Friday, September 15, 2017

Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley

Three women. Three impossible circumstances. One merciful God.
Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God's mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don't deserve it.
Third in a trilogy, Mercy Triumphs opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, 
Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for new believers, those who are persecuted for their faith, and even for the salvation of the persecutors.
Mercy Triumphs is the third novel in the trilogy written by Jana Kelley. Picking up a little while after A Door to Freedom, this novel focuses in on some different themes than the first two novels did. The focus shifts from persecution of believers to the struggles of new believers and to trusting in God no matter what the circumstances. Halimah struggles with how to embrace her new freedom Christ yet at the same time not lose sight of the reason why she is free and who her identity is in. Her dilemma is one that is faced by believers in many different cultures, and it was thought provoking to see first her gradual acceptance and then her eventual conviction from the Word and other believers. Rania struggles with the desire to stay safe yet at the same time share the truth with members of her family who do seem interested. I was drawn into both sisters' situations, how they turned to the Word, and the eventual resolution. 
Mia's case was a little different. I cannot say too much without giving away part of the story, but I was convicted by Mia's initial lack of trust in God, in two very different settings, and how in both cases she had to remember to turn back to God and to trust in His guidance. It was also thought provoking to see her realization that she can show mercy, kindness, and share God's love no matter where or with whom she is. Overall, I highly enjoyed the themes of this final novel. The writing style is still very choppy and simplistic, and even three books later I still have trouble relating to Mia's character, but the message of this book is very clear and important for believers to remember. 
 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review. Read more reviews of Mercy Triumphs at http://litfusegroup.com/author/jkelley. 
About the author:

Author of the captivating novel "Side by Side," Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.
Find out more about Jana at http://www.janakelley.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

  She's out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets-now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary's challenge of a lifetime comes when she's assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?
Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown-so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.
Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth-about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.
A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White marks the first book in her new series, Shadows Over England. Set in pre-WWI England, this novel was enjoyable, thought provoking, and extremely well written. The plot line was well developed and included moments of humor, romance, betrayal, mystery, and suspense. The themes of the novel were incorporated flawlessly and delved into matters of forgiveness, what it means to be a child of God, the value of a person, trust, and honesty. I loved how Peter and Roseanna communicated through letters, and how Peter helped point Roseanna so carefully to her value as a child of God, someone who could be saved regardless of their past sins. I enjoyed seeing the relationship that had been built between Roseanna and her adopted 'siblings', and their amusing bets. I also particularly loved watching Peter and Roseanna discover more about one another and how each helped strengthen one another's failings. Overall, I found this novel to be charming and inspiring, and I look forward to seeing how the next novel in this new series plays out!
 I received this novel from Litfuse Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.  
About the author:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.
Find out more about Roseanna M. at http://www.roseannamwhite.com.


High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin




In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin is a well crafted historical novel that delves into life during WWI in German occupied Brussels. I thought the storyline was well written and included the perfect amount of suspense, mystery, danger, romance, and tragedy. Kate Breslin did an excellent job researching life during WWI behind enemy lines, and I felt very connected to the story, characters, and setting. The novel also contained well integrated topics, such as forgiveness (of others and oneself) and sacrifice. The main characters, Evelyn and Simon, are realistic and well developed, and I found myself heartbroken for Evelyn as she had to deal with the horrors of war and what she had endured. I loved watching her work through her past and find renewal and hope. Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would definitely recommend this novel and Kate Breslin's other novels to readers who enjoy well written and intriguing historical fiction.

I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden


It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

To the Farthest Shores was an intriguing and enjoyable read that explored some heart wrenching consequences of duty, secrets, and dueling commitments. I enjoyed learning more about the pearl trade and industry in the early 1900's, and I loved how pearls both tore Ryan and Jenny apart and forced them to work together again. I could certainly see the depth of research Camden put into her story, and it made the novel very believable. The plot line of this novel was superbly written, and featured suspense, danger, intrigue, and romance in a way that left me glued to the pages. The topics of forgiveness, trust, and honesty were beautifully interwoven throughout the novel in a way that left no doubt of their importance in friendships and deeper relationships. I thought the characters in this novel were well developed, realistic, and easy to relate to. Jenny and Ryan were both complex characters that had much to learn from one another and from God as they sought to move beyond their pasts and to not repeat the same mistakes again. I also appreciated the other minor characters and their role in bringing the main characters together. Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would definitely recommend it and all of Elizabeth Camden's novels to any reader who loves a complex, satisfying historical romance.

I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking by Natalie Perry





The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking by Natalie  Perry

  In The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking, well-respected and widely read paleo blogger Natalie Perry focuses mostly on main courses for dinner, but there are breakfast, lunch, snack, and sweets/desserts ideas as well. The more than 200 recipes in the book include appetizers and snacks, soups and chilis, poultry, beef, pork and lamb, fish and seafood, vegetable sides, desserts, and pantry basics. The recipes are creative and new incorporating global flavors with roots in Asian, Latin, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Most of these recipes have never before appeared in print.




I thought this cookbook was well written and included a good variety of Paleo recipes. I already follow Natalie Perry's blog, and I was very excited to see this cookbook! I definitely plan on incorporating many of these recipes into my weekly meals, and I think many of these recipes fit my need for meals I can just throw into the Crockpot but that also improve my variety in meals that I can prepare. I thought the organization was also helpful, and I liked the variety of cooking styles available in the book. I definitely plan on buying this cookbook, and I would highly recommend it to fellow Paleo eaters looking to increase their slow cooker recipe collection.

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results--and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson is the second novel in her Evie Blackwell Cold Case series, but it can be read as a standalone novel, as far as plot line goes. However, to fully appreciate Evie as a character and to have a better understanding of her development, I would recommend reading Traces of Guilt first. Threads of Suspicion is a well crafted novel that dives into two separate cold cases related to mysterious disappearances...that might not be as separate as they first thought. I enjoyed seeing how Evie and David collaborated with one another, other members of their team, and other agencies to rebuild these cold cases and to begin to track down missing clues. I thought that the storyline flowed well, though there were times when the story dragged some, even if it did match how the characters were feeling about their cold cases. I also appreciated the character development into Evie and David as they learned more about one another and themselves as they were placed under increasing tension and stress related to both their jobs and their personal lives. Overall, I enjoyed the plot and characters of this novel, and I would highly recommend this book (and Dee Henderson's novels in general) to anyone who loves a good suspense/mystery novel that also does not shy away from full character and story development.

I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Daughter's Legacy by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould


Virginia, 1864
Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?

Virginia, present day
Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.
Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Daughter's Legacy is the third novel in the Cousins of Dove trilogy, and it wraps up a truly intriguing mystery that has stretched across the three novels. I picked up this book without realizing it was the last book, but I still heartily enjoyed the mystery and suspense of Nicole's past, along with the other three girls. I thought the authors did an excellent job creating both a good conclusion and an interesting stand alone novel. The novel delves into two women's lives, one in modern day Virginia, and the other in a Civil War torn Richmond.

The modern day story, Nicole's, was told with first person narrative, and I felt very connected to Nicole's thoughts and emotions as she wrestled with her old fears and her new life. Since I did not know the extent of her past from the first two novels, I did not have as much of a comparison of her previous life choices to her current life as a recovering addict, but I could still appreciate her courage and her reliance on both God and other Christian people around her to maintain her changes.

The Civil War story concerns Therese Jennings, one of Nicole's relatives, and it was told with third person narrative, but I still felt connected to Therese's struggles and dreams as she tries to navigate the divide between her family duties and her personal convictions. I enjoyed the suspense I tried to figure out which Talbot man she ended up marrying, and I was satisfied with the result, if not completely sold on the build up to that point.

Overall, I thought the two parallel stories worked well together, and I liked how there were multiple chapters at a time from one woman's perspective so that the parallel stories were not too scattered. I also enjoyed the conclusion of the past tragedy that had haunted Nicole and her cousins, and I was definitely surprised by the results. I look forward to going back and reading the first two novels now.

I received this novel from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.
Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania.

Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including "Beyond the Blue" and "Garden of Dreams." She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.