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Friday, January 20, 2017

An Uncommon Courtship

If you are a fan of Jane Austen's novels, Downton Abbey or traditional regency romances, then trust me when I recommend the Hawthorne House series of novels by Kristi Ann Hunter. They are must haves if you love the romance only found when dealing with Dukes, Counts, Lords and even the household staff  that work for them. In the third novel in the series, An Uncommon Courtship, conveys what happens when a woman's reputation is put at risk while in the unexpected company of a man without others being present, in this case overnight. When Adelaide Bell, the second daughter of Lord and Lady Crampton, ventures off to hunt for mushrooms, she falls through the floor of an abandoned keep on the property of the Duke of Riverton. She just never expected the Lord Trent will fall through the floor with her. Knowing they were stuck temporarily, and what the implications would be when they were found, Lord Trent did what a noble gentlemen would and proposed marriage to keep her reputation from being ruined.

He just expected that when he proposed to his future wife, he would love her or in this case at least know her. Yet he was willing to trust that God knew his circumstances and would make the best of it. Knowing that he would never be crowned Duke as the younger brother, he was willing to make the best of most situations. He just wasn't quite sure what to do to make a marriage work, when the only thing going for you was that you were attracted to one another and you were married already. Only when things begin to get complicated and the lack of communication between the two falls far short, Lord Trent Hawthorne moves in with his brother the Duke of Riverton to ease the tension in the house. That only makes things worse when Adelaide wonders what she has done to drive him away but since its not a woman's place to speak her mind she resolves to spend her time getting to know the staff and trying to fit in as a Lady despite her mother's constant intervention that she simply isn't good enough as a wife or daughter.

I received An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Net Galley. Having read the other novels in the Hawthorne House series, A Noble Masquerade and An Elegant Facade, I think this may have been my favorite. I love how complicated things are at first between Adelaide and Trent knowing that their positions as secondary figures when it comes to titles are what takes some of the tension off. The way they begin to figure things out over time, it what makes readers covet this novel because it is genuine in the way I believe it would play out if it wasn't a fictional novel. I love comedic way that Trent and Adelaide eventually handle her meddlesome mother and family and how Trent's family comes to the aid of Adelaide when she needs to find a way to make it in the world of noble families. Well worth a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about An Uncommon Courtship, Kristi Ann Hunter or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Kristi Ann Hunter on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on An Uncommon Courtship, please visit Bethany House Publisher's website.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Coming Flood

I have been a true fan of Bible Prophecy since before I knew about Jesus as my personal Savior. I guess you could say that growing up as a Catholic and seeing Thief in the Night pretty much scared me about the event most refer to as the Rapture. Later in my early 20's and discovering a true relationship with Jesus, I left behind my Catholic rituals and embraced a salvation in Jesus I never knew before but compelled me to discover more about Bible prophecy than ever before and with an urgency now with the state of things around the globe drawing us ever near to those End Time events the Bible describes.

From the persecution of Christians to the very turning away of the true church, the Bible is 100% in its foretelling of things that have happened, things that are happening and things that will happen in the future. In the book, The Coming Flood, author Jeremy Wells takes readers into first of all a disclosure that while his interpretation of Revelation and other scriptures referring to the Tribulation period are just his, he offers readers a view at what Post-Tribulation Christians might believe could very well happen. For me, I simply don't agree. I am a firm believer in the rapture event but wanted to see if his viewpoints might convey something I might have missed along the way.

One thing we both agree on is that you can't use other books to interpret what Bible prophecy means, "If you are going to read any book other than the Bible, it is important to recognize the difference between ideas that build upon another person's ideas, and theories that precisely fit what the Bible teaches. I heard someone with a pre-tribulation belief say at a conference, "I can prove anything I want to from the Bible, but that doesn't make it right." I think he was referring to how easy is is to take Scripture out of context and make it fit your ideas. People often do this unintentionally, but an incorrect interpretation of passage of Scripture can lead to incorrect theology regardless of intentionality. The absolute best way to understand the Bible is to read and reread the Bible. The more books you read apart from the Bible, the more you open yourself up to man's fallible ideas. If you have not read the Bible cover to cover at least once, there is absolutely no reason you should be reading this book or any other prophecy book (or any other book about anything for that matter.)" (pg 12). On this we can agree.

I have read my Bible from cover to cover 3 times and now on my fourth and while there are some things we can agree on, I am not convinced by the arguments Jeremy Wells has provided using his understanding of Scripture. I don't believe Jesus didn't know the day or the hour as he referred to when asked about when the end time events would occur, He stated only His Father did, but the seasons would be clear. This means that only the timing of the events of the End Times from what I believe will be found in Revelation 4-22 occurs after the rapture of the church age believers. The exact day or hour would be unknown to all men, but Jesus reminds us that we can recognize the seasons of said events just like we can understand the timing of our own seasons based on what we can see.

We can see stages being set for what I believe will be the Tribulation spoken of dealing with God's wrath upon the unbelieving world who adamantly refuse to acknowledge a belief in Christ and those who remain undecided. With the ongoing threat from terrorist groups like ISIS who use beheadings of Christians to drive home their own power points, these are just the events the Bible speaks of coming in the last days when people won't be concerned at all about these things like they did in the past. The church and world growing apathetic even when it comes to issues dealing with human rights violations, racial wars and the ever growing threat among the world against Jesus Christ. While I don't agree with many of the arguments Jeremy Wells uses in his book to convince readers about a coming Christian genocide he refers to as the Coming Flood, and thus the reason that Christians will have to endure what he refers to as Satan's wrath and not God's wrath upon the world, we can simply agree to disagree on certain points.

Some readers might agree with this book, but I remain unconvinced that whenever God uses His judgment upon the world, He always spares a remnant, from Noah to Lot. I remain convinced that the rapture will be  real event and for now the only way we can know for certain is to wait until it happens or doesn't. The one thing we must do is be ready for the coming of Jesus Christ and in order to do that, you must believe in Him for your salvation otherwise your eternal fate is sealed according to the Bible. I received The Coming Flood by Jeremy Wells compliments of LED Ministries and Book Crash. I would rate this book a 3 out of 5 stars in my opinion just based on the evidence he uses to justify his post-Tribulation of view and how he interprets various Scriptures that even now some of Revelations prophecies have happened and are continuing to occur such as Luke 17:36 which refers to two men in the field and one being taken away, he claims is one taken away to execution and not the rapture event. I disagree. While some readers might agree with his position, again the main point is simply to provide readers with a post-Tribulation viewpoint. I find that if you have to twist Scripture to make it fit the viewpoint, it may not work as God had intended. Doesn't mean its wrong or right, just a difference of opinion. Only time will tell.

For more information about The Coming Flood, Jeremy Wells or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Pattern Artist

One of my favorite childhood memories is remembering when my mother would sew us pajamas out of whatever fabric we picked out from the store. Even now many years later, I would LOVE to do that for my own kids, well teens and young adults. I guess that is where my love of quilting has come from and also why I absolutely LOVED the novel, The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser. It such a well-researched novel on pattern artists, those that made the patterns that home sewers like my mom could use to make their own clothes from, so it is wonderful to learn a bit more about those women who took it upon themselves to help.

The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser tells just how one woman's dreams to see a future for herself despite the odds against her based both on society's standards and where she came from. Annie Wood might be considered a perpetual run-away. She ran from her parents when they deemed she wasn't worthy of anything more than where their lot in life fell. However she took it upon herself to work the Kidds, a family of influence as a maid and travel to America with them in hopes of one day becoming a true ladies maid. For now, she was content to travel along as a house maid doing some sewing and alterations for the women in the family. She had hopes that the ladies maids were passing along her contributions to them so that one day her true talents might be used.

However when one of the footman, Mr. Grasston, makes it his intent to press himself upon Annie in unsuitable ways, she knows she must find a way out of the household, even if it means her future dreams must fall by the wayside. In face, she learns that he has made several passes at others in the Kidd household as well, including the one friend she met, Iris and her brother Danny. After learning that Grasston has abused Iris, Annie makes plans for all three to runaway and begin a new start in America knowing that all three possess the drive to not settle for anything less than their own say in their futures, especially when Annie learns that the ladies maids have been passing off her work as their own. If she doesn't strike while the iron is hot, she is doomed to settle for what she has and that isn't good enough right now. Her future now lies in the hands of working for Macy's department store as a sewing clerk using all the skills she has self-taught herself to make a living, but will her past come back to haunt her in ways she could never imagine?

I received The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley. The theme in this novel is that Annie soon learns that God is working all around her if she just opens her eyes. God is simply waiting for her to notice Him. At the end of the novel she can look back and see how the ripples of all the bad things she believed has happened to her has been for her good and has lead her to where she finds herself at the end, better than she ever believed. At the conclusion the author provides insights of her own on how she utilized the history of Butterick to determine the way this novel will playout and how working at Macy's would tie in a bit of history about the Staus family, who would subsequently die aboard the ill-fated Titanic in 1912. I absolutely could NOT put this book down until I finished and for me, that is a sign that this one is a 5 out of 5 stars. I only wish it would last so much longer as I found myself completely immersed in the lives of Annie Wood and her friends.

For more information about The Pattern Artist, Nancy Moser or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Nancy Moser on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Pattern Artist, please visit Barbour Publishing's website. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Valentine

What are the differences that separate the beliefs of Jews and Christians? Does the Bible warn not to be unequally yoked and if so, does that apply to Jews and Christians? My Valentine by Tracie Peterson is a heartwarming regency romance between Darlene Lewy, raised a Jew her entire life that lives with her father Abraham and Pierce Blackwell, a Christian young man who has recently arrived in New York with his father.

At the height of the season, Pierce comes to Lewy and Company with his father to get some suits made in time for the Valentine's Day ball. In order to expedite things in acquiring what he needs over trying to find suitable attire somewhere else, he is enchanted when he meets with Darlene who is trying to figure out just why her father and Dennison Blackwell are having discussions over the differences in their religious faiths. Darlene is concerned because if Abraham leaves his faith as a Jew, the entire Jewish community will ostracize them and stop doing business with them. It will also impact her future as well in the community, not that someone like the Blackwell would have any romantic interest in her as suitable match. The one thing Darlene didn't expect is that she would be caught overhearing their conversation and find herself trying to explain things to Pierce.

Pierce's Aunt has just the right girl in mind for Pierce from just the right family and when she arranges to have them meet at a Bachelor's auction, the only girl he can't get off his mind is Darlene. Even he knows however that unless she is a Christian, there will never be any hope for anything more than a business relationship between them. But will the changes Darlene sees in her father, cause her to consider that perhaps Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised to come by the Jewish people after all?

I received My Valentine by Tracie Peterson compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley. I absolutely loved seeing the various differences between the Jews and Christians in regards to their religious rituals and how they interpret the Bible. I love how the Blackwells are invited to participate in the Passover meal and how they are so impressed by how the Lewy's remember the blessings of God saving his people during Passover. In addition to this novel, readers are also treated to a bonus book, Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity inside. This is the story of Eliza Criswell that moves in with her Aunt Phoebe at Harper House after her fiancè Weston runs off with her best friend. She just doesn't expect to fall for someone who looks identical to him while working for her Aunt! Both books earn an equal 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion.

For more information about My Valentine/Little Shoes and Mistletoe, Tracie Peterson, Sally Laity or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Tracie Peterson on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

You can find Sally Laity on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on My Valentine/Little Shoes and Mistletoe, please visit Barbour Publishing's website. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Violent Light

People talk about world peace all the time. From beauty pageant contestants to world leaders yet it remains the one thing that no one can seem to solve. So when world leaders send ten Muslims and ten Christians youths from all over the globe to a Peace Initiative Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, they might just be able to do what one one has done before. Without their input, the next generation might just be one of a divided world separated not only by racial differences but also religious ones as well. If these twenty youths can figure out what their leaders can't perhaps there is hope for the future.

Yet something goes entirely wrong when they are kidnapped without their knowledge still believing that they are participating in the peace conference, under some horrific conditions. First they are all locked together, male and female in the same room without any of their personal belongings in absolute darkness until one by one, they all awakened from their drugged out stupor to discover they have no way out and no idea what is going on. Until a group of men arrive and begin to describe that they will be put into teams of two and given particular assignments to accomplish before the end of their shifts.

Each member of the group begin to discuss that this might be a way to force people of different cultural backgrounds and religions to learn what tears them apart instead of resolving to discover peace which is what they all agreed to do. So one by one, they discover something unique about one another, what sets them apart, what makes them different and how they can compromise to ensure they all work together as one instead of letting the fear of the unknown drive them apart. It seems like a perfect plan until one by one they leave the room only to never return again, with stories about where they have gone. Is this a social experiment gone wrong or is this something more sinister? One thing is for certain, people everywhere are watching.

I received A Violent Light by Jim Baton compliments of the author and Create Space Independent Publishing. This truly gives the reader an idea into what causes division among us, from the people in our same families to same cities and countries. The one underlying theme is that we can appreciate those differences in one another without letting them come between us and cause a division that can never be unified again. We see this happening all across not only America, but across the globe where religious, racial and political issues divide more than unify us into the one thing we all have in common and that is being a human with like-minded needs like love. This was not something I had expected to find upon reading this novel which is the third in the Peace Trilogy series and thus give it a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about A Violent Light, Jim Baton or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Jim Baton on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

You can find this novel available for purchase in paperback or eBook format at Amazon or other retailers. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Closing the Book on Santa Claus

Looking for a great book of Christmas short stories? Than look no further than Closing the Book on Santa Claus by Ron Chandler. It contains 9 short stories with the Christmas theme at the center, ranging on various issues like what happens when a public school threatens to remove all holiday decorations because it fails to adhere to school curriculum to what happens when a young girls makes some holiday cards to ailing veterans and the hospital threatens to have the woman face disciplinary action for allowing her daughter to pass them out.

These short stories tell the evolving controversy over celebrating religious holidays during the winter months and how those who are completely against them try to use existing laws on the books to prevent them from occurring on public property. These are the very basis behind some ongoing issues you see every Christmas when a particular group threatens these holidays in lieu of something more generic without the religious undertones. I think the author does an extraordinary job at showcasing just how ridiculous some of these issues are, when America was founded on religious freedoms.

It takes these matters to the heart at what makes these celebrations so special and why they need to remain a part of celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. There is something to be said for the diversity these celebrations can bring to those that find them an important way to celebrate during the winter months and how we can all learn something from the differences in the celebration. It is what has made America the great melting pot, is understanding the differences even though you, personally, may not celebrate them. I received Closing the Book on Santa Claus by Ron Chandler compliments of the author and Create Space Independent Publishing Platform. This deserves a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion and look forward to keeping this as part of my Christmas library collection.

For more information about Closing the Book on Santa Claus, Ron Chandler or where you can pick up a copy of this book, available in print or eBook formats, please click on the links below:

Monday, January 9, 2017

Home At Last

You can't seem to go anywhere where race is not an issue. From our latest president to the news reports, race is an issue where is simply shouldn't be. All it is is a matter of skin tone and that is all. Yet in this final novel in the Chicory Inn series by Deborah Raney, the lone wolf of the Whitman family, Link finds love where he might least expect it. Tucked quietly away in the Coffee's On Bakery, Link is attracted to Shayla Michaels. I guess one could say it was love at first sight, but as most romance stories go, theirs will not be one that goes smoothly.

Shayla has a lot of things she would rather keep buried, secrets from her past that have earmarked her for a different future than one she might have imagined long ago. Since her parents married years ago, her mother, a white women of some affluence married Mike, a black man and with it came a separation between the families. Shayla's mother's family refused to acknowledge the relationship and left her and Mike to struggle and find a way to make it in the world. Even when a terminal cancer diagnosis was revealed, her parents still refused to budge. After watching her mother suffer needlessly in that regards, Shayla believes that the colors should not mix despite how one might feel differently. Of course, growing up under those stereotypes is bound to make one a bit hardened to it all.

That is why Link is determined to show her that love can transcend any barriers including race, and he is willing to overlook everything that Shayla tosses his way to discourage any attempts at a future for them both. She even has a younger niece, Portia, a wonderfully articulate and precocious five-year-old, that will undoubtedly be one she must care for the rest of her life while her father, Shayla's brother remains locked up in prison. But can love be that easy to accept when one has had to deal with these issues her entire life or will love be the one thing that saves them all and provides a way to change the world or just their part in it, one step at a time?

I received Home At Last by Deborah Raney compliments of Net Galley and Abingdon Press. This novel gives you an idea of what it is like dealing with all the stereotypes people of color must deal with without having the ability to change things or walk away from it. I love that Deborah Raney took this risk in making this a part of the Whitman story and conveys to us all that love really is the best gift of all. There are discussion questions that conclude the novel that makes for a great book club find and for me, this one was worth 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion. I love that you don't even realize that Shayla is a different color until you are well into the story and that is what love is all about, it never takes that into consideration when it unites people together.

For more information about Home At Last, Deborah Raney or where you can preorder a copy of this book today that is due out in February of 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Deborah Raney on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

You can read more reviews on Home At Last by visiting Abingdon Press' website.