Monday, November 20, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

 The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner is a debut novel that is fun to read. Had me giggling throughout. I would give this book four out of five stars. There were a few instances in which I felt it lagged or fell flat, otherwise it was a lot of fun to read and was easy to keep my attention. It brought back that chick lit vibe that I've been missing for the past decade. Clean humor with a little  bit of sass. I loved how the main character stood up for herself with class and confidence. 
This book provided for review by Revell

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Lady Jane Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano is not a book to rush through. It does capture the attention and draws the reader in, but this is one to savor. I'm blown away that this is a debut novel, the writing is stellar. I'd compare this to Lynn Austen (one of my favorite authors) because it is just that good. I'm finding myself stopping on almost every page to re-read a sentence that has made my heart pause. Wow, just wow.  Politano has a way of weaving words together that makes this book feel like a classic and not one released in 2017. 

About the book:
When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.


About the author:
Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

This book provided for review by Revell.

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon is back with another nail-biter. What I love about this author is that she writes in a way that makes the reader feel the story. I was nervous for Trish Bailey and her interactions, yet as intense as it was it wasn't too scary. I love a book that I can feel the emotion yet not lay awake at night in fear. This is the beginning of a series, but reads well as a stand-alone novel. You will fall in love with Trish and Colin and root for them as they find each other. 

From the back cover:
"Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon captures readers with a mind-bending story that will have them doubling back to retrace their steps--and figure out what they missed!"


Recommended for anyone who loves a mystery.

This book provided for review by Revell. 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

There are only a handful of authors whose work I seek out and cherish every moment spent with. Lynn Austin is at the top of my very short list. Her books never cease to amaze me, each is different and each is better than the previous. Where We Belong fits snugly into place as her latest by Bethany House. This book follows two sisters (and is loosely based on a true story) through a lifetime of adventures as they escape Chicago society and follow their hearts to foreign lands. The people they meet along the way help shape their lives and they are left stronger and wiser. This book kept my attention the whole time (and made my time on my exercise bike fly by!) and had me in tears several times. If you haven't read Lynn Austin yet then this is a perfect example of why I will always chose her books to savor. Well written, engaging, and with characters to fall in love with, you don't want to miss this one.

This book provided for review by Bethany House.   

Thursday, October 19, 2017

2017 Reading List

Books I've read in 2017
Favorites are in bold

January
1. Random Acts of Deceit by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
2. Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
3. Random Acts of Greed by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
4. Because You're Mine by Colleen Coble
5. Sugar by Kimberly Stuart
6. Random Acts of Scrooge by Christy Barritt (Kindle, Novella)
7. Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes
8. Ready to Fumble by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
9. Pounced by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
10. If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock
11. The Memory of You by Catherine West

February
12. Life After by Katie Ganshert
13. Hunted by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
14. Rattled by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
15. Tear Down and Die by Joanna Campbell Slan (Kindle)
16. Home at Last by Deborah Raney
17. A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
18. Moving Target by Lynette Eason

March

19. Finding Healing  by Adessa Holden (Kindle)
20. Reign of Error by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
21. Starboard Secrets by Hope Callaghan (Kindle)
22. Waking Up: How I Found My Faith by Ted Dekker (Kindle)
23. Death of a Dapper Snowman by Cozy Cat Parker (Kindle)
24. Since You've Been Gone by Christa Allan (Kindle)
25. Spiritual Warfare Answer Book by Dr David Jeremiah
26. Home by Ginny L. Yttrup
27. Pursued by Lisa Harris

April

28. Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones (Kindle)
29. Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon
30. A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti
31. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
32. Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

May

33. Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray
34. Safety in Blunders by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
35. Sacred Privilege by Kay Warren
36. Weaver's Needle by Robin Caroll
37. Illusion by Frank Peretti (Kindle)
38. Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden
39. Beyond Justice by Cara Putman 
40. Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks
41. Random Acts of Fraud by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
42. Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

June

43. Distorted by Christy Barritt (Kindle)
44. Glimpses of Paradise by James Scott Bell
45. The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck
46. Scrappy by Brandi Temple
47. Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray
48. Hiding Places by Erin Healy (Kindle)
49. Class Pictures by Marilyn Sachs (reread from the 80s)
50. The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (reread from the 80s)
51. A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks (Kindle)
52. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (reread from the 80s)
53. The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks (Kindle)
54. Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

July

55. When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks (Kindle)
56. Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard
57. Maple Syrup Murder by Grace Lemon (Kindle)
58. P.S. I Love You by Barbara Conklin (reread from the 80s)
59. Falling in Love Again by Barbara Conklin (reread from the 80s)
60. Looking Into You by Chris Fabry (kindle)
61. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
62. Balancing Act by Kimberly Stuart (Kindle, reread)

August

63. Short Stories: A Mix Tape by Jenny B Jones (Kindle)
64. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

65. Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason
66. Perennials by Julie Cantrell
67. Petite Suzanne by Marguerite de Angeli
68. The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert
69. Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter
70. Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore 
71. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
72. The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix
73. The Impossible by Joyce Smith with Ginger Kolbaba

September

74. A Christmas Return by Anne Perry 
75. Think Before You Like by Guy P Harrison
76. The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert
77. Why Did I Love (Hate) That Novel? by Brandilyn Collins (Kindle)
78. Better Off Wed by Laura Durham (Kindle)
79. The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson
80. Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer 
81. The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan
82. Plummet by Brandilyn Collins (Kindle)
83. The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips

October

84. Needless Casualties of War by John Paul Jackson
85. Blessed are the Misfits by Brent Hansen
86. The Delusion by Laura Gallier
87. Sketchy Behavior by Erynn Mangum
88. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
89. Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
90. Where We Belong by Lynn Austin
91. John 3:16 by Nancy Moser

November

92. Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon
93. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck





Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer


Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a book I could not put down. The tension between the mother-daughter relationships was far too real and the working through decades of misunderstanding was beautiful. The mystery included in the story was heartbreaking and likely a truthful telling of some missing children nearly one-hundred years ago. This book reminded me a little of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, which came out earlier this year. 

From the back cover:
Decades of loss, an unsolved mystery, and a rift spanning three generations. Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a black-berry thicket in 1943, ten-year-old Hazel momentarily turned her back on her three-year-old sister, Maggie, and the young girl disappeared. 
Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved, and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter, Diane, who can't understand her mother's overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother's inexplicable eccentricities, her daugher, Meghan-a cold case agent-cherishes her grandmother's lavish attention and affection.
When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave of absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel's painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that's been lost?

This book provided for review by Litfuse

The Dream Centered Life by Luke Barnett

The Dream Centered Life by Luke Barnett is part inspirational, part memoir, and part encouragement. I gleaned a lot from this book as I read of Mr Barnett's church experiences (which are oddly similar to some of our own, makes me wonder if all pastoral families go through the same thing with different congregations). Luke doesn't hold back as he shares his humble ministry beginnings and the lessons he learned along the way. His heart is seen in the pages as he reveals the prayers he and his wife prayed and how God answered them. The Dream Centered Life is faith in action. 

If you're in ministry and are stuck, looking for what's next, or just need a boost to propel you to greater things then we recommend reading this book. 


This book provided for review by Blogging for Books.