Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Amish Groom

Title: THE AMISH GROOM
Authors: Susan Meisser and Mindy Starns Clark
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
April 2014
ISBN: 978-0736957342
Genre: Amish

Born to an ex-Amish mother and an Englisch father, 23-year-old Tyler Anderson was raised as a military kid until the age of 6, when his mom passed away. His dad, shipping off to yet another overseas post, placed Tyler in the care of his Amish grandparents, an arrangement that was supposed to be temporary. It lasted a lifetime.
Rachel Hoeck is the young woman waiting for Tyler's proposal. She senses that though he loves her and wishes to make a commitment to her and his Amish beliefs, part of him still wonders whether an Amish lifestyle is truly for him.
When an opportunity to connect with his father unexpectedly arises, a visit to California causes Tyler to question everything, including a future with Rachel. Will the new girl in his life, Lark, cause him to remain in the Englisch world? Or will he choose to be an Amish groom after all?
A poignant novel of hoping for romance and searching for identity, set in a beloved Amish community.

New from bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner, THE AMISH GROOM (Book 1 in The Men of Lancaster County series) explores the men of an Amish community in Lancaster County, how their Amish beliefs play out in their unique roles, and the women who change their lives.

I've read all of Mindy Starns Clarks books, and enjoyed them, and one of Susan Meissner's book, didn't enjoy that so much. But I have to say that this collaboration with Mindy and Susan is a winner. I loved it more than I have enjoyed her previous collaborations. I have an advance reader copy, but I will be getting a copy for my keeper shelf, for sure. 

AN AMISH GROOM is a wonderful book about a boy who was raised Amish but always felt he never belonged--and how he discovered where his real heart rested. If you read one Amish book this year, make sure you chose AN AMISH GROOM. Discussion questions are included. 5 stars. 356 pages. $13.99


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First Blush

Title: FIRST BLUSH
Author: Rebeca Seitz
Publsiher: Glass Road Media
March 2014
ASIN: B00J77AZES
Genre: Contemporary novella

From the author of the Sisters, Ink series comes a fun new novella about finding your way…at the beach. 

Elizabeth Bakersfield may live in the gorgeous town of Naples, Florida, but she is not the thirty-year-old she envisioned. Her husband left with a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. Her job prospects are nil. The rent is due. Her best friend is living a thousand miles away, building a career in NYC. And her closest companion is the cockatiel Johnny Carson. 

The job front starts looking up when she’s offered the position of caretaker of Ganderley’s – a library, kind of. Elizabeth’s job is to loan out the priceless antiques and cars amassed by the widowed Ganderley sisters. Easy, right? Sign things out, get them back in two weeks. And, if she runs into trouble, there’s the gorgeous Ganderley nephew with the British accent, Nicholas Harrington, waiting in the wings with help. 

But Elizabeth is about to learn first-hand that possessions – and gorgeous Brits - bring their own kind of drama. If she doesn’t figure out how to sidestep it, her job (not to mention the start of a new life) might be over before it ever really began.

FIRST BLUSH was simply fun. It did start out a little slow, but by the time it got to the violin I was very interested in where it was going.  A British man, the accent, ah, love. And Elizabeth is in over her head even though she doesn't know it. 

I do want to know Nick's secrets. How did he come upon the experience he has.... but that isn't answered in the book. I want to read more of Elizabeth's and Nick's story. Delicious read. Loved it. 5 stars.  93 pages. $2.99 on Kindle.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Pelican Bride

Title: THE PELICAN BRIDE
Author: Beth White
Publisher: Revell
April 2014
ISBN: 978-0800721978
Genre: Historical


She’s come to the New World to escape a perilous past. But has it followed her to these far shores?


It is 1704 when Genevieve Gaillain and her sister board a French ship headed for the Louisiana colony as mail-order brides. Both have promised to marry one of the rough-and-tumble Canadian men in this New World in order to escape religious persecution in the Old World. Genevieve knows life won't be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of beheading. But when she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer whose courageous stand for fair treatment of native peoples has made him decidedly unpopular in the young colony, Genevieve realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. And a secret she harbors could mean the undoing of the colony itself.

Gulf Coast native Beth White brings vividly to life the hot, sultry south in this luscious, layered story of the lengths we must go to in order to be true to ourselves, our faith, and our deepest loves
.

THE PELICAN BRIDE is the first book in Ms. White's newest series, Gulf Coast Chronicles. It is engaging, easy to read, and interesting to learn about some of the struggles some of the Huguenots might have gone through as they came to the New World to escape persecution in both Europe and in Canada. The setting was rough, the ladies refined, and the men desperate. 

I was a bit confused at times as the point of view shifted to random characters who never appeared before. And I wondered how the author would tie it all together. At times it also caused skimming, which made me go back and reread, paying closer attention when I started getting lost. 

Discussion questions are included at the end of the book as are a letter from the author with more historical facts, and the first chapter in the second book in the series coming in 2015. 

THE PELICAN BRIDE is a fictional retelling of a real time in American history, and is as historically accurate as Ms. White could make it. Recommended for fans of historical fiction, the Huguenots, and those who plain out love to read real history books. Very well written--just not my favorite reading. $14.99. 368 pages. 3.5 stars.  


Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Manual to Manhood

Title: THE MANUAL TO MANHOOD
Author: Jonathan Catherman
Publisher: Revell
April 2014
ISBN:  978-0800722296
Genre: Men’s issues / self help


T here's a lot a guy needs to know as he grows up and makes his way in the world. And a lot of it, he wouldn't necessarily want to have to ask about because then, well, people would know he didn't know what he was doing! For all the guys out there who want to have it all together, Jonathan Catherman offers this collection of one hundred step-by-step instructions on almost everything a guy needs to know, including how to:

· wear cologne correctly
· manage a credit card
· talk to a girl
· plan a date
· write a résumé
· ask for a reference
· clean a bathroom
· throw a football
· change a tire
· behave during a traffic stop
· fold a shirt
· tie a tie
· grill a steak
· clear a sink drain
· find a stud in a wall

In fact, if it's in here, it's an important skill or character trait practiced by capable and confident men. With great illustrations and a supporting website, this all-in-one reference tool for young men in the making is the perfect gift for birthdays, graduations, or any occasion.

THE MANUAL TO MANHOOD tells in detail how to do everything a man might need to know, including how to cook potatoes or pasta! It includes a bunch of fun facts after every how to that even women would love to read.

I found this book a little amazing – like some men don’t know how to do this or that – but maybe not all parents teach them to their sons. And maybe some men learn them from experience—or because they won’t listen to wise advice and have to learn the hard way.


Whatever the reason, this book is a great how to manual for any man who needs to do something and doesn’t want to show their ignorance by asking. Recommended for young men, from graduating high school on up, who are leaving the nest and will find themselves having to be the man. $14.99. 288 pages. 5 stars. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Millie's Treasure

Title: MILLIE’S TREASURE
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0736952132
Genre: Historical

If I drew you a treasure map, could you find the way to my heart?
Memphis 1890--Bookish heiress Millie Jean Cope is as clever as she is beautiful. Unfortunately, though adept at solving puzzles and cryptograms, she doesn't realize her new fiancé isn't who he claims to be, but instead is a charming scoundrel. The infamous Will Tucker is presenting himself as a British gentleman, Sir William Trueck, though in reality he is a crafty criminal looking for a hidden map to a secret treasure.
Pinkerton agent Kyle Russell has been on Tucker's trail for years. At last Kyle believes he has Tucker cornered, but he is uncertain whether the lovely woman on the con man's arm is an unsuspecting victim or willing accomplice. Finding reasons to spend time with Millie is easy. Keeping himself from falling in love with her is another issue entirely.
A fun and entertaining story of how God can shine the light of truth on the most cryptic circumstances. 

From bestselling author Kathleen Y'Barbo comes MILLIE’S TREASURE, the second book in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series, a new set of novels involving romance, adventure, and hidden identity.
I had the pleasure of reading the first book in the series, Flora’s Wish and was anxious to see where Will Tucker would show up next. I wasn’t surprised to find him passing himself off as a British gentleman. 

I was rather interested in Pinkerton agent Kyle Russell’s secret identity as an inventor of flying machines and wondered how that would tie into the story. He was an interesting character and I couldn’t help but like him. Millie I wasn’t sure what to think about at first, but she grew on me.

I couldn’t help but wonder about the treasure and if Will Tucker would find it – or if he’d get away again. The romance part was rather flat, but not bad. Just not heart-pounding.


Don’t miss book two in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker, MILLIE’S TREASURE. $13.99. 354 pages. 4 stars.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rebekah's Treasure

Title: REBEKAH’S TREASURE
Author: Sylvia Bambola
Publisher: Heritage Publishing House
January 2014
ISBN: 9780989970747
Genre: Biblical fiction

Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value: Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it's not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.

REBEKAH’S TREASURE is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Bambola. As a rule, I’m not a huge fan of biblical fiction, but this one was good. I was glad that it wasn’t in an actual biblical character’s point of view as they tend to imagine things that didn’t appear to have happened in the Bible and leaves the reader wondering where they got that information and if it was true.

REBEKAH’S TREASURE is written in both Ethan’s and Rebekah’s point of view and each chapter is clearly marked who’s point of view we’re in so the reader doesn’t get confused. It is also in first person, present tense, so the reader feels like they are actually present.

I was interested to read Rebekah’s thoughts of the Last Supper and the cup Jesus had drank from. I also particularly enjoyed Ethan hunting for the Temple’s stolen treasures.


The book has lots of sad moments, but there was a lot of persecution of Christians then. If you love biblical fiction, then you’ll want to read REBEKAH’S TREASURE. Discussion questions are included. $14.99. 315 pages. 4 stars. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Match Made in Texas

Title:  A MATCH MADE IN TEXAS
Authors: Karen Witmeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox
Publisher: Bethany House
January 2014
ISBN:  978-0764211768
Genre: Historical / novella collection

There's a secret matchmaker at work in frontier Texas!

In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?

A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer ~~
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?  A romance centered on the baby of the Archer family, Neill. Fans of Ms Witmeyer’s series won’t want to miss this novella. It is sweet, has struggles for both Neilll and Clara to work through, and plenty of excitement. I couldn’t put this one down. Easily read in a morning, while waiting at the Department of Revenue office.

An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings ~~
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.  Clayton is a rough around the edges hero, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. Grace is going blind and doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone. She wants a husband. This book had several laugh out loud moments in it.


No Match for Love by Carol Cox ~~
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?  Lucy is homeless and unwilling to be a burden on her best friend's parents when they temporarily took her in. With no recourse but to accept a man she didn't like when he proposed, she took a job as companion. But even that isn't all she imagined. With the aunt cranky and imagining cows jumping over the moon, and with Lucy not even knowing how to do basic household chores, this arrangement could be less than ideal. I couldn't help but wonder how this would turn out.  


Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy ~~
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him? In Ms. Connealy's trademark style, this story was quick to grab the interest and the laughs. I couldn't help but fall in love with Hannah and Marcus.  


Great collection of stories. I said this before about Thomas Nelson's collections and Revell's recent one, but I'll say it again. I love these collections of four novellas in these books by well known multipublished authors. I'm glad that top Christian publishers have started to put them out and hope it continues. Great collection of stories, and I couldn't pick a favorite if I tried.   

$14.99. 4.5 stars. 380 pages. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement


Win & RSVP!
Tracie Peterson A Sensible Arrangement


Book info and Review
About the book: A Lone Star Brides book.

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.

Answering an advertisement for a "Lone Star bride," she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn't know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her.

Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake's yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty's dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.

What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways . . . and dreams and secrets collide?

My thoughts: 

A SENSIBLE ARRANGEMENT is the first book in Ms. Peterson's new series. I can't say I liked this one as much as some previous. It's a mail-order bride story, with a twist, she goes to Denver and marries a rich man and has servants. I was greatly displeased by the lying Marty does all the time, even though Jake is honest with her and says he values honestly above all else. Plus she's in possession of the one thing she wants and doesn't tell him about it. 

Jake seemed nice enough, but was rather flat, the servants were better developed. Still, the story was well-written, just not my favorite Tracie Peterson book. I will still read the others in the series. This book felt unfinished to me, I'm hoping to read more about Jake and Marty in a future book to see what happens. 

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/vlp1S

About the Author: Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. 

Learn more about Tracie at: www.traciepeterson.com

 Blog tour schedule

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

By Appointment Only

Title: BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
Author: Marianne Evans
Publisher: White Rose Publisher
June 2013
ASIN: B00DE2L4BK
Genre: Contemporary Romance


Political dynamo Matt Bellinger understands he has an unyielding responsibility to work hard for the betterment of his community and the world around him. Life, he believes, should be built strictly on effort and tangibles, not an elusive faith. But that belief is challenged when a bill to spearhead volunteerism leads him to canvassing efforts at Detroit's legendary diner, Sal's Place, and a meeting with Heather Cavanaugh. His polar opposite, the street-smart beauty challenges his heart and perceptions. She's the head stylist at Optiva, a trendy, upscale hair salon in downtown Detroit, as well as a tireless volunteer giving back to the city she loves in honor of the God she serves.

Love blooms, gradually shifting Matt's perceptions. But when a life-threatening illness in his family challenges that fledgling faith, will he be able to hold fast to his newfound beliefs? Will he discover that faith makes all things possible and love makes all things beautiful?

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY is the first book I've read by Ms. Evans and it won't be the last. Though the book started slow and had insanely long chapters (almost forty pages for one of them) by the middle of the second chapter I was intrigued. I liked the issues in this book. Matt may be a politician but he's not unwilling to get his hands dirty working with the down and out.  I liked that Heather is a normal girl, a hairstylist, who became friends with and fell in love with a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

There is a lot of Bible in here, but I love that, too. Too many Christian books write a story and the characters go to church maybe once, or the characters don't go to church at all, but think something Christian-like and that constitutes the inspirational part. I loved  that Ms. Evans actually gives the message and makes it plain.

If you are looking for a good book to read, pick up BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. I picked it up out of my massive to-be-read pile because it was short and I needed an easy read to fill in a gap. This book is so much more than it appears. Definitely 4.5 stars. Recommended. 170 pages. $3.99 Kindle.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two are Better

Title: TWO ARE BETTER: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast
Authors: Tim & Debbie Bishop
Publisher: Open Road Press
May 2013
ISBN: 978-0985624828
Genre: Memoir

Are you looking for adventure?


Waiting upon the Lord takes on new meaning when you’ve been searching for companionship for over thirty years. But when you wait for God’s timing, He doesn’t disappoint. His redemptive grace translates into second chances, a fresh start, and the overwhelming joy of a long-standing prayer answered.

Such was the case for Tim and Debbie Bishop. At age 52, the couple finally found in each other that special someone they’d been searching for years to marry. They moved from marriage proposal and wedding, to Tim’s “retirement” and relocation, to embarking on their cycling adventure in only ten weeks. There was no more need to hold back once God gave the green light. Two Are Better shares the joy and excitement of the Bishops’ escape into togetherness.

From Tim’s epiphany about his stale life to Debbie’s dramatic spiritual conversion and deliverance from addictions, God leads them in some fascinating ways. When midlife crisis threatens to spoil the party, God transforms it into a midlife miracle, with an ensuing celebration to match. The bicycle tour doubles as a classroom filled with metaphors that reinforce the spiritual truths and lessons of a larger journey through life. Fear and faith wage war throughout, and other spiritual concepts rise to a practical level.

Early reviewer Scott Emack knows this isn’t just another travelogue: “Framed within a coast-to-coast biking odyssey with its daunting challenges lies a deeper and engaging view of discovering ourselves, our relationship with a loved one, spiritual connections, and answers to the nagging quest for juggling our priorities. Two Are Better will no doubt inspire you, but the fun in these pages is riding along with the Bishops.”

The Bishops were awestruck by the beauty and bounty of America. They brought back some pictures to share with you. Over 100 color photos supplement vivid descriptions of their magnificent surroundings. Their dual (and sometimes duel) narrative challenges readers to pursue their own dreams and to find their own release from the humdrum that life at any age can bring. Their inspirational story is a strong reminder that God wants to grant us the desires of our heart in His perfect timing. And when He does, you will never be the same.

Embrace life like never before. Read Two Are Better, and begin your own quest to more adventuresome living.

TWO ARE BETTER is marketed as Travel/Adventure, and while it is, in some ways, it is more the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bishops' discovery of each other, their beginning relationship, and their relationship after they married. I discovered that neither was very well prepared for a bicycle trip across country (for example, they didn’t know how to patch an intertube). I am happy they found love at fifty and were in good enough shape to mostly bicycle across the country (they did hitch some rides, most of the way through Minnesota, for instance) and they survived the trip to write about it.

Tim was mostly the writer of this book. They designated authors by color, Tim had black, Debbie had magenta, which is a really unique idea. The few bright patches of pink stood out.  Lots of good photos complete the book. 


If you are looking for a memoir about Mr. and Mrs. Bishop’s relationship and road trip, this is the book for you. If you are looking for more travel/adventure you can do better.  4 stars for an interesting story. $19.95. 208 pages. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Spotlight: Daughter of Jerusalem

She was a widow, a businesswoman, an adulteress.
In her lifetime, she knew murder, prejudice, and faith. She transformed from a Jewish girl longing for family to one of the closest friends of Jesus of Nazareth -- the Son of God.

HER NAME WAS MARY MAGDALENE.

In this fictionalized story of one of the Bible's most compelling women, New York Times best-selling author Joan Wolf beautifully recreates the history, romance, and tradition of Mary's world. Daughter of Jerusalem follows Mary's life from her first love through her loveless marriage, to the moment she heard of a miracle worker in her own town -- and ultimately to the moment she saw Him risen from the dead.

As this inspiring chronicle reminds us, Mary was the first to witness history's greatest moment. She was a woman who sought forgiveness for her sins, and a follower of God who yearned for a deeper faith. She was Jesus' beloved disciple. Read Mary Magdalene's story and find yourself in this remarkable woman's journey to discover the Kingdom of God.


Buy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Jerusalem-Joan-Wolf/dp/1936034670/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1397137916

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Worthy Book Publishers (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936034670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936034673

Joan Wolf is a USA TODAY bestselling American writer, whose acclaimed Regency romances have earned her national recognition as a master of the genre. Her many historical and contemporary romances, some of which have been chosen as Literary Guild selections, have been highly praised by reviewers and authors alike.
Joan was born in 1951 and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. A former English teacher, she obtained a Bachelor's degree in Mercy College and Master in English and Comparative Literature at Hunter College. An avid rider and horse owner, Joan lives in Connecticut with her husband Joe and two grown children, Jay and Pam.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wildwood Creek


Title: WILDWOOD CREEK
Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Bethany House
February 2013
ISBN: 978-0764208249
Genre: Contemporary

With love and loss tangled together, how was she to know where her life would lead?

Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father's unfinished destiny. When she's offered a production assistant's job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father's footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region's folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.

When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood--including Blake Fulton, Allie's handsome neighbor on the film set--seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn't know whom she can trust. If she can't find the answers in time, history may repeat itself...with the most unthinkable results.

WILDWOOD CREEK is a gripping story, half set in historical Texas, and half set in modern day. I fell in love with both Bonnie Rose—who struggled to rise beyond her past, to Allie, trying to make a career choice that her parents don’t approve of. I had to keep reading to see what happened, with both women.

Chapters are clearly marked so you know what time period and point of view you’re in.

If you’re looking for a great contemporary novel, look no further. WILDWOOD CREEK is everything you looked for and more. Discussion questions are included at the end. $14.99. 375 pages. 5 stars. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Daddy Next Door / The Soldier's Sweetheart

Title: DADDY NEXT DOOR
Author: Carol Voss
Publisher: Love Inspired
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0373878345
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Not Your Everyday Hero

Nearly setting her house on fire isn't the way Alyssa Douglas is supposed to begin her new life. Luckily Ben Cooper, her handsome new neighbor, is there to charge to her rescue. A widowed single mother, Alyssa has moved to Rainbow Lake to build a future for her young sons in the big-hearted Wisconsin seaside town. And she's getting a warm welcome from Ben, a crusading reporter struggling to raise his daughter. With his help, Alyssa starts to believe that anything is possible—even second chances. But are Ben and Alyssa finally ready to trust each other with a love that can make two families one?

DADDY NEXT DOOR is the first book I read by Ms. Voss. It is a formula romance and fairly predictable. Alyssa is a strong heroine who doesn’t think she is. After the death of her husband she wants to take care of herself and her sons, but no one will let her, so in retaliation she moves to her grandmother’s summer cottage, determined to prove herself to her well-meaning friends and family who want to help her.

Ben is a giver, caring and kind, and not the first person Alyssa needed to meet, especially when she accidentally sets the chimney on fire. He’s quick to step in to help and she’s just as quick to get prickly. Alyssa needs to learn that sometimes it’s okay to allow others to bless us, because that is a blessing to them. But it’s a long road to get there.

A quick and easy read. Discussion questions are included at the end. $5.99. 215 pages. 3.5 stars.

****


Title: THE SOLDIER’S SWEETHEART
Author: Deb Kastner
Publisher: Love Inspired
July 2013
ISBN: 978-0373817108
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The Single Dad's Fresh Start

Army vet Will Davenport knows all about missions but nothing about raising his young daughter. Settling in Serendipity, Texas, he hopes they'll both find the peace that has always eluded him. But when the widower goes to work for a local beauty, he gets much, much more. Samantha Howell is ready with a helping hand for everyone else but insists on taking care of her problems on her own. Will wants to be her hero, but too much stands in their way. For a future with Samantha, he has to bury the past. But forgiving himself may be his most difficult mission ever.

THE SOLDIER’S SWEETHEART is a sweet romance. Samantha is taken by surprise when Will shows up out of nowhere insisting her brother offered him a job in her store, and acting all surprised she didn’t know about it. He has a four-year-old daughter who he’s never—or rarely—seen and he’s eaten up with guilt about how lousy he is as a husband and father, but he does love his daughter even if he doesn’t have a beginning clue how to be a dad.

Samantha is getting mad at her friends and other single girls for pushing themselves at the widowed ex-military man working for her, but she’s the one by starting it by taking his picture on her cell and sending it to all her friends.


Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to like these characters, I didn’t. The story/romance is sweet, and not predictable. But it was just a story.  $5.99. 218 pages. 3 stars. 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Callie's Contest of Courage / GIVEAWAY!!!

Title: CALLIE’S CONTEST OF COURAGE
Author: Jan May
Publisher: New Millennium Girls
April 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9835281-3-5
Genre: Tweener

Follow Callie on her journey of trust, hope, and the power of prayer.

Eleven-year-old Callie Fleming is a passionate animal lover! She's been waiting all year to enter photos in the I Love Nature Photo Contest. Her dad, who is the coolest dad in the world, is an award winning photographer and Marine Corps Reserves Sergeant. She is leaning on his help to win. But when her father is untimely deployed overseas and becomes strangely silent to her emails, she finds her whole world crashing down on her. Can she muster up the faith and courage to step out on a journey that whisks her away from all the things she loves? Join Callie on a journey of hope, trust and the power of prayer!

CALLIE’S CONTEST OF COURAGE is about a modern day girl whose daddy went overseas to fight. Callie is trying to win a photo contest to get a zoo internship, and she wants her daddy’s opinion of her work. But Daddy disappears from contact and her mom takes her and her brother to visit family for awhile.

This was an engaging story that was real cute and easy to read. I read it in a matter of hours. I enjoyed it except for one tiny thing; I wanted Mickey to get back what he lost.

Tween girls will love CALLIE’S CONTEST OF COURAGE. It has a valuable faith message for them as well.  Don’t miss this book! $7.95. 160 pages. 5 stars.

Giveaway!  Leave a comment on this to enter to win a copy of CALLIE’S CONTEST OF COURAGE, a “white” book bag that girls can decorate however they want,  and other tween girl books, such as Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek, and others.

Include contact information! 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Spotlight: Deadly Ties

HER ENEMY WILL STOP AT NOTHING FOR CONTROL…
SHE WILL RISK EVERYTHING FOR FREEDOM.

 
A horrific crime shatters Lisa Harper’s idyllic childhood. Her father is dead and her desperate mother, Annie, quickly marries Dutch Hauk, an abusive monster who soon reveals his hatred for Lisa.  To protect her, Annie defies her ruthless husband and forfeits custody to a trusted friend. Enraged, Dutch vows to keep Annie and Lisa apart—and he does. Years later, though keenly aware of Dutch’s evil intent, Lisa and her mother seize a chance to be a family, safe in a home where love dwells. But they fail to fathom how far Dutch will go to keep his vow. 
 
Determined to control his women, Dutch proves resourceful. His associates in crime are feared at the highest levels across the globe—and for Lisa they plan a fate worse than death. Yet she too has formidable connections, including former Special Operations Officer Mark Taylor. Burdened by his own traumatic past, Mark has loved Lisa from afar. Now, for Lisa and her mother to survive, Mark must risk his life—and even more difficult for him, he must trust God. All as one question haunts them: Can Mark and Lisa untangle these deadly ties before it’s too late?
 
“Vicki Hinze has…talent for transforming the unlikely into something beautiful.”
—PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

Product Details

  • Series: Crossroads Crisis Center (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601422067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601422064

Buy a copy:  http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Ties-Crossroads-Crisis-Center-ebook/dp/B004FGMZ7G/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1397137787&sr=8-3&keywords=deadly+ties


Biography

A USA Today best selling and award-winning author, Vicki Hinze, has written over thirty-five books (fiction and nonfiction) and hundreds of articles that have been published in as many as 63 countries. She is also a columnist for the Social-In Network (Global).

Vicki writes most often in Romantic Suspense, Thrillers with a romantic element, and Military Romance or Military Thrillers either for the general market or for the Christian market. She has written series, political thrillers, suspense, paranormal romantic suspense, time-travel suspense, women's action adventure, thrillers, psycho-thrillers and contemporary romance with a strong mystery element. All of her books contain elements of suspense, mystery and romance. She enjoys genre-blending and is known as a trailblazer for doing so. 

After her fourth published novel, she returned to college and earned an MA in creative writing then a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Theocentric Business and Ethics). She founded Writers' Aids to mentor other authors, which evolved into Writers' Zone, where she answers questions on craft, the business of writing and the writing life and maintains a free online writers' library, ON WRITING, on her website, www.vickihinze.com. By request, some of those articles are on Kindle. Additional podcasts, workshops, lectures and feature articles are also in the writing library. 

Hinze is a sponsor of The Book Club Network, International Thriller Writers, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Between family and writing commitments, she has little time for hobbies and her other interests. Her favorite non-writing activity is home-improvement projects. Knocking down walls appeals to her. For fun, she designs book covers.

Organizations in which she is active: ITW, MWA, RWA, ACFW, NINC, ACRA, AG, AWSA, Emerald Coast Writers, the Book Fun Organization. She is the founder of Christians Read. 

Hinze's blog (vickihinze.com/blog) is divided into five categories: My Kitchen Table (chat), On Writing (Craft, business, life of writing), My Faith Zone (spiritual journey), Thinking Aloud (a thought to ponder for busy days), and Vicki Hinze Today, which contains all kinds of articles from multiple sources on things of interest relating to the book industry. 

Raised in New Orleans, Hinze then married a Hurricane Hunter/Special Ops officer. They and their children moved every few years. Mississippi, California, Illinois, Florida and Texas. They settled in Northwest Florida.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pocket Genius: Facts at Your Fingertips

Pocket Genius: Facts at Your Fingertips
Elementary. Price $7.99
DK: www.dk.com

Pocket Genius: Facts at Your Fingertips is a collection of hardback books designed to help your elementary age child have basic facts in a variety of subjects at your fingertips.

Pocket Genius: Facts at Your Fingertips include topics such as:
Ø      Ancient Egypt
Ø      Animals
Ø      Bugs
Ø      Dinosaurs
Ø      Earth
Ø      Horses
Ø      Human Body
Ø      Mammals
Ø      Rocks and Minerals
Ø      Science
Ø      Sharks
Ø      Space

I was sent the Horses and the Human Body ones to review. The Human Body one covers: All about your body, from bones and breathing to blood and the brain; Clear and crisp photographs and diagrams with bite-size chunks of information; Spectacular full-page images; Amazing stats and incredible facts. The horse one includes the above mentioned, but with Profiles of more than 130 horse and pony breeds and Amazing stats and record-breakers.

Pocket Genius: Facts at Your Fingertips will help reinforce your child’s knowledge reading the information and fun facts about the different subjects.


The only bad thing I found was for those who believe God created the world, these books do support evolution. They also support the Common Core, the new standard of education. These are perfect for fun study, playing school or keeping skills up during the summer or as supplements to unit studies. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cynthia and the Amazing Bunny

Title: CYNTHIA AND THE AMAZING BUNNY
Author: Fern Kuhn
Publisher: Self Published
April 2013
ASIN: B00C6N5WB6
Genre: Children

Cynthia wants a pet bunny, so she keeps asking her mom to go to the pet store but they never find a bunny. Cynthia’s mom and dad are getting frustrated. Finally, they tell Cynthia one last trip.

Cynthia asks to hold all the bunnies in the store – but each one she says, “Sorry, you’re not the one.” Will she ever find the bunny she is looking for?

CYNTHIA AND THE AMAZING BUNNY is a short book perfect for Easter time.  I downloaded it when it was free and my daughter read it on Nook. I read it today. My daughter says she gives it five stars. She enjoyed it. As an adult I found it more telling and not showing, and the pictures weren’t very good. I would give it three stars.  So I’m averaging my daughters rating and mine, to give it four stars.

If you are looking for an Easter story that is about bunnies, not the Easter bunny, and not about Jesus, then this is a cute story.  22 pages. 99 cents. 4 stars.




Sunday, April 13, 2014

What Follows After

Title: WHAT FOLLOWS AFTER
Author: Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
April 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2120-6
Genre: ‘contemporary’

In October 1962, Colt Harrison and his little brother, Timmy, hatched a plan. They would run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt's house in Savannah, Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents got back together. But things go terribly, terribly wrong. Colt's mother and father must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their brok
en marriage.

In this emotional story, Dan Walsh takes readers on a journey to rediscover the things that matter most in life--love, truth, and family.

Oh, man. A friend of mine told me I probably wouldn’t like this book. But it was next in my to-be-read stack, and I loved Dan Walsh’s other books. WHAT FOLLOWS AFTER is very much an emotional story. It packs a wallop, and I cried. Mr. Walsh created very real characters and I cared very deeply for each of the characters.

Even though WHAT FOLLOWS AFTER is a book that happened more than fifty years ago (before I was born) it is still recent enough that it isn’t really considered historical. But yet, in my opinion it isn’t contemporary. The publishers did classify it as contemporary though.


I did enjoy WHAT FOLLOWS AFTER. It is emotionally gripping, and I read it one sitting. Highly recommended. $14.99. 4.5 stars. 315 pages.