25 Book Reviews

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Heartwarming Story from Deborah Raney

"Home to Chickory Lane"
   By Deborah Raney
Audrey Whitman's dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband, Grant, are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri.
Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey's daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she's pulling makes it clear she's not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn's husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?

My Thoughts : When I see a new book by Deborah Raney, I already know that it is going to be a heartwarming tale , well written and filled with meaning. This book was certainly no disappointment. Deborah once again wrote a small town story, including warmth and humor. 

The characters, at once, became part of me and I easily identified with the heartaches, problems, failures, challenges and joys. I actually became part of the Whitman family for a short time. Each has a unique personality and faces their life head on, in their own way, some bravely and others with regret. These people are just as we are, with their flaws  and all. Deborah has a message in her book that comes through loud and clear. God is the ONLY one who can give us unconditional love and will never leave us. You find yourself  wanting to sit these people down, sometimes to throttle them and give them a serious talking to!!Although as in real situations, some would respond positively to advice and others would not!

The plot was thorough , well developed and kept me entranced from the beginning to end. It was one that held some surprises, but at the same time, gave me a good dose of reality and the need for allowing God to take over your life and live HIS plans , not your own. 

This was definitely a five star book!! Am looking forward for the next book by this talented author!

About the author: Deborah Raney'sbooks have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas---the setting of many of Deborah's novels---for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

Find Deborah online: websiteTwitterFacebook

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/ApPTf

This book was provided by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sometimes the truth can be dangerous!!!!

                                    "Truth Be Told"
                                    By Carol Cox

As I have said before, historical romance is not my favorite genre, so please understand if I do not give a superior rating to this book. To those who love this type of book, I apologize, as it is very well written and the author obviously is creative and talented.

Amelia Wagner, the main character, finds herself taking over her father's newspaper in 1893, in Granite Springs, Arizona. She vows to carry on his practice of reporting ONLY the truth. However, Amelia soon discovers that even the truth can produce dire consequences. Her father's revealing articles concerning the important Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people. The pressure begins to mount encouraging Amelia to retract her father's statements.

As a very determined individual, Amelia sets out to find out the real story through investigation, however dangerous it may be! Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee, appears on the scene. He has been given the task of keeping tabs on her for the good of the company. Amelia finds him to be both perplexing and intriguing.

Discoveries stun them both! There are implications for not only Ben and Amelia, but all of Granite Springs. Can they reveal the truth before the enemy silences them forever???
Having never read Carol Cook's books before , this was a new author to me. She did a fine job describing the characters. They were realistic and their day to day problems were totally believable. I was unable to find a strong connection with any of them, however and  tend to need to be able to identify with at least one of them to keep me interested in the book. This is only my opinion. I am sure that others would disagree, as Carol is a talented writer.

I found the plot to be rather slow moving, although interesting. From a mystery standpoint, it is very predictable. There are very few surprises for the reader. It reminded me of a western TV show, where the good guys fight for the truth. I would have enjoyed a surprise or shocking ending! 
That being said, if you enjoy books with a bit of mystery and romance, this book would make a nice light summer read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Breathless Ride !

"With Every Breath"

By Elizabeth Camden

A historical romance!! Oh, no, not another , I thought to myself, when I saw this book offered for review purposes! As this is not my favorite genre, I hesitated before saying that "yes" , I would review it! Upon the book's arrival in my mailbox, I reluctantly opened it and ..... what a surprise!!!! Low and behold, I was entranced from the first to the last chapter. Either it is exceptionally well written or I am being converted to thoroughly enjoying this genre. I do believe that it may be a bit of both!!

Kate Livingston, the main character, is living a respectable life in the nation's capital. However, her peaceful existence is suddenly disrupted by the one individual who had hoped never to encounter again, the insufferable Trevor McDonough! As a Harvard trained physician, he had never shown a bit of interest in Kate and that was fine with her, however business influenced him to seek her out.

Although she is hesitant, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal, to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. Trevor's hidden past is slowly unlocked under Kate's scrutiny. However, there are closely guarded secrets that are far darker than she expected.

Her revelations from the past threaten to destroy both of their careers, their futures, even their lives. They must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail, when they have everything to lose.

This plot had me caught up from the first chapter . I could not relax until I had read the end of the book!! There were many intertwining subplots, that added twists and turns at every corner. At times, my heart pounding, I sat on the edge of my seat, as I awaited the next complication, and yes, sometimes  frightening turn in the story. 

The characters were realistic and so well described, that I immediately, was able to identify with Kate. That is what to me truly makes a good book. I felt her every worry, confusion, challenge and fear!! I must admit, at times I felt great anger at Trevor for putting her through such agony!! 

Elizabeth Camden is a talented author to watch for future books!!

This book was definitely a  five star read.

Book was supplied by Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Quirky Whodunit for Mystery Lovers

                                          blind trust
                         By Sandra Orchard
 This author was new to me, however, I am always willing and ready to find new talented people to entertain me!! This book was a SUCCESS!! I love a good mystery, with a dash of romance and it met my criteria for a great read!! Wishing that I had read the first book in this series!

The main character, Kate Adams had no idea that she was carrying counterfeit money and can not believe that it came from her sweet elderly neighbor , for whom she runs errands. How on earth , has this landed her in the middle of another of Detective Tom Parker's investigations!! Had I read Book One of the Port Aster Series, it would have been beneficial, as I would have understood the complications much sooner. Determined to prove that her friend was innocent, Kate finds herself in the middle of a pit of intrigue, far more than she ever imagined. It wasn't just a two bit counterfeit operation, it was a mystery that struck far too close to home.

Family secrets are discovered! Kate's budding romance with Tom begin to disintegrate! Kate realizes that she will not be safe until all of Port Aster's secrets are uncovered. Will her romantic dreams be dashed??? Will it be too late for Tom and Kate??

Sandra is a talented author who intricately weaves a web of mystery and suspense throughout the book. This is a story that is all a "sit on the edge of your seat" should include!!  Now, I can hardly wait for book three in the series!

The characters are well developed and easy to identify with. They are realistic, dealing with some very true to life situations. I could feel Kate's confusion, fears as well as her relief when all was solved.

The plot was one that involved the reader from the first page. One of betrayal, secrets and small town intrigue!!  Surprises occurred around every corner!

I would highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers!! A great read!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It really IS around the bend!!!

"Around the Bend"
By Rosemary Hines           

I must say that I am definitely a fan of Rosemary Hines!! I have loved each and every one of her books that I have read. ALL are five star books, as far as I am concerned. 
This is a fourth book in this author's Sandy Cove series and hopefully not the last!! 

"The carefree days of summer bring an unexpected turn in Michelle Baron’s life when her former student (and the birth mother of their adopted son) returns to Sandy Cove. What is Amber Gamble seeking? How will it affect Michelle and her family? And will patriarch Grandpa Phil, facing a heart wrenching challenge himself, be able to help them lean on God for answers as they await what lies Around the Bend?
Welcome back to Sandy Cove ~ where hearts and lives intertwine in the dance of life. "

 The title fits the story perfectly, as no one ever does truly knows what is "around the bend"! We have all experienced this feeling in our lives and Rosemary deals with it realistically in her characters' situations. None of these characters ever anticipated that they would encounter life to happen the way it plays out. But they dealt with it to the best of their ability, in a pure,  Christian manner. Each and every one of them, had experiences, they didn't expect, but through trial and error dealt with all with faith and trust. God managed to supply the comfort that they needed to continue in life trusting Him to meet their needs. I loved the way God used others to help them through the tough times . We all need to use this as an example for our own lives. 

Aging and end of life issues were addressed in a sensitive manner. The various characters struggled  with their feelings and had different degrees of battle with feelings and faith. The author is to be complimented on her understanding and compassion  exemplified in her story of aging, premature death, as well as the challenges in an adoption situation. The characters were presented so realistically, that I must admit , I shed some tears along the way.  Grandpa Phil was a favorite character, who I so wanted to meet in person. An ideal grandparent who truly lived his life for The Lord and helped others along in their struggles in his quiet , relaxed manner. 

The plot was well developed, in fact, so well, that the book kept me in a world of my own . The everyday tasks were left unfinished and ignored, until I read the last page. The many twists and turns  kept me guessing and emotionally involved throughout the story. 
Although not classed as a mystery, I was on the edge of my seat, with my heart pounding . I just had to know what would happen next!!

Definitely a five star book!! I would highly recommend it to all Christian fiction lovers!!

This ebook was supplied by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Another Winning Novel from the Author of "Angel Sister", Ann H. Gabhart

"Love Comes Home"
 By Ann H. Gabhart

Ann has indeed written another fantastic story! Although it is listed as "historical fiction", which is not my favorite genre, I , myself, would label it just Christian Fiction. Regardless, I absolutely loved this book!

World War II is over and the people in the town of Rosey Corner are welcoming the boys home. A particular group of sisters, the Merritts,  are definitely looking forward to welcoming the future. Kate wishes to start a family and live in a dreamily happy ever after mode. Evangeline's desires include a beautiful home and encourages her husband to pastor a big town church. Victoria wants the impossible and Lorena is growing up with the wish to discover her true roots of her birth family. 

Each sister must learn that God has HIS plans and you can not "mess" with them!!  They have to "go with the flow" and trust the One who will guide and strengthen them to share the sorrows and joys of life in their little corner of the world. 

I must say that I was enthralled by this book from beginning to end! The characters tugged at my heartstrings as they went through struggles and heartaches. I easily identified with the confusion of determining God's will in their lives. Each Merritt sister dealt with life in her own unique way. It is so easy to say you will follow His plan but certainly there is a challenge in giving up your own hopes and desires. The characters were ordinary people in a small town who believed in God's grace. This theme followed them throughout the story. Not always an easy task, but Gabhart writes in her realistic style that has you living the drama of their lives. 

This author excels at writing true to life dramas. The intertwining plots kept me going until the last page and reading until the wee hours of the night. This third book, in the series, truly stirs the soul. Just when I thought that I had all the answers, another twist or turn would change my guesses. This book could likely be read as a stand alone, however, I believe that you get more out of it , if you have a background , getting to know the characters. 

This book left a feeling of the overflowing of grace and goodness, shining through the struggles. A truly uplifting read!! I would encourage any reader to pick it up and give it a try. No hiding of real life problems, BUT the message is loud and clear: God can and will see you through the tough times! 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Another Fantastic Read by One of My Favorite Authors, Vannetta Chapman!

An Amish Proposal for Christmas  By Vannetta Chapman Synopsis: Her deepest Christmas wish will bring more than she imagined…in this novel by...