Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2014


I've been thinking about the new year a lot the past few days. I'm so not ready for it, ya know? Not that I have much choice in the matter, because it's coming whether I'm ready or not. But I have tried, I just don't like change and a new year means changes, the least of which is remembering to write "2015" on stuff. Many people are excited; new opportunities, new things going on, maybe something you've been eagerly anticipating will happen in 2015. That's awesome. But for me, uncertainty is what I see ahead, and I'll admit, I'm scared. Then, I read this blog post . . . well, it's actually a repost of a blog post from October, I think. Anyway, it reminded me of where I should go, not only when I face uncertainty in life, but every single day. The throne of God. So, if you're like me and maybe a little wary of what this new year may bring, I hope this encourages you, as it did me. Happy New Year and may God guide and bless you in the days to come!

Kristy Cambron - I'm a Christian Who Doesn't Pray

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Review: Return to Exile

 
Return to Exile is the second book in Lynne Gentry's Carthage Chronicles and in case you didn't read my review of the first book, be forewarned that I am a huge fan of her books now.  I've actually become one of those really annoying people that follows (stalks) their favorite authors.  So I'm sorry in advance, but I have to gush a little bit. ;)
 
Description:
How far would you go to save the ones you love?

Six years ago, Impossible circumstances forced Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to leave behind the love of her life, not just in another country, but in another time. Her work as a top-notch epidemiologist and parenting her little girl helps alleviate the pain, but at night when her exhausted head hits the pillow, images of her beloved Cyprian haunt her sleep.

Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He’s lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. He attempts to move on, to face the danger that is looming over Carthage, but when Cyprian’s true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church he seeks to save.

Have the years that kept Lisbeth and Cyprian apart created too wide a chasm to bridge? In the midst of a new epidemic and rising oppression, will their love be the most costly fatality? Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this spellbinding adventure of star-crossed lovers captivates with every turn of the page in this electric continuation of The Carthage Chronicles.


About the Author:
Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.
(Description [italics mine] from Amazon, and author bio and cover photo from Christian Book.  No infringement intended.)

My Review: 5 stars
Another 5 star book from Lynne Gentry!
Return to Exile is the second book in Lynne Gentry’s The Carthage Chronicles. It continues the story of Lisbeth Hastings and Cyprian Thascius, six years after the first book left off. I loved the first book and had very high expectations for this one. I can happily say that it met them all!

I was quickly drawn into the story and couldn’t put it down! As I have come to expect, Lynne did an excellent job with the historical and medical details, as well as the descriptions. She brings Carthage and third century Rome to life so vividly that I had trouble pulling myself away from it. I could picture it so clearly and often felt as though I was actually there. One of the things I love/hate most about this book and Lynne’s writing is the realism. If you’re looking for a feel good, happily ever after story, then I don’t recommend this book. It will challenge you, change the way you view things, and leave you thinking about it for days. It may also leave you wanting to pitch it against a wall after you read the last page. That’s pretty much a given with her books. She is one of the few authors that can evoke such an emotional reaction from me.

I loved seeing how much Lisbeth and Cyprian have changed and grown since the last book. The changes weren’t always positive, but that’s true in life too, and I enjoyed following them through the pages of another book. Lisbeth Hastings has spent the last six years trying to move on with her life, while also feeling chained to something she can’t explain and doesn’t understand. She is still stubborn and very strong willed, maybe even more so now that she has a child to care for. She is also a bit impulsive, though she tends over thinks things after the fact. She definitely isn’t the stereotypical heroine and would not be mistaken for sweet or overly gentle, except with her daughter. She has built walls to protect herself from hurt and they have caused her to be a bit harsh in her view of the world and sometimes of others.

Cyprian Thascius has returned from exile to find he isn’t the man he was before. His heart has hardened and his faith is on shaky ground. He is still strong and stubborn, which he needs to keep up with Lisbeth. The changes in him are more obvious than in Lisbeth. He used to be kind and gentle, but is now more apathetic than anything. When pushed to reach out to the Church he once loved, he questions if he’s the right man for the job. Counted a coward by many, he feels he has something to prove to Carthage, but more importantly, to himself.

Their story started out a little slowly, as we catch up on the time between books, but it quickly picked up speed and kept me captivated until the end. I was a little surprised with how much I still hated Aspasius; I couldn’t even begin to feel sorry for him. But as the story proceeds, I found myself growing and learning along with Lisbeth and Cyprian, as they learn what it means to love their enemies and live as Jesus did.

If you’re expecting a romance when you pick up this book, you may be a bit disappointed. While there is a touch of romantic tension here and there, it isn’t a central part of the story. There are so many other things going on that I believe it would have detracted from the story had Lynne incorporated more. Lisbeth and Cyprian find themselves remembering their past love for each other, but having not seen one another in years, and believing their love lost through time, they spend a decent amount of the book trying to rebuild the relationship they thought lost.

I found myself very challenged with the spiritual side of the story. I’ve always heard that the Bible is a living book, always relevant throughout the years and that fact is clearly shown in this story. I was able to empathize with both Cyprian and Lisbeth’s struggles. Cyprian has lost his faith, his heart has hardened, and he can’t hear God. He tells Ruth at one point that he can hear nothing but the wind. In the meantime, Lisbeth has found faith, but still struggles with control and trying to make everything right. There is a quote that caught my attention, “All this time, she’d believed the reason for her travels into this harsh world a simple one: she was meant to rewrite history. But now she knew she’d been dropped into the middle of these struggles so the past could rewrite her.” - Lisbeth Hastings, page 343     There are many other quote-worthy moments, but that one snagged my attention and would not let go. It shows so clearly the change that occurs for Lisbeth and illustrates one of the main themes - even though we may not know God’s will or understand why, He always has a perfect plan.

I do caution anyone who is sensitive to violence or medical descriptions, this may not be the book for you. While I loved how the Lynne’s writing drew me in, this book is set in third century Rome during a plague and religious persecution. There are mentions of executions, though not in detail, and detailed medical procedures.

I very much enjoyed the many twists and turns throughout the book that left me stunned and trying to guess what might happen next. Lynne does a great job of building the suspense and giving the reader just enough information to have a general idea what would come next, without actually giving anything away. I also loved how each character had a very unique voice and stood apart from the rest when it changed to their point of view. I quickly knew who was speaking, before it said their name. I was sorry to say goodbye to the characters, though I know I will see many of them again in the next book. They become like family and I don’t want the books to end.

I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a suspenseful story that will challenge you and leave you begging the author for the next one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

*Quotation used with permission from the author. All rights reserved.

Thank you so much if you managed to make it this far!  I know this review is super long and I apologize.  I just had so many things I wanted to say, apparently!  If all of my gushing hasn't put you off and you'd like to check out the book, maybe consider purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started.

Amazon

Christian Book

Barnes & Noble

Thank you again for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you have a lovely week!


 
 


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Devotional: Your Heart

 
At the end of the day
I wanna hear people say
That my heart looks like Your heart
My heart looks like Your heart.
When the world looks at me
I pray all they see
Is my heart looks like Your heart
My Heart looks like Your heart.”

Your Heart by Chris Tomlin
 
This song is from The Story CD and is actually sung from the perspective of David (you can listen to it here). I’ve been thinking a lot about him the past few days (no idea why). He is known as a “man after God’s own heart,” but what does that mean? 1 Samuel 13:14 says (speaking to King Saul), “But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” From this verse, it sounds as though it means someone who follows God’s leading, but when we think of David, that isn’t generally the first thing that comes to mind. We see his failures first and David messed up pretty badly from our perspective. He committed adultery and then killed a man to cover it up. That doesn’t sound like someone after God’s heart. But yet, God still called him that - why? Hadn’t David hit rock bottom there? Most would think he would be the last person God would say that of, after all, look at where he fell to. But God didn’t see that. God saw his almost immediate remorse when Nathan called him on it. He saw David’s sorrow, his mourning. Psalm 51 illustrates pretty eloquently where David was spiritually after that. He didn’t run from God, but rather chased after Him, repenting, asking forgiveness, then praising Him. I think that is what made him a “man after God’s own heart.” Because when he fell, when he failed, he didn’t run from God, but rather to Him. 
 
God, please make us people after Your heart. Guide us, teach us Your ways. Help us to follow the path You have for us without straying. And when we do fail, I pray that we would learn from Your servant David and would run to You and not away. Amen.

 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Review: Sanctuary Buried

 
 
Description:
Eight years ago Francesca Canetti testified against her father—the head of a mafia crime family. Now she’s Frannie Peters, running a bakery in the witness protection town of Sanctuary. Her former-starlet mom and her younger sister mooch off all her hard work, her best employee has terminal cancer, the town’s mafia crew insists she’s one of them and her love life is so non-existent it isn’t even funny. Dare she try and unearth a better life? Matthias Hernandez is a ranch hand with his own bundle of secrets. His feelings for Frannie have lain undiscovered for a long time, until he realizes his family won’t fix itself. It’s time to dig up the future he’s always dreamed of. When Frannie stumbles on a killer at work, the culprit turns his attention to her — and with the attention comes deadly consequences. Can they figure out the identity of the “dark angel” before it’s too late for all of them?
 

About the Author:
A British ex-pat who grew up an hour outside of London, Lisa attended Calvary Chapel Bible College where she met her husband. He's from California, but nobody's perfect. It wasn't until her Bible College graduation that she figured out she was a writer (someone told her).
Since then she's taken the Apprentice and Journeyman writing courses with the Christian Writers Guild, and discovered a penchant for high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after.

Lisa can be found in Idaho wearing either flip-flops or cowgirl boots, depending on the season. She leads worship with her husband at their local church. Together they have two children--a sparkly Little Princess and a Mini Daddy--and there's only one bunny rabbit now (sad face).
(Description, author bio, and cover photo copied from the author's website www.authorlisaphillips.com. No infringement intended.)
 
My Review: 4.5 stars
Even better than the first!
 
Sanctuary Buried is the second book in Lisa Phillips’ WITSEC Town series. It picks up shortly after Sanctuary Lost left off. I had really enjoyed the first book and had high expectations for this one. I can happily say that it surpassed them all!
Lisa once again does an excellent job of bringing her fictional town and all of the characters who live there to life. I loved the descriptions and getting to “visit” old friends again. There are a few new players in this book and I really enjoyed getting to meet them, as well. I loved how realistic everything is and that I could easily imagine being there with them. I also really appreciated the attention to detail and all of the technical research Lisa obviously put into this story.
Though this is book two in the series, you don’t have to read them in order. Lisa includes enough background and extra details that you won’t feel lost. There may be a couple things that don’t make complete sense at first, but the books don’t tie tightly together.
Francine “Frannie” Peters witnessed a murder at the age of sixteen and agrees to testify and enters witness protection, much to the dismay of her spoiled mother and younger sister. I honestly loved Frannie from the start. She is sweet and kind, but also strong and stubborn. She has a lot of questions about God and all that she was taught as a child. She also struggles with her feeling toward her mother and sister, who do their best to make her miserable. She tries very hard to love them and be kind to them, while also removing herself from their abuse. I found her to be very realistic and was sad to see her story end. I hope she makes an appearance in a future story.
Matthias Hernandez is the hero of the story and I loved him too! He is strong, kind, loving, but he also carries a weight on his shoulders. I loved how protective he is of Frannie and how he works to take care of her. He truly wants what is best for her, even though he is concerned it isn’t him. I enjoyed watching him grow in faith as he spent more time with Godly influences and learned who He is. He is the kind of character that you cheer for when he wins, and mourn for when he fails. He pulled on my heart from the beginning, and I have to confess to being just a little envious of Frannie.
Their romance was very sweet and I enjoyed following them through their story. I loved how they started out as barely acquaintances, but slowly became friends, then more. While their relationship wasn’t the driving force behind the story, it still flowed throughout and was never dropped, or lost, which I really appreciated. 
I absolutely loved the mystery and suspense! It kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t even guess what would happen next. I was also very surprised by who the villain was, which I thought was great! The story took so many twists and turns, that I honestly still have no idea how Lisa managed to keep them all straight, but she did! Most of it was tied up in the end, with a couple threads to tie into the next book, which I am anxiously anticipating. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
My only “complaint” is that I had really been hoping something awful would happen to Mimi and Izabella, but unfortunately for me, it didn’t. So I was slightly disappointed there, but I’ve been consoled with the knowledge they will get their just rewards later on.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great mystery with a lot of suspense!
I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
 
Thank you for stopping by and reading my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!
If you're interested in checking it out, or maybe purchasing a copy, here are a couple links to get you started!
 
 
 
 
I hope you have a lovely day and a merry Christmas!
 
 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sunday Devotion: Pray

 
"I failed to find the time, but You’ve been calling out
I let the days go as if I could live without."
Pray by Sanctus Real
(You can listen to the whole song here.)

I all too often find myself making excuses for why I can’t read my Bible or pray today. I always have something else I could be doing. Then, one day I look around and realize that I’m so far away from Him. The worst part for me, is that I didn’t even notice. I was so busy, caught up in my own little world, that I didn’t see how far away I was until I desperately needed something. God should be more than the person I go to when all else fails. So much more.
I love the next line of the song:
“But it’s gotta be here and now. I won’t be pulled away.
‘Cause it’s just You and I, so let the world around us fade.”
 
  That’s what I need. I need the world around me to just disappear. My to-do list, my schedule, everything I could or feel I should be doing - they all need to just take a hike. Quiet time with God is so important, but I fail almost every day to carve out time for it. I don’t take time to just stop and listen. Instead, I say a quick prayer while driving to work, or while I’m scurrying around trying to get everything done. That’s not enough. If I did that to any other relationship, I would have no friends and my family may have given up on me, too. So why do I do that to the most important relationship in my life? My goal this week is to take time every single day, regardless of what I have going on, and just pray and be silent before Him.
 
Father, please forgive me for neglecting You. Thank You that You never give up on me, no matter how far I may wander. Please help me to ignore all of the things pulling at me whenever I try to spend time with You and to just rest in Your presence. Amen.
 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sunday Devotion: Psalm 77:1

 
 
"I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me."
Psalm 77:1 (NIV)
 
This verse caught my attention in my daily Bible reading a few days ago and I keep going back to read it again.  Have you ever "cried out to God"?  Fallen on your knees before Him and finally admitted you can't do it by yourself?  There's something beautiful in those moments of broken surrender, in remembering who He is and what He can do.  The walls you've built up against the world, against Him, have no choice but to fall.  When we finally stop trying so hard to be strong and keep it together, that's when He is most able to work in our lives, in our hearts.  Being vulnerable is not something we enjoy, in fact, we tend to avoid it at all costs.  Even the definition makes it sound like a weakness, but it's not.  Not with God. The freedom found in letting go and just resting in who God is, is so worth the discomfort we experience at baring our souls.  Because He loves, He protects, He would never leave one of His children, He would never abuse their trust.  There is safety in His arms.  It's only in releasing our burdens and giving them to God that we can truly rest and find peace in His presence. 
 
Father God, please teach us to surrender to You.  Please give us open hands and hearts. Give us rest in You when we are facing one of life's storms and remind us that You always hear us when we cry out to You.
 
 


Friday, December 5, 2014

My Review: A Most Inconvenient Marriage

May I brag for a moment on Bethany House's cover designers?  Because I love this cover!  It's beautiful!  And I love how the theme continues on the back (which you obviously can't see unless you buy your own copy).  The horse shoe intrigued me when I first picked it up and I was wondering how it would tie in.  I'm slow, so I figured it out about half way through the book. LOL  :)

Description:
Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun's Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?


About the Author:
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. In addition to her own books, she contributed a novella to the novella collection A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children and can be found online at www.reginajennings.com.
(Description, cover photo, and about the author copied from Christian Book.  No infringement intended.)

My Review: 4.5 stars
A new favorite author!
 
A Most Inconvenient Marriage is the first book in Regina Jennings’ new Ozark Mountain Romance series. This is the first book I’ve read by her, not counting her novella in A Match Made in Texas. I’d heard great things about her books and was very excited to read this one. I am happy to say that I loved it!
Ms. Jennings does an excellent job with the descriptions and details. She brought the story to life and it seemed as though I was there with the characters. I was drawn into the story from the very first page and didn’t want to put it down! I also loved the setting being just after the Civil War, which is an era that is somewhat overlooked, especially in the “fringe” states that were just fitting to keep their homes and land. I found the history behind it fascinating and hope the upcoming books are set in a similar area. 
Abigail Stuart is a great heroine and I loved her almost immediately! I found her very relatable and realistic. Abigail has spent the past few years feeling alone in the world and unwanted, so when offered the opportunity for a forever home, a place to belong, she takes it. I was a little afraid that her convenient marriage would seem too farfetched, but it didn’t. It was actually quite sweet and touching. The man she marries asks for her hand so that he could be certain his loved ones would be cared for. I loved getting to know Abigail. She is strong, determined, and loves with all her heart. Even though she has been dealt a difficult hand, she does her best to make the most of it and she continues to trust in the Lord. I loved her faith, even when doubts attempted to kill her dreams.
Jeremiah Calhoun is an interesting hero. He isn’t someone you just instantly love, which I think is part of why I did care for him. He is stubborn, harsh, determined, and feels he must prove himself. He is also quite controlling, an aftereffect of all he faced in the war, plus the issues from his injuries. I actually found myself softening toward him, despite all of his faults. He invoked a surprising compassion in me and I just wanted someone to reach out to him. I really enjoyed getting to know him and find out who he is behind the hard exterior he presented in the beginning.
I really enjoyed Jeremiah and Abigail’s relationship. They start out as little more than enemies, then slowly become friends as they are forced to work together. They are both very stubborn and often butt heads over decisions concerning the farm or the people they love. They also sharpen one another and Abigail definitely keeps Jeremiah on his toes, and vice versa. The romantic tension between them was very realistic, and while it may bother some, I appreciated that Regina portrayed them as struggling with keeping their thoughts pure. It made them that much more relatable. 
The spiritual aspect was great, as well. Both Abigail and Jeremiah struggled with feeling forsaken by God and both have a lot of questions. I appreciate how Regina handles this rather difficult subject with finesse, not placating anyone, but instead answering the questions they had, or showing them learning to accept it. I found it to be very realistic and definitely relevant to my life.
The only negative comment I have is that the ending seemed a bit abrupt. I would have enjoyed it stretching over a couple more pages, though that may have caused to become tedious, so I can understand why Regina ended it as she did.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and romance!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!  In case you're interested in learning more about the book, or perhaps purchasing your own copy, here are some links to get you started.  Have a lovely day!

Amazon

Christian Book

Barnes & Noble  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My writing: What If?

 
 
 
 
Fear is overwhelming me. It drowns out Your still small voice until the mountain in front of me is all I can see. It looms over me, casting my heart in shadows.
Your light seems unable to penetrate the darkness engulfing me. Tears fill my eyes, then escape and slide down my face, a silent testament to the distance between us. I know I’m the one who moved, but God, I don’t know how to get back to You. The divide appears too great for me to ever be able to cross it, the issues separating us too large to surmount. I have so many questions: my sins haunt me; my fears smother every hope. My heart has hardened . . . I’m not the same person I was. I don’t know how to go back or if I even want to. It seems impossible. But, I can’t seem to move on either.
Do I trust You, or walk away? Walking away is like losing piece of myself, but trusting You again seems like jumping off a cliff and hoping the ground isn’t too far down. Hoping I won’t shatter upon impact. I fear my faith isn’t strong enough to take that chance.
But, what if You’ll catch me when I jump?
What if the distance isn’t as great as it seems?
What if all I have to do is reach out to You and You’ll be there?
What if my questions and their answers aren’t as important as I think?
What if I’m just making excuses because I’m afraid?
What if faith isn’t blind trust, but rather stepping forward with my eyes wide open, confident in who You are? And
What if surrendering to You isn’t the weakness I’ve been led to believe, but rather a true measure of strength?
What if . . . ?


I read this for my church last Sunday and thought I would share it with you.  I hope you enjoyed it and that it has encouraged you in some way.  Please know that you are never the only one with questions - if nothing else, I will undoubtedly always be asking something.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Review: Petticoat Detective

 
Description:
Pinkerton detective Jennifer Layne is no stranger to undercover work. But posing as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her. She’s finally landed a high-profile case and is on the trail of the notorious Gunnysack Bandit, when one of Miss Lillian’s girls essential to her investigation meets an untimely demise. Only a handful of people are in the house at the time of her death, including handsome Tom Colton, a former Texas Ranger determined to clear his brother’s name. Amy has many reasons to suspect Tom of murder—and one very personal reason to hope that she’s wrong about him.

About the Author:
Bestselling author Margaret Brownley has penned more than thirty novels. Her books have won numerous awards, including Readers’ Choice and Award of Excellence. She’s a former Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and has written for a TV soap. Happily married to her real-life hero, Margaret and her husband have three grown children and live in Southern California.
www.margaretbrownley.com
(Description, cover photo, and about the author copied from Christian Book.  No infringement intended.)

My Review: 3 stars
It was okay.
 
Petticoat Detective is the first book in Margaret Brownley’s new Undercover Ladies series. I have really enjoyed Ms. Brownley’s previous books and was really looking forward to reading this one. I found that I enjoyed it, though not as much as some of her past books.
Margaret does an excellent job with the details and descriptions, and I could easily picture the characters and the town. The historical details were also great and I really enjoyed learning more about the Pinkerton Detective Agency. I did find the random details about the Pinkertons a smidge annoying once in a while. It almost seemed as though the author had found all of these interesting facts and felt compelled to throw as many of them into the story as possible, whether they fit or not.
Jennifer Layne is the heroine of this story, though we know her better as Amy, a lady of the night. She is in Kansas attempting to catch the notorious Gunnysack Bandit. I really liked Jennifer, though I didn’t connect with her very well. I appreciated her heart for the women she was living with and her desire to do the right thing not matter the costs. She has mistakes in her past that haunt her and she uses her job as a way to redeem them, I think. I liked seeing her character change and grow throughout the story, as she went from just doing her job, to finally understanding the ladies she lived with and forming real friendships with them. 
Tom Colton is an interesting character and hero, though I wished we knew more about him. The book is mostly Jennifer’s story, though he does get a chance to share from his point of view every now and then. He is an ex-Texas Ranger turned rancher, looking to find the truth about his brother. He was a fairly flat character in my mind, which frustrated me at times. While Jennifer is fully rounded and we know her quite well, it seemed Tom was overlooked with everything that was going on. Also, for a Texas Ranger, he was a pretty poor detective, letting Jennifer do all of the work. I did enjoy their relationship. I liked that it slowly grew and changed throughout the story, making the romance very believable.
While I enjoyed the spiritual aspect and how involved it was, it also became very overwhelming at times. It seemed to weigh down the storyline until I was struggling to remember where we were with the mystery. I appreciate the important points Margaret was trying to get across, things like redemption, trust, God’s will, and a couple others, but I quickly became annoyed with it. I found myself skipping over parts of it, wanting to move on with the story. It overshadowed the storyline so much that I had a hard time following it. 
I did enjoy the mystery and the fact that Margaret had me well and truly stumped. There were just too many suspects for me to guess correctly “whodunit.” I would never had figured out who it was, so that was very interesting for me. I also liked the humor that was mixed throughout and had me laughing aloud a few times. 
Another thing that bothered me was the number of secondary characters. Margaret did her best to create a whole town for this book and I really appreciate her effort, but I found myself getting lost so many times. I couldn’t remember who everyone was or how they fit. I finally reached the point where I just didn’t care any longer. She did include a little reminder for most of them, but it was still very difficult for me to keep up. I wish there had been a few less characters, so that I could have known the more important ones better.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. The humor was fun, the mystery compelling, and the characters interesting. I would recommend it for someone looking for a historical mystery set in the Old West.

Please note, I was reading an advanced copy and my opinions are based on that. The final edition may be very different.

I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
 
I would like to say that I am truly sorry I didn't enjoy this book more.  I do hope that it appears different in the final edition, because I believe many people will love it.
Thank you so much for coming by my blog!  I hope you will stop in again!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Review: Hawk


May I just say how much I love this cover?  Because in my opinion, it's awesome!  The best part to me is that the guy on it is military.  I love that Barbour was able to do that with each of the Quiet Professionals books.  (deep breath)  Okay, I'm good now. :)

Description:

Raptor's communications expert, Staff Sergeant Brian "Hawk" Bledsoe is struggling with his inner demons, leaving him on the verge of an "other than honorable" discharge. Plagued with corrupted intel, Raptor team continues to track down the terrorist playing chess with their lives. Afghan pilot Fekiria Haidary is devastated when a systems glitch on her aircraft forces a weapons launch on a safe target. And when the deadly bombing separates Brian from the team, he must make an impossible choice: save his brothers-in-arms, or save the woman and children depending on him to survive a brutal snowstorm.

About the Author:
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction. Ronie can be found at www.roniekendig.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction), Twitter (@roniekendig), and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/RonieK).
(Description, about the author, and cover photo all copied from Christian Book.  No infringement intended.)

My Review: 4.5 stars
What happens next?!
 
Hawk is the second book in Ronie Kendig’s The Quiet Professionals series. I was very excited to read this one after finishing Raptor 6 and am happy to say that it was great!
As always, Ronie does an excellent job with descriptions and details. I love how her books pull me into the story and keep me on the edge of my seat. Her writing is so bold and unapologetic in its honesty. She doesn’t pull many punches and gives what I believe is a fairly accurate look into the life of our soldiers. She does, of course, take certain liberties for the sake of the story and to protect the same people she writes about, but it is still very eye-opening to read one of her books. 
While the story started out a little slow for me, with a lot of details and back story to catch up on, Ronie quickly captivated me. Her talents really shine in this series There are several different view points that build this incredibly complex storyline. I have to confess that one of my favorite ones to read is one of the villains’. The “voice,” which is very dry and sarcastic, is written so that it sounds as though he is talking to the reader. He has his own narration going on and I could picture him perfectly.  
This book picks up shortly after the first one left off, which was interesting. I actually wish I had waited to read them all at once, because they tie so closely together. I think this may be the most interconnected series Ronie has written to date. Some of her books I would say could stand alone, but this series doesn’t contain one. Reading them in order is highly recommended if you want to be able to keep up with everything that is going on. I also find it interesting how she manages to bring in characters from her previous books and tie them so smoothly. I love that her books are almost a continuous series where the characters step into and out of each one. 
Fekiria Haidary is one of the main characters and I have to admit that I didn’t like her very much at first. She seemed very self-centered and didn’t appear to care for anyone but herself. But, as I got to know her, I realized how much of that was to keep from being hurt again. She has fought her entire life to prove her worth and strength, and she has so many questions. We met Fekiria in the first book, but she was very much a background character. I loved getting to know her beyond the hard wall she has built. She became very real to me as I learned more about her and began to understand what motivated her and made her who she is. I also loved watching her grow throughout the story and begin to lose some of the weight she had been carrying around.
Brian “Hawk” Bledsoe is the lose cannon of the Raptor team. He has a temper and doesn’t follow orders well. At least, not when he believes he knows better. We got to know him a bit in Raptor 6, but there were still so many things to discover about him. I loved the layers in his character. He is so much more than the labels people had tried to place on him. He is a man of honor, even though his team doesn’t seem to always see it. He is also strong, kind, very sarcastic and blunt. He doesn’t hold anything back, whether fighting to protect his team, or giving his opinion. He is passionate about the things he believes in. He claims the title of Christian, even though for a while his life didn’t show that. He has so many questions, almost as many as Fekiria, and only begins to grasp some of their answers at the end of this book. I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to grow in Falcon.
I also really enjoyed Brian and Fekiria’s relationship. They start out as just short of enemies, what with Fekiria’s disdain and borderline hatred for Americans. They also both have such strong personalities that an explosion or two is to be expected. I liked following them as they figured out how to work together and slowly become friends, then maybe something more. I appreciated how they challenge each other and push one another to do their best. 
I always love the spiritual side of Ronie’s stories. She does a wonderful job of incorporating Biblical views and values into the storyline, without overwhelming the reader or having it seem unrealistic. Fekiria and Brian both have questions and neither is entirely sure what they believe. How do you trust in Someone you can’t see? Who seems so removed from the here and now? These are honest, real questions that people ask every day. Ronie does answer them to some degree, but she never deviates from the plot to “preach” to the reader. I also enjoyed the bits of wisdom throughout. There were several times when I would stop and just think about a sentence or two that struck my heart.  
I have to confess, I was pretty irritated with Ronie when I reached the last page - I didn’t want it to end! Also, she leaves us with a pretty major cliffhanger, which made me wish I could grab Falcon now and find out what happens next! Waiting is definitely not my strong suit when it comes to any of Ronie’s books!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys military fiction, suspense, or just a great book with realistic characters and a great storyline.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in anyway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  
If you're interested in looking into the book further, or perhaps purchasing a copy, here are a few links to help you out.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Christian Book 
 
 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sunday Devotional: Beyond His Reach?

 
 
“I’ve been the one to believe
that where I am
You cannot reach.”
-MercyMe, You Are I Am
 
Have you ever believed this? Have you ever thought that you were too far for God to reach you? I think almost every Christian has. I know I have. Which, when you think about it, seems a little arrogant. God of the Universe, Creator of everything, and you’re too far away for Him to reach you? How does that work? What could you have possibly done that He wouldn’t be able to reach you?
Anyway, have you ever noticed that even when you think that, there is some small part of you that seriously hopes you’re wrong? Because without that hope, you have nothing. If you’re too far gone for even God to care, the God who allowed His own Son to be brutally murdered for you, then what’s left? Pretty much everyone has heard Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [NIV]
I find it interesting that Paul starts with death and life, in that order. Death seems to us the ultimate separation, but according to Paul, even that cannot keeps up from Him. So if none of those things are able to pull us away from the Lord, then why do we seem to think that anything we could ever do would make Him cast us aside?
I read this quote from Amy Grant a couple years ago and it has stuck with me: “God is never more than an arm’s length away because that’s as far as we can push . . . Thankfully, He is always there within our reach!” Read that line in bold again. “. . . He is always there within our reach.” None of the things Paul listed can remove us from Him, but we can. We can push Him away and He won’t force us to come back. That isn’t the kind of God He is. He wants followers who are willing to give their all and love Him with everything they have.  
So if you are feeling distant from God, I pray that you will remember that you are never outside His reach.
 
Lord, please forgive us for our arrogance and help us to see that You are always there. You will never leave us. You will never abandon us to our own devices and we are never so far as to be beyond Your reach. Amen.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Interview with Dawn Crandall


Dawn Crandall (author of The Everstone Chronicles series) very graciously allowed me to interview her for my first Q&A here!  I'm so excited!  She is such a wonderful lady and it's been my pleasure to review her books and get to know her a bit!  

To start off, a few questions about you:
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Dawn: I am an introvert, and I love to be alone. However, when I’m around friends or family, or I’m really excited about something I become more extroverted than normal.


What are three “fun” or “unique” things about you?
Dawn: I have ADD.
I’m a lot older than I look.
I’m pretty boring.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your dream job be?
Dawn: I’d be a stay-at-home mom-which I am as well, at the moment.

Describe yourself in one word.
Dawn: Scatter-brained.

I heard that you have a 7 month old baby (very belated congratulations, by the way!) - I can’t imagine trying to keep up with home life, taking care of a baby, and writing! How do you manage to juggle everything?
Dawn: Before I got pregnant, my life was so very different! I used to take two or so full days a week and write all day long. When I got pregnant, I had a very difficult time staying awake, let alone trying to remember what I was writing about. Since my son was born seven months ago, I’ve been trying to figure out my new normal. I was already used to taking care of a baby from when I was a nanny, but writing while having a baby at home is such a difficult task! Writing used to be my absolute favorite thing to do - and now I have two favorite things: writing books and playing with my baby. I keep my notebook around at all times to pre-write my chapters into, and I usually write them out on my iPhone.


Your new book The Bound Heart just released, so of course, we have to talk about that!  (In case you missed my review, you can find it here.)




Describe The Bound Heart with 5 adjectives
 
Dawn: Redemptive, Emotional, Steamy, Heart-moving, Complex
As someone who has read the book, I have to agree with all of those!


Please share a little bit about your novel and the main characters (pictures are great).
Dawn: One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt’s world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn’t have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeeem herself from their unfortunate past.

When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she’d convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption . . . and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?
 


Jessica Chastain as Meredyth
Armie Hammer as Lawry
Henry Cavill as Vance




The covers of your books are simply lovely! Did you help with the design?
Dawn: I emailed the graphic designer at Whitaker House a ton of photos I’d collected over the years of my characters, the settings and the houses involved in the stories. The first time I saw the covers, they were as they are currently. They were simply perfect. 

What do you hope your readers will take away from The Bound Heart?
Dawn: I know many Christians see other Christians they know as non-struggling, perfect people with perfect lives. But every single one of us is struggling through things that we need God’s help in overcoming. Meredyth believed a huge misconception about God’s love and grace. Not everyone has such a “big” heart-issue to deal with, but dealing with them - whatever they are - is usually complicated. Even when it seems the worst possible things are happening, and that we’ve come to the end of our wits trying to unbury ourselves out of the mire, God is still working, still offering us grace and His perfect love. He is digging too - and He won’t stop trying to dig us out of our self-produced mire. Ever.
I love that!  I may "steal" some of that for a future post - just so you know. 
What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?
 
Dawn: I really LOVE to read my reviews! Every reader latches on to something different in my novels, and it thrills me to no end to learn what they specifically got out of them. There is so much complexity to writing a 90K word novel that takes a character from where she is and what she’s like at the beginning of a book and transforming her, stage by stage throughout the pages into who God wants her to be. I think readers love to see this. I certainly love to write it. Creating a character’s inner/spiritual journey and seeing their transformation by the end of the novel is my favorite part of writing books.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
Dawn: I really hate how long it takes to form the story and then get it out (I’m not a fast writer). My favorite thing is having the finished, complete story in my hands!

I know The Captive Imposter, the third book in The Everstone Chronicles series, is set to release in February 2015. Do you have plans for any more books, yet?
Dawn: I have lots of book ideas on the back burner. As soon as all this craziness of releasing my debut series - three full length books in six months! - is over, I’m going to write up a bunch of proposals for my agent to start pitching to publishers. I’d really love to continue writing stories about some of the other characters introduced in these first three books!
Wow!  I have no idea how you've managed to keep up with everything!  I've just recently witnessed how much promoting you're doing for The Bound Heart so I can definitely concur with the craziness.  I think most readers assume that once the book is released you are able to start on your next one, but that is so not the standard.  I can't wait to see what you come up with next, but hopefully after you've had a chance to take a break!
What are some ways we can support and encourage you, both personally and as an author?
Dawn: I really love to hear from readers! Writing is a very lonely job. Unlike “normal” jobs where you get job evaluations every once in a while writers don’t really get that. We get, “Produce more! When’s the next book coming out?” it’s kind of crazy - and I love that readers adore the stories that I’ve written, and my writing even - but it takes a reader a few days to read and enjoy what I spent a year producing. Think about putting that kind of timeframe in any other kind of job or industry . . .it’s enough to drive a writer bonkers at times! I really like hearing encouragement; that readers really liked my words and the stories I made up. I know from experience that I’ve assumed my favorite authors KNOW that they’re awesome, that their writing is the best thing since sliced bread and all that - but really, because of the way this while publishing books thing works, it feels more like we’re not doing nearly enough when we’re doing all we can.
I definitely assume that my favorite authors know they're awesome and I try not to bug them with messages.  Hmm . . .  Any authors that read this, be forewarned that Dawn just gave me a free pass to drive y'all nuts with Facebook messages and emails! LOL  Don't worry, I'm kidding (mostly).
Thank you so much for joining me (us) Dawn!  And for letting me pester you with questions!  :)
If you'd like to follow Dawn online, you can find her on:
About Dawn:
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he let her quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.
Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a premarriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.
The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to be become a finalist in 2013.


 





Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Devotional: Bring the Rain




“Bring me joy.
Bring me peace.
Bring the chance to be free.
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know they’ll be days when this life brings me pain,
but if that’s what it takes to praise You,
Jesus bring the rain.” 
- Bring the Rain by MercyMe
I was listening to this and singing along (if you'd like to listen to it, you can here), and it just kind of hit me. Is this really my prayer? The first three lines of this are easy to pray. They don’t require anything from me. But after that, it gets hard. It stops being about me, about what I feel or believe. It’s then about the Lord, about what brings Him glory and praise. Do I praise Him in the good times? Sure, of course. But when life is easy and I’m not straining or struggling, I can start to lose focus. I become very me centered and I stop relying on Him. But when the rain comes, when I’m faced with something I can’t easily conquer, I turn back to Him. I fall on my knees and humble myself before Him, apologizing for my neglect and asking for a second chance. Thankfully, He always gives both forgiveness and another chance. But will I honestly pray for this? Will I ask Him to bring the hard times, the rain, if it means He gets the praise and glory? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a tendency to avoid the hard things in life. If there’s a way around it, I will gladly take it. But that’s not what this song is about and it’s certainly not what faith is about. If Paul, Peter, John, or any of the church leaders from years past had taken the easy road, Christianity wouldn’t be where it is today, in fact, it may not even exist, except that they continued to press on and gave all of the glory to the Lord. The same can also be said of Jesus. Dying on a cross was definitely not the easy path, but He still did it. He didn’t say, “no, this is too hard.” Instead He willingly stepped forward and followed the will of his Father.
So, am I ready to say, “Jesus, bring the rain”? Nope, not even close. I still prefer the uncomplicated way, but unfortunately (or maybe it’s actually a good thing), neither God nor this life wait for you to be ready. If they did, then I’d probably be in the same place my whole life. But “ready” and “willing” are two very different things. All God desires is a willing heart. I expect I’ll figure out the rest as I go.
Lord, please be with us this week. Give us willing hearts, and open eyes and ears to follow the path You have before us. And if that path takes us through a storm, then I ask that You would get the glory and praise throughout. Amen.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Review: Surprised By Love, plus giveaway!


You know I have to gush about the cover, right?  I just can't resist!  I love this cover - it's my favorite of the books in this series.  The colors are gorgeous and I just adore that hat!  Her expression is also very fitting, she looks elegant, but also ready to take on whatever comes at her.  Okay, I'm good now. :)


Description:
She can turn the head of the man who spurned her - but can she turn his heart?

When Megan McClare left San Francisco to study in Paris, no one would accuse her of being poised and pretty.  But on the other side of the Atlantic, this wallflower blossomed into a beauty with big dreams.  When she returns to California and accepts an internship at the district attorney's office, she's thrilled that her life is taking shape.  But the excited opportunity quickly loses its glow when she discovers she'll be working alongside Devin Caldwell, who mercilessly mocked her at school - and with whom she was hopelessly enamored.
Bram Hughes is the best friend to whom Megan has always turned for support and advice.  But when she seeks his counsel about working with Devin Caldwell, Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a little sister.  He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?


About the Author:
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series, the Winders of Change series, and The Heart of San Francisco series.  The recipient of seventeen Romance Writers of America and other awards, Lessman was chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers' Choice Awards.  She resides in Missouri with her family.  Learn more at www.julielessman.com.
(Cover photo from Goodreads.  Description [italics mine] and about the author copied from the back cover.  All rights reserved.)


My Review: 5 stars

I didn’t want it to end!
Surprised by Love is the third book in Julie Lessman’s The Heart of San Francisco series. I loved the first two in this series, so I was extremely excited to read this one. I was positive that Ms. Lessman couldn’t possibly top Dare to Love Again, which is the second book in this series, but she did! I have no idea how, but her books just keep getting better!
The descriptions and details were wonderful, as always. I loved the little known historical facts she threw in here and there, which were very interesting, without detracting from the flow of the story. I was engrossed from page one and didn’t want to put it down. The characters were fascinating and Julie’s writing was fabulous, as expected. Honestly, she could probably write a textbook on some very boring-to-me topic and I’d think it was great. There were several times when it was almost poetic and touched my heart very deeply. Julie has yet to disappoint me and I doubt she will, until she quits writing.
Megan McClare is the “middle” McClare child. We’ve met her in past books and she was always very shy and rather awkward. She had glasses and braces, and was not the thinnest person ever. When she returns home from spending her senior year of school in Paris, no one recognizes her. She grew and changed in many ways. Aside from outward appearance, her aspirations have also undergone a change. I had adored Meg from the first moment we met her, but I truly fell in love with her in this book. She is so sweet and caring, careful of the feelings of others, and always looking out for everyone. She still struggles with self-esteem issues and being confident in who she has become, even though she is no longer the awkward young lady she was before. I loved this quote that is used a couple times throughout the story. “True confidence blooms in the soil of a relationship with God, in following His path rather than one’s own, pursuing His truth rather than the world’s.” - Mrs. Rousseau, page 369 I enjoyed watching Megan grow throughout the story and discover the truth behind this quote.
Abraham “Bram” Hughes is the hero in this story. We know him rather well from Love At Any Cost, the first book in the series. He is the most serious on of the “Three Musketeers,” as the guys call themselves. He is the one most of them turn to for Godly advice and counsel. He is also Meg’s best friend. He is steadfast, strong, committed, kind, loving, handsome, and many other things. I particularly loved his kindness and compassion toward Meg. He is her anchor and has been for most of her life. But, he’s always seen her as a little sister, so when she returns and he suddenly doesn’t see her that way anymore, it confuses things. He struggles with how to still treat her the same and what to do with his unwanted feelings. I loved how realistic he is, especially in his struggles, not just with attraction, but also with his past mistakes. He is weighed down by guilt, but feels he deserves it, so he makes no effort to escape. I enjoyed his journey, as he found love and freedom, in rather unexpected places.
When I first found out this was to be Meg and Bram’s book, I couldn’t figure out how on earth that was going to work out. I was afraid it might be awkward or weird, but it actually made perfect sense the further I read. Who better to fall in love with, than your best friend? I found their romance very sweet and loved following their relationship as they fought to find their footing and adjust to all of the changes in their friendship. Then there was also the on-going relationship between Caitlyn and Logan. I was very excited to see where that would go and also get to know them better. I actually enjoyed the fact that Julie stretched it out through all three books, as it is somewhat secondary and I believe she needed all three to bring it to a comfortable conclusion. Their romance has been on-again-off-again as they struggle through years of history between them, lies, and fears. I’ve loved the progression throughout each story and the anticipation of wondering where they would go from here. I did almost pitch the book somewhere at one point, because I was just so mad at them. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because the ending was so sigh-worthy.
As much as I adore the characters, the relationships, and everything else about Julie’s books, I have to say that my favorite part is always the spiritual journey the characters go on. I love reading Julie’s books because I know I will always be challenged and encouraged in my faith. I love how the theme isn’t the same throughout the story, but rather it changes and progresses as the characters grow. A couple of the main themes that kind of carry on are forgiveness, and giving your plans and dreams to the Lord. I have already mentioned that Bram struggles with guilt, so forgiveness is a big deal for him. He believes he is redeemed and accepted by God, but still feels he must make restitution. This quote just struck me, “. . . he knew in God’s eyes in no one else’s, he was a man redeemed by a humble carpenter from Nazareth who had given His all. A man who had lain His life down so Bram could be free.” - Bram Hughes, page 351 Julie is very talented at taking something that often seems so simple and giving it new meaning. 
As for the other part, Meg, Logan, and Caitlyn all must learn to trust the Lord’s plans and to give their desires to Him. I really appreciated how she handles this subject and the others. She portrays them with honesty. They are extremely difficult and she shows them as such. The characters struggle with them, they fall down, they get upset, but they also get back up again. We are always left with the hope that even when they fail, they can be redeemed.
As a general rule I hate reading the last book in a series and this one is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful, which is part of the problem. I dreaded the end of this book, because I knew it meant saying “goodbye.” I’ve had three books to fall in love with the McClares and letting them go in the space of just a few pages didn’t seem like enough. One thing is for sure, I will be “visiting” the characters and these books again and again.
I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a compelling story with realistic characters that will challenge and encourage you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in anyway. All opinions expressed are my own.
*Please note, all quotations used with permission from the author. No infringement intended.

I know most of you probably skimmed over my review (and I don't blame you, seeing as how it is really long) to find out what's up with the giveaway.  I actually ended up with two copies of this book and rather than being a hoarder (which was my first idea), I thought I would share one with one of my readers.  The giveaway will be open until Wednesday, November 19th.  To be entered, please answer one of the questions below and leave your email address.  You must leave your email to be included in the drawing.  You may gain extra entries by following this blog (options are on the right hand side of the screen) and sharing my giveaway on social media.  If you do either of these, please be sure to let me know!
Everything clear as mud?  Good.  :)

 
Questions:
Have you read any of Julie's books?  If so, which one is your favorite and why?

If you could have coffee (or your drink of choice) with Julie, what is one question you'd like to ask her?

Why do you think people enjoy historical fiction so much?


Oh, before I forget!  In case there is someone who would rather not wait around for the giveaway, here are a few links so you can check out this awesome book in more depth and maybe purchase a copy.  Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you will visit again!

Amazon

Christian Book

Barnes & Noble