Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eileen Rife's Second Chance ~ Reviewed

Second Chance
By Eileen Rife
Published by Oak Tara
February, 2012
ISBN-10: 1602903182

Back Cover:

Mave wants the life back in her marriage. Dareece just wants a life. Could they be the answer to each other's dream? Mave Robertson, a recent empty nester, wants the fire back in her marriage, but her husband, Jerry, remains aloof. Is he having an affair? A midlife crisis? When a neighbor suggests she "get a life," Mave accepts the challenge and volunteers at an inner-city teen ministry where she is thrown into a culture of drugs, gangs, and unwed teen moms. She soon discovers someone she can help, but might he also be the cure for both her stale marriage and her crumbling relationship with her father? Dareece Jackson, a teen from the projects, wants something in Mave's purse...and he'll stop at nothing to get it.


Mave Robertson spent her life “doing” for everyone else, so much so, she’s forgotten who she is outside of motherhood. When her daughter leaves for college, Mave flounders in despair. Her friend suggests retail therapy, which leads to a comical interchange between them, but not a solution. With new duds, she returns to a lifeless marriage, feeling as empty as before.

Meanwhile, Dareece Jackson, son of a felon gang-member, fights to stay on the straight and narrow while helping his mom with the kids and bills. Although gang life might offer quick cash, he knows where it leads and determines not to follow in his father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, the local gang members don’t share Dareece’s resolve and soon pressure Dareece into selling drugs.

During a festival for a local youth ministry, these two desperate lives converge at Second Chance Ministries, a place offering hope, purpose, and what they hope to be a new beginning.

Eileen Rife has a unique voice that combines witty sarcasm with colorful analogies perfectly suited to the characters that speak them. I loved each character she crafted, from Mave, the middle-aged heroine struggling to find purpose during the empty-nest stage, to the feisty Mrs. Jackson with her swollen ankles and shrill voice. With organic dialogue a vibrantly authentic setting, Second Chance is a strong novel of hope, purpose, and forgiveness.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Monday, February 27, 2012

L.L.Samson's The Enchanted Attic ~ Reviewed

The Enchanted Attic - Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame
L. L. Samson
Paperback: 141 pages
Publisher: ZonderKidz (May 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-72795-8


A hidden attic. A classic story. A very unexpected twist. Twin twelve-year-old bookworms Ophelia and Linus Easterday discover a hidden attic that once belonged to a mad scientist. While relaxing in the attic and enjoying her latest book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ophelia dozes off, and within moments finds herself facing a fully alive and completely bewildered Quasimodo. Ophelia and Linus team up with a clever neighbor, a hippy priest, and a college custodian, learning Quasimodo's story while searching for some way to get him back home---if he can survive long enough in the modern world.


Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame is an excellent first book to a new children's series. While older readers (say 13 and up) will find a few of the characters a bit off, younger readers probably won't notice a thing (than again, what do I know about people under 12?) The combination of self sufficient twins, a street smart London transfer student, and an enchanted attic create the perfect environment for a magical summer vacation. As an added bonus, the book mentions classic literature such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Moby Dick.

Scattered throughout the writing one can also find new vocabulary words accompanied by a definition by the local university's janitor (I learned a few new words too). This could make the book a hidden English lesson (or a visible one), but whether used that way or not it should find it's way onto any child’s reading list.

Reviewed by: Jayshua Nelson

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lynette Eason's When the Smoke Clears ~ Reviewed

When the Smoke Clears: A Novel (Deadly Reunions)
Lynette Eason
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Revell (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800720075

About the Book:

After a brush with death due to equipment failure, smokejumper Alexia Allen is ordered to take time off while the incident is under investigation. She makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she is confronted with murder, arson--and a handsome detective.

But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she struggles to accept and forgive her family's past, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension you've come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.


You know, I forgot how good Lynette Eason’s suspense stories can be! Short, intense chapters keep you reading at a frantic pace, and before you know it, you are at the end of the book wanting more! Now that’s not a bad problem to have if you’re Lynette Eason – especially when she is introducing a new series – Deadly Reunions – with When the Smoke Clears.

I’m hard pressed to decide what aspect of the story is most intriguing – the character’s struggles with their past and the conflicts that find them in the present – the unexpected touch of romance that Alexia Allen finds when she moves back to the town where she grew up – or the murdered body of a high school friend she finds in her mom’s basement! This story has something for everyone, and you don’t need to miss this exciting series!! Seriously! It’s really good! Read it soon! I dare you!

Reviewed by: Kim Ford

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mary Ellis's An Amish Family Reunion ~ Reviewed

Mary Ellis
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736944877


During a rumschpringe visit to Niagara Falls, Phoebe Miller meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her—and everyone else—with his exceptional storytelling ability. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people—writing and illustrating a children’s book.

Eli’s kindness and appeal extend beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe’s heart. But he is an only son with five sisters, and when his father suffers a heart attack, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility on the farm. Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won’t give up his beloved Phoebe.

Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will Phoebe’s deep-seated fear of desertion stand in their way?


An Amish Family Reunion is basically about just that: a reunion! I’m assuming there is a series that is the basis for this book, which I haven’t read, and I wish I had, as I believe I would have been able to keep up with the characters better. The story, however, centers around Phoebe Miller, a young Amish girl who has a love of painting and drawing. She meets a young Amish man named Eli Riehl, who has a love for telling stories. They decide to team up to write a children’s book together, and throughout the process, end up discovering they have feelings for each other. Throughout the story, we are introduced to Phoebe’s uncle and aunt and their children, who are scattered about. We learn about their lives and struggles, and get to see them come together as a family towards the end.

This was a very good book, however, as I said in the beginning, I wish I had read the books leading up to it, as there were times I had a hard time following all of the characters. But it was fun, and I would recommend it to others!

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tracey Bateman's Tandem ~ Reviewed

By Tracey Bateman
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN# 978-0-307-45717-2
312 Pages

Book Blurb:

As obsession and loss become dark partners, how far must the people of Abbey Hills go to survive?

Six months ago, brutal murders shook the small Ozark town—murders that stopped after a house fire reportedly claimed the killer’s life. Lauryn McBride's family auction house has taken responsibility for the estate sale of one of the victims—the enigmatic Markus Chisom. Submerging herself in Chisom’s beautiful but strange world, Lauryn welcomes the reprieve from watching Alzheimer’s steal her father from her, piece by piece. She soon realizes that centuries-old secrets tie Abbey Hills to the Chisom estate and a mysterious evil will do anything to make sure those secrets stay hidden. Even the man who grew up loving her may not be able to protect Lauren from the danger.

When Amede Dastillon receives an unexpected package from Abbey Hills, she hopes it might be the key in tracking down her beloved sister, long estranged from her family. Visiting Abbey Hills seems the logical next step in her search, but Amede is unusually affected by the town, and when mutilated carcasses begin turning up again in the small community, the local law enforcement isn’t sure if they are confronting a familiar evil or a new terror.

Two women brought together by questions that seem to have no answers. Can they overcome the loss and darkness threatening to devour them—or will their own demons condemn them to an emotional wasteland?


I’m thankful for the review copy of Tandem, I had read Thirsty and looked forward to reading the sequel. I also enjoyed that this second book had the same setting as the first book. The town had been peaceful for a few years but now Ozark has had some gruesome killings, the community was on high alert.. Bloody animal and human bodies have been discovered. This small town remembers all to well what happened the last time bloodied bodies like this were found. Fear runs ram pet through the community. They all hope the nightmare isn’t starting again.

Tandem has a few more characters in it than Thirsty, and brought more of the vampire element into the story line. The author grabbed my attention from the start but along the way I became disturbed by the segments where the author dealt with a women being tortured. Those parts became difficult for me to read. I was fearful this book would become too graphic for me to read. I’m a chicken at heart and don’t normally read books like this. I like Tracey Bateman and the books she’s written in the past very much. I wanted to read this series because I was curious to see what she’d do with a vampire topic.

I’m not a vampire book reader. I’ve read four in all. This series hasn’t made me rush out and read more vampire stories. My conclusion is I’m not a vampire fan. Good news is that I am a Tracy Bateman fan and will continue to read her books. I like the authors writing but not the subject matter of this book.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Friday, February 17, 2012

Yvonne Anderson's The Story in the Stars ~ Reviewed

Yvonne Anderson
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Risen Books (June 30, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936835045


The inhabitants of the planet Gannah are known as bloodthirsty savages who once tried to conquer the galaxy. Now a plague has ravaged the planet and only one survivor remains, a young woman named Dassa. Pik, the doctor from the League of Planets assigned to her case, hates everything Gannahan and wishes every last one of its people had died. Bereft of everything she's ever known, Dassa clings to her God and the story he has written in the stars. He has given her an assignment: to return to Gannah and replenish it with a new race of people. But she must first overcome the prejudice of the entire galaxy and recruit her de facto enemy, Pik, to help her.


I'm not a sci-fi fan, but I'm loving The Story in the Stars! The characters are realistic, they're three-dimensional, and relatable. The story is so good, I couldn't put it down. Yvonne Anderson writes with skill and emotion, bringing this new world to life for the reader. And that's amazing for a non-sci-fi aficionado. I highly recommend it! It's a "must read."

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Bonus Review:

Mix together a deadly plague with a snarky hero--one sporting abnormally large ears. Then throw in an independent heroine who's lost everything, and you've got a blue-ribbon recipe for a winning debut novel. The Story in the Stars is sci-fi at it's best with plenty of action, unbelievable landscapes, and a message that is hard hitting. Don't miss Yvonne Anderson's first installment in the Gateway to Gannah series.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dale Cramer's The Captive Heart ~ Reviewed

Captive Heart, The (The Daughters of Caleb Bender)
Dale Cramer
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076420839X


Bandit troubles intensify as Caleb Bender's family tries to settle into their new life in 1920s Paradise Valley. When El Pantera kidnaps Rachel and leaves her brother, Aaron, for dead, Jake Weaver and the Mexican native Domingo pursue the bandit leader to his mountain stronghold in a hopeless rescue attempt. Jake and Domingo manage to escape with Rachel, with the bandits hot on their trail. In a desperate attempt to avoid recapture, Domingo puts himself squarely in harm's way, giving Jake and Rachel time to get away. This is not the quiet life Caleb Bender envisioned when he led his family out of Ohio. What is a father to make of his daughter's obvious affection for a man outside the fold? And how will a pacifist Amishman like Caleb respond to the events that threaten his family and their way of life?


I’ve been so excited for The Captive Heart, book two in The Daughter’s of Caleb Bender. I loved the first book and couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the second one! It picks up right where book one left off, with more Amish families joining the Bender family in Paradise Valley, Mexico. The threats of bandits increase in this book, and the Amish families are face with difficulties they never dreamed of before. In the meantime, Miriam, who developed feelings for Domingo, they’re Mexican ally, is trying to decide whether to follow her heart express her feelings for Domingo, or to keep quiet so as not to be a disappointment to her family by leaving her Amish faith.

This is such a wonderful book! You are kept in suspense the whole time with various situations. It’s very interesting to me, too, that it’s based on actual events. It was wonderful following Miriam’s character, and the conclusion she comes to at the end of the book. I’m hoping Mr. Cramer is planning on following up with another book, because I’m very anxious to see what will happen next!

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Monday, February 13, 2012

Marlene Banks's Ruth's Redemption ~ Reviewed

Ruth’s Redemption
By Marlene Banks
Published by Lift Every Voice; New Edition edition
ISBN# 978-0-8024-0217-2
304 Pages

Book Description:

Set in the 1800s, Ruth's Redemption is an unusual depiction of the lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America. Bo, was educated while a slave. He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom. Bo is also a man of God and widower whose life is destined to change when he meets the proud and hard-hearted slave girl, Ruth.

Ruth has known nothing but servitude and brutality since being separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding, Ruth struggles to adjust to life outside of bondage. She wants no part of Bo's Godly devotion. Yet Bo is unlike any man she's known and her experiences with him will leave her forever changed. A gripping slave era novel, Ruth's Redemption is a story of love, forgiveness, and redemption.

Set against the backdrop of the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia, this novel shines the light of God's unconditional love in the darkness of a culture's cruel socially accepted inhumanity.


Freedom. The dictionary defines FREE as: not under the control or power of another; independent, able to move in any direction; to release from bondage or power. Freedom is the reason people left their homeland and sailed to America. They wanted freedom to worship and live the way they wanted. They were tired of being controlled by the government.

This book talks of another Freedom. Freedom to be who God created you to be. Not a slave to man. While reading this incredible and disturbing account of Ruth, a breeder slave, I realized just how much I take my freedom for granted and how much I didn’t know about slavery. This author gives you a peek into what it’s like to a slave of the worst kind for a woman. She also shows that there is hope even in the most horrible of situations.

Marlene Banks takes the reader into the life of a breeder and also the life of Bo Peace a free black man. Ruth finds herself sold to Bo, who claims to be free. This didn’t give Ruth hope or joy. ALL men were alike. They forced themselves on her. They didn’t care for her, no one did.

Bo Peace was given land by his former Master. He lived on the land with other freed slaves, working and making a living. Bo tries to explain this to Ruth, “We’re a village in our own right. Your free to stay here or go as you please…It’s what God meant for me to do with this blessing – to build a village of African men and women who love the Lord and live with dignity being examples of God’s freedom.”

“Freedom?” Ruth shouts. Hope fo’ what? Mo hard work and whippins?”

“Hope for freedom. Hope in Christ for enough grace to endure slavery and for an eternal life as free men and women, where no man will take a whip to them. …I don’t set you free Ruth, God does. You were legally free the moment I paid the price Harvey wanted.” But you can also be free inside of the pain, worry and fear that can also hold you in bondage. How was he to get her to understand all that?

A friend reminds Bo, “Dontcha see? She wounded. Ya know how wounded creatures be. We was wounded befo’ or did ya forgit? We had time ta heal, en all she needs is time ta heal. She mo’ wounded den we ever was. She was used inside and out. Bein’ used for breedin’ leaves a hole in the soul. Give her time.”

Bo realizes the friend is right. Ruth was hollow inside and filled with pain. She was the most complicated women he’d ever encountered also the most abused. The Lord helps him show her she can be healed of the pain of the past. That she can be made whole in her heart, mind and soul, but it isn’t easy.

Who was this Bo? Ruth wonders. He talks like a preacher. If God was so great why did we suffer? Why the pain? Why all the killings? But there was something about what Bo was saying that struck her heart and made her listen. All this talk of freedom inside and out, easy for him to say. She was also fascinated about this gentle man. “How was it Bo could make her feel so cherished when he knew her past?”

The author showed the struggle and strong emotion not only in the community of slaves’ but that of the whites as well. One white woman argues with another.

“Ownership of another human being for monetary procurement is an atrocity, no exceptions.”

The slave owner responds, “But our slaves are happy!”

“I beg to differ. How can an imprisoned subservient man or woman possibly be happy under such conditions? Would you be happy as a slave? The idea is absurd. You people tell yourself that to justify what you’re doing but you should know better.”

This author helps the reader see all sides to this mess. It wasn’t easy to read in parts but she doesn’t get so graphic I couldn’t continue reading. Marlene did show how God worked in everyone’s life as they struggled to make sense of it all. Bad things happen to good and faithful people. Can the faithful still believe and not turn their back on God?

This novel is an eye opener to the reader that is unfamiliar as to how slaves were treated in America in the 1800’s and also an eye opener to how God was at work in slaves lives and that of their owners, as the battle raged on around them. God’s ways are not our ways. He is faithful to be with us no matter what comes our way. He never promised that there would be no trouble, but what he did promise was to be with us always. This is a story of hope, love and redemption. It’s also a beautifully touching love story between Bo and Ruth and of God’s love for us. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Julie Klassen's The Maid of Fairbourne Hall ~ Reviewed

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
Julie Klassen
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764207091


Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."

Review by Michelle Griep

Author Julie Klassen’s writing gets better and better with each novel she pens. Translation: THE MAID OF FAIRBOURNE HALL is my absolute favorite of all her books. Why? Great question. Here’s a little dissection…

Will the dashing Mr. Upchurch figure out that the love of his life is the one changing his chamber pot—or won’t he? I love that edge-of-the-seat kind of wondering, and this book delivers a fair amount of it.

Heroine Margaret Macy is certainly in a pickle, and that’s what keeps a reader turning the pages. The outcome of her situation is cloaked until the very end.

Characters to Admire
Hero Nathaniel Upchurch is such an upright and respectable man. Sure he’s got his faults, but underneath he’s a bulwark of what’s good and right in a human.

One of the best things about Klassen’s books is that they’re full of fun facts about the Regency era. I always learn something about the period.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a manor house? And I did…leastwise for the few days it took me to read the story. I felt like I was there.

THE MAID OF FAIRBOURNE HALL is a fantastic read full of romance, intrigue and a good reminder that it’s in our best interest to not judge others by merely outward appearance.

Bonus Review:

In the fall of 2008 I first discovered Julie Klassen in her debut novel Lady of Milkweed Manor and fell in love. Pretty much as a matter of fact many things I said about that novel still hold true again to this one.

Upon finishing this novel, I sigh in complete contentment. This is near one of the best novels I have ever had the opportunity to fall deep within the pages and stay for a while.

From beginning to end I had my opinions of how things should go, with the slight twists and turns I never had a clue how the plot would be. Sometimes I could not read fast enough, as a matter of fact most of the time. I would not believe certain things were happening.

This is a perfect novel in regency time and I can see a bit of Austen and Jane Eyre. I can easily say that readers of such will enjoy this story. It is alike, but completely unique and what a tale it tells.

Then in the winter of 2009 I discovered more fabulous reading in her next novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, another piece of incredible historical fiction. This was the one where I discovered how much I truly enjoyed her introductions to each chapter with a quote or phrase. She continues that on into this novel as well with the quotes being straight out of resource that provide great insight into the working lives of the regency period.

After that in 2010/2011 I read and loved her next two novels, both The Girl in the Gatehouse and The Silent Governess which is possibly my favorite. Each time I venture into a novel from Julie I find entertainment and a lesson. While I can relate these to various films and other novels I've enjoyed this one about the serving class brings to mind a new favorite for me from Downton Abbey.

If you like Jane Eyre, Austen, Downton Abbey and similar, you couldn't possibly not like this book. You'll love it just as much as I do. As in the words of other novels, imagine pirates from the glory of M.L. Tyndall, Kaye Dacus and Kathleen Y'Barbo. Add to that the essence of character personality from Deeanne Gist and you might get a general idea of if this read is on you'd enjoy. I know I did.

*Thanks to Julie and Bethany House Publishers for providing a copy for review.*

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Jim Kraus's The Dog That Talked to God ~ Reviewed

The Dog That Talked to God
By Jim Kraus
Published by Abingdon Press
ISBN 978-1-4267-4256-9


Recently widowed Mary Fassler buys a miniature schnauzer, Rufus, and her world is turned sideways in the midst of her grief. It seems that Rufus speaks. And not just to her. He also talks to God.

So when Mary begins listening to Rufus's advice, and ignoring others, she finds herself on an unexpected path where she discovers a new truth about life—all because she listened to Rufus.


I loved this story. Quirky and unusual, this unique tale wove a spell around me and drew me in. It wasn't what I expected at all, and when I turned the last page, it left me wanting more.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor
Novel Rocket

Monday, February 06, 2012

Robin Caroll's Injustic for All ~ Reviewed

By: Robin Caroll
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: B&H Books
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 143367212X


A federal judge is bleeding on his office floor, betrayed by a most unlikely source—people who helped him bring criminals to justice. Now, why would someone working for the FBI need to disappear after witnessing this crime?

When Remington Wyatt sees her godfather’s murder, she recognizes the killers and knows it’s only a matter of time before they come to silence her. She must do the only thing possible to stay alive . . . run.

FBI agent Rafe Baxter is serious about his career, and solving a cold case involving a federal judge’s death puts him in line for the promotion he so desires. But the case leads him to the small town of Hopewell, Louisiana, where some secrets seem inextricably hidden deep within the bayou.

Injustice for All explores what happens when everything a person believes in is utterly destroyed. Who can you trust?


In this story, Injustice for All, the lead character Remington Wyatt has a life altering moment after the death of her godfather which leads to her choice of witness protection to save her life. A federal judge, Daniel Tate, is shot dead as this book begins. He was the godfather of Remington after the death of her parents. As he is dying in his mansion, Daniel tells Remington to take everything out of his safe and protect it with her life.

Several years later, the events of that day are beginning to resurface themselves as a cold case which the FBI is reexamining. This reopening occurred when FBI agent Rafe Baxter decides to transfer from one bureau office to another in hope to bring the fire back into his career. As the premise states above, the case leads him to Louisiana.

Remington Wyatt who changed her name to Bella Miller years before, is now coming under attack. The new identity in a new town starts to unravel the loyalty and friendship she created with Police Commissioner Hayden Simpson and the people of Hopewell.

Robin Caroll has yet again written a fast paced quick page turning novel that is full of fear, faith and forgiveness. It is a great suspense novel in a territory that Robin knows so well. If you are considering being a first time reader of Caroll’s work, then you can do no wrong in choosing Injustice for All. It is the beginning of a new series and if you are like me, it only wets your appetite to want to read more of her work. I give this book a 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

Be blessed!

Reviewed by: Bradley Evans

Bonus Review:

“Every muscle in my body stiffened, and my mouth went spitless. Chambering a round was a distinct sound, unmistakable.”

Are you hooked? I was. These are the first two lines of this riveting, suspenseful novel called Injustice for All. It’s the first book in the Justice Seekers series. Wow, what an amazing start. I’m thankful for the review copy that has introduced me to characters I instantly cared about and story that kept me up late reading.

My heart went out to the main character Remington Wyatt as she walked in on her godfather, Daniel’s tragic situation. The men don’t see her but she can hear every word they say as they plan his termination. She recognizes their voices. She can’t believe this is happening – everything she’s believed in crumbles right before her eyes!! These men were supposed to be good guys. She’s got to run so she can stay alive long enough to seek justice for Daniel’s murder.

Where do you hide when the system is corrupt and you don’t know who the good guys are? Who do you trust? No one but yourself, of course and that’s what Remington does.

At the same time Rafe Baxter confused about his relationship with God and where he’s headed in life. Rafe accepted Christ as his Savior but struggles to believe he is truly forgiven for his past. He accepted God’s unconditional love but is hung-up on being forgiven for past sin. He takes a new job so his partner can stay in the area to help with his daughters medical care. Rafe hopes that maybe this sacrifice would pay for his sins?

I enjoyed Hayden, a man who’s trying to do the right thing, praying and staying grounded when his world is rocked apart. He try’s to help his sister who’s bi-polar, and a mom who is a worry-wart. He’s so thankful God has brought him a friend to help, Bella, she’s someone he can talk to and trust. I loved the banter between characters. They have fun with one another in a good way. This author has well timed humor mixed in with the suspense! Great blend.

Bella and Rafe talk about what their hobbies are, Rafe says to Bella, “I like walks and hikes…reading? Not so much!”

Bella’s response, “How can you not love reading? It’s wonderful. An excursion, an adventure…an escape from reality.”

Bella adored reading and has a hard time grasping anyone not loving it. I could just hear Robin Caroll saying this to someone too! Bella is a passionate person with spunk I enjoyed reading about. Rafe is an FBI Agent trying to prove himself in a new office, so he picks a dead case to work on. Maybe he’d be the one to find the killer and make new friends.

This was one gripping novel from the start, and one I couldn’t put down. I loved Robin’s well timed humor mixed in with a believable spiritual thread. All this in the first book of the Justice Seekers series, I can’t wait to read the rest!!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Jill Williamson's Replication ~ Reviewed

By Jill Williamson
January 2012

Review by Michelle Griep

Martyr—otherwise known as Jason 3:3—is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to “expire” in less than a month. To see the sky.

Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars.

As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures—the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he’s ever known.

Author Jill Williamson knocks yet another one out of the park. REPLICATION is a hard-hitting, fast-paced, can’t-put-it-down kind of read—one you shouldn’t miss.

Cloning is a sensitive issue. Williamson deals with it head on. She confronts the morality of saving one man’s life by harvesting organs from others, and does so with poignancy. If the intricacies of the topic are unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. You’ll receive quite an education.

Biblical truths are interspersed throughout, the most powerful being that of loving your enemy. Without giving any spoilers, let’s just say that hero Martyr is aptly named and illustrates this point in a tangible, beautiful way.

As always, Williamson also tosses in a healthy dose of humor. When hero Martyr escapes to the real world, some of his misconceptions and flat-out ignorance is hilarious. And let’s not forget romance. Oh yeah. There’s quite the attraction going on between Martyr and Abby.

I can’t rave enough about REPLICATION. Even if YA isn’t your usual genre, give this one a whirl. You won’t be sorry.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Lori Copeland's Love Blooms in Winter ~ Reviewed

Lori Copeland
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930191


A romantic new book from bestselling author Lori Copeland that portrays God’s miraculous provision even when none seems possible.

1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.

Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.


This book was in my pile and I wanted to read it, but when I first picked it up, it was because something else was left somewhere and I wanted to bide my time. Now that was half a mistake. One I meant to read this one, but not quite yet, but once I picked it up it was impossible to put down! The characters jumped off the pages and into my heart and did not let go until the last page, and even now as I have completed reading it I want more. I'm fairly certain with the words "The Dakota Diaries" on the front that this is just the beginning of a wonderful series and I cannot wait. I'm quite certain that Lil and Jester are in for some fun in the future...

Mae assumed her life was settled until Tom came along and she realized things were not quite what she thought them to be both in her neighbor Pauline's life and her own. It is all one more example of how God can change our plans drastically before we realize or expect it. I know that in my life I was set, we had just bought a house, we were seven months into expecting our first child and the last thing I expected was for my husband to come home one day from his incredible job and tell me that he had good news and bad news. Good news he was going to get to take several weeks off to spend with me and the baby. Bad news, his division was closing and he was laid off. Shock! But then he was home with me the last two months of my pregnancy, and the first two months of our daughters new life and then he got a new and better job. We moved to a better house, better area, better co workers. Everything is better, but different. Yes it is away from my parents and everything that I had planned and settled my life into, but God definitely knew what he was doing.

Thanks to Wynn Wynn Media, Harvest House Publishers, NetGalley, FIRST Wild Card Tours and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing me with a copy for review both on loan electronically and in the mail.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Bonus Review:

Love Blooms in Winter is about a young woman named Mae Wilkey, who lives in North Dakota with her younger brother.  She finds herself taking care of her 92 year old neighbor, Pauline, who’s memory and health is failing.  In trying to find a living relative of Pauline’s, Mae runs across the name of Tom Curtis, and believes he may be a long lost relative that can come and care for Pauline.  Tom, on the other hand, is working his way up working for the railroad, and has no recollection of an Aunt named Pauline.  However, on the chance that he is related, he makes a trip to meet her.  Though neither or the recognize each other, Tom finds himself drawn to Pauline, the town, and especially Mae.  Through a series of events, he finds himself more and more tied to the little town in North Dakota.
This was a great book…right up my ally in themes and topics.  It struck a chord with me as my Grandma just turned 92 and is going through many of the same things as Pauline .  I loved that Pauline had such a wonderful neighbor and friend in Mae, someone with no relation her that was willing to take care of her and help her.  It’s something you just don’t see happening much now days.  This was a great book, and I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers