Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: "Tangled Webs"

Tangled Webs, the third book in Irene Hannon's Men of Valor series was my favorite, though I enjoyed all three. The series is about three brothers, each retiring from a different branch of the military, all at about the same time, adapting to their new lives.

In Tangled Webs, the youngest McGregor brother, Finn, is recovering from a serious accident that nearly cost his life. Not only is it a miracle that he survived, but also that he didn't lose his leg. Physical wounds nearly healed, Finn decides to take some time to deal with the more difficult wounds: PTSD and Moral Injury. At his request, his brothers find a secluded cabin he can lease from a friend for a month in order to process his emotions in his own way. His family is skeptical, but they respect his wishes.

Once there, however, Finn discovers that his neighbor in the nearest cabin is recovering from trauma of her own. But as they begin to build a friendship and listen to each other's stories, they strange incidents start happening in the woods and around the pond on Dana's land. Finn puts his recovery on hold to protect his new neighbor and discover what's going on.

As the title implies, the story is tangled. Fans of Christian mystery and suspense will enjoy reading this book. The publisher sent me a complimentary copy to read. I'm happy to share my opinion through this review.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review: "The Ringmaster's Wife"

I was a little nervous when The Fiction Guild sent me a copy of Kristy Cambron's The Ringmaster's Wife. I've loved every Cambron book I've read so far, so I was happy to receive it, but the circus isn't really my thing. You know. Clowns. Costumes. Masks. Chaos. Did I mention the clowns?

I loved the book, though. (And clowns were only mentioned in passing once or twice.) The main characters, both fictional and fictionalized, were fascinating. I wanted to meet Mable Ringling in person and felt that Lady Rosamund Easling truly deserved a happily-ever-after ending--one that included her horse, Ingenue. The storyline held a hint of danger and suspense with messages of courage and grace. The book was rich in relevant (and some just fun) historical detail.

Kristy Cambron has established herself well as a competent, entertaining, and insightful historical Christian fiction author. Fans of this genre will want to read this book--whether or not the circus is their thing.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Review: "Jesus Always"

I was so excited to see that Sarah Young has written another year-long devotional. I plan to thoroughly absorb it throughout 2017. But I'm already enjoying it now.

The theme of this devotional is Embracing Joy in His Presence. As Sarah has suffered some pretty serious health problems in recent years and has embraced this joy throughout her experience, she's one who knows what she's writing about. Her writing will help readers embrace joy in God's Presence through any circumstance.

As in her other devotionals, Sarah shares what she has learned from studying and meditating on God's Word, the Bible, in the form of letters from Jesus to the reader. She makes no claim to be speaking for God. She is simply attempting to personalize Scripture, God's Word to us. In her own words, "Because I revere the Bible, I always endeavor to make my writing consistent with biblical truth. I include Scripture in the devotions (indicated with italics), and each entry is followed by three or four Bible references." She encourages her readers to look these up and read them for themselves.

I find Sarah's unique presentation uplifting, encouraging, thought-provoking, and true to God's Word. I recommend this newest devotional to you.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy which I am happy to review.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: "The Wish"

The Wish by Beverly Lewis is a calm, relaxing book, as opposed to intense and suspenseful. But I enjoyed it for that reason. It's a story of patience, trust, and gentle restoration. It's also a story of being careful what you wish for because what you think you want isn't always what you really want.

And aren't we all glad to know God's knows that, and for that reason, doesn't grant every wish we make. Instead He works behind the scenes to bring about the true desires of our hearts.

The Wish is the story of two girls and their families. One girl is raised almost as an only child in a quiet home by reserved people. The other is raised in a home full of energy. The first, Leona, spends so much time at the other's house that her parents, grandfather, and older brother (married and living away from home) begin to complain. When the family of the second girl, Gloria, suddenly moves away without a good-bye, Leona is heartbroken.

The story picks up again several years later. Leona is preparing to marry when Gloria suddenly makes contact again, asking for help and advice. Leona feels called to take some risks in order to reach out to her friend.

I thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book. I am happy to share my thoughts about it with you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: "Catching Heat"

Janice Cantore's Catching Heat is the perfect ending to an intense trilogy. In this installment, Abby Hart is more determined than ever to find evidence that will put the person who orchestrated her parents' murder in jail. Her friend and fellow investigator on the case, Luke Murphy, is afraid the case is consuming her. He wants justice, too, but not at the cost of Abby's safety and sound mind.

They have other concerns, though. While trying to solve one cold case, with the help of the rest of the cold case squad, their leader agrees to have them help, informally, with a second case in the same area.There are suspects and surprises everywhere, few people the team can trust.

Through her writing, Cantore reveals her experience in law enforcement and her knowledge of the state the book is set in. Her story is intriguing; her conclusion to all cases exactly right. I enjoyed the whole series and recommend it to you.

Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Catching Heat for this honest review.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Review: "Twilight at Blueberry Barrens"

Colleen Coble's third book in her Sunset Cove series is at least as exciting as the first two. In this book, we get to know Kate Mason, a secondary character from the first book in the series, much better. Thanks to her sister, she's recuperating from the disease that almost took her life. She's also giving all she has to keeping the blueberry farm her mother and uncle ran going in their absence. Her heart isn't in it, but from her point of view, it must be done.

When the blueberry crop fails to do as well as she'd hoped, Kate starts looking for another source of income to get her through the season. That's when Drake Newham shows up, two nieces in tow, determined to solve the mystery of his brother and sister-in-law's violent deaths. He rents the cottage on Kate's property, hires her to watch the girls, and asks her help in finding the truth.

Kate soon has her own set of problems to navigate around and must enlist Drake's help as well. Two strangers must work together to protect each other, their families, and their friends while seeking answers to too many questions.

The story kept my attention, but I really appreciated watching Kate's character gain strength and confidence for her future while overcoming the hurts of her past. I recommend this book to fans of Christian suspense fiction. Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Book Review: "The Wedding Shop"

Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Shop is full of sweet surprises as a wedding shop should be. It's the story of former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan, a young woman who has recently suffered the worst disappointment of her life. Wanting to start fresh, she returns home to Heart's Bend, Tennessee, to live with her parents and in the shadow of four older and ultra-successful brothers, desperate to find a new dream.

Instead, she returns to an old one, a childhood pinky promise with her best friend, recently deceased. Haley decides to honor her friend's memory by reopening the town's historic wedding shop.

As Haley works her way through obstacles to do this, the story flashes back to previous shop's owner, Cora Scott. This young woman, determined to help brides have memorable days in spite of the Great Depression, longs to be a bride herself. She's waiting on a charming river boat captain while another suitor waits on her.

Though this book stands alone, readers will love meeting characters from a few of Hauck's previous books, The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel with a touch of The Royal Wedding Series thrown in. Hauck ties them all together beautifully as she gives Haley her own, perfect fit fairy tale.

I thank Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.