Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CFBA - Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

This week, the

is introducing

Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)


A word from the Author:

This may sound crazy, but I was driven to write romance by giant bugs and killer rabbits. I just couldn't take it anymore. My husband and two sons would be camped in front of the television watching a movie about spiders the size of bowling balls, and I'd be wondering when the handsome scientist would get around to kissing the spunky woman with the bug spray. When it didn't happen, I decided to write my own happy endings--without the giant bugs...

Known for her realistic, likable characters and vivid writing, Victoria Bylin writes both western and contemporary inspirational romance. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband currently live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons.


Finding each other was only the beginning . . .

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life.

It's Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick is handsome and confident, and he seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She's not planning to get involved with one of the locals.

Nick is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn't expect to be swept off his feet by the car's occupant. He's made a vow--no dating for a year--but keeping that vow is going to be a lot more difficult now that he's met Kate Darby. . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Until I Found You, go HERE.


This was my first experience reading a book by Victoria Bylin but as cliche as it may sound, it won't be the last. I loved her strong POV of her characters. Kate Darby and Nick Sheridan were perfectly crafted to show all their flaws and yet they pulled this reader in and made me care for them despite their many flaws.

Nick comes to Kate's rescue early on in the book and their meeting was traumatic and heroic all at once. Throughout the book Nick tends to come to Kate's rescue but it never gets old. In fact you expect him to be there at just the right time.

Kate's grandmother, Leona, was a wonderful character and Ms. Bylin depicted her character very well, especially after Leona suffers a stroke. I loved the passion that Leona has for the California Condor and the journal she created for Kate about the condors. Well done Ms. Bylin.

I loved this book. I love birds. I'm a native Californian (transplanted to Indiana) and I could relate to the mountainous driving that Kate Darby was so fearful about. 

On a 5-Star Scale = 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my copy of Until I Found You. I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, May 26, 2014

CFBA - A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson

This week, the

is introducing

Abingdon Press (May 20, 2014)


Eva Gibson


Eva Gibson is the author of twenty books, including A Stitch and a Prayer, the latest release in the Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Fiction. She currently teaches Writing Your Life Story classes for Portland Community College and is an active member of Oregon Christian Writers. She has lived most of her life on the family farm in Wilsonville, Oregon, which is the setting for her novel. 


After her fiancĂ© returns from the Klondike gold rush in 1897, Florence Harms sets about building a new life in her new marriage—even though the lingering effects of illness have left her weak and vulnerable. She and her young husband, Will, work tirelessly to clear the land around their Northwest cabin, content with their modest life. 
But then a stranger comes knocking and Florence suddenly senses a restlessness in Will’s spirit that she had never seen before. When he leaves her with only a note that tells her he will return before their baby’s birth, she is devastated, and the illness that stiffened her joints returns. Counting the days until Will walks back through her door, Florence busies herself with a Tree of Life quilt displaying a map of the farm they call home. Doubts claw at her heart as Florence struggles to believe Will’s promise to return to her. Will her labor of love—and faith in God—sustain her as she waits to see her beloved once again?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Stitch and A Prayer, go HERE.

My Thoughts:

I am a big fan of the Quilts of Love series published through Abingdon Press. I have read quite a few of them and have loved all but a couple of them. Unfortunately, I didn't love Eva Gibson's contribution to the series, A Stitch and a Prayer. I believe I would have loved it had I connected to her character's more. 

I tried to really connect with Florence and Will but it never happened. I think it's because I wondered how a husband could go off and leave his frail pregnant bride alone without at least telling her why he was going away. To just promise he would return didn't seem enough. After all,  the late 1800's  were hard and to force a young mother to be alone, well it bothered me. I guess things like that happened, but to keep a secret in the beginning of their marriage was hard for me to understand or agree with.

One thing I did enjoy about this book is that the quilt Florence worked on was the Tree of Life pattern.  This is a pattern very dear to me as my grandmother, before she died, quilted a pillow with the Tree of Life on it and gave it to me. it's beautiful.

On a 5-Star Scale - 3 stars.

I would like to thank Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my copy of A Stitch and a Prayer. I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma

When I had the opportunity to read and review Liz Tolsma's debut novel Snow on the Tulips (read my review here) I took a chance, as we all do, on a debut novelist. I was blown away by her writing so when the opportunity arose where I could read her sophomore novel I jumped at the chance. I have to say she out did herself with her newest release, Daisies are Forever.

The book begins during the final days of Nazi Germany in the year 1945. Gisela Cramer is an American living with her cousin Ella and Ella's two little girls and her grandfather who is not well. They are residing in a town named Heiligenbeil and they receive word that the Russians will be invading soon and they must leave. Gisela's grandfather refuses to go and Ella tells Gisela she must go and asks her to take her daughters with her. Gisela doesn't want to leave them because of situations in her past but she finally agrees to flee.

When Gisela started her journey she was just with her nieces and Ella's neighbor and his senile daughters. As time progresses more and more join her in her quest to reach safety in her home in Berlin. During her journey she overhears an SS officer speaking with a very poor German accent. In fact Gisela soon realizes he is British and she comes to his aid when he is about to be discovered. She tells everyone he is her husband who has been wounded in the war. From that point on, Mitch Edward takes on the persona of Herr Josep Cramer husband to Frau Gisela Cramer.

This period of time covered the Russian's invasion of Germany and the eventual fall of Berlin and the Third Reich. Ms. Tolsma based the first half of this book on the inspiration of one seventeen year old who lived through the atrocities of war and the second half of the book was based on stories her Aunt shared. Her Aunt was born in America but much like Gisela's story, her parents took her to live in Germany in the 1930s and she lived through the terrible war that raged on German soil just like Gisela.

Most everyone knows how Nazi Germany treated the Jewish people during WWII. What I didn't know before reading this book is the terrible atrocities the Russians did to the German people as well. War is ugly no matter where it happens or who is involved.

Ms. Tolsma's definitely has a knack of creating believable characters and placing them into a world torn by the agony of war. At times I heard the air raid sirens, the bombs going off, and I could almost smell the acrid smell after the bombs had exploded. Her book definitely ignites all five senses. It is a must read!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Daisies are Forever and the meaning behind the title of the book is beautiful. I would highly recommend this book to adults who enjoy reading good Christian historical fiction. Because of some of the terrible atrocities that are exposed within the covers of this book I would not suggest it for young readers.

On a 5-Star scale = 5 HUGE stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Litfuse Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishers for my copy of Daisies are Forever. I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

CFBA - Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Gathering Shadows

Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)


Nancy Mehl


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.


Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn't take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can't pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station's photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary. 

Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town's handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family's past hides in the shadows, it's clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she's searching for hidden forever--even if the cost is Wynter's very life.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Gathering Shadows, go HERE

My Thoughts:

It has been a long time since I have read a book written in first person. At first, I thought I wouldn't like it but as I got into the story it flowed so well that it didn't really matter.  However, it would have been nice to know Reuben King's thoughts about Wynter Evans. When he spoke out his feelings for her they seemed to come on abruptly. 

Ms. Mehl has written a wonderful suspense novel with twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing until the very end. I really enjoyed how she allowed Wynter and Zac to become close and trusting friends. I would hope in the next book of the series that she will bring Zac back. I loved his character.

If I had anything negative to say is that I wanted the last page to continue and allow the family to finally be together. My hope is in book two we will be able to see that unfold.

This is a story of hope, forgiveness and trust and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to read a good clean suspense novel.

On a 5-Star scale - 4 Stars!!!!

I would like to thank Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House for my review copy. I received it for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fatal Exchange by Lisa Harris

I thoroughly enjoy reading a good suspense novel. One that captures me, pulls me in and takes me along for the ride. Lisa Harris's book Fatal Exchange is just such a book. Fatal Exchange is the second book in her Southern Crimes series. The first, Dangerous Passage, has yet to be read by this reader, but it is on my list of books to read. The third book in the series, will be released in the Spring of 2015 and as far as I know does not have a title yet.  
This story is about high school teacher, Emily Hunt, and an old family friend, Mason Taylor, an undercover cop. Emily had a crush on Mason in years past and Mason felt the same way but it wasn't meant to be. Odds of anything happening now are pretty slim as Emily's brother Michael was killed and her family thinks that Mason was involved. 

The brother of Rafael, one of Emily's students, has been kidnapped and Rafael contacts Mason asking for his help. He was supposed to meet Mason but never showed up. Mason approaches Emily and asks her to notify him if or when Rafael shows up for class. Emily agrees and a short time later she finds herself, her niece and her students being held hostage in her classroom. They are being held hostage by none other than Rafael Cerda.  This sets the wheels in motion for a wonderful, fast paced, suspense novel. 

Ms. Harris created very believable characters, not only with Emily and Mason but her entire cast. The reader is allowed to see the flaws and brokenness of each of the characters. I found myself tied up into their story line wanting to know what would happen next and found it hard to put the book down when I had too. 

I do not believe in handing out spoilers, but I was a little upset with myself because before I started reading I did what I always do before starting to read the book and that is go to the very back of the book to see what the title of the next in the series is going to be and when it will be released. PLEASE do not do this as the first two words are a HUGE spoiler of Fatal Exchange.  So when you pick up your copy, and I really suggest you do, please do not look in the back until you complete the book.  The next book will release in Spring 2015 as I previously mentioned. You need not turn to the back.

I would highly recommend Fatal Exchange to anyone wanting to read a good Christian Suspense novel.

On a 5-Star Scale = 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group for my review copy of Fatal Exchange. I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon

Whether it is Christian Contemporary Fiction or Christian Romantic Suspense, author Irene Hannon knows how to weave a tale that will grab the reader, pull them in, and make them feel part of the story.  Ms. Hannon's book, One Perfect Spring was just such a tale. 

One Perfect Spring begins with a handwritten letter from 11 year old Haley Summers. She wrote the letter to David McMillan because she saw where he had given money to a children's hospital and her mother, Claire, told her Mr. McMillan did a lot of nice things for people. In Haley's letter, she tells Mr. McMillan about her neighbor, Dr. Maureen Chandler, who is looking for her son that she gave up for adoption at birth. That sets the basis for the story.

Keith Watson is the executive assistant to Mr. McMillan and part of his job is to go through some letters written to the McMillan Charitable Foundation. When Keith comes across Haley's letter he has no intention of bringing it to David's attention, however, it ends up on the floor where David discovers it and believes it to be a worthy cause. So Keith is put in charge of helping Dr. Chandler find her son.  

There is one thing that could throw a major glitch into the plans of answering Haley's request, Maureen Chandler told Haley's mother Claire about her son in strict confidence. Unfortunately, Haley was eavesdropping and decided she wanted to help their friend.

Sparks slowly ignite between Claire and Keith, but an added bonus is Keith and Maureen find themselves involved as well. Now, some may say a story like this is far fetched, but as the title of my blog says, "All Things Are Possible" and as a Christian I know God can do anything. I would love to tell you more about this wonderful story but I never hand out spoilers.

This novel is filled with well crafted, believable characters and a few twists and turns that keep you guessing. It is a story of forgiveness, hope, love and prayers answered. All in all this was a beautiful story that was ignited by the wish of a small child. 

I would highly recommend Ms. Hannon's newest book to anyone wanting a good clean book to read. If you have never read anything by this author, please take a chance on One Perfect Spring, you won't be sorry. If you have read Ms. Hannon's work before then make sure to grab yourself a copy of this wonderful book. It's a sure hit!

On a 5-Star Scale - 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Revell, a division of Baker Publishing group for my copy of One Perfect Spring. I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Study Bible for Women, a Holman Christian Standard Bible

The Study Bible for Women is a Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) and it would be the perfect gift for any woman. This Bible is beautiful from beginning to end. It has areas for the Wife's family tree and Husband's family tree, followed by The Ketubah, which is a unilateral marriage contract requested by the groom. It also has an area to record family milestones and an area to list the owner's Spiritual Mothers. It is filled with "Word Study" sections where words are explained in detail and there are sections sprinkle throughout where Doctrine is explained.

One thing I really loved about this Bible is an area explaining how to study the Bible. This in itself would make it a wonderful gift for a new female believer or anyone woman wanting to know how to study the Bible. There are also "Character Profiles" throughout the Bible as well. There is also a very unique thing that you will find sprinkled throughout and that is a section for "hard questions".  In the back of the Bible you will find a list of many questions that you or someone you know may have asked at one time or other. It will give you a page number where you can go and read the comments in answer to those questions.

The only negative thing about the Bible I received is that it isn't a Red Letter Edition. I grew up using a Red Letter Edition so I guess I am a little spoiled in that respect. I would however recommend this Bible to any woman wanting a beautiful edition of the Bible sprinkled with meaningful comments and profiles thoughout.

I would like to thank B & H Publishing for my copy of The Study Bible for Women. I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Bluebonnet Bride by Colleen Coble

Bluebonnet Bride by Colleen Coble was a follow up novella to her novel Butterfly Palace (read my review here). While it is a mere 58 pages long, Ms. Coble packed it with suspense, romance and well developed characters. 

Ellie is a mail order bride that has agreed to marry Nathan and to be a mother to his daughter Hannah.  While the marriage was to be one of convenience, I found it hard to believe that the author would be able to bring them together beyond “in name only” within the few pages allowed in this novella, but Ms. Coble is a gifted author and she tied their story up quite nicely.

I am thankful to Ms. Coble for continuing Nathan and little Hannah’s story that began in Butterfly Palace. While I would have loved for this story to be a full-fledged novel, allowing the character’s relationship to grow slowly, I did enjoy it for what it is.

While you don’t have to read Butterfly Palace first in order to enjoy Bluebonnet Bride, I would highly suggest it so you understand about Hannah.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good clean romantic suspense novel.

On a 5-Star scale – 4.5 Stars!

I would like to thank Booklook Bloggers for my review copy of Bluebonnet Bride. I received my Kindle e-book copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,