Saturday, January 26, 2013

Another Dawn

by Kathryn Cushman

Bethany House

Grace Graham is used to running from her problems. She has left her family, relationships, and responsibilities behind just to avoid having to deal with things. But then her sister calls her, and gives Grace the ultimatum of her life: come back home or never come back at all. Grace takes an unpaid leave from work to come give her sister a hand with their father after his surgery, bringing her four-year-old son Dylan, with her.

Things seem to be going alright until Dylan comes down with something. Unable to find the organic food Dylan is used to, Grace simply thinks it is the foreign environment and believes he will be fine in no time. But when Dylan is diagnosed with measles, all eyes fall on her for choosing not to vaccinate her son. Has Grace threatened the lives of the young children in Shoal Creek with her decisions?

This book covers a couple of heavy topics; namely the issue of whether or not to vaccinate children against childhood diseases. Grace made the decision she thought was best at the time. But as with most important things, there was a catch. It made me think twice about my stance and personal opinion, especially with Cushman's poignant portrayal of both sides. A fresh perspective and wonderful novel from one of my favorite authors.

Friday, January 25, 2013


by Travis Thrasher

Faithwords Publishers

James and Stephanie Miller are exhausted. Disillusioned with the last two years of their lives spent as missionaries to Papua New Guinea, they are disappointed with the spiritual condition they left their little village. James makes the decision that the whole family needs a break, and they decide to take a furlough  in the mountains of North Carolina. 

Stephanie starts to see things; visions that frighten her and convince her that what she is seeing is real. Terrified that she is loosing her mind, she invites her brother to balance out a world that is quickly slipping out of her control. The house they are in is full of frightening secrets, and Stephanie begins to remember things from her past that scare her even more than the whispers within the walls of their mountain dwelling. When they are stranded by a snowstorm, will they ever be a whole family again? Or is there really something out to get them?

Once you get past the eeriness of this book, it is a hard-to-put down read. The big, creepy house ought to get your attention, or maybe the blood running off the walls. But it forced me to re-evaluate what I believe is possible in the spiritual realm, and what a human being is capable of doing. While most Christians believe Satan is real, it's very hard to truly be afraid of him until you have met him face to face. Yet, "if God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

All for a Song

by Allison Pittman

Tyndale Publishers

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has it all; a loving family and a fiance that is a preacher just like her daddy. Hours spent in the woods playing her brother's guitar make her life complete, but she aches to know more of the outside world and all it has to offer. She feels claustrophobic and tied down to the small town of Heron's Nest that is her birthplace and home, yet imagines life in the big city. 

When an opportunity rises to go visit her sister in St. Louis, she is fascinated by the fancy cars, movies, dancing, and daring fashions of the Roaring Twenties. She meets an evangelist who happens to be a woman, and like a moth to flame, Dorothy is drawn to her. Will she join the McPherson evangelistic team or go home to her family and fiance? Will the temptations of the times prove to be too great for a small town girl like herself?

As with every generation, there is a curiosity about the world. Whether you grew up in a Christian home or not, young people always want to know what's on the other side of the fence. Dorothy is faced with all these curiosities and more, and Pittman takes us on a journey that could be any one of us. No matter which generation you are from, or even where you're from, you will relate to Dorothy's struggles and temptations. All of us were there at one point; the desire to grow up, to find who we are, and to discover what we truly believe. The line of morality is either crossed or respected. But in the end, it is the choices Dorothy makes that essentially make her who she is and who she became. A very good novel about growing up, relevant to either gender of any age.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


by Travis Thrasher

Moody Publishers

Michael Grey never gets phone numbers from women like Jasmine. And why should he? He is a happily married man with two children, a beautiful wife Lisa, and a nine to five executive of an up-and-coming company. What more could he want? But the demon of lust must always be fed, and old habits rise to the surface and tempt him almost beyond that which he is able to resist. Will anyone even notice him following her? What starts as simple curiosity turns into a twisted, sick, horrific turn of events. Will Michael be too late to realize everything that Jasmine is? Or has he already sold his soul to the devil and blinded by the lusts of the flesh?

In this fast-paced novel that spans less than twenty four hours, it is easy to get lost in the book only to realize it's already over. You end up on a journey of sorts, a roller coaster ride of emotional turmoil that is going through Michael's mind as he contemplates his next move. The element I liked the best about this story, is that I realized it's never too late too stop. There was so many ways of escape that God provided for Michael, yet he continued to ignore the signs. But for us reading the story, it is a reality check that it is never too late to stop doing wrong. You don't have to rationalize it or explain in to yourself; you just stop. A novel that, despite it's quick pace and short length, I will come to again and again.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Spoils of Eden

by Linda Lee Chaikin

Moody Publishers

When Rafe Easton rescues an infant from the forbidden island of Molokai in Hawaii, he is convinced that the boy is meant to be his. Doing the right thing may cost him more than he is wiling to pay, but he is confident that his fiance Eden Derrington, will not only understand but support his decision. Forced to lie and say that little Kip is his nephew, he brings Kip to his home in Hanalei and makes his a part of his life. 

Eden Derrington is trying to accomplish too much in too little time. Juggling her impending marriage to Rafe and her interest in helping her father Jerome, establish a new clinic for the lepers of Molokai; she also seeks the truth about her mother's fate. Will she loose Rafe's love even as she discovers what it mean to be Dr. Jerome's daughter? And will the questions she has about her mother Rebecca, ever be answered satisfactorily?

The only thing I knew about Hawaii before reading this was that they became a state in 1959 and that they have a tropical climate. But this novel taught me so much more about the state's rich history, and it's first missionaries who gave everything to a people that so desperately needed the word of God. Whether you know a lot or a little about the last state to join the Union, Chaikin weaves a tale of intrigue and mystery that is sure to capture you interest from the very first page.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


by Robin Jones Gunn

Multnomah Publishers

Lauren Philips has nothing to show for her life except a broken engagement and a broken heart. Ditched by her fiance for a job in New York City, she determines that only God can bring a man into her life. She goes back to school, buys a kitten, and decides to learn new things about herself. Hoping her friend Mindy is right when she said God has a purpose for Lauren's life, Lauren tries to keep her mind open to all sorts of possibilities.

So when her brother gives her a computer, she opens her first e-mail account and meets a man she knows only as "KC". Lauren finds herself on the precipice of a mountain of feeling; this time with a man she's never met. Quickly falling in love with the letters from this mysterious man, Lauren needs to make a decision: risk her heart breaking again, or blindly follow through on the love she feels for a man she has never seen. Will love be enough to unite the two lovers? Or will reality rear it's ugly head and destroy all they have built?

Lauren is a little bit of a klutz, and her antics kept me laughing out loud while I read this book. She faces emotions that are true to life, and she discovers her true self is just waiting to emerge from the echoes of her heart. One element that I liked in this story was that Lauren and KC got to know each other for their true self, without the physical distraction of each other's company, etc. I speak from personal experience in that this is a good way to learn the life lesson that true love is not based on appearance, way of being, or emotion; true love is there through good and despite the bad. A very good read from Gunn, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a clean and fun Christian romance.

A copy of this book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beyond Tuesday Morning

by Karen Kingsbury

Zondervan Publishers

Three years have come and gone since the horrible reality that was 9/11. Jamie and Sierra are adjusting to life without Jake, and Jamie finds comfort in volunteering at the memorial chapel across from where the towers once proudly stood. The pain of Jake's death is slowly easing, and as she is beginning to open her heart to others, she feels a connection with a police officer she meets from Los Angelos. 

Jamie is stunned to discover that the police officer from LA is actually Eric Michael's brother, Clay. Eric was a man she never wanted to see again after presuming him to be her firefighter husband, Jake. Devastated by what feels like the double loss of her beloved Jake, she is crushed to find out that Clay is Eric's brother. Will Clay and Jamie be able to overlook the past? Or will Eric forever remind Jamie of everything she has lost and rob her of a joyful future?

This was a wonderful sequel to "One Tuesday Morning." While the whirlwind relationship between Jamie and Clay seems a little sudden, it has been known to happen. Seeing Jamie go from the pain of loosing her forever sweetheart, to walking the path of healing was amazing to read in the pages of a book. Kingsbury always manages to draw her readers in, and suck them into her story. This follow-up novel is no different, and I enjoyed every word, every sentence, and every page. An enjoyable read that anyone and everyone can enjoy.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 14, 2013


by Travis Thrasher

Moody Publishers

Jake Rivers thought the past was exactly that - in the past. As a business owner of an adventure company with many successful mountain climbs behind him, he's rather not think of the days of his youth. But the questions of the past arise to taunt him when a mysterious man wants him to find the one man from college, Alex, who can answer all of the questions surrounding those dark days. Will the mistakes made by a younger version of himself come back to haunt him? And why is there so many blanks in his mind from his squandered college days? Is it ever too late to learn the truth? 

In true Thrasher style, "Admission" held my attention from the very first page. I will admit, the writing style had me wanting to flip to the next chapter, and it took all I had in me not to read ahead. But the truth is slowly unraveled into the final admission, and Jake learns that while things do not stay in the past, neither can you just tuck them away in your mind. To every action there is a consequence  and the price was ultimately too high to pay. A novel for anyone who's ever done anything they have come to regret.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Deep Harbor

by Lisa T. Bergren

WaterBrook Press

Building new lives in America, Elsa, Karl, Kaatje, and Tora find out exactly how high the cost of rebuilding really is. When personal tragedies devastate each of their lives, the price of a new life on American soil is almost too great a cost. Soren's disappearance leaves Kaatje alone with two daughters and no hope of his return. Elsa is faced with the worst tragedy of her life and an unpredictable future. Karl is alone and unable to find any real joy in life. Will any of the Bergensen's find the new life they seek? Or will their dreams be dashed in the new country that was supposed to mean a fresh start for all of them?

This sequel to Captain's Bride was as tragic as it was intriguing. I enjoyed the follow-up stories of characters I met previously, but good gracious me! They had one thing after another happen to them to the point I concluded it was as close as real life as you can get in a story. Life is full of disappointments, lost chances and loosing loved ones. But this book takes you on a journey that is sad, yet realistically echoes many a shattered dream and broken promises that are true to most of our lives. There were happy times in this story as well, but the harshness and reality faced by many immigrants in their journey and new life in America is perfectly portrayed while drawing you into the life of each and every person. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Season for Tending

by Cindy Woodsmall

WaterBrook Press

Rhoda Byler runs her own canning business in her Old Order Amish community. Her odd ways and eccentric personality however, have caused many to choose to stay away from her as they do not understand her  gift for tending plants and herbs long past their harvest seasons. In an effort to stay away from a community that looks down on her and sees her as a detriment, she keeps her distance as much as possible from the people who observe the Old Ways and nurse superstitious fears. 

An accidental encounter with a girl from the neighboring town of Harvest Mills causes Rhoda to meet the family who own King's Orchard. Samuel is the eldest, and in charge of the orchard, along with brothers Jacob and Eli. A mistake on Eli's part costs them ten acres of good eating apples and leaves behind almost worthless cider apples. When King's Orchard meets Rhode Side Stands, the simple solution to all those cider apples is to can them into products to make a much bigger profit. But will working together really be the answer? Or has Samuel made a mistake that will cost him beloved orchard?

This is the first book I have read by this author, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with this novel. There are so many Amish fiction writers these days, and Woodsmall brings something new, fresh and unexpected to the genre. While the idea of someone being able to see the future is often referred to as being "psychic", this author portrays it just as a simple feeling or emotion; not something that reeks of darker powers and New Age nonsense. A recommended read for anyone who likes something a little different.