Saturday, February 18, 2017

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

Deputy Sam Brooks is responsible, structured and committed, if not a bit jaded. He surrounds himself with those like him and is avoidant of those who don't share his love of a predictable life – especially, his brother. His girlfriend, Sierra Rose, is the perfect girl for him as she's practical, organized, and can function under pressure. He sees her younger, impulsive sister, Willow, only as a friend until a church youth group outing to Glacier National Park goes wrong. As Sam and Willow brave the elements with a group of teenagers, Willow's admiration of Sam grows and Sam's interest in Willow heightens. Will Sam give up his safe relationship with Sierra for an unpredictable life with Willow? Read more in Rescue Me by Susan May Warren.

Rescue Me is the second novel in Susan May Warren's Montana Rescue series. It could function as a stand-alone novel, but I wouldn't recommend reading it as such. Many of the characters from If Ever I Would Leave You (Montana Rescue prequel) and Wild Montana Skies (Montana Rescue #1) return. While sufficient background information is supplied, knowing the characters' histories adds depth, plus the lingering mystery of Esme Shaw continues in the background.

Like many of Warren's books, Rescue Me, has one focal love story (Willow and Sam), while concurrently spinning another love story to be followed up on in a later publication. Normally, I'm not a big fan of that technique, but it totally works in Warren's novels.

Rescue Me commences by dropping the reader straight into the mind of Deputy Sam Brooks facing a dangerous rescue mission. It gripped my attention and by the end of chapter two, I wanted to stay up late to devour the rest of the story. (Alas, I made the responsible choice and went to sleep instead of staying up until morning...) The plot never dragged. The characters developed as their relationships became more complicated. Sparks of romance combined with the ever-present danger created suspense. In short, Susan May Warren knows how her craft and is quickly rising up my list of favorite authors.

Readers who enjoyed Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren will want to follow it up with Rescue Me. I recommend them both as gripping, romantic tales threaded with the grace and love of Christ.

Read an excerpt of Rescue Me by Susan May Warren on the publisher's website.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz

Temperance Tucker is fleet of foot, a fine shot with a rifle, and knows the eighteenth-century Kentucke territory. Yet, a painful past leaves her emotionally ill-equipped for her present life. She and her family operate the Moonbow Inn, a haven for frontier travelers searching for food and temporary shelter. When Sion Morgan enters, looking for a guide, Tempe has no intention of joining his crew. However, circumstances shortly land Tempe in that exact position and her faith is tested as she hazards frontier dangers, revisits families connected to her past, and grows very fond of Sion. Will Tempe and Sion's budding relationship thrive in the midst of the past pain and the harsh frontier of Kentucke? Find out in A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz.

It was a pleasure to read Tempe and Sion's story in A Moonbow Night. This stand alone novel features authentic characters that lingered in my mind for days after I'd finished reading. The characters' struggles made them relatable and their tenacity made them admirable. Frantz used these deeply developed characters and their life journeys to undergird the adventure and romance. A steady plot and beautiful narrative held my attention from the beginning to the end. Frantz's admiration of the early explorers, such as Daniel Boone, is evident, though she also addressed the Native Americans' side of the matter through the character of Raven.

I recommend A Moonbow Night to readers who enjoy historical tales of adventure, faith and romance. I've read most of Frantz's novels and this is one of my top three favorites.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Beyond Suffering Bible, NLT

The Beyond Suffering Bible, published by Tyndale in the New Living Translation, aims to encourage readers that in the midst of extensive, ongoing struggle, God offers an infinite, glorious hope.

Included along with the Biblical text are:
  • Devotionals written by Joni Eareckson Tada, a woman who has been paralyzed since 1967.
  • Profiles of others who have experienced disabilities or filled a role as a caregiver.
  • Notes and articles by professionals who help those with disabilities.
  • Study notes interspersed throughout the text that accentuate what the Bible says about suffering.
  • Introductions to each book of the Bible that give background information as well as synopsis.
  • Topical reading plans on suffering, disability, and healing.
  • Reference resources: A NLT Dictionary/Concordance, maps, and a dedicated space for notes.
My thoughts:

A good blend of experiences from Joni, other people, and doctors provided authenticity and a well-rounded view of dealing with prolonged suffering. Ongoing suffering is not something the Christian world addresses frequently (at least in my experience) and there is a crucial, wonderful message that the authors really tried to bring out – God's heart for the afflicted. His tender mercies to the disabled. His protective hand in each life.

The book introductions were perfect for both those new to faith and those who are not. I found them simple to understand as they highlighted basic information and deeper themes of each book, some of which I'd not previously known or noticed.

I requested to review this book with the intention of giving it to a family member who is serving as caregiver to her husband. My expectations were met and exceeded. I recommend the Beyond Suffering Bible: Where Struggles Seem Endless, Gods Hope is Infinite to anyone struggling with disability or acting as caregiver on a regular basis to another person.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund

John Newton is a youthful, adventurous sailor when he first encounters Polly Catlett. Her sweet voice and pretty face draw him, but it is her personality that captivates him. Devout and responsible, Polly is Newton's opposite in many ways. As they interact, attraction and passion begin to bind them together. But Polly's concerns regarding Newton are realized when his drunkenness gets him caught and impressed into the English Navy's service. As time passes, Newton's waywardness intensifies and Polly must choose to lay aside her hope of a joint future with Newton. Will Newton and Polly spend their lives pursuing desires that keep them apart from each other? Or will they embrace an amazing grace that can bring love and restoration into darkness and shame? Read more in Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund.

Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund snagged my attention at the beginning and carried it along a path to the depths of human depravity and the heights of miraculous, life-altering grace. The journey was unpleasant at times. Newton's irresponsibly was annoying and his later actions were disgusting. Even after his conversion, I found it difficult to really like him. That being said, I appreciate that Hedlund stuck reasonably close to the known historical facts and didn't gloss over Newton's behavior to make him more palatable. Some elements of the story that I enjoyed were: the humorous banter between Newton and Polly, Polly's character development, Newton's conversion, Mr. Catlett's stand for moral integrity, and the spiritual themes of grace triumphing over sin.

While Newton & Polly is not my favorite book by Hedlund, I do think it is well-written. I'm sure there are some readers who can can stomach Newton's descent into depravity better than I did and I don't seek to dissuade anyone who enjoys reading historical romances from reading Newton & Polly. My dislike of the story is based more on Newton's character than Hedlund's writing.

Read an excerpt from Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund on the publisher's website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Sunday, October 30, 2016

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom by Sarah Humphrey

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom (Abingdon Press, August 2016)

Nourishment for a mother's soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!

Wouldn't it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions---an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:

-Self-acceptance
-Self-care
-Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
-Generosity
-Presence
-Forgiveness

In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2dPEdIC

My Review:

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey is the first coloring devotional I've done that focuses specifically on motherhood. The devotional section doesn't take long – probably five minutes or so to read, pray and respond – so I do it in the morning. The coloring pages take longer and give me something to look forward to doing after the littles are in bed for the night.

The devotionals are split into eight sections, each one containing five teachings. I found that some of the devotional thoughts were a combination of Biblical teaching and a sort of positive psychology or theory. I know that sounds odd, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. For example, in the first section, the author placed a heavy emphasis on name meanings as relating to a person's identity. I found it difficult to buy the concept that the meaning of my child's name is indicative of their strengths or potential struggles. I know that Biblical people often had names with special meanings, but I just wasn't convinced on this particular concept.

Some of the coloring portions are simple and some are complex. I prefer the simpler ones because I don't have a lot of extra time and can finish them without staying up overly late. Additionally, adding some outlining or coloring the background are possibilities to extend the coloring time if I want to. On some of the more complex pages, I had to leave a portion uncolored and return to it at a later time. In general, the illustrations were whimsical and reflected the devotion's theme well.

In conclusion, 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey was enjoyable to read and color. I wasn't on board with everything Humphrey said in the devotions, but I still liked it overall.

About the author:



Often considered a dreamer and silly heart, Sarah Humphrey uses inspiration from her most beloved career, motherhood, to fuel her passion for writing, creative movement and teaching. She has and is authoring several books and children's books. Sarah currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three beautiful, bouncy kids.

Website | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren

Kacey Fairing's return to Mercy Falls, Montana, dredges up memories of her old flame, Ben King, from the moment she arrives. Determined to stay focused on reconnecting with her daughter, healing emotionally from her last military tour, and functioning as the lead pilot of PEAK Rescue, she refuses to harbor any interest in Ben when she learns that he's also back in town. However, when Ben and Kacey are paired together to work PEAK Rescue, old secrets begin to emerge and the brokenness of their past is exposed. Neither Kacey nor Ben think they are interested in healing or reconciliation, but spending time together resurrects their original passion. As truths emerge and circumstances spiral into danger, they must turn to the One who created them for love. Read more in Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren.

Wild Montana Skies is the first full-length novel in Susan May Warren's Montana Rescue series. The prequel novella, If Ever I Would Leave You, concentrates on Ian, Sierra, and Esme. Although the prequel is not as well-written as Wild Montana Skies, I do recommend reading it first as it explains Ian and Sierra's relational history.

The first paragraph of Wild Montana Skies hooked my attention. The strong opening demonstrated admirable talent and creativity by Warren. Naturally, I wanted things to work out between Ben and Kasey and it was a pleasure to observe their spiritual and relational development. Unique phrasing, descriptive prose, complicated romance and breath-taking danger forged together into a captivating and memorable novel.

I recommend Wild Montana Skies to readers who love a well-written adventure novel with plenty of romance. Warren has officially catapulted herself into my top five favorite novelists and I'll be checking out some of her previous releases while I wait for the next novel in the series, Rescue Me, to be released next year .

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

Evangeline's privileged life as the ward of her cousin, King Richard II, sometimes feels more suffocating than blessed. When the king awards her in marriage to his most trusted adviser, Lord Shiveley, Evangeline's desperation peaks and she escapes the night before her nuptials. Disguising herself as mute, she travels with a band of servants led by the handsome and kind Westley le Wyse to Glynval. When her deception is uncovered, Evangeline finds herself in danger of Lord Shiveley's search parties and a broken heart. Will Evangeline find the absolution she craves as well as redemption for her past deception? Can a relationship with Westley survive such a shaky beginning? Read more in The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson.

The Silent Songbird is the seventh novel in Melanie Dickerson's Hagenheim series. The novel works as a stand alone, but I do recommend reading the earlier novels as it's enjoyable to encounter some of the previous characters and I think her earlier works are better quality. Mixing The Little Mermaid with Medieval England, the novel's strength lies in Dickerson's creativity. She blends the enchanted fairy tale “feeling” with elements of mystery, deception, romantic expectation and spiritual truth. Unfortunately, at times the dialogue felt stilted or choppy and the prose lacked the beauty present in other novels by Dickerson. In my opinion, The Silent Songbird isn't Dickerson's best showing, but it is worth reading. There are positive elements to enjoy and fans of the Hagenheim series will want to read it to keep up with the series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free via netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."