Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review: "The Love Letter"

Rachel Hauck's stories just keep getting better. Her latest, The Love Letter, is contemporary-historical-Christian-romance at its best! Hauck packed it all into one beautiful book, details tied together with the love letter as the thread.

Chloe Daschle is a frustrated actress, type-cast to die in every movie she makes. When she learns of a new movie opportunity, she pursues it with determination and celebrates getting the part. Jesse Gates, the screenwriter, based the story on a love letter handed down through his family. The truth behind the letter being unknown, Gates has written a happily-ever-after ending for his mysterious ancestor and that ancestor's love.

Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow are the historical figures whose story keeps everyone guessing. Their love story falls apart during the Revolutionary War. But readers get to watch God guide them through just as He guides Daschle and Gates. The endings to both stories are unexpected, yet just right.

I recommend this book to anyone who just loves to sit and enjoy a beautiful tale. Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy, so I could share my opinion with you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book Review: "Decluttering at the Speed of Life"

I've had so much fun reading Dana White's Decluttering at the Speed of Life. (So much so that I plan to read her other book, too!) With a brilliant combination of humor and firmness, White teaches her readers how to reclaim needed space in their homes, so that living in them in more comfortable, cleaning is more simple, and belongings are more usable (because one can actually find them once the clutter is gone).

This is not a book about becoming a minimalist or cleaning more efficiently or organizing what you have. It's about using the time that you have, whether it's a week or five minutes, in order to begin to gain control of your space. White tells her readers in advance that she's going to teach the same steps over and over again, and she does, but she applies them to different areas of the house, showing solutions to each area's unique problems. The kitchen gets a bonus chapter!

Throughout the book, White tells stories of her own journey, gently poking fun at herself and at her readers in order to show how illogical we all can be when it comes to letting go of extra stuff. She makes it clear that we can keep whatever we want to keep, but if we choose to keep ten formals from our high school years, we may have to wear them to work because we won't have space for any regular clothes.

Whether or not clutter is an issue for you, this book will give you plenty of new ideas presented clearly and with fun for keeping your belongings from taking over your home. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book. It has earned its space on my bookshelf.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Book Review: "A Breath of Hope"

Lauraine Snelling's A Breath of Hope reads like yet another installment in her Red River Saga. It's Book Two of a newer series, Under Northern Skies, but the norwegian immigrants we're meeting are relatives and friends of Ingeborg and her clan. I love that!

This book continues the story of Rune and Signe Carlson and their family as they continue to build their new life in Minnesota. They still have to contend with Einer's hostility, but now his wife, Gerd, is on their side, along with most of their new community.

New to the story are Nilda and her brother Ivar, Rune's sister and brother. Einer offers to pay Nilda's way to America if she work for him as Rune, Signe, and their sons did when they first came. Ivar chooses to earn the money and pay his own way, preferring not to be indebted to the fearsome uncle.

I loved visiting this family and their community again through Lauraine's words. I'm looking forward to learning who will join them next as they continue to build their new world. Bethany House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book; I'm happy to recommend it to you!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Book Review: "Unbreakable"

Unbreakable is the final book of Sara Ella's Unblemished trilogy, a series for teens, young adults, and anyone who loves fairy tales. Ella has designed her own universe around the one we actually live in; characters move through threshholds and mirrors and fountains in order to travel from one reality to the next (seven in all) as they attempt restore the Verity and stop the Void. Her ending is unexpected in many ways, absolutely worth discovering. Her message to readers through this fantasy is one of hope.

Though I have enjoyed this series, this book was a little bit harder to follow than the previous two. Ella had her characters jumping not only from one reality to another, but through time as well. Flashbacks added one more thing to keep track of, and subtle transitions were easy to miss. If I was at all distracted during my reading, I'd sometimes find myself wondering how a character got where he or she was. Then I'd have to flip back a page or two to figure it out.

That aside, I still loved the book. All of her characters grow and mature; readers see them take risks and change their ways in order to accomplish their goals and to help others in the process. And though the series ends, it seems to me that Ella has left it open to a spin-off or two in the setting she has created. It would be fun to learn what comes of her characters after this.

I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of this book, so I could share my thoughts about it with you. I recommend this series to you.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book Review: "Joey"

Joey is the true story of a horse rescued from abuse and neglect who becomes a therapist for traumatized children and their families. Blinded as a result of the neglect he suffered, Joey had some unique special needs. Yet those who met him, whether caregiver, wounded child, or fellow horse found comfort in his presence. Joey's story will introduce readers to equine therapy at its best.

Joey lived at Hope Reins in North Carolina. This book is also the story of that ministry, how it began and how God has used it to help many children and their families - all at no cost to those who attend sessions there. Volunteers are trained to care for the horses and to help the children work with them, but Kim Tschirret makes it clear that the rescued horses at Hope Reins are the children's therapists.

Joey is a fascinating story; I chose this book to preview for my daughters. I think they will love it! I recommend it not only to horse fans but also to readers who like to hear about God's work through unusual ministries. I thank Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my thoughts with you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Book Review: "The Weaver's Daughter"

The romance in Sarah Ladd's newest book, The Weaver's Daughter, reminded me so much of Pride and Prejudice. That automatically made it a sweet read. But my favorite part was the setting. Ladd found an aspect I'd never heard much about but found quite fascinating. The Industrial Revolution really was a revolution, sometimes involving conflict, even violence. Through this story, Ladd shows how this played out in some places. Since the heroes of our story, Henry Stockton and Kate Dearborne find themselves on opposite sides of the issue, Ladd's readers get a touch of Romeo and Juliette to go with their Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth fix.

Ladd also uses Kate's situation and Henry's sister, Mollie's situation to reveal some of the struggles of women in that day. Kate not only finds herself unable to follow her heart to the man of her dreams but also unable to pursue her career of choice. She lives in a carefully controlled world in which she has little personal say. Ladd shows us she (and Mollie) find their way.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book, so I could share my opinion with you. I enjoyed the read and recommend it to you.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review: "Pelican Point"

Pelican Point, Irene Hannon’s fourth Hope Harbor novel adds a few more fascinating couples to the Oregon town’s population. Though readers who have been following the series will recognize Marci Weber from a brief appearance in one of the previous novels, they’ll now get to learn her story. Marci is in Hope Harbor because she wants to be safe. Traumatized in her previous location, she wants to live a quiet life and offer something special to her community. Giving new life to the town paper lets her meet that second goal, but the first may prove illusive for a while.

Ben Garrison has happy memories of Hope Harbor but no plans to stay. Recently finished with his service as an Army doctor, he plans to settle his grandfather’s estate as quickly as possible and join a friend’s medical practice in Ohio. Learning that his grandfather left him a lighthouse that everyone wants to enjoy but no one wants to take responsibility for puts a bit of a snag in his plans.

As they get to know Ben and Marci, readers will also get to see what familiar characters, including two sea gulls and a seal, are up to now while meeting a few more residents. You don’t have to have read the previous books in order to enjoy this one, but I always enjoy recognizing people, and critters, from earlier books. I recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense and thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share these thoughts with you.