August 23, 2016

Rise and Shine


Imagine waking up from a ten-year coma—especially in this technological world we live in. Imagine the changes and challenges! In this charming Sleeping Beauty-ish type story, that’s what Shannon Malone goes through.

Rise and Shine, by Sandra D. Bricker, is a modern day fairytale with an upbeat and fun feel. It isn’t a re-telling, really, but more like it was inspired by the charming legend.

“She jumped when the cold metal of his scope touched her back and she realized she wore one of those hospital gowns with the large, unfortunate opening in the back.” ~Excerpt from Chapter 1

To be honest, I noticed a few structural issues in the story (head-hoping) but my guess is most readers won’t notice or be bothered by them.

Served with charm, faith, and humor, this satisfying story comes with a side of cheese.

4 Stars

Cover: Okay
Title: Love
Publisher: River North
Pages: 288
Pace: Steady
First Lines (Chapter 1): “I’m Dr. Petros. I’m just going to shine a light into your eyes for a closer look.”

I received a Review Copy from the publisher.


Jesus Talked to Me Today


Jesus Talked to Me Today is a compendium of true stories of children’s encounters with angels, miracles, and God. The book is compiled by James Stuart Bell, and is reminiscent of stories I remember my brother and I reading when we were kids—peeking into the experiences and encounters of the supernatural and spiritual kind.

This book is a little different than what I expected. The child on the cover and the font used for the title gave me the impression that this was either a book for children, or to be read/shared with children, but I don’t necessarily recommend that. It is more like adults revealing the encounters and experiences they had years ago—when they were young.

With that said, this is an enjoyable and inspiring read. I’ve no doubt we entertain angels (sometimes unawares) for the Bible tells says so—and have experienced things similar to some in this book. It is comforting, assuring, and in some ways eerie, but mainly affirming.

God is with us; he comforts us, and works in our lives in mysterious and miraculous ways. It is with childlike faith and vulnerability that we are most open to recognize God’s messages and messengers.

The bottom line: The book contains approximately forty stories with diverse experiences and outcomes. Some are detailed, evocative, and stimulating, and others are somewhat vague and vapid.

4 Stars

Cover: Okay
Title: Okay
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-07621227

I received a Review Copy from the publisher.

August 22, 2016

When Mountains Move


When Mountains Move, by Julie Cantrel, is a sequel to the book Into the Free. I haven’t read the first in the series. I must say though, from the first two lines (at the end of my review) I was drawn into the story. This is a compelling and fast-paced read, and I enjoyed getting to know Bump and Millie, but I wish I’d read the first book so I would’ve known the characters better, their backstory, and provocations.

“Always can find someone who have more pain, more hurt than you. Always can find someone who need help. And you always have something to give. Even when you think you have nothing.” ~Excerpt

I know what it’s like for a young couple moving away and starting life anew, but never experienced the harshness and uncertainty that Millie went through beginning her quest to turn an abandoned Colorado farm into a operational cattle ranch—especially while harboring a secret.

With elements of faith and redemption, this is an absorbing, sometimes severe story on its own—but recommend reading book one of the series first. (I plan to backtrack and read it next.)

4 Stars

Cover: Love
Title: Love
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 384
Pace: Fast/Steady
First Lines: Church bells strike to announce the hour. My body quakes from the force of the sound, and again from the force of the man, uninvited.

I received a Review Copy from the publisher via BookLook.


The Things We Knew


The Things We Knew, by Catherine West, is full of memorable characters with convincing strengths and weaknesses. And the Island setting off of Cape Cod makes a wonderful character of its own. The cover is lovely and caught my eye, and the title is weighty and reflective.

"She’d prayed for the memory of that day to be restored for years now, yet it remained as blank as a new canvas. Perhaps it was better this way. Perhaps it was time to let it go." ~Excerpt from Chapter One

I love how the family dynamics in this story feel real. Nobody remembers things the same way, or deals with them in the same matter. For some it shatters them, for others, they manage to move on. I lost my mother when I was a teen, and my family members grieved and moved past it in diverse ways and at a different pace. Age, personality, and willingness or unwillingness to remember, forget, forgive, heal, etc. put us each on different paths.

Woven with peeks at faith, the story deals with family, commitment, and forgiveness. This is a compelling redemption story with distinctive and diverse characters.

4 Stars

Cover: Love
Title: Love
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 352
Pace: Fast/Steady
First Lines: Sometimes in the dead of night, Lynette Carlisle heard her mother’s voice. Sometimes it was easy to forget her mother had been dead twelve years.

I received a Review Copy from the publisher via BookLook.