Thursday, July 26, 2018

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar translated by Gretchen Abernathy

Powerful, emotional, haunting, chilling, yet filled with such beauty. This is not a grab your favorite drink and sit underneath your shadiest tree kind of read. It is not that afternoon pick me up read. This read left me breathless. It moved me to tears. There were quite a few times I closed the page to just absorb what I had read. To go back to the story was difficult. 

What kept me reading? Wanting to know the story of Helene Hannemann, her husband, and five children. I didn't want to stop until I had read the last page about this brave, selfless, and beautiful woman. She is filled with such grace. Walks with a mighty mercy for others. 

This novel is based on the true story of Helene Hannemann. We go back to 1943 in Berlin, Germany. This precious wife and mother is married to a Romani, a Gypsy. She with her blond hair and blue eyes, her family with their dark hair and chocolate eyes. To those SS this combination is unsettling. They thought they were safe in Berlin, but it wasn't to be. 

She a nurse, her husband a violinist. They lived a quiet life. Until the morning when the SS men bombarded the staircase to their apartment. They just wanted her husband and children. She was safe. But like any mother she was not to leave her children. This was the beginning of their journey to Auschwitz. 

We journey with Helene and others who are encamped with her. We follow the chilling days and dark nights for these thousands of families. These pages are filled with the evil practices of Dr. Mengele and others like him. Such secrets. These doctors held such power. But what I admire, what touches me the most, is the grace that Helene and those like her carried daily. They chose to walk in faith, to believe, to have hope. It is this Spirit inside of them that made them more powerful than any evil they faced.

Based on a true story, this is a work of fiction. A story beautifully shared. One that goes beyond simply touching the heart, but allows a raw emotion to fill the depths of the soul. This is an unforgettable story about the strength and bravery of Helene Hannemann. We read about her journey from her apartment to the days journey in this camp that held death and fear, doctors doing experiments on children, hunger and pain, until the last day when the chambers would fill once again. 

For me it would be impossible to read this story and not be changed. May we never forget. May each day we live with the same grace and hope that transcends all fear and doubt into an illuminating life that points to One far greater.

If there was something I could have changed or added it would be the lullaby. Let me explain. Helene sings this beautiful lullaby to calm the children. The lullaby is shared early in the novel, but it isn't translated. I would so love to read the words of this lullaby. Since the title of the book is, Auschwitz Lullaby, it would have been an extra blessing to have the words translated as the rest of the novel. 

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

Mario Escobar, with a licentiate's degree in history and an advanced studies diploma in modern history, has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Catholic Church, the age of the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. Passionate about history and its mysteries, he has plumbed the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

Elizabeth Camden is an outstanding writer. I have enjoyed other books penned by her so when this was for review I had to grab it up. Although this is book 2, not having read the first, for me it could easily be a stand-alone read. 

The cover is fantastic! Just beautiful. The historical subject was fascinating. I had no idea about the groundbreaking technology in waterworks. When reading this novel one can easily see the immense research the author dedicated herself to in bringing us this wonderfully written story. 

A young, educated, and strong woman is our main character. Rosalind is a great example of a woman who is sure of herself and living a determined life with a hope to make a difference in the world around her. I enjoyed her excitement and fearlessness in going forward with this new project. 

She works closely with Nicholas Drake. We follow these characters as they form a close relationship. I'm not so sure I enjoyed his character. This character walks with a temper that erupts within a second. These two characters often collided and Nick was always very quick to apologize. Rosalind is quick to forgive. This was something that caught my attention. Something I have always warned my daughters against. His character was disrespectful and arrogant. It would have been different for me if I was able to see his character grow and mature. 

The story easily flowed. The writing is excellent. So, what is missing? Faith. For me that is huge. When I choose to dedicate my time to reading a Christian fiction novel it is expected to have that faith aspect and this novel was missing what I had hoped for the most. If there was faith, redemption, grace, more here to see in these characters the aspects I seen in Nicholas could have been different if there was a hope in change for him. 

Historically this was outstanding. Love seeing a strong and intelligent woman as a main character. I was just left wanting more. 

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

Elizabeth Camden is author of elven historical novels and two historical novellas and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

This being my first novel to read by author Joanne Bischof I am anticipating my next choice penned by her hand. I really enjoyed this novel. 

I love when a cover captures my eye and grabs my attention. This cover is extraordinarily beautiful. The title was next to make me ponder. LOVE! 

I was intrigued by the storyline. The opening of this novel brought to mind the opening of the musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Our main character has traveled a long distance into a new land, the Appalachian Mountain area. She was expecting one thing and was surprised to find she had been deceived a bit. I ponder if she would have known the truth would she have traveled to this new and unknown place. 

I loved being introduced to the world around a deaf mute. Joanne did a wonderful job in giving the reader the detail and emotion to know this character on a deeper level as we were invited into his world of silence. This character really stands out for me. 

This family has made their living brewing hard cider. They own a great deal of land. This is another time and place, but so much of what they endure we too are able to relate to. What makes this novel even more intriguing for me is that the man lives in a silent world is also an alcoholic. A subject that this author brings to life with grace.

The main character being surrounded by men, all hoping for a bride, with much work before her doesn't run away. She remains steadfast. I loved her spirit and heart. She lives with a mighty hope and faith. It is this gentle and unwavering faith that brings these people to living with a new hope, something that had been missing. 

This novel came together beautifully. Well written with heart and emotion. My take away is the blessed gift of redemption. It is here we see the unending love of God. We see Him move within these characters. This is aspect I always enjoy with Christian fiction. 

This was a sweet gem of a read. 

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

Joanne Bischof is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by Mount Hermon conference. Joanne's 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

When Through Deep Waters by Rachelle Dekker

Right off the bat this was moving. That first chapter grabbed my heart and I was ready for the journey ahead. Although I wasn't sure I was going to like the journey. I mean this first chapter, so very short, grabbed at the depths of my mama heart. I was forcing myself to slow down my reading. 

Here we are four months after tragedy. The main character is having a difficult time coping with this new life. A life she never imagined, but is now forced to live. I am in for the journey. Because I have to see what happens. She must find healing. Even I know she can't remain where she is. 

Friendship found here in these pages is powerful. It is a testimony to how we should treat those we call friends. Here we find a friend willing to reach out beyond the fun of yesterday and walk the valley of brokeness with her childhood friend. They haven't seen one another for years, but yet they pick up right where they left off. That love that reaches far beyond any boundary. 

I couldn't read fast fast enough. Each time I placed down my book I was pondering what I had just read. Rachelle Dekker is gifted. Her heart, her Jesus is living within these pages. She goes beyond the normal and expected, taking the reader on a heart journey. One that urged me to dive deeper, to live more fierce, to walk with a determination to feel and to not shut out a faith that is wanting more than anything to live through me. 

Oh, if we could all just allow the Spirit to move in us, not shutting Him out. Too often we shut Him out and allow the world and all it holds to take over our every thought which forces us to focus on fear and doubt. That isn't what He wants for us. He wants us to experience ALL of Him. Right here in these pages Rachelle challenges us to let go and let God. Yes, that has become a catch phrase, but I mean in it the most powerful sense. 

This novel was vivid and poignant. Good and evil warring against one another. Truth and deception at battle. The spiritual warfare is real is happening daily around us and within us. The world tries to force untruth at believers.  The world tries with all its might to shake us to the core. Satan is at every turn filling us with lies. As believers we can stand firm in our faith or fall victim to the tragedy that tries so hard to steal us from living life to its full abundance. 

Yes, I can hear some now. "How is this even possible?" For me, the story told a far greater truth. We can close ourselves down or choose to see. This is the battle of the main character. She has a mother who is demeaning and grueling in her narcissist behavior. We travel with the main character as her eyes are open to truth, as she allows the Spirit to move in her. She remembers her grandmother. Her words that have never left her. It is all coming back amid all that is trying to keep the truth at bay. The enemy is circling and wants Alicen to commit to him, to give in, to leave this world knowing she is unworthy. But there surrounding her is hope. Spirits who have come to entertain her, to bring her to remember who she is and how big His grace is. 

A psychological thriller, outside the realm of what we consider normal and sane. But letting go is where He is found. Focusing on believing, not necessarily seeing, but trusting Him with all we don't understand and knowing if we dive in He is going to catch us. 

There is so much I want to share about this novel, but then the reader wouldn't experience this novel for themselves. This is a masterpiece of good verses evil. A place where the heart and mind collide. An area where the world around us wants nothing to do with believers. No matter the battle, He has equipped us with everything we need. We simply have to believe.

Oh, this is definitely a five star novel!!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

Rachelle Dekker the oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart

Anytime there is a book for review that is penned by Ann H. Gabhart I grab it up quickly. I am an avid fan of Gabhart's writing. I have so enjoyed every book penned by her hand. She writes in such a way that sets her apart from others. She has the gift to put words together that brings a story to life. She takes the black and white, weaving together love and faith into the hearts of unforgettable characters. 

What characters this book contains! This book held such emotion for me. My heart seems to connect to every character. Such a pureness and a a rare beauty that Gabhart has brought us. As much as I have loved her other novels, this just may be at the top of the fave list.

We travel back to the year of 1833. Springfield, Kentucky. Ann is giving us such rich and vivid details. Historical fiction with truth, love and freedom, faith and chains. The cholera epidemic is swirling and growing. One man stands out, a slave by the name of Louis. I tell you that his character touched me in a powerful way. I want to live with such beauty and character. He lived every moment with his eyes fixed on Jesus. With death surrounding him, his heart was pure and filled with such mercy. He did for all what most would never think about doing for him. He thought past himself and his own circumstances. He made the choice to see beauty in all around him.

Aunt Tilda also stands out for me. Another slave. Another beauty that chose to reach out beyond herself, touch the world around her with such grace, leaving a legacy of Jesus. Oh, the love in her heart is a love we should all strive to live.

Adria Starr is the main character. Oh, this little girl brought me to tears. My arms wanted to reach out and hug her. This is writing!! When a novel allows you to feel such deep emotion it brings it to a whole new level. We journey with Adria and with others in a world that seems so long ago, but one we can relate to. We have our own sets of circumstance and trial, but from these characters we can see a "No matter what" type of faith. They walked through the valley and came out the other side with grace and mercy.

Let us not forget Ruth and the new Pastor. Both characters are so gentle. They are finding their way through tragedy and finding a place where life can not only continue, but flourish beyond what they can imagine.

I suppose what I loved the most was the portrayal of people with such generous hearts! Maybe that is what I see in them. As big as their circumstances before them, their grace given, was always bigger!

If you are looking for not only a great novel, but one that will move your heart and challenge you, look no further. Ann has brought us a novel that is moving and powerful, yet so sweet and tender. Yep, that's a Gabhart novel!

Of course I give Ann's masterpiece a glowing five star review!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

Ann H.Gabhart is the bestselling and award-winning author of many novels, including These Healing Hills, Angel Sister, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She is also the author of the popular Hidden Springs Mysteries series as A.H. gabhart. Ann and her husband enjoy country life on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at

Monday, July 2, 2018

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley

This was a pleasant surprise for me. I hadn't realised I had asked to review this selection. Patricia Bradley is a new author for me. I seen the description of the book is surrounding Elvis week in Memphis. I have to be honest and share that I kinda questioned if I was going to enjoy a book surrounding Elvis Week. But let me tell you I really enjoyed this novel. This could easily be a movie of the week or a big screen picture! This is so much more than Elvis Week. 

Murder, intrigue, and connecting all that's happening made this a fantastic read. Plus, the relationship between Rachel Sloan and Boone Callahan. Opening the pages and reading the Prologue is what captivated me. This opening was enough to keep me turning pages. I had to find out more. This is what I loved about this Bradley novel. She does an outstanding job at keeping the reader captivated. 

I love when writers give us strong characters we can admire. Characters with depth that we can relate to. This wasn't a novel you open, read the first few pages, and there you have it all figured out. This story unfolded in perfect timing and held my attention until the last page.

This is book three in the series. I always hate coming in late to a series, but if you haven't read the first books I can tell you that I completely enjoyed this novel as a stand alone. The author perfectly brings out personality and emotion in the characters. I didn't feel lost at any time and didn't feel like I was trying to catch up or understand where the story was now picking up. This is the making of a great storyteller. 

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

Patricia Bradley is the award-winning author of Justice Delayed and Justice Buried, as well as the Logan Point series. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Mississippi. Learn more at

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

This was my first read penned by Beth White. I can share with you that it will not be my last. I cannot wait to see what happens next at the Daughtry House. I was captivated from the opening of the first page to the last turning. This is creative storytelling. 

The cover caught my eye. It is a gorgeous cover and very telling of the character, Selah Daughtry. Oh, this girl and her rebel heart. I loved getting to know her. The author does a fantastic job with details and allowing the reader to really see the heart of each character. I might add that these are characters we can relate to. Yes, it is another time and place, a past history that is full of emotion, but these characters are relevant to us today.

Levi Riggins. Who wouldn't want to be saved from a train wreck by this fella. His character stole my heart as well. Strong and confident, yet full of grace and tenderness. He comes into the story with a bit of a secret. That is a part of the intrigue of this novel. The author weaves together a story that perfectly unfolds and keeps the reader wanting to turn pages. 

Forgiveness, redemption, love, grace, friendship, and family are just a few of the themes the reader will uncover in this novel. One might believe in coincidence, but here within these pages we see the plan of God unfold for these characters. 

We see what happens when circumstance throws our life as we know it for a curve. Selah has built a wall around her, a boundary of protection. She is fierce and protective. Her heart is open to helping others. She is a strong character I admire. I enjoyed seeing her softer side, where she is more vulnerable. 

I admire an author who researches and shares truths in their storytelling. You will find that here too. This story will continue with book 2 in which I am in anticipation to start turning pages once again. This was a five star read for me. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

Beth White's day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride, The Creole Princess, and The Magnolia Duchess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers' Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award. Learn more at


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