Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bible Stories that End with a Hug

Little children love getting—and giving—hugs! Hugs generate warmth, affection, and a feeling of acceptance. Show your little ones just how much you treasure them while teaching them about the Bible and God’s unconditional love for his creation. Bible Stories that End with a Hug! features 75 easy-to-understand Bible stories with charming illustrations, lessons on how to apply the stories to your child’s daily life, memory verses from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, and a special “Hug Time” during which you can share a great big hug with your child.

Bible Stories that End with a Hug is a cute new take on teaching young children about the Bible. Each two page spread includes a beautiful illustration, Bible verse, two question and answer paragraphs, and an invitation for a hug. An example is the page on creation, the Bible verse from Genesis 1 is quoted with a typical illustration of the earth from afar on the left page. On the right page, the author paints a vivid image of life before and after God created the earth. He then writes to children about how God changed everything by creating all the we see, including people. The two questions at the beginning of the paragraphs are "How did God change it?" and "Did God create people too?" On the outer edge of the right page it states in flowing font "Hug time!  Give the one made by God . . . a great big HUG!" I love that each invitation for a hug relates to the lesson from the page, and my three and four-year-old daughters got very excited for the hug at the end of the lesson. My one-year-old son even seemed to understand when the hug was coming. The down side to this take is that my children seem to glaze over the lesson to get to the hug, however, it does get them asking for "just one more page!" and therefore more exposure to the Bible. My daughters are 3 and 4 and go to church twice a week, so they are ready for a bit more depth in their Bible study. I do feel this would be a nice way to introduce children with less exposure to the Bible to God's love for them. Overall, a nice children's book.

I received a complimentary copy of Bible Stories that End in a Hug through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Silent Night



As Christmas day nears, Bree and her faithful search-and-rescue dog Samson follow the trail of a troubling mystery into the snowy forests of Rock Harbor.

Bree Matthews is preparing for Christmas guests, but her heart is reeling from the recent and tender loss of her unborn child. Her sister-in-law, Lauri, suddenly turns up on the doorstep of the lighthouse home Bree shares with her husband, Kade, in Rock Harbor. Secretive and withdrawn, Lauri seems curiously intent on discovering what happened to a parachuter who disappeared in the North Woods along Lake Superior's icy shore.
As Bree and Samson, her search-and-rescue dog, plunge into the search, Bree wonders if Lauri may know more than she’s admitted about the parachuter. And then the clues lead them to the trail of a young woman whose family fears the worst about her disappearance.
Will the search on this snowy, silent night lead Bree and Samson to more than clues about the missing girl? And will Bree’s prayer for a baby ever be answered?
If you are a fan of the Rock Harbor characters, you will most likely enjoy this book as much as the others. It is important to note that this is a novella; about 70 epages long, not a full novel. Despite the length, the story is complete and does not feel rushed. Time moves along quickly, and there is much happiness for almost all of the characters. Loose ties from previous books are tied up and have happy endings. Definitely a book that will leave the reader feeling good at the end, and wanting to know what lies ahead for the Matthews family.
I received a complimentary copy of Silent Night through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Secretly Smitten



Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

 Secretly Smitten is just as great as all the previous books with these characters in them. This book was written differently, with each author taking one fourth of the story and focusing it on one of the characters falling in love. There is an additional romantic mystery interwoven throughout the four vignettes. When I completed each vignette I'd find myself feeling disappointed that I wouldn't get to read more about these two main characters. Then I'd remember there's another story starting on the next page. All the characters were in each vignette, but the main characters rotated. I loved trying to guess who the next main female lead would be, and how the authors would find a new leading man. I am also very excited that there is another Smitten novel scheduled to be release in 2014. Keep them coming!

Friday, December 21, 2012

His Love Endures Forever

An unplanned pregnancy. An absent father. Can love really endure all things?

Danielle Kent is anything but Amish. But as destiny would have it, she has fallen in love with an Amish man.

Now she’s 18, pregnant, and hopeful that the child’s Amish father—Matthew Lapp—will do the right thing and marry her. She knows Matthew plans to leave his Colorado settlement for a life in the Englisch world. But that plan never included a baby.

When Matthew walks away from her and their unborn child, she has nowhere to turn. Her unlikely friendship with Levi offers some comfort—yet they have so little in common. This wasn’t the plan she had for her life, and she has never felt so alone. She doesn’t want to be pregnant. Doesn’t want to be Amish. Doesn’t want to trust God.

And yet.

God has plans beyond what her mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never fails but endures forever.


Beth Wiseman is a wonderful storyteller. She is one of those authors that I cannot put down. Her characters are flawed and real, and I find myself wanting to see them through to the end. His Love Endures Forever is a slightly different Amish fiction book, as the main character is not Amish. I enjoyed the way that Wiseman reveals her characters' past as the story unfolds and deepens the reader's understanding of why the character reacts to things the way that s/he does. Bottom line, if you have enjoyed any of Wiseman's books you will most likely also enjoy His Love Endures Forever. I certainly did.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Right Where I Belong

Natalia’s about to discover her place in the world . . . and it’s not following in her father’s footsteps.

After watching her father jump from one marriage to the next, Natalia has completely written off love. And when her father divorces his third wife—the only one who has been a mother to her—Natalia is ready to write him off too.

Needing a change of scenery, Natalia leaves her home in Spain and relocates with her stepmother to sun-soaked Florida. But she didn’t realize just how far a new school, a new culture, and a new lifestyle would push her out of her comfort zone.

One of her biggest surprises comes from Brian, a pastor’s son with an adorable smile, who loves God with a sincerity that astounds Natalia. She doesn’t want to fall for him, but she can’t seem to avoid him long enough to get him out of her mind.

Love is the last thing Natalia wants. Even so, God has her right where she belongs.

I thoroughly enjoyed Krista McGee's first two books, and was excited to read her next novel, Right Where I Belong. Her third book is every bit as wonderful as her first two. I ended up staying up until past 2a.m. just to discover what would happen with these characters. I love that McGee keeps her readers up to date with the happenings of her previous main characters by creating stories that overlap with theirs. For example, her first book's main character was Addy, who was the best friend of the main character in her second book, Kara. Both Kara and Addy show up in this book, as supporting cast. Once again, I was completely engaged in McGee's book, and look forward to more by her.

I received a complimentary copy of Right Where I Belong through Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Come to the Table

Kat Davies is suddenly wondering if her good deed was a bad idea.


Kat may be new in her faith, but she’s embraced the more radical implications of Christianity with reckless abandon. She invited Rochelle—a homeless mother—and her son to move in the apartment she shares with two other housemates. And she’s finally found a practical way to channel her passion for healthy eating by starting a food pantry at the church.


Her feelings for Nick are getting harder to ignore. The fact that he’s the interning pastor at SouledOut Community Church and one of her housemates makes it complicated enough. But with Rochelle showing interest in Nick as a father-figure for her son, their apartment is feeling way too small.


But not everyone thinks the food pantry is a good idea. When the woman she thought would be her biggest supporter just wants to “pray about it,” Kat is forced to look deeper at her own motives. Only when she begins to look past the surface does she see people who are hungry and thirsty for more than just food and drink and realizes the deeper significance of inviting them to “come to the table.”

I was so excited to learn that the newest installment of Neta Jackson's SouledOut Sisters Series, Come to the Table was going to be available on Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze Blogger program! I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Neta Jackson has a way of creating flawed, real characters that the reader can relate to. The characters are all from extremely different backgrounds, and have to overcome bias and misconceptions in order to become successful. The faith displayed in the characters is both heartwarming and inspiring. I always finish these books feeling like I am a little bit renewed in my faith and hungering for the Word.  This book was no different, and I am so glad that I requested it! Highly recommended!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Scent of Rain

When deprived of her most prized sense, Daphne discovers a life she never expected, right under her nose.

Daphne Sweeten has left Paris – and a career she loves – in order to marry a man she loves even more. But when he stands her up on their wedding day, Daphne’s left reeling. Trained as a professional “nose” or perfume creator, Daphne soon realizes that her sense of smell has somehow disappeared too.

In the days following she moves to Dayton, Ohio, to take on a job creating fragrances for household products. Without her sense of smell, she must rely on her chemistry skills, and hope her handsome new boss, Jesse Lightner, doesn’t notice before she can figure out how to get it back.

Despite her desire to return to Paris, she can’t deny the way Jesse makes her feel. But when Daphne approaches former contacts, she learns her missing ex-fiancĂ© has somehow snagged her old job.

As Daphne and Jesse work on a signature scent for their new line, she feels God at work in her life as never before. And the promise of what is possible is as fresh as the scent of rain.

I read about The Scent of Rain several times before finally deciding to request a complimentary copy through Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was a little weary of the described plotline, as it seemed a bit strange to me. After reading a few reviews that the book was short and not up to Billerbeck's typical standards, I didn't expect much from this book.

I was very pleasantly surprised to thoroughly enjoy the novel. The characters are believable and it was easy to care about what happened to them. The plot was definately unique, and left me wondering what would happen next. The ending was satisfying, and as I looked at the other books Billerbeck has on her resume, I was reminded that she contributed to Smitten, which I also enjoyed.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lovelier Than Daylight

Susanna is a lady of principles who values family above all. Johann seems to represent all she despises . . . but appearances can be deceiving.

In 1875, Susanna Hanby is headed off to college in Westerville, Ohio, when she discovers her sister Rachel and Rachel’s children have disappeared. Susanna suspects that Rachel’s alcoholic husband knows more than he’s saying and she vows to uncover the truth.

Johann Giere is heir to a successful German-American brewery in Columbus, but longs for a career in journalism in New York City. When Johann signs on as the supplier for a new saloon in Westerville, his and Susanna’s paths cross and sparks fly. A fiery temperance crusader, Susanna despises Johann’s profession, but she cannot deny the attraction.

When Susanna learns that Rachel’s children have been indentured to orphanages in the city, she despairs that her family will be fractured forever. But Johann makes Susanna an offer she can’t refuse—pitting her passion and her principles against one another.

If she can find a way for her head and her heart to be in harmony, a future lovelier than daylight awaits her.

Lovelier than Daylight is a story of love and faith based on the Westerville Whiskey War of 1875, a dramatic real historical event featured in the 2011 documentary Prohibition by Ken Burns.

I received a complimentary copy of Rosslyn Elliott's Lovilier Than Daylight through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.
I personally found the main character of Susanna to be rude and judgmental. Although, the author seems to be intentional in that characteristic and brings Susanna's way of thinking to a head when she has a complicated decision to make; whether to follow her heart or her long held beliefs about people that brew beer. The storyline is sad, but believable and ends up with a happy ending. All in all, I think it is a solid book, but I wasn't loving it so much that I stayed up late to finish "just one more chapter."


Monday, October 15, 2012

Sugar Rush

 Devil's Food. . .Angel Cake. . .Red Velvet. . .Praline Crunch. . .Lemon Chiffon. . . How's a woman to choose?
Luckily, the members of the Cupcake Club are about to taste it all. . .
When baker extraordinaire Leilani Trusdale left the bustle of New York City for Georgia's sleepy Sugarberry Island, she didn't expect her past to follow. Yet suddenly, her former boss, Baxter Dunne, aka Chef Hot Cakes, the man who taught her everything pastry, wants to film his hit cooking show in her tiny cupcakery. The same Chef Hot Cakes whose molten chocolate brown eyes and sexy British accent made Lani's mouth water and her cheeks blush the color of raspberry filling--stirring all kinds of kitchen gossip, much of which Lani wished was true. . .
Lani's friends are convinced that this time around, Baxter is the missing ingredient in her recipe for happiness. But convincing Lani will be a job for Baxter himself. And he'll need more than black velvet frosting to sweeten the deal. . .

When I downloaded Sugar Rush by Donna Kauffman, I thought I'd get a quick Chick Lit romance book and be done with it. I was so hooked on this book, I stayed up until 3a.m. on a work night just to see what would happen next. Reading the teaser, I thought I would hate the male lead, but the author alternated the point of view, letting the reader know Baxter's true intentions. I found myself rooting for them to get together and find a way to stay together. I read the whole book in two sittings~because I HAD to go to bed for work in the morning. It was a delectable treat, and I've already downloaded the second book!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

House of Mercy

When Beth’s world falls apart, can she ever be whole again?

Beth has a gift of healing—which is why she wants to become a vet and help her family run their fifth-generation cattle ranch. Her father’s dream of helping men in trouble and giving them a second chance is her dream too. But it only takes one foolish decision for Beth to destroy it all.

Beth scrambles to redeem her mistake, pleading with God for help, even as a mystery complicates her life. But the repercussions grow more unbearable—a lawsuit, a death, a divided family, and the looming loss of everything she cares about. Beth’s only hope is to find the grandfather she never knew and beg for his help. Confused, grieving, but determined to make amends, she embarks on a horseback journey across the mountains, guided by a wild, unpredictable wolf who may or may not be real.

Set in the stunningly rugged terrain of Southern Colorado, House of Mercy follows Beth through the valley of the shadow of death into the unfathomable miracles of God’s goodness and mercy.

It took me a really long time to get into this book. Perhaps it is because it begins with the main character committing a crime and I was having difficulty liking her. After about 100 ePages, the plot started to thicken and I started to wonder how it would all play out. I finally found myself wondering about the book at times that I couldn't read. The story got a bit crazy and unbelievable at a point, and then abruptly ended. At the end, I felt unfulfilled and still wondering about how many things-a few of which were question proposed at the beginning of the book-would have happened.  Definatly a very disappointing "ending."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crazy Dangerous

"You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and—oh yeah—the weird murder . . . you're definitely going to want to hear about that."

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.

Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies—prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.

With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

I can say without a doubt that Crazy Dangerous is the most unique, crazy ride I a book has taken me on. I wasn't sure that I wanted to request a free copy in exchange for an honest review, but decided I needed a different book than I normally read. This certainly was different from my regular genres! I don't want to provide any spoilers, so I'll say that the plot was enough to keep me guessing where the author was going until about 50 pages from the end. It definitely feels supernatural throughout most of the book, and if you enjoy sci-fi this book is probably for you. Be prepared for a unique writing style, which captures Jennifer's illness very well and a bit of violence. All in all, I enjoyed the book and found myself staying up late to figure out what was going to happen.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Grandma & Me

My Grandma and Me is the book every grandmother wants to share with her toddler-age grandchildren. Each devotion includes a scripture, a rhyme explaining the theme of the verse, and an interactive song or prayer. In addition to the fun yet faith-filled words, children will enjoy the sweet full-color art throughout the book that has a nostalgic tone for Grandma. The book closes with additional scriptures grandma can use to pass along her faith: the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments, 23rd Psalm, Beatitudes, and a special prayer for her grandchildren. This delightful book will not only become Grandmother's favorite, but it will leave a lasting and important impression on the faith development of many toddlers.The introduction of the book also gives grandmothers who are far-away from their grandkids tips on using the book via phone or Skype.

I requested a complimentary copy of My Grandma & Me through the Tyndale Blog Network's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. 

Although this book is exactly what it says it is; a short Bible verse, poem, and either a song or prayer on each two page spread, I was a little disappointed in it overall. I think I was hoping that it would be a bit more than every other preschool "devotional" already on the book store shelves. Personally, I didn't see much difference from all the others I've seen. Besides the title, there is nothing connecting it specifically to a grandma and her grandchildren, with could be good or bad depending on what the reader is hoping to accomplish with the book. The illustrations are beautiful, and add a lot to the overall book, but the individual devotionals can be read in less than a minute.  I started reading it to my daughter when I received it, and we read three of them before she lost interest and asked me to skim the books for another song. The songs are set to the tune of familiar songs such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb," which I found hard to accomplish and kind of ended up making my own tune. All in all, if you don't already have a preschool devotional, this one is cute but it's not any different from the rest on the shelves.

Be Still My Soul

Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
 
Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate. 

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

 

I received a complimentary copy of Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof through the Multnomah Publishing Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. Be Still My Soul will be available for purchase on October 1st, 2012. 

Despite having three children and a full time job, this book entranced me enough to finish the whole thing in just two days. As I laid down to go to sleep, the characters roamed my mind, forcing me out of bed to discover the next chapters of their lives. I cannot recall a book that has evoked such emotion from me. From anger at Lonnie's dad and the way he treated her, to disappointment in Gideon and the beginnings of their marriage. Sorrow over their trials, and joy over their triumphs, I was taken on a roller coaster with this book, and I loved every word of it. I am overjoyed that this book states it is "book 1," promising more from this new author. I cannot wait for the next in this series.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Song of the Brokenhearted

Ava has a loving family, a beautiful house, and a solid faith.


Suddenly, her ideal life will be completely broken . . . in the best of ways.

Ava’s life is full of great things. Her daughter is getting married to just the right guy, her husband’s company has kept them financially thriving for years, her son is a freshman in high school, playing football and doing well, and the ministry she started is keeping her busy as she reaches out to those with “broken hearts.”

Then it all falls apart. Ava’s safe world becomes unanchored, and she is forced to face the childhood she’s run away from her entire life. Just as she’s trying to sift through the pieces, the doorbell rings and Ava is confronted with the surprise of her life.

Ava must set out on a journey that takes her back home—something Ava hasn’t done in twenty years. As she travels across the state of Texas, strangers offer her kindness and remind her of the meaning of hope and forgiveness.

It is in this journey back that Ava discovers God in a new way. She sees she's been hiding her brokenness behind good deeds and a safe life. Learning what it means to lose it all is just the start of Ava’s journey – as is the new song God is writing on her heart.

After reading some other Booksneezers' reviews of Song of the Brokenhearted, I was extremely excited to request a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. Although it is a very good book, I was a bit disappointed to find it not quite to the caliber of some of the reviews it has received. The story is solid, and the characters are believable, but I was certainly able to put it down and not be dying to pick it back up again. I did, however enjoy the ending and was slightly surprised at the final decision the family made. I was happy that the authors decided to show us how things were going with the family a few months down the road. The door is left open for a sequel, but a reader would not be left unsatisfied if there is not a sequel released. All in all, I give this book four stars out of five.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Faithful to Laura

Laura’s Amish faith requires her to forgive, but she can only think of revenge.

Laura Stutzman leaves her Kentucky community for Middlefield, Ohio, with one purpose: to find Mark King, the man who pledged his love to her, then left. She can’t move on with her life until he explains why.

Sawyer Thompson is a Yankee who spent his teen years in an Amish home. Now an adult, he has to make a decision—go back to the life he knew as a child or join the church. Having suffered loss at a young age, he understands Laura’s anger, but is determined to follow God’s will and forgive. As their friendship grows, Laura begins to let her guard down.

New information about Sawyer’s past threatens the couple’s budding relationship. Both Laura and Sawyer will need to release the anger they’re storing in their hearts and forgive the people who’ve harmed them. As Laura struggles to trust God, will Sawyer do whatever it takes to remain faithful to Laura?

 Faithful to Laura is the second book in Kathleen Fuller's Middlefield series. The book continues the storyline from Treasuring Emma, shortly after the first book concluded. Kathleen Fuller is an expert Amish Fiction writer, as far as I am concerned. Her books are fun and easy to read. Faithful to Laura was no exception. I found myself wanting both Laura and Sawyer to find their path and their faith (and each other!). Their journey was believable, but interesting enough to keep me up late wanting to know what would happen next. I am looking forward to the next book in the Middlefield series.



I received a complimentary copy of Faithful to Laura through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Abducted

 After solving the mayor’s murder and exposing corruption among the top brass in Las Playas, Carly Edwards is happy to be back on patrol with her partner, Joe, putting bad guys behind bars. For once, everything in life seems to be going right.

But then everything starts going wrong. Slow to recover from an injury, her ex-husband, Nick, begins pulling away just as they were starting to get close again. Meanwhile, when Joe’s wife lands in the hospital with a mysterious illness, their baby is kidnapped. As Carly chases down every lead in a desperate search to find the baby, her newfound faith is pushed to its limits.

I sincerely loved the last book I read by Janice Cantore, Accused, so I was extremely excited to find another book by her on the Tyndale Blog Network. Abducted is every bit as good as Accused, and picks up four months after the conclusion of the first book. It was fun to read about how the characters were adapting and changing to their new found faith and how that faith was working in their lives. I highly recommend the Pacific Coast Justice Series to any mystery lover~in fact I am passing them on to a friend today! 

Tidewater Inn

Welcome to Hope Beach

Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brothers and sisters are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby’s under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence.

Libby’s dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?

When I read the description for Tidewater Inn on Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze Blogger program, I wasn't sure if I wanted to request it. I wasn't totally sold on the description of the book. However, I have loved all of Colleen Coble's books that I have read, so I decided to give it a shot. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review, and I am really glad that I did. 

From the opening scene, this book captures the reader's attention and demands to be read.  The characters are real, and the situations kept the reader wanting to know how the characters were going to handle each issue. I enjoyed the book from start to finish and look forward to many more books by Coble.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Starring Me

Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.

The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is.

Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do—like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together.

Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she’s tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.

And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all—in a story so big only He could write it.

You may or may not remember that I loved the first book I read by Krista McGee, First Date. When I saw that I could request a complimentary copy of McGee's second book, Starring Me, through Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review, I jumped at the chance. Starring Me is a continuation of the story started in First Date. The story is continued through the perspective of Addy Davidson's new best friend, Kara McCormick. Kara's dream is to become an actress and after her performance on Book of Love in First Date, she is contacted to audition for a variety show for teens. In her journey to find fame, she meets challenging people, challenging situations, and God. I enjoyed this book even more than First Date, and hope that McGee somehow continues the series. It would be interesting to get the perspective of Anna Grace, the "mean girl" in the two books.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Winning Balance

Twenty-year-old American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Already a popular role model to all ages, in 2009 she captured the national spotlight again when she won the widely popular Dancing with the Stars. Yet Shawn is no stranger to hard work and adversity. Her loss of the major gymnastics prize everyone expected her to win in Beijing, the all-around Olympic gold medal, was the loss of a dream she’d worked for since childhood. And later, she suffered a potentially career-ending injury in a skiing accident that forced her life to a halt and made her rethink what was really important. She wasn’t sure who she was anymore. She wasn’t sure what her goals were. And she wasn’t sure she was satisfied with where she was with her faith and God. Could she find the right kind of success in life—the kind that doesn’t involve medals or trophies, but peace, love, and lasting joy? This is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced.

Do you know what it takes to become a gold medal winning Olympic gymnast? Shawn Johnson does, and she brings us down the journey she traveled on in her quest for the gold. Shawn's ultimate goal was just out of reach, but this caused her to learn more about life, disappointment, and faith than anything in her life thus far. I loved watching Shawn perform in the Olympics, so when Tyndale announced that I could receive a complimentary copy of her first book in exchange for an honest review, I jumped at the chance. Shawn was able to write her book in just the honest, open way I imagine she is with her friends. I truly enjoyed her book. 

The Corruptible



How much money would it take for you to betray the truth?
 
Ex-homicide detective Ray Quinn never had glamorous thoughts of the life of a private investigator—but being cornered in a bathroom stall by the enraged philandering husband of a client? That’s something he could live without. Retired from homicide and living with a painful disability, Ray’s options are limited. Stick to the job, keep impetuous sidekick Crevis alive, and spend quiet evenings with trusted pal Jim Beam, that’s about the best he can hope for.
 
As a new client emerges, Ray finds himself in an impossibly large boardroom holding a check with enough zeros to finally lift him from his financial pit. The job seems easy enough: find Logan Ramsey, an ex-cop turned security officer who’s taken off with sensitive corporate information. But few things are easy in Ray’s world, regardless of the amount of zeros in the check.
 
In what should be an open-and-shut case, Ray stumbles across Logan Ramsey in a seedy motel room. Only Ray wasn’t the first to find him. Now Logan’s dead, the client’s information is nowhere to be found, and Ray’s employer is less than forthcoming with the details. Suddenly the line between the good guys and bad guys isn’t so clear. With a foot in both worlds and an illuminating look at an unhappy ending that could well be his own, which will Ray choose?
 
 I received a complimentary copy of the eBook, The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing's Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

I have always enjoyed a good mystery, and Mynheir is certainly one to deliver. I found The Corruptible to not only be a great story, but one that kept me guessing until the end. The final outcome wasn't a transparent conclusion, but one that clearly took a lot of thought and planning. If you have ever read a Kinsey Milhone mystery by Sue Grafton, I would compare The Corruptible to that series. The Ray Quinn series has a male lead, and a Christian perspective in one of the characters, but it similar in most other ways. The writing was wonderful, and matched the storyline perfectly. The reader was given significant detail in every aspect of the story, but the author never gave too much detail, boring the reader or giving away too many clues. I am excited to be introduced to a new (to me) mystery series, which I plan to read through to the end.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Lily Series: The Beauty Book

Learn with Lily and her friends just what it means to be beautiful in God’s eyes—inside and out!
In a society so focused on the idea that external beauty reigns supreme, it can be difficult for young girls to figure out what “true” beauty is all about. This unique and creative book for girls ages 7–11 answers the common questions girls ask during this often confusing and overwhelming stage in their lives in an inviting and conversational manner.
Filled with fun quizzes, imaginative activities, and cool illustrations, The Beauty Book offers cool, relevant information about everything from great hair styles to tattoos, from skin care to clothes, and much more. Above all, the message that God-confidence is beautiful is highlighted on each and every page.

I downloaded a complimentary copy of Nancy Rue's The Lily Series; The Beauty Book through Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.
While I sincerely enjoy Nancy Rue's characters in The Lily Series, I did not enjoy this book as much as the last one that I read, Here's Lily. I think that is simply because this book is not a story, but almost a self-help style book. Rue has parts of the book that her characters write, and parts that are "answers" to the characters' concerns. I think that a tween girl with self confidence issues would probably appreciate this book. I am looking forward to the next story involving the Lily Series characters.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Lily Series: Here's Lily

Grow with the spirited, sometimes awkward, but always charming Lily as she learns what real beauty is.
In this fun, entertaining story, readers meet awkward sixth grader Lily Robbins who, after receiving a compliment about her looks from a woman in the modeling business, becomes obsessed with her appearance and with becoming a model. As she sets her sights on winning the model search fashion show, she exchanges her rock and feather collection for lip gloss, fashion magazines, and a private “club” with her closest friends. But when the unthinkable happens the night before the fashion show, Lily learns a valuable lesson about real beauty.
This best-selling, Biblically based fiction series for girls—with a fresh new look and updated content—addresses social issues and coming-of-age topics, all with the spunk and humor of Lily Robbins as she fumbles her way through unfamiliar territory. As readers come to love Lily and her stories, they’ll also benefit from the companion nonfiction books that will help them through their own growing pains.

 Lily is an awkward sixth grader that gets picked on by the class bully for her height, red hair, and pale complexion. Until Kathleen arrives at her school to show the girls how to focus on their best features and chooses Lily to demonstrate her techniques on in front of the whole class. Lily struggles to find God while balancing social issues at school and her desire to start modeling for Kathleen's agency.

As the mother of three kids, two of which are girls (one is a red head too!), this book struck a chord with me. I want my children to grow up God-confident, as Lily and Kathleen talk about in the book. Having enough confidence in God's love for them that other people's opinions don't matter. Lily is in an accident just before the big fashion show and is shocked when Kathleen states that nothing has changed, Lily should still be in the show!

Nancy Rue has a writing style that works well for bringing Lily and her friends to life in a way that I think pre-teens would find engaging. Her message is one that every girl should hear again and again; God loves you as you are and we all have wonderful features we can focus on. Also, beauty comes from within.

I look forward to reading more books in The Lily Series, and sharing them with my girls when they are old enough. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Here's Lily through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hope Springs



In a small Southern community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.
Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there’s not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.
Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened. And when Janelle proposes a Bible study a the local diner--and invites both African American and Caucasian women she has met--the group quickly forms a spiritual bond . . . and inadvertently adds to underlying tension in the community.
Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small town living affect her big ministry dreams?
And Stephanie London has the ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis with absolutely nothing she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.
As these women come together, facing disappointments both public and private, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.

I love Kim Cash Tate. When I saw a new book available by her on Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze Blogger program I was quick to request a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Hope Springs certainly did not disappoint! Tate's characters are so real that they make me wish they were real, so I could get to know them and join their Bible studies! I spent many nights up much later than intended as I continued to read "just one more chapter" well into the night. I read it on my Nook, and looked at the page number and thought "fifteen more pages, I only have fifteen more pages." Much to my dismay, the last ten were the study guide questions! While the book left off in a good place; with enough resolved to leave the reader satisfied but enough hanging to make us long for another book, I was not ready to say good-bye to these characters. I hope it is not long before I get to visit with them again. LOVED it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Garden of Madness



The Untold Story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Daughter.
For seven years the Babylonian princess Tiamat has waited for the mad king Nebuchadnezzar to return to his family and to his kingdom. Driven from his throne to live as a beast, he prowls his luxurious Hanging Gardens, secreted away from the world.
Since her treaty marriage at a young age, Tia has lived an indulgent palace life. But when her husband dies and a nobleman is found murdered in the palace, Tia must discover who is responsible for the macabre death, even if her own newfound freedom is threatened.
As the queen plans to wed Tia to yet another prince, the powerful mage Shadir plots to expose the family’s secret and set his own man on the throne. Tia enlists the help of a reluctant Jewish captive, her late husband’s brother Pedaiah, who challenges her notions of the gods even as he opens her heart to both truth and love.
In a time when few gave their hearts to Yahweh, one woman must decide if she is willing to risk everything—her possessions, her gods, and her very life—for the Israelite’s one God. Madness, sorcery and sinister plots mingle like an alchemist’s deadly potion, and Tia must dare to risk all – to save the kingdom, and to save herself.

 I decided to go outside of my typical reading choice when I requested a complimentary copy of  Garden of Madness by Tracy L. Higley through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program. in exchange for an honest review. I don't typically read historical fiction a whole lot, but when I do it seems to be more of an "old west" era, not Babylonian. It took me quite a while to get used to the author's style of writing, and to care about her characters. Once I embraced the era and the characters' secrets began to be revealed I found myself engrossed in the book and wanting to know more about what was happening. I enjoyed the author's descriptive writing in most instances, but felt there were a few times that it was not needed to the extent that was taken in the book. All in all, it was a quality read.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Need You Now

When big-city life threatens the safety of one of their children, Brad and Darlene Henderson move with their three teenagers from Houston to the tiny town of Round Top, Texas.

Adjusting to small-town life is difficult for the kids, especially fifteen-year-old Grace who is coping in a dangerous way.

Married life hasn’t always been bliss, but their strong faith has carried Brad and Darlene through the difficult times. When Darlene takes a job outside the home for the first time in their marriage, the domestic tension rises.

While working with special needs children at her new job, the widowed father of one of the students starts paying more attention to Darlene than is appropriate. Problem is, she feels like someone is listening to her for the first time in a long time.

If Darlene ever needed God . . . it’s now.

Experience a family’s triumph over lies, betrayal, and loss while still clinging to the One who matters most.

When I found out that Beth Wiseman had a new book getting release through Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze blogger program, I was very excited to be one of the reviewers to receive a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. I love Wiseman's Amish stories and was a little surprised to read that this is her first book not about the Amish. However, if you are a fan of Wiseman's Amish books this  story will definitely be right up your alley. Her characters are flawed and lovable, and the storyline is believable while flowing well and keeping the reader interested in what will happen next. I found it hard to put down; I'd tell myself "at the end of this chapter, go to bed." and something would happen at the end of the chapter that would make me stay up for another chapter. Very well written, and emotional story.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.

But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.

Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

While I do read a lot of Amish Fiction, this was the first book I've ever read with a Mennonite character in it. I did not realize how different the two faiths are, or that they are not allowed to court someone from the other faith. Woodsmith created characters that were all visibly flawed in some way and wove a story of faith, forgiveness, and love. Despite having three young children and a full time job, I read this book in two sittings. I found myself rooting for Annie and Aden to find a way to be together without destroying their families and simply couldn't put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and am thankful I was able to receive a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eyes of Justice

The Triple Threat Club has solved intense murder mysteries before…but this time it’s personal.
Cassidy, Allison, and Nicole fight for justice every day—Cassidy as a crime reporter, Nicole as an FBI agent, and Allison as a federal prosecutor. Together they’re a Triple Threat to be reckoned with.
But when a ruthless murderer kills one of their number—and the authorities seem intent on keeping them out of the investigation of the crime—their desire for justice goes into overdrive. They find an unexpected ally in a quirky private investigator named Ophelia whose methods confound the wise.
Yet just when it seems police have the killer in custody and justice is within sight, he somehow strikes again. Not knowing whom to trust, the team engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the killer. Nothing can be taken at face value…and nothing will ever be the same.
A riveting Triple Threat mystery that will leave readers shocked and satisfied.
 
When I logged on to Booksneeze, Thomas Nelson Publishing's blogger program, to pick a new book to review I was excited to see a book by Lis Wiehl. I recently reviewed another Triple Threat Novel and really enjoyed it, so I requested this one without reading the teaser. I was shocked when the murderer "kills one of their number," as is states in the teaser. Once the shock wore off, I found the book had a bit of a lull before becoming engrossing once again. Overall, I found the book to be suspenseful and left me wondering if there will be another book, and how the author will segue into the next phase for these characters.

Booksneeze has provided me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stand By Me



Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman from a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family has all but disowned her. Kat’s enthusiasm for her newfound faith tempers the sting of their rejection.
When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multi-cultural church family. But her tendency to say whatever she’s thinking and her eccentric ways step on the toes of nearly everyone she meets—especially Avis Douglass, a woman she admires but who seems distant.
Avis is known for her mature faith and her reliance on listening to God more than people. Married to a kind and successful businessman, she is the principal of one of Chicago’s highest performing elementary schools, and a founding and active member of SouledOut. But the country’s economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband’s jobs in question. And Avis hasn’t heard from her youngest daughter in months—an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in all this?
Kat’s flamboyant zeal for living a “radical” Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis’s quiet crisis of faith. But in God’s own mysterious ways, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

I have heard of the Yada Yada Prayer Group book series, but I have never read any of them. I didn't realize that Neta Jackson was also the author of those books when I downloaded my complimentary copy of Stand By Me through Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. However, I have heard good things about the Yada Yada series, so I was excited when I discovered that connection. Avis Douglass is a character from the series, and apparently we get a deeper understanding of her through this book. I think I would enjoy going back and reading the Yada Yada series now that I have been introduced to the characters. Personally, I found Kat to be a little bit annoying, but that was good because it helped me empathize with Avis' annoyance of her. By the end of the book Neta had me rooting for both women to find what they needed. I am glad that this is the first in a series, and look forward to more about these ladies in the future.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dawn Comes Early


Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest novel for the emptiness of the desert. Answering an ad to be “heiress” to a vast cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory, Kate hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits her is a life harder than the one she just left. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early. But she is tenacious.

Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn’t expect to meet Luke Adams, either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn’t recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.

Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.

The  first half of this book was rather slow for me. It was spent in character development and describing how hard ranch life can be. I found myself getting tired of it when suddenly the story turned around. The second half of the book was filled with more action and curiosity about what the main character would do, which provided a lot more interest for me. All in all, I give it 3 stars out of 5, as it took a long time for me to get into the story enough to care about knowing how it would end.


I received a complimentary copy of Dawn Comes Early through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beauty For Ashes

She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.
After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie Daly has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.
Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.
Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to trade beauty for ashes.
 
I am so thankful that I received a complimentary copy of Beauty For Ashes by Dorothy Love through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. The characters are real and the author takes her time digging deep into each character to reveal their strengths as well as their flaws. As a reader, I was drawn in to the story and spent many nights staying up way too late when each chapter ended with an event that made me have to know what was going to happen next. The ending was relatively predictable, but not in a disappointing way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am considering picking up the first of the series to see how the characters got to where they start in this book.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Accused

 Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile—where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting—and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she's eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him.

Carly's ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He's determined to show Carly that he's a changed man and win her back, but she isn't convinced he won't betray her again.

As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.

I was extremely excited to receive my complimentary copy of Accused by Janice Cantore through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. I have been really enjoying police mysteries lately, and have always liked Christian fiction. This book has both. I found the characters to be real and easy to relate to. Whenever I thought I had figured out "who done it," I would second guess myself. The book was easy to get into and most definitely a page turner. There were many times that I stayed up way too late because every chapter I'd declare "I'm going to bed after this chapter," but the chapter would end with too much suspense for me to actually sleep! I truly enjoyed this book, and am happy to see that it is the first in a series; which I will certainly be reading the rest of as well.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From Blah to Awe



Have you ever felt bored with God?
Everyone, especially teenagers, struggles with being bored with God from time to time. Sometimes church services and Bible reading don’t seem that exciting, and it’s easy to get busy and not make time to pray . . . but when this happens, we are missing out!
Jenna Lucado Bishop shares her testimony and others' stories to see what a radical, living relationship with God looks like. But this book is not just based on feelings. The Bible gives steps that will help girls hunger and thirst for more of God.
This book will not only offer girls a fresh perspective, but it will also help them do a little soul-searching and discover where they are in their own lives. Plus, it will let them in on the world’s greatest secret—that the Creator of the Universe loves and cherishes them deeply and that a fulfilling relationship with Him is the most exciting they will ever have.

I received a complimentary copy of From Blah to Awe by Jenna Lucado Bishop through the Thomas Nelson Publishers' Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I went into this book hoping for something that would be easy to read and inspiring but also attainable and at an average person's level. However, I found it to be very typical of pretty much every other devotional I've read. Stories of Christians that do amazing things and lead amazing lives~that I could never relate to. Instead of being inspired, I found the book itself to be pretty "blah."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heart of Gold

Against Shannon's wishes, love stakes its claim in her heart. Will she discover treasure or treachery?
When Shannon Adair accompanies her minister father to the western gold rush town of Grand Coeur, she's certain she'll never be happy away from her beloved Virginia, even though the South is still gripped in civil war.
Wells Fargo driver Matthew Dubois isn't sure the lovely Shannon belongs in Idaho Territory either, but he is a desperate man. His widowed sister is dying and leaving her young son, Todd, in his care. Matthew wants to return to driving coach for the express company soon—so he'll have to find a wife to look after the boy when he's away.
Shannon is determined not to lose her heart to a man who is neither a Southerner nor a gentleman. But love stakes its claim. Now, will her heart survive learning the truth behind the courtship?

Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze program was gracious enough to provide me with a complimentary copy of Robin Lee Hatcher's Heart of Gold in exchange for an honest reviewAs I began this book, I really didn't like the main character. I found her to be pompous, and ungrateful and wondered how I would continue reading when I didn't like her. However, as the author appears to have intended, as the complicated layers of this character's personality began to emerge I found myself liking her more and more. I enjoyed this book a lot, and am thankful for the chance to review it. My only disappointment was that the conclusion of the book left out a bit about some minor characters receiving the justice they deserved, but the conclusion for the main characters was perfect.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beyond Molasses Creek

Three lives are bound by a single book . . . and the cleansing waters of Molasses Creek.

Having traveled to the ends of the earth as a flight attendant, Ally Green has finally returned to the Lowcountry to bury her father as well as the past. But Vesey Washington is still living across the creek, and theirs is a complicated relationship--he was once her best friend . . . and also part of the reason she's stayed away so long. When Ally discovers a message her father left behind asking her to quit running, it seems her past isn't through with her yet.

As Ally's wandering spirit wrestles with a deep longing to flee again, a young woman on the other side of the world escapes her life of slavery in the rock quarries of Nepal. A mysterious sketchbook leads Sunila Kunari to believe there's more to her story than she's ever been told, and she's determined to follow the truth wherever it leads her.

A deep current intertwines the lives of these three souls, and a destiny of freedom, faith, and friendship awaits them all on the banks of Molasses Creek.

Upon receiving this complementary eBook through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review, it took me a little while to get into the book. Seitz has an artful, descriptive way of writing that is very beautiful, but took me about 100 epages to get used to. Once I was used to the writing style, and the book began giving me the background information on the characters I started to really enjoy the storyline. The characters are trapped in their circumstances by societal mores and are all trying to break free from what others expect of them. In a complicated turn of events, the authore manages to bring them full circle and show the glory of God's love even in the most horrible of situations. This is definately an emotionally charged book that will leave the reader with a new found thankfullness of the people around them.