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Showing posts from February, 2015

Chasing the Butterfly

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Title:  Chasing the Butterfly Author:  Jayme Mansfield Website:  http://www.jaymemansfield.com/ Pages:  320 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas One never knows exactly what lies within the pages of fiction, especially when coming to a new author.  For me, Chasing the Butterfly blossoms in a deeply moving tale that will captivate the hearts of readers when slipping into the past in France.  The author uses flashback along with varying points of view within a small circle of characters, basically one family.  Ella is a talented artist who grows up with both parents and three brothers.  The father returns to France to take over the winery that has been in the family for generations. With many twists and turns in the plot, the audience will not be able to put down the book until the conclusion.  Each character compels the reader to an emotional reaction and consideration of finding worth in God and God alone.  Due to the war and brokenness in characters for dif…

The Trouble with Patience

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Title:  The Trouble with Patience (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1) Author:  Maggie Brendan Pages:  330 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Revell Jedediah Jones is the marshal in Nevada City, Montana in the year 1866. There are a lot of miners in town due to the gold found nearby.  He has a big secret in his past that he hopes Patience never discovers, but he has made his peace with God about it and is trying to be a better man.  He is irritated with Patience when first they meet, but slowly realizes she is a very special woman and one he wants to get to know better.  She makes him want to be a more godly man and gives him insight or advice when he most needs it.  She also encourages him as their friendship deepens. Patience Cavanaugh has recently moved to Nevada City to take over the run down boardinghouse left to her by her grandmother.  Patience will do just about anything to escape her controlling mother, so setting out by herself for a gold mining town seems like an adventure.  She ha…

Donn Taylor's: Lightning on a Quiet Night

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Title:  Lightning on a Quiet Night Author:  Donn Taylor Website: http://www.donntaylor.com/ Pages:  330 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Donn Taylor brings to his audience a captivating mystery set in a small town named Beneficent in the mid-1940s and early 50s.  A widower working for a chemical company moves into town with his grown daughter to oversee the building of plant.  Stephen and Lisa Kemper feel like outsiders who work hard to be accepted by the small town.  Lisa is still considering what she will choose for her graduate degree while living with her father as he adjusts to a different normal. Lisa meets Jack who is a farmer and a former serviceman, but instantly forms a dislike for him due to his utopia view of the town.  Many other characters living in the town aren’t just unique; they have secrets.  While most in the town attend the local church, Lisa senses they aren’t really paying attention to the sermons.  The whole town tends is self-suf…

Meet Author Donn Taylor

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Author Donn Taylor 2015
1.What is the reason you write books?            For whatever reason, I'm just driven to do it. Yes, I would like readers to find a message in my books, and I'd like them to read with pleasure. But if those considerations were inoperative, I would still have to write. It seems to be part of my DNA. Some of my poetry has never come out of my study, but it has served its purpose because I got the words onto the paper. 2.Is there a vision or hope you have when people read your novels?           To be honest, I'm kind of hard-nosed on this. If a reader wants a message with proofs, he should read scholarly nonfiction. Fiction proves nothing. Beyond entertaining, it can only illustrate or inspire. But in my novels I invite readers to see the world as I see it, a continuing conflict of good and evil in which the individual strives for the good, makes mistakes, fails, and keeps on striving, redeemed in the end not by his own efforts but by God's grace. I…

By Your Side by Candace Clavert

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Title:  By Your Side (Crisis Team #1) Author:  Candace Calvert Website:  http://www.candacecalvert.com/ Pages:  384 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Tyndale A threat looms on the horizon.  Nobody can see him, but they know he is there.  Every time they stick their heads up they hear a shot.  A truck sideswipes a van.  When a nurse races to get there to help with any injured, there is a man with a BMW who thinks he is more important than the officer questioning him.  Add a compassionate ER nurse and a police officer who is taking care of his mother while his dad is in Alaska and what do you have?  A tale that keeps you turning pages long after the sun sets. This was my first time reading Candace Calvert’s novels and this one is a thriller!  Romance blossoming along with lives constantly being threatened are just two of the ingredients that serve up a compelling story.  The characters that are searching to understand God when life throws some painful experiences seem all too real.  I love when …

Seek & Hide...an absolutely riveting novel!

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Title:  Seek & Hide (Haven Seekers Book #1) Author:  Amanda G. Stevens Website:  http://amandagstevensbooks.weebly.com/ Pages:  418 Year:  2014 Publisher:  David C. Cook Ever hear the phrase that “truth is stranger then fiction?” In the first installment of this series, Amanda Stevens invites readers into a world where Bibles are forbidden, Christianity practiced in any way is unlawful, and those who don’t turn in those who do the aforementioned are also guilty of a felony!  The tale introduces us to characters who are unashamed of being a Christian and to those who are.  In the fictional world, those guilty of Christianity go to a re-education place, jail or worse. Enveloping the whole story is God’s involvement in the lives of the various characters and how sometimes we cannot understand the “why” of life.  There is a battle going on here in the book between those sharing Christ with others and those going to various lengths to squash or kill the message.  There are themes of f…

Betting on Hope written by Debra Clopton

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Title:  Betting on Hope (A Four of Hearts Romance Book #1) Author:  Debra Clopton Website:  http://debraclopton.com/ Pages:  320 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Thomas Nelson Cowboys, horses and romance…can there be any better of mix for a story?  Yep, and Debra Clopton found a way to bring other ingredients to the book.  The ingredients like a con artist run away, robbery, faith and whole lot more!  Readers will enjoy the slow unveiling of the tale between the two main characters, Hope and Tru. Tru is part owner of the Four of Hearts Ranch with his older brother Jarrod and younger brother Bo.  They almost lost the ranch, but all three are working hard to pay off unknown debts discovered after losing both parents in a plane crash.  The brothers also are caring for their grandfather whom they lovingly refer to as “Pops”.  Hope is a columnist for a Houston paper where she doles out advice and hides in a cubicle until she is forced to take an assignment due to her reporter friend being sick.  Dur…

Laurel by Susan F. Craft

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Title:  Laurel Author:  Susan F. Craft Pages:  260 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas This story takes place about three years after the first novel, The Chamomile.  Lilyan and Nicholas have started their vineyard and are now the parents of a 1-year-old daughter, Laurel.  Laurel is visiting one of the nearby Cherokee villages when it is attacked by slave traders who take all the women and children to sell as slaves.  Upon hearing this devastating news, Nicholas and Lilyan begin an intense search for their daughter, but only find the barest of clues to look for her.  The story continues with many ups and downs as the couple faces adversity.  They, however, are strong in their faith and in their commitment to do whatever it takes to find their daughter.  Can they remain faith-filled if their daughter is never returned to them? The story drew me in from beginning and held my attention until the last page.  I enjoyed the historical notes of people, places or t…

The Chamomile

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Title:  The Chamomile Author:  Susan F. Craft Pages:  251 Year:  2011 Publisher:  Ingalls Publishing Group, Inc. Lilyan Cameron is somewhat unique in that she runs her own business in South Carolina in 1780.  Her parents are deceased and she lives with her younger brother, Andrew.  Andrew has been fighting with the local militia against the British, but was wounded and took an oath to be a loyal subject to King George of England.  The penalty for breaking that oath is treason, which could lead to exile or death.  Lilyan has also taken the oath in order to save her business, which is her only means of support, but secretly supports the patriots.  She soon discovers her brother has taken up arms again against the British and fears for his life. Captain Nicholas Xanthakos, a young Greek immigrant, is also active in secretly supporting the militia.  He takes an immediate liking to Lilyan.  With the risk of Andrew’s life, Lilyan feels she must do anything she can to ensure his safety and …

The Good Book DVD Review

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Title:  The Good Book Movie Producers:  Fred & Sharon Wilharm Website:  http://www.goodbookmovie.com/ Format:  1 Disc (DVD) Year:  2015 Publisher:  Faith Flix Films The whole point of the movie, I believe, is to show the power of God’s Word in many life situations along with ways to share Jesus with many different people.  Toward the end I was deeply touched by the smuggling of God’s Word into dark countries and reminded of the price paid by some who share or distribute Bibles.  Many books are written that testify to lives changed by reading His Word. What made the hour-long movie interesting was the message portrayed without words but through actions.  I am sure some will find it helpful to draw ideas on ways to share the Bible or message of Jesus as well as ways to show God’s lovingkindness.  There are some depicted who refuse to even open the book, which is sadly true today.  However, the risk of not sharing the Word or giving Bibles to people seems to be too high a price to p…

Keys of Heaven Book #2 By Adina Senft

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Title:  Keys of Heaven (A Healing Grace Novel #2) Author:  Adina Senft Website:  http://adinasenft.com/ Pages:  320 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Faithwords The story of the small community of Amish people and characters from Herb of Grace continue in Keys of Heaven, book two in the Healing Grace series.  The third novel is due out this summer sometime, and I plan on reading and enjoying a copy.  In both books, we learn about herbs that are used medicinally and easily obtained by Sarah Yoder on various farms or woods.  Henry is an artist who gains inspiration for his pottery works from the world he views and studies around him in the same community as Sarah.  However Sarah feels about Henry, she cannot have anything but a friendship because Henry is not Amish though he was raised in the faith and same community. Readers will be able to identify with the mother’s heart as clearly shown in Sarah’s actions and other female characters in her family and community.  Now, she is studying alongsid…

Herb of Grace by Adina Senft

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Title:  Herb of Grace (A Healing Grace Novel #1) Author:  Adina Senft Website: http://adinasenft.com/ Pages:  320 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Faithwords Many Amish novels tend to skewer the Amish community, making them appear surrealistic instead of human beings.  However, Adina Senft writes very realistically, showing them as people who though live differently deal with issues common to mankind.  The author shows how faith might be lived out in various situations such as teenagers running away, working a job that is honest, and the support of family along with community. For me, this work was a first for me and I enjoyed reading the story that centered on a small community widow, wondering if God is leading her to be an herbalist and waiting for God’s will to be revealed.  The moment I opened the book I was lost in another world that consumed my attention from start to finish.  A major theme in the book is faith lived by being still, listening for God’s voice, praying and choosing to fo…

Red Zone....a heart stopping, riveting novel!

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Title:  Red Zone-There is no overtime in the game of Murder Author:  Kelli Hughett Website:  http://www.kellihughett.com/ Pages:  350 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas The novel majorly ROCKS!  I am an avid football fan who watches games and scares the daylights out of the cat when I whoop real loud over a win!  Unfortunately, I tend to be quiet over a loss or upset at the call or the referee’s calls, but that doesn’t scare anyone.  So, when Red Zone came to my attention, it seemed like a perfect blending of two loves, football and reading! Author Kelli Hughett certainly knows how to ratchet up the tension in this story of high stakes gambling, inflicting pain or murder for hire and so much more.  The main female character is a woman named Marcy whose faith has been rocked, and yet she still perseveres with teaching her children about the Lord.  Her quiet life is shattered when attending a high school state championship where her son is playing. Jack Brag…

The Crimson Cord

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Title:  The Crimson Cord:  Rahab’s Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #1) Author:  Jill Eileen Smith Pages:  362 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Revell This is the first book in Jill Eileen Smith’s new fiction series titled, Daughters of the Promised Land.  The story is about Rahab, who is only mentioned briefly in Scripture.  The setting is Jericho in the Old Testament time period.  Rahab’s fictional story begins with her abusive marriage to a gambling husband.  Rahab’s husband gambles one too many times and is sold into slavery thereby leaving Rahab unprotected and forced into prostitution to pay part of her husband’s debt by the man who becomes her master. As the story progress, albeit slowly, Rahab is passed from her master’s bed to the royal prince’s bed, then to several high level officials.  Because of what she is forced to do, her family also shares in her disgrace.  Then, the Israelites are on the scene and Jericho falls.  What will happen to Rahab now?  Will she continue to be s…

The Bargain Review

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Title:  The Bargain Author:  Aaron Gansky Pages:  284 Year:  2013 Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Connor Reedly is a reporter for a news magazine, who has been sent to various parts of the world to report on the human condition.  His stories inspire hope in his readers.  Too bad he doesn’t have much hope of his own.  His wife is dying from ovarian cancer at a young age.  She has an incredibly strong faith in God, but Connor refuses to believe.  She longs for Connor to accept Jesus as his Savior, but knows that is something she can’t do for him; he must do so of his own choice.  She asks to make the trip from Denver, Colorado to Hailey, California to visit her sister who still lives in the small town where they grew up.  They arrive in Hailey and Connor is told by a town resident that if he writes ten articles about ten of the town’s residents in eight days, showing their goodness or righteousness, then his wife will be cured of her cancer.  If he doesn’t write the …

Meet Aaron Gansky

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1.Where did you get the inspiration for your characters in The Bargain? While I borrowed some story ideas from the news, most of the characters came from other short stories I’d written in college. I’m a discovery writer, so many of the characters revealed themselves to me over the course of the novel. I had a lot of fun figuring out who they were and what made them tick. 2.Are you currently working on any new novels? I’ve got several novels in the works. Currently, I’m polishing up the first book in a Young Adult Fantasy series I’m putting together called The Hand of Adonai. It’s quite a bit different than The Bargain, so the experience has been fun and unique. I’ve also started another novel more along the lines of The Bargain, but have some other contracts I have to honor before I can complete that project.  3.What is a typical day like in your life? Depends on if we’re on summer break or not. I’m a high school teacher in addition to writing. On work days, I’m up at five (sometimes bef…

Wisdom Tree by Mary Manners

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Title:  The Wisdom Tree Author:  Mary Manners Website:  http://www.marymannersromance.com/ Pages:  228 Year:  2014 Publisher:  White Rose Publishing This is a tale of love and loss, tears and joy, and of sorrow slowly moved aside by hope.  Mary Manners shares with readers a tale about Jake and Corey, with hearts filled with pain as well as Carin who is struggling to let the past not be her present or future.  That is not all there is in the tale; there is sadness, but take heart that isn’t the point at all.  The main point is how God wipes away our tears and renews our hearts when we spend time alone with Him.  One aspect of the writer’s novel I really appreciated was dealing with hard topics and heart topics in a way that stirs hope and lights a path for readers. There is romance in the story too; one based on friendship which blossoms to love in time and on each person’s daring to draw near to God.  Carin’s character is an English teacher in an elementary school who moves lock, sto…

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

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Title:  The Accidental Empress (A Novel) Author:  Allison Pataki Website: http://allisonpataki.com/ Pages:  512 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Howard Books Absolutely stunning!  Breathtaking!  Riveting!  Allison Pataki’s latest novel, The Accidental Empress, is a glimpse behind closed doors into a world that holds royalty with both sorrow and triumph.  Allison shares with the audience the sources she read in order to gain understanding into the 1800s, across the ocean to Empress Elisabeth, affectionately known as Sisi.  Franz Joseph is Emperor in Austria and looking to wed and produce an heir.  For years his mother painstakingly brought those near to prepare him to assume his duties.  Now, a 15-year-old girl, Sisi, will learn much before the wedding and more so afterwards. “A Conversation with the Author Allison Pataki” sheds much light into a foreign world ruled by a monarchy and what is fictional and what is factual about the real people we read about in her novel.  I read that part short…

The Babylon Contingency

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Title:  The Babylon Contingency Author:  Clifford Longley Pages: 336 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Lion Fiction Since beginning a couple of years ago in writing reviews and blogging, I have come across a wide variety of books, genres and authors.  Naturally, some novels and nonfiction were exceptional while others were just “run of the mill”, but enjoyable.  Very few have I become so exasperated with that I didn’t bother to finish reading past a certain point.  One director of a blogging group once said that a review could be written after reading three chapters, which was a new thought to me as I prefer to read the whole book.  Not all “objectionable” material becomes evident within such a short amount of time plus reviews are subjective, an opinion by the writer. When a friend and I came across this novel, we read the synopsis which sounded promising and waited for an opportunity to read and review the book.  Shortly afterwards we began reading what other readers were saying about the no…

Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolzma

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Title:  Remember the Lilies Author:  Liz Tolsma Pages:  373 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Thomas Nelson This is a novel set during WWII in the Philippine Islands, specifically in Manila.  In 1941, the island has fallen to the Japanese and all the residents of the city have been confined on a former university’s small campus.  The campus is now a prison camp.  The two main characters are Rand Sterling and Irene Reynolds, and this is their fictional tale of a time of survival during captivity. Rand Sterling lived a carefree life before the war.  He was the owner of two successful nightclubs, and he came from a wealthy family.  He drove a red convertible and enjoyed flirting with a different woman every evening at his nightclub.  Now that war has arrived, he is no longer in a position to control his life; the Japanese soldiers do that for him.  He wants nothing more than for the war to be over so he can get back to managing his nightclubs and has plans to expand his business by opening more n…

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

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Title:  Beyond All Dreams Author:  Elizabeth Camden Pages:  362 Year:  2015 Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers This is another winning story from Elizabeth Camden!  It is set in the late 1890s in Washington, D.C. as new technology is appearing in the city.  Anna O’Brien is a librarian at the Library of Congress with a specialty in maps who likes to stay out of the limelight.  Luke Callahan is a congressman from Maine who is bold, loud and full of confidence.  They both have dreams for their lives, but can they be realized? Luke’s temper gets the best of him in an argument with the Speaker of the House and he is demoted from an influential committee to a lesser known committee.  Luke needs some help with research as he sets out to dig up some dirt on the Speaker of the House.  Anna is assigned as Luke’s research assistant.  They spend more time together and Luke begins to admire Anna’s intellect, wit and courage.  Anna tries to keep Luke at a distance as he is her exact opposite in …

Certain Jeopardy by Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky

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Title:  Certain Jeopardy Author:  Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky Pages:  381 Year:  2009 Publisher:  B & H Adrenaline pumping, heart thumping action and danger await the male characters entering a country to observe and identify a possible threat to the U.S.  A special operations unit goes from a level of observation to nonstop battles, attempting to stay one step ahead of certain death where they are on their own to carry out orders.  The wives at home are experiencing nightmares about their husbands and unable to communicate with them.  When a mother and unborn child of one man in the unit are facing peril, a decision is made that may end up costing lives. Written with insider experience of how the military operates, Jeff Struecker keeps readers absolutely unable to set the novel down until the conclusion!  As I was reading, I kept thinking of how much our military families go through and made me appreciate even more the sacrifice they make for this nation.  Even though the …

In the Heart of The Dark Wood

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Title:  In the Heart of the Dark Wood Author:  Billy Coffey Pages:  384 Year:  2014 Publisher:  Thomas Nelson Billy Coffey once again has written a brilliant masterpiece which captures both the heart and mind of readers everywhere.  One never knows exactly what mystery waits in the pages of his novels; yet, anticipation always runs high when first opening the book.  In other novels written by the author, I experienced mystery that is spiritual and yet palpable in the deepest part of my soul.  All of the author’s novels are set in the town of Mattingly where the woods have been the focus of many stories and adventures. When opening the story with the character Allie Granderson and her fixation on the plastic figure of Mary in her nativity which she leaves on display year round, readers will soon get lost in the heart-gripping tale.  Allie’s father, Marshall, brings an all too true and realistic way some deal with life’s tragedies along with Allie’s response to Marshall.  The story is …