REVIEWED...FAITH AND INSPIRATIONAL NOVELS




                                                                Sparrow on a House ... By Billie Houston

In 1943 Sara Carson leaves her farm home and goes to Orange, Texas to work in the ship yards. There she meets and falls in love with soldier Kent Holden. Three days later they are married. Less than a week after that he ships out to North Africa. Sara moves back to the farm to help her mother with her ailing grandmother and her father who is losing his hold on reality.

Now it is 1945. Germany has surrendered and Kent is coming home. Sara comes to grips with the realization that she has married a stranger. She loves her husband, but she doesn't know him. She has married in haste. Is she condemned to repent at leisure?




OUR REIVEW

Sparrow on a Housetop by Billie Houston took me by complete surprise! Houston depicted the time period accurately without dragging out any unnecessary details to bog the story down, following through with character growth and development. I must say I enjoyed the references to a few books that I recognized!

The horrendous harshness of battles that the soldiers faced, effected the outcome of their homecoming and the start of new lives. Sara faced the unknown of what life would be with a husband that she only knew a few days before going off to war. To the surprise and shock of her family, Kent is somewhat welcomed into an eclectic array of family members...on both sides of the family.

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I have to say, my feelings for Kent were not favorable at first, as Houston used her skill of writing to make my emotions doubt his sincerity about his love for Sara and then building suspicion of what his character was really about.

Throughout the story, faith may or may not touch and heal lives as we can easily recognize the life altering events that happen... possible the same occurrences that  have touched our own lives. 

Yes, of course I cried at the end a little bit, but remembering that we don't always understand the ways of God, He is always in control!

       


Amazon Review







                                                 Theodora's Children ... by Rick Nau






Gretchen is her name. She's the heroine of the story. Some people call her Gretch the Wretch. Not a very nice thing to say about someone, especially if they suffer from a loneliness so intense it could blow the roof off the sky. Certainly she's not the only person in the world who's felt this way. You might have felt this way yourself. Or you might feel this way at this very moment, just as Gretchen felt at the beginning of her story. This isn't to say she's not a wonderful person. If you get to know her, you'll find out how wonderful she is. If you don't, you'll never know. 


           

This book is for anyone who loves:
  • Stories with a solid Christian Theme
  • Stories that are Bigger than Life
  • Stories about Courage
  • Stories about Overcoming Fear
  • Stories about Friendship
  • Christmas


OUR REVIEW

Theodoria's Children by Rick Nau is delightful story told by a loving great grandfather to his two rambunctious great grandchildren. The story captivates the children with amazing over the top embellishments of a little lonely girl which entices them to ask questions and add their opinions.

This novel is a spiritual journey, full of hidden meanings and symbolic imagery about finding faith in God. At first I thought it
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would be a great read for younger children, but the story of Gretchen took so many turns that I got confused as to where the tale was going and what the symbolisms were representing.

All came together in the end, paving the way for the next in the series. If you love allegories, this is the book for you!



                     Amazon Review






Christmas Love and Mercy (Christmas Hotel Book 5) ... By Saundra Staats McLemore


Chris Wright, the youngest child of Christopher and Jerilyn, is now thirty-two years old. He's prayed many years for a Godly woman to marry and join him in carrying on the mission of Christmas Hotel. All his siblings are married with children and one with a grandchild. He wonders what's wrong with him. Although his life is full with the management of Christmas Hotel; he's lonely. His only constant companion is his dog Fritz.

He reacquaints with lovely Lori Anna Stanley; someone he has known all her nineteen years. She sweeps into his life like a breath of fresh air. Is it possible Chris will have the wife and family of his dreams? An idyllic union exists until Chris has reason to question God and his faith. Unforeseen difficulties spiral out of control. Only a miracle can save them. Others have found their miracle at Christmas Hotel, but can they?



OUR REVIEW

Do miracles really happen at the quaint and cozy Christmas Hotel all year long? In Christmas Love & Mercy by Saundra Staats McLemore, the prologue sets the tone of this love story ... will the characters re-meet later in life and does misfortune reek havoc in a ripple event, effecting many lives?

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A lovely story revolves around the history of the Christmas Hotel, and a special room brings comfort and joy to one of the main characters. Does an angel guide a young mother in the right direction or is it God's will that certain events happen to a couple who hopes to find a love that they have been waiting for.

McLemore reveals painful pasts that help move the story along. Life is not perfect, but it's how we handle the situations that stand in our way. Chris and Lori Anna go through tough times and we are hoping that they can resolve issues that fall before them, but can they? Does God have a different ending that they are planning on?

Christmas Love & Mercy will twist your heart, showing us that God is still in control.



                         Amazon Review





Christmastide at Bald Head Island ... By  Rose Allen McCauley, Loretta Gibbons, Jackie Layton, Jennifer Collins Johnson




Literature weaves its way through the hearts of the Jordan family women. Matriarch, Grace Jordan, has a particular affinity for William Shakespeare. Just as his play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spins a tale of the planning of one wedding but ends with three ceremonies, Grace and her two daughters, Rosalind and Miranda, discover rekindled love while planning Rosalind's daughter, Jane Anne's Christmas wedding. In a twist of fate, ceremony plans change. However, just like Elizabeth Bennett and Anne Shirley from Jane Austen and Lucy Montgomery's respective classic tales, all four Jordan women discover what—and who—will make them truly happy.


OUR REVIEW

What a delightful chain of romantic stories, linked by four different authors who build upon each other's stories to complete a series of events. Christmastide at Bald Head Island fills you with the warmth of love and the hope that dependence and trust in God will deliver you through the ups and downs of life.

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Each story has a main theme on the related characters, leaving the last story to pull it altogether. Although each story has a stand out moment, I must say I enjoyed the opening of Layered with Love (book two) since it gave me the satisfaction that Grace acted as a real mom would about a past love that "weaseled" his way back into her daughter's life!

Christmastide at Bald Head Island has it's surprises and emotional drive. Laced with bible verses, what a great book to snuggle up with to remind you that God does work in mysterious ways.



                                 Amazon Review






                                          Not All Of Me Is Dust ... By Frances Maureen Richardson





Ever since their mother died, life for the Engles has been tinged with sorrow. As young adults, their search for meaning and identity leads them to pursue different paths: Stephen joins the Jesuits, Kathleen marries a promising young attorney, and Clare enters the convent.






OUR REVIEW

Even though Frances Maureen Richardson author of Not All Of Me Is Dust credits the heart of this novel to Clare, one of the three  Engle children, I thought Stephen was the soulful center of this epic inspirational novel.

Told in more of a narrative flow, I watched this family evolve after the death of their mother. If Richardson hadn't said in the
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acknowledgements that this book grew out of an awareness, a kind of waking dream, I would have thought she was reminiscing about her past as this story was so detailed and realistic.


Life, death, love and rejection fills this story and twisted my heart with each event that took place as the children followed the path that God set before them, and as we know as Christians it's not always an easy going. Each one of them faced their own struggle.

What a delight to have Richardson incorporate snippets from well know figures of literature, as well as sprinkling bible versus throughout. I learned a lot about the Jesuit life, and the servitude of being a nun. An excellent read as the last chapter will not let you put the book down.                     


                                                                                                                  Amazon Review








                                    Alice's Notions ... by Tamera Lynn Kraft


In this quaint mountain town, things aren't always what they seem.

World War II widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn't know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn't know who she can trust.




OUR REVIEW

I was in for a huge surprise when I read Alice's Notions by Tamera Lynn Kraft. Expecting a sweet romance set in a quaint little town turned into a deliciously, mysterious story involving characters with diverse personalities and backgrounds.


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It takes place in 1946 as Alice, the main young character has lost her husband to the war and is trying to make it on her own with a quilting and notions shop. She is young and beautiful and it seems like men are taken with her strong and determined ways. She knows the town and the people but who would ever suspect that your neighbors and life long friends might not turn out to be who you thought they were. Just why are people acting so strange in peace time, but with the war still fresh on their minds?

Kraft pulls out all the stops in this story, events I didn't see coming, one right after another. She addresses how people of that era felt about the Germans and all the immigrants, and I loved all the references she made for that time period. She really did her research as I recognized the Akron Quaker Oats Company as it's not too far from me and that old wonderful store Woolworths. Songs and movie stars were given their due nod, and the slang she used put you right in the mood of things.

The pace picked up so fast towards the end, I couldn't put it down until I finished it. A wonderful strong main character, but still "weak at the knees" when it came to handsome men.



                  Amazon Review








   Celtic Warriors ... Cassandra Wolf



Celtic Warriors is about two Protestant families from England who move to Ireland in 1652 and encounter fierce opposition from Catholic Irish nationalists who resent the English invading their homeland. While animosity between the Protestants and Catholics heightens, a deeper relationship with God that can only be achieved through adversity develops even more among members of both sides.
Clean suspense, mystery, and romance combine to make this Christian historical fiction novella exciting and wholesome.



OUR REVIEW

The research that Cassandra Wolf did on Celtic Warriors was absolutely phenomenal! In the introduction she gives credit to the Ozark Research Institute for background information on Irish Castles. I was amazed at what she discovered about these old, majestic beauties, and would hope someday Wolf would devote time to write a complete book on these fascinating, ancient wonders.

This beautiful tale unfolds during the time when Irish Catholics, Irish Protestants and English Protestants where planning a great rebellion. Religious denominations ruled the life style back in the 1600's when Castles were built and the division of the classes of people were greatly divided.



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Wolf weaves the main character Gertrude in a fascinating way. To say much more would give the crux of the story away, but the focus of the main story was  taking a chance of falling in love and the perils she would face in those times. Along with religious belief, there was also Black Magic and curses that had to be battled with the faith of God.

The setting is beautiful, and you'll fall in love with this amazing story.


                                     Amazon Review





Embracing Hope ... by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring.

He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?



OUR REVIEW

I was so glad to read that all Christians are not perfect, we don't live in a perfect world, and that anger and frustration can be a real part of our lives in the romantic Christian novel Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz.

The introduction of characters and their personalities in the first chapter sets up the tone of the story. The banter of dean Drew McKinley and the direct opinions of new student staff hire Allison play nicely off each other, but throw in handsome and self centered Chris, things really charge up.

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Can life really be easy at a Christian College since after all you are surrounded by Bible studies, Chapel and the availability to Christian counseling? Thankfully author Wojtowicz revels the flaws that nags and sometimes eat us inside without our even knowing how to solve our problems even though we have the love God inside us.

Tragedies happen, faith is being tested and the weakness of the characters come alive as it so happens in real life. Many types of Christian issues are brought up and sorted out but can every problem be resolved? Wojtowicy uses this story to enhance the forgiveness of God, but the question remains ... can we accept forgiveness and forgive others?

A great read for those who are still looking to fill the emptiness in their lives as well as an amazing read for Christians who struggle with God's grace.


                                                                       Amazon Review






The Conservative Congregant ... by Paula D. Walker Baker


Eloise Dowager left her comfort zone when she offered to prepare a meal for the homeless. She heard people were blessed beyond measure when they attended The City of Hope. See what God has in store for her!




 

OUR REVIEW

The Conservative Congregant by Paula D. Walker Baker took me as complete surprise!  As I was reading this lovely story, I felt like I was envoled with my friends from church. Two women from different backgrounds find a mutal friendship that grow and blossoms, discovering new depths to each of their own faiths.

 

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It was such a "comfortable" read, as part of the theme is about helping and loving the homeless and the gift of love and service these women found that they could do for them. I felt right at home with the dialogue and the places that were described in the book, as I could have run into these ladies at the store on a shopping trip.

 

The thread of forgiveness stood out to me as I felt Eloise Dowager's life was holding her down from total joy until she understood what faith in God can do. This story was so totally realistic, it was hard to forget they were fictional characters.

 

Do these ladies find what they are looking for? Looking forward to the next book.

 


                              Amazon Review

 



The Light Between Oceans ... by M.L. Stedman




"Haunting...Stedman draws the reader into her emotionally complex story right from the beginning, with lush descriptions of this savage and beautiful landscape, and vivid characters with whom we can readily empathize. Hers is a stunning and memorable debut."







OUR REVIEW



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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman was a fascinating story of lonely and sad people that intersected at the right time and the right place. Author Stedman sets up a key part of the story in the very fist chapter, along with past history of one of the main characters.

Living on a small island taking care of and maintaining a lighthouse although lonely and barren, a newly married couple adjust to a new way of life, in fact they treat it as a new found freedom. Record keeping of daily life on the island and sea incidents were extremely important and kept as a public record. The choices of right and wrong of these records were the key points of this story. Guilt ridden emotions crept into various lives, and decisions that were made had devastation consequences.

I read this story for book club and found it a difficult read, but pushed through it. Somewhat of an interesting read and even made into a movie, the content of the story was not appealing to me even though it had a Christian theme woven within the plot.



                                   Amazon Review






Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birth Mother's Story ... By Christine Lindsay

Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.

Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up...and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.

Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.


OUR REVIEW

Finding Sarah, Finding Me A Birth Mother's Story by Christine Lindsay was quite the eye-opener for me. Never having been in this situation, I was quickly involved in this struggle to find peace with a past that just couldn't be forgotten. Yes, I do have a few friends that did go through adoptions, but nothing like author Lindsay in which she was trying to find the daughter she gave up twenty years ago.

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The pain a mother goes through to make tough decisions and then live every day wondering...was it right, what is she doing and how is she doing is almost unbearable as well as the agony and stress of a possible reunion. Her own family shares the burden of  pain Christine feels, and as this story unfolds we find that it's not always the way we want it to turn out.

Lindsay weaves other adoptive stories gently through her own, bridging the gap of despair and love in the most intensive way. Thankfully through the grace of God, lives can be given new strength and move forward, but as the author says: not all adoption reunions are the same.

Whether you are in an adoption situation or not, this raw and no hold back story will sink into your heart.

                          Amazon Review




Broken Like Glass ... By E.J. McCay


Home is not always where the heart is.

Lillian Louis James built herself good life, but when a quick weekend visit with her daddy turns violent she finds herself on the wrong side of the law. Stuck in the small town she would rather forget, Lillian is forced to attend therapy and try to figure out where it all went wrong. Her high school crush showing up on the scene doesn’t help either as unresolved feelings bubble to the surface. Will Lillian let Jesus heal her broken past before her chance at love is gone?



OUR REVIEW

Broken Like Glass by E.J. McCay's book cover was most intriguing. At first I thought it was going to be a your typical broken heart romance, but oh no...after the opening chapter the guts of the story pours out. Lillian comes home after years of being absent from her home town only to reach her breaking point, stabbing her father in the Safeway. The only way to stay out of jail is by visiting her court appointed therapist, an old time school friend and having the best lawyer in town who happens to be her best friend represent her.

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I have to say, Lillian's sarcastic humor was a hard for me to like at first, after all she did stab her father and but didn't seem remorseful. Reading on, I realized why she had developed this harden, outer protective shell she created for herself. We slowly find the reasons behind Lillian's behavior as she herself discovers and relives the unspeakable events in her life that has brought her to this point.

Will her jagged broken heart and soul be able to handle the past, including renewing a friendship with an old boyfriend that clearly still has feelings for her? The relationship she had with "Papa" was not the typical let's go to church to talk to God, but it was the only way she was comfortable to communicate with Jesus and take hope in Him that her life was worth something.  Not only was Jesus her help, but I felt the whole relationship with "Papa" was the author's way of introducing the reader to God's love and His forgiveness.

An easy style of writing, but I found this to be for myself, a painful content. Be prepared for an emotional read.

                                            Amazon Review








Restored ... by Tanya Eavenson



Dr. Steven Moore is known nationally for saving lives. If only he could save his own. Unable to deal with his cancer prognosis, he retreats to a happier time in his past—to the woman who once stole his heart.

Four years after the death of her beloved husband, bookstore owner Elizabeth Roberts still struggles to sustain her faith and joy in the Lord as she raises her two sons. She strives to find a way through her family's grief, never suspecting a man from her past might offer hope for her future.

But how can there be a future when he's only come to kiss her and says good-bye?


OUR REVIEW

Author Tanya Eavenson blends life and death in the heartwarming  Christian romantic story Restored. Is it possible that love from the past can ever be forgotten or forgiven? 

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Eavenson's style of writing has a balanced rhythm to it. She incorporates the feel of heartache with the joy and love that the main characters develop as they find their way around some troublesome past events. As it is in real life, Restored has a nice Christian "flavor" flow to it. The story isn't pounding you over the head with trying to change your view of God, but speaking as we do in everyday life, expecting God has a plan for us.

Trust me, you'll need your tissues, but Eavenson doesn't leave us disappointed.

                                       Amazon Review               

 




Drawn by the Frost Moon: Bitter Eyes No More (Creek Country Saga Book 4) ... by April Gardner


For those who enjoy saga-length Christian historical romance. Bitter Eyes No More is a single, complete story. It is book four in
the Creek Country Saga.

A man of abiding honor, tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins, pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.

Spanish Florida once sheltered Lillian McGirth from her fears. Now, it feeds them. Mercy is for the deserving; for Lillian, an unwed mother accused of treason, there is only battering and defeat, but her fall breaks softly in the arms of an unexpected arrival, a man too beautiful of soul to stain with her lost character.

Captain Marcus Buck sails in on a pledge to save Miss McGirth from herself and from her child's father, a ruthless don. All the while, he's to regard her as virtuous and worthy of protection and to guard said virtue from pilfering. But the terms are flawed since he must first guard her from himself. Regardless, he is determined. He will free her, repair her name--simple labor compared to dodging the army's noose, mending wounds three years deep, and navigating a host of rebel Natives bent on inflicting more.

Through the steady crumble of his pledge, their friendship becomes a consolation, for she knows his pain as no other can or will. Their scars are one; their paths, however, might irrevocably become two... 




OUR REVIEW


Even though I picked this book up out of the series order, it is a stand alone book. Drawn by the Frost Moon: Bitter Eyes No More (Creek Country Saga Book 4)  by April Gardner picks up action with characters that have crossed over from the previous story line, but I quickly learned their backgrounds and personalities thanks to their introduction in the beginning of the book.

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Author Gardner has richly supplemented the story line with amazing details of the  historical 1817 era, proving that taking time in  researching details turns an average story into an epic book. I have to say, there were some characters that I didn't like and it took a while before I warmed up to them. Is it possible that a passionate woman could reach inside her soul to find the strength and boldness to endure hardships, battles and devious men that ruled her life?

This book could easily be transformed into a mini series or movie, as there are plenty of diverse characters and intense action. If you love historical fiction, this is  a must read series for you.


                                                                             Amazon Review






Dreams Of Tamar: A Tale of Rejection, Redemption, Restoration, and Faith ... by Darlene Pryor



When single mother of twins Diedra meets and falls in love with James, she assumes that “as long as you both shall live” will be the start of peace, contentment, and blissful motherhood.

Diedra has a full life that often intersects with the lives of three other women: Breanna, the free and flirtatious spirit; Cassandra, Diedra’s childhood friend; and Sharnell, the overachiever. And when Diedra’s brood grows to seven after the birth of triplets, she thinks that surely her saga is fully written.

But when unexpected obstacles suddenly pile on with no end in sight, Diedra must struggle to save her marriage, brave a frightening diagnosis, and untangle mysteriously lucid dreams whose meaning remains just out of reach—but which are increasingly worrisome in their urgency.

On top of it all—she’s pregnant again.

More than a Christian romance, Dreams of Tamar weaves together relevant scripture and riveting storytelling and will resonate with believers of today who have real problems that require real solutions. Dive in to a story of a love that binds people together with unbreakable chains as they work out their salvation and journey toward restoration.




OUR REVIEW


 I was amazed at the love and passion felt between Diedra and her husband James in the book Dreams of Tamar: A Tale of Rejection, Redemption, Restoration, and Faith, by Darlene Pryor. Not all things start off good, but as Diedra's life continues on she fights through the ups and downs and the disappointments of love and life. When James comes into her life, wow...he IS the love that she longs for, but will it last? Being married for a while and having children sometimes isn't always what you might hope it to be.

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I love how author Pryor brings into the book the Biblical story of Tamar. Well, I had forgotten about those stories, and what a little bible study I got, in fact I loved all the scriptures that Pryor added, each adding to the meaning of where the story was at that time.  This family thrived on Bible principles.

Surprise after surprise came along, and the flow of the story made me happy and sad and in a few places, rejoicing in the Lord! Pryor gives us a big surprise and the end, which you'll have to read to find out.

Love, passion, and Scriptures makes this a fabulous book!


                         Amazon Review








Amber Alert: Christian Contemporary Romance with Suspense (Dangerous Series Book 1) Kindle Edition   ... by Linda K. Rodante



After a disastrous engagement to an abusive boyfriend, Sharee Jones tells God that she’s not dating anymore. If he has someone for her to marry, he’d better just drop the man in front of her. She’s not thinking of the tall, handsome man who moonlights as the church’s maintenance crew of one—a man she feels sure doesn’t know the Lord.
Since the tragedy in his own life, John Jergenson wants nothing to do with God, but every time he turns around lately, Sharee is in his face—wanting help with her Christmas program, needing help with her car, even threatening him with a pair of stakes—and talking about God. He’s not sure what to do about her, but he doesn’t like the mutilated dolls they’ve found, or the homeless hitchhiker she picked up, or the fact that she never watches out for herself. With someone terrorizing the new mom at the church, and Sharee playing detective, can he keep his past secret and keep her safe long enough to figure out if he’s ready to love again?
Amber Alert is a warm romance, with intrigue, ‪‎mystery‬ and suspense; a ‪‎whodunit‬ with heart and faith. And an ACFW Genesis and First Impressions finalist. Best-Selling author Sandra D. Bicker said, “Amber Alert…takes the reader on a suspenseful ride with unexpected twists…and characters you’ll care about.”
Author E. J. Willis said that, “The characters…pull you into their story… there's just the right mixture of romance and suspense. If you like Karen Kingsbury or Dee Henderson, I believe you'll enjoy Linda's books as well. They're hard to put down!”  


OUR REVIEW

The first sentence in Amber Alert by Linda K. Rodante hooked me immediately, in fact it's the crux of the story. We find the main characters in the opening chapter already filled to the brim with emotions that make us wonder why their feelings are at some kind of breaking point. Sharee Jones with her mass of curly red hair to match her intense stubbornness, and John Jergenson who is the maintenance crew of one in their beloved church.

As the story unfolds, more characters are introduced, all in some way or another ending up in the church fellowship, whether they are believers in God, or on the path to find Him.


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I loved how Rodante showed the human side of Christians, their flaws, raw emotions and the fear that was building due to terror that was growing among the women of the church. What were the secrets behind those people that made everything finally come to a head?




It was refreshing to see the character of Sharee be strong in her Christian faith, but still had to struggle with the physical aspect that she was feeling towards John.

The pace is fast and descriptions short and sweet, which makes this a perfect suspenseful romance!


                     





The Wager: A Romantic Comedy as Christian Allegory ... by Mike Brister



Sarah Morgan Leigh Dumont is rich, successful and famous. Matthew Ezra Shepherd is none of those things. Sarah, raised in Connecticut, is the oldest child in a prominent family. Matt, raised in Mississippi, is the youngest child in a farming family. Sarah is a winner in life’s lottery and has a home in Malibu. Matt, a former Marine, is putting the pieces of his life back together. Sarah is driven, focused, difficult, and intimidating. Matt is friendly and smiles easily. Sarah is full of herself. Matt is full of mischief.

They meet under false pretenses in New Orleans, the city built on false pretenses. She sees him only as the object of a wager; he sees her as an object to be avoided—and yet.

What happens when love is uninvited, inconvenient, and demanding? When it keeps you up at night and distracts you during the day. When it counsels unreason, folly, and ruin. When it can breach any locked door, scale any high wall, or whisper above any noise. Fortunately, when it happens to someone else, it can be very funny.

The story is told primarily through dialogue which is presented in the style of a play. Descriptions are rarely used to explain how something is said. That is left to the imagination of the reader.

The story includes a Southern, gothic ghost story; an epic poem; a suggested playlist of thirty-five songs; and three recipes: Ruth’s chocolate pie, Matt’s buttermilk biscuits, and Lester’s pound cake.

Buy a book and help buy a goat for a family in Haiti.



OUR REVIEW

I was totally taken off guard at first reading of The Wager by Mike Brister. Thinking that this book was going to be your regular Christian romantic novel with a bit of humor, I was in for an amazing surprise.


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The story sets the background of two opposite characters, giving vivid descriptions of their personalities, while not using the extra verbiage of when the character speaks, leaving it up to the reader to add our own interpretation or feeling of what we have imagined in our  mind. While the story continues of how these two unlikely characters meet under the unusual circumstances, I found myself actually reading it in a Southern accent, which is a credit to Brister in his style of writing.

I will say, I had that "ah-ha" moment when I connected the title to the story.

The humor is a flow of unbelievably funny and sarcastic banter, making it reminiscent to me of Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire. I wondered how the two main characters could even tolerate each other, but found myself actually laughing out loud, especially at their encounter on the plane and dinner at the parents.

As the story progresses, you gain a deeper understanding of why these two act the way they do to each other, and immediately your emotions are racing to find out what happens, in fact I went back to the beginning to re-read about their personalities and whoa, I even had more intense feelings for these two.

Not to give any spoilers, but I will say my heart broke and yes, I needed my tissues since I fell in love with these characters. I appreciated the authors wrap up of the book, and yes...you will understand why buying this book will help a family get a goat in Haiti.

                                                                  Amazon Review


 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Notes from the Dog ... by Gary Paulsen

(although this book is for grades 5 -9, I also recommend it for adults)



"Sometimes having company is not all it's cracked up to be." 
Fifteen-year-old Finn is a loner, living with his dad and his amazing dog, Dylan. This summer he's hoping for a job where he doesn't have to talk to anyone except his pal Matthew. Then Johanna moves in next door. She's ten years older, cool, funny, and she treats Finn as an equal. Dylan loves her, too. Johanna's dealing with breast cancer, and Matthew and Finn learn to care for her, emotionally, and physically. When she hires Finn to create a garden, his gardening ideas backfire comically. But Johanna and the garden help Finn discover his talents for connecting with people.


OUR  REVIEW
I picked this book out of the children's section at the school library and after reading it, thought oh dear it doesn't belong there. But the more I thought about it Notes From The Dog by Gary Paulsen is geared towards the AP readers to challenge their comprehension reading skills.

The main character is a fourteen year old boy named Finn and his devoted dog Dylan. Although his household is made up of Dad and Grandpa, he is very shy and sets a few  low goals for his summer vacation. With the new temporary neighbor who moved in next door his whole summer changes. Johanna is a graduate student in her twenties with awesome people skills who just happens to be a  breast cancer survivor trying to live her life to the fullest.

Linda    
 
Finn and Johanna make a deal to create a garden in Finn's backyard and through this adventure they become close friends, actually helping each other out emotionally and physically. Johanna is still going through chemo, but her goal is to raise money for the Cancer Foundation, even training for a race. But as summer comes to an end, all plans are laid aside after Johanna's condition changes.
I have to say, even getting to the middle of this story I was tearing up not knowing what was going to happen. I didn't think the dog has that big of a part, but it was an important piece of the story. I highly recommend this book if your child understands more than just an easy, fluffy read.

To every thing there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born,
and a time to die.
A time to plant,
and a time to reap.

A time to weep,
and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn,
and a time to dance.
                        Ecclesiastes 3


 

This book is dedicated with all respect and hope to everyone who has ever faced cancer. ~ Gary Paulsen






 

 


  

Mending the Motocross Champion (Team Macachek Book 1) ...by Jean C. Gordon
 
Physical therapist Dana VanAlstyne’s dreams of a family were lost in the dust of a motocross racecourse. Although she’s filled her life with her work and church activities, it hasn’t filled the empty space inside her. Nor has it eased the heartache of being abandoned by a man who wasn’t ready for a wife and children. Now her dream is to open her own private practice. All she needs is the capital to make that happen.

Anton, “Mac,” Macachek may be the top professional motocross racer in the country but he still has one race that matters more to him: winning a championship at Unadilla Raceway and showing the hometown folks the bad boy did amount to something. But when a horrific accident sidelines those plans, he makes a deal with the woman he once loved with all his heart. A woman who abandoned him. If Dana will get him back in racing shape, he’ll fund her new practice. Then an even more dangerous risk is revealed. If Mac races again, he could die.

Does Dana have enough faith to risk her heart again? She loved Mac once, but feared he loved motocross racing more than he loved her. If she helps him mend his broken body, will it also mend her broken heart? Or will it all be lost again in the dust and danger of a motocross racetrack?
 
OUR REVIEW

"The shrill of the phone woke her to her worst nightmare." Oh yeah ... from here on in the reader of Mending the Motocross Champion by Jean C. Gordon keeps you at full speed! Dana is dragged back to the past she thought was over but never really quite forgot, as she moved on to a new life as a physical therapist.

Ex-husband "Mac" Macachek has had a horrific accident, and by some extraordinary events manipulates his way back into Dana's life, to help him recuperate his body and hopefully resuscitate the love that was once between them. 

Linda       
Their past life together is woven through the book and as we put the pieces in order, we find that there is more and more to the story then it seemed at first. Dana's love for God and her dedication to her Church clashes with Mac's love for the speed of the Motocross. Can God's grace and forgiveness bring them back together or does the glamourous life of wealth and fame be the end of a love story?

Just a side note, you don't have to know anything about Motocross to enjoy this electrifying story of two teens, now grown adults sifting through a rough ride of emotions.

                                                                    Amazon Review
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Child of Dust ... by Shoba Sadler


Beautiful but spoilt Vietnamese socialite, Cao Kim Lye, learns of her parents sudden death from the dashing Amerasian family chauffeur, Bryan Nguyen. Kim steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of the working-class. She finds herself living under the roof of a shop-cum- living quarters with Bryan and his adoptive family. Ever conscious of the privileged class, Kim struggles against the emotional ties she forms towards Bryan, the reluctant saviour, who considers her an unnecessary hitch to his already complicated life. He still bears the scars of abandonment by his mother and his American GI father when U.S. troops pulled out of Vietnam. Eventually Bryan and Kim's powerful attraction to each other begins to break down the walls between them, but is their attraction enough to blossom into a love that can sustain?
 
Our Review

Shoba Sadler author of Child of Dust, has opened a whole new genre of Christian romance and mystery in this heart wrenching multi-cultural novel. The Dedication...In memory of Amerasians, the least remembered casualties of the Vietnam War, although fiction, sets the tone for an eye-opener of a past to present history life style of the results of a factual event.

When Kim is told of her of her rich parents death, her world as she knows it begins to crumble. She is used to being pampered and spoiled and now left with nothing, surprisingly turns to the Amerasian family chauffeur Bryan, while she figures out what to do next. Family ties are not always what they seem, and secrets never seem to come out in the open...or will they? As Kim tries to function in the strange new life Bryan introduces her to, a new feeling of compassion sparks in the reader for her. We feel the actual flavor and customs of this new place, and understand a different culture that maybe most of us are not familiar with.

Linda       
Social classes are a strong point in this novel, one in which the characters are in constant struggle to overcome. Bryan with his amazingly physical features, reveals quite a few surprises, some tender, some harsh, and here is where we learn the meaning of the title of the book. Christian faith is the main thread running through this novel, keeping hope alive for the characters, even though they might not realize why things happen for any given circumstance.

This novel has a consistent rhythm, adding surprise after surprise, twisting our emotions at each new difficulty Kim faces. I couldn't put this book down, waiting to see if any or all the ends would be tired up. I would actually like to see the novel transcend into a movie. An amazing read.

                              Amazon Review


 
 

Wait for Me ... by Suzanne Sanders Overstreet

It was July 1942. Dorothy Carlin says goodbye to her boyfriend Clyde Justin, as he leaves for boot camp. As she awaits his return, a twist of fate leads her to his best friend, Duane Sanders. Duane’s family has been through many hardships, but somehow manages to get through each setback without bitterness. Now they, along with an entire nation, do their part to bring home their sons and daughters and win the war. But not all of them will be coming home…


A story inspired by true events of hardship, loss, love and hope.

OUR REVIEW

Wait for Me by Susanne Sanders Overstreet grabs your heart within the first chapters. The reader is introduced to a warm and loving young family in which tragedy strikes quickly. Your heart breaks for them, although at the same time the author reassures us that their strong bonds of family love will keep them fighting to stay together to the best of their abilities during any hardships. 

This story continues with the lineage of the Sanders family and how they struggled through hard times and great sadness, but yet they always found a way to go forward and succeed in the best way they could at any given life situation. I felt the heart of the story picked up with Duane, (a few generations later in the story) as his life changes drastically when the War becomes in full swing. Saying any more will be a spoiler to the reader, but as the author puts it..."Now they, along with an entire nation, do their part to bring home their sons and daughters and win the war. But not all of them will be coming home..." 

Linda       
I personally enjoyed this story since it takes place in a neighboring town close to me, in fact one of the characters comes from my home town. The author touches on real life places that are recognizable and still in existence today which added a certain depth to the story. She also gives us interesting details about military life and the way soldiers were treated back then.

The heartfelt letters will bring tears to your eyes, as they reflect on the loneliness of soldiers away from home, missing the love from friends and family.

 A fabulous read about family love.
 
                   Amazon Review



 
 
 
GMPL
On an added note: Deb and I attended the book launch of Wait For Me, and had a wonderful time. Susanne is a lovely author and very passionate about her book. It was amazing to see some of the family there that she wrote about. Just want to share a couple of pictures...
                                                           
Dorothy
Suzanne    


  





The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines Kindle Edition  ... by Thomas Bruce


 They were left there to die. Six residents of a fledgling elderly care home. They however weren't done living and join together calling themselves Table 21. You're never too old. Never too old to live, to give, to learn, to challenge yourself, to be productive and to share your life perspective. That is what Table 21 learns during their time at The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines. Through their determination they create a home for those that have a life to live. Share this book with family and friends. It's inspirational, heart warming and funny. It’s thought provoking and starts the conversation: There’s got to be a better way to care for our parents.

A published author ravaged by dementia with stories still to be told, a retired detective who can’t turn off his investigative mind, an executive chef with nowhere to cook, a retired nurse who isn’t done caring, the retail executive with nowhere to sell, and a retired delicatessen owner who dreams of teaching his craft.

Thrown together by a simple table rotation at Chelsea Manor the six come together and form Table21. Their new home is soon taken over by Levi Jorgensen, an eighteen-year-old aspiring Olympic skier who, due to drug addiction, accidentally killed his grandmother.

In her will, Levi’s grandmother leaves the facility to him with instructions to renovate it into The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines. Levi however intends to sell the facility to land developers. Table 21, are a handful for Levi and escape on a three hundred mile journey to go and see a real Bristlecone Pine Tree to fulfill one of their dreams. They fight to keep their home, and what follows are the heartwarming hilarious adventures of Table 21 as they set out to prove that Levi is a drug addict who is stealing their medications.

Tragedy, however, touches both sides and causes them to open their hearts and minds to having empathy for their fellow human being.

Bristlecone Pines challenges the way we see and treat our elderly parents. It provokes change by reminding us they have amazing life perspective and can still be productive no matter what their age.
    

 
OUR REVIEW               
 
So ok, now that I've wiped the tears away, let's start on this deeply touching and moving story on not only the main six characters of The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines by Thomas Bruce, but the elderly population in our world.
 
We are introduced to the residents of Chelsea Manor through a new and scared elderly patient, just starting her journey in life with  Lewy Bodies Dementia. Being strong as she faces her new life style, she is embraced by a lively group of diverse people who have found and established a mischievous friendship with each other, and unite themselves as Table 21.
 
As life moves on, we learn that the new owner of Chelsea Manor is woven in the story with a somewhat devious plan of his own. His drug addiction and his physical handicap plays a big part of his mind set of not following through with bringing a fresh start to the Manor as stated in the will by his late Grandmother, Sadie.
 
There is more meaning to the changing of the name to The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines then we at first know. As tragedy hits, the reader is uplifted with  scriptures that have meaning not only to the residents in the story, but a gentle reminder to those of us who have aging, elderly parents. Being old doesn't mean you still can't be productive as we learn through these characters. Mixing love and sadness, keep a box of tissues at hand.

Linda     
 
This story brings a surprising collaboration of all the characters and their problems to an ending that, well, doesn't really end does it? As 
the author puts it..."We don't need to know all the answers, or how the story ends. We just need to pay attention to the chapter that's laid out before us."
 
 

 Amazon Review






The Bricks and Sticks of Life... by Lillian Corrigan

This inspiring novel based upon a true story will tug at your heartstrings and renew your faith in true love.

Handyman Mitch Conner personifies the meaning of mentor. Unlocking potential, he builds up both people and structures. Using the proper tools for each job, he shows how simple materials create exquisite results. Some lives become cottages, others estates, yet each is precious in its own way.

After losing his wife and home, Mitch is left haunted and longing. One moment of fate fulfills his dream to be part of a family. But when illness threatens to demolish it, Mitch relies on relationships—the concrete that fortifies our existence—in his battle to save himself once again. Bonds with loved ones deepen as they laugh, labor and learn the meaning of life.

Step into Mitch’s boots. Journey through seasons filled with joy, hardship and tests of will in this touching story about an everyday hero you will never forget.


OUR REVIEW


Lillian Corrigan grabs you right from the start with her catchy title, The Bricks and Sticks of Life. Building upon each character in this lovely story takes the reader through three phases of a family's emotional love and life for a period of time.

The Joyful Mysteries of Life introduces us to Mitch, a beloved father figure who has lost his loving wife whom he misses so deeply. Mitch, or teasingly called big "M", does his best to bring up his only son, affectionately called little "m" in a Godly manner. They are a well respected duo in their Church community.
 
The Sorrowful Mysteries of Life continues to build Lillian's characters in their growth of handling the unknown territory of a growing family that has flourished in love for one another, the respect of their relatives and church families while dealing with an uncertain future.

The Glorious Mysteries of Life explodes with emotions that will finally resolve in the acceptance of family issues that will only strengthen their faith in God.


Linda   
A book that was hard to put down as the reader will most certainly get involved with the love and faithfulness of God and family that was shared. As the author puts it..."Every day we purchase, gather, find, or experience bricks and sticks that build our lives. Each is a gift. Perhaps we're reminded to cherish loved ones, have faith in our higher power, or believe in ourselves."

A special note from the author on the last page will only enhance the reader's involvement of the story.


 








Archie of Outlandish ... by Lynnette Kraft (Author), Abigail Kraft (Illustrator), Jared Kraft (Narrator) 

Archibald Plumby cannot look up … well, at least not very far up. His entire life has been spent underneath the shelter of lowered ceilings and umbrellas, for the slightest glimpse upward sends him into a panic.

Archie has learned to live with his particular set of circumstances. In fact, he has an idyllic life in a picturesque coastal town called Outlandish. He lives with loving and accepting parents, eats fine food at his mother’s cliffside restaurant, and spends his days on the beach and in the town’s quaint streets in search of stories to write for his part-time job at the local newspaper.

On his twentieth birthday, as thoughts of the future begin to weigh on Archie’s mind, photographer Tallie Greenleaf comes to town and is drawn to this curious young man and his ever-present umbrella. She approaches him, hoping to get his permission to photograph him—but destiny has brought Tallie to Outlandish for so much more than a
photograph.  
     


OUR REVIEW


As I started to read Archie of Outlandish by Lynnette Kraft, I had the feeling that I just stepping into a dream world, narrated by a beloved gentle soul, who was setting the scene of a story that I hadn't a clue to what to expect, but knew something unique and unusual was about to happen. The town was called Outlandish, a perfect name for the residents that lived there...especially for a young man name Archibald Plumby, better known as Archie, to his dismay.

 

Archie was born with a fearful condition of not being able to look up without having a panic attack, and carried umbrellas, ate under the tables, and had a most unusual bedroom in which he felt safe. This behavior was accepted with love by his parents and townsfolk, who really never gave it a second thought as they accepted him as he was. He lived a quite life, observing and writing articles for the town paper Stay Afloat.

 
Just about the time of life that Archie was questioning his life, God intervenes and brings a young woman of interest into his life. What happens next is simply amazing, as the story flows with your emotions as the tides of this costal town.

 
I so felt this story was almost a metaphor for our lives that God hands to us, how we stay "Afloat" in our "Outlandish" lives, staying safe under our umbrellas.  Sometimes it takes an outsider to shake up our little perfect world we live in. The beautiful illustrations add so much warmth without overpowering the story line. An added bonus is the beautiful, haunting music that comes with this lovely story of trust, faith and love.
Linda    

 
Make sure you read the acknowledgment, as the credit is based out of love.

I truly see this story turned into a beautiful, faith based film with an exceptional score by this talented composer.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 Amazon Review

         






The Light of Dark: Leah, Tobias, Bethany, Jesse Box Set Kindle Edition  ... By D. Gail Miller                     

All Tobias, Bethany and Jesse Weaver really want to do is marry their Amish sweethearts, settle down in their own homes and raise their (hopefully large) families. (If only it could be that simple.) 

In the Light of Dark, three Amish siblings come face-to-face with a conspiracy of rebellion that has been passed down from generation to generation from ancient times and is about to explode in long-anticipated fulfillment. It's the very last thing the Weavers (or most anyone else) wanted to invade their lives!


OUR REVIEW    






The Light of Dark is a unique twist on the traditional Amish novel. D. Gail Miller introduces her readers to the norms of the quiet, secluded Amish community, while adding the extreme trials and turmoil of the English world that surrounds them.

The progression of the series flows from one character to the next, ultimately leading the family unit back together and renewing the strong bond they once had. Although there are many deep, dark and heavy issues within this story, D. Gail Miller allows all her characters to carry the burden of finding truth and justice. Along the way, each character finds that love prevails, even at the most difficult times.


Debra Sue     
This dystopian novel leaves no stone unturned when delving into the worldly issues we are facing today. D. Gail Miller shows her strong Christian background and beliefs as well as her passion for living for Christ which shines through all of her characters.
Amazon Review
 


  





 The Boy Who Walked A Way...By Nancy Janes  6/26/16                                                                                                 



With a deep and gentle meaning that is born of violent circumstances, The Boy Who Walked a Way is a rare young adult novel that appeals to both genders equally. Though born of Christian roots, this profound story is a perfect fit for readers of all backgrounds and faiths that truly inspires with its touching journey of self-discovery, belief, and personal mastery. With a rich and detailed world that has descended into out-of-control chaos, this grand novel is an epic, touching fantasy that will inspire and entertain for years to come.

OUR REVIEW

Debra Sue         
In the story, The Boy Who Walked A Way, youngster Jal Valyhn, desperate to find his parents and uncle, sets off on a remarkable journey with the help of two likable and loving guides. Along the way, many encounters lead Jal to ask questions of this great new country they are traveling through. He learns many new lessons along the way, things he hasn't even learned in his studies. He is highly motivated to reach his final destination in hopes of being reunited with his family.

The story starts out with Jal helpless and searching for his lost family during this time of war. He encounters what appears to be almost supernatural beings along the way that show Jal his sense of troubles will be turned into such great peace if he remains patient. Nancy Janes uses such descriptive language, really allowing the readers to envision what these unique characters and settings look like. Readers who love dystopian adventures will definitely want to pick up this book!


Amazon Review                              








Missing Piece...by Uzo Okoye

A desperate search for what ‘more’ there is to life, eventually leads John Williams to answers. But tragically, everything falls apart, just as his journey appears to be complete. His picture-perfect life is stripped apart - piece by piece - and lies in a crumpled heap. To make matters worse, a troubling dark secret from his past returns to haunt him.

Will John accept his new reality? Is he brave enough to fight for the truth? Or will the enticement to return to his seeming perfect past prove too much of a temptation to resist?


OUR REVIEW


At first read of Missing Piece by Uzo Okoye, I found myself not liking the opulent lifestyle of John Williams, high powered and most sought after lawyer in a prominent law firm. His son had shut John out of his life, daughter Lola retreated into her own shell, and his wife Amy was in a miserable state. Their marriage hanging on by a thread.


 
Realizing the strong emotions I was feeling while reading this story, reminded me that author Uzo Okeye had excellently penned the right words in such a fashion, that I was actually believing this story was true, and I was taking this family and their troubles to heart.



                                                                                                                                             
Linda     
As serious problems mounted with his firm and a suspicious event from his private life comes back to haunt him,  John's life spiraled into a bottomless pit, and the story unfolded by reveling each family member's past, and why they acted in the manner that they did. John reached out to an old friend, who had a completely different lifestyle from his. Decisions were made but the question remains, could life get any worse then it was, and will this new decision make a change?                                           

This story is as real as it can get. Even though the characters are more affluent then the average everyday person, a life without God is still void.