Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: "The Beautiful Pretender"

Through no fault of her own, Avelina is in a bind. Her mistress, Dorothea, has run off with a knight. Yet Dorothea has been invited to spend two weeks at Thornbeck Castle with nine other noble born ladies. The Margrave of Thornbeck expects to choose one to be his wife.

Dorothea's father, desiring the favor of the Margrave, decides to send Avelina in his daughter's place. She is to pretend to be Dorothea and make a good impression on the Margrave, but she is not to be chosen as his bride. Avelina has no expectations of being chosen but fears being discovered most of all.

The Beautiful Pretender is both a fairy-tale romance and a work of historical fiction set in Medieval times. Into this captivating story, author Melanie Dickerson has woven the themes of true nobility, God's protection, and prayer in all circumstances. She has also included plenty of danger, suspense, intrigue, and fun! I recommend this read.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: "Together at the Table"

Together at the Table is the third and final book in Hillary Manton Lodge's Two Blue Doors series. Lodge ended the trilogy beautifully.

As this final book begins, Juliette D'Alisa is trying to move forward with life. In less than a year, she lost both her grandmother and her mother. She also broke up with the love of her life. She's found a new love, though, the sous-chef at the restaurant now inhabiting her grandmother's final home. Juliette and her brother Nico, with the help of family, friends, and staff have turned the restaurant into a successful one. Juliette is ready to resume her research, determined to solve the mystery of her grandmother's letters about what really happened to her family living near Paris in World War II.

Of course, every chapter references food and most of these are accompanied by recipes for bold readers to try. And again, the story takes readers from Portland to Chicago to France. Readers who love to play tourist will want to visit these places once they finish the book.

I enjoyed reading this series and thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending this final installment in exchange for my honest review. I recommend it to fans of romance, history, recipes, and travel.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: "Traces of Guilt"

Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson is the brilliant first book of a new series. In it, though, those who’ve read Henderson’s other books will find many familiar fictional friends. Ann Falcon (from Full Disclosure) plays a large role in the story, introducing readers to the new characters and those characters to each other. Her husband, Paul, makes a few appearances, and there are mentions of many of their friends from other Henderson books—including a few members of the O’Malley clan. Henderson’s new novel is both familiar and brand new.

Evie Blackwell is the main character in this series, testing out a possible new job as head of a task force being put together by the governor-elect to solve as many cold cases as they can. Evie is using her own vacation time to travel to Carin County where two cold cases wait for her attention. Gabriel Thane, the county sheriff and a personal friend of one of the victims, will offer his assistance, along with that of his family. His father, former sheriff, is familiar with both cases. His brothers, Josh and Will, have reasons for getting involved as well.

As always, Henderson’s characters are so deep readers will almost believe they are real and they’ll care about what becomes of them. Unlike Henderson’s other books however, this one ends, but doesn’t end. In other words, though several aspects of the story come to a satisfying conclusion, others have intentionally been left open for the next book. Reading the books of this series in order will be a must.

I thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I loved it! Fans of Christian romantic suspense novels will enjoy Traces of Guilt too.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Book Review: "Unashamed"

Unashamed is a powerful new book by author, speaker, and activist Christine Caine. It’s the first of hers I’ve read, but I’ll be reading Undaunted as soon as I can. This book is her testimony, the story of how she learned to stop hiding, to take risks, to trust God, and to live the life He planned for her to live. As she’s sharing her story, however, she shares the stories of others as well—Bible characters and people she’s met through her ministry today—in order to help readers understand how they, too, can learn to live in freedom instead of with shame.

I devoured this book and will definitely read it again, but there were two things I especially loved about it:

1) As Caine talks to readers, conversationally through her writing, she weaves Bible words into just about everything she says. Readers unfamiliar with Scripture won’t even know she’s doing it, but she has absorbed so much of God’s Word into her mind that it just can’t help but come out of her mouth or through her keyboard and into her books. This book is absolutely saturated with God’s Truth.

2) Instead of presenting a step-by-step simple formula for healing, Caine tells her readers up front and throughout the book that if they want to experience all the freedom God has for them, they are going to have to work for it and they will experience pain. Hiding or denying the truth will always seem easier, but real healing requires that we do the hard thing.

Thankfully, Caine gives clear instructions and lots of encouragement, showing why this path is the most worthwhile one. I recommend this book to all women who want a deeper, more honest, walk with God and who want to move forward with confidence into a more fulfilling life.

I thank Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review: "The Quieting"

The Quieting is the second book in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s The Bishop’s Family series. In this book we get to read the continued stories of some family members: David, Katrina, Jesse, Ruthie, and Molly. We also get to meet some new characters who’ve come to town to “help” the family out: Tillie, Abigail, and Laura. We also meet David’s non-Amish sister, Ruth.

My favorite thing about this series is “watching” characters, both family and friends, develop and mature. They make some incredible discoveries about how life works—and even the worst of them learn that mistakes can be redeemed, pride can be overcome, relationships can be restored. Fisher is an expert at showing, not telling, great truth through her powerful, yet sweet, stories.

I received a complimentary copy of The Quieting from Revell in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to the next book in the series, The Devoted, which will be released this Fall.