Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Dandelion Field.... a book review

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ISBN-13: 9780310339632
Zondervan Publishing
Available: January 2015

How many parents hope and pray that their child(ren) do not follow in their footsteps of bad decisions and/or actions.  Gin Lightly definitely prays for a better and brighter future for her daughter Raine; but, even a loving, mother cannot decide her child's actions and decisions.


When Raine and her mother's car breaks down in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin agrees to stay so Raine can finish her senior year of high school.  During a class project, Raine is paired up with Cody Bennett.  Cody is a friend to all - athletes, nerds, and those not part of the "in" groups.  He is an outspoken Christian who helps lead the youth at Hope Community Church.


When Raine and Cody's relationship become serious, can he practice what he preaches?  Or will he lay aside his beliefs and walk away from God to live life his own way?


Kathryn Springer has written a story that so many women can relate to - poor decisions and the consequences which follow.  God's love is seen in and through the characters.  I look forward to enjoying more of Kathryn Springer's stories of faith, love, and understanding.


My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


I received a complimentary copy of The Dandelion Field from Harper Collins and Zondervan Publishing for my honest review.


Happy Reading!


     Ellen

Judas the Apostle.... a book review

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Judas the Apostle

by Van R Mayhall Jr.
Published: September 2013
iUniverse LLC, Bloomington Indiana
ISBN 9781491703328

Judas the Apostle gives The DaVinci Code a run for its money!



Could the ancient manuscripts give a first-hand account of Jesus' earthly ministry?


Biblical intrigue
Theological thriller
Mystery
Suspense
Good versus evil

After the death of her father, Chloe returns to her childhood home in Louisiana to learn his death was far from a home invasion gone badly.  When she is given a hand-written letter from her father during the reading of his will, she embarks on a mystery of biblical proportions.

The mysterious jar and its contents bring both a future and a possible ending to any who come in contact with it. Will the ancient text prove beyond a shadow of doubt the ministry and mission of the Catholic Church?  Or, as the evil nemesis desires, disproves the basis of the Catholic religion once and for all. 

Immerse yourself with Chloe as she and other scholars try to unravel the mysterious Gospel of Judas before their time runs out!

My rating: 6 out of 5 stars, A++

I loved the way Van R Mayhall Jr intertwined biblical archeology, the study of ancient languages, and a riveting plot to make this a must read.  I was hooked from page one with the story ending much too quickly.  Good news - - - - - The next book in the series, The Last Sicarius,  was published on February 6, 2014. 

So, do you know who the Sicarii are?

Happy Reading!

     Ellen

Please note: I received a complementary digital copy of Judas the Apostle for my honest review from NetGalley.com and iUniverse Publisher for my honest review.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Captured.... a book review

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ISBN: 9781497692510
Available: January 27, 2015
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

When I read the description of the book, I was intrigued by the premise -

You are diagnosed with a brain tumor and only have 6 weeks to live.  How would you choose to spend your last hours, days, weeks?

Before I began the book, I mused how I would spend the remainder of my time here on earth.  I would choose to spend my time with family and close friends.  I cannot change my past, but I can speak life and love to those around me.

In Captured by Neil Cross, Kenny Drummond is informed by the doctors that he has six weeks to live.  As he processes the news, he makes a list of people he either wants to thank for helping him in the past or those he wishes to ask forgiveness from for past misdeeds.

What begins as a positive use of his remaining time turns into a downward spiral into all that is evil when he begins searching for a childhood friend, Callie. In all the different directions the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his childhood friend could take, this one had never crossed my mind.

Although I did not fully enjoy the storyline, Neil Cross' skill with the pen shines through.  His skill with the written word draws the reader into the story and allows them to feel the emotions as Kenny lives out his last days.  Add in some unexpected plot lines and you have an intriguing storyline.


My ratings:
2 out of 4 stars for my enjoyment
3.5 out of 4 stars for Neils writing style

I received a complimentary e-copy of Captured by Neil Cross from NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for my honest review.

Blessings,

    Ellen

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Patmos Deception... a book review

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Bethany House Publishing: a division of Baker Publishing Group
Available: November 2014
ISBN-13: 9780764211393
Fiction / Christian / Suspense


Publisher’s Description:


An Ancient Island Holds an Ancient Secret . . .

Nick Hennessy, a young Texas journalist yearning for his big break, finds himself in Europe--his assignment, to investigate the alarming disappearance of invaluable Grecian antiquities. Nick has the credentials--and cover ID--to unearth the truth. And he knows just the researcher to help him...




Carey Mathers, fresh from her studies in forensic archeology, has accepted a job with the prestigious Athens Institute for Antiquities--a dream come true, really, particularly when the Greek isle of Patmos, where the Apostle John received his vision of the Apocalypse, was a particular focus of her research.




Dimitri Rubinos, for whom the Greek islands represent his life, holds on by his fingernails to the family charter boat business. But his country's economic chaos isn't the only thing that has turned his world on its head...



 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


 Oh. My. Gosh, what a terrific book!  Not only did it delve into the mystery surrounding the island of Patmos, but it also weaves in numerous, fast-paced, intriguing storylines for the main characters.


Set against the backdrop of Greece’s economic downturn, the reader steps back in time – a time when John the Apostle writes the book of Revelation in the New Testament Bible.  What would be worth killing for?  What would be more profitable than antique treasures?  


I love how Davis Bunn created characters to which everyday people could relate.  Casey’s character reminded me that my happiness does not depend on my circumstances… always a good reminder!  T. Davis Bunn left one of the storylines hanging.  Does this mean a series in the works?!?!


My rating: A
4.5 out of 5 stars


I received a complimentary copy of The Patmos Deception from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review. 


Blessings,


     Ellen

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Heretic... a book review

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Available: September 26, 2014
Lion Fiction Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78264-095-0


I love good, historical fiction; fiction that bring life to bygone eras.  I looked forward to reading The Heretic from Henry Vyner-Brooks which opens in March 1536 during the reign of King Henry VIII – a time when true Christians suffered for their faith.

This book is written and published in England.  The style of writing is much different from the style of many American writers.  The Heretic is written in third-person which allows the reader to “read the thoughts” of the characters; yet, at times, you may come across numerous paragraphs of just the character’s thoughts.  Further, Henry Vyner-Brooks  assumes the reader knows the bigger historical context while he focuses on the day-to-day storytelling. 

The publisher’s description states:  The Heretic is based on historical events and real people.”  It would be wonderful if the author added a preface with historical details of the times and a more in-depth description of the main historical characters.  This would be especially helpful for those unfamiliar with English history regarding the Christian church.

Overall, the novel sheds light on the daily hardships of the believers during the mid-1530s.  It is not a light read, but needs to be read intentionally.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars             B-

I received a complimentary copy of The Heretic from Kregel Publishing for my honest review.

Blessings,

    Ellen

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Love Unexpected... a book review

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Love Unexpected
Available: December 2014
Beacons of Hope Series, #1
ISBN: 9780764212376
Publisher’s Description:
All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, Michigan, she’s left destitute and with no place to stay.
Then a traveling preacher comes up with a solution that will help both Emma and another: marriage to the local lighthouse keeper. He’s just lost his wife and needs help caring for his child. After a hasty wedding, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger and his toddler.
Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife’s death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.
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I enjoyed the Beacons of Hope series prequel Outof the Storm which introduces the reader to the lives of the lighthouse keepers stationed on Michigan’s Great Lakes in the mid-1800s.  Love Unexpected picks up in June 1859 with Patrick Garraty maintaining the Presque Isle Lighthouse.  Jody Hedlund continues to show the reader the hardships of living and maintaining a remote lighthouse.  How does a single father keep up the rigors required of a keeper and raise an energetic, strong-willed toddler at the same time?
Jody reminds the reader that we all have baggage from the past – some stays in the past while others resurface.  She has woven a story of God’s grace and forgiveness around the story of Patrick and Emma; one that we can learn from.  God does forgive us when we ask, but we also need to seek the forgiveness of those we love.
Although this book is not listed as historical fiction, Jody Hedlund based this series around real people and their stories.  She did weave in fiction to enhance the storyline.  All in all, this is a great read!

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars       A+

I received a complimentary e-copy of Love Unexpected from Baker Publishing and NetGalley for my honest review.
Blessings,
     Ellen

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Dream of Home... a book review

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http://covers1.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/0/31/033/585/031033585X_b.jpg

A Dream of Home

By Amy Clipston
ISBN 978-0-310-33585-6
Fiction / Christian / Romance / Amish
Series: Heart of the Lancaster Grand Hotel, #3
Zondervan Publishing

 

After the unexpected death of her fiancĂ©, Madeleine finishes her tour of duty as a US Air Force flight nurse and returns to the only childhood home with roots and happy memories – her late grandparents’ home in the Amish community in Paradise, PA.  Although her mother left the Amish faith before becoming a church member, she never felt a desire to return.   As the storyline progresses, Madeleine is straddling the fence between the two worlds – Amish and English.  Saul, her closest neighbor, is raising his daughter Emma all alone.  As Emma seeks out Madeleine’s companionship, Saul forbids her from continuing the relationship.  Neither Emma nor Madeleine understands the harm in their friendship. 

 

Amy Clipston has woven a wonderful story giving the Englishers an inside look into the Amish faith and beliefs – without and judgment or condescension to either way of life.  Although A Dream of Home is the third in the Heart of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series, I never felt lost in the storyline or confused regarding the characters.  Amy Clipston included a glossary of Amish terms and the family trees of the main characters in the book.  If you are reading this with a reading group or friends, you will enjoy the Discussion Questions at the end of the book

 

My rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars,  A

 

Heart of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series:

A Hopeful Heart #1

A Mother’s Secret #2

A Dream of Home #3

A Simple Prayer #4 [release date May 2015]

 

I received a complimentary copy of A Dream of Home from Zondervan Publishing and their BookLook Bloggers program.

 

Blessings,

  Ellen
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