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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

His Risk

I have fallen in love with Shelley Shepard Gray's latest series, The Amish of Hart County. In the fourth book in the series, His Risk, readers are once again transported back to the Amish community of Hart County. There you pick back up with familiar characters from the previous novels as they now become secondary characters in this novel.

Alice Yoder is the community's school teacher and she adores her job. She believes it is truly her calling and the one thing that brings her the most joy. However when she undertakes watching her brother's home while they vacation in Pinecraft and also care for Valentine, their cat. It is one job she truly looks forward to is a quiet night at the end of a busy day. She just didn't expect to find her curiosity peaked by the young man standing outside her neighbors home. Being a bit bold, she finds herself wanting to know who he is and why he is staying at their home.

Calvin Fisher is now staying with his brother, Mark and his wife Waneta as he undergoes a risky surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. He hopes that he will be able to be there for his brother as much as he helped to raise Calvin as a child. Both of his parents had their own issues to deal with and for Calvin, it meant leaving the Amish community. However know he has come home, but with it comes a threat that he believes he can handle as he works as an undercover DEA agent for a well known crime syndicate. Now that he has worked his way up in earning the King's loyalty, he believes he can balance the roles he is playing while keeping everyone safe.

But when his undercover life begins to show signs of being in Hart County, Calvin believes that he has brought a very real risk to those he cares about and even those he might begin to fall for. Will he be able to end the double life he is living before he endangers those he loves the most?

I received His Risk by Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspire, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. This is such a cross over genre because you are combining a love for the Amish with its connection to the English world in a suspenseful way. Without realizing it, and while they remain very much divided in their faith and ideals, there are no physical walls to keep one from encroaching on the other as it does in this series of novels by Shelley Shepard Gray. I think she orchestrates it masterfully in that you don't even realize that you're reading two very different genres in a well blended series. I have loved every single one and am looking forward to the next one in this series. Finally authors who simply don't end a good thing after three books! This one is worthy of all 5 out of 5 stars in my own opinion.

For more information about His Risk, Shelley Shepard Gray or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Shelley Shepard Gray on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on His Risk, please visit Harper Collins Publisher's website.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Masterpiece

I have fallen in love with Francine River's novels.

So whenever I hear that she has written a new one, it's an automatic response for me to buy it. I don't even have to know what it is about, because I love the way she writes her novels. I know it will be life changing for me. I know it will also challenge me in a good way as well.

So when her latest novel, The Masterpiece arrived, I couldn't wait to carve out some time to sit back and enjoy my book, like someone would enjoy a fine wine, a decadent dessert or whatever will cause you to get excited because it is something you will look forward to.

I was not disappointed.

The story takes place between a struggling famous artist, Roman Velasco, who has to come to terms with his past before he can ever move forward in his future. To say he is a success at painting is an understatement and his paintings are always sold out for obscene amounts of money. He can't seem to find a way to manage all the time in between and has gone through so many personal assistants, the agency is down to its final candidate and if he isn't happy with this one, they are done trying to work with him.

Fortunately for Grace Moore, she needs this job and will stop at nothing to ensure she makes enough money that she can move out of the home she shares with a couple that had hoped to adopt her young son when he was born. They are still hoping she will change her mind and thus the reason for letting her stay. They understand how difficult it is for a single mother to make it in Los Angeles alone! So Grace is will to pass along a little "grace" to Roman and hopefully find a way for the two to work together. But she will also need to come to terms with her own past, and one that can apply a little grace to both of their lives.

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers is an exceptional look into the pasts that we think define who we are today and unfortunately for some hold us back in the very areas that God wants to release us from. While Grace has the faith to work through some of her issues, there are some still holding her back. Yet at least, she begins to peel back the layers of Roman's past and help him to see that God is his only hope for a future, that is if she can reach him before his has a tragic accident that will forever change them both. Well worth all 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion and now proud to add this novel to my permanent library.

For more information about The Masterpiece, Francine Rivers or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Francine Rivers on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Masterpiece, visit Tyndale House Publishers website. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

The View From Rainshadow Bay

Just read the first two pages.

If you can manage to put the novel down after that and decide you have other things to do instead, I would have to check to see if you are still breathing. Of course, for me, I didn't realize I was holding my breath as I read those first two pages. What begins as a full adrenaline rush with the prologue beginning of The View From Rainshadow Bay, the latest novel from Colleen Coble in her Lavender Tides Series. She is truly one talented author in her ability to jump seamlessly from one genre to another without breaking a sweat.

In what marks the beginning of a new trilogy, suspense and murder mystery fans will want to jump on this series. The books opens quickly with a murder that will connect itself into the storyline that begins with what has happened a year later. We need that to help connect the dots to what happened earlier and why that would be so relevant to the characters we meet in the novel. Shauna McDade finds herself working through the recent loss of her husband Jack in a climbing incident, and one for which she holds Zach Bannister responsible as his best friend. Now she is forced to make her way as a single parent to her five year old son, as a helicopter charter pilot, using the skills she learned in the Navy. The last thing she needs is another loss on her plate and she will do whatever she can to make ends meet financially.

But like all great novels, things are about to get messy and complicated, when her business partner is murdered and leaving behind a message that Shauna and her son are in danger as well. Of course, now is when you have to learn to release your breath again, because things have just increased to put Shauna and her son at risk while they try to uncover what it is that is causing them to both be the focal point of a murder threat. She will have to learn to trust Zach again if she hopes to keep her son alive, despite all the threats that are now beginning to appear.

I received The View From Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and TLC Book Tours. I guess you could say I am hooked and I love both a complex mystery to engage my brain, because I try to piece together my own clues to figure it out before the ending of the book. The intensity between Shauna and Zach is crazy because you have Zach trying so hard to make amends for the guilt he feels for Jack's death, and he also has to win over Shauna's trust to allow him to help her, even when she is fighting against her own personal feelings towards him. Let's just say I know you will LOVE how this one all plays out in the end. Well worth all 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion.

For more information about The View From Rainshadow Bay, Colleen Coble or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Colleen Coble on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The View From Rainshadow Bay, please visit TLC Book Tour's page. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Girl, Wash Your Face

Sometimes as women we need that emotional cheerleader in our life that takes whatever we are going through to take us by the hand and give us that much needed talk to stop feeling sorry for whatever you're going through and get moving forward. Yet all too often we fall for the lies our own self is telling us. Lies that we aren't a good enough mom, while others around us seem to breeze through motherhood without a care in the world. Lies that all of our dreams will remain just that, dreams of a life we never got around to living. Lies that we are not good enough, when God cared enough to make us the fine women we are today. Don't you need someone to give you that honest talk to shake you out of your pity party of one and get moving on with your life with a better outlook for tomorrow.

Enter Rachel Hollis, who I think resembles Anna Kendrick quite a bit and who always seems to have it together and never seems to have a bad day, a bad month or even a bad year. Yet as women that is how we constantly compare ourselves to others around us instead of comparing our yesterday person to our today person. Why do we do that? In her book, Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel gets brutally honest, like your best friend would and holds nothing back to get you through the lies she faced and quite honestly like most of the lies all women believe. It is a cry along with her book as she faces adoption struggles, laugh with her when she shares the most incredible stories of her own life and gives you a transparent look at how she can appear to have it all together on the outside and is barely holding it all together on the inside.

She is the one friend I think all of dream of having. She is the person who would come cry with you while your enduring one of life's most challenging struggles, like losing her brother to suicide and then helping you back on your feet to show you that you don't have to stay in that place, and you can use what you're going through to make you stronger. She is such a wonder to listen to and trust me, all of us women NEED this book. I found so many great take away's that I believe I'm going to have to buy another one so I can have a pristine copy, while this one is my reference source to run to when I need a quick pick me up. For me, this book is a much needed book for all women both young and old and why I feel it is beyond worthy of 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Hollis on Facebook to stay up to date with all her wonderful projects.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Steal Away Home

I've been in love with Billy Coffey's ability to weave a story so well, that you are instantly transported from wherever you are to wherever he decides to take you. He has a way with words that goes beyond what one can describe except to say that it is a true gift to spin such a story, it make you wonder if there isn't a nugget of truth in there somewhere and he is taking you back to one of his memories so you can see it like he did. I've had the delight to read each and every single novel he has written and they all come with a uniqueness that you are picking up something sacred. I've been reading his short stories through his blog for years and was thrilled when he began to write novels.

You can sense that good ol' boy charm gleaned from the words that spill forth from the pages of his latest, Steal Away Home. I knew at some point in time we would see a story about Billy's love of baseball and feel this one is definitely a home run. One needs to understand something when you read one of his novels. They are all different in a sense that he is taking readers to often times, unexplored places within the character's mind to see things the way they did. In this novel it is through the eyes of Owen Cross, who like most young boys dreamed that one day he might make it to the big league spending childhood summers playing ball in sandlots with his friends. His natural ability is captivated upon by his father who watched his own dreams of making it into major league baseball slip away with a shoulder injury and now pushes Owen to the big dreams.

The one thing competing with Owen is a young girl who has captured his heart much like baseball did. He hopes that when it makes it big, he will be able to pull Micky along with him and rescue her from the life of being a less-than living among the small community of Mattingly, mostly being what the upper classes would consider plain white trash. But Owen sees the same thing in her that his dad sees in him, the opportunity for so much more than they could even dream. The novel toggles back and forth from Owen's childhood and his time with Micky, to the current day where he is making a debut of sorts in the big league, filling in if needed. The story is magical in the sense that you feel like you're Owen, the struggles he faces when people try and keep him and Micky apart, the differences in their upbringing and the outcome of the future for them both.

I received Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and TLC Book Tours. This is such a beautiful story and I wasn't sure how receptive I would be of one involving a baseball player, but then movies like A League of Their Own and For the Love of the Game. It reminds you that times were simple in those days. Baseball was the epitome of technology and it is what drew people together for a common cause, to root for their team. I love the way Billy crafted this story in taking me back to those days of his childhood and how the decisions he made affect his future in ways no one could predict. Once again this one will sit like a priceless treasure in my own personal library and I can say it is getting full. Well down for hitting a grand slam in this novel and deserving of all 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion.

For more information about Steal Away Home, Billy Coffey or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Billy Coffey on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on Steal Away Home, please visit TLC Book Tour page. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Melody of the Soul

Something that soothes that savage beast is music. It can take us back to memorable moments of the past or even help us pass the time during a tragic situation until something better comes along. That is the common thread in the latest novel by Liz Tolsma, The Melody of the Soul. This is the first novel in the Music of Hope Series. World War II genre fans will adore this as the setting between Anna Zadok who has just watched her family step away and left her behind to tend for her aging grandmother while the Nazi's occupy their small town in Prague. It is the one thing she didn't want to happen, for them to be separated but also knows that she can't give up on the one thing that she loves, which is playing her violin. Not from reading music, but from hearing it in her heart and soul. It defines who she is and what she is feeling with each note she plays.

However all musical instruments are outlawed and those found in possession of them will face harsh repercussions. But it is all that remains of her and the love she has for her family. Yet when a Nazi officer, Horst Engel, takes possession of her home and removes the occupants living on the lower level, she believes it is only a matter of time before they will force her and her aging grandmother to leave. She prepares to pack up what meager belongings they have so when it is time, they are ready. During the time she waits however she begins to play and what connects her to the music is the very same thread that reaches into the soul of Horst and he locates the source of the music.

He summons both of them into the lower level of the house he is occupying and asks her to play specific music that she knows and he loves. Perhaps they both are in situations they have no control over and while both know what roles they must play, it is the music that connects them to a better place before the war began. Yet will it connect them in other ways as well? Can a Jewish Christian find love with a Nazi officer in the midst of a war that threatens to divide who they both are? You'll have to check out The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma to find out.

I received The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Gilead Publishing. What I really enjoyed about this novel is first, the setting. I am a huge fan of WWII and using that as a setting really forces readers into a place in history that is vibrant, real and terrifying depending on whose side you might find yourself on. Second, placing a budding romance between two very different characters who have their own shared beliefs, enemies really makes you wonder what will be the catalyst that changes for them both that will cause them to defy the odds for love over war. There are some amazing historical notes at the conclusion of the novel that show how the author incorporated real events into the creation of not only this novel but the series! For me, this one easily rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars and I can't wait for the next novel due out in the Fall of 2018.

For more information about The Melody of the Soul, Liz Tolsma or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Liz Tolsma on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Melody of The Soul, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.

Travel back in time to 1943 and meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian and concert violinist whose career is ended because of Nazi occupation in Prague. Don't miss the new historical novel, The Melody of the Soul, by Liz Tolsma. Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Officer Horst Engel, quartered in Anna's flat and dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz's prize pack giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz's Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Plain and Sweet Christmas Romance Collection

If you're new to Amish fiction, and love the idea of a Christmas setting with some great story lines, then you might want to pick up A Plain and Sweet Christmas Romance collection. In it you will find 9 different Christmas Romances of Amish, Mennonite, Quaker and Amana settlements, which vary in some of the dress styles, their religious beliefs, and manner of speech. They hold fast to the belief that what happens stays in their communities to handle and marrying outside of the church, can often result in a shunning from the community especially if they have been baptized into their churches.

Yet the one thing that remains clear in all of them, is their sense of support within the community. Help is always offered from within regarding medical issue, issues dealing with breaking the law and tragedies. They are always there for one another. The best part also of this series, is it gives you a brief insight into the style of writing each of the nine authors. This will help you decide if you want to pick up full length novels of other books in that genre as well. It is well worth it too, if time is an issue. Reading them one at a time, as you have time available, keeps you from feeling overwhelmed about not being able to get through a larger novel, than these nine stories provide.

The nine authors that have contributed to this collection are: Jerry Eicher, Olivia Newport, Lauralee Bliss, Ramona K.Cecil, Dianne Christner, Melanie Dobson, Rachael O. Phillips, Claire Sanders, and Anna Schmidt. I have read quite a few of the novels of most of these authors, so it was a nice change of pace to meet some I had never heard of before. This collection is comparable to the length of a full size novel and in it, you get 9 short stories that feel like so much more than a simple novella. There is also a wonderful treat included at the conclusion of each one, a recipe that you can make at home from the story! Just the cover of this collection invites the reader to curl up by the fire on a cold wintery night.

I received A Plain and Sweet Christmas Romance Collection by various authors compliments of Barbour Publishing and NetGalley. This is such a beautiful collection of wonderful heartwarming stories of faith, hope and love set among the Christmas season. This is a must have for lovers of Amish Romance, and even for those who want a great sampling of the various communities mentioned in this review. For me, this really introduced me to some authors I had never heard of before, as well as bring back some favorites from best selling authors as well. For me, this collection would rate a 4 out of 5 stars. There are some stories that really didn't connect with me as a reader, and wanted to get through them to something else, especially the Quaker stories with their 'thee's and thou's in how they speak to one another. Kind of like trying to understand Shakespeare in high school, yet overall a great collection.

For more information about A Plain and Sweet Christmas Romance Collection or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can read more reviews of A Plain and Sweet Christmas Romance Collection by visiting Barbour Publishing's website.