Friday, November 30, 2012

My Review - Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall

Veil of PearlsVeil of Pearls by M.L. Tyndall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the longest I’ve had to wait to read a MaryLu Tyndall book.  But, with a very hectic summer, prior commitments, and family matters, I wasn’t able to pick up VEIL OF PEARLS until yesterday.  And as always, I couldn’t put it down.

Adalia Winston has escaped slavery in Barbados and has begun a new life in the port city of Charleston.  Her light skin allows her to hide her heritage, and she quickly finds herself putting her knowledge of herbal medicines to use as a doctor’s assistant.  When she catches the eye of Morgan Rutledge, she thinks nothing of quickly dispatching of him and his persistent advances.  Though he is quite handsome, he is one of the wealthy elite and travels amongst the upper crust of society, a circle she will clearly never be a part of. 

Rutledge Morgan can’t get Adalia Winston out of his mind or thoughts.  Though he knows she is not in the same station as he and his prominent family, it does little to quell his interest.  He pursues her relentlessly, and all the more when he sees her defenses waning. 

Adalia and Morgan continue to fool themselves into thinking they can rise above the many obstacles plaguing their relationship.  Adalia knows she will have no future with Morgan once he finds out about her heritage and that she is nothing more than a runaway slave.  Morgan knows his powerful father will never allow him to court a commoner like Adalia. 

But somehow, they continue to fall farther in love.  A love neither of them will admit.  A love that will never be fulfilled when Adalia’s identity is discovered, and her wicked owner comes to claim her as his own.  Morgan must decide for himself what it is he wants.  Adelia and the freedom to pursue his passion of sailing, or wealth and his family name.

Like all of MaryLu’s books, I absolutely loved VEIL OF PEARLS.  MaryLu’s writing is so smooth and fluid, you can’t help but turn page after page.  Her characters are so well fleshed out, and her imagery so tangible, your heart breaks with the circumstances that befall Adalia and Morgan, and you can almost feel the spray of the ocean mist as Morgan turns to the sea for solace.

Another favorite in my library.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

Lynnette Bonner

and the book:

Spring Meadow Sanctuary

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 11, 2012)

***Special thanks to Lynnette Bonner for sending me a review copy.***


Born and raised in Malawi, Africa. Lynnette Bonner spent the first years of her life reveling in warm equatorial sunshine and the late evening duets of cicadas and hyenas. The year she turned eight she was off to Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya where she spent many joy-filled years, and graduated in 1990.

That fall, she traded to a new duet--one of traffic and rain--when she moved to Kirkland, Washington to attend Northwest University. It was there that she met her husband and a few years later they moved to the small town of Pierce, Idaho.

During the time they lived in Idaho, while studying the history of their little town, Lynnette was inspired to begin the Shepherd's Heart Series with Rocky Mountain Oasis.

Marty and Lynnette have four children, and currently live in Washington where Marty pastors a church and Lynnette works as an administrative assistant.

Visit the author's website.


He broke her heart.

Now he’s back to ask for a second chance.

Heart pounding in shock, Sharyah Jordan gapes at the outlaw staring down the barrel of his gun at her. Cascade Bennett shattered her dreams only last summer, and now he plans to kidnap her and haul her into the wilderness with a bunch of outlaws…for her own protection? She’d rather be locked in her classroom for a whole week with Brandon McBride and his arsenal of tricks, and that was saying something.

Cade Bennett’s heart nearly drops to his toes when he sees Sharyah standing by the desk. Sharyah Jordan was not supposed to be here. Blast if he didn’t hate complications, and Sharyah with her alluring brown eyes and silky blond hair was a walking, talking personification of complication.

Now was probably not the time to tell her he’d made a huge mistake last summer….

Two broken hearts. Dangerous Outlaws. One last chance at love.

Step into a day when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.77

Paperback: 286 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 11, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1480156949

ISBN-13: 978-1480156944


Sharyah had just bent over the papers she needed to grade when the small rock landed on her desk with a soft thud. The titter of laugher ceased as she snapped her head up to study her students. Everyone seemed to be in deep concentration and intent on their lessons. She focused her gaze on Brandon McBride, but he looked as innocent as an angel and sat attentively reading his history lesson, just as he should be. Sonja and Sally Weaver both gave her sympathetic glances, from the last row of desks where they were working on their math lesson together.

Sharyah sighed, knowing from past experience that asking the class who had done the deed would prove futile. She’d been here two weeks, now. Two weeks in the God-forsaken little back-water town of Beth Haven and for a solid week-and-a-half she’d been longing to pack her bags and return home.

She had been approached about teaching in Madras, but upon arriving learned that the former teacher had decided to stay on for another year. Disappointed, she’d been all set to go back home when the head of the board told her that Beth Haven had been having trouble keeping a teacher and he thought they might be searching for one again. When she’d arrived and informed the Beth Haven board of her interest in the teaching position, they’d been ecstatic. She could see why, now. No teacher in their right mind would want to stay and deal with this, but she was determined to make it work.

The first week, she’d spent countless hours grilling the students both collectively and individually as to the identity of the trickster, but whoever the little devil was, he had a fierce grip on the loyalty of everyone else in the class. No one would give him up.

For the last several weeks, she’d tried to ignore the incidents in hopes that the prankster would give up out of sheer boredom.

Never one to be squeamish, when she’d found the snake in her top desk drawer she’d calmly picked it up and tossed it out the window. A few of the boys had gaped in disappointment, but the next day a tack had appeared on her chair. She’d noticed it before she sat on it, thankfully, and had whisked it out of sight and plunked herself down on the chair with zest. But, even though she’d been watching their faces carefully as she dropped into the seat, she hadn’t been able to determine which child was the most disappointed when she didn’t cry out in pain.

A couple days ago, she’d actually almost laughed when she’d discovered that all the chalk had been replaced with garden carrots, fuzzy green tops and all. Thankfully she’d had an extra piece in her satchel.

Today however, the large spider in her lunch pail had been almost more than she could bear. She shuddered at the memory and thanked her lucky stars that Papa had never allowed her to luxuriate in a fit of the vapors – because if ever there was a moment when she’d been tempted to, that had been it. The thing had been so large she could see its beady eyes looking right at her! And fuzzy! She rubbed at the goose-flesh on her arms. All afternoon her stomach had been grumbling its complaint. The thought of eating her sandwich and the apple that a spider crawled all over had been more than her fortitude could handle.

Yes, packing up and returning to home would be heaven. But, in a way that would be just like succumbing to the vapors, and she wouldn’t allow herself the weakness of retreat. She would get a much-needed break in the spring, just a few short months away, when her entire family came over for Jason and Nicki’s March wedding. Tears pressed at the backs of her eyes as longing to see them all welled up inside her. But she blinked hard and reined in her emotions. Until then, she would simply have to forge ahead.

All her life she’d wanted only one thing.

Well, two things if she were honest, but she wasn’t going to think about Cascade Bennett today. She sighed and glanced out the window. If she was smart she wouldn’t ever again waste another moment of time pondering the way he’d broken her heart. God promised in his Word that goodness and mercy would follow her all the days of her life, so obviously the good things God had for her didn’t include Cade Bennett.

Samuel Perry - that’s who she should be thinking on. Yes, Sam. If he ever got around to asking her, he would make a very…suitable husband. She could learn to be happy and satisfied with a man like Sam.

Giving herself a shake, she returned her focus to her students. The one thing she’d wanted ever since she could remember was to be a teacher. She loved children, loved to see their eyes light up when understanding dawned. Loved their frank outlook on life and their quickness to forgive and move on. Loved to help them make something of themselves. That love was the reason she was here, and she had to figure out a way to get these children to accept her, or at least respect her.

She glanced at the clock and stood from her desk. “Alright, children. It’s time to head home for the day.” She gave them all her sunniest smile. “See you bright and early in the morning, and don’t forget tomorrow is our day to go leaf collecting, so bring a sack or pillowslip from home to carry with you.” She pinned Brandon with a look. “Brandon, if I could have a moment of your time up by my desk, please? Everyone else, you’re dismissed.”

Purposely she turned her back and began to erase the chalk board, but inwardly she cringed, waiting for some missile or projectile to bombard her. With a determined clench of her jaw, she threw back her shoulders. Show no fear!

Amazingly enough nothing happened and soon, other than Brandon shuffling his feet as he waited for her to finish, the room filled with silence.

Finally, she hung the rag on its hook by the board and turned to face her little nemesis. My, but he had the most alluring big chocolate eyes. And right at the moment they were dripping with innocence. Future women beware! Brandon McBride cometh! She bit off a grin and folded her hands carefully in front of her.

“Did you need my help, Miss Jordan?” He looked around as though expecting her to ask him to carry something for her.

“No, Brandon. But I want you to know that I’m not going anywhere.”

He seemed puzzled. “Not going anywhere, ma’am?”

“No matter the number of tricks played on me, I will finish out the school year. Now,” she held up a hand to still his protest, “it can be a good year for both of us, or it can be a miserable year. Your choice.”

“But ma’am, I don’t…” Suddenly his eyes widened. “You think I’m the one that’s been playin’ tricks on you?” He shook his head, dark eyes wide and gleaming with sincerity. “It ain’t me, ma’am. Honest it’s not.”

“Isn’t. ‘It isn’t me, ma’am,’” she corrected automatically, then sighed. “You are dismissed, Brandon. See you tomorrow.”

“Yes’m.” He turned to fetch his lunch pail and slate.

Was that an impish gleam in his eyes? Or simply relief at not being in too much trouble?

She watched him dash out the door, his ever-present slingshot cocked at an angle in the waistband of his pants, and then sighed as she sank down onto her chair.

Wasp-venom-pain stabbed into her backside. With a yelp, she leapt to her feet. And pulled the offending stick pin from her posterior.

Her eyes narrowed. “Why that little—”

The back door crashed in, startling the rest of the thought from her mind.

A man tromped in, black bowler pulled low over his brow, red bandana covering his nose and mouth and a gun leveled at her chest.


Cade Bennett stood in the alley, his heart beating a competition with the tinny piano playing inside the saloon. Judd Rodale and his younger brother Mick had gone in only moments ago. He took a calming breath and checked his weapon one more time, then stepped around the corner and pushed through the bat-wing doors of The Golden Pearl.

The room looked the same as it had the night before when he’d scouted it with Rocky and Sky. Upright piano in the back right corner. Bar along the wall to his left. Stairs leading up to the second floor along the rear wall. And six round tables scattered throughout the room. Judd and Mick sat at a table close to the bar. They’d already been dealt in to the perpetual poker game The Pearl kept running. The dealer wore a white shirt with black armbands and a visor cap, and looked a little nervous as he dealt out a card to Judd. The other two men in the game must be locals. Cade didn’t recognize them.

He sidled up to the bar and rested his forearms there, lifting a finger to the barkeep.

“What’ll it be?” The man wiped his hands on a rag that looked like it would leave more behind than it would clean off.

“Whiskey. Make it a double.”

The bartender sloshed the liquid into a glass and slid it his way.

Cade lifted it in a gesture of thanks and turned to face the room, propping his elbows on the bar and one boot on the rail below. He sniffed the whiskey but didn’t taste it. He would need all his senses to pull this off.

The poker hand came to an end and Rodale raked in his winnings.

Time to turn on the charm. Lord, a little help here. “You gentlemen care to let a weary traveler in on a bit of the fun?”

Judd Rodale didn’t even look at him. “You gonna drink that whiskey, kid? Or just look at it?”

Mick snickered and organized his stacks of coins, taking his brother’s lead in not even glancing Cade’s way.

Cade chuckled. “Well, I need all my wits about me if I’m going to go up against you Rodales in a poker game. I’ve heard you’re the best.”

Judd looked up then, scanning him from head to toe.

Good. He had the man’s attention.

“I’m sorry, kid, but I can’t say your reputation has spread as far as mine. I have no idea who you are.”

Cade grabbed a chair and circled around so that his back would be to the wall when he sat. He turned the chair backwards and straddled it, setting his whiskey on the card table. “Well now, I’m going to ignore the fact that you called me kid in that tone, because basically I’m nobody.” He stretched his hand across the table giving Rodale what he hoped was an irritated smile. “Name’s Schilling. Cade Schilling.”

The dealer fumbled the cards he was shuffling.

Judd’s eyes widened a bit as he studied Cade, ignoring his proffered hand.

Cade felt his first moment of ease. So their planning ahead on this one had paid off. These men had definitely heard of Cade Schilling.

One of the locals gathered up his money and stood. “Time for me to call it a night, fellas. Catch you another time.”

No one seemed to notice his departure. All attention at the table was fixed on Cade.

Mick cursed. “You are Cade Schilling? The Cade Schilling who—”

Judd cleared his throat loudly.

Mick caught himself. “—well, the Cade Schilling?”

Cade grinned. “Never met another one of me. So what do you say? We playing cards, or not?” Casually he removed a stack of gold eagles from his jacket pocket and laid them on the table.

Judd flicked a gesture to the dealer. “Deal him in.”

"Now you’re talking.” Cade stood, flipped his chair around the right way, removed his jacket and hung it over the back. He rolled up his sleeves as he sat down again, and grinned at the men who were all staring at him in question. “Had a friend get shot once. Someone thought he had a card up his sleeve. I watched him die, choking on his own blood.” He shrugged. “I’ve made it a point to roll my sleeves up for every poker game since then.”

Mick chuckled and picked up his hand of cards.

The kid would be easier to win over than Judd. But if he could get Judd to like him, the rest of the Rodale Gang would fall in line.

Cade let the first two hands go, cringing inwardly at the amount of money Judd was taking off him. He reminded himself that the money was Sam’s anyway – all part of the ruse.

They were halfway into the third round when Rocky and his brother Sky pushed through the doors, their badges plainly visible. Sky sauntered to a table and Rocky eased up to the bar. Cade’s heart rate kicked up a notch. The other local folded, snatched his hat from the back of his chair and quickly strode from the room. The only other patron in the room hurriedly followed him out the doors.

Smart men. A little more of the tenseness eased from Cade’s shoulders. Less potential for casualties. Less witnesses. The bartender, piano player, and dealer were the only others left now, and they would be easily convinced to keep quiet about the events that were about to unfold.

Cade thought through the plan one more time, making sure he had every detail of what was to happen figured out. Jason had wanted to be here too, but Nicki, the widow Jason had fallen in love with, was due to have her baby any day now and they’d all convinced him they could pull this off without him.

Lord I hope we were right on that count.

He laid a card aside and took another from the dealer. It was time to put everything into play. He lowered his voice and kept his perusal on his cards as he said, “Judd, unless I miss my guess, your dandy of a brother here has been sneaking down to town and has caused a little ruckus. Two lawmen just came in. One at the bar, one at the table near the door.”

Judd’s voice was just as low, barely audible over the plinking of the piano. “I see ’em. We don’t have anything to worry about. Sheriff Collier wouldn’t know an outlaw from a bread roll. This is his town.”

Pretending great interest in his cards, Cade lifted one shoulder. “The barber said they brought in a couple new men. This must be them.”

“Well, we ain’t done nothing to warrant their attention. They mostly leave us alone so long as we keep to ourselves. I’ll handle this.” Judd swilled his whiskey and took a gulp then started to stand.

Cade flicked the corner of one of his cards. “I hear tell Judge Green’s daughter is sure a pretty little thing.”

Mick shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

Judd cursed softly and sank back down. “Mick?”

Mick couldn’t seem to meet his brother’s gaze.

Judd swore again. “I ought to shoot you, myself! We are just about—” he cut off, tossing Cade a glance before he returned his attention to Mick. “Now I have to figure out a way to get us out of here.”

Cade leaned forward. “Maybe I can help you with that.”

Judd glowered at him.

Cade pressed on. “I’ve been needing a place to…hang my hat, for a bit. I get you out of here and…?” He shrugged. Their whole plan hinged on the decision Judd would make right here.

Mick nodded at Cade. “You get us out of here and you can stay with us for as long as you want.”

Judd wasn’t so quick to take the bait. He lowered his brow. “Why would you do us any favors?”

Cade pushed out his lower lip and eased into a comfortable posture. “Suit yourself. Like I said, I’ve been needing a place to lie low. Word hereabouts is you have the best hide-out around, and….” He lifted his shoulders and resettled his hat, once again leaving the decision in Judd’s hands.

Rocky and Sky stood erect and turned to face their table.

“Judd, just let him help us.” Desperation tinged the edges of Mick’s tone.

Judd glanced toward the slowly approaching lawmen. Then gave Cade a barely perceptible nod.

Cade suppressed a sigh of relief as he stood and swung his jacket over his shoulder. “Gentlemen,” he said loudly, “the game has been fun, but I sense it is time to move on.”  He tipped his hat to Sky and Rocky as he stepped past them. They were already drawing their guns, right on cue.

“Mick Rodale, you are under arrest for the molestation of Missy Green.”

Cade palmed his gun, spun around and swung his coat over Rocky’s Colt knocking the aim down and away. He pressed the muzzle of his pistol to Sky’s chest. Sky only had enough time to let loose his scripted cry of shock before Cade pulled the trigger.

The report was a little loud, but about right.

Sky flew backward and crashed over a table, sliding across the surface and disappearing over the other side as the table toppled onto its edge. His body was concealed, only his legs protruded from one end.

Too bad about that. He couldn’t see if the blood packet they’d rigged had worked.

Rocky had recovered from his pretended surprise by this time and had his Colt leveled at Judd’s head. “Drop your gun! I will kill him!”

Calmly Cade turned and pressed the muzzle of his pistol under Rocky’s chin. “Your friend over there is lying in a pool of his own blood. Do you think I’d hesitate to kill you too? You have five seconds to drop that gun.

Rocky’s eyes narrowed.

“Four… three…”

“Alright! Alright!” Rocky’s gun thumped onto the table and he raised his hands above his head.

This was the critical moment. Now he had to keep Judd and Mick from shooting Rocky themselves.

He kept his pistol aimed directly at Rocky and his body between him and the Rodales. “Have a seat in that chair behind you. Judd, Mick. I got this. I’ll meet you outside of town.”

Mick shucked his gun and pushed Cade aside. He stood trembling in excitement before Rocky. “Let me kill this one.”

Dear God, give me wisdom. Cade hoped his breathing sounded normal to the others in the room. It rasped ragged and thready in his own ears. He made a quick decision, met Rocky’s gaze and then thunked him a good one with the butt of his pistol. Not hard enough to actually knock him out, but Rocky took the cue and slumped over, toppling to the floor with a low moan.

Cade pierced Mick with a look. “You kill a lawman and it will follow you to your grave. Trust me, I know.”

Judd had his pistol free now. He gestured the bartender, piano player, and dealer toward the back wall and they stumbled over themselves to comply. Cade made swift work of tying up Rocky and the bartender while Mick grumbled his way through binding the other two.

Judd stepped over and eyed Sky, then turned to Cade and nodded. “Thanks. We owe you one.”

Cade smoothed down his sleeves, buttoned the cuffs, and swung his jacket on. “Best we make ourselves scarce.” He wanted to get these two out of here before one of them decided to put an extra bullet into either Sky or Rocky.

Judd snapped his fingers at Mick. “Let’s go.”

With a sigh of frustration Mick followed them out the doors. They mounted up and galloped toward the foothills.

A tremor of sheer relief coursed through Cade. First step down. Thank you, Lord.

My Review - Spring Meadow Sanctuary

Spring Meadow SanctuarySpring Meadow Sanctuary by Lynnette Bonner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SPRING MEADOW SANCTUARY is the fourth installment in The Shepherd’s Heart series, but easily enough can be read as a standalone novel.  I have not read the previous three and was able to keep up without having too many questions.

Sharyah Jordan had her heart broken by Cascade Bennett.  But that is the past.  She is now a school teacher in Beth Haven, and even though she is counting the days until the year is over, she convinces herself she is better off there than anywhere Cade Bennett might be.

Cascade Bennett doesn’t see a problem infiltrating the Rodale Gang.  He’ll go in, get proof of their rustling, convince Sam Perry’s sister, Katrina, to come with him, and get out.  What he doesn’t anticipate is that to get Sam Perry’s attention, the Rodale gang plans on kidnapping the new teacher in Beth Haven, knowing Sam’s sweet on her.  But, Cade is utterly shocked to find out the teacher is Sharyah.  Kidnapping Sharyah isn’t a problem.  Keeping her safe will be.

As Sharyah and Cade struggle with their feelings for each other, Sharyah continues to be the target of the Rodale Gang and Cade has to go to extremes to keep Sharyah alive.  Sharyah refuses to fall for the cowboy that already broke her heart once.  But Cade now realizes he made a mistake pushing Sharyah away.

SPRING MEADOW SANCTUARY was an enjoyable book.  Never reading anything by Lynnette Bonner before, I didn’t know what to expect.  But, since SPRING MEADOW SANCTUARY had all the key ingredients I look for in a book- cowboys, romance, and suspense, I gave it a try.  I’m glad I did.  The characters were warm and likable.  A few situations I felt were a bit over the top, but overall, a good read.

Electronic book provided for review purposes.

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Roses
By Amanda Cabot
Amanda Cabot invites readers to cozy up with a romantic, heartwarming tale of the greatest gift of all--love.
Celia Anderson doesn't need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .
Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow's Garden, and Summer of Promise, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming.
Praise for Amanda Cabot
“Amanda Cabot’s characters and storytelling create the extraordinary out of this Texas tale. I’m in love with her books.”--Laurie Alice Eakes, author, Lady in the Mist

Praise for Promise of Summer

“This is a lovely and romantic read that I highly recommend!”—

"In Cabot's Westward Winds series starter, readers will enjoy reading through the story's twists and turns.  The characters are an interesting bunch; some of them are quirky, some are serious, but all have a story to share.  With each book, Cabot writes something new and fresh."—RT Book Reviews

Praise for Paper Roses

“Memorable characters and beautiful prose makes this a unforgettable work of Christian fiction.”—Libraries Alive

Praise for Scattered Petals

“Cabot weaves a powerful story of healing”—RT Book Reviews

My Review - Christmas Roses

Christmas RosesChristmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

CHRISTMAS ROSES by Amanda Cabot is as charming as the title. 

The recently widowed Celia Anderson prays for a miracle when her infant daughter develops a violent cough.  In walks Mark Williams, a traveling carpenter, looking for a room to rent.  When he helps Celia see to Emma’s cough, Celia is sure he’s saved her daughter’s life.  And, the fact that he wants to rent a room at a time when money is tight is yet again another answer to prayer.

Mark Williams is on a quest.  He is in search of the father that abandoned him as a child, and his last lead has brought him to the town of Easton.  With his talented woodworking skills, Mark decides to set up shop in Easton until he finds someone who might know where his father has gone.  But, the more time he spends with Celia and Emma, the more he daydreams about what life would be like if he would just settle down and let the past be the past.

CHRISTMAS ROSES is pretty predictable but that doesn’t minimize the enjoyment.  This is a simple, old fashion story with warm characters and the backdrop of the holiday season adds to its endearing charm. 

Book provided for review purposes.

Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

View all my reviews

My Review - Sofia's Secret

Sofia's SecretSofia's Secret by Sharlene MacLaren

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SOFIA’S SECRET by Sharlene MacLaren–book three in the River of Hope Series–was a very enjoyable read that I was able to finish in one sitting.

Sofia Roger’s can barely keep her head above water.  After the death of her parents, she has struggled to take care of Andy her brother, maintain a home, and work nights in order to keep food on her table.  When the unspeakable happens and she finds herself pregnant, not only is Sofia at her wits end on how she will provide for a baby, but she also becomes the victim of town gossip.  Sofia is unable to set the record straight in town because she fears her life and that of her brother’s is in danger from the person who attacked her.  With her head up, shear guts, and determination she sets out to prove that she doesn’t need anyone’s help, especially that of the new doctor in town.

Dr. Elijah Trent is all set to take over his grandfather’s private practice.  When Andy wakes him and his grandfather in the middle of the night because Sophia has collapsed at home, Eli gets his first glimpse at the determined woman who insists on making her way in the world without the interference of others.  At first, Eli doesn’t know what to make of the young woman, and why she won’t talk about the baby’s father.  When he finally put together the pieces of the puzzle, he tries to convince Sofia to go to the police but she won’t budge.  Knowing he feels something more for Sofia than a doctor-patient relationship, Eli does his best to break down the walls Sofia has built around her.

SOFIA’S SECRET was a well paced novel with rich characters, good subplots, and the underlying story of God’s faithfulness, even when we are faithless.  Sofia is the epitome of spunk and self-sufficiency, while Eli is determined and protective.  The reader pretty much knows from the beginning where the story is going, but the ride to get there is no less enjoyable.

Book provided for review purposes.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Review - A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

A Heart RevealedMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

A HEART REVEALED, book two in the Winds of Change series, was like a carnival full of emotional roller coasters.  While the heights were breathtaking, some of the twists were more jarring than entertaining.

Emma Malloy had spent ten years trying to put the violent and tragic events of her past behind her.  With friends like the O’Connor’s, she has thrived in Boston, pushing the events that happened in Dublin to the recesses of her mind.  What she didn’t plan for was her deepening feelings for Sean O’Connor.  But, feeling she is not available to anyone because of the person who waits for her in Dublin, she chooses to put her emotions aside and learns to appreciate Sean as just a friend.

Sean O’Connor treats Emma as a sister and a dear family friend.  He’s protective of her because of the violence that has scarred her both physically and emotionally.  When his feelings for Emma grow and he expresses those feelings, he is dumbfounded that Emma would feel such a responsibility to honor the vow she made to her husband, the husband that abused her.  He decides he will respect Emma’s wishes for now, but isn’t sure how long his self-control will hold up.

I really enjoyed A HEART REVEALED but there were a few story lines that I felt were a bit out of character.  Without giving much away, I really didn’t like the ‘Rose’ character.  I feel Sean–being the standup guy that he was– would not of allowed himself to be so controlled by Rose.  I also didn’t like the revelation regarding Emma’s marriage.  For a woman wanting to start a new life for herself, so much so that she put an ocean between her and her former life, I think she would have handled things differently regarding her vows.  She seemed so willing to cling to God and his promises, but ignored forgiveness for herself.  Other than that, a good read, with great characters.  I like the fact that Lessman allows the married couples in this series to have passion and desire for each other, and doesn’t ignore the fact that even Christians can have passionate thoughts and faltering self-discipline.  Nothing was over the top, but it wasn’t ignored either.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Christmas Pony
By Melody Carlson
The queen of the Christmas novella, Melody Carlson pens another magical tale of expectation and excitement as one little girl dreams big and the impossible becomes possible.
Eight-year-old Lucy Turnbull knew better than to wish for a pony that Christmas in 1937. Her mother had assured her in no uncertain terms that asking for a pony was the same as asking for the moon. Besides, the only extra mouths they needed at their boarding house were the paying kind. But when an interesting pair of strangers comes to town, Lucy starts to believe her Christmas wishes might just come true after all.
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, The Jerk Magnet, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books in 2010 and won the award in 2011. She and her husband live in central Oregon. For more information about Melody visit her website at

My Review - The Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Pony

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE CHRISTMAS PONY by Melody Carlson has holiday warmth and down home charm.

Lucy Turnball wants nothing more than a pony for Christmas.  But with money tight, her mother assures her she needs to be praying for boarders if they hope to enjoy Christmas at all.  When two out-of-towners show up out of nowhere and need some place to stay, Lucy is amazed.  If God could give them boarders during the holiday season, surely He can give her the adorable gray pony she’s wanted for so long.  But soon, Lucy’s prayers for the future change.

When Lucy finds out George and Veronica are merely traveling partners, she begins to see George as husband material for her mother and father material for herself.  Veronica is on her way to Hollywood to become a star and George has agreed to drive her there.  But while Veronica gets antsy in the small no-nothing town and wants to get a move on it, George is charmed by the simple life and the quiet beauty of Lucy’s mother.

Obviously any book entitled THE CHRISTMAS PONY is going to be warm and charming, and with Melody Carlson at the pen it is guaranteed to entertain.  I truly enjoyed the bright-eyed character of Lucy and the quiet strength of George.  A wonderful tale for the holidays.

Book provided for review purposes.

Available Sept 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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Sunday, November 04, 2012


Award-Winning Author Steven James Pens New Thriller Series
Pharmaceutical Cover-Up Turns Deadly in New Jevin Banks Series

“James writes smart, taut, high octane thrillers.
But be warned—his books are not for the timid.
The endings blow me away every time.”

Mitch Galin, producer of Stephen King’s The Stand and Frank Herbert’s Dune

Steven James, author of the bestselling Patrick Bowers Series, begins a new series rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research.  Placebo examines the sinister side of the pharmaceutical industry while also exploring the far reaches of science, consciousness and faith. James uses cutting edge scientific research and probes his own worst case scenarios in creating Placebo.  Known for his attention to detail, James’ writing continues to thrill readers as he develops complex plot lines and unforgettable characters.

Intrigued by research about human perceptions of reality, James immersed himself in investigating what would become the basis for Placebo.  The more I looked into it, the more fascinated I became.  Not only does quantum physics support these findings, but so do psychiatric and psychological studies on depression and the brain, and medical research studies using placebos.” 

For James, the next challenge quickly emerged.  I needed to find a way to weave all scientific metaphysical and theoretical underpinnings on the power of belief into a high-octane science/medical thriller that would be rooted in actual research but would also take readers on an adrenaline ride they would never forget.  It took nearly a year, but when the story finally came together, I   remember feeling as big a thrill as I’ve ever felt as a writer.

Placebo introduces us to magician and escape artist, Jevin Banks. Still reeling after losing his wife and twin sons, he refocuses his talent to uncover the truth in an exposé filmmaking project. Struggling to wake up from a nightmare he can’t escape, Jevin works undercover investigating a controversial program that explores direct mind-to-mind communication. He finds himself in the crosshairs of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and a killer who will do anything and dispose of anyone who gets in his way.  The truth must be uncovered before the brilliant killer makes Jevin his next victim and countless others pay the price with their lives. 

Steven James’ writing continues to earn praise while keeping readers on the edge of their seat and eagerly anticipating the author’s next novel. 

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than thirty books, including the bestselling Patrick Bowers thriller series. He is considered one of the nation's most innovative storytellers and versatile authors, and is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest. Steven lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.
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