Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MY FOOLISH HEART by Susan May Warren

A heartwarming story filled with characters with flaws, who are learning of God's faithfulness, mercy and love. It was a delight and refreshing to read this book. Good job Susan May Warren!

This is another story in the town of Deep Haven, centered around 4 characters. Isadora Presley, or Issy, is a popular talk radio show host who gives listeners advice on romance, but her problem is she doesn't date because she is trying to overcome her fear of leaving her house since the terrible accident she was in years ago. Caleb Night has just arrived in town seeking the coaching position at the area high school, and ends up as Issy's next door neighbor. Caleb is keeping his war wounds a secret from everyone and trying to stay focused on being a great coach (and how to help his neighbor Issy come out of her house and begin a relationship with him). Then there is Issy's great friend, Lucy, who runs the World's Best Donut Shop in town. She is struggles with where her life is going (nowhere) and what to do about Seb who has just returned to town to also try out for the coaching position. Seb and Lucy were high school sweethearts until something went terribly wrong. Seb is trying to make something of his life, and he needs Lucy to forgive him and to start their relationship over again.

As you can tell, there is alot going on in this story. Alot of twists and turns, heartaches and trials, but also alot of love and forgiveness. The resounding theme of the story is the verse, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind." I hope after you have read the story you will also read the "A Note from the Author" at the end. She gives a great explanation of her thoughts and feelings while writing this story. As she says, "Life is scary" but "The answer: God's perfect love expels all fear". She did an excellent job of showing this in her book. I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for review. They did a good job on the cover (and I even liked the "feel" of the book; I know that sounds funny, but it had a soft feel to it!).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SMOKE BEFORE the WIND by Diana Wallis Taylor

Carrie Dickson, who is not interested in another "relationship" finds herself "swept off her feet" by a handsome and rich young man, Andrew Van Zant. When she returns home to her family in a mountain community to make hasty preparations for fast approaching wedding she renews a friendship with Scott Spencer; a man who in high school she had a huge crush on. Carrie must examine her heart to see who she truly loves and which one would share her faith in God and help her in her walk with the Lord. It might be to late for her to voice her true feelings when a fire threatens to destroy all she really cares about.

Although I enjoyed reading this story, there were a few things in the story that didn't ring true for me. I thought everything happened a little too quickly near the end of the story, but did appreciate how the author finished the book. There was a good theme though for me in the book in that we can quickly get caught up in a relationship for the wrong reasons and let our heart rule instead of our head. I think I enjoyed Scott's ending declaration to Carrie at the end of the book the best.

Monday, April 18, 2011

THE MISSIONARY by William Carmichael and David Lambert

This was a fast-paced story that never slowed down right up to the very end. I liked how it began with, "Life turns on small choices". Missionary, David Eller and his wife Christie are working in Venezuela, trying to help the homeless children in the midst of a very currupt country. David makes a wrong choice, thinking he was doing something good, and it doesn't turn out good for anyone. There are many characters in this story and you are never quite sure who the "good guys" really are. It was full of mystery, intrigue, and danger. This was a story of someone who had good intentions, but made some very bad choices. It was a very believable story and showed the devastation a missionary on a foreign field can have when he steps outside of the purpose for why he is there; not to fight the corruption of the country but to reach the heart of the people. A very interesting and well done story!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

THE LADY OF BOLTON HILL by Elizabeth Camden

I would like to thank LibraryThing EarlyReviewers (and Bethany House) for sending me this book to read. I don’t know if I would have ever went out and bought this book on my own, since it was an author I had never heard of. I am glad it was sent to me for review. This was a very good well-written story that held my interest throughout. It had mystery, danger, romance, and a very good theme on forgiveness throughout the story. She was good at putting you into the historical setting of the story, back in 1879. For this being a debut book for this author I must say I am looking forward to reading more of her stories.

Clara Endicott is a female journalists in a time where having this job was rare for a female. She finds herself narrowly escaping prison in London at the beginning of the story and fleeing back to her home in Baltimore. There she comes across Daniel Tremain, who she hasn’t seen or heard from since childhood. But she never forgot Daniel and his love of music that they both shared. Daniel was not from her “class” of people though, but had to make his living in the factories. When next they meet Daniel has now become a powerful and important person in the industry world; and he hasn’t made many friends on his rise to the top. Clara and Daniel almost instantly take up where they left off many years ago. But Daniel has some issues with forgiveness and resentments and Clara is bound and determined to help him work through his bitterness (after she works through her own that is). Things only go from bad to worse for them and it all comes to a dramatic head at the very end.

Although some may say “it could never happen” when it comes to the changed life of a certain character in this story; I say it most certainly could once a person truly understands the great gift we have in God’s love and forgiveness (and you will have to read the story to find out what I am talking about). I enjoyed every aspect of this story and all its twists and turns and characters. The close friendship and then love between Clara and Daniel was so well written, it just made me feel good inside reading the interaction between the two and the strong love you knew they had for each other. I must say well done Elizabeth Camden. I would love to read a sequel about Bane! Or Clyde!


This was a book with 3 short stories in them (which I thoroughly enjoyed). What I liked almost as much as the stories though was reading the author, Marcia Lynn McClure's notes after each story and her little snippets. I felt like I got to know her and her "girlfriends" and I know they would be a "hoot" to be around. I enjoyed reading and coming across an unfamiliar term and wondering if she put that in the story for her friends. A big thank you to Marcia for allowing us a look into your "beginnings" as an author.

I too am a big fan of the whole governess who finds herself falling in love with the lord of the manor, which is what the first story is all about. Then there is the young lady who finds herself betrothed to a man she hardly knows who has a wicked father who she is afraid of. And finally you have the story of a young woman snowbound and isolated from everyone, except for the man who rescued her and is "enduring" her until winter is past. All three I enjoyed. (And I loved how the shirt came off in each story and the reason behind this - read the author's notes to find out why). These are fun, enjoyable and very romantic reads; easy to read and enjoy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A HEART MOST WORTHY by Siri Mitchell

I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers for giving me this book to read and review. It was a pleasure to read. This book is considered a historical fiction and it lived up to that title. I felt a deeper understanding of the Great Italian Emigration to America during the early 1900's. The lifestyles, their way of thinking, their religion, and their struggles. I also really like the way it was written; as an "omniscient point of view". It was very well done and different than the way most books are written and I enjoyed it very much.

This was a story of 3 young ladies working in Boston in 1918 in Madame Fortier's dress shop. You get to know and understand where each of the girls live, how they think, what they are going through and how each of them handle "falling in love". Julietta in the outspoken one who has great plans and "loves" a little too easily. Annamaria is the quiet one who feels she has no future where love and marriage are concerned. And Luciana is the one with a secretive past that could bring danger to anyone who gets close to her. You will enjoy getting to know each one of these girls and their lifestyles. Even Madame Fortier has a history you will come to understand.

Although this book was not a page turner for me where I couldn't stop reading to see what happened next, I did find myself enjoying the story and learning something of a time in history that I had very little knowledge of. It was a very satisfying book to me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

AFTER THE RAINS by Deborah Raney

This was the sequel to Deobrah Raney's "Beneath a Southern Sky" and I highly recommend you read book one before you read this book. They were both excellent. This story picks up and continues in the lives of those you are introduced to in book one. Daria's daughter, Natalie is the main character in this story and it takes you through the struggles she is going through in her life and how the choices her parents made long ago have an impact upon her even now. As the tries to figure out her life as a teenager she makes a terrible mistake that has lasting consequences in her life. But God is good and can work all things out for His glory and you will see how He does that as you finish this story (I don't want to give anything away about the ending - but you will like it and wish it wouldn't have ended quite so quickly!).

I cannot praise Deborah Raney enough for the way she weaved these two stories together and how I appreciated the excellent way she handled this very difficult storyline. I felt like I was reading a true story and could understand and sympathize with the characters involved. It was very true to life with no perfect characters; they all had faults, but God works through imperfect people, which shows the beauty and love He has for us. I highly recommend both these books!!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I have been reading some really good books lately and this one I must say is right up there with the best. I will warn you to be sure to read this with a box of kleenex by your side because as you get to the end you will need them. It was a powerful message of love and how God will work things out for good, even when we mess up by trying to make decisions on our own without seeking His will. The characters seemed so real (they all had flaws and differing emotions at times and you could sympathize with each one of them) that I almost could think I was reading a real-life story.

>Daria Camfield and her husband Nate are missionaries in a remote village in South America. When Nate is reportedly killed Daria comes back to the States with alot of heartache, but the comfort of knowing she is pregnant with Nate's child. Fast foward to her getting a job at a veterinarian's office and working for Colson Hunter, and trying to raise her little girl. Fast forward again to Daria and Cole falling in love and getting married and being one happy family, with another child on the way. Then comes the news that her first husband Nate is not dead and has been found and is coming home. Now Daria must decide which man she must choose, when she loves them both.

>The author did such a good job with this story. It was an interesting plot and she handled it so well! You felt for Daria and Cole and Nate and the dilemna they were in. I won't spoil the ending, but I will say WELL DONE Deborah Raney. This is a book I will not forget and will be thinking about for awhile. I closed the book with tears in my eyes as there was no happily ever after without someone getting their heart broken. But God can turn this tragedy around for His glory. And I think book 2 in this series will hopefully show me how He continues to work all things out for His good.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

LEAVING by Karen Kingsbury

This is the first book in the new Bailey Flanigan Series and I encourage anyone to start at the beginning of the Baxter family and friends saga and read through all the series. You will not be disappointed and you will fall in love with the Baxter and and Flanigan families. This story kept me on an emtional roller coaster of emotions; it had me happy, sad, irritated, edgy, smiling, crying and wanting to shake some people up until they "opened up" until the very end. I found myself finishing the book very quickly and I was always wondering how the author would bring this story to a close (and although she did a great job of the ending, by leaving the door wide open for book two, I was hoping for a different ending!). And that is all I will say on the ending because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Let me just say that Bailey's Mom had some good advise for Bailey. This story is about Bailey Flannigan who is all grown up and spreading her wings and wondering where the Lord will lead her; New York, Hollywood or right there in Bloomington, Indiana? And then there is Cody, the man Bailey has always loved, but has left her high and dry. There is also Brandon, the Hollywood heartthrob who finally gets to Bailey's heart about how serious he is about her. This is a story of the Baxter family too, which you will have met in the earlier series. There are so many wonderful characters and you feel like you know them all and feel with them when there is sadness or joy. These books also have a great Christian message to them that is well done and appreciated by me. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. Karen Kingsbury, you have done it again! Another great beginning to a series I am sure will not disappoint.