Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Bones Will Speak... a book review

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The Bones will Speak

A Gwen Marcey Novel series, book 2


Thomas Nelson Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-4016-9045-8

Available: August 11, 2015


 

Book Description

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey has become the target of a serial killer who believes he's been appointed God's executioner.

In Copper Creek, Montana, Gwen Marcey is struggling to put together her life after cancer and divorce. When her dog retrieves a skull of a murder victim and leads her to the victim's grave, Gwen uses her forensic art ability to identify a serial killer. She is horrified to discover all the victims look like her fourteen-year-old daughter.

The murderer is a "lone wolf," a member of the terrorist group Phineas Priesthood-and he has a score to settle with Gwen. Unraveling the tangled Christian Identity movement, where race-not grace-provides salvation, Gwen is in a frantic rush against time. She must use all her skills to uncover the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her and everyone she loves.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Author Carrie Stuart Parks, an internationally known forensic artist herself, has penned a terrific mystery/suspense novel that hooks you from page one to the closing paragraph.  The main character, Gwen Marcey, is living through real-life problems that many of us are either dealing with or know someone who is.  Add a mysterious cranium, bones of a young woman, and a live victim to bring a chilling serial killer to their small town.


This is the first novel from Carrie Stuart Parks that I have read, but it will not be the last!  Although I have a crazy, busy life, I read The Bones Will Speak in two days.  I look forward to reading the first book of the series A Cry from the Dust.


I received The Bones Will Speak: A Gwen Marcey novel from Thomas Nelson Publisher and their BookLook Bloggers program.

Happy Reading,
     
        Ellen

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Her Brother's Keeper... a book review

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Her Brother’s Keeper
An Amish Secrets Novel

Thomas Nelson Publishing
Available: July 7, 2015
978-1-4016-8600-0 (e-book)
978-1-4016-8596-6 (soft cover)


 



Publisher’s Description:
 
Charlotte came to Amish country to find answers. What she never expected to find was peace.

Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on a kapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die - unless she gets found out first.

But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.

Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancĂ©, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.

As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?
 
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

From the opening paragraph to the closing page, I walked alongside “Mary” hoping to find closure in her brother’s death.  As she bumbles her way through the Amish culture, she finds clues to who her brother was before his death.  Through her search for answers, God works in her heart to bring her to saving faith. 

I truly enjoy Amish fiction.  With each new novel I read, I get a glimpse of the Amish lifestyle – God, family, and community.  Their strong family and community ties bind them together in a way I do not experience.  I guess this is why I keep coming back to this genre – love, faith, and family!

Thank you, Beth Wiseman, for weaving another wonderful story!

I received a complimentary e-book from Thomas Nelson Publishing and their BookLook Blogging for Books program for my honest review.

Happy Reading,
  
        Ellen

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Lorie's Heart... a book review

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Lorie's Heart (Wells Landing Series #3)

Lorie's Heart

By Amy Lillard
Wells Landing Series
ISBN: 978-1-4201-3457-5
Amish Christian fiction / Mystery



Publisher’s Description
Welcome back to Wells Landing, Oklahoma, the tranquil Amish community where still waters run deep and a brave young woman sets out to discover her faith, her family, and herself…

Lorie Kauffman is grief-stricken when her father passes away unexpectedly. But her heartache quickly turns to bewilderment when she discovers he'd been leading two lives—one of simplicity and hard work in Wells Landing, and one fraught with painful ordeals in Tulsa. As she starts digging into her family's past, Lorie finds herself torn between the Amish world and the Englisch world—and she's no longer certain where she belongs…

Lorie knows that if she leaves Wells Landing, she may never be able to return. But what if her destiny lies in the outside world—the world her father knew so well? Change is never easy, but with a bit of courage and the help of a handsome and kind-hearted Englischer, she just may find the peace, acceptance, and love she's been longing for…

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As I turned the last page of this wonderful book, I knew I was going to miss these characters - new found friends.  I rode the emotional "roller coaster" along with Lorie as she began unraveling her father's past.   Lorie not only has to grieve in the Amish way, but she also feels compelled to learn of her father’s life away from the community.  Will her desire to know the truth about her father draw her closer to the Amish community or the Englischer world?  Amy Lillard brought these characters to life in believable situations and real-life problems.  I look forward to reading the other books in this series: Caroline's Secret and Courting Emily.

Happy Reading!
     Ellen


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Awake... a book review

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Awake

by Natasha Preston

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Teens & YA, Mystery, Thriller

Available: August 4, 2015

ISBN 9781492618522



Publisher's Description:
Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.

When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it...because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.

And they want her back.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

At first, I did not know what to expect from this book.  I usually do not enjoy books in which the chapters are written from each character's point of view.  Yet, this technique did not leave me scratching my head or wondering what is going on. 

The idea of have no memories of the first four year of your life does not seem strange.  I do not have clear memories from my early years.  But when peculiar flash backs begin occurring after the car accident, Scarlett pushes her parents to reveal the truth of her early years.

Natasha Preston has penned  "a coming of age" story with a twist - boy meets girl with frightening, repressed memories.  This book has it all... suspense, mystery, and a bit of romance!  The storyline had me hooked from page one and did not end until I finished the last page!

I received a complimentary digital copy of Awake from NetGalley.com and Sourcebooks Fire for my honest review.

Happy Reading,

     Ellen

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Once Upon a Cowboy... a book review

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Once Upon a Cowboy

A Whisper Creek Novel, #3
Random House Publishing Group
Available: June 30, 2015
ISBN: 9781101884966
Contemporary Romance



Publisher's Description:
 
Yoga instructor Jessalyn Alcott radiates peace, calm, and serenity—on the outside. Inside, she still feels like the broken, desperate girl from the trailer park. She's got dark secrets she can't share, which is why she never lets her relationships go beyond the third date. But when she travels to the Whisper Creek dude ranch for a friend's wedding, Jess is enchanted by a cowboy whose deep blue eyes, dimpled smile, and rock-hard body make it tough to remember why she keeps running scared.

Cole Driscoll has struggled to find his place on a family ranch where he's always played second fiddle. His future might be uncertain, but he's sure of one thing: He wants Jess by his side. Easier said than done. When it comes to getting close, she's full of excuses, and he longs to fix the hurt he sees in her eyes. Now that she's at Whisper Creek, there's nothing he wants more than to break down the walls around her heart and heal her pain with the power of love.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *  *  *  *  *

Maggie McGinnis has outdone herself in Once Upon a Cowboy.  In this third book of the Whisper Creek series, we come alongside Jess, the last of the three college friends who are slowly marrying off to Whisper Creek men.  We meet all three in Accidental Cowgirl; but Jess' story in Once Upon a Cowboy brings home what many women survive: abuse from the ones who should be protecting them. 

Maggie has penned a heart-felt story of how the past not only affects your past, but also your present and future.  As Jess' story unfolds, she realizes she must face her demons from the past if she is ever going to move forward.  Unfortunately, I could relate to the emotions Jess was reliving.  I laughed with my character "friends," felt my heartbreak as Jess' story slowly unfolded, and cheered her on as she began trusting others.

Thank you, Maggie McGinnis, for bring these characters to life in your Whisper Creek series!

I received a complimentary e-copy of Once Upon a Cowboy from Random House Publishing and NetGalley for my honest review.

Happy reading,

     Ellen

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Inside the O'Briens... a book review

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An amazing and heart-rending read....
an insider's look showing how to live well, and die honorably, with Huntington's Disease.


Publisher: Gallery Books
Available April 2015
ISBN 9781476717777
Medical Fiction




Publisher's Description:


Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.


Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?


As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Never having read any of Lisa Genova's previous books, I was totally unprepared for the open and honest portrayal of a family living with Huntington's Disease... the ups, the downs, the anger, the fear.  We have been given a gift to not only learn about the disease itself, but also the challenges and unknowns for families living with this horrendous diagnosis.


Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Bate College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University.  With her training in the neurosciences and her wonderful storytelling, she has crafted a story with characters who could very well be our neighbors.  We are given an "insider's" look into the devastating physical and emotional challenges of families living with Huntington's Disease.


I look forward to reading Still Alice about a Harvard professor who suffers early onset Alzheimer's Disease.  Then, just maybe, I will see the motion picture created from the book.


I received a complimentary e-copy of Inside the O'Briens from NetGalley and Gallery Books for my honest review.


Happy reading,


    Ellen

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Love Letters... a book review

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The Love Letters


Available March 2015

Bethany House Publishing

Christian fiction / Amish fiction

ISBN: 978-0-7642-1246-8




Publisher's Description:
Marlena Wenger's life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby.  Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena's Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect.  Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
I have always enjoyed Beverly Lewis' Amish stories.  Each one she pens allows me to learn more about their faith, love of family, and reliance on the Almighty.  The Love Letters opens the door a bit wider as I learned about sects that have broken from the Old Order faith - the Mennonites and New Order churches.  We meet not only Marlena and her family, but also the Bitners next door.  As "Small Jay" Bittner steps out in faith to befriend a homeless man, he unknowingly begins a chain of events that ultimately affect his whole family.

My rating: 4 out of 5
A


I received a complimentary copy of The Love Letters for my honest review.

Happy Reading,
    
    Ellen
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