Friday, August 29, 2014

The Tidewater Sisters

Title: The Tidewater Sisters: Postlude to The Prayer Box

Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Tyndale
June 2014
Genre: Contemporary novella

Tandi Reese and her sister, Gina, have always been bound by complicated ties. Amid the rubble of a difficult childhood lie memories of huddling beneath beds and behind sofas while parental wars raged. Sisterhood was safety . . . once. But now? Faced with legal papers for a fraud she didn't commit, Tandi suspects that her sister has done something unthinkable. With Tandi's wedding just around the corner, a trip to the North Carolina Tidewater for a reckoning with Gina was not part of the plan. But unraveling lies from truth will require confronting strained sibling bonds and uncovering a dark family secret that could free Tandi from her past or stain her future forever. 

THE TIDEWATER SISTERS is the perfect epilogue to The Prayer Box. I enjoyed  finding out what happened after the ending of The Prayer Box, and worried for awhile that Tandi's and Paul's wedding might be derailed. 

Tandi's relationship with her sister is really sad. I can relate in some ways. I found myself hoping they could resolve the matter in a good way. I want to find out more about what happens with some of these characters, such as Luke, Laura, her pascal of foster children...  

This is a great novella, quick, easy to read, and gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 5 stars. 127 pages. $2.99 Kindle. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Spirit-Filled Life

Charles F. Stanley
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4767-5206-8
Religion/Christian Life/Spiritual Growth
283 pages
$15.99 softcover

Are you trying your best to be a “good Christian,” but still feel that something’s missing?  Does the “peace that passeth all understanding” seem to be missing in your life?  Has your spiritual walk come to a stand-still?

Maybe you need a fresh start . . . and a fresh understanding of The Other Comforter that the Lord Jesus promised his disciples he would send. 

The Spirit-Filled Life by Dr. Charles F. Stanley provides an introduction, and invites you into his study as he patiently peels back the layers of misinformation, misunderstanding, and just plain bad theology that have been foisted upon the third member of the Trinity . . . The Holy Spirit.

In this primer on the Holy Spirit, you will discover:
·        Who He is . . . and who He isn’t
·        How the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer
·        What it means to hear the Spirit’s voice
·        What happens when the Spirit’s power is unleashed in your workplace, your family, your friendships, and every other area of your life

And so much more . . .

Be prepared to take some time with this book; it’s not “How To Rock The Holy Spirit In 30 Days.”  This is going to be a journey that will transform your understanding of the Holy Spirit . . . and it will transform your life, as well.

5 stars for fresh teaching on a difficult subject

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cooking the Books

Author: Bonnie S. Calhoun
Publisher: Abingdon Press
April 2012
ISBN:  978-1426733888
Genre: Suspense

It’s not easy being Sloane Templeton.

After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also "inherits" a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

COOKING THE BOOKS is the first book in Ms. Calhoun's Sloan Templeton Mystery series. Ms. Calhoun is the queen of sarcastic, snappy, snarky writing, I think, and some of the wording indicated one thing but was in fact quite another so that made for interesting reading--but it also served to keep the reader distant. 

The characters were as wacky as promised. Over-the-top so. There were a lot of different subplots so that it got confusing at times and some of them didn't seem to get resolved. The main topic was sometimes graphic at times, but well presented. 

Readers of cozy mysteries might love COOKING THE BOOKS. A fun, quirky book with promise. $14.99 paperback ($6.00 bargain price). $9.99 Kindle. 320 pages.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All Things Hidden

Authors: Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
Publisher: Bethany House
January 2014
ISBN:  978-0764211195
Genre: Historical Suspense

Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse Team Up to Deliver a Stunning Depression-Era Drama

Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father's clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn's younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiancĂ© breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman’s invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah's past begin to surface, they’ll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future. 

ALL THINGS HIDDEN is a historical suspense by master historical writer Tracie Peterson and suspense writer, Kimberley Woodhouse. I was excited to get this book, and anxious to see what this duo would come up with. Gwyn is hurting by the abandonment of her mother and sister six years prior, and Jeremiah is accused of medical malpractice and told--by his own parents--to get out of town. Rejected by his fiancee, he accepts the offer of his mentor and flees to Alaska to provide medical care for the people relocating there due to the depression.

An obvious bad guy, with his own POV, adds mystery and intrigue. I had to keep reading to see how this would all play out.  Recommended for readers of historical suspense. One of the best historical suspenses I've read this year. $14.99 paperback. $9.99 Kindle. 352 pages. 5 stars. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Threads of Home

Author: Jodi Barrows
Publisher: River North
February 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0938-6
Genre: Historical

The past threatens to destroy the good days ahead.

Liz has overcome the emptiness of her husband's death, the hardships of the trip west and even the robbery and murder of her beloved grandfather.  Standing at the altar, she feels hope for the first time in many years.

Settling into their new home in Fort WorthTexas, the cousins begin to build a new life now that grandfather is gone, but their minds are never at rest. Abby initiates the work necessary to
start a new school while Liz works in the mercantile. Emma stands firm as a herd of cattle and cowboys come dangerously close, sparking a new venture for Emma-she learns that providing the cowboys with food and shelter, for both them and their
horses, can bring extra income into the household.  But Emma can't do it alone; she enlists the help of the lighthearted Megan.

When Liz becomes sick the whole town is abuzz  . . . as the women gather at the quilting frame relationships grow strong as women work together while facing the hardships and joys of a life 
on the prairies of Texas. As the four cousins forge a new family amid the unfamiliar ways of those living on the plains, feel the suffering of loss and the joy of true love found.

THREADS OF HOME is the second book in A Quilting Story series. Readers will want to read book 1, Threads of Change, as these books do not stand alone.  I didn't read the first book in the series, and I was confused about what was going on for awhile.

This book has head-hopping issues, where were are in multiple character's heads in the same paragraph. Very distracting. There is also a lot of telling and back story involved. I had a very hard time getting into this book, probably because I hadn't read book 1. If quilting books are something you enjoy (and Jodi Barrows is a published quilting book author) then you might enjoy A Quilting Story series. If you think you might be, start with book 1, Threads of Change, as these books apparently don't stand alone. $7.69 Kindle. $14.99 paperback. 208 pages. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Song of the Prairie

Authors: Vickie McDonough
Publisher: Whitaker House
July 2014
ISBN:   978-1629111704
Genre: Historical

A runaway new mother... A widower missing his children… A past that seems irreparable…

Janie Dunn’s dreams of being an opera singer suddenly dim when, at her dying cousin’s request, she flees Boston with her cousin’s newborn son to protect him from his abusive father. She moves to Kansas to live with her brother, who poses as her husband to protect her identity, lest the baby’s father seek her out. But it’s hard living a lie; even more so the closer she grows to her neighbors on the prairie.

Aaron Harper lost his wife four years ago in a tragic accident. Without a mother to help raise and educate his two chidren, Aaron sent them to live with his brother and sister-in-law in Windmill, a few hours’ train ride from his family’s homestead, to attend the local school. Yet Aaron regrets seeing his son and daughter so rarely. He yearns to have them under his roof again, but without someone to educate them, it’s an impossible scenario.

Life takes a dire turn for Janie when her brother dies. The Harper family turns out to be the greatest blessing—particularly the handsome Aaron Harper, who keeps the farm running in her brother’s  absence. But Janie knows his help is only temporary. Is a marriage of convenience to Aaron Harper the answer to both of their problems? And is Kansas far enough away from Boston that she is safe from the baby’s vengeful father? Or will he come after her and expose the secret she’s worked so hard to conceal? .

SONG OF THE PRAIRIE is the third and final book in Ms. McDonough’s series, Prairie Promises. Fans will want to read Whispers on the Prairie and Call of the Prairie first. The stories are stand alone, but the brothers’ stories tie into the other, so you’ll want to read them in order.

As I've said in the reviews of the previous two books, Ms. McDonough is a formula writer. But she did shake SONG OF THE PRAIRIE up, with not one, but two deaths in the beginning. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Janie as her world is torn to shreds time and again. Also for Aaron as he's still healing from the loss of his wife (in Whispers on the Prairie"s prologue). 

Fans of historicals, of Ms. McDonough’s books, or prairie romance stories will love SONG OF THE PRAIRIE. $9.39 Kindle. $12.99 paperback. 256 pages. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Streams in the Desert Devotional Bible


L.B. Cowman, ed. by Jim Reimann
ISBN 978-0-310-44184-7
Bibles / New International Version / Devotional
1,508 pages
$34.99 hardcover with jacket
My husband has been enamored with the devotional Streams In The Desert ever since he came to saving faith.  So when I received a copy of the NIV Streams In The Desert Devotional Bible – he couldn't wait to snag it.  With permission, of course.

Zondervan does the usual great job with the NIV text, including textual aids and some cross references at the bottom of the page.  However, this is a devotional Bible, not a true study Bible, so don’t look for a lot of that material.

It’s strength lies in the devotions that are tied to various portions of scripture; 365 of them, to be exact; one for each day of the year.  Drawn from Streams In The Desert, as well as from other authors, the devotions help the reader to “put shoe leather” to the passage under consideration.  My husband was preparing the evening message when this arrived, and he found material that fit perfectly with his message in the very first devotional.  Very cool!

The review copy I received was the hardback copy, with a dust jacket.  The dust jacket was designed to suggest that this was a book that had been on the shelves for many, many years.  As such . . . some might not find it so appealing.  Also, one of the “features” mentioned on the back cover was a ribbon marker.  The copy I received did not have that ribbon marker.

But we're not throwing the book back, by any stretch of the imagination.  As mentioned, he's already “put this book to good use,” as it was intended. 

4 stars for a classic devotional Bible