Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Child of the River by Irma Joubert

I have been blessed to read some amazing books. I can now add this novel to my list of gems. Beauty from the very first pages. The story seemed to just begin and grow from there. A page turner that keep me wanting to know more about Persomi. 

We are transported to another time and place in history. A place I have yet to visit in black and white. What is amazing is the detail and story Joubert gives makes you feel as if you are there seeing this story on the big screen. 

With her writing style everything flows in a way that it gives you time to mull over what's taking place. The story begins in the year of 1938. We find ourselves in South Africa as Joubert weaves this magical story about a sharecroppers daughter. We see her struggle through so much, but she isn't one to give up. She dreams big and we are blessed to see her overcome. There is so much to be learned from her life as well as from the lives of the other characters. 

What caught my attention was the beautiful cover. When I seen Joubert was the writer I knew I was in for another wonderful story. After reading, The Girl From the Train, I couldn't wait to see what was next for this author. 

WWII is alive and tragedies seem to be all around. I loved the historical detail Joubert gives the reader. She has a gift to take the reader on a journey well traveled. One where the reader can find themselves within the characters portrayed before them. 

I was drawn to the heart of the characters. Joubert writes transparent, opening up every character in such a way that they are real before our eyes. Nothing imagined, but life as it is. 

A coming of age story for any age. A tender read about relationships, growing, and experiencing life by being on the front lines, not allowing fear to hold you back, but grasping what seems impossible and having the faith to know all things are possible.

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

Irma Joubert International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing fiction. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She is the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on the bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels. 

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

A Charles Martin novel is like poetry for the soul. There is simple beauty in his words. Words that touch the spirit in a way that makes a sentence linger. That's a novel that is lasting. One that leaves behind a story to ponder in your heart.

A prodigal child story. Not just of a son coming home, but of a father too. Not just living a life, but finding what matters in each moment shared. This remarkable novel holds such poignancy in leaving the reader to not only love the characters, but to find myself within them. That is the beauty of a shared story.

None of us are ever too far gone. Our lives should be a love song to our Father. These are just a few things that I walked away with after closing the last page. 

The story flows so easily. I enjoyed how the story continued to grow. The characters lives are unveiled to us in perfect timing. Just everything about this novel was spectacular!

The characters are rich and transparent. They are people just like us trying to find their way in a world that tries to hold us still.  Everything in our life matters. Every choice, every action. Not only does it touch our lives, but the lives of those around us. No one is untouched by choice. 

Oh, to see this broken man find his way home. Isn't that what we are all trying to do? I loved this novel so very much. It is a keeper for sure. A story to share with others. Love, redemption, forgiveness, friendship, grace, and mercy. If you are searching for a great novel don't pass by this gem of a read. You will find yourself lingering over portions and reading them again to grasp it all. At least I did. 

Even if you choose this novel for simple pleasure there is no way you can walk away and not be moved. We are all prodigals in a borrowed land seeking to find our way home. Within these pages you will find yourself in these wounded hearts. Oh, but these characters are bathed in strength and grace. Beautiful wounds scarred to perfection. 

We can choose to give up way too soon or we can choose to live a life with a destination in mind and a Savior leading the way. 

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

Charles Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels. He and his wife, Christy, live in Jacksonville, Florida. Learn more about him at charlesmartinbooks.com .

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Guardians Of The Heart (Secrets on Sterling Street Book 2)

You know how you tell when you have loved a book? When you close the last page you are sad to see it come to a close. A gifted writer leaves a reader feeling as though they have taken a journey to another time and place. A place that has left an empty spot full. One they so enjoyed that they would love to return again. This is Sterling Street. 

Loree Lough never ceases to move my heart, make me smile, and bring something special to my soul. She's that writer that has a passionate pen with a motive far beyond just writing a story. She's about leaving a legacy of faith in the heart of every reader. 

Oh, where do I begin? The characters are so well developed, so real, and those that speak to my heart. Asa Stone, now that's a cool name! Asa is that character that seems secretive, closed off, and keeps to himself. But what I see is a man who speaks wisdom without talking up an entire conversation. He observes and sees such beauty. He is that character that so many of us can relate to. He feels he is unworthy of so much. He sees his past as something unforgivable. He wishes he would have made better choices, but he certainly doesn't blame anyone else for choices. He owns them all full and well, but what he is about to really understand is there is One who came and gave ALL, paying in full Asa's past, present and future. 

Nell Holstrom is that woman, well, she's the Proverbs 31 woman for me. In everything she does she gives 100%. Her faith is strong. She isn't trying to be someone other than who she is. Even though Nell is in this world without any family to speak of, everyone who knows Nell loves her. She's that girl who lights up a room by just entering. She carries joy that sings itself a song in every activity. Nell doesn't have a lot. In fact, as she enters this story she is about to lose everything all over again, but there is that opportunity again that she knows God forever provides for her. Nell comes with her own past of hurts. Funny how those past hurts can haunt us for a good while of our entire lives. Well, until we finally give everything over to our Lord. Nell is that example of a girl on fire for Jesus. Even though circumstance may not look so good, she knows her God isn't leaving her any time soon and is always going to provide. 

This story sets itself in Denver, Colorado in the year of 1883. It follows the first of this series, Currency Of The Heart, (check out my review). Now, you could very well read this as a stand alone novel, but I would suggest you read them in order for the very reason that the first one is just as amazing! Of course you too understand more of Sterling Street and the characters that also find themselves in this novel as well. 

Asa and Nell join together to rebuild Asa's grandparents inn. What I love is that while they are rebuilding this old inn they are doing the same with their hearts. Such a beautiful friendship and we see the lovely friends that have surrounded them that give such encouragement. A beautiful portrait of what community should be. 

Throughout the novel there is someone lurking in the shadows. Dark and intruding, only a few have caught sight of him, but all know he's there. Isn't that just like Satan? He's always stalking us, wanting us to see something in the shadows. While we focus on the darkness around the corner we some how lose sight of what's in front of us and lose our step. A lesson from this novel? Keep our focus on Jesus and our steps will be sure. 

Forgiveness, family, romance, healing, a little suspense, a little humor, all intertwined with faith. Inheritance doesn't always mean things of material wealth, but sometimes something far more valuable like faith, hope, and love.  

Grab a warm drink, your favorite quilt, and enjoy an afternoon on Sterling Street. I promise, it's a place you will want to revisit again and again! This is a keeper for sure. One that I loved. I hope you do as well.

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

Loree Lough with nearly five million 4 and 5 star rated books in circulation, Loree Lough has been called by reviewers and readers alike a "gifted storyteller whose novels touch hearts and change lives." Guardians of the Heart follows Currency of the Heart in the historical series Secrets on Sterling Street, published by Whitaker House. 

Loree lives near Baltimore and enjoys spending time with her husband, daughters, and "grandorables" at their cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she delights in showing off her skill at identifying critter tracks. She loves interacting with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and via e-mail (she answers every letter, personally!) at loree@loreelough.com.


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