Monday, April 29, 2013

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

When I get a novel by Jody Hedlund I know I'm guaranteed an enjoyable reading adventure. Since bursting onto the scene a few years ago with The Preacher's Bride, Hedlund hasn't disappointed once. A Noble Groom, her fourth effort, is exactly what I've come to expect from this author. 
Annalise, and her German immigrant family, lives in Michigan in the late 1800s. Her husband's death leaves her without the male support that her farm needs in order to take care of her, her daughter, and her unborn child. Her father arranges for a distant cousin to come to America from Germany and take her as his bride.
Carl Richards is new in town, direct from Germany, and is running from his past. He is at first thought to be the cousin and Annalise is beside herself because he is a kind and gentle man, so different from her deceased husband. He quickly makes it known that he isn't the groom-to-be, but that he will help her on her land until the man arrives.
The two soon fall in love and trouble abounds. His past is trying to catch up with him and the local scoundrel, Mr Ward, is trying everything he can to gain her land for his own.

This book was very hard to put down. It melted my heart to watch these two fall in love. The chemistry between them sizzled off of the pages. 

Very much worth the few hours of my time that it took to read.

New from Bethany House, this book was provided for review by LitFuse.   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stress Test by Richard Mabry

If you haven't heard of Richard Mabry then you're missing out. This author writes medical suspense and he's really good at it. Stress Test opens with action that doesn't let up until the end. I whipped through this book in one day while the housework waited (I think my clothes are still in the dryer!)
What I liked about this book is that it kept my attention and didn't confuse me with too many characters. 
Dr Matt Newman and Sandra Murray were both characters that had depth to them, plus they were Christians with a moral standard. 
Well researched and thought-provoking, Stress Test is a great way to spend a few hours.

From the back cover:
Dr Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life as a surgeon in private practice for a better on in academic medicine. But the kidnappers who attacked him as he left the hospital at 2 a.m. have no such plans--they just want him dead. Bound and in the trunk of his car, Matt's only thought is fleeing with his life. He does escape, but at a price: a head injury that lands him in the ICU...where he awakens to discover he's being charged with murder.

Sandra Murray is a fiery redheaded lawyer who swore she was done with doctors after her last relationship. But when Matt calls, she knows she can't walk away from defending someone who is truly innocent.

Matt's career is going down the drain. His freedom and perhaps his life may be next. But with the police convinced he's a killer and the kidnappers still trying to finish what they started, finding the truth--and the faith to keep going--will be the toughest stress test Matt has ever endured.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse. 
New from Thomas Nelson, you can enter to win a Nook HD from Richard Mabry by clicking here. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ring the Bell

I received this movie for free in hopes that I'd mention it on my blog. No compensation was given to me and the thoughts expressed below are mine and mine alone.
Ring the Bell is the latest in Christian entertainment from Provident Films. This one is sweet and sometimes a little cheesy. Big-time sports agent Rob Decker is chasing after a high school baseball player who has decided to attend college even though he can go straight into the major leagues. Rob is convinced that he is the one who can change this young man's mind. He ends up in a town so small that everyone knows everyone  and they don't even have a stoplight (and yet they host a Casting Crowns concert?)
Rob checks into a B&B and asks to use their phone to make a long distance call--instead of using his cell phone?
There were several little things like this that didn't add up for me, probably mistakes in editing that weren't caught.
The "bell" from the title ends up being a bell at a boy's home that's rung when someone accepts Christ as their savior. 
The premise of the story is good, I just found it to be a little unrealistic and silly.

This was provided for review by FlyBy Promotions.

You can watch the trailer for this film here


Monday, April 22, 2013

Rescuing Hope by Susan Norris

This young-adult novel is rated PG-13 with good reason. Step into the life of Hope, a fourteen year old who's never been kissed. After a strange turn of events she's held hostage as a prostitute in the sex-slave industry in Atlanta, Georgia.
Not as far fetched as you might think. The USA is quickly becoming a hotbed for this industry.
This story shows how it can happen to anyone and how young girls are being targeted.
This would be an excellent book for parents to read with their young daughters, not only as a teaching tool, but also to give them a glimpse into the world right around the corner.
There were a few things I didn't quite get while reading it. The "MARTA" is referred to often and it took me a while to figure out that it must be the public transportation system in Atlanta. I didn't even realize the story was set in Atlanta until towards the end of the book.
A heartbreaking read when you realize that it is based on true stories that the author collected while ministering to and rescuing girls like Hope.
Keep in mind that while it's been toned down, there are still some explicit scenes and rough language. 

For more information please visit Susan Norris at her website.

This book was provided for review by Glass Road.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman

From the back cover:
Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Jilted by a fortune hunter, Cassidy travels west hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. Can love prevail when Jamie discovers that Cassidy is poorer than he is? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?

Bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the delectable Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. 

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series and was ACFW's 2009 Debut Author of the Year. You can learn more about her at her website.

My thoughts:
I found this book very hard to get into. So hard, in fact that I couldn't finish it. I know that not every book is for every person. This may be exactly what you're looking for, just not what I was.

This book was provided for review by Revell.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I Wish I Knew at 18 by Dennis Trittin

What I Wish I Knew at 18 by Dennis Trittin is the perfect book to give to the high schooler's who are graduating this year. It's everything that we wish the person we are now could go back and tell that young whippersnapper before life became real.
I appreciated the time managements lessons in this book (cleverly disguised though they were) and the urging to make every moment count.
I also appreciated the author's candidness on driving and how a personal tragedy made him passionate about sharing with others the mistakes that are easily avoided while behind the wheel. 
Tritton even has chapters on how to study in college and what to look for in a mate.
Make your life matter! You can accomplish a lot in the 70 or so years that you're on this planet. This little book could very well be the thing that'll set you on the right path.

Dennis Trittin is a successful investment manager, educator, and mentor who is committed to helping young people reach their full potential. Now retired from a 28-year investment career during which he helped grow his firm's assets from $1 billion to $220 billion, he devotes his time to promoting financial literacy and life management skills. Dennis and his wife have two children and reside in Gig Harbor, Washington.

This book was provided for review by FlyBy Promotions.    

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When God Makes Lemonade

When God Makes Lemonade - True Stories that Amaze & Encourage, created by Don Jacobson is the perfect book for when you're feeling down and need a boost. Each story is a reminder that life is bigger than just us and that God works in ways we can't imagine.
There are 68 stories, each just a few pages long, that are true and inspiring. Some of them have a "Lemon Drop" at the end where the author digs a little deeper and sometimes adds scripture to the story.
You're likely to not have heard of any of the authors before, which isn't a bad thing, it just means that they are everyday people like you and me.

Pick this one up. It's a good one to leave in the bathroom for some quick reading, or to sit in an office waiting room.

About the book:
When God Makes Lemonade comes from the lives of everyday folk-a collection of stories about people like you who have discovered unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances.
Some of these real-life stories are laugh-out-loud funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will have you reaching for a tissue. But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope.
There is no question; life will sometimes give you lemons: out-of-control issues of health, employment, and relationships, circumstances that are truly sour-you wouldn't wish them on anyone.
But when those lemons become is as refreshing as an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day.
When in life, "stuff happens," know that Lemonade Happens too! Be encouraged and inspired...When God Makes Lemonade.

This book was provided for review by The B&B Media Group       

Friday, April 12, 2013

This is Our Time

Christian movies are not what they used to be. Remember the days when they were all so cheesy? This is Our Time is new by Pure Flix and is fantastic. I was a little hesitant to watch because I didn't want to be disappointed. This movie even drew in my teenage daughter. I can't wait to share it with my friends and family.
Completely family friendly, it will warm your heart and break it at the same time. Follow five friends after their college graduation. One couple to India, one woman to her dream job at an investment firm, one man at his dream job, and one man who is waiting tables because he didn't get into grad school.
The narrator at the beginning says, "It was hard to imagine that one of us wouldn't make it through the year." 
This film puts into a picture of how God works things for good. The way He weaves things while we are unknowing. Beautiful.
It especially touched me as I watched it last night, knowing that my husband had just boarded a plane to return home from a missions trip to India.
I also enjoyed learning about Embrace A Village, an organization that helps leprosy victims and their families in India.
This is one not to be missed!

FlyBy Promotions gave me a copy of this movie to review and they're also giving one to one reader of my blog. 
Simply leave a comment and tell me how you've seen God at work in your life.    

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell was a welcome change from the books I've endured lately. This was Siri Mitchell at her best. I was captivated from the first word and giggled my way through the end of the book. 
Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of two characters. Lucy and Charlie take turns telling the story. It was fun to watch the way they reacted to each other through their own eyes.
Delightful and heartwarming. The characters were realistic and I learned a lot about the time period. I wish every book could be like this one!

From the back cover:
Falling in love could be a recipe for disaster.
Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their largest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his price recipe, has now hired a promotions manager-a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy's skin.
Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...amd making herself impossible for him to forget.

New from Bethany House, this book was provided for review by Litfuse.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren has long been a favorite author of mine. Her books are fresh and sweet, with lovable characters that come to life. Her newest release, Take a Chance on Me (a Christiansen Family novel), is no exception. At almost 400 pages long, you will be able to sink in and spend some serious time with the folks who live in the town of Deep Haven.

Ivy is new to town and bids on an eligible bachelor at a fundraiser. Darek is the bachelor and is none too happy being a last-minute stand-in at the auction. Both have pasts that they'd like to hide from. 

Without giving the story away, I'm just going to say that there's a lot of grace and forgiveness going on in this book. While the story is fictional, the lessons are real and the situations are real.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. 

New, from Tyndale, this book was provided to me to review. My opinions are my own.

Thanks, Susan, for another clean read!   

Friday, April 5, 2013

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

Book two in Nancy Mehl's Road to Kingdom series, Unbreakable was, I thought, much better than book one. This time we follow Mennonite Hope Kauffman as she prepares to marry one man while feelings for another are blossoming in her heart. The town is under attack and people are fearing for their lives. Hope is trying to gain some independence and make her voice be heard but her father is over protective and doesn't want to let his 26 year old daughter have a life of her own. 
Tensions rise as the townspeople are run off the road and fires take some of their buildings.
Hope remains strong and finds the true love that she longs for.

This book had the perfect blend of romance and suspense. I look forward to the rest of the series.

From the back cover:
Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.
Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, but Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope's safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can't help but question what she's always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence.
With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?

This book was provided for reveiw by Bethany House . 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman

The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman is a sweet story about a widow and a newly divorced man who have both sworn off love. Once they meet, they have to fight their feelings until they resolve to let love happen.
Both have trust issues and both are vulnerable. Throw in the mysterious house that is being renovated and the elusive hidden bunker that's rumored to be full of treasure and you've got a reason to keep reading.

There were a lot of characters in this book, but they were introduced in a way that was never confusing, it was easy to remember who was who. There were a couple of times that I wanted to smack the main character because she was acting more like a child than her youngest offspring. 

All in all it was an enjoyable read and kept my attention.

New from Thomas Nelson, this was provided for review by Booksneeze.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Dance by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

The Dance by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley broke my heart. Not just because of the story, but because it will most likely not be read by the ones needing to read it: men.
It's the first in The Restoration Series, and it is very real.
Marilyn and Jim have been married for twenty-seven years and she surprises Jim by moving out. He says he never saw it coming. She says she's been leaving him clues for years.
While it's mostly about Jim's problems and how he's neglected his wife in favor of his business, the authors teach how he needs to respond to win her back. The problem is that this book looks like women's fiction. Women will flock to it and eat it up. The story has the power to change lives, but I doubt many men will crack it open-though they need to.

It's a great attempt. I wish that more thought would have gone into the cover. Maybe making it a little less feminine. 

Written by men, about a man making marriage difficult for his wife...being marketed to women. 

Overall, the book was incredible. Made my heart ache.

This book was provided for review by Revell.