Thursday, 25 May 2017

Book Review: The Chapel Car Bride

From the Back:

After a sheltered life in Pittsburgh, Hope Irvine is ready for a new adventure. When her father takes a position as a preacher in a railroad car converted into a traveling church, she's thrilled at the chance to accompany him. While accommodations in their new chapel car home are tight, Hope couldn't be happier putting her musical skills to good use and ministering to the people of West Virginia alongside her father. But when their chapel car arrives in Finch, West Virginia, they find a coal mining community that has hit hard times and is suspicious of outsiders.

Luke Hughes works for the coal mine when he can, but the struggling company doesn't always offer steady work. When Reverend Irvine and Hope arrive in town, Luke is intrigued by what the reverend can teach him--and by the lovely and kind Hope.

When Hope's desire to bring supplies and Sunday school classes to neighboring counties leads to her traveling with a flirtatious young mine manager, Luke is hard-pressed to suppress his jealousy. But when he begins to suspect the manager's motives are less than charitable, can he prove it without hurting Hope, or worse, putting her in danger?

My Reflections:


Judith Miller is one of my favorite authors, and usually, I am racing through her books to devour the entirety. Her newest novel "The Chapel Car Bride" was however not one of those stories.

The character Hope and the plight of their little family intrigued me, but I found my interest lagging and the story line just a little lackluster.

The story opens in the spring of 1913. Hope Irvine and her father the Reverend Layton a chapel car missionary are on their way to Finch, West Virginia. The journey holds unexpected turns and Hope is relieved to finally make it to Finch, where she can finally settle in.

Hope is first acquainted with Luke Hughes on the trip to Finch where he rescues her from a group of rough and tumble men. When she arrives in Finch she is surprised to make his acquaintance once again. A sweet relationship blossoms between the two. However, trouble seems to be brewing under the surface of this little sleepy town, and it's going to take more than a preacher's daughter solve the town's predicament.

I enjoyed learning about the chapel car ministry. I was not aware this was even a historical event and enjoyed looking into it in more detail after finishing the book.

This is a clean fictional historical/ romance, and though I was not swept away by the story don't let my review sway your decision. I do look forward to reading more by Judith Miller in the future.

                                       About the Author


Judith Miller

Judith Miller is an award-winning writer whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her family make their home in Kansas. Learn more at www.judithmccoymiller.com.
Continue reading about Judith Miller

Friday, 19 May 2017

Book Review: Threads of Suspicion

From the Back:

Will her latest cold case unravel before justice is served?
Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's Missing Persons Task Force. With so much public fanfare surrounding the launch of this elite investigative team, the political stakes are high, and the team will have to produce results--and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. As Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood over the disappearance of a college student, David searches for a private investigator whose last case involved a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But the questions that lie just beneath the surface in Evie's personal life are also begging for answers.
My Reflections:
If you love Dee Henderson, you will not be disappointed with her new release ``Threads of Suspicion.``

This is book two in the Evie Blackwell Cold Case stories. This series, in my opinion, has the most detailed plot and story elements. If you are looking for a fast paced easy read, this is not your book. However, if you like many characters, lots of information on what detectives do on a day to day basis this may be just the book for you!
Since this is a novel about cold cases, there is not the same feel as the at the edge of your seat thriller type book, it is more of a gently unfurling of details and drama that may or may not be entirely explained. This story also contains quite a lot of dialogue, character introspection as characters sift through their suspicions and theories. I found this aspect along with the many in depth details to take away from my reading experience. I quite prefer a complex storyline with less information and a more linear plot, but that may just be me, don`t let it color your book buying decision. 
So if you are looking for a book with a myriad of threads ready to be wound tightly into a tidy storyline, this is just the book for you!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

                                     About the Author

Dee Henderson

Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, including TakenUndetectedUnspoken, Full Disclosure, and the acclaimed O'Malley and Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards,...
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Book Review: Long Time Gone

From the Back:

Someone Will Stop at Nothing to Claim the Boden Homestead!
The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they uncovered the real plot to take their 1880s New Mexico ranch? Justin Boden is a top rancher and a rugged man, and yet with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend. Now Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the threats facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they pull together all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the risk of losing the ranch even greater than any of them could imagine?
My Reflections:
Long Time Gone is book two in the Cimarron Legacy, and although you could probably read it as a stand-alone, I would not recommend it. Too many details will be lost, and the essence of the story may turn murky. The mystery and danger jump start this story from page one, so saddle up your horse and get ready for the ride.
Although not my all-time favorite book from this author, I did find that I quite enjoyed the rough and tumble action and adventure. The plot is well thought out and includes many elements of surprise. I also fell in love with the character Angie, she is brave, spunky and has the tenacity to push through the trials of her life. Let's see if she can get past her hurt and let Justin into her life.

Cole can't seem to get Angie out of his mind, and heart. Although she is the last person, he ever thought he would be attracted to. Her penchant for danger and mishap lead them into all kinds of trouble. Angie is not what a cowhand looks for in a wife, but Cole is discovering that sometimes matters of the heart are entirely illogical!

Long time gone will appeal to those who love western heroes and lovable heroines. I am looking forward to Mary Connealy's next book in this series.

About THE AUTHOR

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas,...
Continue reading about Mary Connealy

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Book Review: A Stolen Heart

The future she dreamed of is gone. But perhaps a better one awaits . . . 
From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners--like her. Lydia won't let that get her down, though. All will be well when she's reunited with her fiancĂ©. 

But when she discovers he has disappeared--and that he left behind a pregnant wife--Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?


My Reflections:

Warning..If you are on a sugar-free diet don't read this book! Sigh it was pure torture as I really love yummy treats and this novel mentions lots of delectable goodies.

All kidding aside if you are in the mood for a fluffy sweet (no pun intended) romance this book is for you. Set in the 1800's this first novel in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy will warm your heart.

Lydia Crawford is embarking on a whole new journey leaving the past behind her she moves to a little town in Texas, named Cimarron Creek. 

Her soon to be husband Edgar Ellis, was suppose to be patiently waiting for her. However, he seems to have disappeared and in his wake shockingly he left his... wife, and she so happens to be in the family way!

Just as troubling is that Lydia cannot go back home, she must make a go of her new life in Cimarron Creek, outsider or not her spunky attitude and steadfast faith must pull her through. 

Travis Whitefield the newly appointed sheriff is the perfect character to step up to the plate. His gentlemanly ways and protective nature are just what Lydia needs to regroup and figure out what is next. 
Travis, however, must get to the bottom of Edgar's disappearance. Was he shirking his responsibilities or was there something much more sinister involved? who is this newcomer? Does she have something to hide as well?

I found it interesting to see through the eyes of these characters the history of this time period. 
Recovering from the Civil War the townsfolk are resistant to newcomers especially Northerners. It must have been very hard to be moving from place to place and finding new normalcy in the turbulence post-war.

If you are looking for a slight mystery coupled with a Historical romance, this may just be the book for you!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

THE AUTHOR

Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet LakeIn Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW...
Continue reading about Amanda Cabot

Book Review: Quick Tips For Busy Families

Bring Out the Best in Your Kids--and Yourself!
Believe it or not, your kids are counting on you to unshackle them from their screens and engage them with the family. You can do it! By rescuing a boring afternoon. Making chores fun. Teaching mad skills and spellbinding life lessons. And finding fresh joy in road trips, holidays, and the daily routines of life. Family advocate and father of five, Jay Payleitner has gathered 144 simple secrets you can use, such as:

· Discipline techniques that actually work without nagging
· Using short notes and quick shout-outs to connect with busy kids
· Opening the door to spiritual conversations
· Turning your kid into a star in the classroom

In this collection of under-the-radar parenting strategies, you will find a dozen ideas you can use this week. Think of them as "parenting hacks." Be warned, though. Jay's tips come fast and furious. You'll laugh at one page and get real serious a few pages later. Now is the time to connect and celebrate your family, make memories, and bring out the very best in each other. Isn't that what you want?

My Reflections:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jay Payleitner's book "Quick Tips for Busy Families"

When you stop and think of the things you do as a parent, I'm sure you will often wish you had more time to impart those nuggets of wisdom and moments of grace.

Though I am home quite a bit I find myself torn between running a farm, managing an extremely busy business, couple this with homeschooling my kids and all these activities leave me feeling zapped of energy and truth be told often cranky. There has to be a balance right? Time to teach wisdom sprinkled with grace and love?

Payleitner's book is filled with nuggets of truth, sprinkled with humour and wit. This book contains 144 tips and strategies to help us busy parents navigate our children towards adulthood. It is definitely a good resource to have on hand, I would even go so far as to recommend it for the shelves of your local church library.

If you are looking for a quick read with the most benefits this may be just the book for you!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


THE AUTHOR


Jay Payleitner


Prior to becoming a full-time author and speaker, Jay Payleitner (www.jaypayleitner.com) served as freelance radio producer for a wide range of international movements, including the Salvation Army, Prison Fellowship, Bible League, Voice of the Martyrs, and...

Continue reading about Jay Payleitner

Monday, 17 April 2017

Book Review: Treasured Grace

In untamed Oregon Country, one young woman fights to keep her family safe. 
Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters, Hope and Mercy, became her responsibility. A hasty decision to head west seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start but has instead left Grace in a precarious position. When missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife agree to let Grace and her sisters stay at their mission for the winter, Grace is grateful. Until they hear from their uncle in Oregon City, the three sisters have nowhere else to go.

As Grace adjusts to life in the West, she meets a fur trapper named Alex Armistead who intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure. But when a measles outbreak threatens lives at the mission and among the native Cayuse who live nearby, it is Alex who helps Grace use the natural healing remedies she learned from her mother to help where she can, despite Dr. Whitman's disapproval. As the death toll rises, so do tensions between the settlers and the natives, and Grace soon finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

My Reflections:

The cover is what drew me into the folds of this novel, I actually didn't even read the back. I have read quite a few books lately in this era, it must be an author theme?

This novel deals with a hefty dose of serious subject matters. Pain, death, heartbreak are constant. This is definitely not the sappy, happily ever after kind of read, but sometimes you have to live in reality and remember the atrocities that happen.
I do have to provide a warning that this novel deals with rape and unwanted pregnancy, some readers may find the subject matter a little too raw.

The story opens on the Oregon Trail year, 1847. Having just lost her not so endearing husband the Right Reverend T.S Martindale. 
(Ok bunny trail, why on earth is he called the Right Reverend?...so annoying!) Grace once is again left vulnerable and on her own to provide for her 2 younger sisters, one who is ailing. All parties are however relieved at the passing, as the reverend took advantage of this marriage of convenience, not even bothering to consummate the union.  

Upon arrival to the Whitman Mission, Measles and Cholera are two devastating epidemics that are victimizing both the native populations and the new settlers equally. 
A romance simmers quietly between Grace and a trapper she meets named Alex. There conflicting emotions run hot and cold throughout a good chunk of the book, not making this a sappy romance in my mind. I enjoyed how faith was a constant thread that wove this story together. Pain and sorrow can be stitched together with faith and love to provide a shelter in the storms of life. 

Treasured Grace was an emotionally charged read, that kind of left me feeling slightly depressed. The constant drama, with violent scenes, they really upset me. I would use caution if you are an abuse survivor, this book may be just too emotional for some sensitive readers.
It is however packed with historical events and many hours of research must have been poured into this volume. Though the ending is somewhat a token happy ever after, I am looking forward to the next installment.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


THE AUTHOR

Tracie Peterson
Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. Learn...

Continue reading about Tracie Peterson

Book Review: Your Next 24 Hours

One day.
One decision.
One amazing discovery.

A life with greater purpose and fulfillment is closer than you think. The decisions you make in the next 24 hours can change your life and influence the people around you . . . for good.

Your Next 24 Hours shows you the enormous difference you can make through small, doable acts of kindness in your family, community, workplace, school, and church. You'll read inspiring stories of unsung heroes, as well as celebrities like

- Kate Winslet
- Adam Levine
- Jake Gyllenhaal
- Zendaya
- Paul Walker
- Denzel Washington
- Amy Adams
- and many more

The kindness revolution starts with you! Begin reading Your Next 24 Hours today and make this day one of a more fulfilling life.

My Reflections:

Kindness, such a beautiful word. One person can make a difference in this busy world.
My life is proof of many people's acts of kindness, this changed my world for the better. It is my goal in this life to pay it forward as well, so when I saw this book being offered I jumped at the opportunity to review it.

The book launches into a tragic story about loss and the choices made in its wake. It set the stage for the birth of the renowned charity called, Convoy of Hope.

The book was filled with stories to encourage and uplift us. I found myself ready to face the next 24 hours with a new attitude and perspective. You can be well known for your acts of kindness like the mega rich person who showers help to the needy, but you could also be the quiet wallflower who makes a change one smile at a time or by buying a coffee for the family behind you in the drive-through. Change is a choice, you can actively make changes around you..or not, you decide.

I loved that this book includes a section called "Kind Ways." It gives practical suggestions to show kindness in may different scenarios, some I wouldn't have thought about.

All in all this book was refreshing and made me excited. I often feel like I am not making a lasting impact on the world around me, but this book reminded me that the little things count.

I highly recommend you read this book, we can all make a difference one choice at a time.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


About the Authors: 

Hal Donaldson

Hal Donaldson cofounded and serves as president of Convoy of Hope, Inc. Since 1994, Convoy of Hope has distributed nearly $1 billion worth of food and vital emergency supplies to more than 70 million people.
Continue reading about Hal Donaldson

Kirk Noonan

Kirk Noonan is a former magazine journalist who now serves as Vice President of Creative Communications for Convoy of Hope.
Continue reading about Kirk Noonan
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