Wednesday, November 27, 2013

EMPIRE BUILDERS by Linda Chaikin

As I was reading this book I kept thinking I was reading a movie I might have watched.  This was a story that took you on a ride through the Northwest territory in the late 1800s.  It would stop at different times in the story and then take off again until you came to another year or years later.   It was about men who wanted to make it big either in the Northern Pacific railroad or the rich timberland of the Northwest.  It was about what some would do to protect their fortunes and what it would cost them in the end.

Ember Ridgeway in the pampered niece of the railroad tycoon Mack Ridgeway.  She will grow up during this story and find that life doesn't always turn out the way you planned, but if you rely upon the Lord He will see you through when everyone else seems to let you down.  Tavish Wilder is a man who grew up knowing to do good but finds out quickly how evil men can trample you down.  Will he grow bitter and seek revenge or stay true to what his parents had taught him from the Bible.  The story revolves around these two characters but there were so many more people involved in this story.  I think the author did a wonderful job of making this story come alive, like watching a movie!  All aboard for a train ride that will take you through danger, romance, sorrow and conflict but will bring you to a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, November 25, 2013


This is the second book I have read by Tessa Afshar and she is becoming one of my favorite authors.  Her stories so far are written during biblical times and seem very real and plausible.  The characters have struggles and conflicts that touch your heart and the author does a good job of bringing forth biblical truth as she writes.

This story is about Sarah, a Jewish girl who can read and write Persian during the reign of King Artaxerxes, which was not common for a girl during this time..  Her cousin is Nehemiah, the king's cupbearer and her father is Simeon a scribe.  Sarah finds herself being sent to work for the Queen, Damaspia, as her senior scribe at the age of 20.  Life seems good to Sarah as she works at doing her best to please the Queen.  But to show her gratitude for a job well done the Queen arranges a marriage between Sarah and Darius, an official who works under the King.  Sarah has no desire to marry and does nothing to prepare for her wedding, so when she arrives at the wedding feast she finds herself causing shame to her new husband and to the royal family and her own family.  Darius takes her to his home, but wants nothing to do with her.  Now Sarah must learn how to gain her husband's trust and love.  It is a long journey for them both, but well worth the time as you watch each of them grow in their marriage closer to one another.  Sarah must learn to seek her worth in the Lord and not in anyone else.  As she does she will find she can face anything and become the person that will draw her husband to her.

I continue to appreciate this author's style of writing and also enjoy reading about life during Bible times.  I look forward to reading more by this author and I know she is writing a sequel to "Harvest of Rubies" because she had a sneak peek at the back of this book called "Harvest of Gold".   I  highly recommend her books to read and enjoy and fall in love with her characters.
Pages: 342
Year: 2012
Publisher: Moody Publisher
ISBN: 0802405584

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Widow Mandy McClellen Gray has had a disastrous marriage and now finds herself living in a remote mountain "castle" with three children to raise and outlaws who want her dead.  Rancher Tom Linscott is a tough cowboy who raises stallion horses.  He has come to rescue Mandy whether she wants to be rescued or not.  But when he gets her off the mountain he finds that trouble has followed her to his ranch, and he must protect Mandy and her 3 children and himself.  The only problem is Mandy doesn't want his help because she really is the fastest "sharpshooter in petticoats".

This is book 3 in the "Sophie's Daughters" series and this series is the third series of books that all tie in together in this series.  You will read and remember various characters from the other series and it is interesting and fun trying to keep everyone's stories straight.  I really enjoy reading Mary Connealy's stories.  She writes with a little bit of humor and always keeps things moving with lots of adventure, danger, romance, conflict and faith.  Her heroines are great ladies who were raised to take care of themselves, but who all have a soft spot in their heart when the right man comes along.  I liked the way she ended this series and look forward to reading more by this author.

Friday, November 15, 2013


There are many things I like about this author's style of writing.  I like how she immediately begins her stories with a dramatic fast-paced scene that immediately catches my attention.  I like how she develops her characters.  The ladies have a mind of their own and can take care of themselves, but they also know their God-given place as a wife and mother.  There is humor, romance, lightheartedness and tragedy all rolled into a story that keeps me captivated from beginning to end.

This book is the second story in "Sophie's Daughters" series.  I really liked it (but I liked book one, "Doctor in Petticoats", just a teenier, tiny bit more).  In this story "tough Texan tomboy Sally McClellan heads to Montana to visit her pregnant sister Mandy.  But when her traveling party is attacked, Sally is left for dead".  Logan McKenzie, an artist who lives in the Rockies, discovers Sally and takes her home in the hopes that his Shoshone housekeeper can keep her alive.  There is constant danger in the air though as the outlaws discover she is still alive and want her silenced.

Can a tough tomboy cowgirl see the sense in a man who draws and paints for a living?  And can the artist help the cowgirl to see the beauty and worth in what he is doing.  Can these two mismatched people accept each other for who they are and live a happy life?  It was fun watching Sally learn to love this man.

I so enjoyed the fact that Mary Connealy brought in people from her other series into this series.  It was like meeting up with people again that I really enjoyed and finding out how they were doing.  I would advice you to read this series in the order they were written as it helps you get to know all the characters better and because you won't be disappointed in any of the stories.  Saddle up, sit back and get ready for a great adventure!  I am anxious to begin the next book in this series, "Sharpshooter in Petticoats".

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I really enjoy Mary Connealy's style of writing.  They are stories that can make you smile and laugh, but also have characters with real hardships and trials they are experiencing.  I always come away refreshed having read one of her books.  I especially like this series because in book one at least, you are reunited with people from her other series.

Beth McClellen is returning home after 4 years away learning how to become a doctor.  She wasn't planning on having a stage coach accident before she reached her home of Mosqueros, Texas.  And she definitely didn't want to be late arriving home because she wanted to see her sister, Mandy, before she left for Colorado with her new husband.  But God sometimes has other plans for us and in this story you will see how the McClellen family learns how to "go with the flow" when things don't go their way.

At the scene of the stagecoach accident Beth will have to rely upon the "derelict" traveling with her on the stage.  Alex Buchanan may seem like a drunken bum at first, but when you really get to know him and understand what he has gone through, you realize how badly he is hurting.  Beth and Alex will find themselves almost "attached at the hip" for several days and they both will come to need each other for very different reasons.  This relationship will be a joy to watch develop and see where it leads them and the danger they will find themselves in.  So sit back and get ready for another delightful western adventure!  I am off to begin book two in this series, "Wrangler in Petticoats".

Thursday, November 7, 2013

UNSPOKEN by Dee Henderson

Dee Henderson has done it again.  Another great story that has it all; mystery, suspense, romance, danger, tenderness, and much more.  I liked the way the story began and then fast forwarded to the present.  I was in awe of the whole coin collection scenario and the amazing wealth of some people.  And I loved the way the main character wanted to give it away and the way she went about it.

Charlotte Graham (not her real name to protect her from publicity and exposure) was once very much in the news when she became famous for her kidnapping in Chicago years ago.  It took the FBI 4 years to find her and it has taken Charlotte much  longer  to try to come to grips with what happened.  She never talks about what happened during those four years, not to the police, her family or her friends.  Now she finds herself inheriting her grandfather's vast estate and needs help selling off his enormous coin collection.  She approaches Bryce Bishop, a well known dealer in rare coins with a very interesting offer which he finds himself almost forced to take.  This encounter will be the beginning of a very slow but very heartfelt and tender relationship.  I couldn't help but appreciate and love the way Bryce was with Charlotte.  It truly was a very lovely romance.

I enjoyed the fact that characters from the book "Full Disclosure" were also brought back into this story.  I also appreciated the very real struggles Charlotte had with trying to reconcile the two facts - "God was good, and she had been badly hurt".  Bryce would try to help Charlotte understand that "God had created people with a free will, had given people the freedom to decide what they wanted to do. . . .Most people rejected God and the world turned evil.  But in the midst of that, God was still good, He still acted in love."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and hopefully will read a story about John and Ellie in the near future??!  I received this book from  Bethany House through NetGalley for my enjoyment and honest review.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

DESPERADO DALE by Andrea Aarons

Taken from the beginning of this book: "In Book 4 we meet another Merriweather sibling - Dale.  An unconventional Christian, Dale always the good guy; a great father and loving husband is targeted by the authorities for smuggling contraband onto the Greek isle of Kerkyra.  Why do they want his grandmother's carry-on bag?  Everyone is seeking Dale including Mac and Merry sailing the sloop, Serendipity to rescue him and his family.  The island nation of D'Almata is their short-term goal but in a world turned upside down and driven by dark forces, will they succeed?"

This was what I thought was the final story in this series, but I see now where there is another book coming out as a conclusion to it all.  This for me was my least favorite of all the books so far.  I just didn't connect well with the characters in this story or the story line.  The rest of the family and the cast of characters you have come to know from reading books 1-3 are very much a part of this story.  There were also some rather strange occurrances in this story that were too "science fiction" for me to be true.  Although I know this is taking place near the end of time as we know it now, it just didn't flow that well for me.  I would be interested to see how the author finishes this series with her final story in book five, "Scenic Route to Paradise".

CATCHING KATE by Andrea Aarons

Times are not normal.  The United States has been bombed plus there has been major earthquakes in the Midwest.  Kate Merriweather is in South Africa during this time, taking a small detour for some much needed soul searching before she heads for the island of D'Almata to attend her widowed mother's wedding.  Now catastrophe has struck the U.S.A. and it is reeking havoc all around the world.  Kate finds herself needing to get out of the country, but with no money and traveling by plane hard to come by, Kate does her best to make her way towards D'Almata.  She eventually hooks up with her sister Merry and her husband Mac and they find themselves resting a few days with a bachelor friend of Mac's named Roger.  Although Roger is attracted to Kate, Kate doesn't feel she is ready for any commitments.  When Kate's life is in danger and she finds herself captured by sea pirates, Roger comes to her rescue and things between them slowly start to change.

Although you could read this series of books by themselves, I strongly suggest you read them in the order they are written to fully understand what is going on.  Each book picks up shortly after the previous one and includes the same characters throughout the series.  This was one of my favorite stories in this series of books.  This series is all about the Merriweather family with book one (Cynic, Surfer, Saint) being about Toni Merriweather the widowed Mom, book two (Merry's Mauraders) being about the youngest daughter, and this story being about Kate the older daughter; (book three, Desperado Dale is about the son).  They are written with not a lot of "filler" but very concise and to the point.  I believe the author would have us experience through these stories what the world will be like right before the tribulation in the Bible.  It is an interesting take on things.  With each story she leaves you hanging on how it ended.  There is romance, but you have to use your imagination on what takes place because the "romantic scenes" are few and far between.  I am off to finish this series with "Desperado Dale".