Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Because you're Mine by Colleen Coble

I became a Coble fan with her Rock Harbor Series. My admiration for her grew from there. It seemed I loved every series and every stand alone. I was excited every time there was a new release. 

Her writing style is straight to the heart. It's simple and beauty. She gives heart to the characters and as they come alive on the black and white pages before us we begin to fall in love with them. We can understand them. We have walked where they have walked. They are filled with journey and faith. 

It was the cover that caught my attention. A new novel into a new series. I was excited for the journey before me. 

This novel is fast paced. There is one thing happening right after another. Sometimes predictable, but never boring. The reader will certainly travel a journey into creepiness with these characters. 

I cannot say this is a favorite. I understand the main character, Alanna, is not wanting to lose her son, but to marry the band manager so quickly? How did they not know his creepiness before now? 

There are sinister plots and suspense throughout the novel, but I have to share this one was a bit too creepy for me. Maybe a little too much of the dark side? I needed more faith for this journey into the dark side. 

You may very well pick up this novel and love it from the first to last page. A roller coaster ride for sure. For me, I just needed more substance. I understand like the main character we can feel like life continues to belt us with one hit right after the next. I can relate to her walking with strong faith and then tragedy happens and she walks away from the truths she has known. 

I hope you pick up this novel and enjoy it immensely. This may be a selection I need to put up and read again at another time. Maybe then I will gain more insight to share. Colleen Coble is a favorite of mine and this won't discourage me from choosing another new release from her. There's always a blessing to be found in her writing. 

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

Colleen Coble is a USA Today bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her romantic suspense novels, including, Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix

This is my first novel read by Michele Phoenix. I love the premise of this novel and all that she opened my eyes to. We always hear of the 'calling' by missionaries. We want to go where God calls us. We want to make a difference. 

To be called by God isn't the same for every soul. We all fit differently into His plan. Our walk with Him isn't ALL we do for His name, but our relationship with Him, our intimate journey with our Savior. 

This novel is raw and transparent. For me, it was the journey of Lauren. We see that her husband feels called to work in Nepal and with the people, but we really don't read about much of his personal journey. 

Their son, Ryan, is struggling. We can see through the conversations he has with his parents that he is truly unhappy. We see the fall, but we don't really get a close glimpse into his heart. 

It is with Lauren that we journey. She feels alone and lost. Through her words we can 'feel' the pain in her heart. She is broken and a mess. We can see that she wants more of a close relationship with her husband, which is clueless to anything she or their son is going through. Nothing seems to matter to him except the call. We see his words of encouragement, but they aren't so much words to inspire his family, but his life and calling and how they fit into it. 

So, as Lauren is lost in her time alone she connects with an old friend. But their relationship grows beyond just a message here and there. They begin chatting through messages daily. She can never seem to find the time to share this with her husband and when she finally does his response is one I wasn't ready for. Their relationship is really strained and pretty much completely lies on his 'feelings' with God and how he says their life should be. 

I enjoyed the rawness and the transparent look into Lauren's life. The novel goes back and forth from her younger years when she and her husband met to present time. So much I enjoyed, but much I didn't. Although the novel took us into her life as a missionary, the missing link was faith. Not much faith being shared, but more so the 'calling' of the husband. 

I enjoyed the writing style. But the novel just kind of ends..period. For me it ended where it should have been more of the middle of the novel. It just left me pondering what life would be for these people we journeyed with through three hundred and sixty something pages. 

I would like to read more of this author. As her words are powerful and she does bring the reader into a world most only hear about as families come to church to share the need. We never really see or hear about the personal struggles of these families. 

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

Michele Phoenix born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michele Phoenix is a consultant, writer, and speaker with a heart for Third Culture Kids. She taught for twenty years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own advocacy venture under Global Outreach Mission. Michele travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, Marvel movies, and paths to healing.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Healing Of The Heart (book 3 in the series Secrets on Sterling Street) by Loree Lough

I admire Loree so very much. Love when an author gives a dedication for the novel they poured their heart into. Loree's dedication to her granddaughter touched my heart in a powerful way. Such a love-bond between grandmother and granddaughter. Words for us all to ponder and live in example. 

Currency of the Heart began this series. It was followed by Guardians of the Heart. You can peek at my reviews on both of these gems. I loved the first. After reading the second I was sure it would be my favorite. Then here came the last of the series. Wow! It is difficult to pick a favorite when the pen is in the hand of Loree, but book 3 is my absolute fave of this series! 

Now, why would I pick this novel for my fave? There isn't a character in this novel that doesn't leave a heart-message for one to ponder. That's powerful stuff right there. 

Okay, so you can know the gist of the story by reading the description. I won't do that for you and I won't give away any secretsšŸ˜. Oh, the keeping of secrets! These characters have secrets they want to keep from others for many different reasons. Some are because they are afraid of judgement. Some secrets are kept in hope that love will continue. There are those secrets we keep not because we are afraid of how others will react, but because we are afraid if we speak them our own heart will be changed in some way. Maybe we lose a friendship, a loved one, or we simply fear exposing too much of ourselves and we just won't be accepted. 

This tale begins in the year of 1879 in Baltimore, Maryland and takes us on a journey to Sterling Street in Fairplay, Colorado in 1884. I tell you that I have loved visiting Sterling Street and getting to know these characters that make us feel right at home. 

We meet Ruby McCoy and her mother. Now this is a relationship that at times made me giggle. It's almost as though Ruby has taken charge and is in the leadership role. As they visit each town we witness this relationship of mother and daughter grow as Ruby tries to make amends for the actions of another. 

This is something we can easily relate to if you're a "fixer". A heart of grace always wants to make things right, even when the actions are not of their own doing. Ruby is a character with a heart of grace. Mercy seems to flow easily as she knows the actions of her father has caused such grief for so many. She wants to right each wrong, placing herself in a position of not wanting anyone to know who she is or why she is spending so much time in each town her father visited. 

Her mother doesn't quite get it. She isn't really concerned with what other people think. She thinks very highly of herself as she looks down on others. She would rather go shopping and get back to the life she has always known. But in a few twists even mama begins to grow in ways she never expected. 

Ruby is that strong woman that we all hope to be. She's that girl that doesn't easily give up. She lives determined to make a difference. Trying to right all the wrongs made before her doesn't make an easy road for Ruby who carries upon her shoulders the sins of her father. She is ashamed of her last name and would rather no one ever know who she really is. 

Now there is Rex Truett. The name speaks strength and honor. Truth flows from his life. He's the sheriff in Fairplay. Okay, just the name Fairplay speaks volumes!! Rex is that guy you want on your side. He is ready to stand up for those who have been wronged. He is all about justice. Rex lives with his Aunt Mavis, another strong character, and two children, Arlo and Payton, who will make your heart smile. 

Rex is a man who isn't easy on trust. He sees all that Ruby is doing with the townsfolk and he begins to question who she is and the truth behind her actions. Here is where the story begins to grow. It easily flows as these characters come to life before our very eyes. Loree allows us to see the heart of each one. Their background plays a huge roll in who they are today. It is always a blessing to see the growth in characters as they face trial and circumstance. 

These characters are not just their past. We see one try desperately to be nothing at all like the man who raised them. Another we see them work hard to fill the shoes of the one before them.  We learn that the choices of others leave behind something in all of us. How we perceive that is our choice. What we inherit is not always our choice, but how we live with that inheritance is. 

There is much to take away from this novel where faith weaves its way through the pages. Life lessons of grace, forgiveness, redemption, and healing. These characters each carry different burdens of the heart. Secrets of their own kind. But when they choose to let them go something magical happens. Healing begins and they are able to truly be themselves without any kind of fear of not being accepted and loved for who they truly are. 

Happy readingšŸ“˜!! I have a feeling you're going to love it!

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." Healing of the Heart follows Guardians of the Heart and Currency of the Heart in the 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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