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Friday, May 30, 2014

A Deadly Business by Lis Wiehl


If the hours don't kill you, the accused just might.
Mia Quinn is a Seattle prosecutor working on high profile cases in the Violent Crimes unit while juggling the impossible demands of single parenthood. Her husband, Scott, was killed in a car crash that homicide detective Charlie Carlson now believes was no accident. Charlie's instincts and professional record make it impossible for Mia to refute the evidence she'd rather not believe.

When the powers that be refuse to reopen the case, it's up to Mia and Charlie to investigate, all the while trying to deny a growing attraction between them. Was her accountant husband really in league with nefarious criminals? And who is the young woman whose photo they find on his computer?
Uncovering the truth may hurt Mia in more ways than one.

Seventy hours a week, unending pressures at work and home, attempted attacks by defendants, and the chance that her husband was murdered. Mia Quinn has an insane lifestyle that is only getting more deadly. A Deadly Business by Lis Wiehl is an action-packed novel that mixes a little legal action with a mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end. The second Mia Quinn mystery, A Deadly Business ties in well with the first novel, but if you did not read A Matter of Trust, you would be able to read this novel without too much confusion because the books does give a little background on what has happened before. The plot line is well developed and thrilling, containing elements of mystery, suspense, mystery, a little romance, and unexpected twists that kept me riveted to the pages. There is not much mention of God in this novel, but Mia is becoming more open to the idea of trusting God and forgiving others, even as she learns more bad news about her husband's character. The majority of the mystery and action in A Deadly Business occurs outside of the courtroom, which was a little disappointing because I enjoy a good courtroom scene and some legal action, but it fit the nature and plot of the book so it was not a huge issue for me. 

The characters of the novel were dynamic and well-developed, and since the majority were characters that were in the first novel, the second novel added a lot of added depth and knowledge about their personalities for the reader. Mia experiences a lot of turmoil in this novel, and it really allowed me to connect with her character as she still tried to provide for her family and to find out the truth. There are two great male characters, Eli and Charlie, that are very different and are both very interested in Mia. They make excellent foils to her character and provide additional depth and intrigue to the story. There was less emphasis on Mia's children in this novel, but there was enough to understand how they are growing and how much Mia cares for them.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would definitely recommend A Deadly Business to any reader who loves a good mystery/thriller.
I received this novel for free from Book Look Bloggers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble


The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange the respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.
Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.
Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?

Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble was the second novel in the Hope Beach series. The plot line of the novel was interesting and contained elements of mystery, romance, and suspense. There were many twists in the story that I did not expect, and I was tied to the novel the whole time. The characters were fairly well developed and realistic and encountered unexpected circumstances and situations that helped them grow in their strengths and their weaknesses as they overcame them. I liked both Gina and Curtis, and I thought that they worked well together as they began to trust God again as well as one another as they sought to find the truth. Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to seeing if Colleen Coble writes any more novels that include Tidewater Inn. I received this novel for free from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma

In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family.
Prussia, 1945

The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst. Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her.

The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye,  Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Joseph Cramer. Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion. But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family.

In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma was a startling look into the countryside of Prussia and Germany as 1945 came to a close and as the Red Army made its way towards Berlin. The descriptions of the events that take place, such as the fleeing of German refugees who are only women, the old, and the young while being bombed by Allied planes, the ravaging of women and the killing of innocents by the Russians, the hanging of "traitors" and their families by the Nazis, and the overall death, despair, and starvation that comes with a war that won't end, are haunting and are based on the true events that one of the author's relatives faced. The story line was riveting and quick paced, and it was hard to put the novel down. While a significant part of the novel did concern the travesties of the war and the innocent citizens who received a large portion of the devastation, there was also an undercurrent of love, courage, forgiveness (for oneself and others), and trusting God and others that brought a bright spot of hope into the novel. Daisies are Forever.

I also really enjoyed the characters of the novel. They were well developed, realistic, and had very different goals for their lives. Gisela, Mitch, Kurt, and Audra formed a very odd romantic situations, but I liked seeing Gisela and Mitch begin to rely on one another and God, Audra move past her own desires, and Kurt begin to find new life after his injury. I wish more had been said about what happened to Kurt in the epilogue. The other minor characters like the elderly sisters and the two young girls add more depth to the story and add some comic relief at times. Overall, I found this novel to be insightful and historically revealing look into what was happening in Berlin in 1945, as well as a sweet romantic novel.

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

The Soda Fountain by Gia Giasullo, Peter Freeman, Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain, and Elizabeth Kiem


A collection of 70 recipes celebrating the history and stories of the classic American soda fountain from one of the most-celebrated revival soda fountains in the country, Brooklyn Farmacy.
     A century ago, soda fountains on almost every Main Street in America served as the heart of the community, where folks shared sundaes, sodas, ice cream floats, and the news of the day. A quintessentially American institution, the soda fountain still speaks of a bygone era of innocence and ease. When Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain opened its doors in 2010, it launched a revival of this great American original, capturing the hearts of a new generation.

Photographed by Michael Harlan Turkel and written by Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman, the Soda Fountain incorporates beautiful pictures, delicious recipes, and an intriguing history of where the American soda fountain orginated from and how it has evolved over the decades. I enjoyed reading about the history of the soda fountain and how it and other sodas were originally created. The book is broken into two parts; the first is the stories surrounding the soda fountain, and the second part is the recipes. The stories discuss how the soda fountain began as a therapy and was actually sold within pharmacies because seltzer was supposed to have healing and therapeutic properties. The second chapter is about the Golden Age of the soda fountain and the process by which the soda fountain recipes changed, grew, and sundaes and floats were created as well. The third chapter discusses the changes that occurred to the soda fountain phenomenon as Prohibition and the Jazz Age changed the ingredients in the fizzy delights in order to combat the banning of alcohol. The fourth and the final chapter in the first part of the book are about how the soda fountain began to decline around World War II and then about its revival in some places, such as the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain that was founded in 2010.

The second part of the book includes the basics behind making the floats, the  recipes to make the soda fountain syrups, and then how to create the soda fountain drinks themselves. Other recipes include how to make Floats, Egg creams, Sundaes, Milkshakes, Toppings, and even Baked Goods that can be eaten separately or put into some of these concoctions. The pictures and the recipes look delicious, and  the couple of recipes that I have made so far have been great. I made the PB&J cookies (page 184) were excellent, and the Orangenius (page 96) float was great too, though I had to make a few adjustments because I did not have all of the ingredients. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fascinating history of the soda fountain and some delicious recipes of all types. This book makes a great coffee table topper as well with its beautiful cover and photos of both the recipes and the history of the drink.

I received this novel for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Stranger Things by Erin Healy


In the forest’s burned-out hollow, a house of dark secrets also glows with bright promise.
Serena’s career as a high school biology teacher comes to a halt when an angry student makes shocking accusations. Stunned and suspended, Serena retreats to the forest where she usually finds peace of mind. But on this day she encounters a killer and his prisoner—as well as a stranger who dies to save Serena’s life.
The stranger, Christopher, had dedicated his life to rescuing girls from forced prostitution—starting with his sister Amber. They formed a tiny nonprofit organization to protect girls and have been working furiously to bring down John Roman, the powerful criminal who first took Amber and has ruined scores of young women's lives since.
When Christopher’s grieving colleagues suspect Serena of being in league with Roman, her life spirals further out of control. How will she clear her name? Why did this stranger protect her with his life?

Stranger Things by Erin Healy is an intriguing and powerful novel that speaks to the ultimate gift of a stranger giving his life to save another. What could be a stranger thing? And yet that is what Jesus Christ did for all of us, and in the same way Christopher died to save Serena from death. The plot line of this novel was well written and thought-provoking as important themes such as sacrifice, love, and forgiveness were intertwined into the tragedy, love, and mystery that filled the pages. I had trouble putting the book down as I was drawn into the suspense and unexpected twists that surrounded the fight to reveal the sex-trade ring that kidnapped young girls. While the subject matter was incredibly sad and tore at my heart, I enjoyed seeing how the characters began trusting God and putting together the pieces of the information they had to form the whole picture and to redeem the tragedies. Stranger Things contained Erin's unique blend of the supernatural and the physical, and the two mixed well as the story line played out. The characters were well developed and very realistic, and I liked seeing how they ended up working together. I really liked both Serena and Christopher. Christopher's overwhelming dedication and ultimate sacrifice showed a beautiful picture of what it means to give up one's life for another. Serena was a very conflicted character whose life was ripped out from under her, and she had to struggle to find out the truth and to do what was right in light of Christopher's sacrifice. Overall, I have loved all of Erin Healy's novels, but Stranger Things really caused me to think and to connect with the themes and the characters in a convicting way. I would highly recommend this novel for any reader looking for a suspense novel that has a touch of supernatural and a compelling storyline and theme.
I received this novel for free from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Outlaw by Ted Dekker


The story of how I, Julian Carter, and my precious two-year old son, Stephen, left Atlanta Georgia and found ourselves on a white sailboat, tossed about like a cork on a raging sea off of Australia's northern tip in 1963, is harrowing.

But it pales in comparison to what happened deep in the jungle where I was taken as a slave by a savage tribe unknown to the world. Some places dwell in darkness so deep that even God seems to stay away.

There, my mind was torn in two by the gods of the earth. There, one life ended so another could begin.

Some will say I was a fool for making the choices I made. But they would have done the same. They, too, would have embraced death if they knew what I knew, and saw through my eyes.

My name is Julian and this is my story. But more, it is the story of my son who was born to change the world.


Outlaw by Ted Dekker was a fantastic novel that boggled the mind and touched the heart. This novel is part of the Outlaw Chronicles and acts as a kind of prequel to Eyes Wide Open, Water Walker, and Hacker as the past and true nature of the "Outlaw" is revealed. Set in the Indonesian jungle very much like where Ted Dekker grew up, the novel delves into another culture where white people are never seen and the rules and customs are completely different than what Julian has ever experienced. The plot-line of Outlaw was excellent; well-written and kept me glued to the pages, eager to learn more. I was blown away by the intricate descriptions of the people, their customs, and the scenery as Julian was forced to begin a new life and to take on a new role as the wife and child-bearer to one of the chiefs. I was brought to tears by the great losses, trials, and darkness that both Julian and the natives she grew to love faced when evil and the warring tribe invaded their midst. I was convicted by the great love and sacrifice Julian demonstrated for those she loved even when she faced certain death. Most of all, I loved the redemption, love, and truth spoken by one wise man as he revealed God's truth to his young protegee in an unique way. As he prepared this young boy to battle evil and to lead others Out of the Law and darkness to which they were bound and into the light of God's overwhelming love and forgiveness. Outlaw.
I found Outlaw to be wonderfully well written and highly compelling as the real cultures that Ted experienced as a child were woven into the story and as I began to link this story to themes and situations that happened in Ted's novels like the Circle Trilogy and the Paradise Trilogy. I cannot wait to read this book again and delve further into the world of the Outlaw with Water Walker and Hacker.
I received this novel for free from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tide and Tempest by Elizabeth Ludwig


Two years ago, her fiance perished
during their voyage to America.

Now she discovers it may have been murder...

Dreaming of a better life, Tillie McGrath leaves Ireland behind and, with her beloved fiance by her side, sets sail for America. But when illness robs her of the man she holds dear, she's left alone with only a handful of tattered memories. While forging on proves difficult, Tillie soon finds some new friends at her New York boardinghouse, and begins pursuing a new dream--to open a home for orphaned children.

Despite two years passing, Captain Keondric Morgan has never forgotten the lass who left his ship so heartbroken. When a crewman's deathbed confession reveals her fiance's demise was the result of murder, the captain knows he must try to contact her. But his attention draws the notice of others as well--dangerous men who believe Tillie has in her possession something that could expose their crimes. And to their way of thinking, the best way to prevent such an outcome is to seize the evidence and then hand Tillie the same fate as her naïve fiance.

Tide and Tempest by Elizabeth Ludwig is the third book in her Edge of Freedom series, and it is an exciting and heartfelt read. The novel ties back wonderfully with the first two novels in the series and continued the backstory that began in the first book. However, a person could still read this novel on its own without too much confusion, though they would not have as much connection to the characters. The plot line of the novel was interesting and well developed and included a good mixture of romance, danger, and mystery. The themes of the novel were convicting and clear and were based on topics such as the importance of forgiving yourself and others, trusting God, and realizing that there are many events in life you cannot control. The characters in this novel were primarily characters that had been seen, sometimes only briefly, in the previous two novels. I already liked Tillie from the previous books, but I enjoyed getting to know more about her and her struggles in this novel. Both Captain Morgan and his brother Cass were wonderful additions to the storyline, and I was amused both by their interactions with each other and with Tillie. While I liked both brothers, I really liked Cass and my heart broke for him, so I hope there is a future novel that stars him a little more. I thought Captain Morgan and Tillie worked well together as they both learned more about one another and how to move past the guilt and shame they carried both from previous mistakes and challenges.

Overall I enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to reading more of Elizabeth Ludwig's novels. I would highly recommend Tide and Tempest and the rest of the Edge of Freedom series to any reader who enjoys historical romance novels with a twist of danger and Irish flair.
I received this novel for free from Netgalley.com and Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Unraveled by Heidi McCahan


Blind-sided by her questionable fiance, Lauren Carter returns to the one place she's been avoiding, the place she used to call home. As she's forced to look into the eyes of her past and even worse, her unraveling future she discovers that running only leaves you out of breath on a dead end street. Will she choose to unveil the secrets that haunt her? Or will she bury them once and for all and embrace a new life so different from the one she once held dear?

Blake Tully, wildly successful and breathtakingly winsome owner of a new rafting business, finds Lauren's unexpected reappearance confusing. As he torments himself with what if's and what should've been, he can't mistake the feeling that crawls down his spine every time he looks at her. Although she broke his heart once, he longs to give his childhood sweetheart another chance, but can he convince her to stop running away when life gets tough? And can he forgive her when he discovers the reason she's been hiding?

Unraveled by Heidi McCahan was a sweet and touching novel that I had trouble putting down. The storyline was well-written, quick-paced, and had a wonderful mix of romance, unexpected danger, mystery, and suspense. I liked how the book was set primarily in rural Alaska and contained descriptions and events, like rafting, that demonstrated the beauty and wild nature of the area. The themes of this novel were clear and convicting and included topics such as the importance of forgiveness, honesty, and being willing to trust and to love again despite heartache. I thought that Unraveled really caused the reader to think about how past mistakes and refusing to face one's faults can hurt those you love and cause more pain than admitting your mistakes. The novel was narrated from the third person point of view, but the perspective from which the story was told alternated between Blake and Lauren. This style allowed the reader to identify with both main characters and to understand what each was thinking and feeling. The novel did have some grammatical issues and places where words were missing, but it did not detract significantly from the story.

The characters in Unraveled were well-developed, realistic, and enjoyable to read about. Both Lauren and Blake were interesting characters who had their share of strengths, weaknesses, and struggles that they had to work through. I really liked Blake. He never truly gave up on Lauren, and he was able to offer forgiveness even when she devastated him, first by leaving, and then with her return and her secrets. I had a harder time connecting with Lauren because she was unwilling to stop running and to turn to God and trust Him. However, as I learned more about her life, her past, and her concerns, I was able to understand her actions more and to relate more to her personality. The minor characters in this novel added to the complexity of the story and contributed both advice and barriers to Lauren and Blake's lives, depending on the character. There were a couple aspects concerning the characters that I did not particularly like. I wish that Lauren's return to God had been clearer. One of the women in her life was always offering her advice and sharing God's Word and His love with Lauren, but Lauren never really began trusting and praying to God again. I think that the redemption of the story would have been more realistic and convicting if Lauren had explicitly returned not only to Blake but also to her relationship with God. Another conclusion that I found odd in Unraveled considering the novel's themes was the lack of forgiveness offered by several characters to Aunt Jane. Aunt Jane came in and temporarily wrecked everyone's lives, but she simply disappeared out of the story in the end and was still mentioned by her sister and others in a bitter manner. I would have liked  there to have been more closure with Aunt Jane even if forgiveness was not yet possible for the characters to express.

Overall, I really enjoyed Unraveled, and I would highly recommend to readers looking for a tender, romantic novel that emphasizes important values such as forgiveness, honesty, and trust. I look forward to reading more of Heidi McCahan's novels in the future!
I received this novel from the author and Winslet Press in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead


The quest for answers—and ultimate survival—hinges on finding the cosmic link between the Skin Map, the Shadow Lamp, and the Spirit Well.

The search for the map of blue symbols began in a rainy alley in London but has since expanded through space and time and includes more seekers.
Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust.
At the same time, the Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R Lawhead is the fourth book in the Bright Empires Series and leaves you no closer to knowing what is going to happen in the epic conclusion (The Fatal Tree: Book 5, releasing in September 2014). I have read Lawhead's Song of Albion series and his King Raven series, but none of these compare to the complexity and confusion that I find myself in when reading the Bright Empire Series. And I still cannot decide if I like the confusion or the series yet. I only the final novel left to read, so I guess I will have to decide when the series concludes. On one hand, I think that the complexity of multiple storylines, scores of characters, locations, and eras, that are continued in The Shadow Lamp fits with the concept of countless ley lines connecting time and space that characterizes this series. On the other hand, the fractured storyline makes the novel hard to connect with and causes me to struggle to read it for at least the first third of each novel.

However, I do think as the series continues that more of the storylines are becoming connected and makes the story easier to follow. Book 2, The Bone House, and Book 3, The Spirit Well, were the hardest to stick with because there was an increase in storylines and characters added to the story. In The Shadow Lamp, these stories begin to converge and characters start working together in the same place (though the time and setting change often). I think the last novel will finally converge the remaining characters as the end of universe comes close. Many of the plot lines of this novel ended on a climatic or interested note, so it will be intriguing to see how the author deals with these developments in the conclusion of the series. In addition, new relationships develop between characters in this novel which interested me, and I look forward to seeing how these turn out.

More of the theories behind the ley lines, the Spirit Well, and the Skin Map and why the universe appears to be slowing are explained in The Shadow Lamp, and I found this very helpful and intriquing. While I found the theories concerning the relationship between past and present time, humans, and God to be very interesting, I did not like how the characters believed that the future existed outside of God's control in order for humans to actually have some type of "God-given" effect in their future. That made no sense and is not true. I did find their theory about Jesus' resurrection completely changing the past, present, and future in a way that God intended to be interesting though obviously not completely accurate since they seemed to be assuming that Jesus was simply a man raised from the dead instead of the Son of God. Despite my disagreements with the theology in some areas of the novel, I did enjoy the theories and arguments about the universe, time, and its completion since they caused me to really have to think in order to understand what was being said.

Overall, I enjoyed The Shadow Lamp once I was able to connect to the novel, and I thought it contained a good mix of science, action, a little romance, and dangerous suspense. I look forward to reading the dramatic conclusion,  The Fatal Tree, when it is released later this year. I received this novel for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Glittering Promises by Lisa T Bergren


Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her. America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try...

Glittering Promises by Lisa T Bergren is the third and final installment in the Grand Tour Series. I enjoyed this novel, and I thought it was a good ending to the series, though I was not ready to say goodbye to the characters. The plot-line was filled with more suspense, unexpected twists, and grieving occurrences as the Grand Tour came to a close and as the danger that has followed them for two novels comes to a head. I was glad that the love triangle that surrounded Cora finally worked out, but I was not really sure if I liked the way that it occurred. However, as I finished the novel, I liked the set-up of the situation more. The descriptions of rural Italy was beautiful and pulled me in as if I was actually there. I really liked the end of the novel; I thought it was a really sweet ending. I enjoyed how the characters became stronger and how Cora, Felix, and others began to take a stand for themselves and to discover what they were good at. Cora also learned more about what it meant to trust and to follow God as her Heavenly Father even when the rest of the world seemed to be falling apart. Overall, I really enjoyed Glittering Promises and this series, and I look forward to more of Lisa Bergren's writings. I would recommend both the Grand Tour Series and the River of Time Series.
I received this novel for free from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Grave Consequences by Lisa T Bergren


For Cora Kensington, the journey of a lifetime takes unexpected twists. And her future—her very life—depends on the decisions she’ll make at each crossroad. As her European tour with her new found family takes her through Austria, France, and Italy, an unseen enemy trails close behind. Meanwhile, a forbidden love continues to claim her heart, putting everyone’s plans in danger. And as Cora stays one step ahead of it all, what might need the most protection is her own heart, torn between the dramatic pursuit of a dashing Frenchman and a man who has been quietly staking claim to her affections all along. Love has dangers all its own. She must escape the bonds of the past and discover the faith to make the right choices, as each one has grave consequences.

Grave Consequences by Lisa T Bergren is the second  novel in the Grand Tour series. I enjoyed this novel, and I thought it had a good mix of romance, suspense, and mystery. The plot line was well written, and its speed varied from slow to quick paced as the story moved along. At some points the novel did seem to drag, but I still enjoyed understanding more about Cora and Will's characters during those times. The story alternated between the first person point of view of Cora and the third person perspective of Will. The descriptions of Europe, particularly Austria, France, and Italy, were spectacular, and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful landscapes and architecture through Cora and her siblings' eyes. The characters were well-developed, and I liked learning more about the personalities and characteristics of Cora, Will, Pierre, the Morgan family, and the Kensington family. Will and Pierre were wonderful foils in their differences of personality, and Cora faced difficult decisions in deciding between them. Cora also had to learn to understand and to love her new family even when they were difficult to deal with. Her family in turn began to love and to trust Cora as one of their own, which helped add to the warmth of the novel. Overall I really enjoyed this novel, and I would highly recommend the Grand Tour Series to anyone looking for young adult novels that include romance, mystery, danger, and international travel.

I received this book for free from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life's next victory to Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected--Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne's been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She's only in town to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees--leaving Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person Anne knows in town, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means acting and dressing for polite society--and it's not going well for Anne. Meanwhile, Nick's work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with a rough-around-the-edges woman isn't helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others' expectations, can the pair find their way to love?

While Caught in the Middle is the third novel of Regina Jennings' Ladies of Caldwell County series, it is not necessary to read the first two novels to fall in love with Nick and Anne. While both were present in the previous books, they were only minor characters until this novel when their characters became more developed and gained a real air to them. This novel does contain mentions of past characters, such as Rosa and Molly, so it allows continuing readers to keep up with previous story-lines. The plot line of this novel was well-written and contained unexpected developments that added to the suspense and romance of the novel. The novel was told from the third person narrative, but the storyline alternated between the perspective of Nick and Anne so that the reader could identify with the thoughts and feelings of both main characters.

The characters in Caught in the Middle were definitely my favorite part of the novel. The secondary characters, while minor, still had unique personalities and added to the depth of the story. The main characters, Nick and Anne, were both well developed and realistic. Each had their own flaws and strengths, and this novel did an excellent job revealing their weaknesses and showing how they had to learn to trust God to overcome the areas were they struggled. Anne went from being neglected as a child to being abused as a wife, and as a result, she is hesitant to trust God or Nick. It was only through the love of those around her and as she realized what true Christianity looked like that she began to have a change of heart. Nick believed in God, but he did not understand that God's plan is not always the same as man's plan. Nick had to learn to trust and rely on God and pursue the truth in all areas even if it damaged his personal goals. Both characters grew significantly as individuals, but they also experienced change as they began to love and trust one another as well.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to reading more of Regina Jennings' novels, particularly the other novels in the Ladies of Caldwell series. I received this novel from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Death by the Book by Julianna Deering


Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?

 As the second book in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, I was not sure what to expect from Death by the Book. The mystery in the first novel, Rules of Murder, had been great, but I had not been impressed by the character development and the rushed relationship between Drew and Madeline. However, I was slightly reassured by Death by the Book. The plot line and mystery were about as good as the first one, and the person behind the murders was quite shocking. The storyline also pointed out the importance of trusting one another and not allowing un-forgiveness to turn to bitterness by ignoring it. I enjoyed learning more about Drew and Madeline in this novel as their relationship deepened and as they discovered more about one another. Madeline's Aunt Ruth was a great addition to the story because she was different than from both main characters and acted both as comic relief and a supposed foil to their relationship. Overall, I found this novel to be an exciting and entertaining mystery that I enjoyed reading.

I received this novel for free from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell




                                                       A girl with the best of intentions.
                                                            A heart set on Hollywood.
                                                              An empty pocketbook.
That's all it takes for Ellis Eton to find herself working as a telephone operator for a look-alike friend. For Ellis, this job will provide not only acting practice but the funds to get her a start in the movies. She's tired of always being a disappointment to her traditional Boston family, and though she can't deny the way he makes her head spin, she knows she's not good enough for Griffin Phillips, either. It's simple: avoid Griff's attentions, work, and get paid. But in typical Ellis fashion, her simple plan spirals out of control when she overhears a menacing phone call...with her very own Griff as the target.


Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell is a sweet and charming novel that follows the impetuous and well-intentioned Ellis Eton as she tries to understand what God's plan for her life is. The plot line is fantastic; I loved the storyline and its winding set-up that mirrors the haberdashery way in which Ellis both thinks and acts. The novel is filled with humor, romance, mystery, and problems that Ellis causes for herself when she forgets to think or to follow through. Ellis has trouble understanding the implications of her actions (or lack thereof) for others, but as the story unfolds, she begins to realize where her true heart lies and that life is not all fun and games. Set in the middle of the Prohibition, Ellis sees that foolhardy and carefree attitudes especially concerning alcohol can lead to trials and even death. However, despite the tragedy she sees, Ellis is able to help redeem the choices of one of the people she meets while trying to save Griffin from the plot she has uncovered. Griffin, though, or at least his crazy relationship with Ellis, is probably my favorite part of the novel. He spends all summer trying to tell Ellis something, and she keeps running from him because she does not want to be tied to Boston. However, despite her best intentions, their attraction to each other may run deeper than she thinks. I loved all of Griffin and Ellis's interactions with one another, especially when he has no idea what Ellis is doing and when Ellis and he begin to reveal their feelings for one another.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to reading more of the Siri Mitchell's works, especially in the Against All Expectations series. I received this novel for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Match Made in Texas

 There's a secret matchmaker at work in frontier Texas!
In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?
A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love? This was one of my favorites of the four novellas as it continues and ends the story of the Archer brothers that Karen Witemeyer's novels have followed. Neill is the youngest Archer, and he is trying to prove his worth to himself and his brothers. He ends up helping Clara fix her home, but he finds that he has more to care for than just a job. I enjoyed their relationship and how sweet Neill is to Clara despite her heritage.

An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on. This was probably my favorite of the novellas. Grace had a physical condition that made her blind, and Clayton had both a physical and emotional injury that made him wish to be unseen by women. Together, they learn from each others' weaknesses and how to move past old mistakes/disabilities and to start new lives.

No Match for Love by Carol Cox
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more? I thought that this novella was too rushed, even for a novella, and that the romance was too forced. The crazy actions around the farm were funny, and I really liked the aunt, but I did not like the romance between Andrew and Lucy as it evolved.

Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him? This novella was a great ending to the book. Not only did the other novellas tie into this one, but this novella was both sad as well as humorous. I loved Marcus because he was so clueless on how to interact with the woman he loved. I did not like the woman's father, and I thought that he detracted from the story because his character seemed very odd at times.

Overall, I really enjoyed this set of novellas. I thought they connected together well, and they were very enjoyable, quick reads. I received this eBook from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman



After her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until the rest of the Donovan clan arrives at the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed changes their futures forever.

Claiming Mariah was an interesting Western novel that was brimming with suspense and romance. The plot line was well developed and contained unexpected twists, moments of danger, romance, and tragedy. In addition, the themes of this movie were well written and included topics such as the importance of forgiveness, leaving revenge for God, trusting God and others, and being honest. There were moments where I was surprised by what happened in the story, but at other points I highly enjoyed what unfolded, such as the blossoming relationship between Slade and Mariah. I like that the relationship began slowly and did not appear to be forced into the storyline. Slade and Mariah were both interesting and realistic characters who each had their own distinct flaws and strengths that I could identify with. At the same time, learned more about themselves, each other, and about God as they learned from their mistakes and learned to trust both God and one another. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to reading more of Pam Hillman's works.

I received this novel for free from Tyndale House Press in exchange for an honest review.

A Table by The Window by Hillary Manton Lodge

 Read excerpt here

Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love 
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? 

A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge was a sweet and enjoyable novel that left me hungering for more. Literally. Scattered throughout the novel were classic Italian and French recipes that left my stomach growling in anticipation. The plot line was well written and includes topics like family secrets and love, mystery, and romance. The foods being made and the settings in the novel were well described and allowed me to envision what was going on. The themes of the novel were interesting, convicting, and included topics like forgiveness, importance of family, and moving past mistakes instead of allowing them to hold you back. The narration of the novel was third person but was still told from Juliette's perspectives, which allowed the reader to understand what was going on in her life and in her family circle.

The characters in this novel were probably my favorite aspect of this novel. I liked how realistic Juliette and her friends and family were and how open and nosy Juliette's family was. Everyone meddled in each others' business, but when there was a tragedy, they all banded together despite their differences. I enjoyed how different Juliette's brothers were and how they played off one another, but I also really liked how Neil did not fit in at all. However, despite that, he had an excellent personality and character that fit Juliette's strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed watching Juliette and Neil grow as characters as they interacted and learned to trust God more, and I also was glad that Nico finally "grew up" and took responsibility for past mistakes and attitudes. I also really liked (and hated at the same time) how the novel ended on a cliffhanger about what was going to happen to Juliette as well as the mysterious man in the photo. It left me eager to read the next novel in this series.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would definitely recommend it to any reader looking for a novel that can make you smile one minute, cry another, and laugh a chapter later, as well as entertain you with delicious recipes.
I received this novel for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpufRe
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf
Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=223982#sthash.OdJBd97B.dpuf

The Future Door by Jason Lethcoe


When Sherlock Holmes moves out of Baker Street, a new tenant moves in—a mysterious woman named Elizabeth who has long been a fan of Holmes. When she discovers that Griffin and his uncle are also detectives, she becomes very friendly. So when Elizabeth goes missing along with a special invention, Griffin sets out to rescue her.  But finding Elizabeth will take them on a race against the clock that bends time itself!

I really like this book, but I am not really into books. I think this book is the best all around book. I encourage you to read this book. The reason I think this book is so good because it is an  mystery book that is very exciting book. This book is about a boy who is about 12 years old, and he is going to see his uncle who is on a ship. The captain of the ship lost a special object, and Griffin Sharp has to find the object, which he does. The rest of the book is about him and his uncle trying to be the best detectives in the world, even trying to outdo Sherlock Holmes. They end up doing it by using Griffin's amazing sight and his uncle's great  inventions. This is a great book, an easy and fast read, and it only has 194 pages.

Hello, my name is Travis, and I am a guest blogger for Renn's blog today.

Distortion by Terri Blackstock


Juliet Cole’s life has been dismantled by the murder of her husband. She doesn’t know who—or what—to trust when everything she has believed to be true about her marriage has been a lie. When Juliet Cole’s husband of fifteen years is gunned down in a dark parking lot before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning. When she’s finally allowed to return home to break the news to her boys, she hears a voicemail that takes the situation from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack. "Mrs. Cole, we know you have access to the supply and the money. If you don't turn fifty million over to us and give us the codes, then you'll be burying more family members."
Suddenly, Juliet realizes that she and her children could be in danger. She teams up with her sisters and PI Michael Hogan to dig into the sham Bob has been living for years. The more she learns, the worse the betrayal. A drug trafficking history, a fortune in cash, and a secret family all emerge to turn Juliet’s belief system on its head, and threaten the things she loves. Are she and her sisters skilled enough as sleuths to get to the truth?

Distortion was an interesting novel, but as the second novel in the Moonlighter series, it is hard to read as a stand-alone novel. I did not read the first novel, so I felt disconnected from the characters as much of their characteristics and the events that had defined their lives had been developed or had happened in the first novel. As a result, even though the mystery in this novel was suspenseful and well-written, I had trouble connecting to the storyline and the characters. I would definitely recommend reading the first novel, Truth Stained Lies, first.

However, despite the disconnect I felt, I thought the plot was well developed and contained plenty of unexpected twists and revelations. The themes of the novel were also well written and heartfelt and included topics such as the importance of forgiveness, trusting in the Lord, and being honest to others and to yourself. While I did have troubled connecting with the characters in this novel, I did find Juliet to be an honest and realistic character that I sympathized with as she discovered the truth about her husband. Despite his problems, she still remained faithful to God and made honorable choices that were glorifying to Him. Overall, I think that Distortion was an enjoyable novel, and I look forward to reading Truth Stained Lies so that I have a better idea of what was going on in Distortion and can connect more easily with the characters.

I received this novel for free from BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan Press in exchange for an honest review.