Friday, August 31, 2012

Judith Galblum Pex's Walk the Land ~ Reviewed

Walk the Land : A Journey on Foot through Israel [Paperback]
Judith Galblum Pex (Author)
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Cladach Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0975961950


Come with John and Judy Pex as they hike the 600-mile Israel National Trail from the Egyptian to the Lebanese borders. During 42 days of trekking through spectacular scenery, Arab towns and villages, past Jewish, Muslim, Druze, and Christian holy sites, they discover: + Sights seldom seen by tourists + Physical challenges and spiritual tests + Cultural encounters and historical insights + Lessons about peace, faith, and endurance. This book will appeal to: 1) Students of the Bible 2) Middle-agers who want vigorous role models and new challenges 3) Christian believers seeking creative ways to test and share their faith 4) Young adults pursuing the great hiking trails of the world 5) Readers interested in Israel. Included are 16 pages of color photos of scenes from the Trail.


I love biographies and meaty accounts of lesson-filled journeys. I am also fascinated with cultural differences and physical challenge accounts.

That said, the journey taken by the Pex’s is a fascinating idea, miles and miles of hiking through the heart and sometimes, soul, of Israel. The trek through all sorts of obstacles that made them physically stronger makes for a rich source of information and ideas. And Pex shared some fascinating bits of history and cultural richness throughout her account. There was spiritual application and ideas to contemplate as well.

However, I may have misunderstood Pex’s sense of humor or personality. She’d begin to share details about the rugged terrain and the physical challenges, but then lapse into sharing about her physical discomfort, or frustration about her husband’s more laid back style of hiking. Encounters with others on the trail were snippets of random conversations as they very likely happened. Her lessons jotted in her journal that she shared within her chapters were very basic, simplistic lessons that she learned on the trail, about life, about herself.

I think this book might be valuable to someone who is considering taking on a journey along these lines. There wasn’t a blow by blow of what they did to prepare completely, but many details are covered as are details about the trail itself. Those who love insider’s insights about different countries and a taste of culture may enjoy this book as well. Literary biography lovers would find themselves frustrated. Those looking for heavy Biblical truths may also be disappointed. However, this could be a nice companion piece/reference if studying ancient Israel, the life of David, Moses or the Life of Christ, Paul or Peter and their missionary journeys.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Amanda Cabot's Summer of Promise ~ Reviewed

Summer of Promise,Westward Winds Series #1

By: Amanda Cabot
More in Westward Winds Series
Revell / 2011 / Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780800734596

Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont with her sweetheart, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads West to Wyoming. The endless prairie seems monotonous, but when her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day. When circumstances--and perhaps a bit of matchmaking--put Abigail and Ethan together, there's certainly attraction. But Abigail is planning to marry another man and return to life in Vermont as soon as she is finished attending to her sister. And Ethan loves his life in the Army and the wilds of Wyoming. When summer ends, will Abigail go back East? Or will she fall in love with this rugged land herself?

Summer of Promise is about a young woman named Abigail Harding who is a teacher in Vermont.  She has her life all planned out, including an eventual marriage to Woodrow, a fellow teacher who is safe and predictable.  However, her plans are interrupted due to concern for her sister, Charlotte, who is married to a soldier that is stationed at Fort Laramie.  As Charlotte’s letters become more melancholy, Abigail decides to make a trip to see if her sister is okY.  Along the way, her stage coach is held up, but everyone is saved by the brave Lieutenant, Ethan Bowles.  As Abigail tends to her sister, she also gets to know Ethan more, and in the process not only begins to fall in love with the wild Wyoming territory, but with a certain soldier.
I loved this story.  I loved watching Ethan’s faith grow, starting from nothing, really.  And their love story was great, too.  Abigail reminds me of myself.  She thought she had everything planned out perfectly, and no matter what came her way, she figured her plans were set, not realizing the obstacles in her way were directing her towards a path she never dreamed of.  It just goes to show God’s ways are not always our ways, and we need to have our hearts and minds open to His will.  I saw that Ms. Cabot is planning to release another book in the series next year, and I’m very anxious to see what happens next!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lisa Mangum's After Hello ~ Reviewed

By Lisa Mangum
September 2012
Young Adult
Shadow Mountain Publishing

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She's always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present camera, especially on her first trip to New York City.

Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can't, whether it's a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. In New York, there is always something interesting to find.

When Sam and Sara cross paths, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other--and about themselves. Forming an unlikely partnership in the search for an elusive work of art, they're racing against time to set things right for everyone. Did fate bring their talents together for a reason, or will this one day be both a hello and a good-bye?

The interesting thing about AFTER HELLO is that the entire story takes place during a twenty-four hour period. Author Lisa Mangum does an admirable job of making Sam & Sara's relationship believable...not too intimate too fast, yet ending with satisfactory closure. Less believable is the importance of their quest--a search for a piece of art to appease a cranky movie star. Nevertheless, Mangum's writing is always pleasing to the reader's psyche.

Takeaway value is abundant. I really liked this line: "...if you give your dad power over your feelings, then you've given up power over yourself." Great message for a young adult. I wish someone would've told me that when I was an angst-filled teenager. And yes, there is plenty of angst in these characters. They are teens, after all. 

Overall, a sweet, easy read.
Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kathryn Cushman's Almost Amish ~ Reviewed

By  Katheryn Cushman
Published by Bethany House Publishers
ISBN# 978-0764208263
336 Pages

Book Blurb: 

Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She's overwhelmed and burned out, and in today's unrelenting society, her kids are, too. When her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series promoting simple living, and needs another family to join her, it seems like the perfect opportunity. The location is an idyllic farm outside an Amish community in Tennessee. Julie, with her two children, joins Susan and her teenage daughter for a summer adventure. Susan needs to succeed in order to become self-sufficient after an ugly divorce, Julie needs to slow down long enough to remember what her priorities are and regain a sense of purpose and meaning. It becomes clear from the start that "living simple" is no simple matter. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. With each new challenge, their season of "going Amish" gets more and more complicated, as each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.


Julie Charlton agrees to help her sister-in-law with a new idea for a T.V. reality show called "Almost Amish". The deal is they have to live like the Amish for 3 months with a few modifications to the pure Amish life style.

Julie agrees to do this for two reasons, one she can't say no to her sister-in-law and two she has come to hate her life! Something needed to change - she needed a new perspective, maybe this three month get away would do the trick. Little did Julie and Susan realize how much their world would be rocked through this experience as their families try to live an Amish life style 24/7, oh the added bonus it would be filmed for national T.V.

“Julie and Susan quickly realize that the "simple" life takes a lot of work and determination - why did people call it simple? It was anything but that! Just making coffee in the morning was a major production!”

Susan tells Julie, "Living simply for a few months will give us a chance to de-stress and think about what it is that's really important to us."

Susan is a Martha Steward wannabe - doing this correctly will give her the big break she's been looking for. Susan faces each weeks challenge with this in mind. But what Susan and Julie soon learn is something new about themselves and their family members. Each discovers a part of themselves they never knew existed or they had the talent for.

The family has no distractions or interruptions such as cell phones, T.V. Radio etc. They are forced to be creative with their spar time, which forces them to talk about things they never had time to do before. Julie realizes she doesn't want to go back to the life she left behind. Her family has discovered something incredible and they didn't want to loose it. Julie feared jumping back into the rat race would spoil everything. They had found fun as a family and they reconnected with their faith in God they left behind years ago. Julie realized she needed His strength to have the courage to walk out what this new life back in the modern world.

This story was fun to read. I'm thankful for the review copy and how the author made the reader think about what's important. She challenged them to take a look at life through the eyes of the characters and ask themselves what is really important in life. How do we keep the main thing the main focus of our lives and that of our family?

If you’re looking for something different and fun for your summer read look no further! This book will bring a smile to your face and having you look at family in a new light!! Happy Reading!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Bonus Review:

Almost Amish is about a woman named Julie Charlton. Although she is a stay at home mom of two children, Whitney and Brian, she finds herself constantly on the go, and over committed. When her sister-in-law, Susan, is offered the chance to participate in a reality TV series where regular people try to live like the Amish, she decides to offer her support and join her. Though Susan is overbearing in her drive for perfection due to being in front of the TV camerasJulie finds that living the “simple” hard-working Amish life suits her well.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to watch how most Julie and her children, as well as Susan’s daughter, Angie, thrived in the Amish environment, while Susan, the “perfect” homemaker, struggled with it. The part I really liked was how well the children adjusted to it. They found there were other things to do rather than being on their phones all the time, or running from this event to that event. Though I know the Amish work very hard, I can see how it would be a very fulfilling lifestyle, working hard in the home, the way I think the Lord intended it, though I know it’s not always possible in this day and age. This was a very enjoyable read.
Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Murray Pura's The Wings of Morning ~ Reviewed

Murray Pura
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948775

Lovers of Amish fiction will quickly sign on as fans of award-winning author Murray Pura as they keep turning the pages of this exciting new historical romance set in 1917 during America's participation in World War I.

Jude Whetstone and Lyyndaya Kurtz, whose families are converts to the Amish faith, are slowly falling in love. Jude has also fallen in love with flying that new-fangled invention, the aeroplane.

The Amish communities have rejected the telephone and have forbidden motorcar ownership but not yet electricity or aeroplanes.

Though exempt from military service on religious grounds, Jude is manipulated by unscrupulous army officers into enlisting in order to protect several Amish men. No one in the community understands Jude's sudden enlistment and so he is shunned. Lyyndaya's despair deepens at the reports that Jude has been shot down in France. In her grief, she turns to nursing Spanish flu victims in Philadelphia. After many months of caring for stricken soldiers, Lyyndaya is stunned when an emaciated Jude turns up in her ward.

Lyyndaya's joy at receiving Jude back from the dead is quickly diminished when the Amish leadership insist the shunning remain in force. How then can they marry without the blessing of their families? 

Will happiness elude them forever?

The Wings of Morning takes place in an Amish Community.  Lyyndaya Kurtz and Jude Whetstone’s Family have only been part of the community for a few years, but already, their families are well loved.  Lyyndaya and Jude grew up as childhood friends, but have begun to realize that their feelings are running deeper.  Jude also discovered a love of flying, which, strangely, his Amish community allowed.  When flying for an Amish celebration, members of the US Military see Jude in action.  To force him to join up for the fighting in World War I, the military takes Jude and some of his friends captive and makes their lives miserable in order to force Jude into flying.  Eventually, he agrees, though he had sworn to his community that he would not fight as it went against their beliefs.  What no one but one of his friends knew was that he joined to save the other boys’ lives.  In doing so, he risked being shunned.  However, Jude began to become a hero, as he not only saved his own men with his flying abilities, but he purposefully did what he could to save the enemy as well, whether by flying circles around them, or purposefully shooting not to kill.  In the meantime, Lyyndaya is struggling as 
she has fallen in love with Jude, but is not allowed to communicate with him. 

This is one of the top Amish stories I’ve read, I think.  I really loved Jude’s character, and how he used the abilities that the Lord gave him to save lives on both sides, instead of being vengeful.  This was a great story line, one I never would have thought of for an Amish setting, but it was well written.

Reviewed by:Sarah Meyers

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dan Walsh's The Reunion ~ Reviewed

By Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
ISBN-13: 978-0800721213
304 pages

DESCRIPTIONThere are people in this world we pass right by without giving a second thought. They are almost invisible. Yet some of them have amazing stories to tell, if we'd only take the time to listen . . .

Aaron Miller was an old, worn-out Vietnam vet, a handyman in a trailer park. Forty years prior, he saved the lives of three young men in the field only to come home from the war and lose everything. But God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life. Aaron is about to be found. And the one who finds him just might find the love of his life as well.

Expert storyteller Dan Walsh pens a new tale filled with the things his fans have come to love--forgiveness, redemption, love, and that certain bittersweet quality that few authors ever truly master. Fans old and new will find themselves drawn into this latest story about how God cares for everyone.


I just finished reading Dan Walsh's new book The Reunion that will hit bookshelves in SEPTEMBER 2012. OHMYGOSH! I have happy tears running down my face and a warm feeling in my heart. I never expected the ending to this amazing heart felt story to be what it was!  It was off the charts satisfying!! You'll want to mark your calendars and put this one on your reading list for 2012.

I highly recommend it. I just had to tell you that I LOVED reading this book. It touched me deeply!! It had me look at the Vietnam war and the men who fought in that war differently! WOW!!

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent 
The Book Club Network CEO
Finding Hope Through Fiction -

Bonus Review:

Walsh spills his heart onto the pages of this book.

The Reunion, by Dan Walsh, has taken up residence on my Top Ten of 2012 List, but that's not all. It sparked a new list. My Top Ten All Time Favorites, and it's earned a spot there. Exquisitely drawn characters, a heartrending plot, and a deceptively simple delivery make The Reunion one of the best books I've ever read. This book has to be made into a movie, and I'm delighted to say it's been optioned. Novel Rocket and I give it our very highest recommendation. It's a 5-star must read.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lori Copeland's and Virginia Smith's The Heart's Frontier ~ Reviewed

The Heart's Frontier, The Amish of Apple Grove Series #1
By: Lori Copeland, Virginia Smith
More in Amish of Apple Grove Series 
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 0736947523


Kansas,1881-On a trip to visit relatives, Emma Switzer's Amish family is robbed of all their possessions, leaving them destitute and stranded on the prairie. Walking into the nearest trading settlement, they pray to the Lord for someone to help. When a man lands in the dust at her feet, Emma looks down at him and thinks, The Lord might have cleaned him up first.

Curtis Carson, heading up his first cattle drive, is not planning on being the answer to anyone's prayers, but it looks as though God has something else in mind for this kind and gentle man. Plain and rugged-do the two mix? And what happens when a dedicated Amish woman and a stubborn trail boss prove to be each other's match?


The Heart’s Frontier is about a young Amish WomanEmma Switzer. She is traveling from one town in Kansas to another with her Jonas, her father, Rebecca, her sister and her Grandmother. They are going to visit family but at the same time she knows that her family is looking for her to find a suitable husband. During their travels, they are robbed by a mob of bandits and are forced to ask for help in a neighboring town. The Lord brings Luke Carson, a young cattle driver leading his first drive, to their rescue. Though Luke is pressured to get his cattle to their destination,he can’t seem to refuse in assisting the Amish family, especially with young Emma there.

This was a great book. It was fun watching the Amish family “step outside the box” so to speak, in coming to the aid of Luke and his men on the cattle drive. I enjoyed watching Emma and Luke’s love story unfold. I really didn’t know how it was going to end as it didn’t seem Emma would leave her Amish faith, but Luke definitely was not cut out for the Amish lifestyle. But not matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t fight their growing feelings for each other. The outcome was exciting – you’ll have to read it to find out!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Janice Thompson's The Director's Cut ~ Reviewed

The Director's Cut
Janice Thompson 

Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Revell (June 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800733479


Tia Morales is used to calling the shots. She’s the director of the popular sitcom Stars Collide, and her life on set is calculated and orderly. Well, most of the time. But her life outside the studio is another matter. If only she could get her family to behave as well as her stars do! When she starts butting heads with handsome camera operator Jason Harris, it’s enough to send a girl over the edge.

Will she ever learn to let go and take life–and love–as it comes?


Janice Thompson’s novels are always fun and invigorating and her final Backstage Pass novel continues that trend. Displaying her personal experience as a screenwriter with a Hollywood background, all the technical details and uniqueness of a TV show setting are teamed with genuine, down to earth characters wrestling with life, love and family. Faithful readers will enjoy the little nods to characters in some of her previous series and the ever present funny moments that make Janice Thompson’s stories uniquely hers. If you are looking for a story to relax with and enjoy, pick up a copy of The Director’s Cut today.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Monday, August 13, 2012

Melody Carlson's Westward Hearts ~ Reviewed


Westward Hearts, Homeward on the Oregon Trail Series #1
By: Melody A. Carlson
Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Harvest House Publishers
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0736948716

Kentucky, 1854-Elizabeth Martin has mourned her husband's death for three years, but now she feels ready to fulfill the dream they had shared-to take their two children west. The dream becomes reality when her middle-aged parents and bachelor brother surprise her with the news that they want to go as well.
Westward Hearts revolves around a young widow and mother of two, Elizabeth Martin.  Since her husband has died, she has felt a restlessness that won’t go away.  Her and husband and her had a desire to follow the Oregon Trail and head west, and even though he has since passed, that dream is still alive in her.  When her brother’s engagement is ended suddenly, he decides to leave and head west.  This presents the perfect opportunity for Elizabeth, her two children, and her parents to travel with him.  As the journey begins, they gain new friends and overcome many obstacles.  Elizabeth unexpectedly finds herself attracted to the scout on the wagon train, and is unsure what to do about her feelings.  In the meantime, her brother finds romance as well. 
I really, really like this book.  The time period and the storyline are right up my alley.  I enjoy reading about the travels and hardships these people had to face and the fact that they kept their focus on the Lord to see them through.  The story ended a bit abruptly, so I am very anxious for the next book in the series to come out to find out what happens next!
Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tracy & Laura Hickman's Eventide ~ Reviewed

By Tracy & Laura Hickman
Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Shadow Mountain (June 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609088972


When a traveling bard stumbles into a dragon's den, he is forced to tell stories to the fire-breathing menace or end up being eaten.


Eventually running out of tales to share, he makes a deal with the dragon: for his freedom, he will return with new sagas of adventure, romance, and bravery. Tales of the Dragon's Bard is the story of one man's quest to collect the most exciting stories he possibly can, and Eventide is the first town he encounters. With wish-women, gnomes, a centaur farmer, a resident Gossip Fairy, and a blacksmith dwarf, those living in Eventide have enough going on to keep the Dragon's Bard busy collecting—especially if he can liven up those adventures a bit with his own ridiculous plots.



Jarod Klum, a young man in love. Caprice Morgan, keeper of a broken
wishing well. Aren Bennis, a mysterious centaur farmer whom people
only think that they know. These are but a few residents of the quite
little town of Eventide. A town which Edvard the Dragon's Bard and his faithful apprentice Able have decided to visit next in their quest to
gather stories for the great Dragonking Khrag.

Eventide is an excellent book that manages to mix just the right amount of fantasy to story. It is undoubtably a character driven book that breaks the mold of violent battles and powerful wizards which seems to shape most other books of its type. From Boars island (which has no boars) to the secret black guild (which everyone knows about) Eventide presents an excellent read for both the fantasy expert and that person you just can't get to read Eragon.

Reviewed by: Jayshua Nelson

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Jordyn Redwood's Proof ~ Reviewed

Proof: A Novel (Bloodline Trilogy) [Paperback]  
Jordyn Redwood 
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (June 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825442389 

Dr. Lilly Reeves is a young, accomplished ER physician with her whole life ahead of her. But that life instantly changes when she becomes the fifth victim of a serial rapist. Believing it's the only way to recover her reputation and secure peace for herself, Lilly sets out to find--and punish--her assailant. Sporting a mysterious tattoo and unusually colored eyes, the rapist should be easy to identify. He even leaves what police would consider solid evidence. But when Lilly believes she has found him, DNA testing clears him as a suspect. How can she prove he is guilty, if science says he is not?
Proof is an edgy novel full of cat and mouse intrigue and weird medical quirks. It is also full of intense action and issues. I’m definitely fascinated enough to follow the rest of the series as the books are released. I love medical, legal and police procedural fiction and this one is full of these elements. 

I work in the medical field so much of the medical jargon was common daily stuff for me. However, I could see it being a frustration to anyone who doesn’t care for medspeak. I was introduced to a condition that I’ve never encountered before and it was fascinating to read about. 

I did have a bit of a struggle getting into the characters and their relationships, and with all the crisis and drama that unfolded I had some believability issues. However, this book is well written and a fast, intense read. Redwood had to put a tremendous amount of research into this novel. Impressive research. From police procedures, to legal posturing, handling firearms, science and medicine I can't even guess how many hours she invested.

Proof is a great escapist read and will appeal to crime fiction lovers and medical novel junkies. I will caution the more sensitive readers, though. If you like your Christian fiction to be uplifting and gentle, you might want to look elsewhere. The subject matter in Proof is definitely PG-13 and might classify as R in some circles.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Monday, August 06, 2012

Ann Gahbart's The Gifted ~ Reviewed

The Gifted, Shaker Series #5
By: Ann H. Gabhart
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Revell
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 0800734556


It's 1849, and Jessamine Brady has been in the Shaker Village for half her life. Yet she still struggles to conform to the strict rules, entertaining dreams of the world outside. When she meets Tristan Cooper, she steps beyond the borders of the Shaker Village. Will Jessamine be able to survive the storms of the world? Or will she retreat back to the peace of Harmony Hill?

The thousands of loyal fans of Gabhart's Shaker novels will love this entrancing story of learning to trust the gifts God gives us and let him guide us through life.


The Gifted is about a young woman named Jessamine Brady.  She has been living in the Shaker Village for 10 years, since the passing of her grandmother.  Though they are a loving people, Jessamine has trouble conforming to all of their rules, constantly feeling a pull towards “the world” outside of the village.  Her curiosity heightens when she is wandering in the woods and finds Tristan Cooper, a man of the world who is hurt and unconscious.  She is forced to become very close to this man for the sake of helping him, which awakens more curiosities in her heart. 

This was a very interesting book.  I didn’t know anything about the Shakers until reading it and found their beliefs very interesting.  Several times, though, I wished I could jump in the book and pull out my Bible to show scripture to them.  I felt bad for poor Jessamine, being told the natural desires God put in her were sins that she constantly had to confess.  I was glad when she was able to step out for herself to see the other side of things.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Friday, August 03, 2012

MaryLu Tyndall's Veil of Pearls ~ Reviewed

MaryLu Tyndall
July 2012
Barbour Publishing


Be swept away to Charleston of 1811, a city bustling with immigrants like Adalia, who is a runaway slave so light-skinned that no one guesses her past. Terrified her secret will be discovered, she settles into a quiet life making herbal remedies for a local doctor. But when Morgan, the handsome son of a prominent family, sweeps her into his glamorous world—a world in which the truth about Adalia’s heritage would ruin them both—suspicions and petty jealousies are aroused. What will Morgan do when he discovers that the woman he has fallen in love with is a runaway slave?

Review by Michelle Griep

Is the content of our character really decided by the color of our skin? It was back in 1811 Charleston. In VEIL OF PEARLS, author MaryLu Tyndall body-slams into this sensitive topic...and comes out the victor!

Adalia is a runaway slave, but her skin is so light, no one guesses she's got a black heritage. She settles in a town where no one knows her and begins a new life. A good life. And it works...for awhile. Enter the dashing hero, Morgan, who's a wealthy plantation owner's son. Conflict fireworks erupt. Will Adalia be discovered for who she really is? And more importantly, will she be loved for who she really is?

You'll have to read this one to find out!

Bonus Review:

I’m thankful for the review copy of powerful sincere Cinderella story that tugged heavy on my heartstrings. This novel reminded me of the movie Ever After starring Drew Barrymore who played Cinderella with a back bone. Marylou’s main character Adalia is a feisty woman on the run and haunted by secrets of her past.

This author pens a suspenseful tale with three dimensional characters that jump off the page and into your heart. I enjoyed the surprises in this journey the author took me on. Just when I thought I had this plot all figured out MaryLou would surprise me with a path I didn’t quite expect and didn’t see any of her characters going down.

Adalia meets Mr. Morgan Rutledge at his plantation tending to one of his slaves whose sick. She knows her stuff and is all business. She wasn’t to be messed with just because a rich boy was bored. Adelia makes it clear she’s not interested in thid man’s games.  She wasn’t taken by his status, money, charm or wit. She has a gift for healing and she was thankful for the opportunity to use it.

After Adalia leaves Mr. Morgan thinks. “He was a great catch if he were to say himself. She was feisty, said what was on her mind and didn’t care about his feelings. She refused him dates or time to talk. No woman dared treat him this way. He had to know more about this woman who was stealing his heart?”

Adalia agrees with a friend, “God has a purpose for each of us. He puts us in certain homes, certain circumstances good or bad that lead best to that purpose.” She struggles with applying scripture to her life (don’t we all) “The fear of man bringth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe..” she realized she had not only feared the opinion of man but also denied who she truly was…she’d been embarrassed, ashamed of who God made her to be. She was his workmanship masterpiece. How could she believe and walk in who God said she was? She was fearful of many things one of them was her past catching up with her.”  Adalia is a deep thinker, honest and walks out God’s word the best she can. She’s an inspiration.

Things start changing in Morgan Rutledge’s life. Adalia made him think about what he really wanted out of life. How could she be happy and be so poor? Morgan’s Captain sparks a flame in his ear, “some things are worth fighting for..somethings are worth working hard for.” Morgan never worked a day in his life. That was the benefit of having money, he thought.” Did he really want to follow his father’s lead or go his own way?

Adalia’s past threatens to ruin her present life all the way through this novel, I never had a clue how this story would play out. It was filled with drama and suspense. If I had nails I would bit them. Grin! I was anxious to the last page not wanting to discover Adelia’s fate. This author pulls out all the stops in this one. It’s the first novel I’ve read by this author it definitely won’t be the last! I highly recommend you add this novel to your summer reading list and book club reading list. We had great discussions over this one!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Debora Coty's More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre ~ Reviewed

More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre [Paperback]
Debora Coty

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (March 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616263474


If you ever wrestle with that out-of-control inner ogre that threatens to destroy the divinely beautiful princess hidden within, this witty and wise book is for you. With simple, practical tips for taming that nasty, unsightly beast, you’ll discover how to transform its unattractive snarl into inner and outer beauty—refashioned, revitalized, and renewed.

Debora Coty reminds me, freakishly so, of one of my best (beast?) friends. Seriously, I’m pretty sure that they may share a brain. Of course, I’m mentioning that because Debora’s voice was familiar and very girlfriendy. The transparency Debora shares is oftentimes not flattering and, like a good friend, it was nice to connect with someone, even through the pages of a book, who’s been there and done some dumb things. Debora is high energy and writes in twisty, clever dialogue, and her writing is almost like an email bantering session with my Debora-clone friend.  

I especially appreciated Debora’s take on the Fruit of the Spirit. (Which covers about ¼ of the book.) With each chapter, and section, Debora shares from her own experiences and life lessons then shares scripture that pulls those experiences into lessons for her readers. She  then asks beast-stomping questions about our responses to her lessons and about areas that we need to change if we are desiring to kill the beast within.

When I read the title and saw the book cover I was expecting more of beauty vs beast behavior rather than devotion based topical readings. And, as much as I liked Debora’s voice and appreciated her candor and learning from her hard won wisdom, I don’t think I’d consider this a quiet time devotional because it tended to stir me up or energize me. I think it would be a terrific group topical study for ladies, especially those that juggle the components of their lives and/or feel suffocated by societies’ and churches’ expectations. 

Reviewed by:  Kelly Klepfer