Friday, 13 October 2017

Book Review: The Promise of Dawn

From the Back:

In a Compelling New Saga, One Family Strives to Make Their Own Future
Opportunities are scarce in Norway, so when Rune and Signe Carlson receive a letter from Rune's uncle, Einar Strand, offering to loan them money for passage to America, Rune accepts. Signe is reluctant to leave her home, especially as she is pregnant with her fourth child, but Einar promises to give them land of their own, something they could never afford in Norway.

But life in Minnesota is more difficult than Signe imagined. Uncle Einar and Aunt Gerd are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone to pay off their debt. Afraid they will never have the life they dreamed of, she begins to lose her trust in God. When the dangers of the North Woods strike close to home, will she find the strength she needs to lead her family into the promise of a new dawn?
My Reflections:
The Promise of Dawn is book one in the "Under Northern Skies" series a fantastic coming to America novel! 
This book highlights the struggles immigrants often faced when coming to a new country. Hard labor and cruel treatment are no strangers to the people of the "new land." 

On April 1909 Signe Carlson received a letter that changes her life forever. The decision is made, and Signe, Rune and their three sons travel all the way to America from Norway. The land is much different, and Minnesota is not quite what this small family expected. 

Relatives Einar and Gerd Strand have the agreement that travel expenses will be paid back in return for labor on the farm. However, this deal turns out to be more than the family bargained for. Hard work was a way of life in Norway, but the back-breaking labor of clearing the land of pine trees leads to accidents and near exhaustion, not to mention the unbending harsh treatment by Einer and Gerd.
I was so saddened by the treatment of these so-called relatives, no one especially family should ever treat each other in this horrid fashion!

Snelling does not disappoint with her newest historical fiction! The heart rendering drama reminds us of the sheer strength, and fortitude immigrants overcame to come to a new land. The plight of the Carlson's in much like many other stories, and I am glad to have had the chance to review this one. Though not a true story many immigrants faces harsh journeys and many perished along the way. I love reading books that remind us of how blessed we are to live in our beautiful countries! I can't wait for book two to be released!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

Lauraine Snelling
Lauraine Snelling is the award-winning author of more than 70 books, fiction and nonfiction, for adults and young adults. Her books have sold more than 4 million copies. Besides writing books and articles, she teaches at writers' conferences across the...
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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Book Review: Freedom's Price

From The Back Of The Book:

Sometimes the hardest step to take is the first step forward
When Englishwoman Catherine Haynes loses both her father and her home in 1856, she decides to cross the Atlantic to find her American mother's family in Louisiana. She enlists the help of Tom Worthington, a dashing Key West man who makes his living salvaging wrecked ships.

When Catherine arrives at the plantation, she finds that her family has left it in the care of a manager--who's let it fall into disrepair. Torn between returning to Key West with Tom and beginning the hard work of restoring the plantation, Catherine soon finds herself snared in a plot to steal her inheritance. When an incredible secret comes to light, both she and Tom will face a choice: grip their dreams ever tighter or step forward in faith--even if it costs them everything.
My Reflections:
Freedom's Price is book three in the "Key's of Promis," series, and although it is a series I feel it can indeed be read as a stand-alone. This book had me from the first pages. Clocked in danger, mystery and a smattering of romance, this book has all the earmarks of a best seller!

Catherine Haynes flees from her childhood home when her cousin makes unsatisfactory decisions for her future. Traveling from England to Louisiana is no small feat, especially for a young woman. When the boat she is aboard is damaged by a storm, she becomes acquainted with a particular handsome Salvage wrecker, Tom Worthington. While waiting in Key West, she is able to ascertain that Tom's character is as appealing as his appearance. When the opportunity presents itself, Catherine finds a passage to her American mothers estranged home at Black Oak plantation. Tom insists on escorting Catherine, even if it means losing his hard-earned position as a wrecker. Upon arrival will she be welcomed or will dark and ominous secrets be harbored within Black Oak's confines?

Tom has his own dark past, and although he finds Catherine to be intriguing and his heart is definitely attracted to her spirited character, Tom has other reasons as to why he wants to accompany Catherine. Tom desperately wants to avenge his father's untimely death and get his father's boat back. Catherine may just be the person to lead him to the devious stranger with the unusual scar marring his face.

This book was so emotionally charged and raw, It had me anchored to it until the very end. I so enjoyed the historical background and found myself researching "wreckers," so compelling! Johnson does a fantastic job of making her characters relatable and the plot irresistible! The dark evil villain seriously sent chills through me! I am looking forward to Johnson's next book, she is now on my favorite author's list. 
Certainly, a must read!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

THE AUTHOR

Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson is the author of several books for Steeple Hill and Love Inspired and has been twice named a finalist for Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® award. When not writing, she loves to hike and explore God's majestic creation. These...
Continue reading about Christine Johnson

Friday, 29 September 2017

Book Review: Fault Lines

From the Back:

What if reality is only the edge of possibility?

There isn't much that can throw Charlie Hazard off balance. But the mystery woman with the striking eyes and the intense request to follow her--now--is about to shake his world. Knowing little more than her name, Charlie leaves his post as a guard at the Satellite Beach community center for what he thinks is just another risk-containment job. But Gabriella, an experimental psychologist, has far more in store for him than protection duty--if the two of them survive the test.

Reese Clawson relishes her work at the Combine and all the perks and power that come with it--including the ability to manipulate perceptions. But the Combine never anticipated this mind-shifting technology. If Gabriella's experiments succeed, the Combine would be destroyed. And Reese will never allow that to happen.
My Reflections:
Thomas Locke is one in the same as award-winning Davis Bunn. I didn't know this when I ordered this book to review, so I found this to be an interesting fact! Another interesting tidbit is that Locke/Bunn writes differently under this pen name, his faith base is toned down under Locke. I wonder why, interesting? 
This is book one in the series which actually is book three, chronologically. I know confusing right? 
This techno-thriller will certainly keep your attention and the fast-paced plot will keep these pages burning hot, as you madly dash to the final word. 

I do have to say this type of subject matter is not usually my thing, can you say quantum physics.. um, yes if you know me this kind of talk would have me running, and fast! But that being said it was written in a cleverly simple manner and even I was able to understand it all.

Charlie Hazard is a risk containment specialist who finds his world turned upside down by a beautifully mysterious woman who pleads for assistance in a dangerous mission. will he accept, or will his common sense prevail?
Charlie is everything a hero should be, strong, handsome, steadfast and intense! 

If you are looking for something a little different, a little science fiction, a little romance and a lot action this may be your next fiction pick!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

Thomas Locke

Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, an award-winning novelist with worldwide sales of seven million copies in twenty languages. Davis divides his time between Oxford and Florida and holds a lifelong passion for speculative stories. He is the...
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Book Review: Friends, Partners and Lovers

From the Back:

Great marriages don't just happen--they're made, intentionally, day by day.

The number one cause of divorce isn't adultery or finances or disagreements. It's apathy--a lack of intentional emotional, physical, and mental investment in the relationship. It's forgetting that as a husband or wife you have three distinct roles: friend, partner, and lover.

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin A. Thompson shows how to live out those roles. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Whether you are starry-eyed in love or struggling to make it work, this book will show you how to keep your marriage healthy, strong, and fulfilling.
My Reflections:
With divorce rates ever increasing, I think it essential to continue to work on your marriage no matter if you are engaged or married for 50 years. Marriage is a continuum that is ever changing and quite frankly a full-time job! Don't get me wrong I love being married, have been since 1994, but Love is and always will be a choice. It is not automatic and second nature. At least it isn't for me, perhaps I am an oddity!  I am still happily married, and on the day of our wedding (me at 19), I heard all kinds of bets about how long they thought the union would last. I'm happy to say I married the man of my dreams! It's a choice, folks!

About Kevin Thompson's book Friends, Partners, and Lovers, Thompson offers up a buffet of guidance and practical, no-nonsense approach to making marriage successful.
I found this book easy to read, as it is well laid out and written in an inspiring manner. It is not overly preachy and very gender balanced. Of course, every book like this needs to start in the Lovers section, wink, wink. (it is the last section in the index.)
This book is well-written, and although I didn't find new information, I think it would be a good read for couples who are in need of counsel or in new relationships. Other topics include Part 1: Friend, Part 2 Partner and lastly part 3 Lover.

Overall this is a fantastic book to give to newlyweds or to have in the church library. A great reminder to us long wed folks and a great tool to open up conversations between husband and wife.

This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital...
Continue reading about Kevin A. Thompson

Monday, 25 September 2017

Book Review: Jesus I Need You


From The Back Of The Book:

Good times. Bad times. In-between times. When your daily ordeals threaten to overwhelm you, the simple prayer “Jesus, I need You”offers peace and rest.
Whether you’re experiencing a season of heartache or a season of joy, a time of questioning or a time of deep gratitude, the vulnerable prayers featured throughout will meet you where you are. With space for journaling, Jesus, I Need You will quiet your mind and heart as you discover the Lord’s faithfulness and lovingkindness.
Find the comfort, hope, and celebration you seek as you ground your faith in the Savior who can be trusted in all circumstances.

My Reflections:

Jesus, I need you is a beautifully written composition of prayers from the heart. the notebook type hardbound book offers readers space to reflect, journal and thoughtfully write responses to the prayers written. I enjoyed the inclusion of Bible verses relevant to the topics. 

Topics included are: Jesus I need you/your

-Guidance

-When I feel Overwhelmed

-When I Feel Gratitude

-When I feel Heartache

-Comfort

-Grace

-When I feel Disappointment

-Faith and Hope

-Wisdom

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and journaling my thoughts prayers and notes in this lovely book. This would make a splendid gift! If you are looking for a way to journal and spend a little quiet time with God this is a beautifully done book with lots to offer.

This book was given to me free of charge in return for my honest review from Book Look Bloggers, My opinions are my own.
Thank you, Book Look!

Book Review: Doing Busy Better

From the Back:

"I know what it means to have Jesus set me free from stress and striving. If that's what you long for too, Glynnis is here to help. Her words are a lifeline for the worn-out and weary."--Holley GerthWall Street Journal bestselling author of You're Already Amazing


Does this sound familiar? When you're busy, you feel guilty you aren't spending time with family or God. Then, when you try to rest, you feel guilty because there's so much left to do. It's an endless cycle of overwork and exhaustion.

Enough is enough! In this burden-lifting book, Glynnis Whitwer helps you examine your heart and your schedule in order to seek a healthy, holy, and enjoyable balance between work and rest. She shows you how to prioritize your goals and your time, how to be present in the moment as Jesus was, and how to find the freedom of true soul rest. Most importantly, she shows you that your worth is found not in your accomplishments but in the love of the One who made you for work and for rest.
My Reflections:
Glynnis Whitwer offers sound advice on our often overwhelmed and busy lives. This author delves into who we are in Christ and helps us remember that what we do is not "who we are." I really resonated with how she described that God sees us as his children. What we think we should be doing or what others perceive us to be, is not of consequence. God's identity for us is already set, he already know's who we are and doing more and being more will not change who he knows us to be. 

 I love that I can give my day to God and just follow his lead. Is helping with GEMS, running my own small business and constantly running kids to the next activity what he wants me to be doing with my precious time? Possibly, but when we take the time to really evaluate our lives and look at it from an eternity perspective, things tend to take on a slightly adjusted priority level. We are given rest, we don't have to madly dash from one thing to another without...rest... Oh, how my heart needed to hear this simple concept. I always feel guilty when I rest, like I am supposed to always be on. That is so unhealthy!

This book helped me realize the destructive path of doing more and accomplishing little. Glynnis shares her heart and struggles with business and taking the time to rest, I loved how she backed up her statements with biblical evidence and wisdom. 
This book touches on an area every woman can relate to, a must read for all of us!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

Glynnis Whitwer

Glynnis Whitwer, executive director of communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries, is a regular contributor to Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 email devotional, reaching over a million women each day. She is the author of Taming the To-Do...
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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Book Review: The Return

From The Back:

In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans--but then she never had to. Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.

Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.
My Reflections:
Suzanne Woods Fisher has once again penned a deeply touching and entertaining story. Amish fiction has been taken to a completely new level with "The Return." This novel is based on real-life events that took place early in our history, it delves into the challenges of settling in a new land, and the joys and sorrows of all involved this process.

I think I really connected with the characters, setting, and plot I found that I didn't want this book to end! I absolutely loved how Woods Fisher penned with absolute attention to detail, the historical aspect of this book is exquisitely written.

Hans has to deal with the aftermath of loosing his fiance, Betsy in an Indian attack. His anger and resentment are eating him up inside, will he be able to forgive and possibly start a life with Tessa?

All Tessa has ever dreamed about in a partner is none other than Hans, strong, capable and oh so attractive. Unfortunately, his heart seems stuck on the perfect yet absent Betsy. Will she be able to get Hans attention now that Betsy is gone? Guilt and desire are at war in Tessa's young life, yet she seems unable to control her wayward feelings.

Betsy being held captive by the natives is torn between her love for her upbringing and a new found "family." Although things are hard Betsy finds a new normal and starts to develop a relationship with a caring and compassionate native man. Will she ever be reunited with her brothers and her family?

I so enjoyed how this novel shows all sides of the characters involved. We see a glimpse of the different native tribes and how they were structured, one a warring tribe the other a peaceful community. Also, we meet a traditional Amish family, a Mennonite family, and the other resident settlers it is quite the mix of characters and plot lines which makes for a realistic and entertaining read!

If you are looking for a moving novel with an action-packed plot, "The Return" may just be what you are looking for!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


© Dan Davis Photography

Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna's CrossingThe Newcomer, and The Return in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop's Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill...
Continue reading about Suzanne Woods Fisher
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