Monday, July 31, 2017

The Captivating Lady Charlotte

I received a copy of THE CAPTIVATING LADY CHARLOTTE by Carolyn Miller from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.  It is part of the “Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace” series.  If you enjoy regency romance with all the flair of the period, but without the sordid romance, than this series is for you.  It is Christian Fiction, so you know it will be clean and wholesome.  You won’t be ashamed to share it with your mother.

While some stories keep you reading because of a mystery, or because of some quest, the true strength in this book has to be the characters.  I thoroughly loved Lady Charlotte.  She had her faults, but who doesn’t?  You could understand each decision she made.  You could also understand the other characters.  Everyone was three-dimensional.  Those who you come to know well will help priove God’s love and carry on his message.

I did read book 1 before this, and you don’t need to have read it to enjoy Charlotte’s story.  However, it was nice to see glimpses of familiar faces.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shattered Girls

SHATTERED GIRLS is remarkable.  Get this – it is about LIVING DOLLS.  I find this idea unique and tingling.  It plays to my childhood when I used to wish on stars that my dolls would come to life.  (Okay, this is more about real people becoming dolls, but still.  Reminded me a lot of my childhood.)

I won’t go into details of the synopsis, but know that this is well written and perfect for kids 12 and up.  There are plenty of creepy moments that leave you shuddering.  Then there is the excitement.  The technology.  The moments when you can’t stop reading.  This book is truly unique and imaginative.  If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, this is it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Cover Story

I received a copy of THE COVER STORY by Deb Richardson-Moore from Lion Fiction via Kregel in exchange for an honest review.  It is a Branigan Powers Mystery.

I am a huge fan of mysteries because they keep me thinking.  9 out of 10 times I never guess who did it until it is revealed.  Yeah, I must be clueless like that.  Something I really like about contemporary mysteries is how unique they are.  Older mysteries all tend to feel the same.  The market must be more competitive now.

THE COVER STORY is certainly unique.  I found it interesting that it dove into the College Greek scene.  I haven’t read any books about that before.  This mystery keeps you going without letting you pause for a breath.  If you start this, bear in mind that you’ll probably end up reading it in one sitting.  A nice aspect is that the story ties up in a bow.  It doesn’t abandon you with a cliffhanger. 

You can read this without being familiar with THE CANTELOPE THIEF, but if you do read that book first, it will make this one mean more. 

Please note that this is a Christian Mystery.  I enjoyed it for the fact that I knew going into it that it would be clean.

Monday, July 24, 2017


I received a copy of GET OUT OF THAT PIT: STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT GOD’S DELIVERANCE by Beth Moore from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. 

I like to think that things happen for a reason, and this book certainly arrived at the perfect moment in my life.  I lost my job.  It was a job I loved and I looked forward to going to work every day.  My creativity soared with my coworkers.  My husband and I had a house, and we had plans to remodel it this summer.  We had a baby who attended a daycare he adored. 

Suddenly, I didn’t have a job.  We had to pull Aidan from daycare and put our remodeling plans on hold.  I plunged into depression, and that’s something I rarely feel.  With each new job rejection letter, I felt as though I was plunging ever deeper into a greater hole.

This book seemed to speak directly to me.  Many parts affected me directly.  I also enjoyed reading Beth Moore’s personal story.  It is relatable and brings everything she is saying into perspective. 

This book is excellent for anyone who is going through something in their life.  It would also make a wonderful gift if you know someone who is struggling.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Egypt's Sister

I received a copy of EGYPT’S SISTER: A NOVEL OF CLEOPATRA by Angela Hunt from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  It is the first book in the “Silent Years” series.  I had read other books by Angela Hunt, so I knew it would be in for a treat.

This book is a delight.  I have always felt a passion for books about Ancient Egypt, and Cleopatra in general.  It all began when I was in elementary school and read Cleopatra’s fictional diary.  After that I couldn’t get my hands on enough material, both books and movies, about Egypt.  I haven’t read that much in the past few years, so imagine my delight when this fell into my lap and sparked my love all over again.

EGYPT’S SISTER is filled with rich, historical details.  It transports you into the past.  Unlike some stories that only feature happiness, this one is raw and realistic.  Go in knowing that you will gasp.  You will cringe.  You may need to set it down for a minute.

I feel the need to point out this is Christian fiction.  It adds an extra level of depth.  Usually the Cleopatra books that I read are strictly secular.   I look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out.

Fairy Keeper

FAIRY KEEPER wasn’t what I had expected.  Although I read the synopsis, I was expecting something more contemporary, mainly because the character on the cover seems to be wearing a hoodie.  My bad!  This is a fantasy perfect for teens.  I loved it, and I know I would have swallowed it up when I was in high school.

The different take on fairies is refreshing.  Lately everything fairy-driven that I’ve read involves a contemporary girl discovering she is actually a fairy.  Yeah, not in this book.

Sierra is a character to relate to and root for.  She is an excellent role model for teens.  I felt her joys and her misery.  Her personality shines through, helped along by the author’s excellent writing style.

I can’t wait to see where the adventure leads in books 2 and 3.  (I’m excited they are already out.  I hate having to wait a while for a sequel!)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Praying for Girls

I received a copy of PRAYING FOR GIRLS: ASKING GOD FOR THE THINGS THEY NEED MOST by Teri Lynne Underwood from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  This is what I consider to be a “parenting self-help” book geared to moms and dads with daughters.  Books like this always take me back to my childhood when my mom had one.  I can’t remember the name of it, but I do remember looking through it and thinking, “What are they talking about?”  Nothing felt relatable to me as a teenage girl.

I’m no longer a teenage girl, but reading through this, I found my inner child relating to much of it.  The chapter on being accepted really jumped out at me.  I never felt accepted in school, and many times it would weigh most heavily upon my shoulders.  My thoughts now on being accepted have changed, and they reflect the chapter’s thoughts.  I wonder if reading that back then, or having my mom talk to me like that, would have changed how I felt about school. 

Another section that leapt out to me was the one on relationships.  Normally in books like this, they are about boyfriend-girlfriend relationships.  This section talked about relationships between friends in general.  That would have really helped me growing up.

The best part about this book is that each chapter ends in prayers where you fill in the blanks accordingly.  This will help you in case you aren’t sure what to say, and it will help you to create your own prayers.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Abby's Letters

Author Bio:
Dana Romanin has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl pretending to be Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables). She used to write under a forsythia bush, but now she writes in a messy office that she shares with her sewing obsessed daughter.
Dana’s short story, The Silence of Sand, was chosen for adaptation into a short film performed by the Blue Man Group. Dana has also published short fiction for teens in Encounter—The Magazine and had a short story published in a Family Fiction anthology, The Story 2014. Her first novel, Abby’s Letters, releases in June 2017.
She lives in a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and a lot of persnickety pets.
You can find her blog and awkward videos on her website She can also be found on Twitter (@DanaRomanin) and her Facebook fan page (DanaRomaninAuthor).

Abby’s Letters Back Cover Copy:
For years, Jane’s mom told her horror stories about her time spent in foster care. Now she’s determined to keep her little sister from suffering the same fate.
Seventeen-year-old Jane Sanders has had to take care of her alcoholic mother and little sister, Abby, since her dad died seven years ago. And now Mom had to go and die too. Authorities determine it was a homeless transient who died in the fire of the old manufacturing plant, but Jane knows the truth.
There is no way she’s going to let Abby go into foster care which leaves her with one option—fake her mom’s life. As far as Abby knows, their mom is in rehab. And Jane wants to keep it that way. She’d be eighteen in a few months then she could become legal guardian to her sister. With the help of her best friend, Clark, it should be easy, right?
Juggling nosy neighbors, a concerned school counselor, and an oblivious new boyfriend turns out to be harder than Jane thought. But the real problem begins when Abby starts writing letters to Mom. Through Abby’s letters, Jane sees a different side to their mom—a side she could have loved. And loving Mom is something she didn’t plan on. Because loving somebody makes it harder to ignore their death.

Excerpt from Abby’s Letters:
Clark exhaled. “Anything for you, Janie.”
Oh. He had to pull out the nickname. It crushed her. Asking Clark to lie for her—she had never asked so much of him. It went against everything he believed in. She didn’t believe in all that Christian stuff, but he did. Keeping this secret would mean disrespecting his mother. It meant he would have to go against his beliefs.
Disrespect his God.
But his God wasn’t there for her, and He certainly wasn’t going to save Abby from foster care.
Jane would, though.
She entwined her fingers with his. He was so different than the little boy who’d played hide-and-seek with her on warm summer nights, back when her world was filled with her father’s laughter and her mother’s smiles. Now his muscle twitched in his strong jawline. What happened to the freckle-faced boy she had played G.I. Joe and Transformers with? He even had stubble.
“Thanks, Superman.”
“You’re the only one allowed to call me that.”
“And you’re the only one allowed to call me Janie.”
“This is too much. You can’t do this alone.” His thumb caressed her hand.
“I’m not. I have you.”

“Heart-wrenching, beautiful, and complex, Abby’s Letters is an exquisitely written treatise on mother-daughter relationships, forgiveness, and love. Romanin skillfully tells this fragile family’s story with tenderness and grace, highlighting the interplay of a young woman’s painful past, uncertain future, and unflinching sisterly devotion. Each moment in this novel is a treasure shaped by masterful prose and lyrical storytelling. Do not miss this book. This is a story that should be read by anyone who is a mother or who loves one.”
--Megan Whitson Lee, author of Suburban Dangers and the award-winning novel, Captives.
“Dana Romanin’s debut novel is a poignant tale of love and lives lost, and one girl’s attempt to keep what’s left of her family together, despite all the odds. A wonderful and thought-provoking read.”
--Diana Sharples, young adult author of Running Lean.

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

With You Always

I received a copy of WITH YOU ALWAYS by Jody Hedlund from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  It is the first book in the “Orphan Train” series, and may I just point out that I can’t wait to read book two now. 

As a child, I read a lot of books about the Orphan Train.  It always interested me, but I kind of forgot about it, so to speak, when I didn’t find any books about it on young adult shelves.  This is a book for adults about the Orphan Train, from a slightly different perspective.  This is about a young woman who uses the Orphan Train to go out west as a skilled worker.  I hadn’t know the New York Children’s Aid Society had done this. 

Other than being a gem of historical fiction, WITH YOU ALWAYS explores the romance of Elise and Thornton in a beautiful way.  It helps to bring the west alive for the reader and this is an excellent piece of Christian literature.  I recommend this book in particular to those who were as obsessed with THE ORPHAN TRAIN ADVENTURES as I was during junior high.  (This book also explores the trails of New York City during the 1850s and that’s another topic I loved in middle grade.)