Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Patmos Deception... a book review


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. 



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Heretic... a book review


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.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Love Unexpected... a book review

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.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
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.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Dream of Home... a book review


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.




Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Light in the Darkness... a book review


A Light in the Darkness

By Jane Kirkpatrick
ISBN: 9780800722319
Historical Fiction / Christian
Publish Date: September 2, 2014
Revell Publishing

Publisher’s Description –

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip readers' hearts and minds as they travel with Letitia on the dusty and dangerous Oregon Trail into the boundless American West.

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

Historical Fiction is a genre that weaves a story within a particular time and place.  As a home educator, my children read historical fiction to gain a better understanding of the life and times of different cultures and eras.

A Light in the Darkness is a wonderful story of the hardships of a freed slave, Leticia, in the states (Kentucky and Missouri) and in the unknown Oregon Territory.  History books give a one-sided view - facts only.  YET, Jane Kirkpatrick weaves this story from the perspective of a freed woman who is not seen as a full person anywhere.  We meet Leticia in 1842 when she received her freedom papers and follow her life through 1856 and beyond.

The book is slow to grab your attention; but as the reader gains a fuller understanding of Leticia’s situation, you are pulled into the story and begin speculating how her life story ends.  I enjoyed learning more details about how women, especially freed slaves, were treated not only during the long trail ride but also after they reached a supposed “free” territory. 

Jane Kirkpatrick shares her research and information at the end of the book.  She put great thought and research into her writing to portray Leticia’s life as truthfully as possible.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars      A-

I receive a complimentary e-copy of A Light in the Darkness from Revell Publishing and NetGalley for my honest review.


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