Friday, October 14, 2016

Currency Of The Heart (Secrets on Sterling Street Book 1) by Loree Lough

You can give me a Loree Lough novel every day of the week and twice on Sunday. She writes real and poignant. She brings characters that battle circumstances that can touch our lives today. Yes, characters I can relate to makes me care even more about those that are being unveiled before my eyes. Loree allows us the see the heart of the character, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but never without hope. 

You can easily pick up any of her books for simple enjoyment of reading, but you too know when you close the last page you are walking away with something more, something of the heart to ponder.

I first fell in love with Loree's writing when she sent me a copies of Maverick's Heart and Beautiful Bandit. I knew then that her writing was special and set apart from others. There's just something so personal about her writing. 

Welcome to Colorado in the 1880s. We meet such strong characters. Characters with integrity and honor. Okay, everyone needs a Sloan Remington in their life. Just the name alone says, man of strength, right? 

His character leaps off these pages. Oh, the depth Loree can go by sharing such generous details and bringing these black and white pages to life. Courage is another attribute Sloan carries, but he too carries a deep wound. A burden secret that he has kept all his life.

It isn't a secret for him to carry any longer. We are introduced to Shaina Sterling. Oh, what a beauty she is. At first glace she is a women who has had an easy and carefree life. True on many levels, but she has carried her own burdens. As Loree weaves her story more of her personality is revealed and we are blessed to see the life she has lived. Through her life we are able to see the grace of God, His strength living in those who love Him, and a profoundly grateful heart. 

Together these characters teach us so very much about letting go and trusting. Taking a chance and taking that leap of faith, knowing that God is always in control. 

There are so many characters to love in this novel. One of my favorites was Mable. Just like we could all use a Sloan Remington in our life, we too need a Mable. That strong and steady woman who loves mighty and gives advice with grace. That woman to stand with us and to be there in times of need, never judging, but always reaching out, leaving a legacy to follow. 

A favorite line in the novel? Yep, I have one of those. "Never let what you want become more important than what your mate needs." That is powerful, right? That's what I mean about a Loree Lough novel. You get everything you are searching for and so much more!

I fell in love with Abe and Elsie. These two characters are so young and innocent, but even in their youth they are wise beyond years and both have hearts that reach beyond themselves. They are characters that leave a smile on your face. 

Oh, and something remarkable. Shaina Sterling is from Missouri. She's from Portage Des Sioux. That's right where I spend much of my young years growing to be a young woman. Even in something so simple it was super cool connecting with this character in such a way. 

Sterling Street is a place you are going to love visiting. You're going to want to return in book 2, Guardians Of The Heart, which I am reading now. I cannot wait to share with you! 

If you are searching for a great fall read this series is perfect! Love, friendship, romance, faith, a little suspense and a whole lot of awesomeness!!
This book was a gift from Whitaker House Publishing for sharing my review with you.

Loree Lough Once upon a time, best-selling author Loree Lough literally sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the Midwest. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for her grandkids or to sing at weddings or funerals, but she mostly just writes. Over the years, her stories have earned hundreds of industry and Readers' Choice awards and 4- and 5-star reviews.
Loree has nearly five million copies of her books in circulation, and in March 2014, she added her hundredth published book to the shelves. She has written fiction and nonfiction for kids and adults (2,500-plus articles and 68 short stories), and four of her novels have been optioned for movies.
To date, there are almost 66,000 letters in her "Reader Mail" file, and she has answered every one, personally. (A carton of books is on its way to Corinna P. of San Antonio, Texas, for writing the 65,999th letter. Corinna said she plans to donate the books to her local library!)
Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach to teaching makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, and college and high school writing programs in the U.S. and abroad.
A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and several other worthwhile organizations (see the "Giving Back" tab at her Web site,, for a complete list). She splits her time between a tiny home in the Baltimore suburbs and an even tinier cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she continues to perfect her Critter Tracks Identification skills. She shares her life with her real-life hero, Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of "wolf stuff."

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What's In A King's Hands?

Get this. The King of the world loves you!! I know, how can it be that you and I are known and loved by the One who created the universe and all it holds?! 

He created the gigantic and the tiny. The wide and narrow. The highest of mountains and lowest of valleys. But He didn't stop there. He created love, hope, and faith!! 

In His hands He wove this world for you and me!! That's not just fascinating, that's extraordinary! There is nothing more powerful than His love. Within His hands He molded our lives and set in motion perfection for our days. 

Although we don't always understand, how can we doubt Him? How do I doubt a love so mighty? A Creator who not only created this vast world and everything in it, but me. He created me! I am known and I am valued by my Lord. 

I always try to take in my tiny hands what He holds so masterfully in His. His hands are strong, yet they are gentle. Why are we always trying to take from Him, know more than Him, and reconstruct with our own thinking what we think to be best? 

Oh, if only we could worship Him with all of our being, remaining focused on Him, and never wavering. Ah, but He knows us, remember? He knows we will waver. He knows we will question. He knows we will stumble. But there He is always reaching out. Forever making a way for us. Always giving us room and opportunity to see His beauty. 

Today will hold so much we do not yet know. How could we possibly know? But the King of the universe knows and He holds in His hands all that love Him. Today we can open our hands with trust and He will place in our heart a kind of peace that will carry us through this day of unknown minutes. It's up to us to see Him and all His glory. 

He's waiting to show us so much of Himself. In fear we hold back. I open my hands to give Him everything, but then it gets scary and I take it back. I am trying to wrap my mind around why I so easily try to take back what I give Him. I mean, all I am and all I love belongs to Him. I so want to just leave things in His hands, but at what cost? Didn't He already give everything of Himself for me? The cross says it all. 

This life isn't about easy. In our uneasy He will cover us and fill us with everything of Him. Right now in this very minute His glory is being unveiled to us. Let's choose to see all the King of the universe is doing on behalf of all who love Him and even those who yet know know Him. We don't want to miss out on what He has for us today.

I easily accept the love and laughter. All the good things that come that give such joy. These are from Him. I open my hands and say, "Yes, Lord, more of this, please"! But when things get difficult how can I not open my hands? It's easy to close up my hands and say, "No, Lord, not this". Doesn't everything that touches my life first go through His hands? The same hands that molded me into life? 

I'm learning that when I fully open my hands to Him my faith comes alive. Hope and trust come with obedience. I either believe in all of Him or none of Him. So, here I am today opening my hands to Him. Laying everything in my life before Him. 

He is capable, isn't He? Of course He is. I give to Him and then I try to take it back as if I can somehow protect my family better. I can rest in Him, weary and anxious, with every amount of trust He has instilled within me. 

Where is my belief? Why am I constantly waiting for disaster to happen? This fear comes in the middle of the night. So, I open my hands. I pour out each of my loved ones to the Lord and pray. His ways are higher than mine. He sees far past my vision. He knows the heart of each of my children and grandchildren. He sees the needs of parents and friends. He sees the depth of my love for my husband. Yes, He knows every exact need. 

I am a warrior when I'm praying! Sometimes it is just all overwhelming, isn't it? Do you too know these fears?  As these fears overwhelm me I pray for protection, mind, body, and soul. The names of many flow from my lips. I pray for their heart to fall into place exactly where God wants them to be in this life's journey. 

To be known and loved by a King, not just any king, but the King of kings, tells me that I am valued and precious to the One who created me. In that alone, it is enough. It is enough to be loved by Him. 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is He who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword> As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

"See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:16

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:4-5

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Jesus Always (Embracing Joy in His Presence) by Sarah Young

I love devotionals. How about you? There are some that stand out among others. This is one of those special gems. Like me, maybe you have read Jesus Calling. It's a devotional that changed my sweet times with Jesus. Maybe you have never picked up a devotional. This is your opportunity to pick up something that will bring blessings you have yet to experience. 

Sarah Young opened up a whole new world for me through this one gem of a book. Why? We often think we don't have time to study. Mornings are rushed and well, lets face it, nights are just exhaustion waiting to meet our pillow. Sarah Young brought about a devotional to help people like me know that all it takes is a moment and a willing heart to meet with God. When we make time for our Jesus, life changes. 

I too have Sarah's devotional, Jesus Calling (Morning and Evening). I absolutely LOVE this and use it daily. How does Sarah's devotionals help me in my faith journey? They are personal. Written as if it were God speaking to my heart. His words and Sarah's passion brings the Word alive more and more for me. 

As I have followed the dates I can share that there have been many times that what I read that morning applied to my day! Reading it sets me on a course to a deeper relationship with Jesus. The devotionals are one page, just two paragraphs, and include two or three verses for deeper reading. It's Sarah's devotional that speaks to me, gets me pondering the Word, my Jesus, my heart and where I am in my walk. As I dig into the verses it's there that the Spirit speaks to me, bringing me to the place where I say, "Yes, Jesus"! 

Sarah's newest gem is just awesomeness of 365 devotionals that are powerful and poignant leading the reader to a deeper walk with Jesus. Who doesn't need joy? Even more joy! Can we ever be too full of joy? This devotional is concentrated on bringing us to the place of embracing joy in a whole new way. This is why Sarah's devotionals are so wonderful. They are life changing. 

I use them in many ways. I follow the date, but sometimes, especially if I'm having a day I just open up one of them and read until I feel the Spirit move in me, lifting my weary soul and replacing it with peace, joy, and hope. 

They can be used for teaching tools, for added study, and this gem would make a great gift for anyone. These are not just geared toward women, but anyone seeking to walk with Jesus.

This devotional is small enough to carry in a purse, a bag, keep it on a desk, and even in the car. It's an easy access to finding joy in a day that is a  mess of emotion. 

This is a devotional you could easily read together as a family. Oh, and to read it together as a couple! Yes, it's that good. This little gem is a powerful gift for the soul. It is one you will enjoy to read even after the 365 days have pasted. It's a keeper for sure!!

This devotional was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

His Guarding Spirit

I dropped my mom off at the front door of the doctor's building. I was then off in search of an empty spot in the crowded parking lot. After driving in circles I finally found a spot. I put the gear shift in park but stopped short of opening my door. I was dreading the walk in the pouring rain to the doctor's building. What a day to forget my umbrella. 

I would just wait until it let up. Christian music played over the radio. It's always amazing how music can set our soul into a rhythm of thanksgiving. Our Lord always seems to give us the quiet time we need. One way or the other. It's our choice if we see it and capture those moments in prayer. This time I seen the opportunity and let my prayers escape like the rains falling around me.

I seen the sky giving way to a little sunshine. It was now my chance to make my way inside and escape being soaked through. I stepped around my vehicle and started making my way through the parking lot when a truck stopped in front of me. 

I see the tires stop as I hear the words, "Could you help us?" I look up with a smile. I start to step, but my feet won't move. I hear a voice within me say, "Don't step toward that truck." What in the world? It's an older couple who is asking for my help. They want to hand me a piece of paper. They are asking me where the cancer center is. Strangely it's right in front of us. Big letters on the sign not far from us and the words Cancer Center are highlighted on the building next to us. There are only two buildings. Something is just not right. 

Now, all of this is taking place in just a few short minutes. My heart is churning inside. Here I am standing in front of this truck and my heart is wanting to reach out and take this paper, but again my feet will not budge. I hear the voice again as I try to step closer. "Do not step toward this truck." Three times this happened. Each time more pronounced and guarded. 

During these few moments I was arguing with this voice. "What? It's only an older couple. I have to help them. What could possibly happen?" I was going back and forth in my thoughts, but my feet never took a step. It wasn't because I was being obedient. I was listening, but I too was arguing in the stillness of my steps. 

I never took a step forward. I guided the couple to where they needed to be. Strangely, they still seemed confused about where to go. I now take a step back. I am feeling this presence around me, protection, guiding, and now I heed His voice. No more arguing. Something is just off here. You know, that unsettling feeling in your gut? But again, it's an older couple. 

I know, three times, right? As I now ponder this my heart goes back to Peter. Why did it take me three times to seriously heed God's voice? Praise to Him for knowing His stubborn daughter so well!

I make my way inside to see my mom has safely made her way to where she needed to be for her appointment. She's called into the doctor's office and I break out my book and prepare to enjoy a few quiet moments of reading. I can't focus on my book because my mind is churning over what just happened. How strange. That had never happened to me before. To have my feet planted firmly and as I try to step a powerful strength holds me back. 

I can tell you as sure as I can be this was the Lord's protection. I felt His hand upon me. Now, I have no idea what He was protecting me from. It could have been danger in the way of being robbed or abducted. What I can't possible understand, He made a way. God foreseen this moment and He was there in full force to protect me. Maybe it was a dangerous virus that could have made me very ill. After all, He has to know I'm the daughter who easily catches everything. 

All I know is that in those few moments He kept me from danger. I could have kept arguing with Him, thinking all was okay and that it was craziness to think something could happen right there in the parking lot. Whatever it was, He knew my steps and He was there before me. Just in that alone I know I am loved and I am known!! My God goes before me, His presence surrounds me, and His protection covers me. 

I learned that morning to walk aware, to listen to His voice, and to heed my God. How many times have we told our children to be aware, to listen to that gut feeling inside of us? We teach our grandchildren that danger doesn't always look bad. There are people around us that look just like us, but they have bad intentions. I always teach my grandchildren it is perfectly okay to offend another person. If something scares them RUN!! But here I was arguing with my own heart. I couldn't see the danger. I still have no idea what it could have been, but my God knows!

He is my force field of protection! My Jesus was there in those moments protecting me. Why me? Why not me? What if this couple was up to no good and they stopped someone totally unaware? I didn't see them as a threat, but something was not right or my God would not have guarded me so powerfully. 

I'm uncertain of what could have taken place if I had not heeded God's voice. Friends, we need to walk aware. Every moment of our lives we need to be aware of His voice. There are so many lessons here for me to absorb. Lessons of listening to my Lord, lessons of how Satan is always placing traps around us, to not being afraid to offend another person by guarding myself. 

Today I am walking differently. I'm walking more aware and I too am walking with a grateful heart for a God who goes before my steps. He goes far beyond just knowing. He reaches down and places His hand before me. I have to ponder how many times I have ignored His voice and pushed away His hand. That thought breaks my heart. I want to be an obedient daughter, aware of His every voice, never again ignoring Him and thinking I know best. 

Here in this parking lot He wasn't having any of my stubbornness. He stepped before me and placed a hedge of protection around me. He was making sure I heard Him. Another reminder for me to keep my eyes upon Him and seek Him before my every step.

"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance." Psalm 32:7

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Bring together socialites on what is to be known as the tragic party of 1815 and you are sure to have a story. The Duchess of Richmond's ball was the place to be, that is if you are of importance. When unexpected guests arrive it's a meeting of the upper class and middle class. That mixture is sure to make a mess of things for those who are living to be known by who surround them. 

The Trenchard family have an invitation in hand. Mr. Trenchard is just as excited as his daughter to attend this grand ball. Mr. Trenchard has high hopes. He is hard working and is striving for the best of the best. He thinks highly of himself and sees nothing wrong with mingling with the people he serves. Mrs. Trenchard sees things much differently. She thinks there has been a mistake and this invitation just has to be a misunderstanding. She has a fear they will be the fools at the ball. So much drama right here in the mix of this family.

Two families of different social class, different, but yet so alike, two young people in love separated by society's class, and a secret that comes alive, bring this novel to life. A ball that brings people together in celebration and a war that will separate in sorrow bring us to know these characters of a different time and place.

First of all, if you are searching for Downton Abbey, this is not it. Downton Abbey is in a league all its own. If you're expecting a Sunday evening love affair with Downton Abbey this just isn't to be. I think this is where many will fall short of enjoying this novel. We see the author's name and have an expectation that this novel will carry us to another Downton Abbey. This stand alone novel has its own style and will bring its own joy to the reader. 

Sometimes we search for a novel to just allow us to escape, relax, and dream of another place and time. The writing is easy. The characters are not complex. The story line is one we have come to know. In this case we don't necessarily have the upstairs and the downstairs coming together, but the very rich and the not so rich. Drama, drama and more drama. We have people wanting what they want when they want it and for some how they get it doesn't really matter. Some are noble and walk with integrity while others are greedy and careless in thought. 

There comes a time when romance will cross family alliance. Families will lose those they love. Inheritance has it's power that creates manipulation that far reaches the heart in love. We have villains who scheme and defy all that is right. But we too have those who stand with integrity and nobility. These are characters who actually grow on you. At least they did me. 

It's this secret that keeps this novel moving. The characters don't necessarily jump off the pages. Fellowes gives us just enough to allow room for our imagination to take over. We see just enough heart to draw us in to see that life here isn't so different than that of today. Amazing what family will do to preserve a secret or for some to get that secret out. Either way, either choice, change is coming that will explode what once was protected. 

This is a light and easy read. One that a cup of tea in the cool of an evening will give the perfect amount of escape. I enjoyed going back in time and meeting characters that aren't so far off from reality today. Good prevails over evil and love conquers all. Standing with honor always wins out over trying to be something you aren't. 

This novel was a gift from Hatchette Book Group for sharing my review with you. 

Julian Fellowes is a multi-award winning actor, writer, director, and producer. As creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the hit television series Downton Abbey, Fellowes has won three Emmy Awards. He has written two internationally bestselling novels, Snobs and Past Imperfect, and the screenplay for Gosford Park, for which he won an Oscar. He has writing credits for many other films, including Vanity Fair, Young Victoria, and Romeo & Juliet. He became a life peer in 2011, and lives in Dorset and London with his wife, Emma.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Time For Bed, Sleepyhead (The Falling Asleep Book) by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. illustrations by Gail Yerrill

The author has shared this book to be an aid to helping children fall asleep. It is designed for ages 4-8. The premise of the story is a mother bear helping her son get ready for bed. So she begins telling him a story of how important it is for children to get their sleep because it helps to clean their brains. Sleep helps to get rid of all the trash that builds up in the brain during the day. Baby bear asks what happens if he doesn't get enough sleep. So, mother continues to tell him, "If you don't get enough sleep, your brain doesn't have enough time to clean up. Trash gets left behind. It can build up and get in the way, making it harder for you to learn-or even feel happy." Little bear replies, "I want a nice, clean brain, Momma!" 

They get comfy cozy and she begins telling him a good-night story filled with many characters, Eli, the anteater, Chloe, the kitty, Liam, the baby llama, Aslan, the puppy, Louie, the lion, Emmy, the emu, and Shakespeare, the seal. They travel together for an adventure. 

Let me say that the illustrations by Gail Yerrill are just beautiful. I feel she marvelously captured these little critters and brought them to life for children to experience a delightful treasured adventure. Although most of the colors are soft hues, there's the perfect amount of bright and cheerful coloring for capturing the imagination of little ones. 

Throughout the story imagery is the highlight for the little ones, each character telling a story of their own, and enough activity to keep the mind busy for quite a long time. That's where my thoughts are differing from the author. I have always read books to my children and grands before bed. If your little ones love books and have a vivid imagination be prepared to have reading time last for a while. 

You could literally take off on a journey using your own words and have your children add to the story also making for a great afternoon escape. There's lots here for the imagination. They travel in a bus to the beach. They play until exhausted, the load up and head for home. Once home they enjoy a nice bath and then dinner. After eating they all begin to cuddle up and fall asleep.

As the book closes, the mother shares with baby bear, "You feel so happy, but also very, very tired. Eli, Emmy, Liam, Chloe, Aslan, and Shakespeare are all drifting off to sleep. Louie is gently snoring. Even though you want to stay up, your eyes seem to close all by themselves. They won't open again until the morning, when your brain is clean and you are ready to have another amazing day."

Now the little critters are pictured once again, all of them off in their own dreamland, giving once again lots for little ones to imagine. 

I understand teaching little ones reasons as to why our sleep is so valuable. I too understand sharing a beautiful story to set our children off to dreamland for a sweet night of rest. For my grands this just isn't a book to get them off to a quick sleep. It's one that I feel you could spend much time in exploring your words to share with these gorgeous illustrations. 

So, would I purchase this book for my grands? As for a falling asleep book, probably not. Would I purchase this book as a Christian book? That's whats missing. Prayer and thanksgiving were missing. I'm not sure why this book is listed as Christian because it didn't contain anything about teaching faith and prayer to little ones, filling their hearts and minds with thanksgiving before bed. There wasn't anything about God at all. It seems that would be a wonderful beginning to goodnight time with little ones. So, I'm disappointed to see that missing. But for a beautiful book to give them room for their imaginations to soar? You bet. It's a sweet book that has potential for the parent and child to spend time together using imagination and that alone is a sweet gift. 

This book was a gift from Zondervan for sharing my review with you. 

Daniel Amen, M.D. The Washington Post called Daniel Amen, M.D. the most popular psychiatrist in America. He is a physician, child and adolescent psychiatrist, and ten-time New York Times bestselling author. Dr. Amen is widely regarded as a gifted teacher and storyteller. His public television programs about the brain have aired 80,000 times across North America. Dr. Amen is the founder of Amen Clinics in Costa Mesa and San Francisco, CA; Bellevue, WA; Reston, VA; Atlanta, GA; and New York City. He lives in Newport Beach, California, and has four children and four grandchildren.

Gail Yerrill lives in Befordshire, England. She has illustrated and designed products for Marks & Spencer, Harrods, and the BBC among others. Gail has illustrated many children's books, and is known for her soft, whimsical style which is well-loved by children and adults alike. 

The Witnesses by Robert Whitlow

If it's possible to have an author crush Robert Whitlow would be mine. I admire this author so very much. He has taken me on such marvelous journeys. I fell in love with his writing style with The Tides of Truth Series and fell head over heels after reading The Alexia Lindale Series. Both totally different, but each held such beauty. Jimmy is another favorite, along with Mountain Top.

Whitlow has a high standard of writing. He takes the reader on a journey with depth and detail. He brings out the inner strengths and struggles of each character. Absolutely everything holds value with his writing. 

With his latest legal writings he brings triumph over tragedy. With the truths about the law alone they would be fascinating. Add in the history with The Witnesses and you have a masterpiece. This story is absolutely amazing in every possible way. I am never left wishing I'd chosen another book with Whitlow doing the writing. He captured by attention from the first pages. This is just one I didn't want to put down. I was excited every time I had a bit of quiet. In the kitchen while cooking I had this book in my hand. Cleaning? Who needs to be so busy with a Robert Whitlow book in the waiting!

Seriously though. This novel unfolds with perfect timing. I so loved Parker House, but even more so I loved his grandfather. The intrigue behind the WWII stories being shared was fascinating. This is a well developed novel with a story that easily flows from past to present. 

I would suggest Robert Whitlow over and over again. This one is a masterpiece and one you shouldn't miss! I was so moved by these characters. So much about them stands out. Unforgettable indeed!

This novel was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you.

Robert Whitlow is the bestselling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer

The exquisite cover caught my attention. Next was the fact that Sigmund Brouwer was the author. I had read, Thief of Glory, when it was released and just couldn't put it down. I was captivated by this story. So, I was intrigued to see what this new novel held for me. 

We are taken on a journey to the Panama Canal in 1909 in a time when Teddy Roosevelt is president and all is uncertain. Even the life of the main character, James Holt, is uncertain. He knows where he has come from. A fantastic life as a Buffalo Bill cowboy! Now, he has been called by the president to come and do some research for him. Only he isn't so sure what that entails. 

His life grows more exciting by the day. I don't think this character ever has a dull moment. There is so much detail in this story. The history alone is phenomenal. There is a huge history lesson throughout this novel, but in the last pages in the Author's Note there is much insight for the reader to gain about the characters and time. I would suggest reading the Author's Note first. 

I have to be honest and share that I didn't have a lot of information about the life and times of the Panama Canal. I now have been given a great gift that has invited me to dig deeper into this time in history that isn't shared too often. For that I am grateful.

This selection took me a while to finish. It was just loaded with such detail and history it was a lot for me to absorb when I simply just wanted to escape for a few hours. I think a second reading would cause me to fall in love with this novel. This is a beautiful story that is penned deep. If you're ready to read a novel unlike the norm where you know where the next page is taking you, this is a gem for you. 

Intrigue, sabotage, romance, just about everything you want in a novel. But what was lacking was the faith. That is my only draw back from sharing this with my readers who want to see faith come to life off the pages they are reading. That aspect is disappointing for me. More and more I am seeing Christian publishers release novels that aren't faith filled. For the history lover this will be a selection you won't be able to put down. 

This novel was a gift from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing for sharing my review with you.

The best-selling author of the multi-award winning World War II novel Thief of Glory, Sigmund Brouwer has written nineteen novels and has more than three million books in print. Through his Rock and Roll Literacy Show, he leads writing workshops to eighty-thousand students a year in schools from the Artic Circle to inner-city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.

A beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson

As a sapphire must be mined to bring it to refined beauty so too do we as believers. It's removed from a place where it's beauty has been hidden away and brought into the light where it's transparent glory catches the eye of all who are blessed to capture it's beauty. 

This is a novel that could be a stand alone, but as a series with each novel read in order you get are blessed to capture more of the story as they all weave together to bring about a complete story.

Tracie Peterson does history better than most. She's in a league all of her own. I love how she dives in to learn the history that flows around the story spinning in her head. Because of her gift we are able to capture the details of the places and times, but experience them as the story leaps off the black and white pages. 

This novel flows easily. This is one of those novels that will leave you pondering. At least it did that for me. I pondered the abuse of women and children during this time in history. I felt that Peterson brought this to light in a powerful way. It was so hushed during this time. No one dare speak of it. Not even those being abused. For them it was about remaining quiet and allowing their bruises to heal. But we see these women move far beyond the chains of abuse that held them captive. We see life not only return, but renew before them. 

This is more than a romance novel. This novel carries many valuable lessons about trust, hope, and faith. There are many aspects of this novel that are certainly deep and are troubling, but I thought Tracie brought them to light in a powerful way. For me, too many romance novels are filled with fluff and perfectness. That just isn't life. I would prefer to read novels that run deep and take me to a place that leaves me pondering for days to come. 

This novel was a gift from Bethany House for sharing my review with you. 

Tracie Peterson's love for history and research fuels the bestselling stores she writes. She is the author of over one hundred novels and the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award. Tracie and her family live in Montana.

Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Lynette Eason just may be the queen of series writing. Each one different, but all will give the reader a few hours of a thrill ride and leave you in anticipation for the next.

Who wouldn't love these body guards? Each joined for different reasons. Each with their own background and all have an amazing story to share as we witness them coming together to protect those who need their aid. 

In the first book of this series, Always Watching, we see these women, all capable, step into action to protect a man who is being stalked. Without Warning pics up with another in this group and we get to see her story unveil as Eason weaves these characters so brilliantly together. 

In the Elite Guardians  Protection Agency we see something remarkable. These women give of themselves using their God given gifts. They unselfishly step forward when others run the opposite direction. They are strong and courageous, but yet throughout the novel, Eason brilliantly allows us to see their weaknesses and inner struggles. As they defend others with such strength they battle their own fears and demons that invade them. 

What I love is that Eason brings us women who are fearless, but also women who know their limits. Their beauty shines through these pages and gives us examples of women who are real. Women who make the choice to fight evil every day, but not on their own. They seek to walk in faith. Sometimes we see that faith tested, questioned and at times void, but one thing is for sure, it comes alive over and over again as they learn more about themselves as they dig deep to help others.

Daniel is a character who highlights these pages. He is a strong character himself, but it is evident he too needs the aid of another when danger comes looking. Something else I love about Eason! She writes thrilling novels that are twisted with suspense, but as I see it she brings strength to the battle front to fight in the daily lives of people where evil is always watching and ready to pounce.

We meet quite a few characters within this novel. They are all well developed and all leave us with something to gain from knowing their story. We too witness love grow, trust increase, and faith bring peace to the soul. 

A great second installment to this series. I cannot wait to open the pages of Moving Target! It'll be worth the wait. It always it with Lynette Eason!

This novel was a gift from Revell for sharing my review with you.

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunion series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of an ACFW Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. She lives in South Carolina. Learn more at 
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