25 Book Reviews

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Trying to find solace while escaping a wounded heart!

"A Haven on Orchard Lane"
     By Lawana Blackwell


Much-Loved Lawana Blackwell Delivers Another Charming Victorian-Era TaleIn difficult circumstances, Charlotte Ward, once a famed stage actress, tries to restart her career--only to experience disaster. Against her better judgment, her estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother's rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village.

Charlotte is grateful to get to know Rosalind after years apart. As one who has regrets about her own romantic past, it's a joy for Charlotte to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it's time away from teaching--and now she must care for the mother who wasn't there for her. And what could be more complicated than romance? 

Together, mother and daughter discover that healing is best accomplished when they focus less on themselves and more on the needs of others.

My Thoughts :
As this author was new to me, I had no idea what to expect when offered this book for review purposes. Historical fiction is not one that I normally enjoy, however, I have found myself becoming willing to try one now and then and have met with a pleasant surprise. I do enjoy many of them. This novel was one of them!!

This book was filled with memorable characters. They were realistic and well developed, making them easy with whom to identify. The author focused on the mother/daughter relationship between Rosalind and Charlotte and did so in a most effective style. This, I felt, was the strength of the novel. I became caught up in these characters and their challenges as well as joys. Other characters, Danny , Albert, Mrs. Deamer and Albert were all appealing as they entered and became part of Charlotte's life. 

The plot moved at a slow but steady pace. It was interesting enough to keep the reader somewhat involved in the lives of the characters, however, I felt more of an element of twists and turns could have been used to keep the reader more engrossed . 

All in all, I did enjoy this book. The character development was what carried me through, as well as the main theme of relationships. 

This Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is now available at your local booksellers.

A Thrill Ride from Start to Finish!

       By Lisa Harris


Nikki Boyd Enters the Deadly World of Counterfeit Drugs to Find a Missing Woman
Nikki Boyd isn't usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she's ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant--and another dead body--Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business--including Nikki.

Christy Award-winning and bestselling author Lisa Harris puts readers right into the action in this fast-paced thriller that will have them turning pages long into the night.

My Thoughts:

This is the second in Lisa's Nikki Boyd Files Series, following "Vendetta". I loved the first book, but I must say that I believe this one was even better!!  The growth of the characters, Tyler and Nikki, was evident as the story progressed. The interaction between the two of them was static and full of changes. The characters are so realistic and well developed that the reader becomes involved with them immediately. Their lives become part of your's !! I felt every fear and challenge, and travelled their life journey alongside them. I felt every bump in the road!

Although the story was a romance, there was nothing dull or ordinary about it. The plot is fast paced and lives are at stake  throughout . The wrong move can cause a tragedy that can never be forgotten. The pressure builds as the storyline progresses. There is constant suspense  and danger as clues are discovered in the case of a missing couple. This book is definitely a "sit on the edge of your seat with heart throbbing" kind of novel!! I could NOT put this book down!! 

Although this is part of a series, this book can be read as a stand alone. Lisa Harris gives enough background that one can enjoy this story with or without reading Vendetta. 

Now, I can hardly wait for Lisa's next book!! Each one just seems to be getting better and better!!

A five star book!! I highly recommend it to lovers of suspense full of unexpected, shocking twists and turns. 

This book was supplied by Revell, in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Life Can Change in an Instant!! But, do we want it to???? Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!!

"Dance and be Glad"
 By Melissa Wardwell

About the Book

Jillian Matthews is a widowed mom and owner of a dance studio in a small farming community. When her husband died nine years ago in the desert of the Middle East, a piece of her died as well and she lost all joy in the day to day blessings. Tiny dancers and her daughter, Katie, are her main focus until an old flame, Michael Emerson, waltzes back into her life, awakening things she thought dead and gone.
Dr. Michael Emerson told himself he was happy with his bachelorhood after a messy divorce. He thought his life as an ER doctor and yearly missions work left  no room for a wife and family. When tragedy strikes and he is left with an unforeseen situation, he must evaluate his life and make some major changes.
My Thoughts: 
I always enjoy reading Inspirational Romances , however this author managed to create one that had me totally engaged from the first page on. Usually , the story has to build in its plot before grabbing my attention.  The topic dealt with , is one that shows us how life can change in an instant, resulting in lives being totally changed. The theme of forgiveness and hope for a brighter future, shines bright and clear throughout the rocky roads that the individuals travel on their journey through life. Ms Wardwell has a unique talent of writing that gets the reader involved immediately, both with her character and plot development.
I have to admit that I immediately fell in love with the main characters. Each had their own set of problems and ways of dealing with them. They were very easy with whom to identify. I felt deep empathy with them as they fought their way through many heartbreaking events. God's presence was evident as they battled their unique demons,whether it be grief, confusion or the desire to achieve happiness. The author showed a keen understanding of the personal, emotional upheavals that one can just not avoid in life. I truly enjoyed getting to know Ryan, a fine young man, who had to deal with so many challenges all at once. It is unusual to see these feelings from a man's prospective. Ms Wardwell did an excellent job of describing a Christian man and how he had to deal with struggles that we hope we never experience. 
The plot moved at a steady pace with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of the chair. I found myself puzzled as to how all of these problems could possibly work out as a happy ending. Again, the message of forgiveness and second chances comes through loud and clear. God has a plan for our lives. Do we always like or want it??? No, but then again, we need to have willingness to follow the unknown path, with Him by our side. 
The setting was so well presented that I could see these older homes restored to beauty in a small town atmosphere. The presence of a dance studio filled with little giggling girls was the perfect addition to capture attention. Am I able to dance through heartache?? Can the characters in the story follow the example of the children???  
I highly recommend this book. Definitely, a five star book!!
Now, I am impatiently waiting for Melissa Wardwell's next creation!!
**This book was supplied by CelebrateLit and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!
About the Author:
I am an independently published author of Christian romance.I wear many hats from one day to the next. I am a devoted wife, basketball and dance mother, teacher, taxi service, friend, caregiver, daughter, sister, and now, published author. Seeing all that is enough to make my head spin. But more importantly, I am the Daughter of the Most High King.
I was raised in and still reside in a little farm town in Mid- Michigan called Corunna. It’s quiet and simple, just the way I like it. If I can’t live out in the country among the corn fields and trees then living in this small town works for me.  My husband and I have been together since high school and have 3 children, all of whom we homeschool. It has been quite the journey, but I couldn’t ask for a better life.
I decided to give writing a try because I needed something to occupy my down time, but after reading my first draft of my first book, What God Brings Together, I then understood that God had a much bigger plan.  God does not give His children a desire just so that it can go to waste. I never anticipated the journey God would put me on through writing, but I am excited to see what He has in mind for the future.
I have always felt a call to reach out to women and mothers, to encourage them in their lives. So naturally, all my stories revolve around women who are mothers: single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own.
My greatest hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life. Lord, knows we have earned it.

To read other reviews of this book, take a look at the Blog Tour:

Blog Stops

July 13: Carpe Diem
July 14: Sue Stinnett
July 15: KarensKrayons
July 17: Petra’s Hope
July 17: Splashes of Joy
 July 24: Quiet Quilter

Friday, July 22, 2016

Read a New Book By Rachel Good and Enter Her Contest!

About the Book:
Lydia Esh’s younger sister Emma is running wild during Rumschpringe, causing the family major heartaches. Although it means risking her reputation, her job as a schoolteacher, and her courtship with Jakob Zook, Lydia attends parties to watch over Emma and protect her sister’s virtue.
When Emma begins a relationship with Kyle, an Englischer, Lydia teams up with Kyle’s older brother, Caleb, to keep the couple apart. As Lydia and Caleb spend time together keeping an eye on their siblings, Lydia falls for this forbidden love. Will she stay true to her faith even if it means giving up the man she loves?
My Thoughts:

It is no secret that I love the Amish fiction genre, thus when this book was offered for review purposes, I immediately "jumped on the band wagon". 
Rachel Good is an author with whom I was a bit familiar, but wasn't quite sure what I  would discover about her writing. I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed. This book is typical for this genre. It was well written and maintained my attention throughout. The message that shines through all the challenges and trials that the characters experience, is one of hope and the importance of trusting God to see one through difficult bumps in the road.  This is the first in a series entitled "Sisters and Friends". I am now anxiously awaiting the next book. 

The characters are realistically and well developed. I found myself easily identifying with  both Lydia and Caleb. Their worries and concerns were very real to me, as they went through the very difficult Rumschpringe period of their younger siblings. The task of keep a sibling safe  and happy, even when they believe they know what they are doing, was one that became worrisome to me, as a reader. This coming of age which is very common in the Amish community is one that I have a hard time coming to terms with. Thus, I fought the battle alongside these families. 

The plot moves at a steady pace , with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader engrossed. There seems to be a dip in the road every time Lydia and Caleb get their hopes up. However, the positive message of faith, forgiveness and hope shines through every trial. Second chances are always available. We just need to reach out and take them. 

I would highly recommend this book to all lovers of inspirational Amish Fiction. Don't miss it! 

This book was provided by CelebrateLit in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Link to purchase book: http://amzn.to/29EzaJu
About the Author:
Rachel J. Good, inspirational author, writes life-changing, heartfelt novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of Amish romances in the Sisters & Friends series. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels. A former teacher and librarian, she completed her MA from Vermont College while raising five children. She is presently an MFA student in Writing and Illustration at Hollins University. In addition to having more than 2200 articles and 30 books in print or forthcoming under several pseudonyms, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. To buy the Amish Quilts Coloring Book: http://amzn.to/1T35q5p  Visit Rachel at:

Enter the contest:
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away lots of fun prizes, including copies of her books and even a box of Whoopie Pies from Bird-in-Hand Bakery. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9ed1

Blog Stops

July 15: Bigreadersite
July 18: Bukwurmzzz
July 22: Quiet Quilter
July 24: A Greater Yes
July 24: Carpe Diem
July 27: cherylbbookblog

Guest Post from the Author:
Hi, I’m Rachel J. Good, inspirational author of heartfelt tales of faith, hope, and forgiveness.
I’m excited to launch the first book in my Sisters & Friends Amish series, Change of Heart. Although I’ve been writing for many years and have about 30 books out now, this is my first inspirational novel. I’m busy editing book 2, Buried Secrets, and writing book 3, Gift from Above. And I’m planning the next three books in the series.
I’ve been asked how I came to write Amish novels. For that, I have to credit my agent Mary Sue Seymour, who suggested it to me. I loved the idea because I’d lived near Lancaster, PA, and had always been interested in the Amish. Although Mary Sue went to heaven a few months ago, just before the book launched, I feel her presence in my life as I write. She believed in me as a writer and encouraged me to work on this novel, which she quickly sold.
Lydia’s story in Change of Heart has several connections with my real life. The first is that I’m the oldest in my family and have two sisters, and so does Lydia. We both feel responsible our younger sisters. Lydia’s younger sister, Emma, gets in trouble during Rumschpringe. (And no, her wild sister doesn’t resemble either of my two younger sisters.)
The second connection with my life is the spiritual lesson Lydia learns in the book. I wanted Lydia’s journey to be not only a struggle between faith and love, but also a personal inner journey from self-righteousness to seeing with God’s loving eyes.
Oftentimes, goodness and spirituality can be a source of pride, and it can also be used to justify being judgmental. Lydia’s sister Emma points this out to her, but in my case, it was my young daughter who piped up, when I was complaining about someone at church, and said, “She sounds just like you, Mommy.” Ouch!
That day I came face to face with the truth that often what I criticize most in another person is often a flaw or a sin I’m overlooking in myself. As Matthew 7:3 (NIV) says: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” I wanted Lydia’s story to reflect that truth.
The Amish try to avoid the sin of hochmut (pride), but Lydia, without realizing it, is secretly proud of her own spirituality. It often saddens me that, as Christians, we spend more time criticizing others outside the faith or with different lifestyles or beliefs, but very little time examining our own unloving and judgmental behavior. I’d like to see us become more like Jesus, who ate with the “publicans and sinners,” and showed love to everyone, instead of condemning them.
Lydia is also forced to choose between staying in her faith or leaving it for love. I, too, faced a similar challenge many years ago, so I wrote those scenes from my heart. I hope Lydia’s story touches hearts, and that readers come away reassured that although we can’t always see the larger picture, God can, and He’s working out a wonderful plan for us. Our present circumstances might seem dark, but He knows the final results. We need to trust Him even during the challenging times, because “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A New Book by Renee Blare! Read how the effects of weather can devastate people's plans! Plus enter the giveaway!

"Through Raging Waters"
    By Renee Blare


If Mother Nature has her way, Timber Springs will never be the same…
A warm spring and early rainstorms melt the snowpack. Spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin.
Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone’s life…hangs by a thread…once again.
She isn’t a hero. Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. After she learns of her mysterious beginnings amidst her mother’s keepsakes, she faces more than just the river rushing outside her door. Now, she must discern friend from foe…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she’s ever loved.
Can two people find each other through raging waters?

My Thoughts:

This book is a touching romance, that shows us how lives can be complicated and easily shattered, when struggling against  challenges caused by the weather! Life is never a smooth road. Can a relationship develop and survive when the world around a couple is disintegrating???? The message of faith and forgiveness is  woven throughout this story. God's plan is not always one that we want to accept , and often seems to be difficult. This is definitely the case when floods rage and the  world around the characters seems to be changing.....for the worse!

There are many characters in this second book of the Snowy Range Chronicles Series, both involving Timber Springs. I found that it had helped that I had read the first in the series. Although this book can be read as a stand alone, reading Book One was beneficial to get to know the characters. I found it at times a bit confusing. I had to stop and reread to figure out who was who,  as there were so many characters. Although interwoven in the story, it took me a good portion of the book to figure out who was who. They did each have an important part in this adventure. It just seemed to take me a long time to understand and identify with any one character. 

The plot moved quickly and steadily as one tragedy after another struck these people's lives.  I must admit that I was over involved with trying to understand which character did what , and sometimes missed what the story line was really about. Other readers may not experience this confusion. It has  very interesting and fast moving issues taking place.  If you can bypass some of the relationship issues, I think you will greatly enjoy the book. Perhaps my attention to detail distracted me too much to really take time to follow the story. 

There is a good message that shines throughout the challenges. God is with us and always will be. Our journey through life is a roller coaster ride. We just have to survive the hard times to appreciate what is given to us. 

This book was supplied by CelebrateLit and the author, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About The Author:
Renee Blare’s nose has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, she lives in Wyoming with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat. She serves her beautiful small town as a pharmacist while penning her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

Guest Post from Renee Blare

Five years ago, I wrote a book…and then I wrote another and another and another. Many said that the words flowed like a river onto the page. Or I painted a picture with letters.  As for me? I simply write what I see so you can see it too. What about you? Do you want to write a book?
If so, there’s one thing I’d like you to know. A book’s like a child. It starts out small or simple with garbled language…often repetitive and indistinguishable. Kind of like when a baby babbles “dada” over and over. And then that moment comes when you rejoice because you hear him say “mama.” That’s the growth every book…writer…reader…yearns for.
Different stories float around inside an author’s mind, flowing in a way much like labor. Some authors plot, others don’t. And still others combine the process in a convoluted method. But like birth, no matter how the words eventually find their way to the page, the development of a book doesn’t stop with its first dawn. It takes time, energy, and growth.
Take my first release, To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. Five years ago, I wrote it, my very first book, in three months. And it was awesome! I couldn’t believe it. God brought the plot together in a phenomenal way. But publication wasn’t the next step. I had a lot to learn before that could happen.
My latest release, Through Raging Waters is the example of a writer’s growth, but also her soul. I learned that I had to leave more than my knowledge and my heart on the page. I needed to leave a piece of my soul. When you read Paul’s struggles, you read mine. Melissa’s fear and confusion? Yes, they’re mine. The anger, the pain . . . the trials, the lessons learned are scriptural but also first-hand, taught by my Father.
Writing is more than a job. It’s more than a hobby. It’s sharing your knowledge, your hope with the world. So if you want to write a book. Do it. Then take that next step, and the next. You’ll get there. Oh, and I can’t wait to read it!
To read other reviews of this book:

Blog Stops

July 19: Pause for Tales
July 24: A Greater Yes
July 25: bigreadersite
July 26: Splashes of Joy
July 29: Quiet Quilter
July 31: Bukwurmzzz
August 1: Carpe Diem

Enter to win a fantastic prize!

A Book That Will Stay With You Long After You Have Read It!!

"Deep Shadows"
By Vannetta Chapman

This book was absolutely fascinating, however, extremely frightening. I had never thought that I would enjoy reading Dystopian fiction, but THIS book was riveting!! Thoughts of the world losing all technology and electricity is absolutely terrifying!! But it IS a very possible situation!  What would I do???  Ms.Chapman certainly described the event in a detailed, realistic way that had me glued to my seat, as my heart was racing!!


All It Takes Is One Night
to Plunge the World into Darkness
Life in Abney, Texas, is predictable and safe—until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology.

Shelby Sparks, novelist and single mom, had one goal: to provide for her diabetic son. In the wake of this global disaster, her mission hasn't changed. Only now, medication is a priceless commodity and the future resembles an apocalyptic nightmare.

Max Berkman and Shelby were once sweethearts, but he lost his chance at claiming her love years ago. When the abrupt loss of power ushers him into a leadership role, he rises to the occasion. But his highest priority—to keep Shelby and her son safe—could prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

As the brilliant northern lights give way to deep shadows, Max and Shelby's faith will be tested like never before. Only one rule remains: Find a way to survive.
* * *
In this first book in an eerily plausible dystopian series, a memorable cast of characters must navigate a familiar world thrown into chaos.

My Thoughts:

As I read this book, I felt an eerie sensation come over me. The world as you and i know it, has been totally and forever changed. Never will it be what it was!  I felt reality hit me , as never before!! It really could occur!! What would I do?? This has never occurred to me before this book! 

The characters were so well described and realistic, that I at once formed lasting connections to them.  I felt their fears and challenges in a very deep way. I must say that they became part of me! I lived their lives alongside them. I felt their despair in a real way. Their faith shines through in the darkest hours. The importance of having faith and  strong beliefs was oh so important in order to exist in this life that had been turned upside down.  Helping one another in times of need was essential to just exist,  a great example for all of us to follow. 

The plot had me engrossed from the first page! I could NOT put this book down. There were so many unexpected twists and turns that totally surprised and left me in a state of shock. The shock that shook me, was  that this could happen in my lifetime!!!  This book is one that leaves the reader pondering life as it is today compared to what it could be in an instant, when the electrical grid experiences total failure.
This is a five star book!! A book that can totally change one's thinking! I highly commend Vannetta on her taking the risk to write a book so different from her previous works!! It is a winner!!!

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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Characters in This Book Live on in My Heart

             "Song of Silence"
            By  Cynthia Ruchti


Charlie and Lucy Tuttle are committed to each other for life, but that life isn’t turning out quite like they expected. Charlie retired early, but Lucy planned to continue in her position as a music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school indefinitely. And then the day came when she was forced to retire. Lucy was devoted to the program her father started years ago and now she can only watch as it disintegrates before her eyes. The longer she is separated from the passion of her heart, the more the music fades from her life and she wonders if her faith’s song is fading too. When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.

My Thoughts:

I must say that this book just took my Wow Factor to another level!! Do you want a book that will make you examine your own life?? This is THE one!! The underlying message throughout the book was one of which we all need to be reminded. We all have busy lives and often don't stop and listen.... to that still quiet voice of God... and to the voices of our neighbors, family and friends. 

The characters in this story are developed in a realistic detailed way that immediately endear them to you. Their challenges and hurts become your's as you travel hand in hand beside them on their roller coaster ride through life. The downhill plunges the reader into despair alongside them.  The clear message of hope and faith when realizing that God is the One in control takes us once again to the top of the hill!! 

The plot moves quickly and has the reader totally engrossed from beginning to end. The unexpected twists and turns make it difficult to put the book down. In fact, life passed me by as I became part of this saga of life. The message was loud and clear throughout . We HAVE to stop  and be faithful the One who is always ready to step in and help us. He has a plan that only he knows.  There are second chances for all of us, BUT only if we accept the help. I was reminded that friends also have a purpose in our lives. Listening to them can help us and them through difficult times. 

This book is a one of a kind ! Thought provoking as well as a super read!! 
Five star book!!

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

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...