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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Perfect Stranger

The one thing that drew them together would be the one common thread that threatens to tear them apart. Known by their blogging names, PINK STINKS, BamaBelle, I'm O-Kay and The Boobless Wonder and PC BC, these bloggers are united by dealing with breast cancer. Some are in remission, others are dealing with new treatment options, and others believe its simply a matter of time before hospice is called and the countdown begins to the end. Even though most of them are sharing their feelings with family and friends, no one really understands what they are dealing with like someone who is dealing with it as well. That is what has allowed them to simply step outside the limits of their blogging friendship and form a bond outside that as well even though they have never met.

However when Meredith Heywood winds up the victim of a home invasion robbery, soon the clues begin to add up that it was merely a murder staged to look like a home invasion robbery. Is it possible the during all her blogging posts that Meredith shared too much personal information online that someone had simply took their time and began putting things together to uncover who Meredith really was and where she lived. All those times she shared spending time alone while her husband Hank was dealing with his aging mother and trying to locate suitable nursing care for her, provided the perfect window of opportunity for someone looking for one. At least Meredith didn't have to wait for the cancer that was raging her body for the third time, to take her life. She simply didn't see it coming and she died before she knew what hit her.

Now left dealing with the implications of who had murdered Meredith, her blogging friends finally meet for the first time and her funeral. Something she had always dreamed of doing and never thought that her funeral would be the one place they all finally got to meet. Landry Wells, a successful mother of two wonderful teens and wife of her husband Rob, a busy attorney, she was the picture of what people would call a true Southern Belle. Elena Ferreira, has been trying to find a way to manage her stress as a first grade teacher, and no family to speak of. She is more than thrilled to have these blogging women to fall back on for support dealing with her own cancer. Now if she can only manage dealing with that stress without drinking or dating the one guy in her school that is beyond persistent in wanting to date her. Kay Collier, dealing with the memories of losing her own mother and never feeling truly wanted as a child, her online friends are her only outreach in dealing with her cancer, and Jaycee, the only blogger who has never revealed anything about who she is has a reason for keeping her personal life a secret. If any of them found out just who she really was, her secret would be finally revealed.

I received The Perfect Stranger by Wendy Corsi Staub compliments of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. As a blogger for the last 6 years, this one really hit home for me. In light of all the issues with identity fraud and social networking stalkers, you begin to wonder just how some people can use technology to gain insight into your life you'd never dream before. Rob, Landry's husband is concerned about her "blogging post and friends" and wonders just how much information she is sharing online but never seeks to check it out for himself. If you are truly that concerned, you would think a simply internet browse would take care of that, but it also adds to the element of suspense to the novel and when you discover who did it, you'll be looking at the information you decide to share online anymore! I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and look forward to more novels from Wendy in the near future.

For more information about The Perfect Stranger, Wendy Corsi Staub, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Wendy Corsi Staub on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Perfect Stranger, please visit Harper Collin's website. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek

I have been in love with the Butternut Creek series from author Jane Myers Perrine since the first novel. The cast of characters she has so lovingly created that live in the small town are rich in humor, love and purpose. If you haven't read any of them, please start at the beginning with The Welcoming Committee of Butternut Creek, then The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek before picking up The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek.

In this small town, are a group of older women simply known as the Widows. Most of them are just that, widowed elderly women who have taken it upon themselves to help the town out wherever needs prevail. The leader, a woman known as Birdie or Miss Birdie is Birdie Macdowell. She is the voice of the entire group and is often strong willed and blunt but she means well in what she does. Her goal since the series began was to find their new minister, Adam Jordan, a wife. In a town this small, where the elderly greatly outnumber the younger, this poses a problem. Especially when Adam digs his feet in and kindly thanks the Widows for their well meaning intention, but he isn't interested.

When he met Gussie Milton, he wasn't interested in love, but over time, he found the perfect wife to be in her. But in the time he has taken to get to know her, the Widows feel he is dragging his feet and they firmly resolve to get them engaged, married and procreating to fill up the house the pastor is residing in. Now they simply need to make sure he understands just how committed they will need to be. Armed with more than good intentions the Widows of Butternut Creek are about to move their plans into the next phase and understand there is a wedding in the future. They just need to convince Adam it's time to propose and they intend on helping him do just that.

Now that Adam's sister Hannah has returned to Butternut Creek to heal from malaria while working as a doctor in Africa, the Widows have another plan in mind. With the high school basketball coach, Gabe Borden on the available list, they have just added another single woman to their list of eligible possibilities for Gabe. Only they don't realize that Hannah is no match for their "helpfulness" in finding her an eligible husband even if she is more than attracted to him. Oh but the Widows of Butternut Creek are about to have their work truly cut out for them in this novel and hopefully the right love arrows will be placed in the right hearts.

I received The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I love the entire town and the people like Miss Birdie and the Widows are ones I can relate to. They are struggling to find purpose in life after raising their own families, dealing with the loss of their husbands, and trying to find something to help pass the time. They are filled with love for each of the people who live in town and even Miss Birdie will find out just how much all of her efforts to help people out will come back when she needs help the most. All in all, I hope this isn't the last novel for the Butternut Creek series and hope to see what the Widows are up to next. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek, Jane Myers Perrine, or where to pick up this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Jane Myers Perrine on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek, please visit Faith Word's website. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In The Field of Grace

If you have read some of the stories of the Bible, you get a broad sense of what happened. But like so many times we are missing some of the finer points, the motivations and those are found in the details. My newest favorite genre this year is Biblical Fiction. Taking a story we all know and love straight from the Bible and enhancing the details of 'what could of been!' It is never meant to take the place of those beloved stories but simply a way I believe to draw you deeper. To bring you right in the forefront of the action and make you believe you are there actually witnessing the events.

This is my second novel from author Tessa Afshar, and with it comes the retelling of the story of Ruth. If you are familiar with the story than you know that Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, decides to return to Israel after losing both of her sons. But before deciding to uproot Ruth from her own family roots, she relives her of any burden to stay with her along her to journey back to her home. Ruth vows that no matter what happens in life, she will always stay by Naomi side and so begins their adventure to Naomi's home. We learn that the harvest has been plentiful and even gleaners, are having success with picking up enough left over grain that they will not go hungry. Ruth decides to venture out to take care of their needs and finds her way into the fields of Boaz.

She first has to learn how to glean and being a Moabite woman, she is considered an outcast in town. With no one to help her, she decides to linger behind and take the leftovers if she can find them. But soon she garners the attention of Boaz, the owner of the field, who is smitten with her looks as well as her quiet presence. When he learns she is the daughter of Naomi, his cousin, he realizes he must offer to help but not in the way to embarrass her. He warns his men to offer her protection while working in his fields and to ensure that each day, she takes home more than enough to feed them both.

While they are both learning lessons along the way, dealing with grief, accepting God's will in both of their lives, and slowly falling in love along the way, we can see the same example being laid out before each of us. How God so lovingly romances all of us and shows us in innumerable ways just how much He loves us. I love the part of the novel where Boaz it trying to describe what the world is like to an unborn baby and he gets a lesson from God in the process in dealing with the grief and loss Boaz feels when he loses his wife Judith and their unborn child.

"Then the Lord asked me, 'Do you think he understands? Do you think he knows what your world is like now?'
"No, Lord,' I replied, 'How could he? He only knows his mother's womb. His world is too small. I could use every word the world has to offer and he would still not perceive our world. He has to be in it to understand it.'
"'No more can you understand My kingdom,' He said to me. 'No more can you perceive where your wife and daughter and newborn son reside now. Yet that world is no less real than your own.'" (pg 124).

I received In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar compliments of River North Publishing and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. This is such a beautiful love story not only between Ruth and Boaz but also between God and us.. There are just so many wonderful take aways from this novel I simply can't list them all. For those that have experienced loss and are looking for answers, I would encourage you to check out this novel and then follow it up with the story of Ruth from the Bible. It simply is breath-taking and full of life in many ways. I easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to go back and pick up the other novels Tessa has written that I haven't been blessed to enjoy yet.

For more information about In the Field of Grace, Tessa Afshar or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Tessa Afshar on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on In Field of Grace, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliance's book tour page. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Traitor's Heir

Title: The Traitor’s Heir
Author: Anna Thayer
Series:  Book one of the Fantasy Trilogy, The Knight of Eldaran
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-1782640752
My Review: 
A fantasy novel written in somewhat Medieval Times about a the main character by the name of Eamon Goodman, who for the right idea, pledged his service to The Master. Through his childhood, Eamon thought of being a chivalrous Knight or servant of The Hand, the illustrious right hand guard of The Master. Little did he know that upon pledging himself the day he was to become a servant and Ensign of The Master that things would never be the same. The cities and towns who fall under the protection of The Master are protected and kept safe by The Throned one, but are they under his protection or enslaved by his powers and armies?
His childhood friend, a girl by the name of Aeryn, who grew up watching him turn from a young boy with a harsh childhood into a brave young man warned him about accepting the Mark and swearing to obey The Master’s Commands. Wishing to prove himself worthy, he disregards his best friends advise and pledges himself to The Master. Will Eamon be lured over to the Dark Forces of The Master or will he reveal himself to be a King’s Man from a time before the Thrown was stolen!  The rest of the story will have to be read rather than reviewed!
Read for yourself the story of Eamon Goodman to see if he truly is a Traitor's Heir or if he makes his own history in this epic novel.
I received The Traitor's Heir by Anna Thayer compliments of Kregel Publications for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 Stars! It has tales of old heroes and a plot that would rival the great King Arthur and The Knights of Camelot! This is the first book in The Knight of Eldaran Series Trilogy and a debut novel as well. I can't wait to read the next novel in the series, The King's Hand!
For more information about The Traitor's Heir, Anna Thayer or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below: 
You can also find Anna Thayer on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels. 
To read more reviews on The Traitor's Heir, please visit Kregel Publication's website. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

101 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven

I'm sure you have heard of thing like "bucket lists" or "things to do before you die" but I found a much better book that offers you something more. It's a wonderful little gem tucked between the hard cover and provides you with more than simply a list of ideas of things you should accomplish before you go to heaven. This is definitely a book for believers in Jesus Christ, because there is only one way to heaven and that is found in Christ. Yet the book offers us a glimpse at some of the wonderful ideas we can do while we are still living here in this world.

I believe as adults, life comes at us too fast. We have responsibilities to manage, families to care for, jobs to perform and along the way, I feel we simply forget how to enjoy this life. God created it for us to enjoy while we are here and inside are a list of some amazing things to do. It offers you a chance at bringing back some of that fun and imagination we had when we were children. The best part is that you are more than welcome to bring your family, friends and children along for the journey and remind them life doesn't end once you've become an adult and some "playtime" is definitely par for the course at keeping us happy and healthy.

"If you are a Christian, you can look forward to a magnificent eternity in heaven and your arrival there will be an indescribable homecoming. A new beginning. A new body. A new intimacy with God. A new life - one without end. No more pain. No more tears. No more sun or moon, because God's own glory will provide enough light. Although God hasn't provided you with a crystal-clear picture of what your eternal home will be like, you can be sure it will exceed your wildest dreams. It will be what your heart has always longed for here on earth but could never quite touch. It will be paradise in every sense of the word. But you're not there yet.
This book is designed to help you make the most of every day God has set aside for you here on earth. Take hold of the wonderful adventure God has planned for your life. And if you have not done so, take hold of His grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. Then go out there and really live. There's a wild and wonderful world that's longing to catch a glimpse of God - and heaven - through you." (excerpt from Introduction.)

Some of the ideas listed in the book are:

Read the Classics
Do Something That Scares You
Celebrate a Traditional British Tea
Spend a Day Alone with God
Watch a Meteor Shower
Become an Undercover Encourager
Make Yourself at Home in a Cemetary
Greet the Dawn

There are simply so many great ideas and suggestions that do more than offer a place to go. Some suggestions offer ways of getting beyond your own wants and needs and help others. It's all about making the time you have here, worth while. It will be the one thing we can take with us to heaven are the memories we have of our time here. So if you're looking for something to do to make your life more meaningful or simply a great gift idea that goes beyond what you had dreamed, you might just want to pick this book up.

I received 101 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven by David Borden and Tom Winters compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own, unless otherwise notated. Hands down, I can't wait to finish checking off quite a few of the ideas listed in this book and give it a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about 101 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven, David Bordon, Tom Winters or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

All I Love and Know

Once again I find myself in a difficult place reviewing a novel that I am questioning why I would have wanted to review this novel since it goes against my own personal religious beliefs on the side against gay marriage. So for my Christian blogging readers, I caution you against this novel based on the premise that is speaks about not only gay marriage being acceptable, but also for the fact that it does against the very core beliefs God speaks against. With that being said, let me outline what the novel All I Love and Know from author Judith Frank conveys. This novel is based on the relationship of two men, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen who are currently living together and find themselves dealing with the outcome of Daniel's twin brother and sister-in-law who have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, leaving the men to deal with what will happen to the couples children. It explores how each of the men approach the complexities now facing each of them in learning they have been asked to adopt the children and how it changes their lifestyles and relationship.

While I can understand the issues facing the two men, I can understand how even these issues would impact a traditionally married couple, a man and a woman, who themselves faced the same possibilities and that is how I tried to manage getting through the novel to provide an honest review. The circumstances are similar but not entirely the same and thus the reason for my providing the rating that I did. It's times like this that question whether or not you even want to share a review but honesty is why I chose to become a book reviewer. They all can't be good and everyone is entitled to their opinion. In my own personal case as a Christian, I can't give this novel a great rating because in doing so would compromise the beliefs I have and also convey that I accept the novel as it is written and again something I can't do to be fair with my own beliefs in God.

However, other people will provide a far different view on this novel and as such, I wanted to convey that in my review. While I tried to maintain a level of objectivity, I had difficulty when the subject of sex between the two men were discussed and how they would maintain their lifestyle in the presence of the newly adopted children. My review is simply to state what a reader will find when opening the cover and if this does not offend you than you will more than likely appreciate the novel as the author intended, but for me, I have to be honest and say I did not like the novel even though the premise of having a married couple dealing with the suddenly adoption of children into their lives and subsequent consequences stemming from those decisions is a great idea. In my opinion, I'd give this one a 2 out of 5 stars based solely on my own rating system.

I received All I Love and Know by Judith Frank compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable one. For more information about All I Love and Know, Judith Frank or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Judith Frank on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on All I Love and Know, please visit William Morrow's website. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

An Unwilling Accomplice

Since my first Bess Crawford novel from best-selling author Charles Todd, I've been hooked. Taking some of my favorite elements of fiction, World War I, women nurses, and murder mystery and you have to basic ingredients for what makes the Bess Crawford Series a true success. Bess Crawford has been serving as a battlefield nurse, thrust in the middle of taking care of the most challenging of patients. With medical marvels still years from being developed, she is right in the middle of action trying to save the lives of those she can, and holding hands, writing letters and simply being there for those she can't. It was truly a trying time in history for women to participate in doing their part while war raged all around them.

For Bess, she is the daughter of a famous Colonel who's own military success often times aid her in coming to terms with the war. Like most fathers, they want to do all they can to  protect their daughters when they have the opportunity and Bess finds herself paired with her friend Simon, a decorated Sergeant-Major. He comes to her rescue as often as he is able, most of the time helping her solve the latest crime using all his military resources to research potential motives.

Bess has been assigned the duties of caring for an ailing Sergeant Wilkins who is confined to a wheelchair after sustaining injuries in the war. She is to provide nursing assistance to Wilkins when his orderly is headed back to the battle lines and to ensure he is present at Buckingham Palace for the King to honor him with a medal for his courage on the battlefield. What she doesn't expect is for her patient to go missing when she leaves him at his hotel room for the night. Is this the very reason why she was assigned to Wilkins in the first place? It simply wouldn't be proper for a woman, even a nurse, to stay in the man's room overnight. Just when did he go missing?

Now with Bess' professional credentials being called into question, she faces scrutiny from her boss as well as having to answer to the local police while she simply has let a man go missing. Now she has to race against time to figure out just what happened to Wilkins because as it stands now, it looks as if Nurse Bess Crawford is more than simply an unwilling accomplice.

I received An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained in this review are strictly my own. One of the best things I love about these novels besides trying to solve the crime before Bess does, is the historical feel to the novel that brings you right into the heart of the action. The sights and sounds are so vivid in detail you can't help but feel like you are really there as you take part in the journey alongside Bess. This is the sixth novel in the Bess Crawford Series and I honestly can't wait for more. I give this one a 4 out of 5 stars!

For more information about An Unwilling Accomplice, Charles Todd or where you can pre-order a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Charles Todd on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on An Unwilling Accomplice, please visit William Morrow's website.