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Monday, April 24, 2017

The Beloved Hope Chest

"Her hope chest had held not only memories full of pain all these years, but memories full of love she would always cherish. Today her heart was filled to the brim with hope."

In Amy Clipston's latest novel, The Beloved Hope Chest, which is book 4 from the Amish Heirloom series, Martha Jane (Mattie) Petersheim/Fisher takes the time to share with her three daughters, Emily, Rachel and Veronica, about the items found in her beloved hope chest. It conveys the life story of Mattie and her first love Isaiah Petersheim who was the love of Mattie's life. She had hoped to begin a new family with him and looked forward to the birth of their first child, but an unexpected tragedy broke those plans for Mattie forever when Isaiah was killed. This is something that Mattie's daughters never knew about their mother, but it would be the one thing that would unite them all in new ways as each of her daughters could now look back and see how these very events showed them that she understood each of the paths her own daughters lives have taken.

It is also the love story of the father that they always loved, Leroy Fisher and how Mattie and Leroy grew up first as childhood friends and the closest anyone could be with one another without marriage. In fact looking back on these events in her life, Mattie didn't realize all the ways Leroy had tried to convey his feelings for Mattie that went beyond friendship and he had hopes that he might win her heart. But when she married Isaiah, all Leroy could do was remain her best friend. When Isaiah died, the last thing he wanted to do was cause more pain for Mattie, but seeing as she was pregnant with Isaiah's child, he didn't want her to go through any more pain in her life alone, so he offered to marry her with hopes that one day she might love him the way he has always loved her. But even with the best intentions, things didn't work out quite like he had hoped and it would take letting her go, to cause her to see that he really did love her after all, despite everything she had gone through in her life and most of all that he would ALWAYS be there for her and love her with all of his heart.

I received The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston compliments of Zondervan Publishers and Net Galley. Sometimes I believe the greatest stories are the ones that our parents have, how they meet one another, the struggles they had to endure and the memories that they treasure. In this novel, Mattie gets to share that personal part of two very special loves in her life and how they not only defined who she is as a wife and mother, but also allow her to share those experiences with her daughters that God can take the pain in our lives and cause something good to come from them. Often times when we least expect it. The theme in this novel is what love, unconditional love and faith and hope truly mean. Our hearts can break but in time, they will heal and we will move forward again. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. There is also Discussion Questions included which makes for an excellent selection for book clubs.

For more information about The Beloved Hope Chest, Amy Clipston or where you can pre-order a copy of this novel today due out in early May of 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Amy Clipston on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Beloved Hope Chest, please visit Zondervan Publisher's website. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Noble Servant

I think there is a reason why little girls love fairy tales is because all the endings wind up with a happily ever after. And then there is Melanie Dickerson who has taken such fairy tales we have come to know and love, add a bit of Christian flair to them and make them something you would LOVE to read to your children and teens but also for yourself. After all, there is still a little girl inside of us all.

In the Noble Servant, is a bit of a twist on the princess meeting said prince, falling in love and living their own happily ever after. This time, for Lady Magdalen of Mallin, she has been waiting a long time for her prince charming and thought she might have met him once a couple years ago. But with her mother constantly reminding her of her need to marry into a wealthy family in order to save the very lives of those in her town, she believes her time has past. After all since her father's copper mines we no longer supplying the town with copper, the very people who live in Mallin are barely making ends meet. So when she receives a letter announcing the intentions of the Duke of Wolfberg's intentions to wed Magdalen, she believes her fairy tale just might come true after all. This was the very man she had feelings for a couple years ago, and believes she may have just made a lasting impression on him after all.

Only just as she is about to enter the town of Wolfberg, her servant Agnes and her father Elrich, force her to pull of the masquerade of the century by switching roles so Anges can marry the Duke instead, relying on the fact, that they only really interacted a couple of years ago. She has no other choice but to comply or they will kill her and her servant boy Lenheart, who is mute. She isn't about to risk either of their lives but believe she can find a way to tell the Duke who she really is. She just doesn't plan on Agnes putting her to work as a goose girl herding geese outside the castle. Things are about to get interesting and one I don't want to spoil by giving any more of it away.You just need to pick up this novel for yourself and see what adventures await.

I received The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Net Galley. This is such a wonderful novel centered around the theme of faith and forgiveness. When it doesn't seem like prayers are going to be answered in spite of the odds against them, God comes through in the end in ways you hadn't planned. Sometimes adversity has its own rewards and for Steffan and Magdalen, they will have to fight for it every step of the way. I absolutely LOVE every single one of these novels that Melanie Dickerson has been inspired to write. These are the novels I wish my girls grew up on because they showcase a woman's inner strength and the courage she has to stand strong in the face of some terrible storms and come out of them, shining like the sun! What makes them work is the believability that this could have happened in the historical context she uses.They don't contain magic or fairies but just the goodness and courage you would expect in a Christian novel.  For this reason, I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about The Noble Servant, Melanie Dickerson or where to pre-order a copy of this novel due out in May of 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Melanie Dickerson on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Noble Servant, please visit Thomas Nelson Publisher's website. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017


It is hard to put into words what The Descendants of the House of Bathory Series by Tosca Lee is about. In fact, my husband asked me what Firstborn was about as I was reading it. I said, it's hard to put into words exactly because it is unlike anything I have read before. Even trying to decide what type of genre it fit into was a bit challenging. Firstborn is the second novel in the series, with the first being Progeny. I would highly recommend that you read these novels in order or you will be completely lost if you pick up Firstborn and read it first.

The best thing that the Tosca Lee did in Firstborn is not only provide you with a list of the characters, since there are two main factions at war with one another, is also giving you a little bit of recap of Progeny since there has been some time between the novels, and for someone like me that reads a lot of books, I had a hard time remembering about the story line and even going back to my review on Progeny didn't help much because I don't want to give away too much of the exceptional novel. The best way to describe it as the Progeny's are a class of humans that descended from the bloodline of Elizabeth Bathory, known throughout history at the Blood Countess. Audra Ellison is her direct descendant. The progeny are endowed with special powers of charisma and persuasion which they can use on humans to achieve their goals. Audra is the most wanted progeny but those who are hunting her, especially her hunter assigned to her, Luka Novak.

Each hunter or Scion is given 5 years to hunt down and kill their progeny. Once they kill them they have powers that enable them to transfer or "harvest" their memories into the hunters own, but it must be completed at the time of their initial death. There is the head of the hunters known only as the Historian who controls and manipulates the hunters on their tasks in an effort to rid the world of all progeny and assume total control over the human race. Scions however can't be persuaded so a progeny's powers are limited to humans only, which enables them to tell who are humans and who are Scion hunters. Progeny have the unique ability to connect with one another so they know at an instant their own kind, who dwell underground in what are known as courts. They try to hidden at all times and are constantly on the run from those hunting them.

In Firstborn, we pick up the story between Audra and Luka' quest to find out who the Historian is, while keeping their child Eva a secret. Neither of them knows the location of their child and are doing everything to ensure that no one knows that they have had a child between them. It is a race against time with a ragtag team of characters that works with Audra, other progeny that are doing all they can to stay one step ahead of the Historian and her Scion hunters. Audra and Luka know they must find her before she can kill the progeny or even worse kill Audra and take the very memories away that would expose the Historian to the world.

I received Firstborn by Tosca Lee compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers and Net Galley. I absolutely LOVE this series because the action never stops. There is honestly never a dull moment in the book. If you look at those who are rating this series with less than favorable results is that the probably didn't understand the complexity of the novels back story and character motivation. Think of it like the Divergent Series, only in this case it involves a bit of history as well as there are only two warring factions at odds with one another. That is possibly the best way to describe it but I love all the historical and complex details Tosca provides. You feel like you have traveled the entire globe by the time you finish this one breathless. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and I enjoyed this one much more than the first novel. Can't wait to see the final one in the series!

For more information about Firstborn, Tosca Lee or where you can pre-order a copy of this novel due out in May of 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Tosca Lee on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Firstborn, please visit Howard Book's website.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

True to You

"When they came to a light, she glanced across the small space in time to see him slide on a pair of sunglasses. Nora sighed inwardly. She might literally combust from the force of her attraction to him and be reduced to nothing but vapor. If that happened, it would be totally worth it. A good way to go."

Plain old Nora Bradford was someone most wouldn't give a second look to. She wasn't unattractive, but she also didn't go out of her way to make anyone notice her either. After being rejected by her former fiancè Harrison two months before her wedding, she wasn't looking for love any time soon. Working as the director of the Library of the Green Museum, she was the village's expert genealogist and historian. She also volunteered with her sister Britt to help out Lawson Training Incorporated in their corporate emergency terrorist training exercise and the last thing she expected was to be carried out of the building by John Lawson, the Owner and CEO of the company.

While she attempted to make conversation with John, she explained what she did in hopes of of keeping him from rushing off to quickly. He was interested in her, very interested. Only not in the way, Nora had hoped. He needed someone to help him locate his birth mother before he lost his eyesight to a disease that was inherited through his family genes. Only in his case he didn't know who they were and that is where he would need Nora's help. As she tries to keep her attraction for John in check she does some of her own research on him and discovers he is a former Navy SEAL who was awarded the Medal of Honor as well as a bit of celebrity when a book on SEAL Team 6 renders him a bit of a hero. A movie has also been made about his military campaign but he doesn't see himself in that light. It is something he wants to put behind him and hopes to find his biological parents before his blindness renders him without his sight.

I received True to You by Becky Wade compliments of Baker Publishing Group and Net Galley. This is such a wonderful new series, The Bradford Sister's Romance, and this is the first novel in that series. The sparks are definitely flying between the two as they try to keep their feelings intact because John is currently in a relationship and no matter how much he tries to deny his feelings for Nora, he knows he has an obligation with his current girlfriend. The two will soon discover they have more in common than they ever imagined and it might just be the thing that pulls them apart for good. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. This novel as includes Reader Discussion Questions that would make a great addition for a book club.

For more information about True to You, Becky Wade or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Becky Wade on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on True to You, please visit Baker Publishing Group's website. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Faith

Do you remember Little House on the Prairie growing up? If you are like me, you have a fondness for great family values that series instilled in us growing up. Thanks to Janette Oke, there is such a series available today that is just as great, considering Michael Landon Jr is the director, so the apple didn't fall far from the tree and once again When Calls the Heart is a series, the entire family can watch and enjoy.

Now in its fourth season, When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Faith was originally broadcast as The Heart of Christmas and gave viewers a look back into the lives of some of our favorite characters in Hope Valley again. Hearties take note, Canadian Mounty Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) and School Teacher, Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) are feeling romance once again as our favorite honey moon couple Lee Colter and Rosemary have returned back to town and bringing with it all the romance one can hope for. Elizabeth is busy with plans for the Christmas pageant with her students and instead of having them audition for the roles, she wants them to encourage the spirit of giving towards one another with the winner being the one who was the most kind in each of the parts for the Nativity Story. When she receives word however that the supply train is delayed it seems as if the Christmas spirit is lost without costumes for the play, food for the feast, or presents for the kids.

But that is the true beauty about community spirit of Hope Valley, thus appropriately named, when the town rallies behind the cause and everyone gets into the spirit including a traveling peddler by the name of Sam, who seems to have just what everyone needs who comes to him. Is he Santa in disguise or is he a thief that is merely taking advantage of the good folks of Hope Valley. It will take a lot of cooperation from the town of Hope Valley to show us all what Christmas is truly about.

I received When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Faith compliments of Edify Films and The Hallmark Channel. The best part about the special DVD is that it also includes some great bonus features including a collector's sepia photograph of Jack Thornton in uniform, as well as a Bible Study Guide in the DVD. The guide itself is more than 30 pages long (including notes) that goes with more than 20 minutes of clips that are also on the DVD. Now that is what the heart of faith is truly all about. This would be a great visual resource to use in teaching a Bible Study on the meaning of faith and what it means as well as how we can share it. It is a full color resource available to download via the DVD! I easily give this a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Faith, Edify Films or where you can pick up a copy of this DVD today, please click on the links below:

You can find Edify Films on Facebook to stay up to date with all their latest DVDs and projects.

You can also find When Calls the Heart on Facebook to become a true #Heartie and stay up to date with all the people of the series and Hope Valley.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Secret Courage

I love stories about the roles women played in any of the war efforts, especially World War 1 and 2, and no one can truly write a great novel about the war, women, romance and a little intrigue better than Tricia Goyer. In her latest London Chronicles series, A Secret Courage takes us into the life of Emma Hanson, an American who is employed working at Danefield House in Medmenham, a small English village at the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit. Her job is to survey the photographs that Spitfire planes used over Germany in hopes of planning the next bombing run and hopefully ensure a success. She is feeling guilty since her brother Samuel was killed during the war when his plane didn't return. Emma's job was to look at these photos allied survey pilots had returned from their flights photographing German points of interest - bases, airfields, manufacturing plants, bridges. Upon landing at Benson airfield, First Phase photo officers debriefed the weary pilots, attempting to pinpoint the exact locations where the photos were taken. Once the actual photographs were printed, the prints were plotted and initial information put into a report. Both the report and photos were setnt to Emma's team and that is where her work began.

Her job was to spot inconsistencies in the photos and uncover where the Germans might be hiding artillery, building new weapons or as Emma is about to find out, discovering where Hitler plans on unleashing his secret weapon, a rocket that can hit England. She finds comfort with her friends Vera and Georgette who believe she needs to find someone who can steal her heart. But she isn't about to let anything stand in the way of her work. After all, she signed the Official Secrets Act and word of her work to anyone breached her oath, and she could be court-martialed. She just doesn't plan on falling for Will Fleming, a fellow book lover whom she met in a bookstore and now he serves as an artist in the war efforts to capture the essence of what remains of the towns after the war in hopes of keeping the faith of those involved in the war alive and well.

But Will is not at all whom he seems and needs to find a way into the Danefield House due to reports that all that are employed there might be compromised in their security by someone working on the inside. But who can trust whom? If Will is hiding something from Emma does that mean he is hiding his true feelings for her as well and she is only a pawn in his espionage plots to gain information on what is happening in Danefield House? The plot is just beginning to thicken as the body counts begin to rise and Will just might be the next target!

I received A Secret Courage by Tricia Goyer compliments of Harvest House Publishers and Net Galley. I absolutely loved learning about the PI's or photo investigators like Emma. How she signed up with the Women's Auxillary Air Force, where she was conscripted into a special unit without a clue what it entailed. It must have been difficult not knowing if you could trust your friends, because even they didn't share what they were working on and you had to be careful what you said in casual conversations. I absolutely LOVED this new series and can't wait to expand on what I believe will be Vera's and Georgette's novels in the future. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about A Secret Courage, Tricia Goyer or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Tricia Goyer on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Secret Courage, please visit Harvest House Publisher's website. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

20 Ways to Make Every Day Better

"I'm just having a bad day."

Have you ever said that to yourself or perhaps a friend or family member in a way to excuse your behavior or attitude for the moment? Traffic is backed up, you spill your coffee before you even get a sip, the kids are driving you crazy, the kitchen faucet is dripping, your boss is in a mood, and the car is making that funny noise again. I'm just have a bad day!

While there aren't many days when all those things happen at once (thankfully), you and I both know that any one of those challenges can test our temperament, pollute our perspective, or hijack our joy. Far too often we write it off as a "bad day" and give up until tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better, we hope, while subconsciously waving the white flag of surrender on today.

But the problem with bad days is they tend to pile up - have you noticed that? A bad day becomes a bad week. A bad week becomes a bad month. And before you know it, a bad month becomes a bad year. Many of us spend the last week of every December saying the exact same thing: "I can't wait until this year is over!"

If you can relate to that, if you've ever given up on today, waiting on tomorrow, pick up Joyce Meyer's latest book. 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better! The book is divided into four equally important sections: "When You Awake," "New Steps to Take," " Patterns to Break,"  and "Before It's Too Late." These sections are meant to systematically take you through your day and show you what God's Word teaches about making that day and every day count. You can open any chapter at any time and apply the principle in that chapter to make your day immediately better. This book is full of biblical instruction, practical applications, stories to inspire, and helpful suggestions.

I received 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better by Joyce Meyer compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups. What I love most about Joyce's books is that they drive home the point in a way that is both humorous and biblical. She just gives it to you straight like you need to hear things without candy-coating anything. As I was going through my own rough patch medically, this book enabled me to not chalk everything up to a "bad moment" in my life. That there were things I good glean from this time of suffering and trial and grow both spiritually and mentally in the process and most of all, make me a better person to be around.

There is also the 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better Study Guide which helps you through each stage of the book. I would recommend you getting them both so you can work through the points of the book in conjunction with your own personal struggle. This would also be perfect for a great small group Bible study. After all, who doesn't have a bad day from time to time? I give both of these resources a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better, Joyce Meyer or where you can pick up a copy of this book or study guide today, please click on the links below.

You can find Joyce Meyer on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better, please visit Faith Words website.