Saturday, December 29, 2018

"I'd Rather Be Reading," by Anne Bogel

"I'd Rather Be Reading," by Anne Bogel


Reading isn't just a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Books shape, define, and enchant us. They are part of who we are and we can't imagine life without them. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads you to remember the book that first hooked you, the place where you first fell in love with reading, and all the books and moments afterward that helped make you the reader you are today. 

If you're looking for a gift for someone who loves to read, this book is the perfect gift for them.  If you love to read, this book is a must read for you.   This book will remind us why we love reading; it will make you remember things from your life that's connected to books.  This book will make you think about why you read and how reading connects with the rest of your life.

I personally found that each chapter I read; I could relate to what Anne was telling us.  When she talked about libraries; I too remembered about the times I used to go to the library.  I rarely go now; something I need to remedy.  When she talked about reading to your children, I remembered those times, and how I love to read to my grandchildren now.

Stars out of 5 : 5 A great little book, well worth reading, and well worth gifting to a fellow reader.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. "

"Mind Games," by Nancy Mehl

"Mind Games," by Nancy Mehl
FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn's methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She's done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she's the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely's, it seems her old life has followed her.

When a body is found that fits the poem's morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely must race to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

Never has there been a more appropriate title for a book than this one.  It totally plays games with your mind when reading it.  You think you have the killer's identity figured out and then the story pulls you another way.  Again thinking it is this person and then the story twists another way.  You are sitting on the edge of your seat needing to know what happens next.

Throw in great characters and you have a winner of a book.  This is the first in the Kaely Quinn Profiler series, the next book is due out in August of 2019, and it will be a must read.  

Stars out of 5 : 5 It had me hooked from the beginning.  Plenty of twists and turns keeps you engrossed in the story line.  You HAVE to know what happens next, and at time it leaves your heart pumping and you breathless as you are sucked into a great story.  Well done Nancy, this book was great!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"Made for the Journey," by Elisabeth Elliot

"Made for the Journey," by Elisabeth Elliot

In this deeply personal account of her first year as a missionary, Elisabeth Elliot shares the challenges she faced as she worked in the jungles of Ecuador to bring the Word of God to a people virtually untouched by the outside world. With fascinating detail, she captures the stark realities of life in the jungle, the difficulties she encountered while developing a written language for the tribe, and her confusion when God didn't "cooperate" with her efforts to accomplish what she believed was His will.

More than just a memoir, Made for the Journey is a beautifully crafted and deeply personal reflection on the important questions of life and a remarkable testimony to authentic Christian obedience to an unfathomable God.


I have very mixed feelings about this book.  On one hand it was interesting to read about what a missionary did in the jungles of Ecuador.  However on the other hand I questioned what on earth they were doing there.  This person were being paid to do what; write the language of a tribe that didn't really want to have their language documented?  

I ended up having more and more questions about this book and the way of life of these missionaries than I did have answers.  I feel bad as this author is well respected and well published, but this book did not feel as though it had a reason to be published.  It's not a book I would run out and buy.  It's a book I wouldn't read again.

Stars out of 5 : 2 It seemed like a pointless exercise reading this book.  Sorry, having four missionaries in one small village/town seemed very excessive also, especially when there was a Catholic Priest and Nun in the same village/town also.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Once we were Strangers," by Shawn Smucker

"Once we were Strangers," by Shawn Smucker

In 2012, Mohammad fled his Syrian village along with his wife and four sons. Four years later he sat across from Shawn Smucker in a small conference room in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Though neither of them knew it, Mohammad had arrived in Shawn's life just in time.

This is the story of a friendship. It is the story of a middle-aged writer struggling to make a living and a Syrian refugee struggling to create a life for his family in a strange and sometimes hostile land. It's the story of two fathers hoping for the best, two hearts seeking compassion, two lives changed forever. It's the story of our moment in history--and the opportunities it gives us to show love and hospitality to the sojourner in our midst.


This book is so relatable in today's world, where people are being displaced all over the world and are having to live in countries where they were not born.  I really enjoyed this book as although we chose to come to Canada, we too started our lives over in another country from where we were born.  So I could relate to many things that Mohammad and his family went through.

Although we spoke English, our accents caused some issues along the way and even after 30 years, we occasionally run into issues!!  I could also relate to Moradi and Mohammad wanting a better life for their boys; we too wanted that for our children.  Also the trials and tribulations of making new friends in another country is, and can be a challenge.

Stars out of 5 : 5 The quote, "never judge a book by it's cover," applies here.  Our lives are enriched by new experiences and the making of new friends from different cultures and backgrounds, and this book proves that.  Well worth the read.........especially when you see what is going on all over the world.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"The Cost of Betrayal," by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey & Lynette Eason

"The Cost of Betrayal," by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey & Lynette Eason

Dee Henderson - "Betrayed"After serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she didn't commit, Janelle Roberts is finally freed. But the truth is still waiting to be discovered, and a murderer is still at large. Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another act of treachery.

Dani Pettrey - "Deadly Isle"Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer before they become the next victims?

Lynette Eason - "Code of Ethics"When Detective Isaac Martinez lands in the ER with a gunshot wound, he pulls through thanks to trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John. But as the witness to a crime and possible corruption, Martinez is at risk from someone intent on silencing him--and those around him--forever. When he barely survives another attack while recovering, both he and Ruthie must flee, trying to outrun deadly killers while locating the evidence they need to end the danger.

This is not the first time I have read a book that includes three "Novella's" in it, instead of the normal one full length book and I must say I really enjoy this concept, as you get a taster of how each author writes.  I am reasonably familiar with Dee Henderson and Lynette Eason's book, not as much with Dani Pettrey.   Think of it of having a plate of tapas, or appetizers in a restaurant.

I will say I enjoyed Dani's book the most.  It was fast paced and too the point.  I found Dee's a little long winded and Lynette's was good as well.  I would read books from all these ladies again and if you're not familiar with these authors, this book would be a good way of being introduced to them.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  A good read, lots of mystery, action, and romance a perfect combination to my mind.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"Everything She Didn't Say," by Jane Kirkpatrick

"Everything She Didn't Say," by Jane Kirkpatrick
In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir sharing some of the most exciting events of twenty-five years of shaping the American West with her husband, railroad promoter and writer Robert Strahorn. Nearly ten years later, she's finally ready to reveal the secrets she hadn't told anyone--even herself.

Certain that her writings will be found only after her death, Carrie confronts the pain and disappointment of the pioneering life with startling honesty. She explores the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man. She reaches for the courage to accept her own worth. Most of all she wonders, Can she ever feel truly at home in this rootless life?


I have to say I am a big fan of Jane Kirkpatrick's books.  The depth of research she does into each of her books is remarkable and this one is no exception.  I did find it a little slow going to start with, but the more chapters I read the more engrossed in the story I became.

This book makes you think of all the hardship and all the high's and low's that the Strahorn's went through.  It made me question if I would have done the same if it were my husband and I going through the same trials and tribulations.

They had an amazing life and saw some amazing things, but always Carrie felt as though she had no roots.  Not many people would be able to do that.  Also being able to live with a man who constantly gambled away their lifestyle and their security would be trying for the most patient of people.  You MUST read the authors notes, as they are really interesting; as is the author interview.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  It was a little bit of a slow start, but got more and more interesting the more you got into the book.  Another book by Jane that is a winner in my eyes.  Well worth the read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"A Secret To Die For," by Lisa Harris

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret--and a target on her back. When one of her clients is murdered, Grace quickly realizes that computer security specialist Stephen Shaw wasn't suffering from paranoia. What she doesn't know is that someone believes Shaw gave her a vital piece of information before he died--and they are ready to silence her at any cost. Her only hope may be an old friend, Detective Nate Quinn, who has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed his partner and left him dealing with PTSD.

From the very first page too the last you are on the edge of your seat with this fast paced book. I felt myself holding my breath while reading passages of the book, as it was so riveting.  The book had my attention right from the very first page.  I needed to know what was going to happen next.  The whole who-dun-it aspect of the book remained a mystery, right to the last couple of chapters.

This was a book that holds your attention and draws you right into the plot and the characters.  I love the way Lisa writes.  Also you know she has done her fact checking as everything seems spot on, with all the little details she adds into the book.

Stars out of 5 : 5 A solid 5 at that.  Loved this book from the start to the finish.  I have nothing negative to say about it, it is well worth your time reading this.  It reminded me of being on a roller coaster with all the twists and turns and how fast paced the book was.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, October 5, 2018

"The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond," by Jaime Jo Wright

"The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond," by Jaime Jo Wright

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and Midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant facade. Yet her strange and sudden inheritance of a run-down trailer home--full of pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters--leaves her wholly unprepared for how truly dark and deadly those secrets may be.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove is stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, while working at her father's newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon's son to solve the crime, it becomes clear that a reckoning has come to town--but it isn't until another obituary arrives at the paper that they realize the true depths of the danger they've waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must unravel the mysteries of their own town before it's too late and they lose their future--or their very souls.


So this is the second book by Jaime Jo Wright that I have read, the first was I reviewed is here.  I said in that review I wouldn't be reading any more by her, as I found that going back and forward between the two women's stories confusing.  However, I found this one a bit easier to understand as I now know how this author writes and know what to expect.

It was the same as the last book, you were kept on your toes, you need to pay attention to what is going on and when everything is revealed you will say "I would never have guessed that."  Annalise secret is revealed towards the beginning to the middle of the book, whereas Libby's is revealed closer to the end, so that was interesting.    The "whodunit" in Annalise story was a bit lack lustre, but Libby's made total sense and as I said I never guessed either.

I will say I do admire how Jaime's mind work when writing books, as you wondering all along how she came up with this story.  The authors notes do fill you in on it.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 and a solid 4.5 at that.  Now that I have read a couple of her books I find it a bit easier to understand her writing.  Well worth the read, as long as you can bounce back and forward between the two stories.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Sunday, September 30, 2018

"River to Redemption," by Ann H. Gabhart

"River to Redemption," by Ann H. Gabhart
Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions.

Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll need all of the courage and strength she possesses--and more.


I found this book a very slow start, it took me a while to get immersed into it, but once I did I had to keep reading it to find out what happened next.  However what the really remarkable thing about this story is it is based on a true story.  The slave Louis did exist in real life and what he did during the cholera epidemic really happened.  Make sure you read the authors notes at the end.

The fact that Ann weaved this story around the true facts makes the book feel even more life like.  You can't help but love Adria and what she stands for.  The details that Ann adds to her books are what makes her writing so good and her books well worth reading.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  I really struggled to get fully immersed into this book; otherwise I really enjoyed this story.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"The Best of Intentions," by Susan Anne Mason

"The Best of Intentions," by Susan Anne Mason

She Swore to Protect Her Nephew at Any Cost. But What if That Price is a Chance at Love?
In the aftermath of WWI, Grace Abernathy is determined to reunite her family, crossing an ocean to convince her widowed sister to return home to England. Yet, in Toronto she discovers more tragedy--her nephew Christian in the custody of his paternal relatives, the formidable Easton family, who rejected Grace's sister because of her low social status.

Unconvinced the Eastons can be fitting caretakers, Grace uses an assumed name to secure the position of Christian's nanny and moves into the Easton estate. There she can observe the family up close, while ensuring Christian's well-being. In the course of her new role, she is shocked to find herself falling in love with Andrew Easton, the boy's guardian. Unfortunately, Andrew is promised to a spoiled socialite who is sure to make a terrible stepmother for Christian. Will Grace be able to protect her nephew . . . and her heart?


This is the first book in Susan's "Canadian Crossing," series and I have to say it was a good start.  The one thing you will say when reading this book is that the title of the book is very appropriate as all along Grace has only the best of intentions with what ever she does.  It may not appear that way all the time, but she has no malice in her heart.

You won't be overly surprised at how the story plays out, but there are a number of twists and turns that keep the story interesting.  It's one of those books where you don't really have to concentrate to keep up with the story. A nice light read is how I like to put it.

What also made it interesting was that the story was set in Toronto, so it felt very familiar.

Stars out of 5 : 4 A good book to pick up and read over a couple of days.  The next book in the Canadian Crossings series will be published in March of 2019.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

"The Lady of Tarpon Springs," by Judith Miller

"The Lady of Tarpon Springs," by Judith Miller

In 1905 Tarpon Springs, Florida, Zanna Krykos values the independence her career as a lawyer gives her from her very traditional Greek family and the pressure they put on her to find a husband. When a friend inherits a sponging business, Zanna finds herself agreeing to run it for her . . . even though she doubts her legal skills make her qualified.

When offered the chance to lead a team of sponge divers to the United States, experienced Greek diver Nico Kalos can't imagine a better opportunity. But his excitement quickly quells when their team arrives only to discover that a young woman with no experience will be their boss. For the sake of his men and the families they support, he can't let the business fail.

But when both the business and the lives of the employees are threatened, can Zanna and Nico set aside their pride and come together to save what matters most?


I have to say this was an interesting book, as I didn't know that there was a sponge business in tarpon Springs.  The detail about that business was something new and I liked how the story intertwined the story of Zanna and Nico with the growing sponging businesses of Tarpon Springs.

There was enough ups and downs in the story for you to be kept interested in it, but the details were what captured my interest.  A bit of light heartiness was added with the Rochester sisters; and I think a book could be written just about them!  Make sure you read the note to reader, at the end of the book; again very interesting.

Stars out of 5 : 4 Easy book to read; not overly complicated and a different subject matter in the sponging business.  Perfect book to keep you entertained over an afternoon or two.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

3 Historical Romance Novellas of Everlasting Love

3 Historical Romance Novellas of Everlasting Love

Stories of Love That Will Last through Every Tomorrow
Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund, and Elizabeth Camden are among the most acclaimed authors in the historical romance genre--their novels have won a RITA award, a Christy Award, a Christian Book Award, and multiple Carol Awards. These beloved writers offer for the first time ever in print three unforgettable historical novellas that celebrate true love:

Karen Witemeyer's "Worth the Wait" takes readers to the Harper's Station women's colony, where a single mother must overcome pain and fears of the past in order to trust a gruff but kind freighter who has helped the women expand their business.

Jody Hedlund's "An Awakened Heart" follows a young widow into the shadows of New York's tenements, where she and a newly appointed minister spar over the best way to care for the poor and orphaned.

Elizabeth Camden's "Toward the Sunrise" finds a female medical student trying to overcome the ramifications of a decision that leaves her at the mercy of a stubborn but handsome attorney.


The neat thing about this book is there are three short stories from authors books I enjoy reading.  Also the stories are prequel's  to series they wrote.  So it's the best of both worlds; if you have already read the books in these series, you will be familiar with the characters and the set up of the stories.  If you haven't read anything by these authors, this will give you a taste of their writing and what their following books in their series will be all about.  Win, win in my opinion.

Each story is only a novella, so doesn't take a lot of reading, so you can read one story one day, save another for another day.  You don't have to read them in sequence, as each one is by a different author.  Falling in love is the common theme for all three novella's along with faith.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Loved reading these novellas.  Great that they were all in one book.  Brought back memories of each of the series that I have read.  Well worth reading.  This was my first experience reading a novella, and I hope it won't be my last as I thoroughly enjoyed reading these ones.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"The Accidental Guardian," by Mary Connealy

"The Accidental Guardian," by Mary Connealy
She's the Only Witness to a Wagon Train Attack. Keeping Her Safe, Though, Means His World Is about to be Turned Upside Down.
When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes an attack by the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he's finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail. He'd hoped the days of driving off dangerous men were over, but the latest attack shows otherwise.
 
Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace becomes an accidental guardian when he offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until they can safely continue their journey. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.
 
Trace and Deborah find themselves drawing ever closer as they work together to bring justice to the trail and help the group survive the winter--but every day closer to spring means a day closer to leaving the mountains forever.


This is the first book in the "High Sierra Sweethearts" series and what a good start.  Loved all the characters and and the story line for this book.  How Trace and Deborah met had you rooting for them right from the start.  The small details that Mary added just made the story even more believable.  At times you felt as though you were right with them going through what they were going through.

There were a number of ups and downs and a couple of little surprises interspersed in among it all.  I learned a little about the Lake Tahoe, Nevada area; an area I am not at all familiar with.  One thing I really enjoyed was Trace's total bewilderment with all things female.  Made for a number of rolling your eyes moments.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Really enjoyed this book, managed to read it in one day, when I had set aside to read, it was that good.  The second in the series will be released in October of 2018 and I for one will be reading it.  Great book and well worth reading; and funnily enough I am not a huge Western/Cowboy fan.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"A Most Noble Heir," by Susan Anne Mason

"A Most Noble Heir," by Susan Anne Mason


When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing once their marriage is sanctioned by God that Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between his dreams for tomorrow and his father's demanding expectations.

Forces work to keep the couple apart at every turn, and a solution to remain together seems farther and farther away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from Hannah, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.


I enjoyed this book.  Loved how the author made the characters come alive and feel very real.  I enjoyed the back story of Nolan and Hannah.  My only criticism is the way the "miracle" was written in, not making it very believable in my opinion.  

The relationship between the father and son was written well.  There was enough drama in the story to keep it interesting.  I enjoy the Victorian time period and I enjoyed how the author added all the extra details to the story to make it even more true to life.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  For the most part the story was great and you ended up rooting for Nolan and Hannah.  It's not a mystery as to how the book will end.  It's a great book to read while on vacation, as the story is easy to follow.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"A Chance at Forever," by Melissa Jaegars

"A Chance at  Forever," by Melissa Jaegars

Determined to protect the children of Teaville, Kansas, from the bullying she experienced as a child, Mercy McClain finds fulfillment working at the local orphanage and serving on the school board. When Aaron Firebrook, the worst of her childhood bullies, petitions the board for a teaching position, she's dead set against his getting the job.

Aaron knows he deserves every bit of Mercy's mistrust, but he's returned to his hometown a changed man and is seeking the forgiveness of those he wronged. He doesn't expect Mercy to like him, but surely he can prove he now has the children's best interests at heart.

Will resentment and old wounds hold them back, or can Mercy and Aaron overcome the past in time to battle the threats against the future of the town's orphans?


This is the third book in the Teaville Moral Society series and like the others was an entertaining book.  The main characters, were realistic and you could feel their pain and worry throughout the book.  It was one of my "shopping list" type of books where, it didn't require you to have to concentrate really hard to understand the story; making it a great book to take on vacation.

Stars out of 5 : 3 I enjoyed reading the book, but I am afraid I won't remember it in a couple of weeks.  It needed more depth to it and more of a plot line.  Some books I have a lot to write about when I have read them, this isn't one of those.  Well worth borrowing it from the library if you have a couple of free afternoons set aside to do some light reading.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis With her parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller find...