Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging For Books program for free for my honest review of this book.

Book Description:
Imprisoned by memories, Claudia Campbell lives each day in the shadow of a ten-year-old murder. Who can set her free?

On the way home from a football game, a decade earlier, a masked gunman opened fire on a Texas school bus. Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington was killed, but her murderer was never found. Claudia, who had a close friendship with the young, spirited teacher, constantly relives the anguish of that day, caught in one moment in time. When her husband, the assistant district attorney, becomes determined to uncover the mystery of that tragedy, the secrets buried over the years threaten to tear their family apart.

Officer Casio Hightower will never forget the day his dreams were destroyed. A star quarterback with a promising future, Casio was on top of the world—until one bullet changed everything. He is eager to help Victor Campbell find B.J.’s killer, the man who shot him. Maybe solving the case will help silence the demons driving Casio to hurt the woman he loves.

As the Campbells and Casio teeter on the brink of losing everything, will they be able to discover that what begins at the crossing ends at the cross?


My Thoughts:
The Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes is a phenomenal story of a 10 yr old murder that was never solved but the effects on those involved are lasting. B.J. Remington was murdered on a school bus coming back from a high school football game as it waited at the train tracks for the train to go through. A football star, Casio, had his career cut short trying to attack the gunman. Claudia Campbell was a cheerleader and B.J.'s best friend even though B.J. was a teacher and the cheerleading coach. Claudia's husband, Victor, is the ADA and with the help of Casio, they have reopened B.J's case. This opens a lot of wounds especially for Casio and Claudia. As questions start getting asked more comes out and they find things are definitely not what they seem.

This story was just, WOW. I love Serita Ann Jakes. I have listened to her preach and teach for a few years now and have read some of her nonfiction. The Crossing just blew me away. This book became part of me as I could not put it down for very long. Where I found a few minutes to stop and read it, I did. This book not just follows those living through this but also follows what B.J Remington goes through after she is shot until her last breath. Serita Jakes writes about God's forgiveness and God's love no matter what the sin. The way she wrote this book I felt like I was right there watching this all unfold and all of the characters were connected to one another in one way or another. It is a hauntingly beautiful story of life and death, sin and forgiveness, and letting go and moving on with life. I recommend this book to everyone!! This book is one that will stay in my memory for a long time. I look forward to reading more by Serita Jakes!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Women Of Faith Imagine 2011

As I have stated in many a book review I do reviews through booksneeze.com and they offered tickets to the Women of Faith events in cities all over the US including Milwaukee, Wi with the agreement that you will blog on your experience. So I signed up for it. I have wanted to attend a WOF event for the last 2 years but unfortunately we haven't had the funds for me to go with our church group. I figured I had nothing to lose by trying, worse case, didn't get picked. So a few months ago booksneeze.com had posted on Facebook that those who were selected to attend WOF through them received emails letting them know. So I checked my email and didn't see anything....did a search in my email since I don't always see my emails. Did not have anything....felt a little disappointed but hey, no biggie....nothing lost here.

A month ago I received an envelope in the mail from WOF and was confused. But figured it was probably an advertisement or something from them. So I opened the envelope and found 2 tickets for the event. I was floored, since I didn't receive the email I had no idea how I got these tickets. On top of that I thought the booksneeze thing was only one ticket. So I called the number for WOF and found out that in fact it was a ticket for me and one for a friend and they were compliments of booksneeze.com. So excited. I spoke with my friend Jolene, to see if she wanted to go with me to the event and found out she got the same envelope and no email. So she had 2 tickets also....I feel so blessed to have been picked to go to this event.

I know God truly blessed me, on top of all of this found out 2 weeks ago I need surgery on my gallbladder and a liver biopsy and the event is before my surgery so I feel so blessed that I can go before the surgery happens and really get to enjoy myself and be open to God's word. So check back here to read my review of this awesome conference! Can't wait to go and share it with all of you!!

Copy and Paste this link into your browser to check it out!! : http://www.womenoffaith.com/events/2011-events/milwaukee/

Monday, September 19, 2011

Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for free for my honest review of this book.

Book Description
Special Agent Meghan Connors’ dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president’s rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he’s also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn’t the work of a single suspect—it’s part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it’s too late.


My Thoughts:
WOW!!! Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills is an intense ride from beginning to end. Special Agent Meghan Connors is put on security detail for the Presidents daughter, Lindsay, who is out of control. She is taken to a remote ranch for detox and rehab from drugs and alcohol. Meghan is part of a team where the team leader, Ash Zinder, does not like working with women agents and makes no secret of it. As the story unfolds things are not what they seem. This story caught me from the beginning to end. I was barely able to put it down. This book has a little of everything: love, hate, murder, high-speed chases, conspiracies, and strong faith. The characters are awesome; some you love and some you love to hate. All the characters play a big role in this book. Obviously our author has expertise in Secret Service, government, and Texas ranches. I could picture the surroundings and really felt like I was there.

This is the first book by DiAnn Mills I have read and I can't wait to read the others she has written! Awesome author who knows how to grab her readers and keep them until the end. Highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre of book, you won't be disappointed.

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

A Lancaster County Christmas By Suzanne Woods Fisher

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group free for my honest review of this book.

Book Description:

Jaime and C. J. Fitzpatrick began their married life as most couples do--in love and looking forward to a bright future together. But four years later they've drifted apart and are almost ready to call it quits.

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband Sol the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big family isn't likely to become a reality.

Then a winter storm raging outside blows the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl home--and into a much slower pace of life. Can these two couples from different worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas?

With her trademark plot twists and attention to detail, Suzanne Woods Fisher offers readers a beautiful Christmas story of love, forgiveness, and what truly matters in life.


My Thoughts:

A Lancaster County Christmas is a wonderful, sweet book that looks at the true meaning of loving someone. Two couples, The Riehl's, an Amish couple recovering from the loss of a baby and an English couple, The Fitzpatricks, who are dealing with Jamie's mothers death and the sudden appearance of her absent father. Jamie and the Riehl's interact in the doctors waiting room not knowing that soon they would be part of each others lives in a very intimate way. The doctor asks Jamie to return a whistle to the Riehl's that their son left behind. Jamie and C.J. head there before heading out on a cruise with Jamie's father. Due to a snow storm Jamie's car ends up in the pond and they are stuck there until they can get the car out. While with the Riehl's, these two couples find out that they have much more in common than they thought.
Suzanne Woods Fisher's story is a beautiful one. It truly shows how God works to bring people together who need each other. The Riehl's and the Fitzpatrick's learn just how much they need each other in this story. I love Amish fiction and especially the stories that show the Amish and the English together. Even though they are from two completely different places they find out that they are NOT that different. They have the same struggles and the same doubts. Suzanne Woods Fisher writes with such expertise not only in the Amish faith but in Lancaster County. The descriptions of the towns, the homes, and the people that are encountered is just amazing. I truly feel like I am right there watching this all unfold. The characters are very real to me and so relatable that you can feel their struggle and understand it. This is just a wonderful story that I found myself unable to put down. This story spoke to me in many ways and really gave me some insights to think about. I am so thankful I was given this opportunity to read and review this book. I highly recommend this book to Amish Fiction lovers. You will NOT be disappointed.

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers free for my honest opinion of this book.

Book Description:
An unlikely attraction occurs between two passengers on a steamboat journey up the Missouri River to Montana...
She is a self-centered young woman from a privileged family who fears the outdoors and avoids anything rustic. He is a preacher living under a sense of duty and obligation to love the unlovable people in the world. She isn't letting anything deter her from solving a family mystery that surfaced after her mother's death. He is on a mission to reach the rejects of society in the remote wilderness regions of Montana. Miss Fannie Rousseau and Reverend Samuel Beck are opposites in every way... except in how they both keep wondering if their paths will ever cross again.


My Thoughts:
A Most Unsuitable Match is the first book by Stephanie Grace Whitson I have read and I am so glad I did! When I saw the cover and read the back of the book I was drawn to it. I was NOT disappointed. I couldn't put the book down. From the beginning of the book I felt very connected to the characters and the story lines in this book. Stephanie Whitson's characters are very relatable and easy to love. All the characters in this story no matter major or minor really caught me. This story showed how God forgives everyone, no matter what they have done in their lives and that you can always count on that. A Most Unsuitable Match shows a menagerie of characters who become family to each other and how their love for one another truly helps them grow into better people. This story was well written and obviously well researched for the time in history and the areas it took place in. The descriptions were so vivid that I could see these places in my mind. I fell in love with this book. I highly recommend this book to those who love Historical Fiction, it will NOT disappoint. I cannot wait to read more stories by Stephanie Grace Whitson and am very thankful I was given the opportunity to read this book.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Wonder of Your Love A Land of Canaan Series By Beth Wiseman

I received this e-book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley.com for free for my honest review of this book!

Book Description:
Katie Ann lost the love of her life. But in Canaan, God offers her a new beginning.

Settling in to her new life in Canaan, Colorado, Katie Ann Stoltzfus gives birth to a beautiful baby boy. The boy's father - her estranged husband - died before their son is born. Despite his infidelities, Ivan was her one true love. She mourns his loss, vows never to trust another man, and resolves to fill the role of both mother and father to her son.
Then Eli Detweiler arrives in Canaan from Middlefield, Ohio, to attend his niece's wedding. He's been raising his kids alone in Middlefield since his wife's death fifteen years ago. Now each child is married, so Eli looks forward to living a less-structured life-and eating shoofly pie for breakfast every morning. There's no one to care for except himself.
When a meddling-but good-hearted-Englisch woman plays matchmaker for Katie Ann and Eli, they find themselves facing an unexpected, hopeful future…brought together by God's wondrous love.

My Thoughts:
I am a HUGE Fan of Beth Wiseman and of Amish Fiction. Beth Wiseman is one of the first authors of Amish Fiction I started reading and I am hooked on her books. Both of her series, The Daughters of Promise and A Land of Canaan, are wonderful books that truly show the Amish faith and how the Amish live. Her latest book, The Wonder of Your Love does NOT disappoint. The story picks up with Katie Ann raising her son on her own, after her estranged husband was killed in a car accident. Her estranged husband, Ivan, had left Katie Ann and the Amish faith to be with Lucy, an Englisher in Lancaster County. Katie Ann and Ivan moved to Canaan with Ivan's brother Samuel and his family to have a fresh start but ended up going back to Lucy. Katie Ann never told Ivan she was pregnant. Katie Ann is raising their son, Jonas, and grieving for husband. Lucy shows up at Katie Ann's door, pregnant, wondering about a picture of a house and 2 house keys she found in Ivan's things. Katie Ann doesn't know but does help Lucy by giving her money to help her. Katie Ann has made her own family in Canaan including an Englisher named Martha who is like a Mom to Katie Ann and a Grandma to Jonas. At the wedding of David, Katie Ann's nephew, and Emily, Katie Ann meets Eli, Emily's Uncle, and the instantly connect. Eli is also a widower, who raised all 6 of his children without a wife. He and Katie Ann form an unusual bond that grows but he lives in Ohio and she lives in Colorado.

This story was a beautiful story of finding the wonder of love. Finding what love can do for all people. I could not put this book down. This story showed forgiveness in a very unforgiving situation, love in the last place you would expect, and the connection between Amish and English. Katie Ann's relationship with Martha is a special bond that didn't seem like a normal one for an Amish woman. They loved each other as family and took care of each other. Also the background story of Eli was a very unique one, an Amish man who never remarried and raised his 6 children on his own. Eli did both Mom and Dad role and wasn't afraid to show his sensitive side. Katie Ann's story is also unique as far as her husband leaving the faith and her. This story truly gave a different perspective of Amish life and how not so different Amish and Englishers can be. Beth Wiseman weaves such a deep story that you find yourself right there laughing with them and crying with them. The characters of her story are real and live through real things. I LOVED this book and can't wait for the next Beth Wiseman book to come out!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Healing by Wanda E. Brunstetter

I received this e-book from Barbour Publishers through netgalley.com for no charge for my honest review of this e-book.

Product Description:
Seek a fresh start with Amish widower Samuel Fisher as he journeys from Lancaster County to Bluegrass Country, hoping to find a balm for the grief he’s carried with him. Will this single father, burdened by yesterday’s memories, discover a new and perhaps better life in Kentucky, the land of tomorrow? Esther Beiler, who helps watch Samuel’s children, develops a crush on Samuel and a true affection for his kids. Can she win his heart, or has she already lost it to an English woman? How will God untangle star-crossed lovers when jealousies and misconceptions threaten to tear them apart?

My Thoughts:
The Healing is the second book of the Kentucky Brothers series by Wanda Brunstetter. In The Healing, Samuel Fisher loses his wife and unborn child in an accident and decides to move himself and four children to Kentucky where his brother Titus Fisher lives. They move into Titus's home and Titus helps with the children. Samuel is in a deep depression over losing his wife and unborn child that he pulls away from everyone, especially his children. Esther Beiler, a friend of Titus, comes to help with the children and falls in love with them right off the bat. Esther also starts to fall in love with Samuel but doesn't think he will ever feel that way.

The Healing is a wonderful story of grief, being lost, and finding love again. The characters are very deep and intertwined into each other's daily lives. Not only the Amish characters but the English characters. We see how everyone deals with the same issues regardless of their beliefs. This book has powerful descriptions of Pennsylvania Amish country and Kentucky Amish Country. Wanda Brunstetter is an expert in her writing of the Amish. Her reverence and love of the Amish people show through all she writes. The Healing picks right up from where The Journey ended. I enjoyed reading about characters from Wanda's other books and to continue to be part of their lives. I am excited to read the next book in the series. This is a must read for Amish Fiction lovers!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Bone House by Stephen R Lawhead

I received this book for free from booksneeze.com in exchange to my honest opinion of this book

Book Description
One piece of the Skin Map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.

An avenue of Egyptian sphinxes, an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide …

Kit Livingstone met his great-grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run – and on a quest, trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse while staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map – but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent, who from the shadows are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Across time and space, through manifest and hidden worlds, those who know how to use ley lines to travel through astral planes have left their own world behind in this, the second quest: to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.


My Thoughts:

The Bone House is the 2nd Book in the Bright Empires Series. I had the privilege of reviewing The Skin Map when that first came out and I was hooked. Its been a while since I had read The Skin Map but I was very pleased to have a "review" in the beginning of The Bone House that caught me back up plus a cast of characters to help remember all the players in the story. The Bone House picks right back up with The Skin Map stopped. The flow is awesome! Stephen Lawhead does NOT disappoint in The Bone House. As I began to read, I very quickly got swept back into the story and felt like a part of the book. Stephen Lawhead writes in a way that you feel like you are right there with the characters. The story flows and keeps a fast pace. Very hard book to put down once you pick it up. The book itself is like The Skin Map in the way it is constructed, under the dust cover the cover has these symbols all over(the symbols are from the symbols for the Skin Map). The edges of the paper were not completely even-cut and give that old book feeling. These add to the character of the book. As with the Skin Map, I found myself having to stop and recollect some of the characters, at times it felt like a juggling act but it didn't take away from the story. I traveled to many foreign places in different centuries with all the characters. It was so interesting to read and picture these places and times. Stephen Lawhead does an awesome job describing them and made it obvious much research went into this story too. I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy science fiction and Fantasy stories. I look forward to reading the last book of this series and other books written by Stephen Lawhead.

I review for BookSneeze®

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

I received this book from Litfuse for my honest review of this book!!

Helen Carlisle is recovering from the death of her war hero husband in Sarah Sundin's, Blue Skies Tomorrow (Revell (Baker), August 1, 2011, ISBN: 0800734238, $14.99). Healing from the year, she runs into Lt. Ray Novak-a childhood crush. She has been surviving her loss through copious volunteering, but deep down she is troubled. How much longer can she do this? Is she living a lie? Was her dead husband a hero? How can she live with the past?

Lt. Novak faces his own life uncertainty as a dedicated officer who has postponed his calling to be a pastor for the duration of the war. His secondary passion to fly is quenched as an instructor, until he is deployed to Europe for a combat mission just as a romantic relationship with Helen is building.

As Helen tries to make ends meet back home and begins to confront the past, Ray encounters a deadly enemy of his own. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? Will the truth come out? Will hope and redemption ring true for Helen?

Sure to live up to the high praise of the previous books in the Wings of Glory series, Blue Skies Tomorrow completes the story of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in World War II, covering the infamous Port Chicago Explosion, which occurred close to Antioch, Calif., where Helen and the Novak's live, to victory in Europe.

"Both Helen and Ray learn about true courage and how to do the right thing no matter the cost," says Sundin. "They both find they're subconsciously trying to earn God's grace through good works and have to deal with that.

"I hope readers will see how they, too, can find courage in the Lord and the strength to face whatever life throws at them."

Praise for Sarah Sundin's books:

"...an exceptional read"-Booklist

"...a gripping tale of war, intrigue and love."-RT Book Reviews


Meet Sarah:
Sarah Sundin received the 2011 Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and her second novel A Memory Between Us is a finalist for an Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. Her stories are inspired by her great-uncle who flew with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England during World War II. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Visit with Sarah online at http://www.sarahsundin.com/

Enter to win your very own Kindle Prize Pack in Sarah Sundin’s Blue Skies Tomorrow Giveaway: Go to: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13422832
To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package
One winner will receive:
* Kindle with Wi-Fi
* Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend
* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)

My Thoughts:
Blue Skies Tomorrow is the last in the Wings of Glory Series by Sarah Sundin. I read Blue Skies Tomorrow but not the first two of the series. Blue Skies Tomorrow is a wonderful, wonderful story about Helen Carlisle and Lt. Raymond Novak and their lives during World War 2. This story had many topics it covered in this beautiful story. Sarah Sundin addressed things like spousal abuse and the shame of the victim. She also showed through Helen what it is to survive and overcome this abuse. Blue Skies Tomorrow is a beautiful story of secrets, love, patience, and how God's love gets you through. It shows the journey Helen takes back to God and believing in His love so that she can believe in other people's love for her. Sarah Sundin writes with such expertise on the time, many different parts of the world, and what it is to be a survivor. I found myself lost in this book, couldn't put it down. Found myself laughing in places, crying in others, and having that unsure feeling of what would happen next. The characters are funny, real people like friends. Sarah Sundin brings the readers into to story where you feel part of the characters worlds. I highly recommend this book to Christian fiction readers but also people who in enjoy WW II fiction and historical fiction in general. I can't wait to read more books by Sarah Sundin.

Please remember to follow the links above to enter to win some great prizes!!!!!
Here is a link to our book: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Skies-Tomorrow-Novel-Wings/dp/0800734238/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310054631&sr=sprightly-20