Archive for the 'Christian Fiction' Category


The Baxters are Back in “A Baxter Family Christmas” by Karen Kingsbury

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

baxter-family-christmas

Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.

In light of their father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy—the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want.

At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine.

Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find purpose in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes the invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill peace and happiness back into her life.

Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and redemption, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of loss and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.

My Comments: I enjoyed this very short book revisiting the Baxter family. The book is a tad bit sappy for me, yet I can’t stop reading Kingsbury books. There are many characters – all interwoven in some way or another. This is definitely a feel-good, great holiday story. We begin at Thanksgiving and go all the way through Christmas Eve. Christianity is woven throughout as well – dealing with doubts, Christmas miracles, and faith building incidents including salvation. Prayer is integral to the story, which I love. My only complaint is that it is so short, yet we do have the promise of more Baxter stories, which makes me smile.

I received a free e-copy of the book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

 

Karen Kingsbury’s New Book – “Brush of Angels Wings”

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Angels Wings
Despite needing a heart transplant and against the advice of her doctor, Mary Catherine moves to Uganda to work at a new orphanage. Whatever time she has left, Mary Catherine wants to spend it helping children—especially since there will be no children of her own. The only problem is Major League Baseball player Marcus Dillinger, the man she never meant to fall in love with. Neither Marcus nor Mary Catherine’s other friends—Tyler Ames and Sami Dawson—know just how serious her heart condition is.

Still, Marcus is sure in the depths of his soul that something isn’t right. Ultimately his correspondence with Mary Catherine leads him on a desperate life-or-death mission to rescue her and get her to a US hospital before time runs out. Meanwhile, Sami and Tyler struggle with issues of their own. In a season when Tyler plans to ask Sami to marry him, the very core of their relationship is in jeopardy.

The team of angels walking is busier than ever in this epic battle between life and death. Brush of Wings is a poignant tale of love, sacrifice, and the power of faith.

My Comments: This was a very typical Karen Kingsbury book. I would recommend this series to young adults and teens. It speaks of “Touched by an Angel,” and everything will turn out happily every after. I think for young adults it gives hope and maybe introduces them to the spiritual, angelic world. I’m not really sure that real angels play the role that they do in this book, however. I got totally frustrated by the stubbornness of Mary Catherine (which I’m not sure others would view as stubborn, but I did, others may see it as self-sacrificing.) Nevertheless, I read the book in its entirety and found it somewhat entertaining. It doesn’t seem real to life, but it give a great escape. It was quite predictable.

The publisher sent me a free review copy in exchange for my honest review, which I have given. I also listened to it on Audible on my commute back and forth to work. The Audible edition was well read and acted out.

Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Back in the Saddle

The Prodigal Is Coming Home

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.

He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor. And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or finally the courage to stay in the saddle for good?

My Comments: I love books about cowboys and I love books about prodigals. This is a winner! We have mystery, redemption, romance, and reconciliation all wrapped up into this book. If all the books in this series are as engaging as this one, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winning new series!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

The Bishop’s Son by Kelly Irvin

Friday, February 26th, 2016

the bishop's son

Two men offer Leila two very different futures. Will she choose with her heart or with her faith?

Leila Lantz has been in love with Jesse Glick from the day she first saw him at his father’s store, but she can’t make sense of his intentions. One day he wants to come courting, the next he seems to be putting distance between them.

Jesse may be the bishop’s son, but his faith has been wavering of late. If he is so unsure, is it fair to give Leila false hope for a future he doubts he can provide?

Then there’s Will, Jesse’s cousin. He has been trying to keep his feelings for Leila a secret, but he also knows Jesse is wrestling with his faith. Would declaring his feelings for Leila be in her best interest or simply serving his own selfish desires?

Leila knows she can choose Will and be secure in her own future. But when her heart speaks, it’s Jesse’s name she hears. When will God make His will known to her? Could leaving everything she knows—even her own faith—be a part of God’s plan?

My Comments: It took me a little bit to get into this book, but I really liked it. The thought that the Amish would ban or shun a member who got involved in a different church group is unbelievable to me. Also the thought that they feel that they cannot share their faith bothers me. It makes it sound like a cult, which I don’t think technically they are, but to have such great news as our faith in Jesus and not share it, especially with people who may need to hear, bothers me. Personally I am drawn to Jesse, so I am rooting for him throughout the book. I feel that Leila and he are like-minded. Well in order to not spoil the book that is all I will share. This is an interesting book taking things to a different level. I recommend it, especially if you enjoy Amish fiction.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

 

If I Run

CASEY KNOWS THE TRUTH. BUT IT WON’T SET HER FREE.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My Comments: This was a great, very engaging read! Ms. Blackstock does an excellent job of adding suspense and mystery without any language or violence. I couldn’t figure anything out for a while, although the guilt or innocence of Casey, the main character was pretty evident. The book goes back and forth between Casey and Dylan. Dylan is the PI engaged to find Casey, and Casey is the one suspected of murder. I like the way we get into both of their heads without giving away too much until the end. The Christian message is hinted at, not didactically given – maybe just enough to whet a person’s appetite. Thank you Terri Blackstock for writing such engaging, clean mysteries with suspense added! I highly recommend this and any of her books! This book will be out on February 16 to purchase.  I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Paralyzed by Alana Terry (Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense Novel #2)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

paralized

Kennedy Stern has returned to campus after surviving an abduction, but old scars cut deep. Vivid flashbacks and terrifying dreams paralyze her, threatening to ruin her academic career and any chance she has at peace or happiness. This mental anguish, however, constitutes only a small fraction of her post-traumatic nightmare.

A partner in Kennedy’s kidnapping remains at large and will not stop until he has silenced her witness permanently. His violent resolve risks not only her life, but the safety of anyone who tries to help.

Kennedy must engage in a deadly battle of the mind as she struggles to stay alive. While fighting on two fronts — one psychological and one physical — the question isn’t whether she’ll come out of the war stronger in the end.

The question is whether she’ll come out of it at all.

My Comments: This book is the second installment in the Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense Novel series, and I couldn’t really enjoy it until I read Volume 1 – “Unplanned.” Having said that, this is a great read — the whole series is. It seems since the main character is a Harvard student that it is mainly geared towards Young Adults, but as an emerging senior citizen, I enjoyed it as well. The story heavily deals with PTSD. I think because the main character is an MK (missionary kid), young adults with issues as preacher’s kids, missionary’s kids, or anyone with parents in ministry will benefit from reading about Kennedy and the struggles she deals with. I also feel that any young Christian who has dealt with severe trauma would benefit as well. The writing is good, fast, engaging, and entertaining. I loved it because I love procedurals as mysteries. I also like the Christian aspects throughout the book. I recommend it!

I received a free e-copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

The Restoration by Wanda Brunstetter (Prairie State Friends)

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

restoration

About the Book:

Dive into an Amish country love triangle in this third book of the Prairie State Friends series. Priscilla Herschberger finds herself pursued by Elam, a childhood friend from her community, and David, an outsider raised in the modern world. Elam would do almost anything to convince Priscilla that David would never fit into the Amish way. Will flames of jealousy rage out of control and ruin lives? Can forgiveness allow love and trust to grow?

My Comments: This book was a continuation of the Prairie State Friends series, so many of the characters were familiar. A little drama entered the story as it looked like for most of the book that an Englisher was going to become Amish. The Amish main character did not seem very likable, at least to my way of thinking – very macho (more so than usual for Amish men). I like when a character evokes emotions in me. The story kept me engaged. It was not super predictable. Brunstetter is definitely one of my favorite Amish fiction authors. I recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

The Christmas Cradle by Charlotte Hubbard

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

christmas cradle

About the book: For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.

Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true . . .

My Comments: I really enjoyed this book. The main themes were changed lives and forgiveness. The group of Amish highlighted in this book seemed so different than most. They loved, protected, and took care of those the Lord sent their way. By acting this way, they were really able to show the love of Christ when needed the most. The story presents times of suspense, times of joy, times of sadness, and all the other elements that a good story possesses. This is the first Amish novel I’ve read for a while, and it was a winner!

Cindy Woodsmall’s latest – Ties that Bind

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

ties that bind

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.
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Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the new series, “The Amish of Summer Grove.”

My Comments:  Love this book – what drama! This type of story is so intriguing, I know that if you love Amish fiction + Lifetime movies this is the book for YOU! It has been a long time since I could really stick with a book until the finish, but this book kept me engaged. Of course, Cindy Woodsmall is one of my fav authors of Amish fiction. Included within the covers is plenty of drama and mystery. Quill is a very likable character as is Ariana. I am anxious to hear more of Quill’s story. I feel like much has been left unsaid. The end of this book was less than satisfying and I can’t wait for the next installment to be published. There is so much story to be told…I wonder if this will be a trilogy or more even. I better end before I give away too much of the story.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

***The good news is I have one or two books to giveaway! Please just leave a comment about why you love Amish fiction and I’ll use random.org to choose a winner. I will choose a winner October 1.

 

A House Divided by Robert Whitlow

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

A House Divided

Corbin Gage can stand up to anyone . . . But his own divided house will bring him to his knees.

Corbin, a longtime legal champion for the downtrodden, is slowly drinking himself into the grave. His love for “mountain water” has cost him his marriage to the godliest woman he knows, ruined his relationship with his daughter, Roxy, and reduced the business at his small Georgia law firm to a level where he can barely keep the bill collectors at bay. But it isn’t until his son, Ray, threatens to limit Corbin’s time with his grandson that Corbin begins to acknowledge he might have a problem.

Despite the mess that surrounds his personal life and against the advice of everyone he knows, Corbin takes on a high-stakes tort case on behalf of two boys who have contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to an alleged chemical exposure. The defendant, a fertilizer company, is the largest employer in the area. The lawsuit becomes a tornado that sucks Corbin, Ray, and Roxy into an increasingly deadly vortex. Equally intense pressure within the family threatens to destroy, once and for all, the thin threads that connect them.

Corbin must find the strength to stand up to his personal demons. Justice for two dying boys depends on it . . . his family depends on it.

My Comments: These books always grab my attention – a Christian based novel with mystery and suspense. I also love law and lawyer-type books. This story is straight out of today. Christian families dealing with alcoholism, illness, and issues of forgiveness. Interesting characters, riveting story lines, and family dynamics, justice seeking – this book has it all. I have read Whitlow’s books in the past and highly recommend them and this book. I can’t wait for the next one!

This is my honest review. I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but would have purchased it!