Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Twice a Bride: The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Book 4 By Mona Hodgson

I received this e-book from Waterbrook Multnomah through Blogging for Books for no charge in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed here are mine.

Book Description:

Love lost doesn’t mean love lost forever.
Can unexpected romance deliver a second chance for two deserving widows?

Full of resolve, young widow Willow Peterson decides to pursue her dreams to be an artist as she settles into a new life in the growing mountain town of Cripple Creek. When she lands a job working as a portrait painter with handsome entrepreneur and photographer Trenton Van Der Veer, the road before Willow seems to be taking a better-than-anticipated turn.

With questions tugging at several hearts in town, including the Sinclair Sisters’ beloved Miss Hattie, change is traveling down the tracks as several unexpected visitors make their way out West. Will the new arrivals threaten the deep family bonds of the Sinclair sisters and the roots of love that are just taking hold for Willow?

Filled with the resonating questions that all women face, this romance awakens hope against grief, love against loss, and dreams against life’s unexpected turns.

My Thoughts:
Twice a Bride is the fourth and final book in Mona Hodgson's The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek.  I have had the good fortune to have read all of the books in order and I loved them all. Twice A Bride is more than just a beautiful romance it is a story about love and loss, mental illness, miscarriage and how God can make something good out of all this sadness. Mona Hodgson also gives the story  excitement and adventure as well. I found myself, again brought into the story from the start and it was very hard to put down. Mona Hodgson does a wonderful job setting the scene and keeping the reader turning the pages to see what will happen next! There are quite a few subplots weaved into the story and they are expertly handled. At the end of the story its hard to say good-bye to these characters who become old friends.While it is sad that this series has ended, it makes me happy that a series is coming soon with some of the Cripple Creek characters. I loved this book,this series, and the characters within it. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. Each of the books in this series can be read stand alone but you get to know so much more by reading all the books.  I look forward to reading more from Mona Hodgson.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Ghost Of Christmas Present By Scott Abbott and Amy Maude Swinton

I received this book from Howard Books for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

It’s the fourth Wednesday of November, and Patrick Guthrie is giving thanks. He’s giving thanks that his eight-year-old son, Braden, will finally have a procedure on his heart that will cure him of the same life-threatening condition that took Patrick’s wife several years earlier. But when Patrick suddenly loses his job teaching drama at a New York City high school, his already desperate financial situation becomes dire. Rebecca Brody, a social worker, shows up at his door with a judge’s order for him to appear before the city’s family court to determine if Patrick is financially fit, and Patrick realizes he is in danger of losing his son. Patrick knows that he must somehow make it through the holiday season to a new job waiting for him in the new year. He also knows that Ted Cake, his former father-in-law, blames Patrick so much for the death of his daughter that he, a rich and disagreeable man, is the one pushing the city to call the custody hearing and give the boy over to him. Now Patrick has only three weeks before Christmas to somehow make enough money to pay his bills, present himself to the family court as a fit father, and keep Braden in his life. It’s when Patrick sees a charming beggar on the subway dressed up as a crazy alien that he gets an idea. In true Dickensian holiday spirit, Patrick makes use of his old acting skills and his love of A Christmas Carol and takes to the streets in the guise of the Ghost of Christmas Present. Making a midtown corner his performing stage, he begins to touch and change the lives of all those who come his way, including Rebecca Brody and the bitter and heartbroken Ted Cake.

The train stopped at a station where the signs read Thirty-fourth Street. The doors opened and Patrick waited for the commuters to disembark before he got off.

He walked to the stairs as the morning light from the street shone and the sounds of Broadway bounced down into the station in echoing waves. He caught sight of himself in the plastic window of the token booth, where the transit workers shook their heads at his appearance.

Perhaps he had gone too far with the costume. Perhaps he had gone too far thinking he should even attempt this madness. Perhaps what was worst of all was thinking he could save the semblance of a life that he could carve for himself with Braden.

Maybe Braden would be better off without him in his daily life. Maybe . . .

Patrick shook off the thought as the noise of Broadway waited for him above. He drew in a breath and exhaled. “Into the breach, dear friends.”

He began to climb the stairs.
My Thoughts:
The Ghost of Christmas Present is a debut novel for both authors and what a start. I am not usually a fan of Christmas themed stories, just usually not my genre but when I read the description I felt drawn to it. As I read this novel I could not help but admire his father's dedication and love for his son that causes him to do what  he wouldn't normally do to get what his son needs.  The son Braden is a wise little boy, who seems to deal with his illness and current situation much better than his Dad or his Grandpa.  Patrick's father in law blames Patrick for his daughter's death and wants to get Braden away from him.  This story really grabbed me beginning to end. It was hard to put down and truly touched my heart.  The themes in this story really hit home for me as a parent of two special needs children and someone who lives with chronic illness.  This story also shows how when we use our God given gifts we truly find success and find ourselves.  This book is truly a wonderful story and I am so thankful I had the privilege to read it.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good Christmas themed story.  I hope to see more books from Scott Abbott and Amy Maude Swinton. 

The Bridge: A Novel By Karen Kingsbury

I received this book from Howard Books for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Number one New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury delivers an instant classic with this heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.
Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since. Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there. For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store.  Now the bank is pulling the lease on The Bridge. Despondent and without answers, Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold? The Bridge is a love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore, a love story you will never forget.

My Thoughts:

The Bridge is the second book by Karen Kingsbury I have read and it did not disappoint.  I am not usually one to read romance novels but The Bridge really sounded like it was going to be different from other romance novels and it is.  This story is about love lost and found and the interesting ways God brings us all together in His time.  Though it is not a Christmas story, the plot takes place at Christmas time and makes the Christmas very special for the characters. It is also based upon a bookstore which is such a unique and cool setting. The story goes back and forth between the present and back to the times when Molly and Ryan were in college. It also switches between the different characters. The author made these transitions seamless and the story flows very smoothly. Also being able to see  the points of view of all 4 of the main characters really makes the story. Also The Bridge is a  story about keeping the faith when it seems all is lost.  Karen Kingsbury writes a wonderful story with fantastic characters that makes you feel like you are right there watching events unfold.  I couldn't but this book down.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction and Karen Kingsbury's other novels. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Glamorous Illusions:Grand Tour Series By Lisa T. Bergen

I received this e-book from David C. Cook Publishers through Netgalley.com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this e-book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

The first book in the Grand Tour series, Glamorous Illusions will take readers on a pilgrimage through Europe-and straight into the soul.
It's the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. The crops are failing and worse, so is her father's health. Then a stranger comes to call and in one fateful afternoon, Cora discovers that her birth father is a copper king-a man who invites her to tour Europe with her new family. As she travels across America, then on to England and France, Cora faces the hardships as well as the privileges of assuming the family name. And though now she knows more of her true identity, she soon discovers the journey is only beginning.

My Thoughts:

Glamorous Illusions is the first book in the Grand Tour Series by Lisa T. Bergen. As a newer reader of Lisa T. Bergen's books I was excited to have the opportunity to read her latest release.  Glamorous Illusions takes place in The Summer of 1913 starting in Montana and then into Europe.  Cora Diehl makes her way home for the summer from teacher college, her parents aren't there to pick her up at the train station so a neighbor brings her home. As she come home her father has had a heart attack and they do not know if he will make it through the night.  As the days go on her father seems to get better but the family is in danger of losing their farm.  On Cora's sixteenth birthday she received a very fancy necklace from an unknown sender so she takes that to the local store to sell it to pay off debt and get seed to plant.  Soon after her father has another heart attack which leaves him in even worse shape.  As Cora is working in the fields, two strange men come to their door, men who her mother seems to know and invites in. Cora finds out that the father that raised her for twenty years isn't really her birth father, her birth father is the Copper King of Montana.  Cora Diehl becomes Cora Kensington in one afternoon and is ultimately forced to go with this man to his home and from there go on a European Tour with her three half siblings and three other people from another prominent family. As Cora makes this trip she has to figure out who she is and who she will be.

I enjoyed this book very much.  The storyline is unique and kept me engaged from start to finish.  The characters are complex and enjoyable.  They are deeper than they first appear and as the story goes on you see other sides of them. Lisa T. Bergen writes with authority about Montana, workers rights and conditions in 1913, travel available in 1913, Europe in 1913, and also how the wealthy at this time lived.  I truly felt I was there with Cora traveling from Montana on a train, heading to England on a ship that was the next ship after Titanic, and on to France.  The descriptions Lisa T. Bergen gives her readers really made me feel like I was seeing the art, castles, and parties for myself.  This story has a little bit of everything in it: romance, mystery, intrigue, and faith.  Through out this story Lisa T. Bergen gives her readers a deep look at Cora's faith and her struggle with faith as her life gets turned upside down but finds that her faith is what grounds her in all of these changes.  The only thing that I didn't care for was the ending, in my opinion it ended abruptly, I was kind of shocked at where it ended.  On a scale of * to ***** I give this book ****. I look forward to reading more from Lisa T. Bergen and more of her Grand Tour Series.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Stars Shine Bright: A Raleigh Harmon Novel By Sibella Giorello

I received this e-book from Thomas Nelson Publishing through NetGalley.com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this e-book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.

Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who’s fixing the races. But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger—and more sinister—is ruining Emerald Meadows.

She’s never felt more alone.
Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day. And she can’t turn to her family for support. They’re off-limits while she’s undercover, and her mother isn’t speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown. Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh’s fiance wants them to begin their life together—now—precisely when she’s been ordered not to be herself.

With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who’s behind the track’s trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiance will make things better—or worse.
Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she’s faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright.

My Thoughts:

The Stars Shine Bright is Sibella Giorello's fifth novel in The Raleigh Harmon Series.  I have had the pleasure of reading all of the books in this series and I have enjoyed every one of them. The Stars Shine Bright takes place soon after the last book ended.  Raleigh is undercover at a race track in Seattle, awaiting a formal investigation of her actions on the cruise ship, her fiance is in South Carolina wanting her to come home, and her mother is in a hospital for a nervous breakdown and refuses to see Raleigh.  As Raleigh clings to her faith and belief in God she does her best to find out what is happening at the track illegally and who is behind it.  

I truly enjoy this series and The Stars Shine Bright did not disappoint.  I truly love the character Raleigh Harmon, she is a real person who deals with real situations in life.  Sibella Giorello writes with authority about law enforcement, horses, horse racing, and animal rights.  This latest novel delves into animal rights and the different groups that are out there.  Sibella Giorello weaves such a story that I find myself drawn in right away and she keeps me guessing until the end.  I highly recommend this story and this series to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense Fiction! You will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading more by Sibella Giorello.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You Don't Know Me: A Deep Haven Novel By Susan May Warren

Welcome to the campaign launch for Susan May Warren’s latest offering in her beloved Deep Haven series, You Don’t Know Me. Susan is celebrating with a $200 Weekend Getaway Giveaway and hosting a fun video Author Chat Party!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to catch up with a loved one and “Get to Know” your spouse, friend, sister, mom…whomever!)
  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 22nd. Winner will be announced at the ”You Don’t Know Me” Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/23. Connect with Susan for an evening of book chat, Deep Haven trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be info about Susan’s BookShout read-along and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of You Don’t Know Me and join Susan on the evening of the October 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

I received this e-book from Litfuse Publicity Group for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this e-book. The opinions express here are my own.

Book Description:

To everyone who knows her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses her kids’ sporting events, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the sleepy town of Deep Haven, Deidre got a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker. Twenty years later, Annalise couldn’t be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on bail and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the grace to trust those she loves most with both her past and her future?
My Thoughts:
As a huge fan of Susan May Warren's Deep Haven Novels, I was so excited to have the opportunity to read the latest one, You Don't Know Me and it did not disappoint.  This Deep Haven Novel not only was a Christian Romance story it is also a suspense story.  Annalise Decker, wife and mother is always on the go. She attends PTA, goes to every sports event her children have, and is helping her husband run for mayor of Deep Haven.  Annalise also has a secret, she is part of the Witness Security Program because of her testimony that put some dangerous people away.  Unfortunately one of them got out on bail and is looking for her.  Annalise is approached by the agent who placed her in WSP. He is in Deep Haven to keep her safe and try to convince her she needs to relocate again.
Susan May Warren writes a wonderful story that has Romance and Suspense.  This story grabbed me from the first chapter and kept ahold until the end.  I love the town of Deep Haven, MN that Susan May Warren has created and all of its characters.  The Deep Haven Novels are about different people each time but she still includes characters from past novels and of course new ones.  It feels like meeting new friends and getting updated on old ones.  Susan May Warren writes wonderful characters that seem like real people.  The Deep Haven Novels are one of my favorite "series".  I highly recommend these books to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction.  The great part about these stories is that you can read it as a stand alone or as a series. I cannot wait to read the next Deep Haven Novel!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Darkness Rising: East Salem Series Book 2 By Lis Wiehl With Pete Nelson

I received this book from Thomas Nelson through Booksneeze.com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:
The evil in East Salem is no longer content to hide in the shadows. The stakes—and the darkness—are rising.

Dani Harris thought there wasn’t much left that could surprise her after serving as a forensic psychiatrist in East Salem. And Tommy Gunderson has faced few challenges in his life that he couldn’t overcome by either physical strength or his celebrity status.

But as they race to uncover what’s really happening behind the high walls of St. Adrian’s Academy, it becomes clear that supernatural forces have been at work here for generations. And now their focus is on making sure Dani and Tommy don’t interfere.

When the unseen becomes seen, faith is the only weapon strong enough to fight in a battle involving not just murder and betrayal—but angels and demons.

My Thoughts:

Darkness Rising is the second book in The East Salem Series by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson and it is an awesome book. I had the privilege of reading Waking Hours, the first book in this series and I was hooked. I have been impatiently waiting for Darkness Rising since I finished Waking Hours so I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  Darkness Rising picks up where Waking Hours ended and from the first page it grabbed me and kept hold until the very end.  Dani Harris and Tommy Gunderson are working together again not only to figure out who or what murdered 2 townspeople but to also find out who or what has a hold of the town, especially St. Adrian's School.  With the help of some angels, a librarian, an actress, an Indian man, and an elderly man from Europe they set up to find out about the evil that is brewing in this little town and how to get rid of it.

Lis Wiehl is one of my favorite authors out there. I have read all of her fiction books so far and I have fallen in love with her books.  Lis Wiehl and Pete Nelson are an awesome writing team.  Their style of writing really grabs me from the start and keeps a hold until the end.  The story lines keep me guessing until the end and Darkness Rising is no exception.  The authors write with authority on East Salem, history of that part of the U.S., history of good/evil, Angels, demons, and works of art.  As I read Darkness Rising I could vividly see in my mind all that they were describing.  I highly recommend this book to fans of Christian Fiction, it will not disappoint.  Darkness Rising can be read on its own without reading Waking hours but I recommend reading them in order. I look forward to reading more by this spectacular writing team.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mother of Pearl By Kelli Coates Gilbert

I received this book from Glass Road Media and Management for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

High school counselor Barrie Graeber's life appears perfect. Successful husband, adorable son, warm home in a nice part of town. Even her daughter Pearl is a vision of high school senior perfection: the cheerleader dating the quarterback.

But one night Pearl isn't where Barrie believed her to be. And, Barrie learns, Pearl hasn't been where she should be for quite a while.

The legal system, justice, and family loyalties collide while Barrie wrestles with the question that whirls within: How far should a mother go to love a daughter she may never really have known?

My Thoughts:

Mother of Pearl is Kelli Coates Gilbert's debut novel and WOW what an awesome start.  When I read the description of this book I knew I needed to read it especially being a mother of two teenagers.  As I read this story, I found myself completely emerged into it. I truly felt I was right there going through this with Barrie and her family.  I could not put this book down until the end, it really grabbed hold of my heart and this is a novel that will stay with me for quite a while.  As I read this families journey it made me really look at my family and my teenagers and how easy this could be any one's child. 

Kelli Coates Gilbert is on my list of favorite authors now. I enjoyed her writing style and her obvious expertise in the legal system and how these court cases work from her experience as a paralegal.  The way this novel is written she truly puts the reader right there and truly helps the reader to feel what the characters are feeling.I laughed, cried, and felt all the emotions in between. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, it will not disappoint.  I look forward to reading more from Kelli Coates Gilbert.

Escaping the Cauldron:Exposing Occult Influences in Everyday Life By Kristine McGuire

I received this book from Glass Road Media and Management for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

An eight-year journey through the occult and into freedom
Though Kristine McGuire was raised in a Christian home, at an early age she became fascinated by the occult. At sleepovers she and her friends told fortunes and held séances. As a teenager she was convicted and put all games of mysticism aside. She went to a Christian college and married a Christian man. But despite her decision to follow God, a longing for the occult persisted, leading her to leave her church and husband and to fully embrace witchcraft.
Escaping the Cauldron takes you deep inside Kristine’s eight-year journey as a witch, medium, and ghost hunter. Part Bible study, part memoir, it exposes the subtle occult influences that affect us as it reveals how God mercifully delivered her out of the occult altogether and restored her faith and life in Christ.

My Thoughts:

Escaping the Cauldron by Kristine McGuire is a first hand account of Kristine's journey from Christianity to Occult and back again.  This story shows how we are exposed to the occult in our everyday lives.  Kristine McGuire gives an honest account of her time when she left Christ, dabbled in Witchcraft, then became a medium and ghost hunter and finally found her way back to Christ. I personally hadn't really heard about someone leaving Christianity and turning to the occult world so I was really interested in reading Kristine's story. I am so glad I did. I couldn't put the book down and enjoyed Kristine's style of writing. At the end of each chapter she poses 4-5 questions about the chapter for the readers.  As I read this book, it opened my eyes to how common place occult type influences are in our culture and how easy it is to fall prey to it.  I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend this book to anyone who is a Christian.  It truly opened my eyes to many things. I look forward to reading more by Kristine McGuire.

The Egyptian Princess: A Story of Hagar By KD Homberg

I received this audiobook for no charge from the author and Celebrate Lit Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review of this audiobook...