Thursday, April 23, 2015

Brand New Love Inspired Series (A Review and Giveaway)

As an avid reader, I often read a variety of genres. Although I enjoy romance reads, there is definitely a caution about reading them because of the sometimes inappropriate content. The Love Inspired novels from Harlequin are often good choices to read a romantic story with clean content.

The Love Inspired book series works with a set of six new reads being released each month. The books stay on the shelf for the month and then new books are released. I had the opportunity to review the current set of six books which are featured April 21- May 28 (and would make a perfect Mother's Day gift). Keep reading to find out how you can win the entire set of six books as well.


This set contains the following six books:

The Doctor's Second Chance by Missy Tippens-Jake West's troubled cousin leaves him with a most unusual parting gift—her newborn baby girl! And now the small-town contractor is forced to seek help from the very woman he resents—the new big-city pediatrician who practically stole his uncle's practice, Violet Crenshaw. Violet knows she shouldn't be consorting with the enemy. But she can't resist the adorable baby and her handsome new caretaker. Violet traded her chance at motherhood for her career years ago. But raising a family with Jake could be everything she's ever wanted.

The Rancher Takes a Bride by Brenda Minton-When Oregon Jeffries introduces rancher Duke Martin to the daughter he never knew he had, can they move beyond the mistakes of their pasts and possibly build a future together?

A Firefighter's Promise by Patricia Johns-When the baby he rescued seven years ago returns—with his widowed adoptive mom—Deputy Fire Chief Matt Bailey can't turn them away. Desperate to escape the reminders of his failure in the line of duty, Matt is close to leaving town. But one look at Rachel Carter and her son, Christopher, has him second-guessing his plans. Rachel is a mom in need of a hero for her son. But as much as she wants the two to bond, she's determined to keep her distance from Matt. After losing her husband on the job, she promised never to love another fireman. Yet somehow she finds herself drawn to the one man she should avoid.

Bachelor to the Rescue by Lorraine Beatty-Connected by a mutual tragedy, Shawn McKinney promises to care for widow Lainie Hollings and her girls. Can working together to restore the town library bridge the gap between these two wounded hearts?

Winning the Teacher's Heart by Jean C. Gordon-Single mom Becca Norton is surprised to discover her high school crush Jared Donnelly is back in town. The motocross champion hasn't been home in years, but the former bad boy is as gorgeous as she remembers. And his kindness toward her kids melts her heart. But when she learns his true purpose in town is to build a motocross school on land near her home, she has to put on the brakes. Her children's welfare is her priority, and her former in-laws have made it clear they don't approve of Jared or his plans. Soon Becca may have to choose between her heart…and her home.

The Single Dad Finds a Wife by Felicia Mason-Dr. Spring Darling wants a family of her own. But when she falls for single dad David Camden and his little boy, can she get past the architect's plan to ruin her historic family home?

The Love Inspired novels aren't deep reading, so don't look for something incredibly thought-provoking or deep here. They are clean and are interesting stories, so they make for light, easy reading and don't take lots of focus, making them good for sticking in your purse to pull out when you have to wait in a line or wait for a child you're picking up from an activity.

The characters in the stories are interesting, and there is usually a pretty good balance of action and character development. There are times when the events seem a little unrealistic, but, as I've said, they're just light, easy reads and don't have to be incredibly believable.




You can purchase this current set here. Each book is $4.99 or you can purchase 3 for $10.99. If you purchase your set anywhere Love Inspired books are sold, you can use this $1 off coupon! (Download here)  You can also enter the giveaway below for a chance to win the entire set of six books.









Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Review of Double Cross by Diann Mills

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Double Cross is a Christian romantic suspense novel. I enjoy this genre when there is good character development and an interesting plot line.

Double Cross drew me in right away with an interesting story. I would have liked to "hear" the characters a bit more, but I felt like they were developed fairly well; and I enjoyed our main female character- Laurel- and the male counterpart- Daniel. I felt as if I actually got to know them as the story went along.


The action was interesting. And, although there is a focus on faith and the main characters' faith development, the story isn't at all preachy. There were times when I felt as if things were dragging, and the story could have moved along more quickly. And there were some times that I felt as if the action were choppy and not realistic. But, overall, I enjoyed the story.

This was a light, quick read; and I give it 3.5 stars and a PG for content. (There is some crime drama and reference to homicides but not much description of violence.)

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.


Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Double Cross
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 1, 2015)
by
Diann Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at her website.

ABOUT THE BOOK

FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington—and what she sacrificed to put him away—he is now her best lead. Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family—even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon. As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Double Cross, go HERE.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review of At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

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A few years ago I read( and watched) the Sara Gruen novel Water for Elephants. I really liked the novel. And the movie was pretty good as well. Sara Gruen has a great way of developing characters and causing you to be invested in them, to cheer for the good guys and to hope that the bad guys get what's coming to them. I was thrilled to see her newest novel- At the Water's Edge- up for review.

From the book's description:

Madeline Hyde, a young socialite from Philadelphia, reluctantly follows her husband and their best friend to the tiny village of Drumnadrochit in search of a mythical monster—at the same time that a very real monster, Hitler, wages war against the Allied Forces. What Maddie discovers—about the larger world and about herself—through the unlikely friendships she develops with the villagers, opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities.

There were so many things I loved about this book. And it's truly been one of those that, while I couldn't wait to finish and see what happened, I was so reluctant to come to the end.

I loved the setting- Scotland- and Sara Gruen's descriptions of the village and the loch and the inn where most of the story takes place made me feel as if I could picture it perfectly. The time period- World War 2- is one of my favorite for historical fiction. At the end of the book Sara Gruen lets readers know about the historical authenticity of much of the setting and the events that took place.

The characters, once again, were so well- developed that I knew them. They were so real that I thought about them when I wasn't reading and wondered what they were doing. (If you are a bibliophile you'll get it. If not, rest assured I'm not crazy.)

This truly is a read that I'll be thinking about for a long while. It's one of the few that I think I could read again and again. (I don't do that with many books, even though I love reading.)

I will give a little disclaimer. This isn't Christian fiction, which I often review. There is some language, drug and alcohol use, and some description of intimacy (although not very descriptive). I read a variety of genres, so I like to make readers aware when the book isn't like the ones I typically review.

I give this one 5 strong stars and an R rating for content.



You can purchase At the Water's Edge on Amazon here.



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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review of Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

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I'm a lover of historical fiction, and the Victorian era is one of my favorite time periods. So Mist of Midnight has a perfect setting for me. With romance and suspense and intrigue, it's one that I looked forward to from the beginning.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Mist of Midnight
Howard Books (March 10, 2015)
by
Sandra Byrd


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. The Tudor series’ end cap, Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

A life-long lover of Victorian Gothic romances, Sandra’s new series, Daughters of Hampshire, weaves elements of that mystical, traditional genre with inspirational and literary threads. Mist of Midnight, the series’ first book, debuts in March, 2015.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, and is passionate about helping new authors develop their talent and their work toward traditional or independent publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her...and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca's name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father's investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mist of Midnight, go HERE.


Find Mist of Midnight on Amazon here.




Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Review of Too Many To Jail: The Story of Iran's New Christians by Mark Bradley

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Although I often read and review fiction, I recently had the opportunity to review a nonfiction book that was pretty powerful and thought-provoking. Too Many to Jail: The Story of Iran's New Christians is an account of how Christianity has grown and expanded in Iran, despite the persecution against them.

From the book's description:




Documents the remarkable rise of the Iranian church, despite fierce persecution, as Iranians grow disillusioned with Islam
In 1979, there were fewer than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. Today there are at least 100,000 new believers. Church leaders believe that millions can be added to the church in the next few years--such is the spiritual hunger that exists. The religious violence that accompanied the reign of President Ahmadinejad drained its perpetrators of political and religious legitimacy, and has opened the door to other faiths.
This book sets the rapid church growth in Iran in the context of the deteriorating relationship between Iranians and their national religion. There is a major focus on the Ahmadinejad years, but the author also covers the history of the church before 1979, developing the central idea that the spark may have become buried in the ashes but has never been extinguished.
Careful, proportionate, well-informed, and accurate, Too Many to Jail is a powerful reminder of the Christian revival that the headlines ignore. The stories of faith, persecution, and encouragement will inspire every reader to see anew God’s work in the world.


Mark Bradley begins by sharing statistics of the growth of house churches and the spread of Christianity in Iran since 1979. During this time, persecution of Christians in Iran has increased, but the growth of Christianity has also increased. Although the author can't give specific numbers, his information is backed up by much research referenced in many footnotes.

It was interesting history to read as the author shared what happened in Iran with religion and government through the last few decades. The reader gets a clear picture of the Iranian government's hatred of Christians in the first few chapters as he gives information about the connection between government and religion since 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini became the supreme leader and combined the Shia religion and the Islamic state.

He continues to follow Islamic history as the country slipped into crisis when Iranians were being punished for any minor offense and the economy was suffering. In 2009 there was a presidential election held that was rigged and highly protested. As the "supreme leader" continued in office, Christians were continually targeted more and more.

Throughout this time of persecution, house churches have continued to grow and thrive in the country. And the author shares the stories of five particular churches and their founders. As we read these stories, we can understand the passion that the Christians of Iraq have for God and their desire to spread the gospel.

The book ends with detailed examples of specific Christians who have been arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or executed for the sake of Christ. The author's purpose is to help the reader to be aware of the situation and to spur us to pray for our fellow Christians in Iran.

This book was a hard one to read. The things that the Christians of Iraq have suffered are things that are difficult for me to even imagine. But I walked away from the book glad I had read it. I'm glad because I was reminded and encouraged to pray for the Christians and the spread of the gospel throughout Iran. And I was encouraged. Because when I read about the amazing faith that these believers have in the face of persecution, my own faith can't help but be strengthened.



You can find Too Many To Jail at the Kregel website here. Throughout this launch week (until April 5, 2015), you can find Too Many to Jail on Kindle for $.99.




Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.


Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review of Who You Are by John Crolye

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Last year I had the opportunity to review a book written by John Croyle. John Croyle was an All American college football player who declined an NFL football career and went on to found the Big Oak Ranch for boys who had been abused and been in dangerous situations and then a home for girls as well. He and his wife have been a part of raising hundreds of kids through the Ranch homes. The book I reviewed last year was Raising a Princess, a book about teaching your daughter virtues to help her become a real princess.

I've recently had the opportunity to read for review Who You Are, the story of how John came to open Big Oak Ranch. Throughout the book, though, he doesn't just share his story. He wants readers to know that God has a plan for them as well. And the book isn't as much about who John is and who the kids are who have been impacted by Big Oak Ranch but about who the reader is in God' scheme of things.

From the book's description:

“Tell them who you are!” This is the immediate request from child advocate John Croyle to any one of the Big Oak kids when they are introduced to someone. It’s a declaration that who they are carries value. Value that is not defined by the circumstances that led them to be in at the Big Oak Ranch. Value that is also not defined by what you believe God can or can’t do through you.
This is a lesson that John Croyle, his family, and the team of Big Oak Ranch have learned well. Faced with one of the most important decisions of his life — whether to play professional football or to start a children’s home — John followed the Lord’s leadership. In the decades since that decision, they’ve seen his dream of helping hurting kids grow into a ministry that has shaped the lives of more than 2,000 children.
Surely we, too, would be changed to experience a ministry with this kind of legacy. This isn't a dream and a hope or the seed of a ministry. This is well scarred, deep rooted ministry that grows strong, oak tree kind of faith. It's faith-building for the kids reached through the ministry and now for those of us who can hear the story of it.
Who You Are tells this story of the life shaping, Kingdom transforming ministry that God used one man to begin. Yet, the bigger story is in who you are and what God can do to use you in the lives of others. Come along for one incredible and improbable story of how God has worked and in doing so, truly discover how He can work through you.


Throughout the book, John shares personal stories about how Big Oak Ranch was started and about the kids who have been impacted by it. But he also encourages and motivates readers throughout the book. In eleven chapters (with an Introduction and an Epilogue), John directs readers to focus on the task God gives them, trust that God will supply their needs, care for others and stand firm.

I love John's personal style of writing. It feels as if you're having a face to face conversation instead of reading a book. His writing style is simple and straightforward. Even if you aren't an avid reader, you can find yourself enjoying Who You Are and really getting something out of the message John delivers.The book isn't at all preachy. It's just an encouragement to think about the things John is writing about and what God wants to do in your life.

This is a book that you'll want to keep reading and reading because of the easy writing style and the encouraging message. It's a book that will inspire you to be what God made you to be- no matter where or who you are now.



You can find Who You Are on Amazon here:



Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.


Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Review of The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly

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The Boy Who Loved Rain is a haunting and moving novel about the damage that secrets can bring and the chance for healing within a family.


From the book's description:

They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. They’re wrong.
Colom had the perfect childhood, the much-loved only child of a church pastor. Yet he wakes screaming from dreams in which his sister is drowning and he can’t save her.
Fiona turns to her husband, desperate to help their son. But David will not acknowledge that help is needed—and certainly not help from beyond the church.
Then they find the suicide pledge.
Fiona, in panic, takes Colom and flees… but when will she acknowledge that the unnamed demons Colom faces might be of her and David’s own creation?
This beautifully written and searching novel by poet Gerard Kelly explores the toxicity of secrets, the nature of healing, and the ever-present power of rain.






I have to admit that, even though I really enjoyed the read, this was a difficult novel to read because it's heavy. I don't know another word to describe it well. The subject matter- teen depression and suicide and family secrets that cause pain and hurt- is deep and sometimes painful to read.

The characters are beautifully developed, and I felt as if I got to know them well. The story was a very interesting one. There is that hint of things hidden from the very beginning, and that kept me wanting to read and read so that I could get at the truth of things.

You can find The Boy Who Loved Rain on the Kregel website here. During the week of this blog tour- March 23-29, you can purchase it for Amazon Kindle for $.99 here.



Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.