Monday, January 28, 2013

MAGGIE ROSE by Sharlene MacLaren

Another great story in this series.  This is book 2 in the series and I liked it just as much as book one.  Maggie Rose is the second sister in the Kane family and in this story, set in 1904, you find her leaving her home town of Sandy Shores, Michigan and traveling by herself to New York to begin her new life helping out the Sheltering Arms Refuge, a home for orphans and homeless children.  The painful pasts of some of these children was really hard to imagine and your heart goes out to these little ones and a great appreciation is felt for those who opened up homes for them.  Luke is a newspaper reporter who is sent to the orphanage to do an article on these homeless children.  You will see Luke's eyes and heart opened as he lives and works among these children.  Maggie and Luke will both come to realize, "I knew I had to make my life count for something, and what better way than to give children a little ray of hope".  This was a very touching story that pulls at your heartstrings.  It is also a very well done romance story between Luke and Maggie.  I loved the ending.  This author has done her homework well and made you experience New York, 1904,  and life in the not-so-well-off district of the city.  Well done Sharlene MacLaren!

Friday, January 25, 2013

HANNAH GRACE by Sharlene MacLaren

I like this writer's style (a comfortable, enjoyable and easy story to read) and I love the covers they produced for this series of stories called, "The Daughters of Jacob Kane".  This story takes place in Sandy Shores, Michigan in 1903 (and having grown up in Michigan many of the towns mentioned in the story are familiar to me).  Jacob Kane has had to raise three girls by himself when his wife died, and manage the "Kane's Whatnot" store.  Now the girls are grown and Hannah Grace is a very feisty and strong-willed young lady who loves helping out at the store.  She is practically engaged to the doctor in town, although her sisters aren't thrilled with her choice.  Her life gets turned around a bit when the new sheriff comes to town, Gabriel Devlin.  He is an outspoken man who seems to ruffle Hannah's feathers quite a bit.  What Gabe didn't know when he got to town was that a stowaway was in his wagon, a young "vagabond" who won't talk and doesn't trust anyone.  It will take patience and alot of love to get through to him, something Hannah and Gabe are both willing to do.  But there are those who are out to do this boy harm and time is running out.

This was a story filled with laughter, danger, suspense and joy, and of course romance.  Hannah was a delight to know and I loved how Gabe and her would constantly challenge each other.  Hannah's struggle to know what God's will was for her and her life partner was also well done.  The importance of choosing a man who has a strong love of God and isn't afraid to pray about things is always a good choice.  The whole Kane family is a joy to know and I look forward to reading about the other two sisters in the next two books in this series ("Maggie Rose" and "Abbie Ann").

Monday, January 21, 2013

THE SEVENTH HOUR by Grace Livingston Hill

I like to read Grace Livingston Hill books.  This story was first printed in 1939 and "the times they are  a-changing".  There was good and bad and not alot of "gray" areas in between in this story. This was about a troubled "rich" girl who grew up never really knowing love, or anything about God and church, and who didn't know anything about her brother and father which she never met.  Coralie grew up in a New York society because when she was born her mother left her husband and young son and fled to New York with her daughter.  Dana Barron is her brother, and when Dana's Godly father dies he requests that Dana find his mother and sister and deliver them a letter.  What Dana discovers when he meets them is a life style and hardness of heart that he thinks is beyond hope.  But his good friend encourages him to not give up but pray. You begin to see Coralie start to change and want what Dana and his friend have.  It brought great joy to read of how God's love reaches down and touches a heart you think could never be changed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

DEVOTION by Marianne Evans

            Well done Marianne Evans.  This was not an easy story to tell, but the author did an excellent job of making this fiction story feel real and true.  It is a wake-up call to all marriages to not get "lazy",  to quote from the book, "I'd put you off - and you'd put me off.  Not out of spite, or because we didn't care.  It was simply easier that way.  A routine of convenience came over us."  "Functioning separately" is an easy habit to get into, especially when both parties are busy with their "work", even if it is a worthy cause.

Christian music agent Kellen Rossiter is in love with his wife, Juliet, but what happens to him when an unexpected temptation comes his way.  And when we give in to the allure of sin, what happens to that marriage commitment?  You will read and feel how hard it is for Juliet to trust and to forgive her husband and to not walk away.  They both will try to mend and find true devotion.  But it will only come through the strength and power of their relationship with their Lord.  They can't do this on their own, they need the help of their Lord, who loves them and never gives up on them.  I would like to quote Pastor Gene in the story, ". . .love doesn't just depend on you, or on her.  It depends on both of you and the choices you make as a couple to stay together - and in love despite everything life throws your way.  Love is a very deliberate choice, no matter what mistakes either one of you make make."

There were so many things about this story that I appreciated that I am just going to say, you need to read the book and learn from it.  This was a solid couple who let the things of this world get in the way of their love for the Lord, and for one another.  Thank you Marianne Evans for a job well done!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BATHSHEBA by Jill Eileen Smith

                   This is book three in "The Wives of King David" series.  They were all very good, but I must admit I liked book two the best, "Abigail".  This story is of David and Bathsheba and goes from their earliest meeting and follows through to their son Solomon reigning.  My heart was grieved over sin and its consequences, but was also overjoyed at God's love and forgiveness.  We don't really know the behind the scenes conversation of David and Bathsheba, but this author did a good job of helping you to understand how it might have been between these two real people.  I believe she stayed true to the historical facts and it makes me want to go back to the Bible and read about David and his struggles with taking many wives.  Any book that makes you want to "search the scriptures" and learn more, I believe is a book worth reading.  This story would use many of David's psalms from the Bible and insert them at times and struggles in his life where he might have written them, and it makes those psalms come more alive in their meaning.

As a side note, I would like to thank the person who did the covers for each of these books.  They did a great job!

Monday, January 14, 2013

ABIGAIL by Jill Eileen Smith

This is the second story in "The Wives of King David" series, and I found myself enjoying it more than book one, which was about David's wife Michal.  It is a story that shows a woman's struggle to love a man who chooses to have many wives.  I don't often read biblical fiction stories, but this one did a great job of helping you see the turmoil David experienced by marrying many wives.

Abigail finds herself in a bad, abusive first marriage.  When her husband dies, David takes her hand in marriage, making her wive number three.  Abigail grows to love David, but as he continues to take more wives, the heartache and pain it causes her and his other wives is obvious.  How can you love a man who wakes up in the morning and spends a few minutes of his time devoted to you, and then moves on to another wife.  A man who sends for you periodically and expects you to be okay with the whole arrangement.

The story was well done.  The historical and biblical facts were there, although one will never know exactly what went on between any of David and his many wives.  I can only say as the author did at the end of her book, "Despite three thousand years spanning between us, human nature has not changed.  Men and women will always find ways to justify their actions."  David tried to justify his many wives, but as you can tell from reading this book, his excuses seemed pretty weak in the eyes of someone who loved him.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

MICHAL by Jill Eileen Smith

This is a fiction story about something
that truly did take place in history.
I could not say it better than the author did at the end of this book: "my biggest prayer is that this fictional retelling will inspire you to read the real story in 1 and 2 Samuel of the Bible.  Biblical fiction was not meant to replace but to increase our love for the real story in Scripture."  I think this story did that.  It made me want to go to the Bible and read the real story.  It helped me think more about David and Michal and the thoughts and feelings each of them had to face throughout their marriage; to understand more of the history taking place and the struggles David and his wife might have been going through.  I hope and pray Michal did end her life the way this author wrote it.  I felt she stayed true to Scripture as she wrote this thoughtful story on the life of Michal and David, spanning many years.  I look forward to seeing how she does with one of David's other wives, Abigail, next.

Monday, January 7, 2013

SHATTERED by Dani Pettrey

             Warning: Don't start this book unless you have a big chunk of time to read, because once you get into the story, you are not going to want to put it down.  The beginning pages find the McKenna family with a huge problem.  The youngest brother shows up at Piper's door (read book one, Submerged,  first so you know who Piper and the rest of the McKenna's are), Reef is covered in blood and is claiming he didn't kill Karli Davis.  But who did and why?  This is what you will try to find out as you travel by plane across country, go from Alaska to California and back and track the clues till they lead you to the truth.  It is a wild ride, filled with adventure and suspense, but also some lovely romance!

The chemistry between Piper and Landon in this story is just great.  I loved reading how this relationship was blossoming for both of them.  Piper is one little spitfire who doesn't back down when she sets out to prove her brother innocent.  Landon is a officer of the law, who does things by the book.  They together set out to track down the clues.  The Mckenna family is just fun to hang out with.  I couldn't help laughing when they were revealing their middle names and their mother's reasoning behind them.  The story is filled with suspense, but there is also moments when you just have to smile.  The author also does a great job of incorporating into this story the faith in the Lord that some of them had and how that has an impact on others for the good.  God is able to transform lives!  It was encouraging to see that in this story.  There is also the beginning of another McKenna family member and a certain newspaper reporter relationship that I look forward to reading hopefully in another book in this Alaskan Courage series.  I don't give out 5 stars very often, but this one was definitely deserving of it.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0764209833
ISBN-13: 978-0764209833

This complimentary copy provided by Bethany House Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

SUBMERGED by Dani Pettrey

Dani Pettrey is a new author for me but I must say she ranks herself right up there with the best of the best with this Alaskan Courage Series.  Submerged takes you under the water in the first few pages and throughout the book keeps you holding your breath to see what will happen next; both under the water and on land.  This is an inspirational, romantic, suspense and hits all three descriptions dead on.  The characters in this story have a deep and abiding faith which gets them through some tough times.  The romance is definately there and the adventures and suspense keep you turning the pages.  I put this story down and immediately picked up book two, "Shattered",  to start reading it.

The story begins with a plane crash into the waters off the Tariuk Island in Alaska.  Cole McKenna is an underwater rescue person and he finds himself diving soon after to see if there is any chance of finding someone alive.  Cole and his family own "Last Frontier Adventures" in the samll town of Yancy, Alaska.  You get to meet his siblings and will be eager to read more about them in hopefully many more stories in this series.  What Cole finds is one lady still alive; Agnes Grey.  But by the time she reaches the hospital, she has died.  Agnes has a neice, Baily Craig, who lived in Yancy during her teenage years and made some wrong decisions and led a life she regrests and is ashamed of, so she has never returned to the town.  Now she must go back and take care of her aunt's holdings in Alaska, which is the Russian-American Trading Post. 

The suspense and intrigue is throughout this story.  Why did the plane go down?  Who has been sneaking into the Trading Post?  Other divers are showing up dead.  Is it all related?  And who might be next?  Then there is the obvious attraction that Cole and Bailey still have for one another.  But can Cole really forgive and forget Bailey's past?  And can Bailey truly realize that she is a new creation in Christ and her past has been forgiven.  A great story of love and forgiveness.  Great job Dani Pettrey!

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0764209833
ISBN-13: 978-0764209833

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Another good story in the Ozark Durham series.  The book is classified as an "inspirational, suspense, romance" and I must say it fulfilled each description very well!  I eagerly await volume 5 in this series when it comes out.

Lucy Durham has made some mistakes in her life.  She married a man who abused her both verbally and physically and who she found dead two years ago of a drug overdose.  She has long sponsored a child from Romania, named Anika.  When Anika's Mom died and times in Romania became difficult, Lucy brings Anika and her father, Dorin, over from Romania to live on her farm and help her take care of the place.  Her initial meeting at the airport with the father does not go so well, as she ends up getting there an hour late, and then getting lost on her way home because of a detour.  Dorin is 12 years older than Lucy and although his feelings for her grow, he tries to appear uncaring because he believes the age difference is too great.  Lucy finds herself caring for Dorin, but can't quite figure out his feelings; are they for her or her sister.  Then there is the suspense part of the story, where strange things are being left in her home (snakes being one of them and I for one would freak out just like Lucy did).  Someone is out to scare her or worse and Dorin has a hard time keeping her from harm. 

Dorin is a good man who has good insight into life and good advice for Lucy and her walk with her Lord.  He also sees through the shallowness of Lucy's church.  I found the love that grows between the two of them very good and endearing.  It was a lovely romantic story, with suspense blended in and it also had a good "inspirational" theme to it.  You could read this as a stand alone, but I highly encourage you to read the other books in this series because you won't be disappointed in any of them! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


We had all our children and grandchildren home for Christmas this year (what a blast!).  My oldest son was asking me about my blog (he and I don’t read the same genre of books and he is always questioning why I read so much Christian romance).  He suggested I do a top ten best books for 2012 on my blog, and after thinking about it, I thought it would be a fun idea.  Although after looking back through all I had read, this was harder to do than I anticipated.  But here are the top 10 (not in any special order):

1)      Best Novella for 2012:  The Three Gifts – by Lynn Bulock, Irene Hannon, and Lenora Worth

2)      Best  fun romantic read:  Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

3)      Best classic older story that has stood the test of time: Three Shall be One by Francena Arnold

4)      Best suspense story that keeps you guessing: When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

5)      Best short story romance: Finding Home by Marianne Evans

6)      Best realistic and intense story that doesn’t even seem like fiction:  Firestorm by Jeanette Windle

7)      Best tender love story:  The Bridge by  Karen Kingsbury

8, 9, & 10) Best stories that are in a series: Regina Tittel’s Ozark Durham Series
                    Erin Rainwater’s two books: The Arrow that Flieth by Day and True Colors
                    Kathleen Sherwoods’s  two books: McKenna & Rachel

Why do I read so much Christian romance?   I like to read “Christian” stories because they usually have a good message to them, are biblically sound and don’t have “R-rated” scenes in them.  I like to read “romance” because I guess I am a “romantic at heart” (I sure hope my husband would agree to that statement!).  Looking forward to 2012 and all the books I have ahead of me to read!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all who are out there reading my blog!