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12.07.2019

When I Close My Eyes ~ Review

When I Close My Eyes
By Elizabeth Musser

For years The Awful Year has had power over their family. It was a year when everything changed and since then they have avoided it. But when someone tries to end the life of popular author Josephine Bourdillion's life they may have to face the secrets that have lurked just below the surface.

Henry Hughes never wanted to be a killer-for-hire but he desperately needs the money for his son's surgery. But when everything goes wrong and the woman he was hired to kill survives he knows he is in trouble. But how can he complete the kill now that his target has a name? And worse how can he not attempt it? His son's life depends on his next decision.

When I Close My Eyes is told from the viewpoints of Josephine, Henry, and Paige (Josephine's 17-year-old daughter). Interspersed throughout are memories from The Awful Year and from Josephine's youth. This is a book that touches on depression, PTSD, and suicide and just how it touched the lives of not only those suffering from the condition but the effect it has on those around them.

This book is thoughtfully written as the various characters face their unique challenges. I really liked Paige who is determined to protect her family even though the awful year still weighs heavy on her heart. Forgiveness and the love of Christ is the driving force that propels the story forward to its ending that will satisfy readers.

I've never experienced Elizabeth Musser's work before and was more than pleased to discover another author to add to my list of to-be-read authors. The characters are engaging and one can empathize with the situations in which they find themselves in. This would be an excellent book club selection and would provide hours of discussion.

I received a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:
Won't they find out about The Awful Year. . . ?
There is one story novelist Josephine Bourdillon shirked from writing. And now she may never have a chance. Trapped in her memories, she lies in a coma.
The man who put her there is just as paralyzed. Former soldier Henry Hughes failed to complete the kill. What's more: he failed to receive payment--funds that would ensure surgery for his young son.
As detectives investigate disturbing fan letters, a young but not-so-naïve Paige Bourdillon turns to her mother's tormented past for answers. How bad could remembering The Awful Year truly be compared to the one they're all living?
Set against the flaming hills of North Carolina and the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean Sea, When I Close My Eyes tells the story of two families struggling with dysfunction and finding that love is stronger than death.

12.06.2019

Misleading Miss Verity ~ Review

Misleading Miss Verity
Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley #3
By Carolyn Miller

Verity Hatherleigh is to have her first season - not that she cares for such attentions - but when her mother abruptly decides to send her away instead she is once again convinced of her parents' utter disappointment with her. And to be sent away to her grandmother's and not to the home of her dearest friend is yet another blow to her spirit. When her grandmother sends her secretly to Scotland in an attempt to prevent a most inappropriate match Verity is thrilled to be united with Helena in her family's home.

Anthony Jardine has unfortunately inherited the estate of Dungally and been named laird following the death of his cousin. Anthony never sought such a role and was content in his role as curate in one of the British colonies when word came to him. Returning to Scotland would hopefully allow the young lady whose hand he had previously sought to be free to accept his offer. But first, he has a rundown estate to set to rights. Dungally is in even more dire needs than he had imagined - with funds tight and animosity generations-long towards his family it won't be easy to minister to the needs of his tenants.

Thinking it best to not announce his position Anthony allows the visiting Verity Hatherleigh to assume that he is the gardener of Dungally and he mistakes her as the Chisholm's governess. With both assuming something that is not truth misunderstandings are soon to arise but not before hearts are touched in ways they never expected. As a man of faith Anthony knows that his growing feelings towards Verity are wrong and cannot be the will of God but his heart refuses to listen to reason. For the first time in her life Verity feels as if she isn't a random accident, a disappointment, thanks to her growing friendship with this country gardener. She knows her parents would be horrified at the potential scandal she is tiptoeing around but there is just something about Mr. Jardine that has captured her attention.

Misleading Miss Verity is a delightful conclusion to this series and I believe it to be my favorite in the Daughters of Aynsley trilogy (and all three were excellent). I really connected with Verity she is more studious than her her older sisters which at this time is a serious flaw. She speaks her mind and is often chastised for it. But the conclusion is something else and I really feel for these sisters especially with the mother that they have (and I REALLY feel for any future grandchildren). The main characters are well developed and are ones that I for one would love to spend an afternoon or even a weekend with.

If you want clean reading fiction with a touch of romance that won't make you blush Carolyn Miller is the author you want to add to your favorites list. It is best to read all the books in the series but you can read this book as a standalone if you so desire.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book via the publisher Kregel with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.    


About the Book:
Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own--but her impulsive actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren't always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he's finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He's falling in love with her, but she doesn't share the faith that's his foundation--not to mention he's been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness--and for the tenants of Dungally.

12.03.2019

My God Loves Me Bible ~ Review

My God Loves Me Bible
By Cecilie Fodor
Illustrated by Gavin Scott

This board book has a handy red handle that your young reader will appreciate as they can easily take this book with them everywhere. It is a little heavy which is to be expected with a board book. There are 18 stories that are each 2 pages in length. The first page says "My God Loves Me" this is followed by a reason why. The second page has a couple of scripture references and a short passage that corresponds with the scriptures and why from the preceding page.

There are illustrations throughout that will appeal to young readers. Each passage is fairly short and so is perfect for the youngest readers (or listeners) who may have a short attention span. The main focus throughout is that "My God loves me" while tying this fact in with some of the most commonly used Bible stories and showing God's love for these well-known people (for example Moses, David, and those to whom Jesus ministered).

It is important to note that the scripture references are not the text but rather the book, chapter, and verse (such as Genesis 1:26-31). That being said you will want to have a Bible close at hand so that you can share the scripture passages too. Other than that I think this is a nice little intro to the Bible for the little ones in your life.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:

This colorful book unpacks the wonderful truth that each child is loved by God

God speaks His love through every single story of the Bible. What a beautiful message for little hearts to hear!

With eighteen Bible stories from creation through the life and resurrection of Jesus, My God Loves Me Bible shows children that they are precious beyond measure in God's sight.

Each Bible story is supported by Scripture to bring out the truth it reveals. The stories are told both through words and colorful scenes and visual details young children will love.

With this Bible in their hands, they will say with joy, "God loves me!"

12.02.2019

My Bedtime Bible Prayers ~ Review

My Bedtime Bible Prayers
By Karoline Pahus Pedersen
Illustrated by Gavin Scott

My Bedtime Bible Prayers is a book that is geared to young readers that attempts to show that prayer is a conversation with God. There are 44 offerings that are 2 pages each. The first page offers 2 scripture references while the second page offers a prayer. The prayers are not carbon copies of each other thus reinforcing the concept of prayer as a conversation. God is referred to as God or Dad in the salutation of the prayers.

All too often prayer is presented as a scary and unknown aspect of the Christian life so that all too often it is avoided. But thinking of prayer rather as a conversation takes away some of the trepidations one might feel. And for many, this can change the frequency of prayer from seldom to daily.

This book is 93 pages in length and none of the prayers are long so short attention spans should not be a problem. There are color illustrations throughout and a table of contents so that you can pick a prayer depending on the needs of your day. Each prayer ends with "good night" so it is obvious that this is meant for nighttime reading but if you want to use it for a morning devotional it is easy to just say "good morning" instead. 

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Kregel Publications with no expectations buts that I provide my honest opinion.


About the Book:
My Bedtime Bible Prayers is creatively designed to encourage Bible reading and prayer as a natural part of any nighttime routine.

Inside are 44 prayers, each based on a Bible verse and Bible story, along with a takeaway question. The whimsical illustrations featured throughout depict both Bible scenes and contemporary life. With this caring guidance, children ages 6-8 will learn to share their hearts and thoughts with God--while also discovering how much He loves them!

11.30.2019

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas ~ Review

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas
By Michelle Griep

This book is actually a 3-in-1 book that includes the following stories: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, A Tale of Two Hearts, and The Old Lace Shop. These stories are each complete in themselves but there is a link between them. First, they are set in the time when Charles Dickens's works were new and popular. Second, there is a character who is secondary in nature who is in two stories. Third, there is a second chance coin that in all three stories and it passes through several hands as the stories progress.

Now to the individual stories themselves.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor finds Clara Chapman presented with an opportunity - the chance to obtain 500 pounds. Meanwhile, Ben Lane is presented with the chance to gain his freedom from the prison that has been his home these last 9 months. Both believe the other guilty of betrayal on the day that they were to wed when they are brought together at Bleakly Manor. They are not the only ones promised a long wanted desire. But to obtain it there are a few rules - only those who can last all twelve days will gain the promise. And staying is not going to be easy as it seems someone wants to be sure all others are out of the way.

A Tale of Two Hearts finds William Barlow in need of a wife. Will needs a wife to prove to his Uncle Barlow that he is a changed man and worthy of being named his heir. But Will's cousin Percy is also in the running to be named heir. With the help of Mina Scott, Will hopes to convince his uncle that he is married. But when the expected announcement is pushed off to a later date Mina's heart is in danger as she and Will have to play their role longer as they seek to save Uncle Barlow from a scheme that will see his life ruined. Can something more come out of this deception?

The Old Lace Shop finds Bella White determined to be a woman of independence - she never wants to be under the cruel thumb of another man. With her husband's death, she is free to pursue the life she wants and she is going to assume his majority partnership in the Nottingham Lace and Hose. What she never expected was that she would become a business partner with Edmund Archer the man who broke her heart and left her behind. Can this business partnership be a second chance at love or will it be the ruination of all Bella's plans?

These are enjoyable reads and those who prefer clean, gentle reads will love these three Christmas tales. It is interesting finding all the little Dickens tidbits scattered throughout the stories. Overall the book is 440 pages but is the total number for all 3 stories so each is approximately 130 to 160 pages long - perfect for a long afternoon of reading and enjoying tea. Each has historical notes at the end of the story to explain just what certain things were in relation to the historical period in which the story takes place.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own

About the Book:

Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep
 
Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan-favorite Michelle Griep:
 
12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.
 
A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?
 
The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

11.28.2019

Protecting Tanner Hollow ~ Review

Protecting Tanner Hollow
By Lynette Eason

Protecting Tanner Hollow is a collection of four novellas that take place in Tanner Hollow, which is a small tight-knit community. In each novella, someone's past seems to have found them and their life is in danger. In a race against time, answers must be found before it is too late.

Now, for the most part, the stories in this collection have no link to Lynette Eason's other books. But Lethal Agenda will be of particular interest to fans of her Blue Justice series as this one focuses on Derek St. John the only St. John sibling who wasn't the main character in any of the Blue Justice titles. This one takes place about 2 to 2-1/2 years after the series conclusion.

This selection of novellas covers several years as one learns due to references to aspects of the characters' lives. Nolan Tanner is the one constant throughout all four stories due to his police duties and his presence in investigating the various crime scenes. Each story is most definitely in the realm of romantic suspense so naturally, you can anticipate someone in peril and a potential romance if the perpetrator can be stopped. 

Lethal Homecoming, Lethal Conspiracy, Lethal Secrets,, and Lethal Agenda can you sense a pattern here? Yes, LETHAL and in some cases, someone doesn't survive.  Long hidden secrets, betrayals, greed, jealousy, and manipulations all play a roll in these exciting page-turners.  At less than 300 pages no one story is overly long so if you need a quick break from your day this the perfect excuse!

Come visit Tanner Hollow and if you survive the visit you just might want to visit again...


About the Book:
Four nail-biting novellas in one!
Lethal HomecomingNolan Tanner never got over Kallie Ainsworth's sudden, unexplained departure. Now when he comes to her rescue after an attempt on her life, all the old feelings come rushing back.

Lethal Conspiracy
When professional fundraiser Lillian Maloney sees her father's campaign manager commit murder, she goes on the run from the men he hires to kill her. A close call brings firefighter Jason Tanner to the rescue, but the killer is closing in . . .

Lethal Secrets
Someone wants Honor McBride dead. When Eli Murphy helps her change a flat tire and discovers the danger Honor is in, he longs to help--but Eli has secrets of his own that could get them all killed.

Lethal Agenda
When Detective Derek St. John rescues a woman he's met only once before--and has never been able to forget--he finds himself falling for her. But he'll have to keep Claire Montgomery alive if they're to have a future together.
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Oath of HonorCalled to ProtectCode of Valor, and Vow of Justiceas well as the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at LynetteEason.com

11.25.2019

Thirst ~ Review

Thirst
Thirst Duology #1
By Jill Williamson

Eli McShane and his friends have been taking part in a wilderness survival adventure, never realizing that the skills they had learned would be needed just hours later. During the 2-weeks they were gone the world changed forever and people are dying everywhere. And it is into this unknown that they are about to enter.

Thirst is aptly named as the world's water supply has almost overnight become contaminated and there are no known means to purify it. Bathing, cooking, if your water comes from any source other than bottled water your hours are coming to a painful end if you use it.

Unprepared for his role as a leader, Eli does the best he can to secure supplies and gather what friends he has left on a trek back to the La Plata Mountain region of Colorado that they had been in when everything began (or ended).  But hundreds of miles lie between them and their destination and there are unknown dangers that could very well cost them their lives. Along the way, he is forced to decide whether or not to help those he comes across.

Thirst keeps the reader in an almost continuous state of peril and suspense. For those who are familiar with Jill Williamson's previous works, this is the first book in a duology that is the origins story for her Safe Lands series. If you have not yet read any of her books this book is the perfect introduction as you do not need to have any familiarity with previous books to enjoy this action-packed thriller. If you like dystopian, Speculative, or thriller fiction this brings all three together in a well-balanced offering that will leave you wanting more!

I received a complimentary early proof from the author with no expectations - all thoughts expressed are my own honest opinion. I have since purchased a copy of this book.

About the Book:
The end of the world is only the beginning...

A waterborne disease has contaminated the world’s fresh water, decimating the human race. Seventeen-year-old Eli McShane and his friends flee the chaos and violence in Phoenix and journey north toward the rumored location of a safe water source. They add several to their number, including the mysterious Hannah, who is being hunted by a dangerous man. Desperation brings out the worst in many of the travelers, infecting even those closest to Eli. When division comes, will he be able to hold his group together or will each fall victim to their own thirst for survival?

Join us old friends from Glenrock and Jack's Peak in this thrilling first book of the Thirst Duology. Best-selling author Jill Williamson has brought back the breathtaking suspense of The Safe Lands series in this chilling prequel that will leave readers thirsting for the next installment.