Tuesday, March 14, 2017

To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden

To the Farthest ShoresTo the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Camden is a writer who is fairly new to me (I've read one other book that she's penned) but she never disappoints! I love how she weaves elements of intrigue, romance, and delight into an elegant story. This story was a fast read for me as I had a very hard time putting it down.

I feel in love with Jenny right off the bat. Jenny is a civilian nurse who is working in a military hospital. She works the dreaded night shift, because that's what they do to civilian nurses. Jenny loves her job and loves her patients. She is very dedicated and committed to her calling. Six years ago, Jenny met and fell in love with Ryan Gallagher.

I had a hard time liking Ryan at all through this story. I'm sure deep down he's a really great guy but I really don't like what he did to Jenny. I guess maybe I took this story a little personal because of an experience I once had with a military person. I do struggle with whether or not what he did was considered being unfaithful, however. In today's terms, I don't think it would have been at all. My heart breaks for what Jenny endured, and what she continued to endure. I am happy for the way things turned out in the end and feel that Jenny could finally begin her healing process.

My favorite part of this story was learning more about the pearl industry. During the time of this story, the pearl industry was really just beginning in terms of technology. Reading about the process of a forming pearl and ways that biotechnology were being used even back then were truly fascinating to me.

I would recommend this book to lovers of christian-fiction and those who enjoy historical stories!

My thanks and appreciation to the publisher and the author for providing a complimentary copy for me to review in exchange for my remarks. I was not compensated financially in any way for my review and these thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson

The Noble Servant (A Medieval Fairy Tale, #3)The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Noble Servant is a fairy re-telling of the Goose Girl story. I don't believe I've ever read this story (gasp!) before and as I was reading this book, I didn't have anything to compare it to as other reviewers have.

I absolutely love a good fairy tale and this one is no exception. This is the story of Lady Magdalen (I just love that name!!) and Duke Steffan. They are both in the wrong place at the wrong time and things get really messy really fast! Lady Magdalen has her sites set on marrying Duke Steffan and when a letter arrives to her home requesting she come marry him, she jumps at the chance! I mean, who wouldn't want to marry a Duke! On her quest to reach her future husband's home, Magdalen is hijacked by her ladies maid and the maid's father and is demanded to change places with Agnes. Fearing for her life, Lady Magdalen complies and ends up becoming the Goose Girl at the castle. Can she stop the wedding of her ladies maid to the Duke? Whatever will she do?

This is the third book in a series of medieval fairy tales. I have not read the other 2 books so I'm not sure if these characters appear in other novels by Melanie Dickerson or not. However, I did not feel like I was missing any pieces by reading a book "out of order". I love Ms. Dickerson's writing style and how she weaves a great story! There is romance, suspense, and even a few comical moments throughout.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it!

I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert

Maybe It's You (Crisis Team #3)Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Candace Calvert has done it again!! Writing a witty, romantic, and sometimes deep, tangled mess of a relationship book is her specialty! Sprinkle in some nursing action from her lead heroine and you have the perfect book!

I had taken a bit of a reading break (almost a year!!) and came back to pick this one up. Sloane is a mysterious woman who's an amazing nurse. She cares above and beyond for her patients and her co-workers to the point that Micah is incredibly intrigued by her. Sloane has sworn off ever having a relationship again and has thrown herself completely in her work, wanting a strong sense of privacy. Micah sets out to do anything but give Sloane privacy. He sees her as the next face of the hospital and will do what he can to make sure she receives that honor.

These characters are so real that they could be your next door neighbors. I felt a lot like Sloane in many ways and understood her need for privacy (but for much different reasons). I understood why she did what she did for Zoey. I'd do the same. Micah reminded me of so many people I have worked with over the years. They come across as snooty and only out for themselves but after cracking the shell and getting to really know them, you see them as someone with a tender and caring heart. I love how these characters bare their souls to each other and get through the dark times together.

If you've never read a Candace Calvert book, please do yourself a favor and pick up any of her stories. You'll be happy you did!!

Many thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and Candace Calvert for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sisters of the Veil by Bryan M. Powell

Sisters of the VeilSisters of the Veil by Bryan M. Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

INTENSE!!!!! Those are the first words that come to my mind about this book! From the very beginning sentence to the period closing this story up, I was on the edge of my seat. Bryan M. Powell is new to me and came recommended by my friend, Jessie. I met Mr. Powell at an event and spent some time talking to him about the various books he has penned. I opted to start with the Jared Russell Series because it seems so relevant to today's times! I'm so glad I chose this one to start with and I'm looking forward to the next book (I bought the entire series after meeting Mr. Powell!).

Jared Russell is a former Marine who is commissioned to work on building the new mosque that is going up in town. Being a Christian man, Jared isn't sure about this task but uses his knowledge of the Word and of the beliefs of the Muslim people to help guide him in his daily tasks. He has a great crew of workers, who are eager to finish the task on time, but who also demand to take their religious prayer activities throughout the day as well. Jared is blessed with two secretaries, Shirin and Fatemah, who are his eyes and ears in the office.

Little did Jared know, a radical Muslim cleric is on the way to ensure the final completion of the Mosque. Boy did things change then!! Jared's job becomes even more challenging and he becomes the source of multiple death threats. Will Jared be able to maintain his Christianity and show these Muslim people the love of the Lord?

I know I gave you a very brief synopsis of this story but I truly could not share more without giving too much away! This story will take you on a ride through the eyes of Jared and the struggles he goes though in terms of his beliefs and working with people who don't believe as he does.

A few things of note for my readers....

I do disagree with the approach used in this book for conversion. I have yet to see the Sinner's Prayer in the Bible. I do believe that one must Hear the Word (Romans 10:17), Believe on the Word (Matthew 16:16, John 8:24, Acts 16:30-31), Repent of those sins (Luke 24:47, 2 Cor. 7:10, Acts 2:37-38), Confess their sins publicly (Matt. 16:16, Matt. 10:32-33; Romans 10:8-10; Acts 8:35-38), and be Baptized (immersed) (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Col. 2:12; Acts 22:16) for the forgiveness of sins. Then and only then do I believe, as the Bible points out, that one is saved (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

I learned several new things about the Muslim religion that I had never heard of before. I also did not realize that it was so prevalent in the state of Michigan that there were lawsuits to make Sharia Law the law of the land there. Reading this book and the author's notes to follow has me curious as to how many other states have seen these lawsuits.

I have a few Muslim friends but I've never felt comfortable enough to ask them some of the questions I have had in the past. I feel like I could have a more open dialogue with those friends now (If you're reading this, let's meet up for lunch and chat!). This book is written from the perspective of the strict, tyrannical, radical Muslims. It should be understood that not all people will react or act as those in this book did (and not everyone in the book was a radical!)

I appreciate the opportunity to read this book and I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series. I would encourage you to also check out other titles Mr. Powell! If you are ever in the Hiram, GA area, Mr. Powell owns a book store. It's worth your time to stop in and say "Hi!" if you're ever in the area.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Painter's DaughterThe Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know if I can say enough good about this book to let you know how much I thoroughly enjoyed it!! Julie Klassen has written such a solid book in The Painter's Daughter!! This book held my attention throughout and is my new most recent favorite book!! I love how Julie pushes the edginess just a little in her characters but never to a point that a book is inappropriate for younger ages. She writes real, raw, honesty into her characters and the ones in this book are no exception!

Sophie finds herself at a moment of weakness and not really sure how to handle her situation when Wesley just up and leaves. She is a very private person, even more so with her painting. How could Wesley just up and leave for Italy without even saying goodbye? Then, Wesley's brother Stephen comes to town, looking for his brother only to find him out gallivanting around the world again. He meets Sophie and learns that Wesley has just up and left her. Stephen makes Sophie no promises other than to take care of her if she will be HIS wife. Sophie accepts and moves to Stephen's family home. When Stephen is called back into duty and his brother Wesley shows up to find "his girl" has married his brother, whatever will happen?

There are so many themes in this book that brought home some very important points. I think my favorite theme is that of forgiveness. That seems to be my life theme this year and I'm gravitating towards books that focus on this theme. Sophie needs the forgiveness of many of her friends and family members, while others are also in need of her forgiveness. The relationship that Sophie has with Stephen is so intriguing to me as well. I would say that theme would be one of endurance. So many times, people give up so easily but Sophie and Stephen weather life's storms with endurance.

Thank you, Julie, for another fabulous book! I look forward to reading many, many more!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

No Other Will DoNo Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's been awhile since I've snuggled down with a Karen Witemeyer book and I have no idea why because she never disappoints!!

I loved this book and devoured it rather quickly!! Set in 1882, Emma Chandler is in charge of a women's colony in Harper's Station. She provides a safe haven for women who are in need of a fresh start. However, there is a sinister man who is doing everything he can to ruin Harper's Station and to demolish the safe haven that Emma has created. Feeling like she has no other option, Emma contacts her life-long friend, Malachi Shaw, to come and help get her colony back under control. How will the women react to having a man in their midst? How will Emma react to seeing Mal after all these years apart?

As I mentioned before, Karen Witemeyer does not disappoint!! I love her writing style and how she creates a mystery intertwined with romance!! Her characters are well developed and I feel as though I lived in Harper's Station while reading this book!

I appreciate Bethany House Publishers providing a complimentary copy of No Other Will Do in exchange for my honest review. This is one of my most favorite publishing companies and I'm honored to be able to review for them and read high quality books from authors I love!

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The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

The BridgeThe Bridge by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not one to usually one to watch a movie before I read a book, but in this case, I did. After seeing the movie on Hallmark and absolutely loving the movie, I wanted to read the book. I also have not read many Karen Kingsbury books. I was pleasantly surprised as to how close the movie was to the book!!

I just love this story!! I've already watched the movie twice too! Two bookstore owners take their personal pain and turn it into something so beautiful!! Being able to put their pain aside to help others in their times of needs is so very unselfish. Charlie and Donna stole my heart from the very beginning!! The fact that they named the bookstore "The Bridge" is also such an inspiration! Leaving your troubles at the door to overcome a world of impossibles seems to be their underlying theme. I was heartbroken by Molly's story, as I felt she had the most to lose in the whole process. Her ending was the most beautiful though, in my opinion.

I would encourage those who love a good romance to read on a rainy day to check this book out!

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