventurous story of faith, hope, and love in the Wild West.

Rachel Garrett finds that attaining her dream of becoming a nurse is fraught with peril. A deputy sheriff with a wall around his heart doesn’t help matters, but when she learns why Luke Mason has barricaded his heart, her desire to heal confronts an even greater challenge. Her need of his protection from an unknown assailant might be the force that sends his wall crashing down around them.

Luke became a deputy in order to find the men who killed his father. He turns his back on God, only to run into the fiery Miss Garrett, who is a constant reminder of his lost faith. As Luke hunts for Rachel’s attacker, he finds she has snared his heart. Faced with the fear of losing another loved one, he must decide whether he can learn to rely on God to save her—or run from the love both offer.


When Two Hearts Meet revolves around a young nurse named Rachel Garrett who moves to the Colorado Territory to work with Dr. Barnes, in Rockdale, Colorado. Her path keeps crossing with Deputy Luke Mason, who, despite his efforts to stay away from her, finds himself losing his heart to Rachel. When Rachel gets attacked by an unknown assailant, Luke decides to do all he can to bring them to justice.

This was such a great book. I love books set in the Old West. I enjoyed watching the change in Luke in this book. In the beginning, he is mad at God for taking his father from him at a young age, but through Rachel’s influence, you see Luke’s heart soften towards God throughout the book. This is a great read, and I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Monday, November 07, 2011

Deeanne Gist's Love on the Line ~ Reviewed

By Deeanne Gist
Published by: Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0-7042-0409-8
365 Pages

Back Cover:

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world ... which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.


Why do I love Deeanne Gist books? Let me count the ways. First off I like the face she writers about smart, but sensitive women – these are women with a heart to do the right thing – and are often pioneers of their times. Second – Deeanne loves history and finds the most unusual and interesting things women did that wasn’t well publicized.

Third – The historical depth to her books help me get a peek into how folks lived back then and realize how far we’ve come socially and technologically in such a short time span. It’s astounding.

I’m thankful for the review copy of such a fun and educational book! I enjoyed Georgie Gail, the rural switchboard operator very much. I liked her spunk and the passion she had for birds that came calling at her window sill and in her garden. It was also fascinating to read about what was asked of a phone operator. People called Georgie to inquire about the shows playing at the Opera house and what times the show were. They called her to find out the price of turkeys and could they be delivered, called for the time because their time piece stopped working and my favorite call was to ask Georgie to watch for their cow that run off.

Georgie has a 12 year old helper named Bettina, who I enjoyed. Bettina got paid to deliver messages to people who didn’t have a phone. Georgia paid her out of her own money to help give the girl some treats her family couldn’t afford. All is well until Bettina says she wants to sell bird eggs to a man willing to pay her $5.00 for them and says, “I just wanted a sarsaparilla stick or one of them rock-and-rye drops. And sometimes, I get me a powerful thirst for a Dr. Pepper. I could get all that fer a nickel and still have money left over.” My have things changed. Imagine what she could get for five dollars back then.

Georgie’s mission is to save the birds. She felt it’s criminal to kill birds and their babies to decorate hats! Birds were our friends not something to be chased down and kill only to become an ornament on someone’s hat.

Then Luke Palmer storms into Georgie’s world. Luke’s the new lineman for the SW & T phone company. His job is to repair, install new phone lines and silicate new customers. He’s also an undercover Sheriff on a mission to catch train robbers, Frank Comer and his gang. He hopes to infiltrate a gang and get their ring leader. Frank Comer is a Robin Hood type of train robber. He only steals from the rich being the banks and lets the poor keep their money. People love him and don’t say much about the robberies, which makes Luke’s job harder.

Luke is prideful and has been on the road chasing bad guys so long he forgot how to treat a lady. Luke and Georgie butt heads! Both are strong willed and focused on their separate goals. Luke soon realizes Georgie had to be on his team in order for him to get the information he needed to complete his mission. That’s when the fun begins. Luke starts singing a different tune! Georgie wonders about him! Is he for real? Grin!

Deanne doesn’t disappoint. I learned so much about this time period and what it took to be a switchboard operator, all the while Deeann gives the reader fun information without bogging them down. This novel has all the winning combinations for me! This story was just plain fun! I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by:Nora St.Laurent

Friday, November 04, 2011

Diane Noble's The Betrayal ~ Reviewed

The Betrayal: Brides of Gabriel, Book Two
Diane Noble
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Avon Inspire; Original edition (July 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061980943


Ensnared in a religion she increasingly questions, Bronwyn faces an impossible choice.

When recently widowed Bronwyn becomes the second wife to Gabriel MacKay, she promises her new sister wife and best friend, Mary Rose, that the marriage will remain platonic. But she finds herself falling in love with the man who has promised to keep her safe—even as her heart struggles with her promise to her friend. When Gabriel marries a third wife, and as the practice of polygamy increases and the age of brides decreases, Bronwyn begins to question the righteousness of this new religion.

Even as the Saints journey to Salt Lake Valley, their new promised land, Bronwyn and Mary Rose plot their escape. But when they are suspected of treachery by Brigham Young's secret army—whose mission it is to punish apostates—the two sister wives face the most difficult decision of their lives, one that can mean life or death for those they love.


The Betrayal is book two of the Brides of Gabriel series, and revolves around the Mormon church. In this book, recently widowed Bronwyn becomes the second wife to Gabriel McKay, who’s first wife is her best friend, Mary Rose. Though she promises to keep the relationship platonic, she finds herself falling in love with Gabriel. As the story progresses, Gabriel takes a third wife, and Bronwyn and Mary Rose begin to realize the false teachings of the Mormon church, but are not sure what action to take, as the consequences of speaking out are severe. Bronwyn and Mary Rose begin to plan a means of escape, but if they are caught, it could cost them their lives.

I really enjoyed this book. I wish I had been able to read book one, but this book does a good job of filling the reader in, so you don’t feel like you missed much. One thing I liked about this book is how Bronwyn and Mary Rose’s eyes were opened to the TRUTH. It just goes to show that if you really want to know the truth, God will reveal it to you.

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sandra Bricker's Always the Wedding Planner Never the Bride ~ Reviewed

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride
By Sandra D Bricker
Published by Abingdon Press
ISBN #: 978-1-4267-3160-0
314 Pages

Book Description:

As a wedding planner, Sherilyn Caine should have the perfect wedding experience...

After all, she just landed her dream job at the wedding destination hotel, The Tanglewood. The rest should be a piece of cake for Sherilyn's Type A personality.

But while everything else goes smoothly, her own wedding plans start to sink right before her eyes. One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiancé?


I became aware of Sandra’s novel when it won the ACFW’s Book Club pick for December. I was thankful for the review copy and can’t wait for the discussion on the ACFW book club loop. The cover of this book says fun, fun, fun. I wasn’t disappointed.

Sandra has Emma Rae Travis and Sherilyn Carrie meet in college and then go separate ways because of career choices. The girls hoped that they’d work together someday in the future.

But life happens and things aren’t as they expected. Then the girls get a surprise, a glorious surprise. Sherilyn and Emma are in the same city, Atlanta; working together at the Tanglewood Hotel offering couples wedding packages. Then their dream come true an opportunity to work together; happened sooner than they expected. This isn’t what they expected. This reality had a few bumps in the road, could they navigate them and still remain close friends?

Along with the fun story line of the two friends living out their dream, Sandra shows the reader the practical side of planning a wedding, giving out helpful suggestions in preparing, such as 5 tips for choosing the prefect wedding dress, and the do’s and don’ts of a bridal registry; then she has the wedding planner’s ultimate Bridal Checklist, Wedding themes and the top 5 bridal flowers are also included.

Sandra’s new book is not only fun and funny to read it has some practical information and scrumptious recipes for the reader to enjoy as well. This books a hoot! I highly recommend it! When you finish reading you’ll be grinning from ear to ear!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Beth Webb Hart's Sunrise on the Battery ~ Review

Sunrise on the Battery
Beth Webb Hart
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595542000
ISBN-13: 978-1595542007


She wanted her husband to attend the town’s society-driven church.

God answered her prayer in a radical way.

An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t. After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all. And yet, it remains—an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.

When a surprise encounter leads her to newfound faith, Mary Lynn longs to share it with her husband. But Jackson wrote God off long ago. Mary Lynn prays for him on Christmas Eve...and her husband undergoes a life-altering, Damascus Road experience. As Jackson begins to take the implications of the Gospel literally, Mary Lynn feels increasingly isolated from her husband...and betrayed by God. She only wanted Jackson beside her at church on Sunday mornings, not some Jesus freak who evangelizes prostitutes and invites the homeless to tea.

While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she’s ever dreamed of.


I've known Southern families like the ones described in this story - families with "old" money who had a culture all of their own. I've know people who tried to fit into that "world" with hard work and the success that followed - trying to make things "better" for the kids - and the mayhem that often followed. And I've known folks who have been radically transformed from the bondage of the care of the world through the blood of Christ. In short, I identified strongly with all of the characters in this story. I understood their fear, their longing to fit in, their longing to be accepted for who they were - the longing to be accepted by Christ.

This is a multi-layered story. Read beneath the surface and be prepared to be challenged by what you find there. This is a story that will touch your heart and challenge you to examine your spiritual motives. Great read!

Reviewed by: Kim Ford 

Bonus Review:

Sunrise on the Battery is about a wealthy, up and coming young family trying to make a name for themselves in the Old Society in Charleston, South Carolina.  Jackson and Mary Lynn Scoville come from “poor” beginnings, but through good investments and knowing the right people, become very wealthy, with a goal to provide all that money can buy for their children.  In the meantime, they lose sight of what’s important, as Jackson pushes his children towards perfection.  Mary Lynn senses an emptiness in her life that she feels can be filled by the Lord, but Jackson’s disinterest in anything with God makes things difficult, so she begins to pray for him.  Suddenly, Jackson takes an interest and does a complete 180 degree turn when he finds the truth and gives his life to Christ.  However, his over-zealous lifestyle change threatens to affect everything they’ve worked towards, including their acceptance into the Charleston High Society.
It took me a bit to get into this book, but I really enjoyed it.  It showed, in Mary Lynn, how many folks take an interest in spiritual things, but when the challenge comes to decide what’s more important, God’s opinion or people’s opinion, those that aren’t truly committed to Christ are brought to light.  Jackson didn’t care what society thought once he realized what was really important.  His heart was in serving the Lord and he had a deep concern for the spiritual state of everyone he came across.  It was wonderful to see the spiritual growth in the characters.

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter