I know I'm reading a good book when it brings tears to my eyes in the first chapter. Road to Redemption by Laurie Larsen will definitely have you in tI know I'm reading a good book when it brings tears to my eyes in the first chapter. Road to Redemption by Laurie Larsen will definitely have you in tears and having you cheering on the heroine to the very end.
Leslie Malone is facing a summer alone. Her husband of twenty years cheated on her then divorced her. He now wants her out of her house so he can sell it and get on with his new life. Her daughter is taking an internship in Paris and won't be home until the end of summer. Now all Leslie sees is a long, bleak summer ahead of her. But she decides to do something she has never done before - hop in her car and take a road trip, with God as her guide. A lot can happen when you let God lead you and before long Leslie is helping people and being used by God in ways she never dreamed possible. And then she meets Hank.
Hank Harrison is a quiet man filled with grief and resentment for a son who betrayed him and God has brought Leslie right to his door. Neither Leslie nor Hank were thinking about falling in love. Will Leslie trust another man again and can Hank learn to forgive? This will be a summer neither one forgets.
I loved, loved, loved this book! Laurie Larsen is a new author for me and one I will be watching closely. The characters are very well developed and the setting made me long to take a beach vacation as well. The theme of letting God lead was so well done that it was not preachy at all. I highly recommend this book!...more
If you like Regency Romances you will love The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen.
Abigail Foster has always been considered by her family to beIf you like Regency Romances you will love The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen.
Abigail Foster has always been considered by her family to be the practical one. Her father, trusting in her guidance lost everything through a bad investment. Now the family has to find a new place to live, but the only offer available to them is an old abandoned manor house, which comes with lots of dust and cobwebs, plus a riveting mystery. The former owners looked like they left in a hurry because everything is as they left it eighteen years ago - tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in the wardrobes and a doll's house in mid play. The local curate welcomes them and Abigail finds herself drawn to him. But there is a secret no none is telling and when Abigail starts receiving anonymous letters warning her of dangerous trespassers, she begins to wonder who she can trust.
One of the first things I noticed about this wonderful book was its slight nod to Jane Austen. The mannerisms, the writing and just the overall "feel" of the book is very Austen-like.The characters themselves talk about Jane's books. I absolutely loved it! If you love Jane Austen you will love The Secret of Pembrooke Park....more
A Most Inconvenient Marriage by author Regina Jennings kept me reading until way past my bedtime.
Abigail Stuart is a nurse during the end of the CivilA Most Inconvenient Marriage by author Regina Jennings kept me reading until way past my bedtime.
Abigail Stuart is a nurse during the end of the Civil War and her patient is gravely wounded and asking for one request - to marry him before he dies so that she will have the rights to his Ozark farm and give him the peace of knowing that someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone. Abigail is estranged from her family and believes she has no where to go so she agrees to marry the soldier who calls himself Jeremiah Calhoun. After the war she makes her way to Jeremiah's home and months later, so does the real Jeremiah Calhoun. But, for months Abigail has claimed to be his widow so who in the world did she marry? And how can she convince the real Jeremiah that she isn't trying to steal his farm and has no place else to go? Plus, how will the real Jeremiah explain his "bride" to the girl he left behind and pledged to marry?
While it was fairly obvious who Abigail married once Jeremiah returned home, for the most part this was a thoroughly enjoyable novel. The added danger of horse thieves in the area gave it the mystery it needed. The blooming romance between Jeremiah and Abigail was expected and enjoyable to read. However, I didn't find much reason to call this a Christian novel. God was rarely mentioned and there was no real theme to the book at all. These are things that I think are important if one is going to write for a Christian audience. Despite that however, it is a good read and I'm sure Regina Jennings' fans will love it....more
I think I've read every book author Jody Hedlund has produced thus far and I've always enjoyed them, and Love Unexpected did not disappoint.
Emma ChambI think I've read every book author Jody Hedlund has produced thus far and I've always enjoyed them, and Love Unexpected did not disappoint.
Emma Chambers and her brother are unexpectedly left destitute and without hope when their steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle. While her brother finds work readily enough, Emma is left wondering if she will ever get married and have a home of her own. A unique situation presents itself when Patrick (the lighthouse keeper) arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and has been having a difficult time caring for his young two-year-old son. When a travelling preacher suggests that if Patrick and Emma married, it would solve both their problems, Emma finds herself quickly married with a new home and a child to care for (all without her brother's knowledge).
Emma trusts the preacher's character assessment of Patrick, but then she starts to feel he is hiding something from her, and she is hearing disturbing rumours about the circumstances surrounding his wife's death. Now she has to decide to make her marriage work or listen to rumours.
Love Unexpected is book one of the Beacons of Hope series and I enjoyed it very much. Of course I may be a bit prejudiced in that respect as my ancestors were for the most part lighthouse keepers, so I found the information and detail the author included in her book about that fascinating. The story quickly got me involved and was very fast paced. The characters were endearing, the setting unique and I learned something about pirates I never knew before. Yes! There are pirates!
If you love historical romances add this one to your list....more
Are you looking for a good devotional to kick start your year? If so, I highly recommend A God for All Seasons by Patti Tingen.
Filled with wonderful iAre you looking for a good devotional to kick start your year? If so, I highly recommend A God for All Seasons by Patti Tingen.
Filled with wonderful insights and words of wisdom, the author has looked at each season throughout the year and month by month created a devotional that will help you focus on an area of your spiritual life that might need improving or encouragement. Because I read this book for the purpose of review, I had to go through it before the entire year was up, but now I am re-reading it again at the start of every month, so that I can let it sink in and grasp the greater truths throughout the year that Tingen has touched on. For example, January marks the beginning of not only a new year but it usually marks the beginnings of new diets, or new resolutions we make. The author has taken that which is familiar about each month and created a positive, encouraging book to guide you into a closer relationship with God.
The book starts with winter and the months included are December, January and February. Each month has a different theme. December is hope, January is renewal, February is waiting and so on. The devotionals are monthly so they are not short, but well worth the time to read and reflect on. Spring follows with March, April and May as the highlighted months. Summer includes June, July and August and Fall is September, October and November.
This is a book you can use every year because the author has zeroed in (quite accurately) on how each month tends to affect us. For example, while September is "back to school" for most of us, she also focuses on what it can signify spiritually. In this case, it is reaping what we have sowed throughout the year (coinciding with the harvest for most farmers) and helps us focus on the spiritual harvest God has set before us.
If you are looking for something to inspire you I highly recommend A God for all Seasons!...more
What happens to lonely, abused children coming from dysfunctional families, who are looking for love and attention? In most cases they are stolen by sWhat happens to lonely, abused children coming from dysfunctional families, who are looking for love and attention? In most cases they are stolen by sex traffickers and forced into a life of prostitution and sexual slavery.
In Stolen by Katariina Rosenblatt, the author shares her story of how she was deceived by someone who came along and presented themselves as a friend. This person gave Katariina the love and encouragement she needed that she wasn't getting at home. Unfortunately, it was all an act and before Katariina knew what was happening she was on drugs and a sex slave by the age of thirteen. But Katariina didn't fall prey to sex traffickers just once, she became a victim again and again, after escaping her abusers more than once. Through it all, however, she had moments when she could hear God speak to her and knew He had a different plan for her. It was through her deliverance at a Billy Graham crusade prior to her abuse that kept her believing in God and eventually surrendering and trusting in Him.
This story, while disturbing because of it's subject matter, is at the same time uplifting, because of what God did in the author's life. How she escaped trafficking, drugs and became the person she is today, (with a PhD behind her name) is a marvellous testimony to God's faithfulness when we trust in Him.
I highly encourage all parents to read this book, because it is very thorough on the signs you need to be aware of in regards to your child becoming a victim of the sex trade. You may think your child is safe, but it is the most vulnerable (those with economic disadvantages, those without a father figure, single parent homes, abuse within the home, exposure to drugs and/or alcohol within the home) that are susceptible to becoming victims. And it isn't just girls but boys too that are vulnerable to sex traffickers.
This book needs to be read by everyone, not just parents. It needs to be read so that you could spot someone in trouble at an airport, McDonald's (yes traffickers wait there for your children), hotels or motels and schools (yes, they are there too). I have learned so much and praise God that Katariina survived and is now instrumental in saving children and getting them out of the hands of their abusers.
If there is one thing I like it is a good historical romance combined with time travel. And while technically Shenandoah Dreams, by author Lisa BelcasIf there is one thing I like it is a good historical romance combined with time travel. And while technically Shenandoah Dreams, by author Lisa Belcastro isn't an historical romance it still delivered in that department.
Melissa Smith is a teacher chaperoning the kids of Holmes Hole Elementary, while they live on board the centuries old schooner Shenandoah for a week. As they sail along the waters surrounding the island of Martha's Vineyard, strange things begin to happen - but only to Melissa. It seems that the Shenandoah still has some of its original beams and planks and her cabin managed to retain some of them. Each night as she goes to sleep, she starts having the wildest dreams - like she is back in 1776. For the first few nights she wakes up dizzy and disoriented and thinks she's just had a wild dream and then the unthinkable happens - she ends up in 1770, on the original Shenandoah with the original captain who is the handsomest man she has ever met.
I loved so many things about this book - first the time travel, that's a given. I've loved time travel stories ever since I saw the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. If you have never seen that movie go buy it now! You won't be disappointed (especially if you like time travel-historical romances). So right away, that aspect of the book intrigued me.
Second, I love romances in particular, historical romances and of course Melissa finds the man of her dreams in 1770. And third, it was well written. The characters were well developed and flashbacks from present to past were very well done so that you got to see what was happening in the future as everyone in Melissa's life searched for her on the ship. In addition Lisa found a creative way to incorporate how God is still in control even if we are phasing in and out time!
The only thing that confused me was on the front cover of this book. It says book three of the Winds of Change series, when it is really book one. Oh, that's the other thing I liked. There are two more books to read in this series! Next month, the author will be here for an interview so I'll have to ask her about that. Until then I give this book 5/5 stars!...more
Do you have a green thumb or know someone who does? If so, then Gardens of the Heart by Laurinda Wallace is the perfect devotional to give as a gift oDo you have a green thumb or know someone who does? If so, then Gardens of the Heart by Laurinda Wallace is the perfect devotional to give as a gift or to use for yourself.
This 30-day gardening journey provides lots of helpful gardening hints to grow lovely plants and flowers, but more importantly, it uses Scripture to grow your soul through thoughtful devotionals.
I was quite surprised at how many verses in the Bible had to do with seeds and gardening, but the author found quite a few and managed to deliver a charming book with full-colour pictures and devotionals that are perfect to read first thing in the morning - right before you get into the garden!
I loved how the author used the parable of the seeds and the soil they fell on, to illustrate how we grow in Christ. She used many other verses as well and with wise counsel provided helpful hints both for our growth as Christians and taking care of our gardens as well.
This would be a great gift to give to a gardener at any time of the year. It is only 64 pages and takes you through a month of devotions. Surprise a gardener and pick up this little gem today! I give it 5/5 stars! ...more
Winter's Past by Mary E. Hanks is a contemporary Christian novel that speaks of God's redemption and forgiveness in marriage.
Winter Cowan is a ChristiWinter's Past by Mary E. Hanks is a contemporary Christian novel that speaks of God's redemption and forgiveness in marriage.
Winter Cowan is a Christian speaker and the head of Passion's Prayer, a group of like-minded individuals travelling across the country sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, they are going to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and there is one person there she does not want to see - her ex-husband.
Ty Williams is a changed man and he is determined that Winter knows it. While he realizes he was the cause of their break-up, he is trusting God to make Winter see that he is a changed man - one who believes in God now. He is determined to win her back and re-marry "the wife of his youth." Now all he has to do is get Winter to forgive him. But will Winter practice what she preaches? Can she ever really trust or forgive Ty for cheating on her?
And that is the crux of this story right there. Winter preaches about God's forgiveness, so now she basically has to practice it or be a hypocrite. The author has done a good job of creating the horror that Winter experienced when she was faced with the infidelity of her spouse. And she does an equally good job of showing the angst that comes with practising what all Christians preach - forgiveness.
It's not so easy to forgive when you lose your trust in the one you have pledged your life to. Which is why I hope this book will touch a chord with Christians who seem to be taking a page from the world these days and divorcing as often as Hollywood stars. It is a touchy subject, but the author has done a very good job of fleshing it out.
My only problem with this book would be that everyone seems to be Christian. For example, when asking to put flyers up in a restaurant, the owner (who was Christian) encouraged Jeremy (the one putting up the flyers) to tell everyone about Jesus. And of course everyone in the restaurant was very appreciative of that. As much as I wish that would happen in real life - it wouldn't. So that seemed a bit contrived. In addition, the Pastor who moons like a puppy-dog the moment he sees Winter doesn't seem plausible either. It was in fact uncomfortable to read and made the Pastor come off as a sappy kind of teenager, which I'm sure the author did not intend. If she chose to ever rewrite her book I would suggest she work on those two areas.
Despite that however, the book is one that I would encourage you to read as it speaks of love, redemption and forgiveness in a big way and I believe would be an encouragement for Christian couples who are contemplating divorce. I give Winter's Past 4/5 stars. ...more
A Place in His Heart is the debut novel of Rebecca DeMarino and I have mixed feelings about it.
Anglican Mary Langton wants to marry for love. Left atA Place in His Heart is the debut novel of Rebecca DeMarino and I have mixed feelings about it.
Anglican Mary Langton wants to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, her father pressures her to marry someone else whom she does not love.
Barnabas Horton still grieves over the death of his wife but he knows his two young boys need a mother. Mary finds herself falling in love with Barnabas and agrees to marry him to escape an unwanted marriage despite the fact that Barnabas does not love her. She is convinced he will learn to love her. She also doesn't know he has secret plans to take her away to the New World to avoid persecution of being a reformer, possibly never seeing her family again.
Will the trials and struggles of the New World bring Barnabas to a place in his life where he can finally love another? That is the question that is not answered in this book until the very end.
I was delighted with the setting of this story because it deals with the New World and was based on the author's ancestors, who came to Long Island in the mid-1600s to establish a life. The characters of Barnabas and Mary were real and personal to the author and it shows. Her comments at the end of the book made their story all the more unique.
However, as interesting as that all was, I found myself becoming bored while reading this book. There was no action. When I thought the story was going to lead up to an interesting plot twist or adventure, the author never veered in that direction so I quickly lost interest. She did this several times, missing unique opportunities to embellish the story. I can only think the reason she avoided this was because she wanted to stay true to her ancestor's story. If so then I understand.
In addition, the number of years that Barnabas clung to the memory of his dead wife, never seeming to get over her, seemed a bit prolonged for a man who claimed to be a Christian and was constantly asking his new wife if she was pregnant. I mean - enough already! She's dead, get over it! The real faux pas for me came when the the author tried to incorporate a song from the 1940s as Mary's (our heroine) favourite little tune. As soon as the words were out of Mary's mouth I recognized it as a song my mother used to sing to me. So I wondered - could my mother have been singing a song to me that was around in the 1600s? I had to check and from what I can tell it is an old English nursery rhyme from sometime in the 1900s (after the time of the setting of this story). It was made popular in 1943 when it was recorded by Jerry Livingston as Mairzy Doats.
Despite all that, the author was very skilled at painting a picture of the enormous struggles the original settlers endured in the New World. I give this book 3/5 stars....more
Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal by authors Kathleen E. Kowach and Paula Moldenhauer is a well written novel that takes a step into the past and into the fTitanic: Legacy of Betrayal by authors Kathleen E. Kowach and Paula Moldenhauer is a well written novel that takes a step into the past and into the future.
In 1912 Olive Stanford was one of the fortunate ones to survive the Titanic, but she paid a horrible price in the end. As she neared the end of her life she knew she couldn't face the afterlife without telling her story. But not just to anyone.
In 2012, Portland real estate agent Ember Keaton-Jones distrusts men and with good reason. Ever since her great-great-grandfather, Thomas, deserted the family after the fateful sinking of the Titanic, every Keaton male has behaved the same way. Ember is on the brink of a huge sale when a stranger shows up with a key to a century-old secret challenging everything she believes about her great-great grandfather. She meets forward-thinking Jeff Dawson who is working in his family’s musty antique shop and she finds an unexpected ally in unlocking the mystery of her past. But can they undo the legacy of Thomas Keaton's betrayal?
I will say first off that although the Titanic was written by Christians it is not necessarily a Christian book. Yes, there is some talk of God but, not enough to thump you over the head with and that's okay. Christians don't have to write Christian books. There is no rule that says we must. The advantage of course is that the authors have written a book that is appealing to all and that is a good thing.
This book, even though fiction does have historical elements to it. How can it not? The authors have done their research and have created such a vivid picture of the Titanic, her opulence and her demise, that it felt at times like I was watching a movie.
The secret of Olive Stanford and the inventive way the authors fit her story into the 2012 timeline of Ember Keaton-Jones, makes this a book hard to put down. I was intrigued and kept reading well into the night. Oh, and did I mention there is a romance too? Mystery, danger, romance combined with the past and future make this one a keeper. I give it 5/5 stars!...more