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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Monday, July 11, 2016

Lethal Harvest by William R Cutrer

Lethal HarvestLethal Harvest by William R. Cutrer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a re-release with updated technology information! I never read the original version of this book but I'm fairly sure it did not include the sophisticated medical advancements, along with technology such as cell phones.

This book is steeped in mystery, drama, and a little bit of romance. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as you are reading and trying to figure out exactly what happened to the twins and how they got in the situation they were in. A lot of smaller mysteries surrounding the embryo clinic and it's studies. Suspense amongst friends and colleagues. This book will appeal to those with a scientific mind, especially concerning IVF, stem cells, and biotechnology. There is a Christian theme woven throughout and the end result came as somewhat of a surprise to me.

The characters are well developed but I have an issue with a particular couple in the book. Without going into much detail and giving away any spoilers, I felt that a certain male character made some pretty fast moves onto another character considering the situation. That bothered me a bit, especially give the man's position. However, that situation also shows that man is not perfect and that sometimes it's hard to control emotions and feelings.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the thrill and mystery behind it, I did give this three stars because I don't feel that the themes were all interwoven as much as I would have liked. The situation with the couple really concerns me, especially since this is promoted as a Christian novel. I'm also concerned about the ethics involving the clinic and it's practices in regards to Christianity. However, to come to the defense of those doctors, they were not all Christians. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it with caution to readers. Know your ground and where you stand before you read this book as it could attempt to sway your convictions one way or another.

I received this book from Kregel Publications in return for my honest review, which you have received here.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

COTT Featured Novel: Bitterroot Bride by Angela Breidenbach


A beautifully spun story about the power of second chances. ~ Amazon Reviewer
I loved The Bitterroot Bride! The part where she compares church 
to riding a trot made me laugh out loud.  ~A. Chatman




About the book:

No one knows the real Emmalee Warren, just what they want from the infamous prostitute. Men are coming out of the woodwork to stake a claim on the miner's widow. They wanted her body before. Now they want her money. Hiring a lawyer, Richard Lewis, to save her from financial ruin might let her start over where no one knows Miss Ellie. Becoming an unknown is the only way to freedom…or is it? Can she leave her past and build a new future?

Purchase


Chat with Angela:

Ques: We heard there was something special that happened to you while writing your fourth book in the historical romance series, Montana Beginnings. What was special about the Bitterroot Bride heroine for you?
 
Angela: Writing Miss Emmie learning to read became an amazing experience. Though I’d learned to read at four, I didn’t understand how to connect and read people until well into my adulthood. So while Miss Emmie became proficient in reading, I became proficient in relationships. She’d eat up every book she could get her hands on and studied with intensity. I did the same thing, but about relational topics.

Ques: When did you realize the parallel character arc had so much in common with your real life?

Angela: About halfway through the first draft an epiphany happened. I stopped, took a day or so to really think about my personal experience, then began an intentional focus on writing the emotional parallel.

Ques: What do you hope Bitterroot Bride does for readers?

Angela: I hope this story is both entertaining and encouraging. I’d like readers to absorb the idea that like Miss Emmie and me, if you have the desire to learn something then you can. Age doesn’t matter.

Ques: Can you tell us the titles and a little about the Montana Beginnings series?

Angela: All four titles are set in Helena, MT from 1889 – 1895. It’s right when we became a state, but mining couldn’t support us forever. The Debutante Queen introduces us to Calista who steals an orphan off the street to protect her from a cruel master. Eleven Pipers Piping brings forward the newsies, newspaper boys and orphan train leftovers, into Mirielle’s classroom. Then in Taking the Plunge, Delphina takes us back to the iconic Broadwater Natatorium as a swim instructress. Then Emmalee enters the scene as we find out how Montana chose her state flower. Each of these lovely Victorian ladies finds her true love while carving out a meaningful life in Montana’s frontier. 

~~~~~~~

About Angela:
Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author and host of Grace Under Pressure Radio on iTunes. Angela is the Christian Author Network's president. And yes, she's half of the comedy duo, Muse and Writer, on social media.
Connect Here:
Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach