Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Elaine Stock's Always With You ~ Reviewed

  • Always With You
  • Elaine Stock
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing (January 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1942513844


Description:

Can she move forward without knowing her past? Will he enjoy his present if he can’t free himself from what he left behind? In the heart of the Adirondacks, Isabelle lives in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. Tyler belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith. She wants it; she gets it; they marry. And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices: Staying could endanger her child. Leaving could cost her life.

Reviews: 

Always With You's chilling premise is taken right from current headlines. Polarizing groups of people lashing out in an attempt to keep those within safe and protected is happening all around us. Somehow hurting to protect seems noble and revenge feels right. But in the harsh light of truth neither of those is justifiable.  

Isabelle, who is saved from a fate worse than death by a mysterious outsider. She falls hopelessly for him. Her family had given her anything she could ever need but had neglected her confused and insecure heart. Tyler belongs to a sect and lives outside of town in a communal setting. He is driven to keep his family together and indebted to the leader of the group who had rescued him. 

As the deep hatred of the frightened townspeople intensifies and the racially biased violence escalating within The Faithful comes to light Isabelle becomes horrified at the choices she now faces. And at what she has chosen to believe. When some of her family secrets spill over as she makes a move toward freedom, she is shocked back into helpless surrender again. 

An intimate look into how truth can easily become twisted and how followers can be made through manipulative acts of kindness and escalate into powerful mind control. Chilling and suspenseful yet filled with the promise of grace. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

BONUS REVIEW. Pop over to Nora's Blog for her thoughts http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2016/02/always-with-you-reviewed.html

Monday, July 25, 2016

Maggie Brendan's A Sweet Misfortune ~ Reviewed



A SWEET MISFORTUNE
Maggie Brendan
Series: Virtues and Vices of the Old West (Book 2)
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revell (February 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800722655

Rachel Matthews isn't one to rely on others to take care of her. Destitute and alone, she still wants to make her own way and her own money--even if she's forced into the life of a dance hall girl. Horrified by her circumstances, Rachel's brother sends a friend--the widely admired cattle baron John McIntyre--to rescue her, then sets off to earn enough money to buy back the family ranch. But when months pass without her brother's return, Rachel isn't sure she can take one more day in John McIntyre's home--especially once she discovers that he's the one who holds the deed to her family's ranch.

Sparks fly between this spunky, independent heroine and the ruggedly handsome hero as they navigate the snarled terrain of pride, greed, faith, and love in Maggie Brendan's delightful series set in the Old West.
Review:

A Sweet Misfortune takes place in Montana in the Old West. Rachel Matthews' parent's have passed away, and her and her brother are in danger of losing their family home. Her brother, Preston, leaves for the gold fields, leaving Rachel alone. Her only choice for employment is as a dance hall girl, which she is unhappy about. However, when Preston's friend, John McIntyre, gets a letter from Preston asking him to rescue his sister, he feels it's his duty as a friend to help out. After taking her to his home to stay with him and his Grandmother, Estelle, he tries to settle back into the life of a cattle baron, but is distracted by Rachel's character and beauty. Rachel, on the other hand, is upset that her brother hasn't returned, and does not like being dependent on strangers. But John is different than other men and she can't help being drawn to him.

This was a great book. I admired Rachel's character. Working in the saloon was not ideal, but she was able to keep herself from becoming a “soiled dove,” and try to continue to trust in the Lord. I also liked that she was able to humble herself to accept help from strangers in order to get back on her feet. John's character grew throughout the story, too. He became less judgmental and began to see that wealth and status were not quite as important as he originally thought.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lori Benton's A Flight of Arrows ~ Reviewed

A FLIGHT OF ARROWS
Book 2 in the Pathfinder Series
By Lori Benton
Waterbrook
April 2016
ISBN 1601427344

BACK COVER:
It is said that what a man sows he will reap--and for such a harvest there is no set season. No one connected to Reginald Aubrey is untouched by the crime he committed twenty years ago. 

Not William, the Oneida child Reginald stole and raised as his own. Identity shattered, enlisted in the British army, William trains with Loyalist refugees eager to annihilate the rebels who forced them into exile. Coming to terms with who and what he is proves impossible, but if he breaks his Loyalist oath, he'll be no better than the man who constructed his life of lies.

Not Anna, Reginald's adopted daughter, nor Two Hawks, William's twin, both who long for Reginald to accept their love despite the challenges they will face, building a marriage that bridges two cultures. 

Not Good Voice and Stone Thrower, freed of bitterness by a courageous act of forgiveness, but still yearning for their firstborn son and fearful for the future of their Oneida people.

As the British prepare to attack frontier New York and Patriot regiments rally to defend it, two families separated by culture, united by love, will do all in their power to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.


MY REVIEW:

Action. Adventure. Romance. And a healthy dose of history. All this and more are in store for you in this rousing historical tale.

I love the way author Lori Benton captures the speech pattern of the Oneida Native Americans. Is it true to form? I have no idea, but I could sure hear their voice in my head. 

I also love the way Anna Catherine and Two Hawks finally get to . . . umm . . . I suppose I shouldn't give it away. Let's just say their story will leave you satisfied.

I did get a little annoyed, however, with William. Yeah, I understand he had a rough life and felt betrayed and all that, but that doesn't excuse his stupid choices. Stupid man. But I suppose such strong feelings toward a fictional character are the sign of a fantastic author, eh?

If you're interested in the Revolutionary War era, plus a sweet little love story, this is the book for you.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dennis Hensley and Diana Savages' Pseudonym ~ Reviewed



Pseudonym 
by Diana Savage  Dennis E Hensley
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (January 12, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629116149

Description:

Sheila Davis once said, "I'd give my life to become a best–selling author"—and that's exactly what it cost her. Growing up on an Indiana farm, Sheila Davis has one dream—to become a professional writer. But her farmer father sees no reason for his daughter's fanciful thoughts to pull her away from her duties at home. After winning a scholarship, Sheila convinces her dad to let her attend a summer writing course at a nearby school, where she flourishes, thanks in large part to the encouragement of her high school English teacher. It seems as though fate has smiled on her when a whirlwind romance with upperclassman Dan Gray turns into a proposal of marriage, with a promise to support her educational and professional dreams if she'll delay them and hold a job long enough for him to complete his degree. But Dan's personal agenda sentences Sheila to years of menial work as he climbs the ladder of academia, meanwhile secretly sabotaging her every attempt to become a published author. The longing never dies, however; and when Sheila gets a once–in–a–lifetime opportunity to take a shot at getting published, she risks everything and dives in—only to encounter some stunning twists and turns she never anticipated, never prepared for, and never even imagined she'd have to confront.

Review: 


Sheila Gray has always wanted to write. She was groomed to write by the only person who believed in her. But the spare life of being the only female in a hardworking family left her chained to her home. Until her teacher found a way to get her out from underneath her needy and broken father.


But just as Sheila’s future looks promising her path twists to a similar road, one that holds empty promises and even more soul crushing dream breakers.


Sheila’s teacher finds her again, and convinces Sheila to finally take a chance, a huge one. Sheila’s prison doors temporarily open when she finds her voice. A freak twist of fate breaks the chains completely, letting her try out all she had ever dreamed she could be.   
This is a lovely what-if almost suspenseful read. I loved the unique storyline. A simple act of changing flights to help someone out reframes Sheila’s world and belief system. The thought of the twist of fate and the outcome is indeed the stuff of novels.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Susan May Warren's When I Fall in Love ~ Reviewed


When I Fall in Love
Susan May Warren
Series: Christiansen Family
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414378432


Description: 

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled―or maybe yanked―away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.


Review:

  When I Fall In Love is book three in a series about the Christiansen Family.  This story revolves around Grace Christiansen.  She is a homebody who is afraid to try new things, especially after her rejection from culinary school.  After catering her brother’s wedding, she is surprised to find out that the family has bought her a three week vacation in Hawaii to attend a culinary event.  Terrified of the thought of going alone, she initially refuses, until her sister, Eden, admits she wants her to go to gain more experience to cater her own wedding.  In the meantime, Eden’s fiancĂ©, Jace, recruits his hockey playing friend, Max Sharpe, who goes to the same culinary event every year, to watch out for Grace.  Neither Max nor Grace are looking forward to meeting the other one, but when they do, there is an instant connection.  Their feelings begin to grow for each either, however, the secret Max is keeping may keep them apart forever.
                I LOVED this book!  After reading the first two, I began to feel invested in the Christiansen family.  It was exciting to see them back, to see what was happening with characters that were in the background before, and see the featured characters from other books go about their lives.  I can relate to Grace’s character a lot, being a homebody myself, afraid to take risks and not good with change.  Watching her character grow was inspiring to me.  


Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Becky Wade's A Love Like Ours ~ Reviewed

A Love Like Ours
Becky Wade
  • Series: Porter Family Novels
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764211099

Back Cover

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?
Review: 
A Love Like Ours is about two childhood friends, Lyndie James and Jake Porter. They grew up together and were best friends, but when Lyndie and her family moved away, they lost touch. Now, 20 years later, Jake is running his brother's Thoroughbred Ranch, and suffering from PTSD after having served as Marine overseas. Lyndie is returning to Texas with her family and hopes to get a job at the ranch training horses. Jake is surprised at his reaction at seeing her, as he has hardened his heart so much since coming home. But she makes him want to feel alive again, but he doesn't want to allow himself to feel anything. Lyndie, on the other hand, makes it her mission to draw him out and become the Jake she knew as a child.

This was such a wonderful book. I felt a kinship with it from the beginning, as my maiden name is Porter and my dad was a Marine. My heart went out to Jake. He went through a terrible event, and was punishing himself for it, even though it was no fault of his own. It just shows that when we try to shoulder our burdens ourselves, it can destroy us. I admired Lyndie's determination in re-friending him. If he had acted towards me the way he did towards her, I'm not sure I would have been able to stick around. I highly recommend this book. Looks like there were others in the series, too. I'd love to get my hands on them!

Sarah Meyers

Monday, May 30, 2016

Andrea Boeshaar's A Thousand Shall Fall ~ Reviewed



A THOUSAND SHALL FALL
Andrea Boeshaar
Series: Shenandoah Valley Saga
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (November 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825443814

Description: 


Nineteen-year-old Carrie Ann Bell is independent and spirited. The only thing she really fears are the Union soldiers fighting against her Confederate friends. When her youngest sister runs away from home, brave Carrie Ann is determined to find her and bring her back. Disguised as a soldier, she sets off--only to find she's fallen into the hands of the enemy.
Her childhood friend Confederate Major Joshua Blevins has warned her against these Yankees: they're all devils, ready to inflict evil on unsuspecting young women. When Colonel Peyton Collier arrests her for her impersonation of an officer, it seems to confirm all her fears.
Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel. He rescued her, protected her, and has been every inch the gentleman. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally--and more than that, someone she could love. But the arrival of Joshua in the Union camp as a spy will test her loyalties. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?
Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, A Thousand Shall Fall is framed around compelling characters and a very romantic setting in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Andrea Boeshaar’s extensive research guarantees historical accuracy and romance genre enthusiasts and Civil War buffs alike will enjoy the Christian perspectives on actual historical events.


Review:


A Thousand Shall Fall
 tales place in the autumn of 1864 during the Civil War. A young woman named Carrie Ann Bell, leaves a difficult family situation disguised as a Union Soldier, looking for her runaway sister. Instead of finding her sister, she finds herself in the middle of a battle, and is captured by the Union soldiers, mistaking her for a deserter. When it's discovered that she is really a woman, Colonel Peyton Collier of the Union cavalry takes her under his wing. As time progresses, they begin to care for each other. Peyton decides to send Carrie Ann to his Aunt Ruth's house for protection. In the meantime, Carrie Ann is in contact with a childhood friend who is fighting with the Confederates, and the secrets she's promised to keep could cause more problems then she realizes.

I say every time how much I enjoy these period books, and this one is no exception. To see what people had to go through during that time, and the fact that families and friends were fighting each other is just heartbreaking. I admired Carrie Ann's willingness to do what she could, not only to find her sister, but to care for wounded men after battles, no matter what side they were on. This was a great book and I can't wait to read the second one!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers