Monday, December 14, 2015

Review of "Trial Run" by Thomas Locke

Thomas Locke's new series, "Fault Lines" begins with a roller coaster ride of events. Scientists, kids who live on the edge, mercenary government officials, brilliant students; all come together for the purpose of something incredible - exploring the ability to essentially travel without bodies; to "ascend".

There are several main characters the author is introducing us to, and the book bounces back and forth between them. Students Trent & Shane have challenging backgrounds that are not fully revealed, but their intelligence is clearly off the charts. Reese Clawson is technically running an experiment for the government but has her own reasons for participating. She will do whatever it takes to right an undisclosed wrong. Gabriella & Charlie have worked together for years, and are initially unable or unwilling to tell each other the truth about how they feel.

With all of the bouncing back and forth, it is initially challenging to know who the "good" and "bad" guys are. And will the results of these experiments be used for good or evil? In my opinion, this is not at all a stand alone novel. I was not satisfied in the ending in that I wanted more, I wanted to know what happens next. I will gladly recommend this book and am eager to read the next one in this series.

I was given a free book from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Review of "Longing for Paris" by Sarah Mae

I first wanted to read this book because I, too, have ALWAYS wanted to go to Paris. However, when I realized the author was using Paris as a metaphor I became intrigued. This book focuses on how to navigate the tension of living a life that is filled with joy - whether you physically stay right where you are or make it to Paris tomorrow. The author shares parts of her personal story (she is very transparent), as well as the spiritual growth and discoveries she has made along the way.

Each chapter includes a section titled "Unearthing Your Longings" (thought provoking questions with supporting Scripture, so you can dig a little further.) There is also an "An Invitation to Paris!" section - specific activity instructions for a local or Parisian-like activity!

This is one of the best "Christian Life" books I've read in a while and it is very easy to recommend. You will both find it helpful and inspiring, as well as practical for your every day life.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Review of "Until the Dawn" by Elizabeth Camden

Sophie van Riijn is passionate about many things: her community, cooking, and the emerging weather sciences; but she is especially passionate about finding her purpose and meaning in life. She has even set up a volunteer weather station on the rooftop of Dierenpark, a magnificent estate owned by the Vandermark family on the Hudson river. However, the families' surprise arrival to take back the house they have left abandoned for decades soon turns out to be part of a plan to reduce it to rubble.

Quentin Vandermark is in constant pain due to a terrible leg injury, and it colors every moment of every day. He is determined not to be one of the "idle rich" and works as an architect, but as he has been incapacitated for some time, is just getting back to normal living. He is sent by his grandfather to Dierenpark specifically to create the best plan to level the house to the ground....all in an effort to eliminate the curse Nikolaas Vandermark believes is part of the property.

The author has layered numerous interesting characters into this story, which includes humor, romance - even a mystery! I have enjoyed every single one of Elizabeth Camden's books and this was one of my favorites. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Review of "Forgiven" by Terri Roberts with Jeanette Windle

Terri Roberts is the mother of Charlie Roberts, who was Nickel Mines Amish school shooter in October 2006. He shot 10 girls; five of them died before he then killed himself. It is a tragedy that affects many still today, and it created more questions than answers.

This book tells the firsthand account from a mother's perspective; both during the events as well as the fallout that came after; and it is definitely difficult to read at times. However, the overwhelming thread of forgiveness that is described in this book will move you to tears for such different reasons. The amount of grace shown in these relationships can only be described as supernatural. Certainly anyone would be hard pressed to understand how this could happen and would want to know WHY, but I especially loved the theme throughout that forgiveness was the choice they made. No matter what. And the Amish people directly involved, specifically affected, whose own children died that day - they still chose to forgive, and did so in very tangible ways.

This is a beautiful telling of how it is possible for good to come from evil, and that even when terrible things happen - with God truly anything is possible.

I was given a copy of this book by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review of "She's Almost a Teenager" by Peter & Heather Larson, David & Claudia Arp

What a great book for the parents of pre-teen/tween girls! (Even great for ages beyond) Focused on teaching parents how to better relate to their girl in practical ways through honest communication, this wonderful book provides different questions to ask and most importantly conversation starters on every topic in the book:
The Big-Picture Talk
The Friends Talk
The Academics Talk
The Body Talk
The Faith Talk
The Boys Talk
The Money Talk
The Tech Talk

Unpacked and explained in very simple ways, each chapter is frank and honest without being alarming or terribly painful. The authors share stories from their own experiences and provide simple ways to help your daughter navigate her way to adulthood with your guidance. It is easy to recommend this book!

I was provided a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review of "Rising Darkness" by Nancy Mehl

The third book in the Finding Sanctuary series, this story brings both this and the "Road to Kingdom" series full circle by including a few of their characters who have also found their way to Sanctuary.

Sophie Wittenbauer, the troubled teen from Kingdom is now Sophie Bauer, a newspaper writer with dreams of becoming an investigative reporter. She has made major strides to shed her former life and image, and comes to Kingdom in search of a criminal from a long-unsolved crime.

When she arrives her cover is soon compromised, and she is repeatedly threatened by an unknown adversary. However, she is determined to find the truth and continues to persevere in her investigation. Through it all she also discovers the God she has been running from is also one of those pursuing her.

I enjoyed this book as I have all the others (in both of these series) by Nancy Mehl. The mystery is good and the characters well written. I can easily recommend this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review of "Street God" by Dimas Salaberrios with Dr. Angela Hunt

From a very young age, Dimas Salaberrios was a drug dealer, convict, and eventual addict. He maintained a certain twisted morality, but did not shy away from violence to defend himself or protect his turf. This memoir is full of story after story of drug encounters and violence and all around disreputable behavior - but looking back, he knew the hand of God was on his life. Eventually Dimas (or Daylight as he was known on the street) was transformed by his relationship with Jesus and began to serve him wholeheartedly. To date, he pastors a church and continues to serve Jesus along with his wife Tiffany.

I usually love a good memoir and this definitely did not disappoint. This is not an area that I have much life experience with and I found his story to be fascinating. It is also a great example of how God can truly change a life and give true calling, passion, and purpose, no matter your background.

I was provided a free copy from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review of "Your Sacred Yes" by Susie Larson

For some reason, I had a really hard time getting started with this book (I am actually SUPER LATE with this review). :( The description looked great, I thought I was so interested...but then when it arrived I just didn't want to pick it up. I avoided even getting started. It's funny, I felt "obligated" to read it and "get something out of it" - and there it was, right in the title: "Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy" - so clearly, it was meant for me.

When I finally did pick it up, it didn't want to let me go. I will not say that this is an easy read. There is so much depth in this book, and if you are really to get something out of it a lot will be required of you. However, if you are willing to let the questions the author asks do their job, you will learn how you can actually have your "yes" be something that gives you fulfillment, instead of the dread and burden of obligation.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review of "A Bone to Pick" by Mark Bittman

This book is a collection of a number of Mr. Bittman's opinion columns from the past several years, most of them originally published in the New York Times. Some of the titles include: "The Right to Sell Kids Junk", "Dietary Seat Belts', "The Frankfurter Diaries", and my personal favorite, "Is Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes?"

If you are looking for a quick read, this is not it - each column is quite thought provoking and requires time to process. With words at a premium in a newspaper column you can easily see that he chose his very carefully - and this is a fascinating compilation. Whether you believe that our food system needs fixing, is great the way it is, or needs to be thrown out altogether - you will appreciate the conversation being started.

A Bone to Pick

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review of "Hope Harbor" by Irene Hannon

Accountant and Cranberry Farmer Tracy Campbell is floundering in life and in hope for her future. Perceiving that she is responsible for a terrible tragedy, she has thrown herself into work and volunteerism.

Michael Hunter's wife has recently passed away and he has come to Hope Harbor, Oregon to heal. He quickly finds himself making inroads into the community without even trying - and as scared as this makes him, he wonders if it is the best decision.

This story of healing for a number of relationships throughout this close-knit community is an inspiring message of renewed hope, and shows how a hurt is never wasted.

I was provided this book by Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Review of "In Good Company" by Jen Turano

Nanny Millie Longfellow just can't seem to hold a job. Her ways appear unorthodox to some, but her charges love her dearly....until their parents fire her.

High society gentleman Everett Mulberry is the newly appointed guardian to three seemingly incorrigible children - and he can't seem to keep a nanny. When the employment agency they both are affiliated with insist that they "deserve each other", a fragile alliance is formed.

Enter Everett's not-all-that-she-seems fiancĂ©e, peacocks, well meaning (but meddling) friends, and enough of a mystery to keep things interesting, this late 1800's romantic fiction story with a great dose of humor will be just the thing for your summer - or anytime! - reading.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review of "To Capture Her Heart" by Rebecca DeMarino

Book #2 in The Southold Chronicles, it is 1653 in the new world that is to eventually become Long Island, New York. Montaukett princess Heather Flower is kidnapped by a rival tribe. During the attack they also kill her new husband, Keme, and kidnap a number of other Montaukett women. Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren rescues Heather Flower, and quickly falls in love with her. Heather Flower is deeply wounded emotionally from her loss and the experience and goes to Southold to be with long time family friends and her aunt, focusing on recovery.

The conflict between the tribes, the Dutch, and the English settlers escalates and several of the prominent families struggle to navigate these new challenges as they create a new community. Heather Flower must decide between the Dutch Lieutenant and childhood friend Benjamin Horton, as they both try to win her heart.

This was an interesting read to me as I have not often read fiction set in this time period. However, I struggled with the romance portion of this story as the interactions seemed occasionally forced as well as inconsistent. For such a strong character as Heather Flower she waffles between the two, to the point that I questioned her thought process. Overall I feel lukewarm towards this book.

I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review of "Gone Without a Trace" by Patricia Bradley

This mystery/romance/suspense novel by Patricia Bradley is book 3 in the Logan Point series. It focuses on Livy Reynolds, a police officer who has suffered a traumatic on-the-job incident. Her confidence is deeply shaken - and although she is a workaholic, she is finally convinced to take some time to heal. She heads "home" to Logan Point and there...

...she meets Private Investigator Alex Jennings. He has something to prove, both to himself and his family. He takes the case of a missing woman who has specific and unusual things in common with Livy's missing cousin. They are drawn together both professionally and personally as they investigate.

Although I had not read Books 1 or 2, I was still able to enjoy this conclusion to the Logan Point series. I can easily recommend it for those who enjoy mysteries with a bit of romance and relationship drama sprinkled in.

I was provided this book by Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review of "The Innocent" by Ann Gabhart

A Shaker historical romance novel - sounds unusual, yes? In "The Innocent", Carlyn Kearney is at a crossroads. Her husband is listed as missing from the war and she doesn't know if she is a widow or not. She can barely feed herself and her home is owned by the town land shark - and he aims to collect one way or another. In desperation, she decides that God is leading her to join the Shaker community. However, she quickly learns that the peaceful lifestyle they profess still allows trouble to find her. Several people die under suspicious circumstances and there are those who think that the trouble started when she came to the village.

 Local Sheriff Mitchell Brodie is determined to find the truth behind the deaths and prove Carlyn's innocence - as well as win her heart. Can Carlyn's heart be won? Will she be free to decide how she truly wants to live? Read this book to find out!

I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review of "A Worthy Pursuit" by Karen Witemeyer

Another fun historical story from Karen Witemeyer! When the Academy for Exceptional Youths Schoolteacher Charlotte Atherton works at closes, she must make a decision to protect some of her students (primarily Lily) and flees with them. She soon finds herself being pursued by a tracker, hired by one of the student's grandfathers.

What tracker Stone Hammond doesn't know is that the wealthy grandfather who hired him to find Lily is really a dishonest man, and his reasons for wanting Lily are less than ethical. Also, Lily's mother named Charlotte as the guardian in her will - so he has no legal standing.

Charlotte and Stone soon find themselves on the same team, but the danger has not ended. How will they respond? Can it all work out in the end? Read this book to find out more about this romantic adventure set in the late 1800's.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review of "Desperate Measures" by Sandra Orchard

Book three in the Port Aster Secrets series, amateur sleuth Kate Adams and her now boyfriend Detective Tom Parker may finally resolve the truth about the mystery (miracle?) plant and get to the bottom of who is at the root of all the trouble.

Kate was a somewhat frustrating heroine for me, as she continually refused to trust Tom, trying to do everything on her own. Many of the challenges she faces are a direct result of her own doing and it was difficult to be sympathetic. Unfortunately, I became annoyed when she did this ONE MORE TIME (and another...and another...) Additionally, it seemed that the major player's speculations on who the bad guys are and how to solve this mystery rarely pan out - the characters don't seem especially savvy considering their intelligence level and occupations, and I found it hard to want to root for them. They repeatedly exercised poor judgment (and this was a regular occurrence throughout the series.)

To sum up, I feel very little about this book. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it. As always I will suggest that you read it for yourself and make your own decision!

I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review of "How to Tie a Tie" by Ryan Tristan Jin

"The Gentlemen's Guide to Getting Dressed", this handbook and personal valet for men is chock full of tips and tricks on how to make sure you find the perfect style for you. Included are historical tidbits and even a color wheel and chart to help you become a master mixer.

There are also step by step instructions on how to tie every tie you can think of, and yes, there are pictures! There's even a chapter on collar, cufflink, and jacket styles; followed by one that details accessories (collar stays, pocket squares, watches, shoes, etc.).

Who do you know that would love to up his game in this department? This would be a perfect gift for Father's Day or anytime of the year! Check it out!

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

How to Tie a Tie

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review of "Once Upon a Summertime" by Melody Carlson

Book 1 in the Follow Your Heart series, this lighthearted romance novel from prolific author Melody Carlson does not disappoint. Anna Gordon's life has not gone exactly as she planned or expected, but she's adjusting...isn't she? Until she has a crisis at work, a frank conversation with her grandmother, and simultaneously receives an offer she just can't pass up: the opportunity to move to New York City and work at a new boutique hotel in the heart of the city - a long time dream come true!

However, things are not always what they seem, and Anna soon discovers that she is stronger than she thinks. Will she thrive in her new life? Or just survive? Read this book to find out!

I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Review of "Untangled" by Carey Scott

What a beautiful dissection of the insecurities that plague us all to some degree - and the tools to unknot those tangles they create. Carey Scott is extremely transparent about the challenges she has experienced in her own life, and speaks so many great truths in this book. With chapters such as "The Tangled Web of Social Media" and "Tangled Up in Our Kids", she speaks to the numerous different ways we can become tangled up in life - unable to be free to live out what God has called us to do and be.

Many of the chapters end with "His Anchor" (relevant verses) and an "Untangling Prayer", along with some thought-provoking "Loosening the Knot" questions. This would be a great small group book as well as one for individual study. Truly, I cannot say enough good things about this book. Everyone should read it!

I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review of "Love's Rescue" by Christine Johnson

Book 1 in the Keys of Promise series, this historical romance novel highlights the expectations of a "perfect" Southern woman in the mid-1800's, with the flavor of the sea thrown in.

Elizabeth Benjamin has loved Rourke O'Malley for years. Unfortunately, he is not on her approved list of suitors and her family is determined that she marry "appropriately". Their opinion of appropriate far differs from hers, and much conflict ensues. To complicate matters, she soon learns that her father is at heart not the man she perceived him to be.

Add in crazy weather challenges, power and money struggles, slavery, and true love, and you have the formula for a good story with numerous twists and turns.

I received a copy of this book from Revell for my honest review.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review of "In Firefly Valley" by Amanda Cabot

Book 2 in the Texas Crossroads series, this installment continues with a focus on Marisa St. George, the daughter of Cook Carmen from Rainbow's End resort. In somewhat of a career crisis, she comes to work at the resort as well, and quickly meets undercover author Blake Kendall. He has a major case of writer's block and is a long term guest at the resort in an attempt to find his purpose. They are drawn together but challenges quickly arise..... will they be able to find happiness, together?

Although there were parts of this story I enjoyed, I had a difficult time finding affection for Marisa's character. Absolutely my opinion, but she was not especially likeable. I realize that conflict is needed for a book to be realistic, but I struggled to root for her. I would, however, encourage you to read it for yourself - and see what you think!

I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review of "As Love Blooms" by Lorna Seilstad

Book three of "The Gregory Sisters" trilogy, this installment focuses on the youngest sister, whirlwind Tessa. Recently and unfairly expelled (but unwilling to share that information with anyone she loves) from the university where she has been studying horticulture, Tessa attempts to get a job designing gardens at the very prestigious local park. Although she is very gifted, the park superintendent is unwilling to hire her. She conspires with gardener Reese King - who is a hard worker but believes he lacks the artistry Tessa exudes. Together, they use Tessa's designs paired with Reese's assignment to create a special garden, to help Reese win a promotion.

Aunt Sam continues to fight for women's suffrage, and Tessa's older sisters have their own challenges. Through it all they discover a deeper meaning of conviction and the important role that deep honesty plays in any relationship.

I have not read the first two books in this series, and could still enjoy this one. However, I truly enjoyed it enough that I will go back and read the first two! A fun, lighthearted romance with a deeper meaning along with a little mystery, I can easily recommend this book.

I was given this book by Revell for my honest review.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Review of "No Place to Hide" by Lynette Eason

The third book in her "Hidden Identity" series, this story focuses on the plight of Ian Lockwood, who works at Wainwright Labs and is accused of plotting bio-terrorism. He is helped by longtime friend, Jackie Sellers, a former police officer with very specialized skills. From the first chapter they are on the run and the author does not let up the pace until the very end.

Taking the viewpoint of a number of different characters throughout the book, this story grabbed my attention, was well paced, and has an ending that was not predictable. I recommend this book for anyone who likes a good action and mystery novel.

I was given a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Review of "How to Get Dressed" by Alison Freer

What a GREAT concept for a book! Costume Designer Alison Freer has written a manual for shopping, a manual for your closet, a manual on clothing care....the list goes on and on. With a sense of humor throughout, she teaches how to store your clothes, find a tailor, and even great closet hacks. I really can't say enough good things about this book. Beautifully designed and chock full of helpful information, this is an important must have for anyone with....clothes.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

How to Get Dressed

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review of "Every Bride Needs a Groom" by Janice Thompson

One of my favorite light hearted romantic comedy authors, Janice Thompson has herself a winner with her latest, "Every Bride Needs a Groom" - the first in the 'Brides with Style' series. Our heroine, Katie, loves everything about weddings and has been planning hers for practically forever. She comes from a small Texas town and is sure that her long time boyfriend is the one. She even goes as far as to enter a contest to win a custom wedding dress - and wins!

However, the boyfriend takes a job in another city without mentioning it to her and then promptly breaks up, and her plans are all turned upside down. Enter numerous fun extended family members in Dallas (aka the BIG city) and new friends at the bridal shop, and the story takes off.

This is a fun and touching story of how to adjust when things change - and they just may turn out even better than they were before. I can easily recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review of "Buried Secrets" by Irene Hannon

The first book in her new "Men of Valor" series, author Irene Hannon provides an acceptable suspense story that introduces the first of the McGregor boys (the "Men of Valor.")

Mac McGregor is a former Navy SEAL turned detective, who is called to a local small town to assist in a suspected homicide investigation. A skeleton has been turned up by a construction crew preparing the land for building. His brothers (who presumably will be the focus of the next two books) are also introduced.

Police Chief Lisa Grant has left the big city and police department in Chicago for her own reasons and is settling in to her relatively new life with a slower pace. She and Mac have an instant connection and begin to work together to solve the case. Turns out the body was buried years ago, and someone is very desperate to ensure that no one discovers the real reason why.

I enjoyed this story and can recommend it to anyone who enjoys solving a good mystery with just enough suspense to keep you engaged. I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Review of "The Legacy" by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

The final book in the Restoration Series, co-authored by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley, focuses on youngest son Doug. He has been somewhat of a peripheral character in the previous books, but in this one we see more about his life and what has been going on in his head. And it's not good.

Doug is away fro home at college and not only dabbles on the edge of what he knows is right; his heart feels entitled, and his family annoys him. His friends want nothing to do with the faith of his family and continually pull him in the opposite direction. However, Doug's pulling away doesn't just affect him, it ripples to his parents and siblings, and especially to his friend Christina. She cares deeply for him but is convinced he could never feel the same.

A loose re-telling of the story of the Prodigal, Doug will soon have to choose between what he knows is right and what he wants at the moment.

I have followed this series closely and enjoyed each book. This one, although still good, was not my favorite. I felt that Doug had a bland personality and therefore I was less interested in finding hope for his future. The ending was as expected and very fast. I didn't see a build up and true change of his heart. I can easily recommend these authors, as I have read most (if not all) of their books and have enjoyed them all. "The Legacy" was simply not a favorite for me.

I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review of "The Creole Princess" by Beth White

Book 2 in the Gulf Coast Chronicles, this story focuses on Lyse Lanier, a Creole girl with spunk and passion. Set in 1776 in Mobile and New Orleans, the Colonies are finding their place in the fight for independence. Lyse is best friends with the British Commander's daughter (and she is the daughter of the town drunk.) Fiercely loyal, Lyse soon meets Don Rafael Maria Gonzales de Ripparda, a charming and supposed merchant from New Orleans. She quickly finds her loyalties put to the test as the political climate (slavery? independence? social standing?) is rapidly changing and she is growing up.

Although I struggled to really engage in this book at first, I am really glad I stuck it out. The author's telling of the time rings true and she weaves a great deal of historical fact in to the story in a natural way. I recommend this book and am looking forward to reading more from this author.

I was given a copy of this book by Revell publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Review of "Trisha's Table" by Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood has always been really interesting to me. I've admired her as a singer for years and periodically watch Trisha's Southern Kitchen on the Food Network, so I was excited to check out this cookbook. I surprised myself however, when I literally read it from cover to cover. In one sitting.

Broken into categories of: Breakfast, Snacks & Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Beef & Pork, Chicken, Turkey, & Fish, Pasta, Sides, Cakes, Cupcakes, & Pies, and Cookies, Brownies, Bars, & more. She offers tips throughout including ways to convert tools, oven vs. microwave, quick tricks, and even how to make cashew cream! There were at least 25 recipes I am excited to try immediately (and that is unusual for me so you can imagine my enthusiasm).

I particularly enjoyed that this is real food for anyone, truly - and her simple directions imply that anyone could prepare these dishes successfully. She also includes fun family stories and pictures, and is very transparent about her feelings about food. There are also conversion suggestions for improved health. :)

It is easy to say that I recommend this book!

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review of "When Grace Sings" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

The second book in the Zimmerman Restoration trilogy, this book focuses on the three stories of B & B operator Alexa Zimmerman, cousin Anna-Grace Braun, and reporter Briley Forrester.

Briley, a tabloid news reporter, has come to the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville to prove those in the community are not all they seem to be. He is determined to find a scoop and therefore make a name for himself - and believes by living in the community and befriending people he will "get the dirt".

Anna-Grace is to marry Steven, a farmer with a homestead in Arborville, who secretly dreams of becoming a teacher. She comes to the Arborville community to see if she feels she can live there. Anna-Grace has recently discovered her birth family also live in this community, but she is reticent to learn who they are and meet them.

Alexa has also discovered that her background is not what she thought it was, and she struggles to find a place she belongs. Supported by the kindness of the Zimmerman family, as well as a budding friendship with Briley, she slowly begins to reconcile with the situation.

I have not yet read the first book in this series, but can confidently say that "When Grace Sings" is still a complete story. Filled with interesting characters and full of conflict, this story will satisfy those looking for a good read. I can easily recommend this book and look forward to more from this author.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review of "Magnetic" by Lynn Cowell

What a great find for not only teen girls but girls of all ages! Lynn Cowell's book, "Magnetic", asks just what it takes to become a magnetic person - one who is beautiful inside and out and attracts people, as their confidence is based in God and not others or their outfits or abilities. Lynn asks numerous questions throughout the book (and there is space for your answers). There are also quizzes to test your level of magnetism. Each chapter focuses on a different fruit of the spirit, and the wisdom here is incredible. My teenage daughter is reading it now and it is giving us lots to talk about!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review of "Emissary" by Thomas Locke

Emissary, the first book in the new Legends of the Realm series from Thomas Locke, tells the tale of good vs. evil in a fresh and interesting way. The Realm is being threatened by a dark and mysterious force. Young man Hyam, who has just turned 21, is attempting to learn about his heritage after his mother's passing. When he is attacked, he finds that he is able to respond in a very unusual way. As magic has been banned from the Realm for ages, Hyam is at first taken aback by his newfound powers, but then realizes that the threat to his world is real - and he must respond.

Thomas Locke has created an interesting cast of characters as well as an intricate world with his Realm. I would have especially enjoyed for the author to include a map of the Realm to assist in sorting out their travels. Regardless, I enjoyed this book - I found it both creative and interesting. I am looking forward to the next one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.