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Monday, August 21, 2017

Beneath Copper Falls

Have you ever stayed up so late at night to finish a book? Perhaps even trying everything to keep your eye open including holding them open? Well that was my summary of how I spent last night as I began Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble. Just the first three pages had my interest and I knew I was in for an adrenaline rush before my night was over. And yes, even as midnight approached I knew I had to finish this one. I had to know what was going to happen, I mean who can nod off to sleep while your characters fate hung in the balance, not knowing if they were going to live or die?


Me again.

Dana Newell was married after thinking she had found the perfect guy. But as we all know, there is no such things as the perfect guy. When all the warning sounds are going off around you, but you still believe you were meant to be. I mean she meet Garret through her brother Chris, when attending one of his military parties. They were good friends. She loved how focused on her he was never looking away and making her feel like she was the only one in the room for him. After countless threats, beatings and fearing for her life, she knew she had to escape. So she waited for her shift as a 911 operator to end, and she made her way back home to Washington, where her brother Chris was waiting for her. She knew he wouldn't let anything happen to her.

She even managed to score another job working as a 911 dispatcher and soon life would be perfect. She knew that Garret would know she went back to her hometown, but Dana felt that with so many people she knew looking out for her that she would be safe. At least until she began to see signs that Garret was back and he was going to make sure Dana would come home with him, even if it meant taking out those who stood in his way, one by one. She finds solace and comfort in Boone Carter, a former smoke jumper who was badly burned and found that true love doesn't exist. At least when his fianceè left him when she saw his face. Now he knows that no one can love him for who he really is, when all they can see is his scars. But even though Dana may not have visible scars, she still has them and soon her and Boone work together to ensure that Dana can defend herself if Garret gets too close. But will Boone become Garret's next target instead?

I received Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and TLC Book Tours. This was one of the best murder mysteries I have read because one I was engaged I never wanted to turn my back on the action jumping off of the pages. It was heart-stopping, page turning, and trying to convince my eyes to read faster so I could know how it turns out. I love the interactions between Dana and Boone and love their friendship! That so many of us focus on what we see in people without getting to truly know them, but its on the inside the counts so much more. As the years go by and we age, we better hope that what we loved about someone is more than just skin deep! I wanted so much more and now will take a trip to my local library or book store to get all the Rock Harbor series novels. This is book 6 in the series! Who knew I could love a genre as much as I did this one! 5 out of 5 stars for keeping me wide awake til I finished and wanting more!!! A Discussion Guide is included for book clubs at the conclusion of this novel.

For more information about Beneath Copper Falls, 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 Beneath Copper Falls, please visit TLC's Book Tour page.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Savoring the Seasons

One of my favorite settings for a novel is an small, quaint country English village. I guess I found my love for them after watching the movie The Holiday. But I became truly enchanted when I picked up the Chilton Crosse novels and found that love I had been missing. In each novel in the series, the reader gets to know each of the village's residents a bit more that live in Chilton Crosse and with Savoring the Seasons, by Traci Borum, the fourth novel, the reader gets to really know Julia Bentley who runs Rose's Bakery in town. Her ninety year old father does his part by sitting outside the bakery handing out samples to those that pass by, whether tourists or simply someone in town. In fact, the entire town knows how much of his life and love he has poured into the bakery.

The bakery has been open now close to 40 years and with that, the town decides to celebrate all the hard work that the Bentley's have put into their baking. Mrs. Pickering decides the best way to do that is to form small committees to complete the tasks need to pull this off as a surprise of a lifetime and the only thing they will allow Julia to do, is bake a cake. So as the town sets off to complete their assignments, Julia discovers Tristan Hannigan, the new delivery man for supplying the bakeries needs and feels immediately drawn to him. Until he shaves off his beard and she realizes he is more than a decade younger than she is. While she is 40, and he is only 29 going on 30, she wonders if there might be a possibility for them. For now, they agree to be friends, something everyone can do with more of, especially Julia who's life consists of waking up early to begin baking, and taking care of her elderly father.

Just reading about all the tasty treats Julia whips up since discovering an old cookbook left behind with all her mother's notes, makes the reader want to indulge in some as well. Just as it seems things might be looking up in the romance department for Julia, Tristan's mates from the University show up since he refused to attend their reunion and with it, Tristan's old ex who is drop dead beautiful who still seems to have a thing for Tristan. With the retelling of all their old school stories, Julia can't really contribute much except for smiling at this and that, and begins to wonder if the feelings she has for Tristan aren't just hopeful anticipation and perhaps the age difference between them is more than meets the eye.

I received Savoring the Seasons by Traci Borum compliments of Red Adept Publishing. The delightful thing about this novel is the quips of wisdom that opens up each chapter. While it might allude to baking advice it also parallels life advice as well. For example, "Don't take fresh ingredients for granted. Smell them, touch them, turn them over in your hand and really look at them. Appreciate their qualities and what they're about to do for your recipe. Don't get to busy that you forget to savor the small things." And that is just the theme of this novel. Savoring the Seasons in our lives. Too often we are consumed by our daily to do lists that we forget to engage in the people around us and before we know it, life has passed us by. I know if you love novels that take place with a small group of people that love and care for one another, pick up the Chilton Crosse series. For me, this one was well worth all 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about Savoring the Seasons, Traci Borum or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Traci Borum on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Their Pretend Amish Courtship

Fanny Erb wasn't looking for a husband. She was pretty set on what her future looked like and as long as it let her continue to work with horses, she was fine staying single. But as any Amish woman knows, marriage is something to all women should look forward to as well as beginning a family. But Fanny is different from all the other Amish women. Without a potential husband in the near future, her Mamm believes she could go to Florida to help out her ailing grandparents. Without any ties to her community aside from working with the English woman and her horses, Fanny has no excuse.

Noah Bowman dreams that one day his passion for baseball will be his future. Unfortunately as the last single men living in his parents home, they have made small concessions since he hasn't joined the church to allow him to participate in the local communities games as a pitcher. He believes his God-given talent shouldn't be wasted especially if he is offered a position on a professional team. When Fanny shows up at his door with a crazy proposal to pretend to court her, he refuses immediately. He knows it is dishonest and despite how well they both have things in common, he views Fanny as more of a friend than ever entertaining the notion she would one day be his wife.

When Noah learns that his mother and sisters have begun making plans for him to attend singings and picnics to meet new Amish girls, he wonders how far-fetched Fanny's plan really is. Yet when his mother demands he give up his baseball games, he knows he will do whatever it takes to continue in his passion of playing baseball. Who knows this way perhaps Fanny gets to stay home from Florida and continue working with the horses and he can continue to play baseball. Sounds like a perfect plan and they believe they have everything figured out, or have they?

I received Their Pretend Amish Courtship by Patricia Davids compliments of Harlequin Love Inspired and TLC Book Tours. From the beginning you could see where this would go, but the humor that accompanies trying to live out a life that begins as pretends soon forces them to see the things that they believe separate them are the very things that weave them together. It is entertaining from the reader's perspective to see just how this year will go and what kind of hoops these two will have to jump through. Will they keep their passions or will they be forced to give up the Amish lifestyle they have been raised with? You'll just have to read this one to find out. I'd give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and is a quick read at 220 pages. This is the fourth book in the Amish Bachelor's series.

For more information about Their Pretend Amish Courtship, Patricia Davids or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the link below:

You can find Patricia Davids on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Their Pretend Amish Courtship, please visit TLC Book Tour's page. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Soldier Who Killed A King

"What would it have been like to live in the geopolitical center of the first-century world, when donkeys and camels were the cars and trucks, conversations over goblets of wine were the social media, and religious conflict influenced every facet of life? What would it have been like to live under pagan, political domination of Roman tyranny, while also under the oppressive ritualistic control of hypocritical religious bigots? What would it have been like to live in the very week that this dark, confused world was invaded by heaven - a week when history shifted from BC to AD?

The Soldier Who Killed A King by David Kitz, is a gripping story that offers its readers front row seats from which we can see the action. It's a hidden camera on the helmet of the primary witness of the history-altering drama when the Sovereign of the Universe, quietly riding a lowly donkey, overthrew the pomp and dominion of the most powerful kingdom this world has ever known. More than that, it's a look into the mind and heart of a man, not unlike you or me, who wrestled with the meaning and purpose of life.

As you read the thoughtful eyewitness account of Marcus Longinus, the Roman centurion, the soldier who killed a king, you'll feel his anxiety and anguish as well as the exult in his ultimate answers because - despite the differences of time and culture - his story is our story." ~ Dr. Barry Buzza

The Soldier Who Killed A King by David Kitz is a work of historical fiction. Like other works in this genre, there are points where imagination is essential in order to round out the characters and fill n the details missing from the historical record. However every effort has been made to tell this story in the biblically accurate manner. Frequently, when the story narrative intersects with the biblical account, direct quotes from the Bible are used. This book marks the week of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection, a pivotal week in human history. Time and date entries at the head of each chapter acts as road markers as you work your way through the week. Most historical and biblical scholars situate this epic drama during the Passover week of AD 30, and if this is so, then we can pinpoint the many events to within minutes of this occurence.

I received The Soldier Who Killed A King by David Kitz compliments of Kregel Publications. This is such a wonderful book because as the foreward states, you feel like you are seeing these events as they occurred through the eyes of the Roman centurion. As you near the crucifixion, the reality of what really happened begins to cause your chest to tighten as if you were actually there. You feel the nails being pounded into the flesh of Jesus even though he uttered no words while this barbaric death was performed. This is one of the reasons I love biblical fiction because it takes those notable events from the Bible and takes the reader right into the heart of the action. I will be keeping this one tucked away in my permanent library and well worthy of all 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Soldier Who Killed A King, David Kitz or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find David Kitz on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest works.

To read more reviews on The Soldier Who Killed A King, please visit Kregel Publication's website. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Altar Egos DVD Giveaway and Review

So what does one do when taking over an existing church from his father's legacy? Well you'd think based on the lack of church attendance, you would consider making some changes to invite more people to want to join right? Well that is precisely what Pastor John (Robert Amaya, Courageous and Moms Night Out) wants to do. During the service the existing church choir makes it difficult for anyone to stay focused and awake including the elderly organist so he begins to look for ways to increase church attendance. His biggest obstacle is Mary Margaret, the head chairperson on the church board who believes that change isn't something that the church requires. She begins to question whether he is the right man for heading up the church after all.

She takes it upon herself to organize a strike against his leadership beginning with the removal of the church choir, which has the remaining church members in a fuss. They want the choir back. Mary Margaret has also called for a church board meeting to discuss Pastor John's removal and subsequent replacement. If only he could find a way to attend that meeting. He convinces his thespian son, Jack to help him find the perfect disguise so he can go unnoticed as an elderly man in their meeting. However Jack doesn't think his dad can pull it off simply because he looks like an older man. So Jack dresses up as an elderly man, called Frank while his dad goes under the name Milo and they walk the mall trying out their disguises.

Well the role play is a success in one right, they now find themselves committed to joining the church members for meetings, a Christmas party and even a dinner meeting with the potential new pastor all while remaining in disguise. I won't reveal all the high jinks and humor that comes along with this, but you can tell from the movie's title, this one was well thought out. The theme of loving the unlovable, reconciliation and change versus tradition will be one the entire family will enjoy. This movie also stars Erin Bethea, (Fireproof).

I received Altar Egos compliments of Bridgestone Multimedia Group and LEV3L Digital. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and know that if you are looking for a great comedy that is perfect for the entire family, you will want to check this film out. It is Dove Family Approved and I can't wait for you to see it. I would easily give this movie a 4 out of 5 stars. Check out this exclusive film clip below:

Now for the thanks to the generosity of Bridgestone Multimedia Group and LEV3L Digital, they are giving away a copy of this DVD to one lucky winner. Here are your guidelines to enter:

1. "Like" Altar Ego's Facebook page.

2. Be a resident of the US or have a US mailing address.

3. Leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of this movie along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

4. Share this link on at least one social media site of your choice and post that link in the comments.

I will notify the winner of the giveaway on August 29th by email. If you don't include your email address I have no way of contacting you if you are the lucky winner.

For more information about Altar Egos and where you can pick up a copy of the DVD which releases on September 5, 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Altar Egos on Facebook to stay up to date with all the movie fun.

To purchase tickets, access videos, photos, downloads, news, theaters, and more, visit Altar Egos website.

Gathering the Threads

"His Mamm called her the Thread Gatherer. Mann believed life was like an heirloom quilt that life ripped at the seams, and gatherers were rare. But Ariana took the frayed pieces and worked with them until the quilt could fulfill its purpose once again. Quill had seen her do it. At least once she had done it for him, when he was eighteen and his Daed died of a heart attack."

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall is the third book in the Amish of Summer Grove series, and for this reader, I hope there is more. The best part of this novel that I really had to share is that at the beginning the author took the time to walk the reader through the previous novels to get them caught up to where this one begins. It is a rare jewel to find this in a series novel, but one I hope more authors will follow suit with.Ties That Bind and Fraying at the Edge are the first two in this series and should be read before picking this one up as it conveys so much more than a simple summary of the first two novels.

Ariana Brenneman is far from the Amish girl that her community remembers anymore, especially her boyfriend Rudy. Even her parents are struggling to figure out just how to get back the Amish girl they have raised, but not the daughter by birth. It was through an accident at birth that Ariana and Skylar Nash were switched and both grew up being raised by parents that were not theirs until they recently discovered the grave error. Since spending months with her English family, Ariana has been exposed to things she never knew before living among the Amish and never once questioning the ways they lived and believed, until now. Being forced by the ministers, her parents and boyfriend, they believe such correction is necessary to help Ariana return to her former life. She can't.

The only people that seem to understand her confusion is her best friend Quill Schlabach, also a former Amish man, Skylar, and her brother by being raised Amish Abram. They understand her confusion about trying to fit back into a society just because that is how you were raised but now are longer the same being exposed to reading the Bible for herself and understanding how the ministers in her community were manipulating things to work for themselves and not the community. It draws a line in the sand between the Amish upbringing she loved, and the new knowledge of what God has provided. Her parents are now faced with the prospect of being shunned if they can't control her defiant daughter, and her boyfriend Rudy isn't so sure he can wait for a girl that may no longer be who she was. This will be a true test of loyalty, love and faith for everyone if they hope to find a lasting peace among them all.

I received Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. I really love how this book took into consideration all the things going on for Ariana, being challenged in her faith and standing up for what she believes God wants for her in her life, even if it means losing everything she ever knew. She knows she can never go back to that person, because that person no longer exists. Armed with a sense of love and faith, she tries to convince her family and friends of the life she has now embraced and that it might just mean walking away from everything she had ever known even if it separates her from her Amish family. I only hope that there might be more in this series as there are so many other relationships I would love to see expanded on at the conclusion of this one. This has been one of my favorite series by Cindy Woodsmall and well worth 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Gathering the Threads, Cindy Woodsmall or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Cindy Woodsmall on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Gathering the Threads, please visit WaterBrook Multnomah Publisher's website. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Writing Desk

Are you more of a fan of contemporary romances or historical romances like traditional regencies? If you're like me, you truly enjoy them both equally. The latest novel by Rachel Hauck gives romance lovers a bit of both in The Writing Desk. It parallels two vastly different time periods from the late Regency period to present day all revolving around a single piece of furniture, a writing desk. For Tenley Roth, she has been compared to her great-great-grandfather and father Conrad Roth for having the flair to turn out best selling novels. With her latest novel Someone to Love written during the time when she lost her father, she poured out all her emotions into her characters and of course the literary world is loving it. But with every best seller comes the next one and Tenley has just a few short months before her deadline and she is faced with writers block.

Besides facing an unexpected engagement and last minute proposal from her boyfriend Holt Armstrong, she didn't exactly say yes or no to him and has taken his ring and kept it in the same Tiffany box it arrived in. She is facing another dilemma when Holt offers her a trip to Paris to work on his screenplay alongside an award winning actress thinking it may relive whatever has kept her from writing, while at the same time, she is asked by her estranged mother Blanche Hastings to help care for her now that she is facing a cancer diagnosis and must endure chemotherapy treatments with no one else to help her. The only thing keeping Tenley from immediately coming to her mother's aid is the fact she walked out on her and her father and never looked back and now she wants Tenley's help as if nothing happened. Faced with such a choice she believes heading to Florida to care for her mother might give her the time she needs to resolve any issues with her mom in case she should lose her battle with cancer and not have a second chance. Holt however decides to head to Paris without her.

As the novel toggles between present day with Tenley and Blanche, it also goes back in history to Birdie Shehorn, a wealthy American socialite who has been tasked with finding a suitable match to keep the family at the top of the social ladder and possibly the next to replace the Astor family. But Birdie has a fondness for writing but can't seem to find a suitable publisher to take her seriously since when would someone like her need money? She manages to run into Gordon Phipps Roth, a man who is famous for all his romance novels and she believes if she can convince him to consider her writing, maybe she might stand a chance. However her mother keeps her bound to her own plans for marriage and arranges a suitable match with Alfonse Van Cliffs, who will take them to the top of the social ladder. But Alfonse isn't looking for a love match, but more along the lines of the same desires her parents have. If only her childhood friend Elijah Percy who is soon to become the next Earl of Montague, and has his own sets of plans to wed Rose Gottlieb to help shore up his weakening financial state due to mismanagement from his fathers business plans. Why does marrying for love have to be so complicated?

I received The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck compliments of Zondervan Publishing and TLC Book Tours. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. I absolutely love that as a reader, you feel like you are getting two complete novels in one. With Birdie's saga as well as Tenley's they both share a love for writing that transcends generations and ties them both with unexpected surprises found in The Writing Desk. I love Birdie's true determination to stand up to both her mother and father against what society deems is acceptable for her social status as well as Tenley coming to terms with her issues with her mother and being held to such a high standard based on the literature both of her great-great-grandfather and her father. Whether now or the Gilded Age. Women want to be safe, free and loved. They want to provide for their children. In the Gilded Age, woman wanted to climb the social ladder. In the modern age, women want to climb the corporate ladder." But as they will both see, they are not cut out for what the world has in store for them and instead will follow their own hearts even if it means they stand alone instead of with the crowd. I easily give this a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars and includes discussion questions that make this a perfect book club selection.

For more information about The Writing Desk, Rachel Hauck or where you can pre-order a copy of this novel due out in July of 2017.

You can find Rachel Hauck on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Writing Desk, please visit TLC Book Tours page.

Friday, August 11, 2017


I am beginning to love regencies more than almost any other genre, in part because society was so vastly different then than it is now. Women for the most part has no real role other than securing the best marriage match that will grow their own fortunes. It was all about society, propriety and wealth and the higher you climbed the more that was expected of you. Women for the most part were considered property unless their dowry allowed a marriage that would generously benefit all parties.

Take the traditional regency romances, we've all come to love like that of Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey or others and place it along a rich coastline filled with its own legends and stories, castles and myths like King Arthur and Camelot and the greatest love between Arthur and Gwenevere and you have the basics for the novel Havencross by Julie Daines. For the Cardinham family they had the title and prestige and up until their son John died, all was well. They had left for London in hopes of leaving that part of their past behind, their family home of Havencross in the small country village of Cornwall. But amid rumors of her father's soiled reputation they were forces to head home. It seems her father was seen having an affair with another woman and much to the families dismay, everything that they had hoped for was now in ruins. Even the match Elaine had secured with Lord Chiverton seemed lost as well.

She had left behind all her childhood memories, those she shared exploring the cliffs and caves, once rumored to house magical mysteries of Merlin and Camelot. Even those old castle ruins spurned many of their own legends and the childhood love she once had for Gareth Kemp were best kept in the past. She needed to figure out how she was going to find a future and with Gareth being less the above poverty, still working in the tin mines. So once more she wished upon the hand of Merlin's to find a way out of her mess. She wasn't expecting to find a wounded woman in one of the caves in need of medical attention, but the only help closest to her was the Kemp's and she would have to try and convince Gareth to help even if he refused to believe her childhood stories.

I received Havencross by Julie Daines compliments of Covenant Communications. There is something amazing about this novel. Perhaps because it contains tidbits of everything we love. Regency fans will love everything about this book and even fantasy fans will love the connection with King Arthur along with some mysterious smuggling that seems to be happening right in their own backyards, but for now, those remain a secondary concern. With Gareth's hard work, he is no longer a nobody and is in position to marry above his previous social standings and unfortunately the only woman he has loved is finding herself in her own possible marriage proposal from a man she had thought forgotten about. Mystery, adventure, romance and even a bit of magic will find its way into a reader's heart by the conclusion of Havencross and now Julie Daines will be a watch author for me, one that will go on my must have list. This one easily garners a 5 out of 5 stars in this readers opinion.

For more information about Havencross, Julie Daines or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Julie Daines on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novesl

To read more reviews on Havencross, please the sites below on this blog tour:

*August 7th:
*August 8th:
*August 9th:  
*August 10th:  
*August 11th: 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Shattered Tree

"He crawled as far as the shattered tree and lay there, faint from the effort. But he knew he had to keep moving. When he stopped, when the sweat dried on his skin, he'd begin to shiver again, wracking his body until his teeth chattered. There wasn't enough left of his uniform to keep his warm, and his captors, God help them, had taken his boots. Good English leather. He'd stolen them himself from a corpse.

He grimaced, afraid to look at his torn feet. He'd lost too much blood from other wounds. The one in his leg had mercifully stopped bleeding, and the cut in his hairline had clotted over, but the damage had been done. He was light-headed from lack of food, finding it hard to concentrate. A crow couldn't find enough to eat in this countryside after four years of war. He'd be dead soon if he didn't reach his own lines."

Welcome to the latest Bess Crawford mystery by Charles Todd, the Shattered Tree. It all takes place in France in October of 1918, where a lone man is discovered wounded. He is taken to a local hospital where nurse Bess Crawford tends to his wounds before he is taken elsewhere to recover. But since he can't tell anyone who he is or where he is from, he remains a mystery patient. Until one night he is attacked by another patient and in his stress, he utters protests in German. Bess is concerned that this man might be a German spy, but why is he wearing a French soldier's uniform and missing all identification? As she is sent to attend a man along with a doctor in a trench, she is caught in the crossfire of a sniper's round and finds herself a patient. She begins to follow the mystery man to the very same location she is being sent to recover, only know she has a possible name he is going by Phillipe Moreau, which is French, but why does he seem so fluent in German?

That is the best part of any Bess Crawford mystery is the slow unraveling of clues as she uses her recovery time in Paris, to figure out who this man is. Why is he running? What is he hiding? As she gets closer to the truth, those around her wind up their own victims of being stabbed. How can it be the wounded man who clearly is unable to walk much less attempt murder of anyone including an attempt on her own life again. She must figure it out before she is sent back to the aid station in France again or before more people wind up wounded or even murdered. Will she be next?

I received The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. This is such an extraordinary series and even though they are ongoing, you don't need to read them in order to appreciate the mystery aspects of the novel. It's like a Sherlock Holmes book, each mystery is unique and original and always involves nurse Bess Crawford, like a historical Nancy Drew of sorts! This is one of my favorites of the novels I've had the pleasure to read and review. I give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next one, Casualty of War coming soon. At the conclusion of this one, readers will find discussion guide questions, an interview with the author about this novel and more about the Bess Crawford series. This is the 8th novel in the Bess Crawford series.

For more information about The Shattered Tree, Charles Todd or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

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

To read more reviews on The Shattered Tree, please visit William Morrow's website.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Included in Christ

The Book of Ephesians from the Bible is perhaps one of my favorite books. There is so much wisdom to be gleaned and it is a surprisingly short book at that. Yet don't be confused that just because it is short, doesn't mean that there isn't much to learn. In fact, Paul probably used so many concise specific topics that not only applied to the people living in Ephesus, but also is very relevant to us in our current modern day age. Ephesians is a letter from Paul that you can understand best by thinking about seven operative or most important words in this short study. These words happen to be vivid verbs. The seven words in the 8 week study of Ephesians surely change you. It represents deeply transformation material. The hope is that after you finish this study people will begin to wonder and ask if you are a different person.

To complete this study you will need, a Bible ( one that you love the most will benefit you the best and everyone has their preferred choice), something to write on and with. Even though this study comprises eight weeks, five days each, keep your own pace and what works best for you. God may be calling you to spend time on something in this book that might be relevant to what He wants to teach you and what you are going through. I guess what anyone needs in completing any Bible Study is an open mind and a willing heart. This book can be used in an individual, couple or even a small group study through the book of Ephesians.

Each chapter in this book will ask you to think carefully about the crucial verb in each section and to picture a scene in our mind about this verb, such as 'how does a person understanding this verb live?' You first begin to answer the question bu first identifying their opposites or contrasts to enhance how we make sense of our new identity in Christ. You will begin with a shadow narrative about the particular verb you are studying. How that applies to your life, what are you doing or should be doing  and then using your five senses see if you can develop a short story about how He is currently writing about this verb in your life. These can be positive or negative and can be things you want to share or just keep to yourself. By the end of the study you will quickly identify ways your Shadow Narratives prevent you from fully embracing and fully inhabiting God's Word and you will have new stories to tell, your Savior story, to truly learn from the Scripture.

I received Included in Christ by Heather Holleman compliments of Moody Publishers and Side Door Communications. Each of this daily and weekly studies are to help you understand how you can become a new creation in Christ and embrace that and learn to let go of the old you, the former person who is trying to keep you from all Christ has in store for you. Think of it like spring cleaning for your soul and its about time to learn to let go of that excess baggage we've been carrying and lighten our loads and embrace the joy that comes from having a Christ centered life. These are perfect for small group studies or even a couple's study that will enrich your relationships in ways you never dreamed possible. I would give this a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about Included in Christ, Heather Holleman or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Heather Holleman on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest information.

For more reviews on Included in Christ, please visit Moody Publisher's website.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Murder Games

Serial Killers.

We have all heard about them.

They need for notoriety and the belief that they will be the greatest in the history of murderers. They all have their own mode of operation or MO, and some prefer their methods over what others might choose. For some it is personal. For others simply a way to mete out their own satisfaction for justice in a system that seems to favor criminals while the guilty go free on technicalities. There are also two types of serial killers, those who want to get caught and those who really want to get caught. Some just are seeking publicity and others want to be famous. In the end though, even the very best serial killers make stupid mistakes that get them caught when they aren't even looking.

Enter The Dealer or at least that is the name that the media, the Mayor and the police detectives are labeling the latest serial killer to land on New York City's streets just in the midst of a critical election year so everyone is using this to their own political agenda and the focus is on Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a well known author and college professor who is what some might call the expert on criminal behavior. Perhaps it is the Dealer's decision to invite Dylan into his sick games as the body counts begin to rise and with each is left a cryptic card, one of 52 from a standard deck of playing cards. Only these cards are a message, one that will give a clue to who the next victim is, beginning with Jared Loudin who ran a large hedge fund. It was there that the games began.

It will take a true master who gain access into a serial killer's thought process and perhaps that is why Dylan is chosen. Since it has been somewhat of a personal invitation, he is willing to place his bets he can solve this crime before too many cards have been dealt from the deck. With pressure from the Mayor's office and working with Detective Elizabeth Needham, they will begin the race against a stacked deck to solve this killer's identity. Will he be able to convince the Dealer to lay down his cards or will all bets be off and possibly have his own hands to deal instead.

I received Murder Games by James Patterson and Howard Roughan compliments of Little Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. This is another exceptional novel for fans of James Patterson. I mean for fans of anything like Criminal Minds, CSI or any other criminal murder mystery, then you would probable love this novel. It was the idea of the playing cards being left at each of the murders that had me interested. I do need to caution readers about a couple of things. It is a murder mystery so the crime scenes are there but not to graphic. There is some strong language but most of it is implied meaning the words are used with symbols representing the actual words. Thus implied. The main character Dr. Dylan Reinhart is married to his domestic partner Tracy and they are attempting to adopt a child from Africa. Thus another need for disclosure for those that might from on that content. Since book reviews are slated to offer a peek at what's really inside, thus my need for full disclosure on what you will find inside. That being said, I would rate this novel a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion. Readers also get a sneak peek at his next novel, The Store, at the conclusion of this novel.

For more information about Murder Games, James Patterson or where you can pick up a copy of this book, please click on the links below:

You can find James Patterson on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on Murder Games, please visit Little, Brown and Companies website. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Unexplainable Church - Bible Study

How does the grace of God work harder within us? How do we promise its fruit in our lives? Can we accept the grace of God as an intellectual assent and not experience any of its effects? Many Christians rest in the assurance of God's grace to take them to heaven, yet experience little of its ramifications in their daily lives. Or they yearn for more. There is a stirring in their soul, ushering them to experience the fullness of God's grace in their lives. But how?

This fifty-day journey is an invitation to walk alongside a man who never got over the awe and wonder of God's grace. For years he had sought God's favor through a religion of works, spiritual disciplines, knowledge and service. Then he met Jesus, and after approximately a decade of understanding Jesus as the Messiah, he finally came to the realization of the fullness of His grace. And he was never the same again. Rather than resting on a bed of laurels at the gift of grace he had been given, he strove even harder to ensure that God's grace to him was not in vain. He accepted the divine invitation and most likely met his Savior with a clear conscience and no regrets.

In The Unexplainable Church by Erica Wiggenhorn, readers will use this study guide to work their way through the Acts, chapter 13-28 over fifty days to discover the invitation that not only went out to Paul and his disciples after the ascension of Jesus but also to those who began believers at that time, and the beginning of what we know now as the church age believers. It helps us all understand our own unique place we have not just to be followers of Christ, but understanding the importance the role of the church plays in spreading the gospel message. Each day's study begins with a thematic title and Bible passage that should take you about 20-30 minutes to complete. The version used in this study is the English Standard Version, but you can use any version you are most comfortable with to do this study. You will encounter questions in blue working through your daily assignment. These questions are geared to help you stop, pray, collect your thoughts, and write out the answers.

Writing responses will take you into a deeper understanding of these passages of scripture to see how they can apply to your life today. On certain days, you will come across blue frames and these are your time to be creative, draw, doodle or ponder and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you in the quietness of your heart. Bible Study is not meant to be a task to complete. Instead, it is an avenue for building a relationship with God. This resource can be used in small group Bible studies and the leader's guide for this study indicated which questions work best for groups. You can access this resource through the website provided in this book as well as additional resources that will take you deeper into the daily studies if you want to as well.

I received The Unexplainable Church by Erica Wiggenhorn compliments of Moody Publishers and Side Door Communications. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. Each days study can be completed in as little as 30 minutes or less and is designed to take you into a deeper study of the early believers that make up the age of church age believers which began when Jesus left and sent His Holy Spirit to begin to minister into the hearts of those willing to be open to His message. I especially love this study in Act because we have a common place with the invitation of the early church age believers. We are still adding to them daily and it helps to understand the various roles the church plays in making this the success that it has in the world today. It helps us all understand the individuals roles we all play to continue this ministry until we are called home. I easily give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars and I especially love the additional resources that can be found online that can incorporate this into a small group Bible Study.

For more information about The Unexplainable Church, Erica Wiggenhorn or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Erica Wiggenhorn on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest books.

To read more reviews on The Unexplainable Church, please visit Moody Publishers website. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Game For All The Family

The thing about psychological thrillers is that you will undoubtedly get fans who love it or will be stuck like a deer in the headlights, not quite sure what just happened. That is to be expected. On the heels of such novels like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, fans of this novel by Sophie Hannah, A Game For All The Family will be one of two. Either you will love it or you will be completely lost by what happened. That's what makes things like this novel work. You aren't supposed to make sense of it sometimes.

So how to describe this novel without giving too much away. You have a family that has sold their home and is moving into a new one complete with a new future ahead. For Justine Merrison, she has walked away from a career in the entertainment industry and is beginning a new one. One doing absolutely NOTHING. As she likes to explain. No where to be, no deadlines, no one to report to. Even the simple task like taking her daughter Ellen to school is an option, not required as the bus can take her to the prestigious school they have picked out. For her husband Alex, he travels quite a bit, so having a place in any one city is not a necessity. Another option.

But now enter the unexplained which readers hope will be explained later in the novel. Don't want to give it all away too soon right? They pass by a row of houses that don't look like the place anyone would ever want to live. They are run-down and in the midst of a busy freeway as well. But for some reason, Justine feels a pull to a particular house without understanding the reason why. Her daughter and husband think she has lost it, and soon once it is long gone in the rear view mirror, things begin to get back to normal. The family moves into a home called the Speedwell House as most homes in London don't really have house numbers but house names instead. Everything is as it should be and soon they all settle into what some would call a routine sense of normal. Until Ellen arrives home four months later from school with her latest assignment for English, writing a story. It is what is in the story that has Justine puzzled, as most readers would simply laugh it off as a fictional tale. But it is something about the names and the way she has laid out a family tree, that begins the tale of "what is going on?" in the novel.

Ellen begins to be withdrawn and her mother, wonders that is going on. She is definitely not the same daughter that she had more than four months ago. After countless attempts to discover what is going on, she learns that her best friend has been expelled from school under a misunderstanding about a coat she loaned him. As Justine goes to confront the head administrator at the school, she learns that no such child has existed at this school, therefore, no expulsion of a student she claimed was her best friend, George. Readers will then toggle between the story Ellen has written over time, in succeeding chapters, about a family of 5 that lived in this house and in which one of the daughters has murdered a childhood friend.

I received A Game for All The Family by Sophie Hannah compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. Don't get lost dear reader, hang in there til the end, where as most great novels, it all begins to make sense. You are taken back to look at everything and now see it with a different perspective but that is where things begin to accelerate until the end. I wasn't too happy with how it ended, leaving me wanting more than just what happened. But I let you make the decision for yourself. I would give this one a 4 out of 5 stars and the book does contain some strong language and a same sex storyline with one of the characters which some readers may not care for. One must disclose this if you are going to do an honest review right? I mean that is what I look for when reading a book review.

For more information about A Game For All The Family, Sophie Hannah or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Sophie Hannah on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Game For All The Family, please visit William Morrow's website. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

All Saints - Movie Ticket Giveaway

From the makers of films like Miracles From Heaven and the War Room,  Provident Films and Sony Affirm Pictures once again has created what I believe will be another life changing movie. All Saints is coming soon to a theater near you on August 25th and with it the chance to win a pair of movie tickets to go see the film in theaters. All Saints is a movie based on true life events and takes a pastor, Michael Spurlock played by John Corbett who is sent to a small town to close the All Saints church due to low or what some might say is poor attendance. There are only 12 current members attending. Using his prior sales experience Michael is given inspiration to try one more time to see what he can do to generate interest in the church.

With the arrival of a group of Burmese refugees who understand the power of faith, they help inspire Michael to give God a chance to revive the church again. He is reminded that when Jesus started the church on earth, he began with just 12 people too and yet He did alright. Coupled with the faith and hope of those who can see God's hand in making use of their talents, from beginning a farm based on the great soil surrounding the church, and being reminded that we all have a purpose to serve by being created. Kind of like Matthew West's song, Do Something. Sometimes we all wait around in this world hoping for a better world and hoping that it will come about without us having to lift a finger. What if God's purpose is for us all to contribute while we still have breath in our lungs. That is what Pastor Spurlock will face when he struggles to understand his purpose by being assigned to save this church.

After all, what will happen if the church closes? Then what will those who attended do? Makes you consider what might happen if that very thing happened even within the doors of our own church, because we have come to expect that others will step up so we can have a place to worship. What happens when those around you go hungry and there isn't resources to feed them. Pastor Spurlock believes God has called him to do just that. To not only save the church, but to feed the people both the come to All Saints but even those in the community in hopes that a small spark will ignite into a flaming fire of redemption and restoration. From a seed of faith, grows hope!

I received this giveaway promotion compliments of Sony Affirm Pictures and LEV3L Digital. The giveaway winner will receive a Fandago code to purchase two tickets FREE to see it on the night of your choice. It's simple and I've done it in the past! The giveaway codes will be received in time to see the movie, so you won't miss out. What I need your participate in is to help spread the word about this movie. So often as Christians, we look for great entertainment for the entire family in light of what is currently being shown in movie theaters, so lets remind the world, we want more movies like this one!

So please visit all the resource sites below to copy and share banners and movie clips and trailers like the ones features in this post. Use your social media sites to help spread the word. For each share, simply copy and paste your links below in the comment box to be entered to win in this giveaway. From Facebook, to Pinterest, to Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter and any other way to can think of, let's join forces as a Christian community and share the good news about this upcoming movie. The giveaway will end on August 18, 2017.

For more information about All Saints, Sony Affirm Pictures, or Provident Films please click on the links below:

You can find All Saints on Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest about the movie.

Please find some great resources about the film like movie discussion guides, refugee information, and more by visiting All Saint's website.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ascension of Larks

I can't imagine living a life loving someone who loves you back but whom you can never truly be with. That is the life of Maggie Henry who spent her college years with her best friend Lena and Marco Firelli. A truer friendship none could find anywhere. Maggie was a talented photographer who has been gifted with the opportunity to travel all over the world showing the world what life looked like someplace else. Marco was so much like Maggie, craving the lime light of success as a budding architect who dreamed one day to have it all, a successful self made business and a wife and family. Maggie and Marco were so alike that is seemed natural that they would be a power couple, but soon it dawned on Maggie that Marco wasn't willing to settle for someone so much like himself that they would burn one another out. So he married Lena and broke Maggie's heart.

While he built a family and a business, Maggie stayed gone for as long as it would take for her heart to mend. Unfortunately it never would and soon, she found herself spending more time alone and leaving her truest friends behind. Just as she was about to finish up a photo shoot abroad, Lena calls her to tell her Marco is dead. A tragic accident that has left Lena and her three children all alone. Of course, Maggie heads back to San Juan Island to figure out just what happened and to help manage things for Lena while she struggles with her own grief. Unwilling to admit and acknowledge the death of her husband, Lena spends all her time, baking, canning and creating to keep the present day from dawning on her doorstep. Maggie knew that people needed their own way to grieve and when Lena woke up one morning, said goodbye and walked out the door, Maggie just assumed she was running errands. She never expected for Lena to attempt to take her own life driving her car into a wall hoping to put an end to the pain. Now locked away from her pain in a coma, Maggie works with Ellen, Lena's aunt to help the children deal with their grief not knowing in their mom will come back to them.

Maggie meets Daniel and man that seems intent on keeping watch over the house and family but staying far away. She learns that he is serving out a self penance of sorts as he is the man responsible for Marco's death. He believes he is doomed to spend his life trying to write all the wrongs in his own life and it will take an experience like no other for all of them to find a way back to life and for healing to finally begin. But with so many unanswered questions Maggie isn't sure what is next in her life. She imagined Marco would always be there and now she spends her own solitude dealing with the feelings she had for him and how to resolve it now possibly having to raise three children all on her own. But soon she will learn that there are more secrets to Marco's life than she ever imagined and now she will have to deal with the possibility she could have had the life she might have always dreamed of before it was snuffed out much too soon.

I received The Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and TLC Book Tours. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. This is such an exceptional novel once you get past the slow beginning. Trust me, hang in there it is so worth it when the novel picks up speed and gains momentum. I love the legend of the island that helps the family come to terms with their loss. "They were waiting for a sign, you see. They needed to know the soul had come back home and could now rest peacefully. The sign could be anything - a strange bird flying by the window, a whistle of wind that sounded like the deceased persons' voice. They just had to believe it was the sign they had been waiting for. Then they could go on about their lives, assured that their loved one was safely on his or her way to heaven. The sign will always come, you see, the island is full of surprises. Strange and wonderful things can happen here, things you can't explain, things that don't happen anywhere else."

This is so poignant because it deals with so many of those "what if" moments people have when they are suddenly faced with loss, even death. All those things unspoken, undone, and now they live with the regrets of a life of maybe's instead of simply moving on and accepting what is now. A skylark and their call was a song for travelers and weary pilgrims, for those who had lost their way and were longing for a place to rest. This sums up and the characters in this novel for they each needed to find their own way home and find a place to finally rest. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. Such a beautiful and truly heartwarming story of love, loss, regret and healing.

For more information about Ascension of Larks, Rachel Linden or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Rachel Linden on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews of Ascension of Larks, please visit TLC Book Tour's page.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Beautiful Poison Giveaway!

Sometimes it is hard to believe that you could learn something out of a novel that you might have missed in your high school science class. But if you're a fan of murder mysteries and the Gilded Age, then you will LOVE Lydia Kang's newest novel, A Beautiful Poison. Based in 1918, three childhood friends, Allene, Birdie and Jasper used to spend their days at Allene's estate playing and getting into all kinds of childhood trouble. But as we all know, over time, we grow and change but the affections of these trio's remains strong. Allene is all set to marry Andrew, a match most suitable among her parents and on the eve of their engagement party, a young woman appears to have fallen down the stairs and broken her neck. But was it an accident?

Allene has always been found of chemicals and their molecular bounds but for a young socialite, her father has forbidden her to encourage her natural love of chemistry. So she sneaks books out of her father's library to read at night. This is when she notices a piece of paper that falls from it with only two words written in elegant penmanship, "You're Welcome." It is Jasper to happens upon the one clue that no one catches and that is the strange burnt almond smell of the broken glass in the young woman's hand. But how will he be able to convince anyone that it appears that foul play may have been involved and if so, who is the murder?

Birdie, Allene and Jasper make a pact to begin to solve the murder on their own with what clues they can gather. Allene's father has paid off the police to ensure that this accident is not investigated any further than the accident it seems to be. Jasper's job as the janitor at the medical building soon lands him a promotion to working for the medical examiner, but even they refuse to autopsy the body to look for confirmation of a poisoning. Without any permission, this will wrap up the case but Jasper soon sneaks into the lab at night to conduct his own tests just before the body is slated for removal for the burial. It confirms without a doubt that Florence, the young woman at the party has been murdered. But what is the motive? Soon the body counts continue to rise around the trio and more letters appear with each death.

I received A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang compliments of Lake Union Publishing and TLC Book Tours. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise.  The best part about murder mysteries for me, is trying to figure out who did it before the book reveals it. I got it wrong twice and was shocked by not only who was responsible but the very clues that went missing each time until the very end of the novel. The motive was there all along, and the Author's note at the conclusion was wonderful to highlight the medical procedures that went into the creating this unique novel. This book does contain some sexual content which in my opinion,  could have been written differently to imply what happened instead, which may offend some readers. I really LOVED the overall aspect of this novel and give it a 4 out of 5 stars. It is not like anything I have read before.

For more information about A Beautiful Poison, Lydia Kang or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Lydia Kang on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Beautiful Poison, please visit TLC Book Tour's page. 

Now for the best part, thanks to the generosity of Lake Union Publishing and TLC Book Tours, a giveaway copy is available to win. Here are your guidelines to enter:

1. Be a follower of my blog Reviews From The Heart. 

2. Be a resident of the US or Canada or have a US/Canadian mailing address. No P.O. Boxes please.

3. Leave me a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of A Beautiful Poison, along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

The giveaway will end on August 8th, so please be sure to include your email address, as that is how I will be notifying the winner of this giveaway.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Captivating Lady Charlotte

My love for regencies came when I first read Pride and Prejudice along with being captivated by the series, Downton Abbey. A time where all the power went into what a man could acquire not only on his own, but through a successful and smart marriage match. If a woman did not have an heir through marriage, all her property and wealth went to the next suitable male figure even if it was a distant cousin. Women didn't have any rights, and in most cases, even those marriage matches were based on accumulation of wealth and title while love was cast aside.

For Lady Charlotte Featherington this is a fate she wishes would not be her future. Being in a loveless marriage just for the acquisition of wealth and title. She vowed despite her parents wishes that she would find a man suitable enough for marriage even if he wasn't a duke. A title her parents desperately wanted for her even if it meant marrying a much, much older man. At least she wouldn't have to be married long for that. When she sets her sites on Lord Markham, a very attractive man, her parents are appalled and try in vain to do whatever they can to ensure that she does not comprise her reputation and be forced to marry that man. But even if it means going against societies rules, she isn't about to let her mother or father tell her what to do.

William, the ninth Duke of Hartington has seen what a loveless marriage can do. His wife had spent her remaining days in the arms of other men, leaving him to deal with the aftermath of catching her red handed. In order to ensure his honor was maintained, he was forced into a duel with the despicable man who has taken everything he worked so hard to attain. Now a widower, all that remains of his former life is a child that isn't even fathered by him. One he keeps locked away with servants to care for her not certain what he will do. All he knows is that he will only marry again to someone who has his complete trust and one who can love him like a wife should. Yet he isn't sure that woman even exists.

I received The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller compliments of Kregel Publications. This entire series has been a favorite of mine with the first novel, The Elusive Miss Ellison which we see Lavinia and her husband again in this one as she works with Charlotte, a much younger woman to decide what is truly best for her future. Charlotte is unsure of her feelings even if she believes she knows what love is, Lavinia reminds her that is not what love truly is. This novel's theme centers around trust, and in it, both William and Charlotte will be tested to see if their feelings are truly what suits them best, even if it means they may not have a future together. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and traditional regency readers will absolutely want this one! It can be read as a stand alone but trust me, pick up The Elusive Miss Ellison first and then indulge in this one.

For more information about The Captivating Lady Charlotte, Carolyn Miller or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Carolyn Miller on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Captivating Lady Charlotte, please visit Kregel Publication's website. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Any Dream Will Do

"When we worry, we take reality and move it into the realm of fiction. What is real is transferred into the land of monsters and dragons, which are far bigger and frightening than they really are."

Shay Benson has dreams. Dreams of a future, being married, raising a family and perhaps finding a job in which her love of numbers becomes a reality. In fact getting a job as a bank teller is almost too good to be true. It seems as if her life is looking up now that her ex-boyfriend, Shooter has gone to jail for what could be life so now the choices she makes from now on will be her own. Until her brother Caden shows up on her front door step begging for money. She doesn't have much but she is willing to give him all she has saved. Yet when Caden tells her he needs $5000, it is out of her hands. Her brother tells her that he will be killed if he doesn't find a way to get the money and he can pay it all back by the end of the week. He tells Shay to take it from the bank, since they won't know its missing until he can repay it. Stuck between that proverbial rock and a hard place, Shay knows she shouldn't but she also knows she can't watch the only family she has left face being killed either.

Now three years later, she is finally getting another chance on life after being released from prison. She has no family and of course, once she loaned her brother the money, he took off and she never heard from his again, even knowing it would cost her everything. She has no where to go and her only hope had been from an elderly Christian woman who wrote to her in prison that told her to trust God and He would look out for her. Yeah like that would ever happen for Shay. Look where God has gotten her up to this point. Being dropped off in the middle of the day right in front of church, she at least figured she's go inside and try to think things through.

When Pastor Drew Douglas sees Shay in his church, he is immediately drawn to offer her help. He knows of a place where Shay might be able to get a second chance if she can endure their year long program. If she does, she will walk out of the Hope Center with a job and a place to stay. He just doesn't expect her to provide him the desperate help he needs after losing his wife, 3 years ago to cancer. His church is fall apart and church attendance is down, not to mention, his young children Sarah and Mark, who need a mother's touch and lately all the well-meaning women from the church just haven't measured up. Now with Shay trying to make a fresh start on her life, she needs to stay away from everything in her past if she is to make a new future for herself. She just never expected someone responsible and respectable as Drew would see her for what she is, not what she did in her past.

I received Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber compliments of Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing and Net Galley. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. This is such a wonderful novel and would almost line up as a Christian novel except for a random profane word uttered from a church member. The theme is truly about second chances and for not judging people by their appearance, or in this case their past. Too often people hold us accountable based on our pasts and not where we are at today. As Christians it is our duty to show people forgiveness and not condemnation and give everyone a second chance at making better futures for themselves. I absolutely LOVE this novel and can't wait for more from Debbie Macomber in the future. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion.

For more information about Any Dream Will Do, Debbie Macomber or where you can preorder a copy of this novel due out in August of 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Debbie Macomber on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Any Dream Will Do, please visit Ballantine Book's website.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Promise of Dawn

America. The great melting pot. So many have left their countries to search for a better life on this beautiful country we call home. In The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling, Gunlaug's eldest son, Rune and his wife Signe, and their three sons are brought from Norway at the behest of relatives Einar and Gerd Strand. They have offered to pay their passage to come work in Minnesota, with the understanding that over time those funds would be paid back. Gerd and Einar had never been blessed with sons and they need help in the new land that they have purchased from a homesteader that is covered with huge pine trees that they log and send to the mills in Minneapolis. The money had from those trees has made it possible to build a home large enough to house a family. They farm the land they have cleared, but need help. Gerd is not well and they desperately need the family to come and help.

Living near a small town called Benson's Corner, and the nearest town being Blackduck, Minnesota, there is a school for the younger ones in the winter. Once the trees are felled and shipped on the local railroad spur to the northern mills, we will clear the stumps and plant crops. With only one cow now, the family hopes to increase the number to have a dairy herd once the land is cleared. This is indeed the land of opportunity. So Rune and Signe Carlson along with their three sons leave Norway and head to America. Signe hopes that the baby she is carrying will live after so many miscarriages. When the family arrives at the Strand home, they are immediately surprised by what needs to be done. It seems that their need for help is drastically understated, and Gerd is completely bed-ridden due to a heart issue. The house is barely what you would call livable and is infested with rats. This will completely test the stamina of the Carlson family as Einar puts them all to work immediately treating them more like slaves than family. The younger boys help Signe try and get the house in order along with helping to care for Gerd who is a bitter older woman who screams to get anyone to help her use the chamber pot and demands food whenever she wants it.

For Rune and his oldest son Bjorn at fifteen take to logging in the woods felling trees that Einar hopes to sell to support his family. His unrealistic goals soon render an accident during a thunder storm that render Bjorn with a broken arm and not being able to hear. When the family tries to keep Bjorn at home, Einar insists that one of the other boys step up and bear the weight of Bjorn's absence in the woods. If they refuse, Einar threatens to deport them all back to Norway unless they serve the time that they have agreed to work to pay for their passage to America. It will take the patience of a saint to work with these two who call themselves family.

I received The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling compliments of Baker Publishing Group and Net Galley. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise.  This is a great historical novel that really conveys the hardships that faced many families who came to America in search of a new life. Many of their skills no longer suited them and they had to acclimate and learn new ones if they hoped to have a home of their own. It would take working together in order for any of them to make it during any time of the year. Each season had its own challenges and it seems like Gerd and Einar have found themselves slaves that will do as they are told without argument. I found myself exhausted at all the work Signe had to do along with caring for Gerd while being pregnant. Life on the frontier was hard work and this clearly comes across in this first novel of the Under Northern Skies series. Can't wait for more and for that reason, I give this novel a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Promise of Dawn, Lauraine Snelling or where you can pre-order a copy of this book due in August of 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Lauraine Snelling on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Promise of Dawn, please visit Baker Publishing Group's website. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nichole Nordeman - Every Mile Mattered CD Review and Giveaway

I can honestly say, I hadn't heard of Nichole Nordeman until I listened to her latest CD, Every Mile Mattered and I fell in love with so many of her songs. It's not just the words of the songs, but for me there has to be something different from the other songs we hear on the radio to make me a true lover of the artist and I found it in this latest CD.

There are 11 songs on this CD: (1) Every Mile Mattered, (2) You're Here, (3) Dear Me, (4) No Longer, (5) Lean, (6) Hush, Hush, (7) Listen to Your Life, (8) Beautiful Day, (9) Sound of Surviving, (10) Anywhere We Are, and (11) Slow Down.

The ones that really connected with me are Every Mile Mattered, You're Here and my all time favorite on this CD is Hush, Hush! Although I love them all, those three speak to a place in my life that God and I connect on a different level I can't explain. I can't wait to hear what your favorite songs are!

"These are songs that Nichole has been in her heart for years, long before they were bound by lyric or melody. They are mile markers. Places I've been. Things I have seen and maybe see a little differently now. Every mile on that road mattered. The endless miles of God's mercy and goodness. Every bump and bruise. The long stretches I'd rather erase. The journey really does change us, or should, anyway."

I think that is reason why I connected to so many of these songs. We are all on our own personal journeys, some we wished we could have taken a detour and wished God would have given us a "Dead End" sign so we could have avoided some of the issues we have faced. But they make us all unique, strong in our own ways, and they unite us. They are things we can all relate to in this road called life until God calls us home. I can tell you that you will find something in this CD that will speak to your heart and soul, whether by words, melody or simply the way God touches your soul when you hear a particular song on this CD.

I received Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman compliments of Capital Records and FlyBy Promotions. The lyrics are provided in this CD as well for those of you that love to know the words so you can enjoy your music even more!!! I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
You can hear samples of the songs by visiting Nichole Nordeman's website. Thanks to the generosity of Capital Records and FlyBy Promotions, they are offering a giveaway copy of Nichole Nordeman's CD, Every Mile Matters! Here is what you need to do to enter:

1. "Like" Nichole Nordeman's Facebook page. 

2. Be a resident of the US or have a US mailing address. Please No P.O Boxes.

3. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. 

4. Leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman. Don't forget to include your email address is that is how I will be contacting the winner of this giveaway. You can use the words (at) or (dot) instead of the symbols.

The giveaway will end on August 2nd, so be sure to share this with people you know would love this! I will be contacting the winner of the giveaway by email on August 2nd, so be sure you are following my Facebook page, Reviews From The Heart or are following this blog so you don't miss out. Without an email I have no way to contact you! Don't forget!!!

For more information about Nichole Nordeman, Every Mile Mattered or where you can pick up a copy of this CD today, please click on the links below:

You can find Nichole Nordeman on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest projects.

To read more reviews of Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman, please visit Capital Records website. 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.