Category Archives: Book Reviews

Past Book Reviews

Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Macomber, Debbie Any Dream Will Do.htm

Publication Date: August 8, 2017

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com

 

“I decided I could either live my life in fear or I could—simply put—live my life. I refused to look over my shoulder or stop before turning every corner to make sure I was safe. I chose instead to breathe easy, and to put my trust in God. It was either that, or I would soon be afraid of my own shadow.

                                                                                     -Shay

 Debbie Macomber’s latest novel is all about second chances and what we do with them. In this very detailed story of one woman’s opportunity after a lot of bad mistakes, Shay, a quiet young woman, leaves the Washington Correction Center for Women and begins her search for a place to stay. Shay’s life is turned around because of her encounter with Drew Douglas, a pastor who finds a program for women in her circumstance.

The story follows Shay’s path through the Hope Center program and after her release in to civilian life with all its ups and downs. Her opportunities and choices reflect the difficulties involved in making a life for oneself again. The book highlights the attitudes and prejudices ex-convicts are up against once they leave prison, as well as offering some important perspectives on redemption and forgiveness.

The story is a little bit difficult to believe if you try to accept it as a realistic incidence. However, if you take the book as a fictional story as intended, the story is enjoyable and has a nicely tied up ending.

I received this book free from Ballantine Books and Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own.

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Jane of Austin by Hilary Manton Lodge

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Bethany House Publishers

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook Multnomah

 

 

“It’s good to have dreams. But sometimes dreams change, or take different forms, or you go down a path and realize that while it’s not the beach, you really like the forest.”

-Jane

 A delightful read for the summer! This unique variation of Sense and Sensibility set in modern day Austin, Texas is a fun, light read. The lives of three sisters, Celia, Jane, and Margo, takes another intriguing turn when necessity forces a change of residence from their native San Francisco to Austin. The city of Austin, lights years different in terms of culture and lifestyle, offers the girls an opportunity for a new start.

Join this intriguing trio of sisters as they set out for Austin and try to move their tea business, plants and all, along with them. The older two, Celia and Jane, each have their own love issues with which to contend, in addition to raising their teenage sister. The girls have character, charisma, and charm.

The book is a poignant story full of family, romance, and the meaning of sisters. If you’ve read Sense and Sensibility, you’ll see the similarities. As a bonus, some wonderful recipes for the amazing baked goods discussed in the story are sprinkled throughout the book. Don’t miss this fun summer read!

This copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Series: Heart of the Frontier

Publication Date: July 4, 2017

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

 

 

Closely following the first book in the Heart of the Frontier series, book two once again follows sisters, Hope, Grace, and Mercy, after they have settled in Oregon in the year 1850. Two and half years after the trauma of the Whitman Massacre, Hope continues to work at reclaiming her life. Her younger sister, Mercy, made her peace and lives a happy, lively life with her sister Grace and her husband, Alex.

This is an engrossing story of Hope’s struggle to get on with her life as the trial for the native Americans involved in the massacre unfolds. In her quest to give herself peace and to come to terms with the trauma she endured, she encounters Lieutenant Lance Kenner. Their lives become entangled in ways that neither could imagine.

The characters are once again engaging and very human in their behavior and emotions. I really enjoyed the continuing saga of the three sisters. The story continues in such a manner that you almost feel like you are continuing a book you laid down for a while and picked back up. I really enjoyed the story, emotional and tumultuous as it may be at times. Anxiously awaiting book three!

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Hauck, Rachel The Writing Desk
Publication Date: July 10, 2017
Publisher: Zondervan Publications

 

 

 

“Her old typewriter perched on its well-worn grooves, waiting for her to type again. But her story had been told.”

And what a story Birdie Shehorn had lived and told! The book weaves the stories of Birdie Shehorn and Tenley Roth together in an intriguing read that covers two distinctly different periods in history. Tenley, a young promising author, lives in present day New York engaged to a pretentious young man from a well to do family, the Van Cliffs. Birdie Shehorn, a struggling young want-to-be author, lives in New York in the year 1902 and becomes engaged to Alfonse Van Cliff, a flirtatious charming young man. The similarities begin.

Both young women find their lives changed as a result of their writing and the men to whom they are engaged. They each take their destiny into their own hands after many difficult trials and choices. Their path toward finding themselves and fulfilling their writing careers is a complex one.

What starts out as a simple story quickly unfolds and becomes so much more! I really enjoyed this book and particularly loved the historical portion of the story. Readers of contemporary and historical fiction will enjoy this book. Read the story and find out how these young women turn their lives around and find happiness each in her own way.

This ARC copy was received from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Publication Date: June 2017

Publisher: Bethany House

ARC copy from Bethany House and Netgalley.com

 

 

What could possibly motivate a beautiful young woman to risk her life spying for a secret underground group that specialized in aiding the Allies and obstructing the enemy during WWI? The reasons were many and complex; survival, guilt, and hope. Evelyn (Eve)  Marche played a dangerous game with the enemy, nursing them by day and serving them food and drinks at night, while gathering their information continuously in order to aid La Dame Blanche in 1917 in Brussels.

After the alleged death of Simon Forrester, her RAF pilot husband of less than a month, Eve sets off for Belgium to join her mother and siblings. Events conspire to add to Eve’s already tumultuous life after arriving in Belgium and she risks everything to aid her people and alleviate her own personal guilt.

This novel is an outstanding fiction story inspired by real people and events from this time period in history. Kate Breslin explores espionage during WWI, women and their varying roles during the war, and survivor’s guilt as well as many other complex topics.

A strong message of faith and the difficulties of holding on to one’s faith during a time of trials weaves a chord throughout the story. A wonderful read for people who enjoy inspirational historical fiction or any reader of historical fiction!

 I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

 

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So Pure a Heart by Amber Lynn Perry

Series: Daughters of His Kingdom Series, Book 4

Publication Date:  July 2016

Publisher: Liberty Publishing

ARC copy from author

 

And you will surely be protected, my dear. For God cannot but shelter one with so pure a heart.

  -Willis Plains, Patriot

In this fourth novel in the series, Amber Lynn Perry continues her captivating tales set during the Revolutionary War. The war is under way in Plymouth, Massachusetts and weapons are in short supply for both sides thus making Ensign Young’s foundry a desirable place for the Patriots and Loyalists. Hannah Young, Ensign’s niece, is a lovely young woman who lives with her Uncle and late aunt as a result of a difficult home life.

The book follows the story of Hannah and Joseph Wythe, a young blacksmith, as they meet again for the first time in many years. Thrown together in a complex situation, Hannah and Joseph engage in a serious and deadly game of spying for the Patriots. Intrigue, politics, war, family relationships, and the cost of honesty are explored in this tale.

Many of my favorite characters have appeared again in this fourth novel, Nathaniel and Kitty from book two, as well as Anna and Henry from the last book. Their wonderful Patriot spirits shine through once again.

The historical detail in Ms. Perry’s novels always draws me deep into the time period. The accounts of Patriot spying are true to life and based on historical facts, even though the actual story is fiction. Faith, love, and a dedication to freedom are the pillars of the story set once again during a complex time in history.

A wonderful read for lovers of historical fiction, inspirational fiction, and romance! And if you are like me and are looking forward to the next one, So Bright a Hope, Book Five, appears to be in the works already.

I received this book free from Liberty Publishing and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Life After by Katie Ganshert

Publication Date: April 2017

Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook Multnomah

 

“Bad things happen all the time, all over the world. And we believe in God’s goodness. We believe He is good. We say He is good. Until the bad things turn personal. That’s when we start to question.”

-Grandma Ally, the Sunday after 9/11, on our way home from church         

Autumn Manning lives in a world of her own since the accident. She struggles perpetually with the question of why. Why did she get on that particular train? Why did she survive? Why did her life get intertwined with that of Vivian Elliott? Even a year later the whys are endless in Autumn’s mind.

This deeply emotional and poignant tale shares the story of Autumn’s recovery and her involvement with the Elliott family. As Reese Elliott, the twelve-year-old daughter of Vivian and Paul Elliott, struggles to find a way to grieve the death of her mother. Her path to recovery from the traumatic loss of her mom leads her to inadvertently draw Autumn into the family’s personal turmoil.

A haunting and emotional story! The characters have depth and personality, each unique and slightly broken in their own way. The book draws the reader in from the beginning and it’s hard to put down. This is a serious read that deals with deep subjects such as why bad things happen to some people and not others and how God comforts us in different ways and in his own time. I very much enjoyed the book. The ending leaves the reader with a feeling of possibility and hopefulness. I would definitely recommend the book to readers of Christian fiction and contemporary fiction.

I received this book free from Netgalley and Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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