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4.29.2016

Kissed by a Cowboy ~ Review

Kissed by a Cowboy
A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance #3
By Debra Clopton

Years ago Jarrod Monahan made the biggest mistake of his life and he drove Cassidy Starr into the arms of another man.  He's had years to regret his decision, but he's been given a second chance.

Unfortunately for Jarrod, Cassidy isn't willing to give him another chance to break her heart.  She's determined to make a new life for herself on the farm she's inherited from her Aunt Roxie.  And she's determined that romance has no place in her new life.

But Jarrod is nothing if not persistent as is evidenced by the current state of the Four of Hearts Ranch.  He put romance and a family of his own into the background as he focused on saving the ranch his father almost gambled away.  But Cassidy as a next door neighbor just might change Jarrod's priority list.

But Jarrod has another concern battling for priority in his life - cattle rustlers have moved in and they are costing the Four of Hearts thousands of dollars.  Can Jarrod determine who is threatening everything he's fought for and still get the girl of his dreams?  He is about to find out.

This is the third and final book in the Four of Hearts Ranch series that brings the Monahan brothers story to a conclusion that fans of the previous books should enjoy.

I was provided a copy of this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:

Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . 

not for a cowboy to steal her heart. 
       Having lived through her parents' endless string of "matrimonial bliss gone wrong," Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She's been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she's inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She'll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt's footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.
     Rancher Jarrod Monahan's hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He's pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that's a challenge that Jarrod can't pass up.
      Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy's stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy's kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

4.25.2016

The Magnolia Duchess ~ Review

The Magnolia Duchess  
Gulf Coast Chroncles #3
by Beth White


Fiona Lanier is as feisty as they come and she's determined to do it her way.  This has worked for her in the past, but she's about to learn the hard way that her way just may get her in trouble.  The women of the Lanier family have always followed their hearts when it comes to their family and their loyalties.  And all to often their heart has drawn them to men who are politically in opposition to their family.

Fiona has never given her heart to any man.  But when she finds Charlie Kincaid washed ashore near her home that just may change.  Years ago Fiona met Charlie and she is determined to keep him safe and his British ties a secret from her family.  

Charlie Kincaid can't remember how he came to be washed up on the beach.  Nor can he remember Fiona Lanier the young woman who rescued him.  The injury he sustained has taken the last 10 years from him, but when he does remember will he find himself in the enemy's midst or will he be among friends?

War is coming to the Gulf Coast region and families and hearts are about to face the ultimate test.  Where do loyalties lie - king or country? family or true love?  These are the questions that Fiona and Charlie are about to face as the War of 1812 draws to its dramatic and horrific conclusion.

This is the third book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles and though this series follows the Lanier family as they settle and claim the region they call home you can easily follow this story if you haven't read the previous books in the series.  Fans of Historical American fiction will find much to enjoy in this series.  Those who have enjoyed the works of Gilbert Morris and Elswyth Thane will most likely enjoy this series that spans the history of America while following one family that grows with the country.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Revell in exchange for my honest review. 
About the Book:
As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier's heart--one that threatens to tear her family apart.

Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother's capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.

Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.
As Charlie's memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they'll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.

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 andThe Creole Princess. 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 www.bethwhite.net.

The Fragment ~ Review

The Fragment
By Davis Bunn

Europe is caught in the aftermath of the First World War, when word of an ancient and long sought artifact comes to Tom Bryan.  As a U.S. Senator, Tom Bryan  has the means to track down this object and he has the perfect person in mind to help him.  Muriel Ross, an amateur photographer who works in the Smithsonian as a historical researcher and is the daughter of his long-time friends, is ready to spread her wings.

When Senator Byran offered to be Muriel's introduction/chaperon into Paris she had no what an adventure she was about to set out upon...

Europe is still in shambles recovering from the war that had cost them all some much.  And when a clue as to the supposed whereabouts of a piece of the True Cross takes them into Turkey - Muriel, Senator Bryan, and Charles Fouchet (an angry, hurting Frenchman) are swept up into a world of unknowns.  War and upheaval are changing Turkey and all who are within her boarders are in danger.  

But finding this long lost artifact is worth the risks they are about to undertake.  But danger is closer than they suspect and it could very well cost them their lives and their freedom if they don't proceed with extreme care and wisdom.

This is a delightful and enjoyable book which is set in 1923.  Those who has read previous works by Mr. Bunn will not be disappointed in this newest offering.  Mystery and intrigue fill these pages. This book is only 176 pages but it seems as if it should be longer as there is son much story packed between the covers.  I highly recommend this book if you like post WWI historical fiction or just a well written book.

About the Book:
In the newest high-stakes historical thriller from master storyteller Davis Bunn, skepticism vies with faith amid the grit and grandeur of post-World-War-I Europe.

It’s 1923, and a resilient Paris is starting to recover from the ravages of World War I and the Spanish Flu Epidemic. Enter young Muriel Ross, an amateur American photographer tasked with documenting the antiques that her employer, U.S. Senator Tom Bryan, has traveled to France in order to acquire. Although she’s exhilarated to have escaped her parents and the confines of their stifling Virginia home, Muriel has lingering questions about why the senator has chosen her for this grand adventure. Nevertheless, she blossoms in her new surroundings, soaking up Parisian culture and capturing the sights and sounds of Paris on her camera.

But events take a dangerous turn when she discovers that the senator is on a mission far more momentous—and potentially deadly—than a mere shopping trip. At the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Senator Bryan asks Muriel to photograph an astonishing artifact: a piece of the True Cross, discovered by Empress Helena—a historical figure familiar to readers of The Pilgrim. When rumors surface that another fragment has been unearthed, Muriel becomes enmeshed in a covert international alliance dedicated to authenticating the fragment—and protecting it from those who will stop at nothing to steal and discredit it.

4.23.2016

Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for Africa Study Bible

All too often we are under the mistaken (and arrogant) impression that everyone understands the English language as we speak it in the Western world with all its subtle and implied meanings.  But this is not the case and when the Bible is presented to those who aren't familiar with these subtleties much of the message can be lost, quite literally in the translation.  Well, that is about to change for those who call Christ LORD and Africa home but have trouble grasping Western English.  The Word of God must be revealed so that it can be known and understood by those who hear and read it.

And you can help make it happen by contributing to the KickStarter campaign that is seeking to bring this six year effort of love into the hands and homes of those who call Africa home.

“The Africa Study Bible is unique because it contains study notes written by Africans for Africans. For the first time, the African church will have a Bible with application notes that address the real-life issues that Africans deal with every day. Combine those features with an easy-to-understand Bible translation that speaks directly to the heart... and you have the potential to transform the lives of multitudes of leaders, lay people, and seekers. I’m delighted that the Africa Study Bible will soon be available to my African brothers and sisters.” 
Mark D. Taylor, Chairman/CEO of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Major Christian Organizations Partner to Launch Africa Study Bible
Kickstarter Campaign Planned to Help Raise $ 1 Million for 100,000 Study Bibles


“The Africa Study Bible is a project that has almost unprecedented ability to positively influence the body of Christ in Africa, perhaps more than other single continental-wide project in the history of Christianity.” 
--Dr. Danny McCain, University of Jos, Nigeria

Wheaton, IL – Millions of English-speaking Africans know and love Christ, but for many, God’s word is hard to grasp. With nearly every full evangelical study Bible written from the viewpoint of the United States and United Kingdom, Africans have lacked a resource that connects with their unique experience, hindering discipleship.

But that is about to change as major Christian organizations, led by Oasis International, are joining together to launch the Africa Study Bible (ASB), a six-year, cross-continental effort that has produced the first study Bible developed by Africans

“With the ASB, we’re bringing the power of Scripture to Africa in a new and culturally relevant way,” says Dr. Matthew Elliott, president of Oasis, publisher of the ASB.

“Under the leadership of an 11-member editorial board of scholars from across Africa, we’ve brought together 350 writers and editors from over 40 African countries, representing 50 denominations. This is an unprecedented project that will impact the global church.”

With the editorial nearly complete, Oasis, with the support of its partners, is inviting fellow Christians to join with them in helping get the ASB into the hands of Africans. With a goal of raising one million dollars to print the first 100,000 copies, Oasis is seeking private donors as well as launching a Kickstarter campaign, which began on April 18 and runs through June 16. Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign have the opportunity to receive incentives ranging from artwork prints to limited Italian leather editions of the ASB as well as all-expense paid trips to the launch of the ASB in the United States and in Africa.

“Our goal is to have the first run of the ASB available in Africa by the end of 2016,” says Elliott. “We already know of more than 100 million people in denominations and movements in Africa whose leaders want to use the ASB for discipleship so there is a lot of anticipation throughout the continent.”

Designed to grow the faith of African church members, teach them to evangelize their communities, and apply a biblical worldview to their society, the ASB uses the New Living Translation and includes 2,400 plus features such as application notes, stories and proverbs, touchpoints that link Africa and the Bible, learn notes that explain basic theology, and major theme articles that apply the Bible to key issues. Oasis plans to initially release the ASB in English with French and Portuguese translations in development. Oasis is also developing a full-featured app of the study Bible.

To support the effort, Oasis is partnering with Tyndale House Publishers to create the study Bible. Other participants include Campus Crusade for Christ, International, Willow Creek and Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students), Scripture Union, Africa Leadership, TransWorld Radio, Moody Broadcasting, Center for Early African Christianity, PJA (Publications pour la Jeunesse Africane), MMD Global, The Livingstone Corporation, InSight Books, Urban Ministries Inc., and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, with additional participants being added on a regular basis.

“We have seen the hand of God in amazing ways throughout the development of this project,” says Elliott. “In the words of our supervising editor, Dr. John Jusu, the content of the ASB is bubbling up from the cultures of Africa. The biblical truth is percolating through our own cultures and stories to create a rich and textured tapestry that Africans can claim as their own.” --Dr. Danny McCain, University of Jos, Nigeria


Meet Dr. Matthew Elliott serves as president of Oasis International and project director for the Africa Study Bible.

Oasis International serves areas of the English-speaking world where people lack access to affordable Christian literature and the Bibles needed to mature in their faith.  In these countries, the measure of annual incomes is often in hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. The great needs of Africa, in particular, drive Oasis to concentrate on this continent, where the Church is experiencing significant growth yet printed resources are scarce.

Matthew earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s degree in New Testament at Wheaton College, as well as a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in New Testament Studies from University of Aberdeen (Scotland). He was ordained at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois under Dr. Kent Hughes. He is the author of Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament(InterVarsity UK/Kregel) and Feel (Tyndale House).

Matthew, his wife, Laura, and three children reside in the Chicago area.

For more information on Oasis and the Africa Study Bible


Treasure at Lure Lake ~ Review

Treasure at Lure Lake
By Shari L. Schwarz

Jack has a typical attitude of an older teen sibling feeling trapped by being with his younger brother. But Jack feels as if he just doesn't measure up in his parents eyes.  He feels as if Bryce is the golden prince to his parents.  Bryce also feels the stresses his family is under and the underlying sadness that is always present yet never acknowledged.

Bryce just wants to enjoy his summer - backpacking with Grandpa and his older brother Jack will be as good as it is going to get after Dad backs out.  And finding a hidden map may be just what Bryce needs to add some adventure to their hiking trip to Lure Lake.

But when the trio meets with some unexpected difficulties their trip may have a life-changing impact on the entire family.

This is a book that will appeal to middle grade boys.  This is a contemporary story that deals with grief and guilt within a family while disguising it in a survival adventure.  Family bonds are examined as Bryce and Jack deal with what they are facing.

The story is an easy read covering 180 pages.  Each chapter is named for the character whose view point is being expressed.  Perfect for a free choice book report or just for reading.  Readers will be able to connect with both Bryce and Jack.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.


About the book:

An epic adventure—that’s all Bryce wants this summer. So when he stumbles upon a treasure map connected to an old family secret, Bryce is determined to follow the clues to unearth both, even if it means hiking in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere. Bryce must work with his bickering brother, Jack, or they may never see the light of day again!

About the author:

Shari Schwarz is a literary intern and lives in Colorado with her husband and their four boys. Treasure at Lure Lake is her debut middle grade adventure which reflects her love for a good adventure story and spending time hiking and camping in the northern Colorado Rockies.

4.20.2016

An Unbroken Heart ~ Review

An Unbroken Heart
An Amish of Birch Creek novel #2
By Kathleen Fuller

Joanna Schrock's life is changed in an instant.  Her parents are gone.  She's scarred.  And it's her fault - she knows it.  If she hadn't been arguing with her parents about Andrew and her desire to marry their buggy might have somehow avoided the car that hit them.

She is empty inside.  She is plagued by by her guilt and her dreams.  Will she ever find the joy she used to have?  Or did it die when her body was broken?

When Andrew finally asks Joanna to be his wife, she agrees because she's always loved him.  But she secretly fears he is only asking her out of pity.  How can he love her when she is no longer the person she use to be?  She can't handle the tasks she use to perform and she has ruined her sister Abigail's life through her injuries.

Meanwhile Cameron Crawford is living with his own pain and his fear.  He did the unthinkable and now has to live with the guilt and the regrets.

Until these hurting people can finding healing they will never be whole.  But how do you heal when your heart has been broken?  Sometimes it means stepping away from your dreams, while other times it is embracing them only on God's time and not our own.

Is Joanna suppose to give up her dreams of Andrew?  She must figure this out and soon before she makes a mistake that she can't walk away from.

I was provided a copy of this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:

One minute, Joanna Schrock was arguing with her parents, and the next, her parents’ lives were claimed in a hit-and-run buggy accident. Her body is broken, but her heart is in even deeper pain—after all, how do you cope with your parents’ deaths when your last words were spoken in anger?

After an extended stint in a physical rehabilitation center, she re-enters her Amish life. But nothing is the same—not even her feelings for Andrew Beiler.

Joanna has loved Andrew since the age of twelve, and her feelings have not changed throughout the years. She is thrilled when Andrew wants to get married, but she wonders whether it’s love he’s feeling, or pity. As the couple’s wedding date approaches, Joanna isn’t overcome with the deep joy she was hoping to find; instead, she’s wracked with anxiety and guilt.

Joanna hears God whispering to her, Be strong and courageous, but she’s afraid that courage looks a lot like walking away from her dreams and into the plan of her Heavenly Father.

If Joanna takes the first step toward healing, will it cost her everything she’s ever wanted? Or could God be changing the desires of her heart?

4.18.2016

Playing the Part ~ Review

Playing the Part
A Class of Their Own #3
By Jen Turano

Lucetta Plum is the object of many admirers, all of whom have mistaken her for the parts she plays. No one outside of her dearest friends knows the real Lucetta and even from them she has kept secrets. But when an obsessive admirer turns dangerous Lucetta's secrets just may come out.

Abigail Hart has a plan to keep Lucetta safe  But there is just one problem Abigail's plan involves her grandson Bram Haverstein. Lucetta is fairly certain Abigail is up to her matchmaking ways yet again and she's the unwilling victim of the scheming.

Bram is not who his grandmother thinks he is.  In fact his estate is a tad disconcerting between its appearance, less than friendly staff, and his animals.  But Lucetta is determined to hide away from her current threat even if it means staying at Ravenwood.

Playing the Part is filled with all the light-hearted fun one has experienced in previous books by Jen Turano.  It is interesting getting to know Lucetta after having a passing acquaintance with her in After a Fashion and In Good Company.  Fans of Harriet and Millie will be delighted to know that they too make an appearance in this book.

If you are looking for a light-hearted escape from your day-to-day stresses this is just what you are looking for.  This was an easy book to get into and it was able to hold my attention throughout. Be on the look-out for Gregory - he is the best surprise of all.  I had a Gregory of my own at one time though his name was Christopher.  I thoroughly got Gregory and his antics.

I was provided a  copy of this book by the publisher Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but must abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucetta's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, seizes the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to safety at her eligible grandson's estate. 


At first glance, Bram Haverstein appears to be a gentleman of means--albeit an eccentric one--but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows. 

While Lucetta has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, she can't ignore the strange things going on in Bram's house and the secrets he hides. As the hijinks and hilarity that Bram, Lucetta, and their friends are swept into take a more dangerous turn, can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?